Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jamaica: My Candid Review On Xtabi Resort

We wanted a hotel with reasonable price, good location, and private access to sea. After extensive research and back and forth emails, we found all that in Xtabi. The booking process was easy - we received fast and friendly replies.

We were so excited about the hotel that we even looked up videos of the hotel on YouTube! Just to catch little glimpses!

Then we got there.

First, I will say that Xtabi is a budget accommodation. Having said that, we visited Jamaica in the peak of high season so even with budget accommodation, we paid a pretty penny for it. We read up on all the reviews on TripAdvisor before picking Xtabi and (almost) all reviews were positive - ideal location, helpful staff, good snorkeling, etc. While they are all true, no one mentioned anything about lack of cleanliness or mosquitoes!

We are not picky, but we do want the room to be clean! During our entire stay, we did our best to avoid touching the floor with our bare feet. We saw our cleaning lady dipping her mop into dirty water that was probably used to mop all other rooms. We even saw several mysterious droppings on the floor on several occasions. On the last day I saw a small gecko in the bathroom. It freaked. me. out.

The covers and curtains had strange stains on them, the towels were tiny + thin, and there were no toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, or lotion. Luckily I always pack my own when I travel anyway.

Prehaps the worst of all was the mosquito problem.

Unfortunately for hubs, the mosquitos seemed to ignore me and always went straight for him instead. Hubs had to sleep with bug repellent sprayed ALL OVER and under the covers every night. Even with that, he got bitten regardless. Poor baby.

But, except for our room, the hotel itself really isn't too bad.

The hotel ground is clean with flowers gardens. There is an open-air restaurant/bar. The restaurant/bar actually gets lots of outside guests during sunset because of hotel's prime location.

There are oceanside rooms with private sun deck and there is a garden-side two-story concrete cottages. We stayed at the latter, in room 16. Our room is one of the newest rooms and has air-conditioning, which turned out to be very important because of the mosquito problem. It does not have TV, radio, or telephone.

Xtabi provides free WiFi, but it only works outside on the patio. So every morning, in addition to opening the windows to let fresh air in (left picture), we also sit outside to get our Internet fix (right picure).

We spent countless hours at the pool. It was small, but there was never a crowd whenever we were there. I enjoyed using the pool floats and hubs pushing me aroud. :) Ahhhh...

Xtabi is split into two sides - the side where hubs is standing in the picture is where the front office, the pool, and our cottage are located. On the other side (oceanside) is the restaurant/bar and oceanfront cottages. Every day, we crossed the street to get to the oceanside for snorekling.

This is the office, with just one tiny desk. Through that open door in the back is the way to our cottage. Here is another negative comment I have on Xtabi - they charge for every little thing! From the in-room safe, to making a local phone call, to tap water at the restaurant. Bah!

On the oceanside, there are three caves to explore. Neato!

Ultimately, I do not recommend Xtabi based on our experience. We don't need fancy or over the top accormodation, but I do need clean. I want to feel like I am actually on vacation and be comfortable where I am staying. Our room at Xtabi did not provide that.

Next time (if there is a next time), we will definitely splurge on a better accomodation when on an island vacation!

3 comments:

  1. I don't think the hotel was that bad at all really. It was a nice getaway from the beaches and being near the locals and their homes was a much better setting. The only two drawbacks were the mosquitoes and risky walk downtown. But yeah, they do try to nickel and dime you here. Charging us for tap water was a first. Oh well, the cliffs are why we stayed there and they definitely delivered!

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  2. The Xtabi has recently been sold, and the new owners are much better. They are more customer-service focussed and have eliminated many of the "nickel and dime" annoyances in the past. We have stayed there a few times over the years and our last time was much, much better than previous visits.

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  3. I had one of the most hillarious times of my life @ XTABI many years ago and hope to return in the near future. RFC

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