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Tensing Pen Jamaica

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Before choosing Cancun, I was considering Tensing Pen. I had contacted some people on Tripadvisor who had their weddings there and they offered a ton of info. Everyone had nothing but good things to say about it and their pictures were great! I also contacted Weddings in Negril by Jamaican Journeys, they came recommened and were extremely helpful in providing info about Tensing Pen and Negril (other options). From what I learned, is that the resort is booked out pretty far on weekends and is somewhat small so if you have large group it's something to consider.

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I looked into Tensing Pen...and also wrote to people who had posted wedding reviews on TripAdvisor. After my research, I found SUnset at the Palms to be a better choice - you can check it out at Sunset at the Palms. It's a small resort, but it's all-inclusive. I think rates are around $250/couple/night. Another one I was VERY interested in was Rock House, but that's booked for weddings through the last weekend in June 2008. But if your wedding is after that, check it out, it's AMAZING!!! cheesy.gif

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I am getting married at Tensing Pen and I found the grounds to be beautiful, lush and so picturesque that while I considered other locations I thought that the property so lovely, especially the views of the ocean, that I continued with the reservation.


The resort is also small and intimate, and for my wedding I wanted it to feel as if we had the whole place to ourselves. I am not a big resort kind of vacationer, and truly prefer to avoid large "hotel block" types of locations.


I can tell you about my experience so far....


There is a wedding "coordinator" who is virtually impossible to communicate with BEFORE you arrive. I am not sure what her true role is, because they insist that ALL arrangements be made through her. So all the details for the florist, officiant, music, decor etc are supposed to coordinated with her in addition to room reservations. I get minimal responses to questions and have to request things multiples times and have waited weeks for replies. Phone messages and e-mails are unreturned.


When you actually get the coordinator on the phone she is very nice but apparently has not seen that movie with Jennifer Lopez where the "coordinator" works to make "make it happen" and avails herself to your every request.


I've done alot of research on the experience of other brides by scouring boards and blogs about Tensing Pen. All of them give the resort an A once you arrive at the property with regard to service. So, I just pretend the coordinator does not exist and make plans on my own. I don't want to give up my dreams of a beautiful wedding on the cliffs which includles candelight, cream orchids, hanging chandliers, and beautifally dressed tables of mercury glass and organza. I just resolved myself to plan ahead and achieve this without the support of the hotel until I arrive.


I live in a part of the United States that has many services that ship to Jamaica. I plan to purchase all my decorations, favors, welcome gifts, programs and flowers (silk) and ship them to Jamaica about 6 weeks before the wedding.


The resort has a vendor list, if you choose a vendor not on their list you must pay a vendor fee. The fees are about $300 but nothing is in writing and in frustration when I contacted the photographer (because I did not hear back from the coordinator), I was told that without using the hotel to make reservations I would incur a fee. This photographer is on the approved list !*!Loco right! Well, after the inital conversations where I confirmed our photographer for nearly every other detail outside of the menu and room reservations I began to proceed without them.


For example, I know the size of the tables, the coordinator did tell me that, but don't know what if any linens are offered by the hotel. I'll just make table overlays and runners to match my theme. Total cost for fabric is about $117, much cheaper than rentals anyway.


I know the name of florist (Tai Flora) and have seen their catalog. I asked for pricing about 6 weeks ago, no reply yet. But since I can't contact them directly and seem about as slow as Tensing Pen I've moved on. I bought orchid stems for vases for the tables and will try to get faux bouquets for the bridal party. DONE


I did meet a florist in Negril, Floral Fantasies, and they have a very friendly website, but if I use them at Tensing Pen I will incur a fee.


I'll be going for a visit in April, and I am sure many details and questions can be resolved at that time. Things that I don't seem to make any headway with over the phone.

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We booked Tensing Pen for our wedding in October. We fell in love with the pictures we saw on tripadvisor and knew it was exactly what we were looking for.


Unfortunately, communication is a BIG problem. I hear from other brides that this is common for everyone but it all works out beautifully at the end. Basically, I think that the resort has probably gotten a lot busier with weddings and really need to hire another person to assist. It is slowy becoming more known to destination brides. I don't think you can beat the view( okay, maybe Rockhouse :) )


Since I am a little (okay extremely) detailed oriented, dealing with the coordinator is driving me crazy! I am learning, from my fiamce to just have some patience.


Like the previous post stated, be very specific in your emails if you do book with them. List everything out in a 1., 2. 3. fashion and she (Sonia) will respond. It does take her about two days to get back to you. I am starting to contact vendors on my own just for peace of mind.


Please let me know if you have any further questions-



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We went to Tensing Pen for our honeymoon and LOVED it! My review is posted on Tripadvisor. Let me know if you want pics and I will email you. I also have a wedding coordinator (is an American who moved to Jamaica)contact who has done weddings there if you want.

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I met with the coordinator at Tensing Pen in April and we talked for a LONG time about communication. I TOTALLY understand all the frustration, as it is now June 1 and she is just getting back to me with anwsers to questions we left open at the end of April.


Sonia, the coordinator, also discussed what can happen when you go outside of the hotel for services and pricing. Sonia will negoiate the best pricing for your event, because she has the power of offering many weddings (instead of one) she can get the florist, photographer, DJ, band to offer prices that are much cheaper than when you book these services on your own.


She was very honest with me, and told me stories of how brides sat down to pay ASTRONOMICAL fees for things she routinely paid very little for. There is an assumption that because you are having a wedding you have a budget above and beyond normal.


The budget was the first thing we did, everything is based on the budget, of course. But I would recommend trying to estimate some items until Sonia can work out pricing if you are certain that you want certain services from vendors. For example Tensing Pen uses SunGold which lists prices on their website. The photographer must be booked via Tensing Pen and to be honest I don't know if this means we pay the prices on the site or not? We booked them and have budgeted for the package we want and if the price is cheaper because we have booked via Tensing Pen we will be delighted.


A couple of tips:

1. It won't hurt to ask Sonia to negoiate the fee for if you do find a vendor on your own.. sometimes a Jamaican voice is all they need to hear.

2. If you have a vendor ask if they can contact Sonia to become an "approved" vendor before your wedding.

3. Ask you outside vendor to deduct the Tensing Pen Vendor Fee from their rate before agreeing to a price

4. If you can try to use the vendors on the hotels list - Sonia knows they are reliable and will deliver their services as promised. She told me a story of a bride who felt the hotel charged to much to the airport and reserved a van for airport transport on her own, it never came to pick her and the group up. She ended up using the hotel's transport anyway!


I am not giving up my dreams of a wedding with beautiful photographs, linens, candelight, orchids and chandeliers. And since I'm not doing this again, everything I want will be in this one!


drum.gif rock on!

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