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“Relaxing Getaway For Us!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #6 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Dayton, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Relaxing Getaway For Us!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2007

We stayed at Sandals RC from Dec. 22 - 29.... So, we were there over Christmas. I must preface this review by saying that we had stayed at Sandals Royal Bahamian 2 years ago (7 nights & the same week of 2004). So, our expectations were a bit high. This time, we took friends (another couple) with us, and we were not disappointed!

The ONLY down-side I'd say was that the rooms did need a bit of remodeling (the Buckingham was the block we stayed in), BUT because we booked 1 year in advance, we paid only $1,600 for the week. So, we felt the room was equal to the price paid! We did talk with a couple that had booked Sandals Inn, and b/c the Inn was closed for renovations, they were moved to Sandals RC & the were put in the Kensington building ... they said their room was immaculate AND they paid MUCH less than it would have cost to book it direct. Lucky them:).

That aside, here were the EXCELLENT things about RC:

1) EVERYONE who worked there was VERY friendly!!! From Joseph, who greeted us at the entrance & took care of our bags, etc. to Sharon who made our Dunn's River reservations. I did not pass any worker the entire time I was there who did not say hello, good morning, how are you today, etc. Those who say that the workers aren't friendly must be smoking something... OR are just used to being "waited on hand & foot". If you expect them to stop & bow at you everytime you pass, you my be disappointed. BUT we were not -- we have 4 kids at home & to have someone go out of their way even to just say hi or good morning was NICE! Funny, we were there over Christmas & would've forgotten it was Christmas except every so often we'd pass an employee & they'd say "Merry Christmas". They even remember you by name. The bartender on the island nicknamed my husband "Jim" ... for his Jim & Coke... he remembered him from the first day on. Also, Sharon remembered us as Mr & Mrs Hand & called us by name all week. It made it feel like home:).... only nicer!

2) Food -- nice displays every night. Sure, after 8 days you may see some of the same choices at different restaurants. BUT you can order something else!:) The ability to visit SMB was a big reason for our choice of this resort too. The food at SMB was nice. Tokyo Joes was one of our fav. meals as well as the Oleander (both at SMB). The Royal Thai wasn't that great (it was VERY windy the night we ate there), but it was a nice boat ride at dusk and I'm glad we tried it. Maybe ask to be sat away from the outside edge of the restaurant. One good thing -- i think the wind kept bugs away:). You must try the Jerk Chicken at the grill and it was nice to have a snack readily available around 2 pm every day:).

3) Neat Grounds -- they do a great job keeping the place neat... we saw the same guy raking leaves on the front lawn every morning. They are always cleaning the beach & picking up cups. The major construction must have been completed when we arrived. The only thing we saw was a barrier around the Clarence & St. James building. It wasn't noisy & our room was on the end of Buckingham (check out a map) closest to those buildings. (room #20) So, we'd have heard the noise late if they were working late. The pools were nice (small, but nice). We spent each evening at the hot tub & pool by Kensington. VERY nice & quiet.

4) Entertainment -- Good, but not Cirque de Soliel.:) I enjoyed the steel drums & the Children of the Drums shows... it was nice to see some of the Jamaican culture & have them come to the resort while we were there. One review said something about not seeing real Jamaican culture. You will have to WORK at doing that if that's what you're there for. We went to get away & relax. So, this wasn't a big deal to us & we felt the trips back & forth to SMB & our excursion gave us enough of a "Jamaican experiece". If you want to see the "real Jamaica", you'll have to take an excursion or taxi into the city.

The snorkeling is beautiful! So, I'd recommend trying it if you never have. It's free... so, why not?:) Hard to believe all that "life" is just below the surface! The boat rides, kayaks, etc were nice!

5) Drinks -- very nice & plentiful. They'll make them how you like them. Just ask! Never a lack of anything I wanted. Once a blender on the island wasn't working, but other than that, all was good! They had it replaced by the next day. Germaine on the island is GREAT!:)

A couple tips:
* If you want to snorkel, start making reservations the first day. We didn't go til our 4th day & wanted to go again, but the water was choppy on days 5&6. The early morning (10 am) tour is most likely to get out. It gets cloudy/windy many times by 2-3 which makes for choppy water, and they won't go out if they can't get past the barrier reef's waves.

