I read a lot of reviews about this place before I booked. Those that were complaining seemed to be the sort that had 5 star expectations but only a 3 star budget, so I generally ignore the whiners. I am going to make this review long-winded on purpose.
Check in was a breeze. When we found out we were placed on the 1st floor, we asked if we could have a higher floor, and that was accommodated with a smile and no extra charge. In the end we stayed with the 1st floor, and no one was annoyed at our flip-flopping; instead they brought us a rum-filled drink and said "no worries, take your time, you're here, be happy with your decision"! The view of the sunset from the room was spectacular. If you aren't on the ocean front side, go ahead and request a room change, it's worth the effort to move. If you read a review that the night entertainment is too loud and plays until 2a.m., the reviewer is just whiney. We were 1st floor directly above the stage. Yes it was loud until 10p.m., but there wasn't a single night the noise lasted past 10. Anyone stating it lasted until 2a.m. must've had a one-off night? The kids slept fine and when asked, had no complaints about any noise whatsoever. We always had hot water and the pressure was fine. I don't know why people are whining about this, but I'm saying from our point of view: the water pressure was great and constantly hot.
The food was great, too! Those who whine that the buffet was too boring should examine themselves, morally. There are plenty of hungry people out there who would love to have the meal you are having, there is no need to complain (sorry to say this here, but c'mon, you know it's true!). The buffet was great and allowed you to mix up your plate enough that nothing needed to be the same two nights in a row. A la carts: Book the day you arrive for your future a la cart dates, that's common sense. If you wait until the night you're hoping to dine at an a la cart, you're going to be disappointed. I recommend the Asian. Byron's Caribbean was slow, yes, but a quick check in with ourselves and we remembered we were on "island time", and that anxious North American rushed feeling simply dissolved.
Our room was exceptionally clean and bright. I had lowered my expectations in this department, but was pleasantly surprised. Our maid was a wonderful lady who never stopped smiling. We tipped her a few bucks throughout the week, and she left some playful towel animals and used the kids' stuff as props with her creations - the kids loved the surprise each day.
The water park was a great babysitter for our pre-teens. If you have kids - even the ornery teenager - this park seemed to bring the best out of the kids. The water slides were down for a few hours the first day, but this was a good thing as it turns out they were fixing them up and grinding down the bumps, so if you read reviews that the slides rips the skin off of your back, that has been fixed, and they are as smooth as can be.
My one and only complaint, and this is to you Hotel Manager: because we were on the first floor, and there were nine floors above us, inconsiderate people constantly flicked their cigarette butts off of their balcony which of course our balcony collected. People spitting big loogies from above also seemed to neglect the impact of their actions and where their ignorance would land. So, manager, I would like to see stickers placed on the windows and balconies that ask people to consider their actions to those below them before discarding butts or spitting onto the area beneath them. Several floors of smokers tossing their butts below created a daily pile of waste that was really gross.
So, Potential Traveller, before you book, be honest with yourself: do you understand that this hotel is a great bang-for-buck place? This is NOT a 5-star resort. If you have a 3-star budget, but have high expectations, then DO NOT BOOK HERE. You are only making yourself miserable; skip this trip, continue to save and book that 5-star hotel when you are ready to pay for that service. You'll be happy you waited if you are high-maintenance. However, if you have realistic expectations and understand that this is a budget-friendly option that offers some of the friendliest staff you'll ever meet, some good food, a safe environment and some AMAZING snorkeling (you have to snorkel if you come here, swim out to the reefs about 100ft off shore - it's worth the effort), then this is the place for you. To the lady that paid $10 000+ for her family of four to stay here, I don't know how you got so hosed, but we paid just under $1000 each for 8 days, and I think we got what we paid for. We never had to wait for a beach chair at the beach or at the pool. If you book at peak season and the hotel is at capacity, be realistic and understand that the hotel is running at maximum and in those times, it's busy. In January, there were several chairs for each guest, easily.
And don't be tactless and complain about any construction. Remember, we are on vacation, but the workers are living their everyday lives. A hotel cannot ignore construction for all guests until the slow season, maintenance is a constant thing for all constructed things. I had to move my chair one day because the paint fumes were a bit strong by the pool. Moving my chair in a tropical paradise while I am tanning and sweating while someone is working around me is a 1st-world problem in a 3rd-world country - I was happy to move 20 feet and not complain. Get a grip, the construction is temporary and for the betterment of the property and all who experience it!
Last tip: People complaining about the merchants in town... If you go to a touristy area such as the Hip Strip, then you are asking to be begged for your business. A simple "I am OK, thanks" is enough to have them not ask you again. My recommendation: hire a taxi and negotiate a fair deal (the prices posted at the hotel can easily be sliced in half if you offer to buy them lunch). Tell your driver to take you to a safe place that is away from the tourists. Buy him lunch at a place of his choosing (he'll take you to a great local spot guaranteed), and go walk about a town away from the tourists and engage the local people. Don't worry, you're safe, he won't bring you to harm. Chat with the locals and realize how beautiful and friendly they are. Jamaicans are among the warmest people I have met on this planet!
I had several frank discussions with the staff. While not one of them complained about their job, and each stated they were very happy to work at the resort, they did confess that they only make $1.50 - $3.50 p/hour, and that our tip money really does make the difference for them. So please consider budgeting $100 in tip money for the week you are there. If you can afford to go to Jamaica, you can surely budget a few extra dollars to help the workers directly.
Have fun everyone, travel safely!
- Also Known As:
- Sunset Beach Hotel
- Sunset Beach Resort Spa
- Sunset Beach Resort Jamaica
- Sunset Beach Resort
- Sunset Beach Jamaica
- Sunset Beach Resort & Spa
- Sunset Beach Montego Bay
- Sunset Beach Resort Montego Bay
- Sunset Beach Resort Spa Montego Bay
- Sunset Beach Resort And Spa Jamaica
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Consists of a Beach Wing and two 10-story Sunrise and Sunset Towers. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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