Sunset at the Palms Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Negril, Jamaica

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Upscale Bali-inspired décor
  • Great all-inclusive rates with the rowdy megaresort vibe
  • Lush, tropical grounds filled with beautiful flowers and indigenous plants
  • Intimate, low-key ambience
  • Spacious treehouse-style rooms with large bathrooms and tranquil balconies

Cons

  • Beach is across the street
  • Some rooms are close to the road
  • Poorly lit rooms
  • 90-minute taxi from Montego Bay airport

Bottom Line

Across the street from the beach, the upscale Sunset has a warm, helpful staff, intimate setting, and great food -- all of which create a relaxing retreat that's a far cry from the crowded chaos at most all-inclusives. This adults-only property is designed for mellow couples or small groups.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Guests mellow out at this relaxing Bali-style getaway. The eco-friendly bungalows and flower-strewn grounds are the perfect escape for romantic couples.

Lobby of the Sunset at the Palms
Lobby of the Sunset at the Palms

No buildings at this resort are more than two stories tall, and in the main dining area a grand vaulted ceiling accounts for the height. The tranquil open-air lobby and shady entrance immediately induce a sense of calm. The resort is decorated in a Balinese style, with dark-wood floors, carved wood furniture, and louvered windows, giving SATP a luxurious feel that is also eco-friendly. In 1998, it became the first hotel in the world to receive certification for environmentally sustainable tourism from the U.K. organization Green Globe.

The open-air lobby has a series of wooden roofs and ceiling fans, and a mixture of dark wood and stone floors. Interesting lamps and statues are scattered around the lobby, and there is a wonderfully large, carved wooden daybed to curl up on and surf the free wireless Internet.

This adult-only resort's clientele consisted exclusively of couples -- mostly British by my count. Rooms are dark and romantic with large, multihead showers. Dinner is by candlelight, and a singer with an acoustic guitar plays mellow tunes while people eat. The resort is small and offers no real evening entertainment or daily activities. Any kid who doesn't enjoy chilling by the pool or playing at the beach would probably get bored.

The property is filled with various species of flowers and labeled palm trees, hence its name. A special perk here is a daily walking tour with the head gardener, Shorty. Every room feels tucked away and secluded, and even the pool receives lots of shade from the towering palm trees overhead.

The resort is technically “all-inclusive,” but that just means guests don’t need to stress over paying for drinks, meals or water sports. The vibe blissfully lacks the techno music by the pool, wacky evening entertainment and industrial one-size-fits-all service mentality typical of many all-inclusives resorts.

 Location

The resort is 90 minutes from the Montego Bay Airport -- an $80 (per person) cab ride. The location feels peaceful and secluded.

Sunset at the Palms is on the northern side of Negril along Norman Manley Boulevard and across the street from Bloody Bay (as well as the much larger -- and very purple – Riu Palace Tropical Bay).

The resort isn't beachfront, but a crossing guard is on-duty all day to help guests across the road. I tend to agree with online reviewers who said the location actually makes the resort feel quieter and more secluded.

  • 90-minute drive from Montego International Airport (free shuttle provided)
  • 5-minute walk to the beach (located across Norman Manley Boulevard)
  • 20-minute walk, or 2-minute drive, to Kool Runnings waterpark
  • 5-minute drive to Margaritaville (free shuttle provided)
  • 9-minute drive to West End Road for more shops and restaurants
  • 13-minute drive to Negril Hills golf course (free shuttle provided)
  • 14-minute drive to Rick’s Cafe

 Beach

Small and authentic, the beach has no hassling vendors. Guests can borrow kayaks and windsurfing boards, and a crossing guard helps them safely reach the water.

Beach at the Sunset at the Palms
Beach at the Sunset at the Palms

The beach is across the street from the hotel, but there's no reason to worry. The resort has a crossing guard on duty all day, and she quickly helps everyone across the street without a problem.

The beach is quite natural and authentic, with trees, roots, and rocks intact. The main drawback is the distance; it takes at least five minutes to walk from the lobby to the beach, and even longer from the guest rooms. There are no towels at the beach (what's that about?), so it would have taken me about 20 minutes to get to the resort and back if the beach manager hadn't kindly volunteered to pick one up for me.

The beach is not very big, but there is plenty of space to find private spots for lounge chairs. The resort also offers nonmotorized vessels such as kayaks and windsurfing boards.

 Rooms

Rooms are chic and large with Balinese accents, but could use more light. Guests should request the 4 or 7 block, where rooms overlook a meadow and hills. Bathrooms and daybeds are highlights.

Spacious balcony in the Treetop Villa
Spacious balcony in the Treetop Villa

Sixty-five of the 86 rooms at the Palms are set within a series of stilted bungalows (referred to as "treehouses") across the lush property.

