Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
The hotel's transformation was a welcome upgrade, but the location is still dull
The 56-room Cardiff opened in 1986 as a hospitality training hotel called Runaway Bay Heart. But in 2012, the hotel was refurbished and reopened, transforming the property from a dingy student facility into mid-size boutique hotel. The Cardiff still can't compete with Jamaica's all-inclusive megaresorts like Rose Hall or The Caves, mostly because it doesn't have on-site beach access, but the transformation has made it a decent low-key option, just as long as guests are willing to venture away from the property for entertainment.
On a hilltop and about 10 minutes from the beach.
Located off the main, beachside road and up into a residential area in the hills, the Cardiff is one of the only Jamaican hotels not located on the beach. It takes about 10 minutes to walk there.
The hotel is about a 45-minute drive between both the Fleming and Sangster International Airports.
All guest rooms were renovated before the hotel reopened in 2012, but most still keep some of the dated features.
Rooms are basic and nothings special, but were renovated in 2012 for the first time since 1986. Prior to reopening, walls showed cracks and mold, and bug infestation proved to be a problem in more than a few rooms.
Standard rooms are known as Deluxe Rooms, and have two double beds, balconies with ocean or garden views, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges. The hotel also has 14 Junior Suites, which have all the amenities of Deluxe Rooms but with a king bed and sitting area. All rooms also have air conditioning and standard toiletries. Prior to rebranding, the hotel implimented a "no shampoo" policy because all water was recycled. The hotel is Green Globe certified, but does allow guests to use soap.
There's a pool and a huge gym, but that's about the extent of it.
The hotel is a no-frills alernative to Jamaica's massive megaresorts. The bare bones amenities were at least reburished in 2012, and some are still in the works.
A spa was added after the rebranding and includes your typical variety of treatments and massages.The fitness center was renovated in 2012, and the hotel also has access to a neighboring golf course, and the beach is about a 10-minute walk from the property.
Isabella's is a local and contemporary fusion restaurant that serves authentic Jamaican that is actually a better quality than most hotels in the area offer.
This 56-room boutique hotel may not have the all-inclusive perks of other Jamaica hotels, but its quiet atmosphere and authentic local fare make it a decent option for travelers on a budget. There is a well-kept pool, a business center with free Wi-Fi, a small fitness room, and a solid restaurant serving local cuisine. Its 44 rooms are fairly spacious, but pretty basic, with only flat-screen TVs, empty mini-fridges, and private balconies offering garden or ocean views in the way of amenities. There's not a lot to do in the hotel either, and the beach is a short walk away, so those who want lively atmosphere or nightly entertainment might want to look elsewhere.