Frequently Asked Questions
Our Property, Location & Staff
Where are you located?
SeaGrape is a seafront property located in Negril, Jamaica. The town is essentially divided into 3 areas: the Beach, Downtown and the West End (or Cliffs). We are located in the heart of the West End, a short walk from the famed Rick's Cafe, 5 minutes from downtown Negril and 10 minutes from the Beach.
What kind of property are you?
Sea Grape is a private gated one-acre property with 3 distinct villas and staff quarters. Each of the houses are separated by mature tropical gardens that provide unique privacy. The property was initially developed over 50 years ago and still retains its island hideaway charm of the old days with modern updates and amenities.
Are you located on a sandy beach?
No. While SeaGrape is a seafront property, we are located on Negril's "Cliffs," an area where the sea is deep directly offshore and you enter/exit the water via a short sea ladder. Negril's traditional white sand beach is 10 minutes from our property.
Is this area still good for sunning & swimming?
Absolutely! The deep water is always cool and refreshing. There is snorkeling directly offshore and our stone sundecks with loungers and thatched umbrellas make for great sunbathing without getting sand everywhere!
What's the weather like in Negril?
Negril has warm, sunny weather year round, though it is hotter in summer and milder in the winter months. Its climate is also divided into the "rainy" and "dry" seasons, though rainy season usually just means you may get afternoon showers (which are not uncommon in the dry season).
What staff do you have?
Christine and Lorna are our full time housekeepers. Bentley and Tall Man are our groundskeepers. Bentley lives on the property is the night watchman and lives on the property. Chef Omar is on-site and can prepare any meal or snack upon request during your stay. Any of our staff members are happy to answer questions or concerns.
Is SeaGrape suitable for children?
Due to the deep water directly offshore, parents should consider their children's ages and abilities.
Do you have weddings at SeaGrape?
Yes. Over the years, we have hosted many small wedding ceremonies, elopements, and vow renewals. We do not offer wedding packages or services, but we can recommend wedding coordinators who have worked with SeaGrape in the past. For couples and small groups, our cook can prepare a special dinner, though larger parties or those looking for a more formal event would need to find another venue for the reception. Our staff is also happy to assist with small things like picking flowers from our gardens and ironing clothes.
Travel & Transportation
What airport should I fly into?
Montego Bay Sangster International Airport (MBJ) is by far the most convenient. It's just over an hour drive from MBJ to SeaGrape. There are many flights a day to MBJ from the US, Canada & Europe. Kingston is a much longer (3-4 hour) and more diffcult drive from Negril, so we strongly discourage flying in there.
Do I need a passport to travel to Jamaica?
Yes. You will also be required to fill out an immigration and customs form upon arrival.
Can you arrange airport transfers?
We can recommend our trusted drivers to get you to and from the airport.
What if I want to rent a car?
There are several major rental car companies that operate at MBJ. You can reserve online before you arrive. There is parking available at SeaGrape. However, you should be aware that Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road. If you are a confident driver and plan to explore a lot of the island, a rental car is probably your most convenient option.
If I don't rent a car, how will I get around Negril?
Don't worry, the taxis will find you! They pass by frequently right outside our gate, and shared "route taxis" are very inexpensive. For private taxis, agree on a price before getting in (US $5-10 is usually sufficient for anywhere in Negril).
What about day trips and excursions?
We or our staff can help arrange a private driver for day trips to other areas of the island. Because of the high cost of gas, such trips cost significantly more than local cabs--expect to pay US $100+ to charter a driver for a full day. If you plan to make multiple trips around the island, a rental car will be more economical if you don't mind doing the driving.
What services are included?
The rates we quote include taxes, daily housekeeping and free high speed Wi-Fi.
Can I get a reduced rate for declining these services?
No. We do not offer this option.
What additional services/costs should I consider in planning my trip?
Airport transfers, meals prepared by our cook, drivers for tours and excursions, any laundry services and staff gratuity.
Are the villas air-conditioned?
All the bedrooms at SeaGrape are air-conditioned except for the open loft bedroom upstairs at Big Grape. Because of the indoor/outdoor nature of the common areas, they cannot be air-conditioned.
Are the villas screened?
