Idle Awhile The Beach

Norman Manley Blvd, Negril Jamaica
4 star hotel

Overview

Ratings summary

Brilliant
288
Good
93
Average
25
Poor
5
Awful
10
 

10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Outdoors is better

1
Awful
by

"Visited March 2005, for daughter's wedding.
Went based on reviews (???) what a disapointment. Mosquitos,
lizards, & lots of bugs slept with us in our upgraded ($$$) one bedroom,
outdated suite, no screens, might as well camped out on the beautiful beach. The staff shrugged their shoulders but are wonderfully friendly!
Donot recommend this hotel, been to Jamaica before, better hotels
available."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 29th of May 2005

Nothing like idling awhile.....

4
Good
by

"First of all, I must say that if your not in the mood for a larger all-inclusive hotel, this is for you. My girlfriends and I arrived to our own cottage/villa-like bedroom suite that was clean, cute and comfortable. We stayed across the street because there were no available suites on the beach, however with the exception of dodging cars it worked out just fine. I would also recommend the restaurant/bar on the beach at Idle Awhile. The staff was very friendly and accomadating, not to mention the food and drinks were great. We originally looked into staying at the Rockhouse Hotel, but they had no availability in the month of May. We did go to the Rockhouse Restaurant for drinks and appetizers and to watch the sunset. We were giving a tour of the entire hotel and decided that we would definitely come back there with our boyfriends/fiancee/husbands one day (hopefully soon). I would definitely go to the Rockhouse hotel however only and only with a significant other staying at a villa overlooking the water, you might be kind of bored with your girlfriends. Anyway, please do try Idle Awhile your sure to have a great, relaxing time."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 29th of May 2005

Detail report of ocean-view room at Idle Awhile Hotel

2
Poor
by

"We stayed at Idle Awhile, Negril at the end of April 2005 (a slow period after the busy spring break season). The hotel’s website and most Internet reviews paint a more upscale picture than what we experienced. This is what we observed:

Ocean-view room: The view of the ocean from our second-story ocean-view room is almost completely obscured by the lush, deep garden separating the hotel from the beach. Such peek-a-boo view is not worth the extra charge over a garden-view rooom.

Proximity to beach: Because of the depth of the garden, the hotel sits far back from the beach. You can’t hear the ocean, even while sitting out in the balcony area.

Adjacent buildings sit very close to the hotel, and prevent any ocean breeze from reaching the rooms.

Proximity to Couples Resort: With vague directions from the front desk clerk, we set off one early morning for a walk to the Couples Resort, with the intent to use its work-out facilities. We made the mistake of choosing to walk along the road, rather than the beach.

With cars whizzing by very closely, taxis honking at us (their way of asking if you want a taxi ride), and no pavement in places, it was a hazardous walk. After walking for about twenty five minutes in the hot sun, and approaching a desolate stretch of road, we decided to turn back.

The hotel clerk later told us that Couples Resort is just beyond the point where we turned back. We never bothered to verify if that was true.

Room amenities: No dressers. No closets. Only open shelves in the hallway and bathroom. No hair dryer. No coffee maker. The hotel provides a water pitcher with 2 glasses (which were never washed or replaced during our stay).

There were a small safe, a small refrigerator which barely keeps things cool, an alarm clock / radio, a ceiling fan inside, and another in the balcony area.

To keep cool with the air conditioner on, all the louver windows must be closed, which makes the room very dark.

During the day, we opted for the ceiling fan instead, and kept the windows open. However, at night, we had to close the louver windows to keep out the smoke from the nightly beach bon fires that nearby restaurants let burn throughout the night.

The louver windows didn’t keep out noise very well. We heard every toilet flush from every room and every outside noise. At night, when nearby restaurants have live entertainment into the night, you can hear the music while in your room, too.

Speaking of toilet flush, we must warn you not to flush when someone is in the shower, else there’s a rude change in the water pressure and temperature.

By the way, the shower curtain over the bathtub is short like a mini-skirt. Remember to carefully tuck in the curtain to avoid soaking the entire bathroom, as happened on our first day.

Room maintenance: One of the 2 table lamps in our room didn’t work, even after the hotel staff brought a (red !!!) bulb for replacement. We later found that the wires under the lamp were exposed and coming apart. A few of the latches for the louver windows felt out, making it difficult to close or open the louver windows. The toilet handle had to be jiggled after each use to stop the water from running.

Front desk staff: We arrived on Friday. The following day, we asked the front desk clerk for directions to a bank to exchange our traveler’s checks for Jamaican dollars. She called a taxi for us, but didn’t tell us that the bank closes on Saturday.

