Looking for an all-inclusive resort that caters to all ages from newborn all the way to grandparents? Then check out Beaches Negril! From their certified nanny program, to the kids camp, the waterpark, the nightclub, to the all-included water sports, this resort truly offers something for every person in your family. I’ll give you the rundown of all of that as well as the spa, the restaurants, the beach, the excursions, and the Sesame Street character interactions. Many thanks to Beaches Negril for hosting us!
We arrived at the resort and because we were staying in a concierge suite, we checked in at the concierge lounge instead of the main front desk. While we were waiting for assistance from a representative, there was a special appearance from one of the Sesame Street characters – The Count! Beaches Negril offers a lot of different experiences with Sesame Street characters, and this was a great way for us to preview what was to come and I’ll cover more of this, so keep reading!
If you’re staying in a concierge suite, I highly recommend visiting the lounge as early in your stay as possible. This is where you’ll go to book dinner reservations, spa treatments, water sports, activities, and excursions. It’s best to book all of this in one visit, early on in your stay, so then you are all set and you’ll have everything planned for the rest of your trip. After we checked in, one of the concierge agents gave us a property orientation and then escorted us to our room.
We stayed in a tropical beachfront walkout concierge two-bedroom junior suite, which was a great setup for families. It includes a work area and living room that leads out to a private walkout patio overlooking the resort’s gardens. In addition to the king-size bed and two double beds, the living area has a single pullout sofa bed and one twin daybed with trundle. There’s plenty of room if you’re traveling with a large party!
Here’s a full walkthrough:
Soy is the sushi restaurant at the resort. The indoor seating has more of a fast-casual feel. If you’re looking to have more of a special atmosphere, try to snag a table in the outside dining area. Soy doesn’t take reservations at the moment, so I recommend getting there right at 5:30 pm when the restaurant opens so get an outdoor table.
The Mill is the resort’s buffet restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Due to Covid, it’s not a self-service buffet at the moment, but the staff will dish the food for you so you still get to choose what you want. The Mill has typical breakfast foods like omelets, oatmeal, fruit, and bakery items such as breads and croissants. They also serve a variety of Jamaican dishes so you can sample the local cuisine.
The Venetian is the northern Italian restaurant. Probably the most formal of all the restaurants on the property, it’s a good pick for more special occasion dining.
Stewfish is the Caribbean seafood restaurant. It’s located right on the beach and is named for its signature dish of brown stewfish, a Jamaican cooking method where fish is simmered in its own juices along with sautéed ingredients to lock in flavor.
Mariachi is the poolside Tex-Mex restaurant. You can order everything from home-style dishes like tortilla soup and enchiladas, to more refined dishes like mahi mahi gratin with tequila, and grilled ribeye steak.
Kimonos is the hibachi restaurant. The chefs make the experience so much fun, with lots of tricks and dad jokes.
YoYo’s is the self-service frozen yogurt shop. For Sean and Ella, Yoyo’s was probably their favorite part of the whole resort! They went there daily, if not multiple times a day. If your kids like frozen yogurt, ice cream, and candy toppings, they are going to enjoy this spot a lot.
Sesame Street Characters
One of the things that really sets the Beaches brand apart from other resort brands in the Caribbean is they have an exclusive license with Sesame Street, so if your kids enjoy character meet and greets, they’ll love all the experience that Beaches offers.
You can purchase VIP packages through their “Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street Program” and these packages offer different fun interactions with the characters. For example, you can attend a character breakfast, throw a birthday party at the resort with a guest appearance from your favorite characters, and you can even have a Sesame Street character read you a bedtime story, sing you a lullaby and tuck you into bed.
It offers some pretty cool opportunities and we opted for the all-access photo session. This is essentially a 15-minute private photo-shoot with all of the Sesame Street characters. The staff is really efficient at guiding you through different poses and they set up different groupings, like the whole family with all of the characters, just the girls with the female characters, just the guys with the male character, and so on. The staff also did a great job with enforcing Covid safety. All of the characters stay six feet apart from guests and also from one another, so it’s a very safe experience.
One thing you should know is that due to Covid, you cannot make physical contact with any of the characters right now. If your kid loves giving hugs for example, you may want to explain to them ahead of time that they’re still able to engage with the characters, just in a socially distanced way.
As part of the photoshoot, you get one 8×10 print, but you can purchase additional photos or prints at the resort’s photo studio, The Snapshot Store.
We also took part in the character breakfast located at their Tex-Mex restaurant, Mariachi. The theme was Elmo’s birthday celebration, and the tables were set like a child’s birthday party, complete with noise makers, party hat and gift bags. Even with the social distancing measures and the characters staying six feet apart, it was a really fun and engaging experience. If your kids like Sesame Street, I definitely recommend the character breakfast.
One thing to note is that these VIP packages are not part of your all-inclusive stay, so if you’d like to see prices, just head over to the Beaches website for more information.
Childcare and Kids Programming
One area where Beaches Negril really shines is through their kids programming. They accommodate children form infants all the way up to age 17. And when I say infants, I mean that they even take newborns, which is almost unheard of in the travel and hospitality industry!
Xbox Play Lounge
The Xbox Play Lounge is the resort’s video arcade for the gamers in the family.
For tweens and teens, there’s a lounge called Trench Town, which is a hangout for their age group.
Club Liquid is actually the adults’ nightclub from 11 pm to 2 am, but earlier in the night, from 9 pm to 11 pm, Club Liquid opens exclusively for tweens and teens to dance and enjoy the DJ. No adults are allowed into the space during that time and of course, no alcohol is served either.