Again, all the bedrooms are screened, but the common areas are not. Our housekeeper Christine will spray the bedrooms for mosquitoes upon request, but please note the common areas are open to the outdoors so mosquitoes may still be present at times (mosquito nets are provided for guests using the beds in the open areas). You may also see a few moths and lizards in the evenings and will hear crickets, tree frogs at night, though they are out of sight. Please consider your comfort level with "nature."
Do the villas have TV?
All three houses have cable television with a variety of Jamaican and American channels. Big Grape and Sea Grape have televisions in their living areas, while Wild Grape's television is in the master bedroom.
Do you have Wi-Fi?
Are there stereos in the villas?
Yes. Each house has a stereo with iPod dock and CD player. If you plan to play music using an iPhone 5 or higher (or any other device with a non-iPod base), you will need to bring an AUX cord to plug into the stereo and your device.
Is there a pool on the property?
No. There are a couple resorts within walking distance where you can use the pool with any purchase from the bar/restaurant.
Do you provide towels and linens?
Yes. We provide bath towels that may be used by the sea, though some guests prefer to bring their own oversized beach towels for sunbathing. Sheets are changed every 3-4 days unless you request it to be done more/less often.
Do you provide snorkeling gear and water floats?
We do not provide snorkeling gear, though our staff can sometimes loan you a spare set left by past guests. You can also rent snorkeling gear at local dive shops, or if you take a boat trip to the reef, gear will be provided. If you plan to snorkel frequently right off SeaGrape, you may want to bring your own. We do provide floats for the sea, though some guests prefer to bring their own inflatable rafts, toys, etc.
Something in my villa isn't working. What should I do?
Notify the staff as soon as possible (you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org). They will try to troubleshoot the problem and/or call the appropriate repair person. If it requires repair by an outside serviceperson, please bear with us. Unfortunately, many things still happen on "island time" in Jamaica!
Do you provide any additional tips, information, recommendations?
Yes. At the time you pay your balance, we will provide an info sheet with useful tips on what to bring, plus an activities page so you can start planning your trip. Once at SeaGrape, you will find a binder with the same activities sheet, plus restaurant recommendations and maps of the area.
Food & Dining
How do meals work?
Our on-site chef, Omar offers the option of having meals prepared and served right in your villa. He cooks in a separate staff kitchen so your privacy is not disturbed. His menu has per person, per meal pricing and includes all ingredients. Please click for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
When do I need to order?
For dinners, you can generally just let our staff know by early afternoon the same day (though a few menu items may require a day's notice). If you want dinner prepared the night of your arrival, it's best to email email@example.com your order to pass along in advance. For lunch, let the staff know at breakfast. The evening before is best.
How do I pay for meals?
You pay Omar directly in cash. The menu is priced in US dollars, but Jamaican currency is also accepted.
I'd like to go out sometimes. Are there restaurants nearby?
Yes! There are several excellent restaurants within walking distance or a short taxi from SeaGrape.
I want to cook for myself. Where is the closest grocery store?
The Hi-Lo Supermarket in downtown Negril has a good selection of produce, local and imported products, and alcohol. It is 5 minutes by taxi from SeaGrape. There is a small mini-mart directly across the street from SeaGrape with more basic supplies.
What will I find in the kitchen?
Each house is equipped with fridge, stove, microwave, blender & coffeemaker. Sea Grape and Big Grape have ovens. You will find pots and pans, serving bowls, collander, cooking utensils, and serveware for 6 people. Due to the climate and humidity, it is not possible for us to keep pantry items in the kitchens, so if you plan to do serious cooking, plan to bring or buy spices, condiments, etc.
What is the currency in Jamaica?
The currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar. Currently the exchange rate is approximately J$100 to US$1. US Dollars are widely accepted (many restaurant menus and souvenirs are priced in USD), but it's good to have some local currency for groceries, taxis, and other small transactions.
Where can I exchange money?
You can exchange money at the airport upon arrival and at local banks in Negril. Typically, you will receive the best exchange rate by withdrawing cash with your ATM card. We suggest exchanging a little local currency at the airport, then withdrawing more as needed from ATMs.
Are there ATMs in Negril?
Yes, there are ATMs throughout Jamaica, including Montego Bay and downtown Negril. There is an ATM right next to the Hi-Lo Supermarket that dispenses Jamaican Dollars. The Scotia Bank ATM by the main roundabout dispenses both US and Jamaican Dollars.
Can I pay for things with a credit card?