(By the way, we later found out that the Jimmy Buffet restaurant gift shop accepts U.S. traveler’s check, and gives you change in Jamaican dollars.)

The hotel front desk personnel were polite, but rather reserved. None of the hotel staff whom we interacted with volunteered any information on local attractions and activities.

Restaurant and bar: The bar/outdoor restaurant sits on the beach, with very little business, other than from guests who stay there. We had dinner twice and lunch once at the hotel. The hotel’s restaurant offers very limited choices, in spite of what’s printed on the menu. Meat selections consisted of red snapper and chicken. The vegetable side dish was always shredded cabbage, cooked with whatever that was available, such as carrot, or cucumber, or canned corn.

The kitchen is located in the front of the hotel, far away from the bar and restaurant. The bar tender takes your order and phones the kitchen. The same dish is prepared differently, depending on the chef on duty that day, and the ingredients available at the moment. Even if you are the only ones at the bar/restaurant, be prepared for a very long wait for your food/drink.

Beach: There was no problem with finding beach chairs. Some of the chair mats are moldy and disgusting. Previous guests must have left their air floats for other guests to use. You can find them stacked against the fence by the bar.

The hotel keeps the beach towels in a basket by the bar. A hotel security guard keeps a log for you to sign and check out the towels.

Around 8 a.m. the grounds keeper rakes the sea weed and drags the beach chairs out. Around 10 a.m. or so, he brings the beach umbrellas out and plants them firmly in the sand by your chairs.

Other than a tiny amount of sea weed and tiny shells that wash ashore overnight, the beach is clean. There’s no broken coral, and thus no need for water shoes. The sand is yellowish-white and fine.

The water is bath-water warm and calm, at least until about 10 a.m. or so, when the jet skiers come out and create constant ripple and noise.

Occasionally, a sting ray strayed into the roped-off swim area and gracefully sped off, perhaps to chase after a school of fish. We didn’t think there were any sting ray lurking under the sand. The water was very clear that we were not concerned about accidentally stepping on any sting rays.

Beach vendors: Part of the charm of this hotel lies in the ever present beach vendors. The orange juice man. The bananas man. The lobster man. The evening cruise lady. The parasail man. The jet ski man. The patties (very greasy but tasty snack) man. The cigarettes woman. The illegal pot man. They walk up and down the beach, back and forth, under the blazing hot sun. Most will walk away after hearing a “no, thank you”.

Would we return to Idle Awhile? Perhaps, but certainly not at the $152 a night rate. We don’t feel that the hotel’s amenities and services measure up to that charge.

If we return to Negril, we will certainly contact the taxi driver who drove us to the airport for local trips. He was polite, very informative, and knowledgeable about the area and nearby cities. His name is Ricardo Turner (a.k.a. Jackie). His cell phone is (---). His address is Pell River District, Cauldwell P.A., Hanover, Jamaica, West Indies. We do highly recommend him."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 11th of May 2005

Not quite Resort...

3
Average
by

"I've just returned from a short 4-day vacation where I stayed @ Idle Awhile. I was traveling alone and after reading all the wonderful reviews on this hotel, it sounded amazing. I was considering staying at the Rockhouse Hotel, but decided against it since I was on my own and it seemed like a couples / honeymoon type of place - plus, it's a bit isolated as well and I didn't want to feel trapped in. Idle Awile seemed like a good alternative. Quiet, intimate, affordable, relaxing, good service, great food, convenient location...etc.

I did enjoy my stay but was a little disappointed and will probably stay elsewhere if I return to Negril. Here's the rundown:

ROOMS: The rooms are well-represented on the hotels website - they pretty much look as they are. All have king sized beds - but be warned, they're super FIRM. My room had an extra down comforter in the closet, so I slept on top of it because otherwise I felt like I was on a wooden board. They were clean and spacious (they only had a garden deluxe room available #102). Because I was alone, I would have preferred an upstairs room because I felt a bit "exposed" on the ground floor, I had inquired about a room change, but none were available and by the second day I felt more at ease. My room backed up to the neighboring hotel, The Charela Inn which was fine but the side view from the room was of the chain link / barbed wire fence and their storage shack. Not very nice to look at from the outside veranda. Avoid room #102.

STAFF: Absolutely wonderful. I have only good things to say about everyone. Efficient, sweet and courteous.

