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No question, Jamaica offers a staggering number of excellent, all-inclusive properties. But what’s a travel agent to do when faced with a client who is seeking a slightly more “authentic” Jamaican experience?
Fortunately, there are several excellent, independent properties hidden in the limestone cliffs that make up Negril’s West End, just beyond the area known as Seven Mile Beach.
Here, a favorite resort for travelers in the know is Tensing Pen, an intimate property situated in its own private cove, which lures travelers with its cozy intimacy as well as its stunning sunset views of the Caribbean Sea.
The property is named after the owner’s dog, Tensing, who was named after the Sherpa who accompanied Sir Edmund Hilary up Mount Everest. Don’t let the odd-sounding moniker sway you from considering the hotel for your clients.
When arriving on site, the first thing clients will notice is the resort’s unique landscape. The property, which integrates the rocky landscape into its floor plan, sits on several acres of lush, tropically landscaped grounds. Tensing Pen’s 22 guestrooms are located inside 17 wooden, thatched-roof and cut-stone cottages, each of which has been individually designed and named.
Indeed, deciding which room to book can be a challenge at Tensing Pen. Clients watching their budgets can request the Garden Cabin (which ranges from $110 to $140 per night). Located atop a rocky outcropping, the room features a large verandah and a sea view just over the adjacent tree tops. Other options include the Bungalow ($150 to $230 per night) with its own private rain shower or the popular Pillars ($210 to $330 per night), which has been designed to resemble a tree house. The largest facility is the Long House ($460 to $690 per night), which features three bedrooms and can fit up to six guests.
When it comes to recreation, there isn’t a lot of beach at the property due to Negril’s limestone cliffs. However, the natural landscape offers guests stunning snorkeling and diving in the waters just below the resort. Although there is a ladder that leads guests down to the sea, thrill-seekers will certainly want to try leaping off the resort’s wooden bridge into the crashing waters some 20 feet below.
For food, Tensing Pen’s open-air dining house will not disappoint. Guests dine together in an intimate setting overlooking the blue Caribbean Sea. In addition to a complimentary, daily continental breakfast, guests can enjoy Jamaican-style feasts that use fresh, local ingredients and organically grown vegetables. Daily menus change depending on seasonal ingredients, but local grilled lobster, sweet curried Black River shrimp, freshly caught fish and traditional jerk chicken are standard fare at Tensing Pen.
Much of Tensing Pen’s business is booked through word of mouth and repeat business, but the property is looking to work more closely with travel agents and offers 10 percent commission.