Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A small beachfront resort with access to more features at its cliffside sister property
There are two principle types of travelers who come to Negril -- the partiers and beach bums who stay on Seven Mile Beach, and the romantic, mellow folks who prefer the cliff-top resorts of West End Road. At Legends Beach Resort, you technically get both; this budget-friendly option is right on the sand, but a free shuttle transports guests to its cliff-side sister property.
The 50-room resort is modest, featuring two sparsely decorated pools, an open-air bar and restaurant, and a rather ill-equipped game room that features just a ping-pong table and a pool table. But at the resort’s sister property, Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, guests can enjoy a quieter cliff-top sundeck, a PADI dive center, two more restaurants and pools, and a tranquil oceanfront spa. Guests will be hard-pressed to get access to more features anywhere in Negril for these low rates.
To get the most out of a stay while paying the least, guests should book a room at Legends; rooms are not only cheaper, but they're all air-conditioned (at Samsara, only some are). Guests at Legends also get first dibs on the best spots on the beach, if they set up before the shuttle bus from Samsara arrives. And when guests at Legends tire of the beach scene, they can board the shuttle to Samsara for some quiet R&R on the resort’s cliffs, at its pools, and at its spa -- the property remains fairly empty during the day anyway because most of the guests are at Legends’ beach. Legends guests can return to the beach just in time for sunset, and, should they wish to check out Samsara’s extremely popular Ciao Jamaica, the restaurant will send a car to pick diners up gratis.
In the end, both resorts are a great deal -- competing budget properties such as Negril Tree House and Firefly Cottages offer less for comparable or even higher rates.
Along Negril’s famed Seven Mile beach with plenty nearby and a free shuttle to West End Road
Located just off the main two-way highway that connects Negril with the rest of the island, Legends Beach Resort gets the best of both worlds, featuring the famous Seven Mile Beach out its backdoor and plenty of dining and drinking options out its front door. Those who wish to escape the sand in favor of some nightlife, dining, and activities such as golf and a water park will find plenty within walking distance or a short cab ride away. Additionally, the resort’s free shuttle to sister property Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa provides free access to more venues on West End Road. On the downside, however, is the long (and expensive) distance from the nearest airport in Montego Bay.
Basic furnishings, but all units feature private balconies and air conditioning.
Some travelers might expect air conditioning to be a given in a Negril hotel room, but that’s not the case; it's hit or miss with the area's budget-friendly properties. Some have just a few rooms with air conditioning; others have none; and still others have it but make guests pay extra for it. So to say that Legends features 50 rooms that all have air conditioning is kind of a big deal in this price range.
Other features in the rooms are basic -- all units feature private balconies, though none have ocean views and half are actually on the other side of the main road. Other highlights include 22-inch flat-screen TVs and granite countertops and vanities in the bathrooms. But amenities are basic (as one might expect for the price): The only toiletries are a few small bars of soap, there is no turndown service, and the wood furnishings -- while made by local craftsmen using sustainable local cedar hardwood in 2010 -- feel a little too simple.
Right on a crowded strip of Seven Mile Beach, with cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas
Seven Mile Beach is one of the best beaches in the world, with soft white sand and warm, clear water, but it's known for its party-hearty crowds. All manner of things can be bought along the sand, from local arts and crafts, to jet ski tours, to cigarettes, to drugs. Vendors are a frequent nuisance.
Legend’s strip of sand is small and crowded -- especially since a shuttle brings in guests from the property’s sister property, Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa. But free padded lounge chairs and umbrellas are on offer.
Two standard pools
The two rectangular pools at Legends -- one just off the restaurant on the beach side, and another on across the main road within the resort’s garden side -- are standard, with unremarkable lounge chairs and little else. But it's still better than what other properties in this price range offer; Firefly Beach Cottages has a large Jacuzzi but no pool, and Negril Tree House has one partially above-ground pool. Even so, the pools here stay rather empty, with guests favoring either the beach, or the much nicer pool at Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, which guests can access via free twice-daily shuttles.
Access via free shuttle to Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa’s breezy spa
Though Legends does not have its own on-site spa, a free shuttle takes guests to sister property Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, where a breezy, oceanfront spa is located. There, treatments include Swedish and hot stone massages, body scrubs, facials, and manicures, and pedicures.
Two pools, a beachfront location, a game room, and rooms that can fit families of four
While Legends does not have a kids’ club, the property’s two pools and beach are popular with children, as are the on-site ping-pong table and pool table in the game room. More fun for the little ones can be had for free at Legend’s sister property, Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, which has a game room of its own as well as a shallow Splash Pool ideal for, well, splashing.
Legend’s Double Rooms can accommodate families of four. Rollaway beds and cribs are also available.
