Historical Traveller Reviews of Xtabi Hotel
Just came back from Xtabi and vowed never to return. The cottage we stayed in had an existing problem which management were aware of prior to our arrival, did not tell us about when we booked, offered no compensation for our inconvienience and are continuing to rent it with the same problem. With the attitude of the current manager things will only get worse. Out of curiosity we looked at several other places on the cliffs whilst we were there such as Rockhouse & Tensing Pen and found that in comparison Xtabi is run down and offers very little for your money. Hard earned money is better spent elsewhere.
from A TripAdvisor Member
We recently went to Xtabi after extensive research and reading many reviews. This was my husbands 50th birthday so I hoped it would be memorable. It was. It does have a 5 star resturant and the service was great. We stayed in cottage #3 which was right on the cliff. It could be updated a bit but was perfect for our 5 days. Cottage #1 and 1A has been updated because of some damage from the hurricaines so they are bright and a little more current in their interiors. Both are on the cliffs as well and all 3 have awesome views of the crystal clear ocean. All the help was very accomodating and friendly. We went to the beach one day but with all the spring breakers we were very happy to return to our little paradise in the cliffs. Bring your camera to get the most beautiful sunsets and then relax in your lounge to see a 1000 stars at night. The water was so clean and snorkling was great. This resaort is small so it is very quiet and besides the music at the bar one needs to bring their CD player. The radio stations were hard to get. I need to remember to say that the rooms were very clean. We went to relax, chill and have fun and that is exactly what we got. Would go back again!!
Booked this hotel after reading all the rave reviews. The hotel itself has a nice relaxed atmosphere and the staff are lovely. The views are spectacular and the food good. However, the whole of West End in Negril is a nightmare, as the road has been fixed and taxis use it as a race track. There is almost no lighting at night, no sidewalk and you really do take your life in your hands if you try to walk anywhere. West End itself is also greatly overrated, I gather it used to be busy but virtually every restaurant/bar was completely empty (and this is supposed to be med/high season).
We stayed in one of the rooms between the sea and the road and the noise from the road (car horns and screaming tyres) was fairly unbearable. Also the noise from the kitchens from 7am was very loud.
We had booked a 8 day package but in fact left after 5 days because of the noise disturbances and the problems with the road plus the endless battles with cab drivers for a reasonable price down to the beach. We didn't get any kind of rebate on the package even though I gave them 4 days notice of our leaving.
All in all, nice hotel, in need of quite a bit of care and attention in terms of maintenance, (think its time they gave in and put tvs in!)nice staff but shouldn't really be described as 'paradise' which I saw in one review. We felt desperately sorry for the whole area which was completely dead by comparison with the main beach district.
Here lizard lizard
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I stayed at Xtabi a right before the Hurricane in two different cottages. In each cottage we were visited by several lizards. In one I opened a beer and went into the bathroom when I return a lizrd had drown inside my beer. The cottages were beautiful with a wonderful craved stairway in one and the outdoor shower in another was wonderful. But the lizards are many and apparently can not be kept out of the rooms.
