Travelled to Secret's Royal Beach from January 7-14, 2013. Our party consisted of 3 couples, ranging in age from 25-35. I picked the resort, because I do a lot of research with the hope of finding a "perfect vacation". My boyfriend and I stayed at Secret's St. James in Montego Bay Jamaica last year and loved it so much we wanted to try another Secret's property. The Royal Beach is one of Secret's newer properties and it appears that they are constantly making improvements under the new ownership. Here is my review, I hope it helps:
20 minutes or so from airport, on Bavaro Beach (one of the best beaches- this is where you want to be if you're a beach bum.) Many resorts stretch across this beach. Beautiful location, no complaints.
Check-in went smoothly, welcome champagne upon arrival. All three of our rooms were ready immediately. Bellboy brought our bags to our room and gave a brief overview of the amenities.
No timeshare sales pitch, though they do offer the coupons if you attend their presentation- we were not hassled in any way.
Lovely! Rooms are large and airy. We had tropical view which faced outwards toward the resort next door. #5118, #5120, #5126 I believe... Some review called this "facing the service road" though I do not agree it should be described like this. It is a stone walkway/path with beautiful shrubbery and flowers sitting tall enough to block any view of the resort next door. There were guards that walked by on that path, though no less private than facing the resort while guests walk by. Knowing that the Guards patrol the area so well makes me feel safe and I appreciate it.
I was also pleased to find that there was no strong mildew or musty smell like there usually is in tropical climate. This could have been a lucky room, but I expected worse. I always bring a small travel Frebreeze just in case. To complain about the dampness and smell is silly in my opinion anyway- look at what it's like there. Just stay home. So for those who are worried, this wasn't an issue for us.
Beds are so incredibly comfortable, I woke up thinking I was home sweet home on numerous occasions. Best sleeps!!
Grounds are beautiful. Lit paths wind through the resort from the promenade to the pool/beach. The pool bar is situated at the end of the resort, closest the the beach. A lazy river (not exactly connected to the pool with the bar) winds up through the resort. The water is clean, pool is well maintained. Pool is not heated so was cold to get in at first but warmed up nicely throughout the day, very refreshing.
Floats are available for use on a first come first serve basis. Some decide to bring them back to their rooms to keep hostage for the next morning which I think is rude and if seen on someone's balcony they should be taken away. Because of the lazy river and the swim-up suites, a lot of these floats are never available for others. Rude people also stash them under their butts on their pool chairs while they either lay there, or go for lunch.
Pool chairs are sparse, especially around the swim up bar which is where I prefer to spend my time. They are gone by 8am. Chairs on the beach are plentiful and you would never have a trouble getting one regardless of what time you get there.
Sand is white powder, the sea is several shades of blue. During our trip there was some seaweed washing up. Keep in mind this is all dependant on the weather, the time of year, and is not something the resort can stop from happening. They make an effort to clear it away.
My stomach didn't agree with all of it and felt a bit off at times (this NEVER happens) I usually have a very strong stomach. Wasn't bad enough to make me physically ill, but I could tell something was off. Foreign country, foreign food- just not used to it I suppose.
You can eat at Secrets, or you can visit the Now Larimar next door (family hotel = kids) I really think this is an awful setup. Why would I pay the price for a fancier, adult only hotel, and then go off to the next door (cheaper, with kids) resort for most of my meals and entertainment? Secrets was limited for food options (buffet, sushi, steak, seafood). The Italian, Mexican, American Grill, French, and Japanese Teppanyaki are all on the Now side. They need to change this. A guest paying a substantial amount more money for an adults only vacation should get just that- with just as many options for dining and entertainment as your other Secrets properties.
All in all, the food was okay but could be better. Most of the Restaurants on the Secrets side were good.The buffet at secrets was great. The beach grill for lunch was amazing (steak, fish, chicken, burgers, hotdogs, fries, etc.). The restaurants on Now side were less than impressive, which is why a Secrets guest should have to go there to eat (and with not much selection on our side, it's hard not to.. I like to try a different place every night).
Didn't try it personally. Some in our group said it was good. Some said not so good. The menu had things like nachos, spaghetti, burger, etc.
EXCELLENT!!! Can't say enough, definitely made our trip! All staff we encountered treated us as friends and really went out of their way for us. They remembered us from day to day, came to chat, had our drinks ready and flowing, came to get us when a special event was starting.
Entertainment team: Cynthia, Mario, Ysabel - Most outstanding (need a raise!)
Bartenders: Domingo, Jose - So great! (also need a raise!) Let us play our iPod at the pool bar!
Pool Server: Henry (thanks! - from Barbie 1, Barbie 2, and Barbie 3)
Restaurants: One who stood out and deserves mention is Deana in the Bluewater Grill on Now Larimar side. We pulled the manager aside after our dinner to tell him what a wonderful employee he has. She was truly warm, friendly, and went above to make us feel welcome. Even brought us takeout boxes because we were too full for dessert.
Check the Sundial each night (you'll get it in your room upon turndown) It is a newsletter of events for the following day. Each day there are several things going on around the resort, both during the day and at night.
As I said before, the entertainment staff was excellent. Lots to do going on around the resort both day and night.
Drinks are good and plentiful. Premixed frozen drinks from slushy machines, bartenders just add whatever booze you want. No issues with requesting Absolute, Smirnoff, Malibu, Bacardi, etc. Grey Goose was not available (I was looking) I didn't notice what kinds of Whiskey/Rye they had as I don't drink it.
They served the drinks in coconuts or pineapples on certain days. It was neat!
Management: Need more pool wait staff going around.. No fault of the servers but the pool is just too large to get from one end to the other and back again for timely refills. We only saw two people (one going up one side, one going up the other) and walking the length of the entire pool ( lazy river through the resort) trying to carry as many drinks as they could.
Well, there's a very honest review. I tried to be thorough, as those are the things I would want to know before booking. I would have happy to answer any additional questions! We had a great time. I will try somewhere new next time, but not because I didn't like the resort, because I like to try new places! :)
Only a few true oceanview rooms. Beware, the price may not be worth the upgrade.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.