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“Sandals, ultra-scam, never again!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Montego Bay

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Sandals Montego Bay
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Montego Bay, Kent Avenue, Montego Bay 100, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #10 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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“Sandals, ultra-scam, never again!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2005

Sandals Montego Bay was more than a huge dissapointment for us. In our week at the so called 'ultra inclusive luxury resort', all my wife and I did was wonder how anyone can choose to come back to such a terrible place.

This is the review I wish we had read before spending hundreds of dollars a day in the biggest vacation scam we have ever experienced.

Before I begin, I would like to start off with a few positive notes. These couple of highlights are the only reasons why we didn't turn around and head back home on our second day.

1 - The true hospitality of Jamaicans.
While some just want to get your money, generally we found Jamaicans are relaxed, friendly, and very affectionate. This makes up for their lack of professionalism sometimes.

2 - The beaches.
While definitely not the best beaches in the Caribbean, just the blue water and sunny weather are a great distraction from the Sandals scam. That, of course, provided you don't mind jets roaring over your head every few minutes... (read below)

3 - The gardens
Not everything at Sandals Montego Bay is awful. The gardens are acually very well maintained, and you get to see and walk around great species of trees and tropical plants on your way to your room (if you luck out and get a room away from the noise, that is)

Now that we ran out of positives, our report of the Sandals situation...

Sandals Montego Bay: Terminal D
In case you haven't read other reviews, or, if you have, but like me, didn't pay much attention to the 'airport proximity' issue, get this: The 'resort' is built next to the International Airport. By 'next' I mean, any closer and there would be a walking ramp from arrivals to the hotel lobby (come to think of it, that wouldnt be too bad, it would have saved us from the 2 hours it took us to go through customs and immigration in Jamaica). Anyways, back to the view, the only things separating the rooms and the departure runway are a road and a couple of fences... Jets departing all day long are the main attraction. They are so close there is no way to miss them... Again you ARE almost in the airport itself. So you won't be able to sleep, or relax, or unwind. The roaring jets are in your face and ears all day long. And we're talking 7 am to 11 pm, sometimes even later (there were a couple of jets that shook up our rooms at 3 am, just an hour after the party noise outside stopped and allowed us to fall asleep.

No luxury, ok? Zero.
My wife and I are no snobs. But we were sold this (very expensive trip) as a luxury, all inclusive resort. Well guess what... Nothing can be called luxurious there. Not the beaches, not the hotel, the people, the food, the rooms...nothing. In fact, it barely meets a 2 star hotel category... I will expand on this, of course. But for now, think super8 meets sbarros.

The rooms
Okay, so they have different types of rooms, like any other hotel does. After complaining we were moved to a slightly better room... But nevertheless... The room had...
- No dresser, no closet (yup keep your clothes in the suitcases)
- Burned and broken curtains
- Dirty, stained sheets
- several types of bugs, including ants, bed mites and (poliyas)
- broken tv
- the shower spilled water all over the entire bathroom, wetting everything and everyone around (and flooding the bathroom too)
- No refrigerator
- right next to the restaurant's kitchen, for added special fx
- No sleep: the staff is well trained to deliver alcohol to the guests. Combine that with the loud lousy band noises, several food drinking contests, etc., and you will NOT be able to sleep until after 1 am every night...GUARANTEED. (not that you can really sleep at all when roaring jets shake up your room every hour anyways)

The food

breakfast/lunch: quality... Worse than sbarro's... picture bouffet style, stinky junk food (and there is only one restaurant to go to for breakfast and lunch, so, again, you're stuck) -or you can have a reheated burger at the beach if you want, too.

dinner: a little better as other restaurants become available... But there's a catch: you need a reservation, and there's nothing normally available for days. If you do get lucky and lock in a table, expect basic, very few menu options and bad to just ok quality food.
drinks: only domestic brands are free... There's a premium (and it's a rip off) for any decent quality booze.
people don't seem to care though, eveyone is drunk and behaving like their teenager grandsons all day long

The booze
So that's why people keep coming back, by the way. 'Free, unlimited supply of alcohol, 24/7'. But you know what? First, it's not free (you paid for it, remember?), and, what's even worse, it's the cheapest possible quality. All local brands, of course, no choice of prime liquor. Well, actually, they do have some other brands of wine. They are not part of the all inclusive deal though. While most people don't seem to mind it (they just come to get -faced, so gas oil would work out fine for them too), red stripe is the only beer 'included in the deal'.. And if you want bottled water, 3 bucks per bottle please. Or 'drink our Jamaican tap water free of charge'.