from A TripAdvisor Member
When going on your Honeymoon you want it to be truly special. Xtabi is all of that. It was the day after Christmas 2001 that my wife and I arrived in Jamiaca. I had been there in 1972 and knew for us it was the place to go. We live in Fla. and left out of Miami in the rain and cold. Upon arrival it was like a beautiful Fla. summers day. The ride to Xtabi is tropical bliss. They drive on the left so this at first seems strange but you get used to it. They drive fast and the roads are curvy with livestock all about, all apart of the Jamaica charm. Xtabi is on the cliffs of Jamaica, this is a great advantage in seeing the true colors of the water below, it's magnificant in that it is so clear and hypmotizing. Our first night we stayed in Cottage Six downstairs, this cottage is like a duplex in that there is a upstairs to it, you can hear them walking around overhead but it's cool. The room was very comfortable and clean with a rustic feel about it with it's natural wood walls and doors. It had a porch out front with lounge chairs for sunning and a table and chairs for eating. Xtabi is divided into two sections, one cliffside with most of the cottages right on the cliff affording a breathtaking view, the restaurant/bar is also on the cliff, a great place to eat and drink, you can watch the local fishermen pass by in their boats, the food is delicious and local merchants make deliveries daily with fresh vegtables and fruits. You gotta love it. The cottages cliff side have these little tropical paths leading to them and are all pretty private. One of the reasons for going to Jamaica is it's lush tropical scenary, Xtabi has captured that and it just feels right. After our first night we were able to move to Cottage Three. It was like having your own personal little house. It has a kitchen with everything you need to cook a meal, fix a drink, keep food & beer or make coffee. We were only in that unit 2 days, we would just purchase a pot of coffee from the restaurant and have it on our private balcony over looking the Carribean. The bed is in a loft upstairs in this unit and it's very romantic. If you love laying in bed and listening to waves splashing on rocks, this is for you. Downstairs theres a daybed and table inside and outside for eating. We took our CD player for music and were in heaven. The bathroom is designed so the shower is outside but totally private, nothing quite like being outside at night, taking a shower with the moon overhead shining down on you, and sparkling on the Carribean below. There are other places nearby to dine, one of our favorites was Just Natural, just a short walk back toward town on the right. Very private tables in a lush tropical setting with fresh food resonably priced. We hung out at the bar at Xtabi in the evening playing darts, or backgammon, drinking Cubalibras and Red Stripe. Occasionally, a taxi would bring some folks up off the beach to hang out for a while. It was relaxing and enjoyable. The grounds have greek statues of lovers embracing, which add to the romantic feel that's all around you here at Xtabi. The office is across the road as well as a two storie hotel. We didn't stay over there but it is layed out nice with lots of tropical paths and foilage. It has a fresh water pool which I swam in, and enjoyed immensly. Next to it was a weight bench in the grass if one felt like pumping iorn. We opted to rent bicycles which you could do at the front desk. This was great, we kept them for a couple of days and explored the cliffs. At the time the Pickled Parrot was still open, a really cool bar on the cliffs with Huts all about and lots of places to jump off the cliffs. Even at Christmas the water is warm there and great to swim and play in. You could see the Villas of Rock House from there and it was the beginning of local merchant huts set along the road selling cloths, jewlery, food, ect. The locals were friendly, and welcomed potential buyers. We bought some cool stuff at good prices and they will bargain with you. It's fun. We rode our bikes up past the light house, there was another little bar where there were hammocks hanging in the trees everywhere like a little hammock park. We sat and had a pina colada, it was great. We rode the bikes to Rick's Cafe, a very famous Sunset spot with locals diving and doing flips off the cliffs. We had lobster and steak with a beautiful sunset. Back to Xtabi to relax. Did we want to leave Xtabi? Never, were going back. This time were gonna stay on the beach because we've since had a child that is only 2 1/2 and he runs fast and I don't want to chase him around the cliffs. My friend is going to stay at Xtabi and we will go up and visit them and show my son the cliffs and the caves. We can't wait untill our son gets older so we can get back to Cottage Three which we love so much. A Honeymoon in Paradise, but good for the soul anytime. Irie mon.
We spent a lot of time researching our pick for our Jamaican-Negril getaway. We arrived this October, and from being met at Montego Bay Airport by our driver, to the day we regretfully left Xtabi we totally enjoyed our stay!! The cottage we had was absolutely fab! The staff was excellent, the food was great, the view was awesome, the caves were super, the snorkling was out of this world! There is a jerk shack down the street (3 Dives) that had the best jerk chicken, lobster, and cold Red Stripe! Xtabi is only fifteen minutes away from Negril where we visted Cosmos, Margaritaville, Chicken Delight, and various shopping places. If you want a laid back vacation with no crowds, or thumping music, but friendly staff, and just a patio to lay on to soak in the sun, and just do nothing (except maybe something romantic - like a candlelight dinner on your private patio!), this is the place for you!!!!
We are definately coming back to this little slice of heaven!