Decent local fare at the on-site restaurant, and plenty of off-site options
Legend’s beachfront restaurant is pretty standard as far as Caribbean eateries go. Jerk chicken is a favorite on the menu and there's also a focus on seafood. Those who opt for the all-inclusive or half-board option, however, will only be covered for the thrice-daily buffets. And the buffets aren’t that great. For instance, breakfast had some particularly yummy muffins and fruit; however, the made-to-order eggs were not as tasty as expected. Two more restaurants at the resort’s sister-property, Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, are covered under Legends’ guests all-inclusive rates, however.
It’s hard to imagine guests wanting to take every single one of their meals at Legends’ restaurant, and there are plenty of nearby off-site options for guests not on the all-inclusive plan.
An all-inclusive option covers wine, beer, and cocktails, and two-for-one happy hour specials are an excellent deal for non-all-inclusive guests.
Given the all-inclusive option that so many guests take advantage of, it’s no surprise that the vibe at the beachfront bar is happy and drunk. Happy hour specials are available for those guests without an all-you-can-handle wristband, and two-for-one drinks are a definite deal. The cocktail menu is extensive, and the papaya daiquiri is a favorite.
Several optional meal plans
Legends provides several options to guests, ranging from all-inclusive, which provides three meals per day and all beverages from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.; to half board, which includes just breakfast and dinner; to breakfast-only plans. Some guests may find that room-only or breakfast-only is the way to go, given the fact that so many restaurants and bars are within close range of the resort. Increasing the value of the all-inclusive plan though, is the added option of eating and drinking at Legends' sister property Samsara Beach Resort & Spa. All-inclusive guests should be prepared for fairly restrictive dining times -- their meals can only take place during the buffets, and a la carte meals will cost extra.
A decent amount of freebies, especially considering the low rates
Little on-site, but free access to sister property’s tennis courts, PADI diver center, and game room
While there is no fitness center or water sports pavilion at Legends, there are a few ways to get active on-property, including swimming in the two pools, activities from off-site vendors along the beach (water sports pavilions are within walking distance), and a small on-site game room that features a ping-pong table and pool table. In addition, the resort’s shuttle which provides free daily access to sister resort Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa’s facilities, which include a shabby tennis court, a PADI dive center, and a game room that's similar to the one at Legends.
Access to two properties in one provides more variety for wedding parties.
While a beach wedding would be difficult amid the crowds of tourists and vendors on Seven Mile Beach, quiet cliff-side weddings are available at sister property Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, whether guests are staying there or at Legends.
The resort offers a basic wedding package for about $600, which includes marriage license processing, the officiant, a wedding arch, a bouquet, a boutonnière, one bottle of champagne, a tropical fruit basket, and a wedding cake. Additional services can be added to this program, including full receptions, additional floral arrangements, entertainment, photography, and decorations.
A few small measures help lower the resort’s carbon footprint.
Legends enacts a few policies to help the environment, including turning off air conditioning and lights when rooms are not in use, and recycling all bottles used in the restaurant and bar. Additionally, the resort offers guests the option to keep their bed sheets and towels throughout the duration of their stay, rather than have them changed on a daily basis.
Opened in 1996 and family owned
Family-owned since opening in 1996, Legends Beach Resort is 15 years younger than its sister property, Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa.
In need of a few cosmetic upgrades, though generally clean and well-maintained
A few upgrades were made in early 2012 -- including a new paint job to most of the exteriors and small upgrades such as new vanities and granite countertops in the bathrooms. The property's oceanfront location means the hotel is constantly making updates, but the lounge chairs by the pools are rusty. Room furniture is made of sustainable local cedar hardwood that can withstand the tropical elements, but it feels a tad too simple. Technology is modern, at least, and includes Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, and the resort is mostly well-maintained -- tiles are clean and sheets are crisp.
Very little to accommodate mobility-impaired guests
While Legends does not have any ADA-compliant rooms, it does feature a number of units that are on the ground floor and do not require any steps to access. However, these rooms may not be wide enough to fit all wheelchairs. Additionally, a few steps are required to access the rest of the amenities (the pools, beach, restaurant, gift shop, and bar). The resort has a makeshift ramp it can lay over these few steps in order to accommodate guests in wheelchairs. Still, those guests hoping for more concessions should probably look elsewhere.
A front desk during the day, 24-hour security, and a crossing guard for guests staying on the garden side
Legends’ front desk is open from morning 'til night. During off-peak hours, a security guard is on duty. Safety deposit boxes are also available at the front desk. Some guests may be slightly concerned about staying on the garden side of the resort, given that it requires crossing busy Norman Manley Boulevard to access the main grounds, but a crossing guard is positioned at the road to stop traffic and ensure safe passage.
This 50-room beach resort has two pools, an open-air restaurant and bar, and a coveted spot at the tip of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach. Though its pools are standard rectangles, the competing Negril Tree House only has one pool (albeit one with ocean views.) Legends Beach Resort guests can also take free daily shuttles to the property’s sister resort, Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa, for access to a spa, two more pools, a stunning cliff-top sundeck, and one of the area’s best restaurants. The rooms may be basic, but the price is right for what you get.