Culloden Cove is truly the most magical place. Andy and his team of cooks and ground maintence staff couldn’t do more! The house, garden, pool and , jetty is picture perfect. My family and I will be going back as this is paradise!!! We have fallen in love with Jamaica and Culloden Cove with its crystal blue Caribbean sea!! Part of me wants to keep this place to myself and other wants to tell everyone that Culloden Cove is Navana!!!
I was very impressed with the level of service I received from the first email I sent enquiring about the villa to the follow up email I received when I returned home. The villa is very well maintained and the staff is very responsive. The meals were prepared daily with fresh vegetables and fruits. I felt completely safe with the 24/7 security. I was completely pampered during my stay. I am planning my next vacation at Culloden Cove because I enjoyed it so much. I would highly recommend it for families as there is plenty of room at the villa. I stayed with friends and it also worked out very well. Overall, it was one of my best vacations.
Hard to describe just how amazing this place is, I have visited Jamaica many times and this is by far the most special place in which I have stayed. It provides the perfect blend of authentic Jamaica with unobtrusive pampering and indulgence. The property and gardens are simply stunning; there is a beach bar, a pool, a jetty.....it sounds like it may be too much for one villa, but it is all so thoughtfully laid out that you are spoilt for choice for places to sit and take it all in. The food was super-fresh and painstakingly prepared, the service just right. Honestly, if you can't relax and appreciate life in this place, there is no hope for you. Viva righteous vibes!!
I'm not sure where to start so my review may be all over the place but I want to make sure I provide potential renters as much information as possible as I myself rely heavily on these reviews when booking our family vacations.
Booking - I've always paid for bookings through Tripadvisor so I was EXTREMELY nervous about directly wiring money to the UK. Let me assure you, Andy has been nothing short of professional and responsive and an absolute delight to work with.
Villa - This is truly the most perfect place to relax. Our driver pulled up to the front door which was wide open and you can see straight through to the back double doors which were also wide open to the beautiful veranda and garden and stunning blue ocean view. The bedrooms are clean with white linens and mosquito nets. The beds are firm and comfortable. Each room is equipped with AC and keeps it very cool. The main house has 3 bedrooms which are located upstairs and the cottage has two bedrooms. There isn't any AC in the living room area but there are fans which help keep it comfortable - this did not bother us at all. The veranda was our favorite part of the villa - there is plenty of seating areas for lounging. When we weren't out on an excursion, we spent 90% of our time outside on the veranda, chatting, listening to music, dining and playing badminton. I actually fell asleep on the veranda on several nights while my husband vegged on Netflix. He'd come and wake me and we'd retire to the bedroom. The veranda really was one of my favorite highlights.
Garden - The garden is immaculately cared for daily by Vincent, the groundskeeper. There are bananas, nasberry and other tropical fruit in the garden. The neighboring yard has a huge mango tree and it fills the air with a very sweet scent. Vincent also set up a badminton net in the back garden which became a daily activity for myself and kids (ages 14, 18, 21, 22). We enjoyed it so much so that we even played one evening in the rain - we're very competitive. My 3-year-old grandson loved playing in the garden and on the steps of the veranda.
Dining - I can't say enough about Gail and Natalie's cooking!! I loved sipping on my cup of coffee on the veranda every morning while Gail and Natalie prepared an array of breakfast options - saltfish and ackee (Jamaican specialty!!!), pancakes, plaintain porridge, eggs and bacon, toast and lots of tropical fruit (my favorite is papaya). For lunch and dinner, we opted for traditional Jamaican meals such as oxtail, chicken curry, Puerto rican chicken (kids' favorite), fried fish, jerk chicken, etc. For our picky eaters, Gail and Natalie made burgers, fish and fried chicken. For dessert, we had rum cake, banana bread (recommend), chocolate cake. I highly recommend ginger cucumber water, soursop juice and mango juice. Gail and Natalie are not only excellent cooks but they're so very sweet!!
Other features - we made good use of the infinity pool overlooking the beautiful ocean. The private beach is stunning but I must make note for families with little kids who like to play in the sand, we had a high tide the entire week so there wasn't any beach to play in. (However, this did not bother us, we took two excursions to Negril's 7-mile beach and were able to get our beach lounging/sand castles there.) The villa has two kayaks which we each took turns using. There is a cabana by the infinity pool but there is also another lounging area/hut a few steps down from the infinity pool. You can sit there for hours and listen to the ocean's waves lap against the rocks. Very soothing.
Wifi is available albeit, during the day, it's spotty here and there but in the evenings, it's almost non-existent. This drove the older kids a little crazy as they liked to relax on the veranda and enjoy social media. My daughter had to submit a few homework assignments for college summer classes so we encouraged her to do so during the mornings/early afternoons when wifi was optimal. There is no wifi in the cottage.
Transportation - Andy provides several options for transportation which include car rental or mini-van with a driver. You can either rent for the full week at a fixed rate or a minimum of four days' rental during your stay which can include airport pick up and drop off days. We had opted for the four days' rental, however, in hindsight, the full week would have been better especially for the older kids. Howard, our driver, was awesome. We sought his guidance when making excursion decisions. We highly recommend YS falls, Rick's café and Negril's 7-mile beach.
Other points of interest:
Carry cash! A lot of places don't take cards, so it's good to have cash on hand at all times. We would stop by the ATM in Negril during our excursion which disbursed US dollars.
Purchase mosquito repellant. You are in the tropics and there are lots of bugs, ants, geckos, etc. This did not bother us as I have lived overseas most of my life. We actually did not use any repellant during our entire stay. The mosquitos weren't that bad when they were around EXCEPT for our very last night. They almost chased us off the veranda while we were eating our last dinner there. On that evening, some repellant would have been great.
Lastly, this by far has been the best family vacation we have taken. We've been to the Bahamas, Cancun and now Jamaica. We try to go to a different country each year, but we're breaking from the norm and returning to Jamaica next year! I am so excited to return to my new home away from home. It is simply 'everything'.
As repeat visitors, we returned to Andy's place, Culloden Cove, during Easter 2017. And as before, we left refreshed and utterly pampered. Bedding was all brand new, top quality cotton. The outdoor furniture was also new and tasteful. We loved hanging out in all the various locations, from the beach bar, to the poolside to the outdoor sofas. Our three children were safe and comfortable at all times. This self-contained and well-equipped house is a far cry from the generic tourists resorts typically found in the Caribbean. Culloden Cove is homely, tranquil and surrounded by abundant plant and animal life.
The lovely staff made sure that we did not have to lift a finger during our stay, preparing fresh and delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. One evening, they even babysat nine children whilst we adults went out for dinner - with good humour and kindness.
This is a great base for trips to the Black River to see crocodiles. Negril beach is a short drive away. And we found stunning, clean and sandy beaches much closer, less than a 5 min drive away.
Thank you Andy for your very generous hospitality. Can we come back? ;)