A cozy spot on the cliffs
Back in 1984, a well meaning travel agent I worked with forced me to go to Xtabi after arguing about a special place I wanted to take my wife on our honeymoon. We have been back 10+ times and have watched Xtabi grow into a great place for people who want to experience the island the way it was meant to be. First things first, if you are looking for the amenities of five star brand name hotel, stop here and continue your search elsewhere on Trip Advisor. However, if you want to stay at a place that captures the natural beauty and setting of a cliff side resort, look no further. You have the choice of cliff side cottages with stairsteps that plunge into the sea or garden side cottages and rooms. Besides it's nestled location on the cliffs, one of the best features of this resort is it's restaurant and bar. The restaurant features five star service and food coupled with the soft sound of waves gently bathing the cliffs at intervals that seem to coincide with each sip of wine from an excellent wine list. The staff at Xtabi are friendly and the service is excellent. This place is definitely designed for travelers who are looking to relax and soak up the sea, sights, sounds and vibe of a resort in Negril.
Xtabi Resort - Excellent
from A TripAdvisor Member
My wife and I had planned to take a Caribbean cruise this fall prior to the birth of our first baby but the cruise lines rules related to pregnancy prohibited this so we ended up making fairly last minute arrangements to go elsewhere. We looked at several options in Jamaica, mostly in Negril and were about to book one alternative when we read a number of very negative reviews on traveladvisor.com. Reversing this approach we looked for a location with largely positive reviews and settled on Xtabi.
Xtabi was the only location we found without a bad review. In general, people were glowing in their praise of the resort and with good justification. This was one of the best vacations we have had and if we return to Jamaica again it will be back to Xtabi.
The location of the hotel on the cliffs is superb. We stayed in a Cliffside bungalow which is an almost unique and highly attractive alternative to the rows and rows of concrete garden apartment style rooms offered by most other Negril resorts. Xtabi also offers conventional rooms across the street from the cliffs which we did not see but about which other guests seemed more than satisfied.
Bungalow 5 is situated only a few feet away from the cliff wall, at the edge of perfect crystal clear waters. There is easy access to the water through steps down through a cave right outside the front door. The more adventurous can jump from the cliffs straight into the water. The water is safe, (excepting the occasional and easily spotted jellyfish) very warm, clean and generally smooth, protected by an offshore reef. The swimming is excellent and snorkelling produced a variety of pretty little fish and one alarming sea snake.
I cannot praise the Xtabi staff enough. Everyone extended a truly warm welcome and any request, however strange, was met willingly and with pleasure. Alan and Janet, the Scottish General Manager and his multi talented wife are born hoteliers and it is a tradgedy that they didn’t begin this professional until near retirement. They appear to be not only on call, but actually working somewhere on the property 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The owner of the Hotel is a pleasant American (who has lived in Jamaica for about forever) who whilst much less overt than the Scottish team truly cares about the comfort of his guests.
The Jamaican staff of around 20 are personable, helpful, polite and willing. From front desk to security, kitchens to gardens, everyone wants to be sure you have a truly relaxing vacation. It would be no exaggeration to say that the staff are the most memorable of any hotel I have stayed at anywhere in the world.
Food at Xtabi is excellent and comparatively reasonably priced. The breakfast and lunch menus will please most American and European visitors as well as those wanting to sample the flavours of Jamaica. The Dinner menu is also excellent but limited in scope in comparison to a similar sized US hotel. We were lucky enough to be staying for 10 days and soon exhausted the choices that appealed. There are hundreds of other restraints within a short driving distance (and there is always a taxi literally just a few seconds away). If the menu at Xtabi had been larger, or varied more from day to day we probably wouldn’t have left the property at all. That said, this would likely have been to our detriment as the Jamaica we found off resort was equally memorable.
With half of our couple pregnant we didn’t do much in the way of adventurous activity but I would recommend the trip to Mayfield Falls to anyone. It’s only a hour away from the hotel, compared to over four hours for the much better known Dunns River Falls. I cannot imagine how Dunns River could be a better experience. At around $70 a head the trip includes transport and lunch and is worth every cent.