RESTAURANT: Not good at all. Seriously. My first night I was tired, so I saddled up to the totally empty bar @ 6:30pm and ordered a house salad and jerk chicken. The house salad was shredded cabbage w/ vinegarette and the jerk chicken was smothered with a mediocre jerk sauce. I odered breakfast in my room every morning. I asked for the $6 continental breakfast that I read about in reviews and on their website and they didn't seem to know what I was talking about. Stick to basics like coffee, toast and scrambled eggs & bacon. Avoid the sausage...totally weird, red food dye hot dog thingys...pretty scary. The restaurant, because it's right on the beach is convenient during the day, but rather than eating there, wait for the beef / chicken / veg patty & coco bread guy to walk the beach around noon-1pm. It's cheap and soooo delicious. Everyone swarms him because his patties are THAT GOOD. For amazing jerk chicken, go across the street to "Best in the West", it's an outside bbq, jerk shack. You can get 1/4 or 1/2 jerk chicken w/ bread for $5-$7US and it's AMAZING! Don't miss it! Everyone goes elsewhere for dinner. A hotel / restaurant down the road, "Kuyaba" offers free pick up & drop off shuttle service. It's also a small place, very well-done though and the food was absolutely delicious as was the service. I heard it's replaced Rockhouse as one of the better restaurants in Negril. I had sauteed conch w/ a scotch bonnet soy dipping sauce that melted in your mouth and then had red snapper w/ coconut callaloo sauce over rice & beans which was phenominal. The food at Kuyaba is not to be missed!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 16th of April 2005

You can trust Idle Awhile & her staff

5
Brilliant
by

"Stayed six nights in July. Researched before hand (here, -----, -----, etc.) and read nothing but rave reviews and thus, was a bit apprehensive about whether it could live up to the accolades....

WOW! Everything I read was so very true. The rooms were wonderfully decorated and comfortable. Even their smaller rooms were comfortable, (we split our time between a standard and the suite). The staff was magnificient. Warm, friendly and concerned about our enjoyment of the property and our time there.

The beach and beach bar were fun and convenient. The water was perfection. Must try the Ital dish (bowl really) and the rest of the bar menu. This was a bit of heaven...all less expensive than the all-inclusives we had stayed at previously.

Negril itself is a very warm and friendly place we have enjoyed returning to again and again. Idle Awhile has now become our favorite place to stay. Great location, lovely, warm, friendly staff, fine beach, great beach. (try the aloe massages on the beach!), fabulous accomadations...nothing to not love about this gem."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 12th of April 2005

Loved it....

5
Brilliant
by

"Idle Awhile was everything we hoped for and more! It's a wonderful hotel with a friendly and warm staff. We loved our oceanview room which had a beautiful verandah with a view of the garden and ocean. Our room was very clean and the bed was very comfortable. I have absolutely no complaints! We will definitely stay here again on our return trip to Negril!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 30th of November 2004

Enjoyed Relaxing Atmosphere of Idle Awhile

5
Brilliant
by

"Stayed at three different resorts while in JA-Idle Awhile, Grand Lido Negril, and Grand Lido Braco. Will give reviews separately for each place.

My husband and I enjoyed our stay at Idle Awhile the best. Why? It is a small hotel so service is so much better than at a larger resort. We stayed in an oceanfront room on the second floor. The room had a vaulted ceiling lending to a more open flow. The balcony had very comfortable seating and was somewhat secluded because of the lush vegetation. Great to sit back, relax and drink a glass of wine or Blue Mountain coffee.

Ate at the restaurant three times and thought the food was excellent. The seasonings used really brought out the flavor and the steamed vegetables were fresh. Food to order - no soggy buffet food.

The hotel beach area is not wide; however, we always found available lounges since the resort is small. There are trees if you want shade. There are two hammocks as well. Restaurant is right there to place drink/food orders. There is also a bar that advertises the best drink prices a couple of doors down on the left next to Coca La Palm Resort (Red Stripe - 80 JA). Can walk up/down the beach. Met a couple that walked from the Rockhouse on cliffs to beach. Said it was 2 1/2 mile walk but didn't seem that long because of the stops to various bars.

There are areas on the beach to rent jet skis, arrange dive trips, and etc. (You will be approached by the vendors...).

At the all-inclusives, you are paying upfront for activities and you may not be able to get into a restaurant, dive, or participate in some activities. It all depends on what YOU like to do. Glad we divided our trip up into three resorts!!!

By the way, the Moon Villas looked awsome if you have several couples!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 20th of November 2004

Great Place, We're Going Back

5
Brilliant
by

"I surprised my wife last February with an anniversary trip to Idle Awhile. We had been to Jamaica several years in a row, all of them at All-Inclusives. The stay at the all-inclusives are nice in that everything is taken care of as far as meals, trips and activities. The down side is that since you've paid for it you tend not to really experience anything else outside of the resort.

The positive reviews here were an influencing factor. The other thing was that Idle Awhile is owned by the same company that operates Couples.