Instead of the traditional kids club, at Beaches Negril they have the Kids Camp, where the staff holds outdoor activities all over the property rather than in just one spot. When you arrive at the kids camp, the children split up into separate rooms by age group and they are taken to different locations around the resort for their activities. These rooms are also used for rainy days when they are unable to do the scheduled activities outdoors.
Most resort kids clubs take kids ages four and up, but Beaches is one of the few resorts that accepts infants and toddlers in their kids camp, even newborns. There is a specific room set up with cribs and highchairs, which is pretty unique in the resort industry.
One thing to know about the Kids Camp is that currently because of Covid, facilities close for a little while at midday so that the rooms can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before the afternoon sessions. So, make sure you know what time you’ll need to pick up your kids, and build this into your schedule.
All of the staff at the Kids Camp are members of the International Nanny Association and they are all certified to work with children who have autism. That includes the nannies and babysitters you can hire at an additional fee.
Beaches has a good reputation in the travel industry for the way they work with kids who have special needs. In addition to having certifications, the resort also features a Sesame Street character who has autism. Her name is Julia and she’s one of the characters that you can set up a meet and greet with.
The Spa and Fitness Center
Serge and I visited the Red Lane Spa while the girls were at the Kids Camp. The spa is located in a stand-alone building and has a very homey feel. We booked the Sense of Love Couples Massage and for the massage they used soy-based candles that turn into massage oils as they melt. You get to choose between three scents; Fever grass, Island Essence and Sea Breeze.
When we got into the treatment room, the therapist guided us through a candle lighting ceremony and then we settled in for our massage. The candle lighting ceremony was very sweet and is perfect for those celebrating weddings, honeymoons or anniversaries. After the massage, the staff brought us some champagne and we laid back for a bit in their relaxation lounge.
For those of you who are fitness enthusiasts, the gym at Beaches Negril is open with socially distanced machines and it all looks very Covid-safe.
All-Inclusive Water Sports
At most all-inclusive resorts, non motorized water sports like stand up paddle boarding or windsurfing is included, but one thing that really sets Beaches apart from other all-inclusives is that all of the water sports are included for free. Even activities like snorkeling or scuba diving that most properties would charge a premium for. As long as you’re already PADI-certified, you can go diving up to two times per day. If you are not PADI-certified yet, you can get your PADI certification at Beaches for an extra fee.
We booked a glass bottom boat tour and it was a lot of fun to get out on the water and see marine life like starfish, lionfish and even some sunken vessels.
Waterpark and Pool
Kids will really enjoy the resort’s waterpark, Pirate Island. There’s a lazy river, waterslides, a plunge pool, a toddler area, and a swim-up bar. At 18,000 sq. feet, your kids will have a lot of fun here.
Beaches Negril is located on the Seven Mile Beach, which is arguably Jamaica’s most famous and beautiful beach. We rented a cabana for the day and it was a really nice setup. The beach cabana itself is essentially a covered king sized bed, and is accompanied by four lounge chairs and a picnic table, which makes eating much easier when it’s time for lunch. They provide you with a cooler, pre-stocked with water, sodas, and beers, and of course the cabana concierge comes by to take orders for food and other drinks.
One thing to know is that this is a public beach, which means there a quite a lot of venders walking around selling their wares, so be prepared to be sold to. However, the resort stations quite a few security guards along the beach to keep an eye on things and make sure the guests don’t get hassled too much. The guards are also really good about reminding vendors to stay socially distanced from the guests they are talking to.
We had a nice moment with this musician who was playing a few songs on the beach near us. The girls went to give him a tip and after that he gave them some hand sanitizer and then handed them some maracas so they could be part of the show. It was really cute!
I have to give a shout-out to the entertainment staff at Beaches Negril. They’re known as the Play Makers and these are some of the hardest working, most energetic young people we have ever met. After spending the whole day out in the sun, facilitation games like red light-green light or egg spoon races with the kids, performing dances poolside and — to put it in Disney speak — being “friends” with the Sesame Street characters, they finish their day by getting glammed up to sing and dance in the night show too!
The staff also put on a family game show. This was a lot of fun. They selected four parents and each parent brought up one of their kids to play “How well do you know your child?” It began with the parents being escorted out of earshot and then they asked the kids a few questions in front of the audience, like “What’s your favorite color?”, “What’s your favorite food?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. The parents were then brought back to the stage and asked to answer the same questions about their own child. For each wrong answer the parents gave, they had to take a shot!
Unfortunately, Serge failed miserable at guessing Sean’s answers so he ended up taking a lot of shots! In his defense though, Sean is a kid who enjoys a lot of different things and changes her mind often. She also has like a hundred different career aspirations. So considering all of that, Serge did good!
As you check into the resort, every guest has their temperatures checked and you must apply hand sanitizer before you enter the premises. You are also given an antibacterial hand towel.
Beaches Negril has a triple check cleaning system for suites and bathrooms and they provide informational material in your room that walks you through exactly how the housekeeping team keeps everything sanitized. Every room comes with a sanitation kit which includes hand sanitizers and wipes.
The staff members wear masks at all times and guests are required to wear masks while in public indoor spaces. Guest also have to sanitize their hands before entering all the restaurants and all of the eateries have QR codes so you don’t have to handle any physical menus.
Beaches provides on-site Covid-19 testing and both the rapid tests and the PCR tests are done completely free of charge. This is great news for our Canadian friends since Canada requires a PCR test in order to return, whereas the United States only needs the rapid test. One thing I do recommend is to double-check that your name and date of birth are written correctly on your test results, because if there are any discrepancies, you could have an issue at the airport.
All in all, Beaches Negril is a great choice for families, particularly if your kids love Sesame Street characters. The all-inclusive water sports is a unique feature among all-inclusive properties, so if your family loves the ocean, you’ll love this perk.
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Click here to read Carmen's articles