Golden Lagoon Guest House – Black River, Jamaica
You Don’t Get What You Pay For
I didn’t want to start off this trip to Jamaica with an accommodation review but since I’m sitting in a cafe waiting for a ton of video to download I figured I would make use of my time. But read on….this one is entertaining to say the least. And not in a good way.
This was my first time to the south coast of Jamaica and there wasn’t much on the internet when looking for a place to stay so I decided to just wing it and see what I would find when I got there. I have one friend who lives in Black River so I linked with him and he drove with me up and down Crane Road just outside the town and showed me where all the guest houses are. I ultimately settled on one that looked great from the road – Golden Lagoon – and we went inside to talk to the manager. There are 17 rooms on the property and I chose the one closest to where I could park my car, right inside the gate.
After I settled in my friend left me and I was free to start exploring Black River. The room was comfortable in the first hours. I had a king size bed, a full bathroom with a stand-up shower, cable TV and a fan. The room was basic, not fancy, but comfortable and the price was right….for what I thought I had. They were asking $4500 jmd per night and I negotiated him down a little on a 5-night stay
If you have lots of hair this place won’t work for you
On my first morning I found out the water system runs on a pump and they don’t leave the pump on all the time so I should come tell the manager when I wanted to bathe and he would turn on the pump for me. A little odd and inconvenient to have to schedule my showers and look for a person before I could do it. But okay, that’s the way it is so I had to do it. The pump I guess increased the water pressure from a dribble to a trickle. I have long curly hair – this wasn’t going to work out very well on hair-washing days. It was also cold water only. I guess I can’t complain much about that because that’s the case in many places in Jamaica but those are the places I stay for free in communities – not places I’m paying for.
If you need electricity this place won’t work for you
During my stay at Golden Lagoon my power went out more than once. It always seemed to happen in an afternoon when I felt like laying down in front of the fan for a nap – and then the fan would stop working. I’m sorry but I can’t nap with sweat running down my face and a wet pillow. I can’t really blame the guest house for the power outage since it happened because the power company was working on some lines down the road. But a back-up generator would have been a bonus.
On my fourth day I had a tour scheduled for 9:00am so I let the manager know the night before that I needed the water turned on at 7:30am the next morning. He said no problem. BIG PROBLEM – the day before, the power went out again and never did come back on. I don’t know about you but I write stories and take pictures and make phone calls – I need to charge my electronics nightly. Not only did the power go out, it SHORTED out and smoke started billowing from the TV and filling my room with a thick cloud and the stench of burning plastic. I panicked, quickly unplugged the TV, carried it outside and left it.
The manager came by my room to tell me the power was out (no sh*t Sherlock) and I told him about the TV. I was getting increasingly more annoyed with this situation but had paid up front for my entire stay so I convinced myself it would all work out. I had plans to go out that night and he assured me the problem would be solved by the time I reached back in the night. So….I reached back in the night and it appeared the power was working since I saw yard lights on. I had to laugh when I found out the power WAS back on but just not in my room. Mine was the ONLY room on the property with no power and I’d had enough.
Luckily I always carry a flashlight. I have lived here before and know it’s a necessity so I got into my pajamas and got ready for bed in the dark. The manager gave me a key to another room so I could charge my laptop, cell phone and camera overnight. I was angry but realized all I do in the dark is sleep anyway so I went to bed trying to stay positive that it would all be fixed by morning. It better be because this was the morning I needed to shower at 7:30 for my 9am appointment.
Long story short, the power never did come back on and I had to do a sponge bath with a facecloth and a trickle of water out of the sink. I hate this feeling in Jamaica – it’s too hot for that kind of nastiness. I got ready to go on my tour, packed my bags and had decided to leave the place before the end of my stay. The manager was nowhere in site so I couldn’t even tell him I was leaving or request a refund. I texted his phone and informed him I checked out and that he should call me later if he feels he owes me a refund. It seems the man lives a guilt free life since I never did hear from him again. The funny part is he KNOWS I was going to write about my stay so I guess he just doesn’t care what’s being said out there about his establishment.
Golden Lagoon guest house is a huge property with awesomeness on either side of it. In the back is a large lake that’s beautiful to look at in the morning because the sun rises on that side.
In the front of it, across the street is the ocean and a beautiful long beach that you can walk all the way into town on.
And every evening you can sit on this beautiful beach and capture sunsets that are stunning. They say Negril is the place to be for sunsets but I disagree. South coast never disappointed me.
Amenities – NONE
Rooms here range in price from $40 – $80 USD. There are some with kitchens although I’m not sure what good a kitchen is without power. There is no internet, no restaurant/bar and nothing very close to it if you do want food and don’t drive a car. There is also NO housekeeping – I had to ask for a broom to clean my own room.
My Final Word
Would I recommend this place? Absolutely not. I would never recommend a place where this same thing could happen to people I send there. I have a reputation I care about, unlike the management of this guest house. If you want to take a chance, go for it. But I can tell you right now there is another place I moved into after this one which costs less, was way more adorable and is beachfront. So why would you choose Golden Lagoon? A MUCH better review in Black River is coming – choose them instead.