*Go visit SMB!!! We felt that we wouldn't like to STAY there... SMB felt more like a "party" resort. So, if that's what you're looking for, maybe that's the resort for you. We wanted a relaxing, more mature crowd to be around, and that's what you get at SRC. MUCH quieter than SMB. We saw louder, more boisterous, (even a few obnoxious) people at SMB. BUT we're glad we went there & experienced that resort too!

*Make dinner reservations on your first day. We had no problem getting into the restaurants we wanted that needed reservations. They even "made room" for us 1 night when they only had a 2-person table & we (all 4) wanted to eat together.

*Take towels with you to the island... they don't have a towel hut there. There is also no food over there. I'm pretty sure, though, that you could take food with you. I saw a group with a cheese/cracker/fruit plate there. They must have asked for it at a restaurant (or room/butler service) & taken it over. I'm sure they'd be willing to accomodate you if you'd want to ask:). We didn't, but maybe will next time.

*Bugs -- I had about 6 or 7 bites the entire week. Which is actually VERY good for me. I read reviews that mentioned it. So, i took bug spray & sprayed every evening. I'm sure it helped. I'd recommend it to anyone going.

*RELAX!!!! If you want to be entertained & have a "schedule" of things to keep you busy for your vacation, this may not be the type of vacation for you. We are the kind of people who like to sit on the beach & read, play cards, talk, & just rest! So, this is the PERFECT type of resort for us.

We plan to return to Sandals in Jamaica in 2 years... we LOVED it & for the price, it can't be beat!!! The all-inclusive is the way to go!

Thanks, Sandals!!!!!

  • Liked — Relaxing
  • Disliked — Too short:)
  • Tips/Secrets — Relax & have fun!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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NC
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2007

My husband and I booked our Thanksgiving at this Sandals resort thinking we'd be worry free given the all inclusive package and the well known luxury accomodations associated with Sandals. However, we were disappointed by the quality of our accomodations, the food and beverage selection. I will point out that several employees on the resort were stellar. However, they seemed either hot or cold. Some seemingly loved their jobs and wanted to be there while others looked and behaved as though they were merely tolerating our presence.

Frankly we should have known better than to assume the food would be wonderful in an all inclusive. It was most definitely available and varied. However, the quality simply left us wanting some flavor, seasoning and a good bottle of wine. Even though we purchased wine off the special "not included" list, it was hardly much of a selection, nor anything special.

My advice would be to keep your money and plan to ask a travel agent or local where to eat and you'll surely have a better dining experience.

Jamaica on the whole was not the "special" vacation we'd hoped for.

  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. John's, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2007

We went to Sandals Royal Caribbean from Dec 20 to Dec 27 and had a Royal Suite with Butler service. This was our first time to Jamaica.
It took about 1 hour to get through immigration even though all desks were open including the extra desks for the Holidays. Then the luggage reclaim was a real mess and took about another 30 minutes to get out. But then…relaxation. We found the Sandals lounge quite easily. You have to leave your luggage before the lounge and it is then tagged for the resort you will be going. Inside there is beer and juices and some fruit. About 15 minutes later they called our resort and we were the only couple going there. The ride took about 20 minutes (rush hour at 5 pm). When we arrived they already knew we were coming and were whisked away to the Concierge room where we were greeted by Ellis (one of the Butlers). He gave us champagne and made an imprint of a credit card for any purchases in the Photoshop or gift shop (you actually get two passes that you can shop every time you make a purchase and the day before you leave they bring you a complete bill that can be paid all at once or you can elect to pay all your purchases with you credit card or cash on the spot).