Interestingly enough -- and perhaps an indication of past problems -- a formal letter is placed in every room reminding guests that marijuana is in fact illegal in Jamaica, and any guests caught smoking the substance on property will have to contend with the local police. That’s fair warning: guests who hope to delve deep into the Irie life might consider staying somewhere with a more lax attitude toward alternative substances.

  • Platform bed with quilted cotton bedspread and silk throw pillows, which are classic and chic -- like something from Restoration Hardware
  • Rooms are furnished with tasteful dark-wood, "Bali-meets-Pottery-Barn" décor, as one TripAdvisor reviewer put it.
  • Spacious desks
  • TV stand/drawer combo for the 26-inch Panasonic television.
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Every room at the resort comes with a wonderful balcony and daybed -- perfect for reading or taking a nap.
  • Modern bathroom that features a slate shower with five different showerheads and vessel sinks. The bathroom also came with
  • Luxury resort-made toiletries, including coconut and molasses soap, a cucumber and aloe after-sun balm (which soothed my sunburn for hours), a citrus body wash and shampoo
  • Ceiling fans and air conditioners
  • Old tube TVs
  • One free bottle of water per room (more available for purchase at the gift shop)
  • Teakettles with various tea packets
  • Turndown service
  • Treetop Deluxe Rooms feature a spacious one-room bedroom with large bathroom and expansive furnished deck overlooking the ground’s gardens.
  • Treetop Villas are two-story units with a king-size master bedroom, and a second living room whose couches convert into two twin beds. The villa also includes two bathrooms, two expansive balconies, and a small outdoor dining space.

 Food

The Palm Grove buffet is a peaceful place for a delicious meal, but there could be more breakfast options. Lotus Leaf offers Asian-influenced dinners.

Lotus Leaf Restaurant
Lotus Leaf Restaurant
  • Palm Grove serves Caribbea, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Lotus Leaf serves Asian fare, and is only open for dinner. Reservations are required.
  • Palm Breeze Bar and Grill serves local fare, and is open through lunch and dinner.

 Drinks

The pool bar spoils its guests with top-shelf liquor. Bartenders are polite and accommodating.

Poolside Lounge Bar
Poolside Lounge Bar
  • Bamboo is the pool-area bar. The bar is a massive, cool slab of stone with wicker chairs. Plates of fruit and cheese are available for snacking on a table nearby.
  • Martini bar is off the hotel's lobby.

 Entertainment

The entertainment's mellow here -- expect chill musicians. There are no scheduled events, but guests can easily head to local clubs for music and dancing, should the urge strike.

Stage by the Poolside Lounge
Stage by the Poolside Lounge

There is no entertainment staff at this resort, other than a rotating schedule of evening musicians. Negril, however, is filled with great live music venues and dance clubs, so it's not like these options are out of guests' reach. But there's no wild partying on site.

 Family

No guests under 18 allowed.

This adults-only resort does not allow children, a policy implemented in December 2013.

 Pool

A mellow and quiet oasis amid a thicket of palm trees

Pool with Swim up bar
Pool with Swim up bar

The mellow non-megaresort vibe of Sunset at the Palms is perhaps most appreciated at the pool, which, surrounded by thick palm trees and centered around a Balinese-style swim-up bar, is serene. Gone are the obnxious half-drunks elbowing their way to the front of the bar; gone are the children playing Marco Polo and splashing you while you try to read; and gone are the loud speakers that pump reggae music like it’s Bob Marley's birthday. Rather, all guests will find here are a few floaties on which to peacefully glide along the water and an isolated Jacuzzi shaded by a picturesque palm. Later in the day, guests imbibe in many a Dirty Banana or Rum Punch resulting in a slightly livelier setting, yet the vibe never seems to escalate beyond happy activity into rowdy drunken territory.

 Spa

A small spa with breezy treatment room and salon

Spa at the Sunset at the Palms
Spa at the Sunset at the Palms

In terms of size, the spa at Sunset at the Palms may be no match for nearby megaresorts such as Couples Swept Away or Breezes Grand Resort & Spa Negril, but its simple, airy vibe seems to jive much better with the local bohemian style of Negril anyway. Just one spacious open-air treatment room features two massage tables, surrounded by local flora and palms. While the area is certainly serene, its close proximity to the tennis courts does pose the danger of noise during a soothing treatment.

Treatments include a range of massages and facials, and a small salon provides hair, nail, and make-up services.

 Services

Plenty of standout services, especially given the resort’s small size

Gift Shop
Gift Shop
  • Free Wi-Fi thorughout
  • Free non-motorized water sports at the beach
  • Free computers for use in the business center
  • Concierge desk and 24-hour front desk staff to assist with activities, restaurant bookings, and specialized tours
  • Free nature walks with Shorty, the resort’s resident gardener
  • Weekly cocktail party
  • Nightly musical entertainment
  • Gift shop
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service
  • Free parking

 Physical Activities

Fitness Center
Fitness Center

Sunset at the Palms’ fitness center isn’t huge, but it’s definitely large for Negril standards -- for instance, Riu Palace Tropical Bay’s fitness center is smaller, and that resort has nearly five times as many rooms. The gym here, which is equipped with two treadmills, an elliptical machine, a stair stepper, a stationary bike, free weights, and plenty of Cybex weight machines, is more than adequate.