The Entertainment: oh God ... The daily 'shows' have got to be the lamest and most lousy thing we have ever seen. I guess management figured when you are drunk it doesn't matter what's on. A few examples: the 'singers' are just ...the maids and service folks! (and their covers of whitney houston just hurt you beyond your ears).. The band just can't sync up... and the dancers!!... Picture a bunch of Back street boys wanna be's (with no sense of dancing, singing or coordination whatsoever).. It was so bad that we first thought the whole thing was some sort of parody.
Alternatively, every couple of days they have an 'art auction'... A sad attempt to take some cash from the guests.

Bottom Line:
Don't do it. Do the math, you can get a lot more for your buck... A LOT MORE!!!! -we will never give our money to Sandals again-

  • Stayed February 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2005

Sandals Montego Bay is not what it used to be.
The people are not as friendly, the beach towel situation is not the greatest, the rooms not as clean, the mattresses are old and saggy, the tea and coffee offered in the lobby in the morning is pathetic (I saw employees go to the kitchen for fresh water, milk & coffee, and the restaurant employee wouldn't fill my cup with fresh water for my tea, she told me to use the Nestle machine), I did not want to use the coffee machine using bathroom water. The beach lounges are horrible and all stretched out, uncomfortable and not enough to go around.
In my opinoin $2/per call and $1/min for phone calls in addition to the call charged on your credit card for the same call is excessive and explotive. The internet service is expensive and slow with the computer needing to be restarted often. Guest relations and front desk are always understaffed. One of the biggest complaints I have is the entertainment. They use the water sport & other employees to put on shows and they are the same year after year. They push the "Art Auction" constantly.
Bring your bug spray. The departure lounge has no lockers, so you have to carry all your belongings around with you until you catch your plane at 6. (unless you keep them unlocked in the departure lounge)
I have been there 4 times and will never go back!!!!!!!!

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Arlington, VA
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14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2005

As soon as we got there, the staff at Sandals were extremely friendly and accomodating. We stayed in a honeymoon suite (was not our honeymoon) and it was so beautiful. The room was extremely clean and we had a gorgeous view. We also really enjoyed all of the activities that Sandals offered. We even took a horseback riding tour that truly gave an authentic look at the way the locals live. However, there were only a couple of things that were not so pleasant. The food at the resort was disappointing...mostly just edible. By the end of the week, we stuck solely to eating at the restaurant Bayside. Also, if you try to venture out of the resort area, be prepared to be pestered by many of the locals!

  • Stayed November 2004
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2005

My husband and I had a hard time deciding where we wanted to go for our destination wedding but we chose SMB because we heard so many wonderful things from other people who had been. Overall it was a nice time. The weather was beautiful for all 6 days of our stay and never rained one time (Our trip was from Oct. 21-26 2004). I kept hearing horror stories about hurricane season during this time but this resort was not effected by any of the hurricanes.

Rooms-We booked the Water's Edge Conceirge's Suite which I highly recommend. The room was conveneint to everything but private enough for our honeymoon! When we arrived at the hotel we could not check in right away so we waited for a while. I also recommend wearing your swimsuit on the plane if you book an early flight so you can relax on the beach because check-in is at 3:00pm and even then we had to wait two more hours for our room to be ready. We were told we were going to upgraded from our Water's Edge room to a Honeymoon Beachfront Suite which we were ecstatic about until we actually walked into the room. The room was very large but not updated and not comfortable at all. i don't recommend this room category. We were immediately put back in our original room which was FABULOUS-gorgeous view, comfty bed and large bathroom area. The conceirge's service was very slow, when we requested bottled water in the morning we received it in the evening. Turn down service and the fresh flowers on our bed were a nice touch. My in-laws stayed in a room in the SeaGrapes and it was nice (no conceirge's service).