For anyone interested we have a collection of pictures from Jamaica and Xtabi at
A final caveat. This is not New York, London or Paris. This is Negril, Jamaica. Things don’t always work the way you expect, sometimes they don’t work at all. Nothing happens quickly. Travelling a mile can take 20 minutes and cost you several hubcaps through unexpected potholes. The driving is amongst the worst I have seen anywhere but my wife assures me that parts of India are worst. Jamaican drivers it seems are confident that it will not happen to them. After watching 10 days of amazing near misses and seeing no accidents I am beginning to believe they might be right. Driving yourself is not for the faint hearted but it is very rewarding. Just mind the holes and don’t drive (far anyway) after dark.
Noting the caveat above, if you choose Xtabi and enjoy it, tell them Giles and Catherine sent you. I’m sure they’ll remember us – we are the couple who took the pregnant cat home…..but that’s a whole other story.
Stayed at Xtabi 5 nights right after the hurricane went through. The resort was still in good shape. Just some tree branches lying around.
We had a room accross the street from the ocean. It was very plain (no phone or TV) but comfortable and air conditioned. We were very thankful for the A/C since the weather was very hot and humid even at night. Some of the units do not have A/C so ask if it's important to you.
We had purchased the meal plan package-Breakfast and Dinner. I would not reccomend doing this. The food was good but the plan only included a limited selection. We got tired of having to eat the same thing every day. Also don't expect to get served fast. The typical wait for our food to come was the better part of an hour. My wife brought a book and killed the time reading. I think this is typical of service in this part of the world since we waited that long at the only other restaurant we tried off-site. Fortunately the restaurant was right next to the ocean so you had a beautiful view while you wait.
We snorkeled every day. The snorkeling accounts for the better than average rating I gave this resort. We have snorkeled at most of the islands in the Carribbean and found this location to be better than average. The assortment of fish was not impressive but the caves and underwater rock formations were incredible! The water was warm and clear in spite of the recent storm. If snorkeling isn't your cup of tea they also have a very nice small swimming pool.
Bottom line, Xtabi is a great place to go to get away from life's hectic pace! Enjoy.
We stayed here for 8 days. Here's some specifics:
The snorkeling is absolutely excellent! Clear warm waters, teaming with fish made it great. The hotel in on a cliff, so if you're looking for a nice beach, this is not for you. But you take steps down to the rocks and just go off the ladders into the water to snorkel. Convenient. And fun. There are big boulders in the water that have been flattened on top, so you can lay out in the sun.
No air-conditioning in the little "huts" which are your room. They have a few air-cond units across the street, tho.
Also, you're really isolated with nothing, absolutely nothing, to do at night (or during the day) unless you leave the property.
The shower is OUTSIDE. I mean, you walk out your bathroom and look up at the sky OUTSIDE when you take a shower. Bizarre...
One guy working on the premises tried to sell us pot. Several times. I got the impression that that's how he made his living and was the resident pusher. Which, to me, explains some of the "happy customers" who give such glowing reviews. (This place is a dive.)
There is a Bakery shop down the street that you can walk to. They have ice cream and rolls etc. The owner sits behind bullet-proof glass as drug dealers (big black men with Mr. T - like gold chains) come in to exchange money. There's a certain element of danger in Negril and it seems to thrive in this isolated area. During our walk, at least 3 people tried to sell us "mushrooms" (drugs) right out in the open!
The pool was un-swimmable the whole time we were there. It was only half-full, with a hose draining it. I got the impression that it hasn't worked in a while. (Not a big deal for us because we were in the ocean the whole time...)
The place is really a dump but in a very nice location. It's kind of like camping in paradise.
On our last day, we went to Sandals, Negril and were drooling. Night and day, let me tell you. I went for cheap value when I booked this, not luxury, and got what I paid for. The amazing thing is that the reviews were soooo good. Again, I can only imagine why...
Top Local Tips for Negril
Try one of the many local food stands/places most are great.
Where to stay
Stay at an all inclusive on the beach and don't leave the premises.
place your dinner order well ahead of time to allow everyone to eat together