Having had a little experience in Negril in the past I booked a shuttle from Montego Bay to Negril on Tim Air ahead of time. Our flight left Philadelphia just before 7:00 am and by lunch we were sitting at a table on the beach waiting for our room to be ready. (If you take the plane to Negril, negotiate the cab fare to your hotel first.)

The room we had was fantastic. It was comparable to the other resorts we stayed at. The decor is done in a very appealing Jamaican feel. There was a covered patio with a bench and table where we could sit out in the shade.

After arriving on Sunday and getting settled in we thought we'd head to the grocery store in Negril. The front desk was very helpful and got a driver for us who waited while we picked up some things at the store. We requested a refrigerator for the room so we were able to keep some things to drink and eat right in the room.

The location on the beach is ideal. The beach is not big but is well kept and there are shade trees, if you want to get out of the sun. Right next to the beach there were Jamaican women that did hair braiding. Part of the appeal to us was to be able to experience the Negril beach more than what we could staying at an all inclusive. Ironically there was not any more problem with vendors trying to sell things to us on the main beach than there was at the all inclusive we stayed at before. They are friendly and a simple "no thanks" is all that's needed if you're not interested. The real plus is that you can go out and walk up and down the beach for miles.

One aspect that we liked was that as a guest at Idle Awhile you can use the fitness facilities at Swept Away. They're gym is great and only about a 20 minute walk from Idle Awhile.

Our day usually started out early with a walk up to Swept Away to use the gym when it opened at 7:00. Walking back to Idle Awhile we often stopped at a resort almost right next door. I forget the name of it but it is owned my folks from Minnesota. Service and food was great for breakfast. You're seated on a deck with a clear view of the beach and ocean.

For lunch we settled in on a nice combination. We'd pick up some fresh veggies from one of the women selling them on the beach. We'd also go right across the street from Idle Awhile to the Best In the West jerk stand. Half a jerk chicken for about $4.00 US. Lunch was usually on our outdoor patio.

Afternoons of course were beach time or a walk to the shopping center a few miles up.

One of the things we liked at the all inclusives was the catamaran trip on Wild Thing to Ricks Cafe that is included. We found that you can book a trip right down the beach from Idle Awhile on the same boat. It was about $50 or 60 for 2 and well worth it. There are plenty of vendors that will rent jet skis etc. right on the beach.

The all inclusives have the advantage of entertainment at night. That proved not to be a problem. Several evenings we walked up to Margaritaville, which is a short walk up the beach. The food is nothing spectacular but they do have local talent performing.

One thing we plan on doing more of is eating right at Idle Awhile. One evening we were down at the beach front bar/dining area and noticed that the chef was there. We asked him what's good. He made a couple of recommendations. With a few requests for preparation and side dishes he walked back to the kitchen and cooked us one of the best meals we've had anywhere! After the meal we hung out a bit and Juicy picked some of his Jasmine flowers and gave them to my wife. Juicy keeps the grounds impeccable and grows some veggies right there. All the staff was always helpful and friendly.

For the return trip we took a van the front desk arranged for. It is nice to get to see some of Jamaica and hear the driver talk about the areas we were driving through.

All in all, it is a great place, great service and great value.

A few tips: Calling the US is very costly (mistake we made the first year and spent about $140 for a few short calls.) Buy prepaid phone cards in the US ahead of time to call from a pay phone. Idle Awhile also has added wireless internet access so you could keep in touch with Instant Messenger with your family if you bring a laptop, or find an Internet Cafe on the beach.

Some Tips:
Have a lot of small bills for tips, US $$'s are fine.
Stock up on some things to drink.
Make sure you take what you need as far as suntan lotion, etc.
Look into what you want to do while you're there ahead of time; shopping, Ricks Cafe, a trip to downtown Negril, etc.


We're planning on returning this winter. It was one of the best vacations we've ever had."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 8th of September 2004

Wonderfull

5
Brilliant
by

"I've been to Negril many times and I think Idle Awhile is the best place I have ever stayed. The rooms are great and the staff is greater. You will not be disappoined. I will never stay anywhere else. The best part is that it's a small hotel, friendly staff, and great location."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 3rd of September 2004

Loved it and would definitely return again

5
Brilliant
by

"I stayed here for 1 night (after a night at the Rock House which I also liked) and absolutely loved it. The room was spacious, immaculate and very tastefully furnished - in fact it gave me some design ideas for my home. Lots of lush vegetation in the grounds and situated along the 7 mile stretch of beach. I really did want to idle for a lot longer than time would permit. I'd certainly stay here again whenever I'm next in Negril."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 31st of August 2004
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