10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"You know....it is really harder writing a review than I thought it would be. Charela Inn has its great parts...like the view from your balcony if ocean front is fabulous, king size beds were comfortable, fridge in room along with hair dryer. Food was really good but pricey. We stayed all inclusive but they limited the menu by saying they were out of stock and they were out of stock the entire time we were there so would NOT go all inclusive again. The staff was not as friendly as Merrill's Resort but with time they warmed up. It was not crowded, which we loved. The beach help got a chairs for us every morning and towels were ready which was REALLY nice. It was very quite, which we LOVED. Lovely round pool in the middle of the garden which NO ONE used and it was warm as bathwater. It was a late night venture for my husband and I most nights. I booked direct with Charela Inn and they were great to work with. Okay, problems....well, they say kids can stay free here..but I don't understand why anyone would take a child here. It is a great place for couples who want a quite and relaxing vacation but for kids???? There is NOTHING for them to do. The children that were trying to play ball in the garden which is in the middle of all the rooms. It is a miracle they did not break a window or hit someone in the head before someone stopped them. Also, had to ask them to move while playing ball on the beach...right beside me. Sorry, but did not want my vacation ruined with a spit opened head by a base ball!!! I love kids, had three of my own and a grandbaby that I adore...but PEOPLE..take you kids to a place where they can be KIDS!!! Where there is lots of space to play, kids area, kids activities..etc. And little kids....they are happy with a kiddy pool and sand box in the back yard...do not understand parents putting them through long flights to go someplace huge and fancy. It is so hard on the little ones. But then again..I am supposed to be writing about Charela Inn..hehehe Anyway, if you have children, take them to Beaches or someplace fun for them too NOT CHARELA INN! Most of the rooms are very outdated. Old sinks, old "what ever those things are that spray your bottom" that didn't work, old tubs with leaks, little ants. We paid for ocean front top floor which are their most pricey rooms but we happened to see a cleaning person cleaning the room beside us and it was MUCH different!!!! Very new!! Redone...same price as ours but they gave us an old room. They were not even busy so don't understand why they could not have given us the nicer room. Live and learn!! But that is about it for the negative things. Met some great people!! Mostly Americans stayed there. Sorry, My European friends....but I just have to say..you are not as friendly as Americans. I am sure communications is a part of it, but hey, I don't think some of their faces would break if they smiled at us. At Merrill's, we were the only Americans staying there the entire week and I never thought I would say this...but I REALLY missed Americans!!! I am sure the other guests thought we Americans are WAY to friendly...hehehe Well, that is about it. Will we stay at Charel Inn again. Yes we will, for the quite, for the view, for the nice beach, for the comfortable bed. But we WILL make sure we get a new room next time!!"
- Travel date: 13th June 2005
"Our family first visited the Charela Inn last February and we returned again this year. I feel like the Charela Inn is our home away from home in Jamaica. The prices are reasonable - even moreso with the discount they offer to repeat users. Like many other posters, we have stayed in fine hotels - for example, the Ritz Carlton, Sarasota, within the past year. But I prefer the Charela Inn. Many of those hotels are beautiful but lack soul, which Charela has amply. Frommer's aptly uses the words "relaxed elegance". We actually prefer the courtyard facing rooms which overlook a tropical garden, and the trade winds blow. If you require a kind of sterile perfection perhaps one of the all inclusives would work better. But if you are familiar with travel, want character, possible access to the culture outside the hotel, Charela is great."