Those guests looking for outdoor adventures should take to the on-site tennis courts and bike rentals, or head across the street to the resort’s beach, where a water sports center offers scuba diving (including instruction and certification), deep sea fishing, glass-bottom boat tours, and a range of free non-motorized water sports such as snorkeling, hydrobikes, and kayaks.

 Weddings

Intimate weddings with plush environs, great guest rooms, good food, and personalized options, but the beach is open to the public

Guests can book private wedding receptions at the Lotus Leaf restaurant
Guests can book private wedding receptions at the Lotus Leaf restaurant
  • Extra Fees and Restrictions: Guests not staying at the hotel must purchase a day pass. However, couples must book a minimum of five nights in order for a wedding to be held.
  • Wedding Packages: The Bliss in Paradise package for up to six guests (additional fee per guest) and includes a marriage officer, a wedding certificate, a wedding coordinator, a decorated ceremony area, a bottle of champagne, a single-tiered wedding cake, recorded music, a bridal bouquet, a boutonniere, two 5-by-7 or one 8-by-10 photograph, and a champagne toast.
  • Ceremony Location: Couples can choose between the garden or the beach (though, it's worth noting that the beach is open to the public).
  • Photographers and Videographers: The hotel provides photographers, which are included in some packages. A videographer ranges in price for the ceremony, cake cutting, and first dance, and go up to full coverage of the ceremony and reception. Outside photographers and videographers are permitted, but there's a fee.
  • Music Options: Reggae band; steel band; DJ; outside bands permitted (for an extra fee)
  • Reception Options: You can book a private reception at the Lotus Leaf restaurant, otherwise receptions in Palm Grove, the garden, and the beach are in view of other resort guests. Menu options, which include soups, salads, entrees, and deserts, ranges per person, depending on the food chosen. An open bar costs a per person fee and an additional cocktail hour with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres is available for another per person charge
  • Cakes: The basic wedding cake; a three-tier cake costs (plus an additional charge for an optional cake topper) and another charge for each additional tier. Couples can choose between vanilla, chocolate, or Jamaican fruit cake. If you want a special cake design, you can send pictures to the in-house pastry chef.
  • Flowers and Decorations: Flowers and decorations are included in most of the standard packages. If you don't opt for a package, flowers and decorations -- a wedding arch, chair decorations, table centerpieces, a bridesmaid's bouquet, and flower petals and a flower girl basket, just to get started -- can add up quickly.
  • Spa Treatments: The Jamaican Bride package, includes a half-hour massage, mani/pedi, and hair pinup.
  • Airport Transportation: No airport shuttle or free transport service; taxis average per person (one-way).
  • Honeymoon Suite: There is no "official" honeymoon suite, but all of the guest rooms are generally dark and more romantic than a room at a more conventional mega-resort. However, some rooms are more secluded than others -- be sure to request one that is away from the main road.

 Handicap

Not ideal for guests with mobility impairment

The layout of Sunset at the Palms is not convenient for guests that require canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to get around. The winding paths that meander through gardens and palms may be navigable for some, but every single room requires a few steps or even a whole flight of stairs to access. And while the bathrooms and spacious shower stalls might accommodate a wheelchair, they are not set up for roll-in access. Guests who can take a handful of steps might manage, but anyone with real mobility impairments should book elsewhere.

 Safety

24-hour front desk assistance, around-the-clock security, and a crossing guard to usher guests safely to the beach

The Front Desk at the Sunset at the Palms
The Front Desk at the Sunset at the Palms

The resort is located across the main road that connects Negril with the rest of the island -- and the resort’s beach is accessed only by crossing said road. But a resort-employed crossing guard ensures that cars come to a complete halt for guests that wish to cross, and in most cases, there isn’t much traffic to contend with in the first place.

Security is also ensured at the resort, with a wood gate that closes at night, and a 24-hour manned guard house that ensures only those who belong there make it past. In addition to a 24-hour front desk, there is around-the-clock security. In-room safes are also available.

 Bottom Line

Across the street from the beach, the upscale Sunset has a warm, helpful staff, intimate setting, and great food -- all of which create a relaxing retreat that's a far cry from the crowded chaos at most all-inclusives. This adults-only property is designed for mellow couples or small groups.

Things You Should Know About Sunset at the Palms

Address

  • Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril, Jamaica

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Sunset At The Palms Hotel
  • Sunset At The Palms Negril
  • Sunset At The Palms Resort
  • Sunset Palms
  • Sunset Palms Jamaica
  • Sunset Palms Negril

Room Types

  • Treetop Deluxe Room
  • Tree Top Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 65
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Negril, Jamaica
Address: Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril, Jamaica
(See Map)
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