Sometimes. Supermarkets (though not small mini-marts) accept them. More upscale restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops also accept cards. Even those places that accept credit cards will usually only take Visa or Mastercard and may ask for photo ID.
Are prices cheaper than in the US, Canada, UK, etc?
In general, no. Some local food items are cheaper than the US, but imported goods are often more expensive. Imported items like insect repellent and sunscreen can be very pricey and are best purchased at home. Restaurant prices tend to be comparable to the US, though local eateries will be a bit cheaper. Red Stripe beer and Rum are fairly inexpensive, while wine and imported liquor brands can be costly.
Is staff gratuity expected?
Yes. Gratuity is customary at most rental properties and small resorts. Many add on a 10% service charge at the time of booking, but we like to have tips go directly to our staff.
How much should I set aside for staff gratuity?
We suggest $5-10 per day for each of our 3 staff members, which works out to about 10% of the total for your stay.
What should I tip in restaurants/taxis?
Once you agree on a price for a taxi, an additional tip isn't necessary (unless your driver makes a special stop, helps with your bags, etc). 10% tip is acceptable in casual restaurants, though 15%-20% is appropriate if you receive very good service. Please note that more upscale restaurants will add 10% service to the bill, though it is unclear how much of that your server will actually receive. If service is good, it's nice to leave something on top of that.
When should I bargain?
Private taxis (shared local taxis are a set rate of J$130 per person) and souvenir prices tend to be negotiable. Restaurant and food prices are not.
Health & Safety
Can I drink the water?
Yes! Tap water and ice are safe to drink in Jamaica. You can save money (and the planet) by purchasing fewer plastic bottles.
Are there mosquitoes?
Unfortunately, mosquitoes are a fact of life in the tropics. With our lush gardens and the openness of the villas, SeaGrape is not a mosquito-free environment. Most guests are comfortable using repellent occasionally, especially at dusk. For those who are more sensitive, applying repellent with DEET regularly may be necessary. The bedrooms are screened (some also have mosquito netting), and our housekeeper is happy to spray them daily upon request. However, if you have a high sensitivity or allergy to mosquito bites, SeaGrape may not be the appropriate accommodation for you.
Is it always safe to swim at SeaGrape?
No. While swimming in the sea is one of the great pleasures of SeaGrape, the sea can get choppy and big storms pass through on occasion. Please consider the sea conditions and your own abilities before swimming. There is no lifeguard on duty! As general precautions, we recommend never swimming alone, and swimming at night is strictly prohibited!
Where is the nearest doctor? Hospital?
Dr. Grant is a general practitioner whose office is located in Sunshine Plaza (near the Hi-Lo Supermarket) in downtown Negril. The nearest hospitals are in Sav-la-Mar, approximately 30-40 minutes from Negril.
Are there pharmacies nearby?
Yes. There is a pharmacy in Sunshine Plaza and others around Negril. You should be able to find general over the counter and first aid items, though plan to bring any prescriptions you will need from home.
I've heard Jamaica is dangerous. Should I be worried?
Most of the violence associated with Jamaica occurs in the big cities and involves drug/gang activities, not tourists. Negril is generally a safe town, though we recommend taking basic precautions like not wandering around alone in the middle of the night and locking up when you go out. As for our property specifically, it is gated and our staff is vigilant about keeping non-guests out. Our groundskeeper Bentley also lives on-site and patrols at night.
Do you have safes on the property?
Safes are available for guest use in each house.
Are outside guests allowed on the property?
Outside guests are permitted and subject to our house policy. Our staff will always have outside guests wait at the gate while they confirm that you have invited them. You can then either meet your guests or they can be escorted to your villa. Any outside guests requiring an overnight stay must be registered with the staff. Additional charges may apply.
What if there is a power outage?
Sit tight! While the Jamaican power grid isn't as reliable as it should be, outages rarely last more than an hour or two. If the power goes out after dark, a staff member will arrive promptly with candles and/or flashlights.
Reservations & Cancellations
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept credit cards via PayPal, checks, and money orders.
Do you offer discounts for renting more than one house?
Rates are available for renting the entire compound.
I arrived at SeaGrape and I have an issue and/or question about the house. What should I do?
Please notify our staff immediately and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff is happy to assist in any way they can, and we will try to resolve any issues ASAP.