- Travel date: 26th March 2005
"We just returned from a week in Negril, Jamaica where we stayed at the Charela Inn. Our stay was from 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 and this was the 3rd year that we have been in Jamaica over the New Year Holiday (2nd year in Negril). Last year we stayed at the Tree House Resort which was adequate but the beach was lacking, the food was not great and it seemed that they welcomed guests that were being bused in. (Which was a problem on an already crowded small beachfront.) During our trip last year we visited the Charela for dinner on several occasions and because they had such a nice beachfront and dinner was so good - we decided to give it a try this year. (We stayed at the Riu Negril in July 2004 and Sunset in Montego Bay in Dec 2002. - both were nice but too big for our taste. We both have to deal with so many people with our jobs that we want to "get away" from crowds when we are on vacation.) The room itself was nice - not great but reasonably clean - though the bed was hard it was ok. However, that being said the bathroom was horrible. Very old and looked dirty (even though it may have been clean it was impossible to tell since it was so old). I was able to get over it though - I just did what had to be done in the bathroom and did everything else (fixed my hair and makeup, etc) in the bedroom. Also the lighting was very bad - very dark - which made it difficult - but may have been a blessing in disguise - (since I couldn't see how bad I probably looked sometimes). The clock radio did not keep time but the radio worked and the tv was fine. On the mornings we needed to get up early we just requested a wakeup call which was right on time (unlike at Riu). There were quite a few kids that were allowed to run around the resort without parental supervision but you have that at most resorts. We stayed on the all inclusive package which though it is not advertised they do have - if you request it. We did this because drinks were so expensive on our last trip (even just for soda and water) that we found this to be more economical. Plus the food is very good. We found the majority of the staff to be friendly and helpful and really welcoming - and that is not something I have found at ANY of the other resorts in Jamaica. Nicola (server in the restaurant) was especially wonderful. Our main concern when we go to Jamaica is to relax and spend time on the beach and Charela definitely has one of the best locations and beachfronts. Plus the size of this quaint resort is also a bonus. (Very small). Because of the friendly staff, the beach and the food, we will definitely return. My only hope is that they might do some work on the bathrooms over the next year, before our return. If you are extremely particular - you will probably not be able to overlook the problems with the room - However, if you are on a budget and you can "relax" a little about things - this resort has a lot of bonuses that are lacking at other more expensive resorts. Wherever you decide to stay - enjoy Jamaica - it is a very interesting and beautiful country."
- Travel date: 5th January 2005
Our Fourth Time---We can't wait
"We will return to the Charela Inn for our fourth time in as many years in less than three weeks. We will meet friends that we have made there, two of whom are returning for their 26th time. From the charming Carolyn at reception to Keith, the gardener, the staff is outstanding with their friendly greetings, calling you by name. If you are looking for a Ritz or Four Seasons, stay home. If you are looking for a quiet, comfortable, reasonably priced accommodation on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world where, as they used to say on CHEERS, " everyone knows your name", then you won't find a better place than the Charela Inn. If you want to know what the owners, Daniel and Sylvie, are all about, read the plaque honoring them in the reception area. They personify all that is good about Jamaica. They offer the best they have and you can't ask for more than that."
- Travel date: 9th December 2004
a reality check
"As a 2-time recent visitor to Charela Inn (and as one who plans to return again this winter) I have been surprised by some of the negative reviews of the hotel on this site. If I were researching this place for the first time, I would be too scared to go! I'd like to offer a different view. Actually, I reviewed the hotel when we first visited a couple of years ago, but I just must respond to some of the things others have said more recently. I have traveled widely and love the finer things in life. The Charela is one of the more modest places I've stayed. But it is wonderful and I love it! The previous negative reviewers seem to be missing something, or perhaps the hotel is very different in the off-season. It is not a fancy, luxurious place. But it has a charm and warmth that is missing at many Four Seasons-type resorts. Its pleasures are more subtle but are there nonetheless. What I like: the building (very pretty), the beach (plenty big and lots of chairs, palm trees), the prices (come on people, what do you expect for approx. $200 a night beachfront????), the rooms (very nice given the rates but not luxurious by any measure), the very tasty meals (again, not luxurious or truly gourmet, but very pleasing), the French wines, the ladies at the front desk, the no problem attitude, and dining with my husband on the outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean with a lovely gentle breeze and a glass of wine! We find the whole place very relaxing and enjoyable. I think some go with an unrealistic expectation. The hotel is not upscale, it is quirky, it is not perfectly decorated or maintained, and it is not perfect period! When we first went, I had pretty low expectations, but was willing to give it a try. Beachfront in the Carribbean for the rates Charela charges is quite a bargain, after all. We chanced it, and from the moment we arrived we were pleasantly surprised. We had a great time and are now repeat visitors. Obsessive-compulsive types shouldn't go. But if you have a bit of adventurous spirit and are looking for a relaxing beachfront escape from reality, Charela may fit the bill nicely."
- Travel date: 9th September 2004
Not what it use to be!
"We arrived at the Charela Inn on August 13, 2004. This was the worst place I have ever stayed and I travel alot and go with an open mine. We booked a week and only stayed for 3 days before relocating! The place is dirty; sheets not clean, cob webs and spiders hanging every where, dust mites and bugs bugs bugs! The food was horrible and limited. We took part in the all inclusive meal plan (5 course meal). Most of the food listed on the MAP menu was not even available, and found the same to be true on their regular menu. Sandwiches were mostly all bread with one slice of meat and one slice of cheese when they had any. If you were lucky you could get a cucumber sandwich, if you call that luck! The Charela Inn is falsely advertised. What may have exsisted in the past no longer appears to be the same. Noted for their fabulous food and pastries..... NOT. One night for dinner we were served chicken backs with a tasty gravy covering mostly bones. There were no pastries or home made breads as advertised. We made arrangements with them to be picked up at the airport; no show. The second day that part of the island lost power for one night, the staff was clueless of what happen and no flash lights or candles were in the room. They advertised a sunset cruise once a week, the boat was broken and apparently has been for the past year. Most of the people working their were clueless, unfriendly and not helpful. We left their hungry and with infections from bug bites. We found Jamaica wonderful and I would definately return to the island, but never again at Charela Inn!"
