Pool is on the small side and there's no sand beach
Sea conditions aren't always safe for swimming and snorkeling
Some rooms are dark and outdated
Two-hour transfer from the airport
Catcha's rustic cliffside cottages, bright tropical gardens, and high quality cuisine make it a popular mid-range choice in Negril. Catcha is ideal for couples and small groups who prefer an intimate boutique feel and island character over crowded mega-resorts and generic chains. Built into the rugged coral cliffs that make Negril famous, and overlooking the sea with its breathtaking sunsets, the small-scale resort has thatch-roofed buildings, an open-air restaurant and bar, and private sun-lounging nooks throughout its boutique grounds. Composed of 16 rooms and self-contained cottages, Catcha's on-site activities include cliff jumping, snorkeling, and sea swimming (when conditions are calm enough). It’s a lengthy two hours from the airport. Guests under 15 years old are not allowed, so families with kids should check out the kid-friendly Negril Tree House.
A serene, kid-free oasis with a Jamaican vibe -- without the loud party factor
The whimsical Catcha Falling Star street sign (hand-painted with stars), implies something kind of magical awaits beyond the fortress-like entrance. Past the car park and front office, Catcha’s maze-like walkways unfold with lush tropical plants and trellises covered in bright pops of summery color in billowing bougainvillea. Wood and thatched-roof cottages scattered about are labeled with cute zodiac and cosmos-inspired room signs, like Sky, Moon, and Venus. Sun-lounging nooks are cut into the cliff face. The terraced stone common areas and spacious verandas with sea views, hammocks, and daybeds all capitalize on the resort's mesmerizing views and cliff-top location.
Guests can look out at the ocean from the central pool area, cliff dive into clear waters, ascend stone steps to the whirlpool, or climb down a ladder directly into the ocean -- when the water is calm. During Oyster’s visit, the sea was like a washing machine, but the rough water smashing hard up against the cliffs was awesome to watch. The pool is small but charming and overlooks the sea. The hotel provides neon floating lounges to float around on. There’s the occasional waft of marijuana, not unheard of in Jamaica.
Ivan’s Bar & Restaurant exudes a Caribbean vibe with its open-air bungalow setting; bamboo, wood, and wicker interior; island-flavored decor; and epic sea views. The scene spills outdoors with clifftop seating, and hurricane lamps illuminate the space with romantic ambience after dark.
Catcha attracts travelers seeking a more intimate and serene Jamaican experience than what's usually on offer at large resorts. Guests typically range from their mid 20s to late 50s. Low stone walls are the only barrier between guests and the cliff's edge, so no children under 15 are allowed for safety reasons.
Perched atop Negril’s famed seaside cliffs stretch -- but two hours from the international airport
Catcha Falling Star resort is located on a narrow cliff road in Negril's West End, and the hotel faces the sea, which gives a sense of privacy and distance from town. There’s a convenience store across the road and it’s a five-minute walk to local arts and crafts shopping as well as assorted dining options along the main road. The Rockhouse Hotel up the road offers upscale meals. Guests can also grab a bite from an authentic jerk joint nearby. Rick's Cafe, a Negril icon since 1974, is about five minutes on foot from Catcha. Rick's is the most popular spot in town for sunset cocktails. Note that the road isn't great for pedestrians, as it's narrow and windy with cars often flying around the bends. The resort is about a 10-minute drive from Norman Manley Boulevard, where shoppers will find an array of duty-free stores, the Bayside Village shopping mall, and a medical clinic.
There's a regional airport in Negril, but most visitors fly into Montego Bay International Airport, which is a pricey two-hour cab ride to the hotel. Airport transportation can be arranged with Catcha. There’s free on-site parking for those who prefer to drive.
Cottage-esque interiors with a tropical vibe -- most with verandas, sea views, and cooking facilities
Catcha Falling Star has 16 one- and two-bedroom cottages and suites -- most with terraces and hammocks; and many with sea views. They’re named after astrological signs, and aesthetic features vary slightly between units. Overall, decor is simple, rustic, and cottage-like in warmth and informality, with subtle tropical flavor in finishing floral touches, plantation ceilings, and thatched roofing. Hand-carved wood furniture, including four-poster beds, are featured in some units. Newer rooms are bright and fresh with crisp white walls and bedding, and light-colored tiled floors. Older spaces are darker and somewhat outdated with predominantly wood interiors and lackluster leaf-print bedspreads.
Bathrooms are spacious (some cottages have private outdoor showers), and come with hairdryers, bar soap, and towels, but no other grooming or hygiene products. Suites are located in a newer section of the resort and offer French doors opening onto spacious thatch-roofed verandas made of cut stone. Verandas are equipped with dining tables and chairs, and many have hammocks.
Cottages range in price depending on their size, but they all have kitchenettes, and some have outdoor showers. All other units have mini-fridges, microwaves, and toasters. Some units are breezier and brighter than others, some have mosquito nets over the beds, and ventilation comes from a mix of ceiling fans, air-conditioning, and natural sea breezes harnessed by simply opening shutters and doors.
A sea-view pool, hot tub, and popular restaurant with room service -- plus cliffs for jumping
Features here focus on the sea and sunshine. The pool is rather small, but has plenty of character -- there’s an in-pool dining table, a little bridge crossing it, a few neon floating beds, and ample deck chairs overlooking the sea -- which is perfect for swimming, cliff jumping, and snorkeling when the water is calm. Deck chairs and sun umbrellas are scattered around the pool and the edge of the property. There’s a cliffside wedding area for intimate groups. Massages can be arranged in the sea-breezy hut.
Coral reefs and coves provide excellent opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Negril's West End doesn't have sandy beaches. Instead, rocky inlets function as diving platforms and the water is clear due to lack of sand. Guests can leap from the 20-foot cliff ledge into water so clear that it looks deceptively shallow. The hotel faces west so beautiful sunsets are a regular occurrence.
The food here is a highlight. Ivan’s restaurant is strongly recommended by locals in the know for its high quality local and international inspired dishes. There’s always plenty of fresh seafood, and lobster dishes here are a favorite. Ivan’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and room service is also available. Some guests complain about the overall high cost of in-house dining, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives within walking distance. Snorkel gear is free to borrow, free Wi-Fi is provided, and there’s on-site parking for guests with cars. The property is secure, with a gated entrance and 24-hour security guard.
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