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!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, BookIt.com, Orbitz, Caribbean Online Mgt Corp., Despegar.com, TripOnline SA and Tingo so you can book your Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sandals Royal Caribbean Hotel Montego Bay
- Sandals Royal Caribbean Montego Bay
- Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Jamaica
- Sandal Royal Caribbean