- Travel date: 5th September 2004
Like an old Holiday Inn
"This place is like an old Holiday Inn. It looks like it used to be pretty nice - but now it is dated and a little old and dark. The rooms are spacious - but a little dusty and have a funny smell. The pool is not ocean front - instead all the inside rooms look down at the pool which is strange. Dinner ranges from $40 PP - which seems a little high for the dated empty dining room. Other than that - it is a pretty good deal for beach front and the staff was pleasant. Don't eat at "best of the west" which is directly across the street - it is not very good."
- Travel date: 18th August 2004
Expectations met, Some disappointments
"We just enjoyed the Jamaican scene June 26 - 30, and stayed at the Charela Inn largely based on the recommendations of this website. Overall, the previous recommendations were quite accurate. We had a wonderful time. The hosts were gracious; the dining/food was superb (even a bit better than advertised); beachfront was stunning in its beauty and clean as well; and the room very comfortable with a dream-like balcony view. While we had to find a way to get to the "good snorkeling" (we chose to rent a scooter to get to the cliffs at the "west end"), the snorkeling was excellent right off the shoreline of the "cliffs" without paying for a boat trip (Xtabi allows free access off their back porch). The coral reef remains quite intact, in contrast to other locations ruined by cruise ships (i.e. Key West). To balance with some honesty, though, the Charela Inn is a bit dated and really does not offer all of its advertised features as listed, presumably due to the "off-season" timing of our visit. There was no "live entertainment" on Saturday night, no Tuesday afternoon sunset cruise, the "gym" has fallen apart and is essentially non-existant, no TV/Library room other than a shelf of old German books, and the bathrooms merely adequate with minimal cabinet space and quite plain. Service for food or drinks in the afternoon is slow. The surrounding area of Negril is chaotic and traffic-congested, and a venture inland will expose the country's pervasive poverty. We're not certain if we will visit Negril again (most likely we will), but still had a wonderful time and found the Charela Inn engaging and charming."
- Travel date: 2nd July 2004
Wedding at the Charela
"We recently spent a week at the Charela Inn, and had our wedding there as well. Charela Inn is a beautiful place. The garden has lots of different trees and flowers. The beach is amazing! The staff was very accomodating, and tried to make sure that we were always comfortable. We spent a week before the wedding there, and had about 30 other people come throughout the week. Everyone loved the Charela Inn. It's a nice, small place, away from the busy touristy resorts. The wedding was perfect. We got married right on the beach as the sun was setting. Minel built an arch out of palm leaves, and decorated it with beatiful tropical flowers. The food was delicious, the bartenders were quick. It was definitely a memorable trip for us, as well as all of our guests. The only thing that bothered us a little bit, is that there was another wedding scheduled there the same night. I think it would have been better to just have one wedding so the party could have the evening to themselves. Other than that, we absolutely loved Jamaica and the Charela, and will definitely be back again!"
- Travel date: 19th May 2004
Beautiful spot but Inn needs TLC
"We just returned from our first visit to Negril, Jamaica. We stayd at the Charela Inn which is a very lovely property in a great situation on seven mile beach within walking distance to many great little places to eat and five min walk to J B Margaritaville. I was disappointed in the room although it was the most expensive one and one of the newer rooms the inn has, it seemed to me to need refurbishment, dirty curtains, rugs ( which are cotton washable kind)and the glasses only get rinsed out not washed in a dishwasher. The bathroom was the strangest set up, the toilet, bidet,and tub are raised up so you have to step up to use them and no shower curtain allows water to go all over the floor and toilet soaking everything which can be dangerous because they dont give a bath mat either, we used a hand towel. The whole place is tired and needs to be remodeled. It's a shame beacause the place has so much potential and is a charming building. Most of the staff are great though, Beverly, Sherwin, Paula, Patricia were all great, and the restaurant had wonderful food, pricey but good. For the amount you pay for these rooms, I should think they'd be a little nicer and the bathrooms would have non slip mats and a shower curtain. I would probably not return to stay there but would revisit the restaurant. There are so many nice little places along that section of beach that have better accommodations and prices."
- Travel date: 31st March 2004
Charela Inn / Le Vendome is also called
- Charela Inn Hotel
- charela hotel negril