Our butler, Kevon, then took us to our suite (205). It was very nice and had a complete bar (vodka, gin, rum, scotch red and white wine and a fridge with beer (red Stripe, water OJ and champagne bottle that was replenished everyday). The only disappointing items of the room were that there was very limited storage space and extra drawer cabinet would do wonders and the bathroom was very small (no Jacuzzi like in the Kensington block) and NO water pressure at all. On Christmas day there was no water at all on the entire resort for 6 hours and then we found out a water main had leaked all week and then broke, once they fixed it the pressure was much better. One thing I found out is that I received no little shampoo/conditioner kit that other guests received (did receive this at Sandals Hicacos in Cuba), so if you count on it better pack some small bottles.

We almost had everyday breakfast in the room. Breakfast was great especially the health omelet (made from egg whites). Overall food was very good and we have been on cruises as well. The Thai restaurant was really nice but unfortunately the menu was changed from Indonesian (on their web site) to real Thai which was also good. The steak was the best steak I ever ate in the Caribbean. Service was excellent.

There was some construction going on and that will last indeed till end of next year. Didn’t bother us, but it depended where you stayed. At the front of the resort construction was much more intense. The Piano Bar opened while we were there. Fantastic place.

The entertainment was well intended by the staff, but sorry not very good except for the fire-eater (Friday nights as part of the beach party).

We went one day to Sandals Montego Bay and didn’t like the resort at all very crowded and loud (and that is not only the planes that still have their landing gear out). The beach though was better than at SRC.

We went snorkeling at SRC but due to the high winds the waves were bothering most snorkelers and there were not much fish. The private island was nice but the beach again was very small, so we stayed mostly on the beach in from of the Kensington and Balmoral building. The pool there was also great (just steps from the beach).

We definitely will return one day to SRC but like to try Sandals Negril because of the beach next time.

  • Liked — Very close to beach and quiet resort
  • Disliked — Bathroom, water not clear and small beach
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2007

This is a vastly overpriced 3 Star antiquated hotel living off a name. The rooms are poor and the bathrooms are ancient and a worthy subject for a TV makeover program. We changed rooms 3 times in 12 hours. The food is adequate and the service good. Good place to go if you want to to buy drugs. The dealers hassle you on the hotel beach from boats day and night.

Stayed December 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, MI
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2007

We had an absolutely fabulous time at Sandals RC!! Our room was only deluxe, but since we only showered and slept there it was just fine -- clean and very comfortable and quiet. The staff was outstanding and extremely polite and courteous. The food was great, especially the Thai restaurant, the beach was nice, the entertainment staff was great. We can't say enough good things about this resort!

  • Tips/Secrets — Don't spend more for superior rooms -- it's all nice!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Memphis, Tennessee
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2007

Just got back from a Dec 16 to Dec 23 honeymoon at the Sandals Royal and it was amazing.

We had a great room with concierge service. It was worth the extra money. The resort is very well kept, and although there was some construction going on, it did not hinder our enjoyment of the honeymoon one time. The staff could not be better. They took the time to get to know you and by the end of the trip all the bartenders knew what your drink of choice was. They have a great group of employees who's job it is to make sure you have a blast while you are there.

We met some great people and really got a great experience of the carribean.

I highly recomend the Sandals Royal Carribean. My wife and I are already planning a return trip.

  • Liked — The Staff
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2007

stayed over Christmas 2006, every thing was fantastic, food was second to none, every thing we ate was to perfection, lots of choice, the only thing is they want you to dress up for some of the dinners, I'm on vacation, a golf shirt and shorts should be fine for any restaurant when you are on vacation, not long pants in the tropics.
we had the butler suite, Butlers where great, you do have to ask them for certain things but they where great.
The private Island was the only bad thing and that was only because of the biting bugs, they are every where on that little private Island.
I would recomend them to any one but it is worth the extra for the Butler suites if you like romantic stuff life rose peddels and candels in your tub that they had ready at night for you or on your bed.
All in all, it was great.

  • Liked — clean
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — no
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island

Address: Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island 5*
Number of rooms: 197
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•7 exquisite dining options, with world-class culinary cuisines.•Only Jamaican resort with a private offshore island, housing an authentic Thai restaurant.•Magnificent, swim-up crystal lagoon suites.•24 hour room service as a part of our concierge service.•English pub offering an authentic pub dining experience.•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row.•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Caribbean Hotel Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Jamaica
Sandal Royal Caribbean

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