Tensing Pen Rating: 3.5 Pearls

Unlike some of its neighboring resorts, the Tensing Pen welcomes children to its distinct cottages. Although each room at the hotel is stylistically different, all of the beds are comfortable.

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One-of-a-kind rooms (2 of 24)

 Unlike some of its neighboring resorts, the Tensing Pen welcomes children to its distinct cottages. Although each room at the hotel is stylistically different, all of the beds are comfortable.
Every room at the Tensing Pen is not just distinctive, but uniquely designed to be one-of-a-kind, making booking a room an adventure -- and a surprise. The 22 rooms at Tensing Pen in Negril, Jamaica are spread across 17 cottages (like Garden Room A, shown here), each with its own configuration. Unlike some of its neighboring resorts, the Tensing Pen welcomes children to its distinct cottages. Although each room at the hotel is stylistically different, all of the beds are comfortable. Opened in the '70s as a tiny hippie hangout, this modest-size property has since grown into one of Negril's top-rated resorts. It offers comfort without upsetting the ruggedly beautiful natural setting. Cottages are spread out over the property, so the hotel rarely feels crowded. However, guests who seek more privacy can retreat to their cabins, where the beds are made of bamboo. Some -- like this one, in Seagrape 2 -- are adorned with pretty mosquito nets. The Seagrape 2 cottage may look like something out of a story book, but don't worry -- it has modern plumbing. Several types of bungalows, rooms, studios, and "tree houses" are available, so the room and furniture configurations differ widely. The decor -- like artwork in the master bedroom of the Long House -- varies from room to room. By design, none of the rooms at Tensing Pen have TV, internet connection or phones. However, the hotel is walking distance from great bars and restaurants. Facilities are simple -- there is a small pool overlooking the cliffs, a yoga center, and free Wi-Fi in the restaurant and lobby. But there's no kids' club, gym, or entertainment center. An au naturel setting means there are some bugs and lizards throughout the grounds. But the bathroom in the Long House is kept clean, and the shower is hot. The balcony on the Long House offers gorgeous views over the cliffs of Jamaica's best sunsets. The hotel's information packet reads, "Welcome to the Tensing Pen... Where life is simple..." Each of the 43 rooms at this unique Los Angeles boutique was personally designed by Playboy-bunny-turned-interior decorator Kelly Wearstler and embodies a French-meets-Mandarin style. Wearstler outfitted every room in different colors, patterns, and fabrics, but every room comes with Italian linens and Nelson George toiletries. In Mandarin Room 214 (shown here), yellow bamboo wall paper covers the ceiling. The designer stuck to a strict color scheme --  black, white, red, yellow and green -- when redecorating the home of glamorous former silent film star Lillian Gish. The Parisian rooms (like 209, shown here) are slightly smaller and less ornate than Mandarin rooms. Downstairs, the management charmingly plays up the hotel's theme, serving daily absinthe happy hours and French press coffee at the lobby lounge, Bar Noir, and issuing heavy antique-looking copper room keys on red silk string instead of the usual plastic key card. In Parisian Room 210, plush yellow upholstered headboards meet lime-green, pineapple-shaped lamps. The similar size rooms at the nearby Luxe Rodeo Drive and the Crescent might be cheaper, but they don't offer the same visual stimulation or luxurious bed linens and robes. The one-and-only Moonshadow cottage at The Caves is one of the resort's 11 uniquely decorated cottages, each of which looks pulled from a storybook. The garden paths that connect the cottages were cut from limestone cliffs, and have incredible sunset views. Although the two-bedroom Moonshadow cottage may seem like an appropriate accommodation for families traveling with children, the resort -- like many others on the West End cliffs -- does not allow children on the premises. Private, colorfully decorated cottages, outdoor showers, private candlelit dinners inside a cave, fresh cuisine, and private Jacuzzi sessions make The Caves one of the most romantic resorts in Jamaica. The resort was opened by a Rastafarian artist couple, Bertram and Greer-Ann Saulter, in 1994. Greer-Ann decorated the interiors of the cottages (including Sun Dancer cottage, shown above), which feature colorful Batik prints and Jamaican crafts. Bertram designed the cottages and the furniture, most of which is hand-carved. He dreamed up the decorative railing on the terrace in the Sun Dancer cottage, shown here. The resort's Two Birds cottage has a round, open bedroom with angles intentionally built into the walls to create a more spacious feel. All of the cottages are blue like the Two Birds cottage, shown here. Two huge louvered windows (and a louvered front door) anchor the A-frame cottage. With ceiling fans, incense, and endless flowers, the air at the resort is never heavy or sticky, only sweet and clean. The rustic Blue Dolphin suite is far larger and quirkier than a traditional hotel room. A saltwater pool, an ocean-view Jacuzzi, an intimate spa, and free yoga classes allow guests to relax and commune with nature.
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