Food- Don't expect the food to be 5 star as I have heard a few people say. This is the honest truth. The food was okay but then again you are in Jamaica and not at the Ritz. The breakfast was soooo good though. It was buffet style and the fresh fruits and cheeses were to die for. They also had an omelet station which was nice. You are not allowed to make reservations before hand so I would suggest making dinner reservations right when you arrive to ensure you can eat somewhere. The restaurants are not always open and there is no room service so don't expect to get a late night snack. I don't drink but my husband and his family were with us and they said the drinks were weak but all they did was ask for more liquor and they were accomodated. Our favorite restaurants were the Italian at SMB and the Thai at SRC. Tokyo Joes was not very good.

Spa-This was my favorite part! We had a couples massge and facial the morning before our wedding that was great and I went back for a reflexology treatment later that week. The staff was very friendly.

Service- The service by the waitstaff was very good-Gechie was wonderful:) the conceirge's service was not really worth it but I loved our room which was all conceirge's service because it was nice and clean. The maid came in and tidied up and the grounds were always breathtaking. Watch out for the guys in boats around the docks who try to sell you marijuana and handcrafted items. FYI-we were under the impression that no tipping was allowed but we learned really quick that these people make little money so we tipped everyone. If you do this you can have anything you want including cuban cigars, all of our wedding photos for one price and Blue Mountain for the trip home!

Activities- There were endless things to do whether it was lay in the pool by the piano bar (so much fun), jaccuzi, watersports, hammocks or take a short taxi ride to another resort and hang out for the day. Jamaica is very relaxing and no one gets in a hurry!

WeddingMoon- The wedding was put together so nice! We met with our coordinator the day before and I couldn't believe how quick it all came together. There were 7 weddings the same day as ours and they were all beautiful. I don't recommend upgrading very much because it costs a lot and you can't take your bouquet or cake topper back to the states because they don't travel well-trust me! I also do not recommend the videography-it was $200 and very poor quality. The photographer did a great job and we were able to negotiate the costs of all my photographs for one low price.

I loved Jamaica and would return but not to SMB. We also visited SRC, where my parents stayed and it was more updated than SMB. We are going to Negril in April 2005 and staying at Swept Away. If you have any further questions about our experience you may email me at rddickensjr@earthlink.net

  • Stayed October 2004
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2005

We just returned from SMB. We spent Jan 13th - 20th at this resort. We had previously been to Sandals Antigua 10 years ago. We absolutely loved our trip. The playmakers were great, we met great people, and the food was also great. I read other recent reviews talking about jackhammering in the pool? There were no jackhammers and we swam in those pools. WE also watch a bit of the playoff football games in the lounge while waiting for our dinner reservations with no problems! We will most definitely be returning! Also the palms block of rooms is great. It is right in the middle of the resort.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2005

I have to say this was the worst trip every and being that it was my honeymoon made it especially horrible. When you are on your honeymoon you want your room to be spacious with at least a decent size bathroom. The room was extremely small and I have seen better bathrooms in a Motel 6. Also I felt like people were trying to pick us up, we were on our honeymoon!!! Then the airplanes, no real airconditioning, and the late night drinking parties were among all the joys. Oh and also the jack hammering of the pool!! To say we were very disappointed by Sandals and I would definately not recommend staying in Montego Bay unless you like the roar of airplanes every two seconds and looking to pick up someone in the jacuzzi (of course this is a couples only resort???)

Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2005

We have just returned from Sandals, Montego Bay. Disappointment is the word we can describe our second visit to the Sandals Resorts. Our first visit to Sandals, Ochos Rios was a complete success. The front desk staff, the waiters, the water sports people, everyone bent over backwards to make our stay the best! On this past visit, the reservation desk seemed unconcerned with getting us a place in the restaurants. Also making a reservation for a boat cruise two days in advance, we were bumped off the cruise we asked for and made to take another one at a different time. Asking for the playoff football games to be put on a television in the lobby area, we had a front employee replying with rudeness, that it "wasn't his problem" and that it could not be done. Going above his head and asking the manager the problem was soon solved and we were able to watch the playoff games. A large beach party was given on one evening that involved travel agents from around the country, and as hotel paying guests we were shoved to the side to the visiting travel agents wants & needs.

The positive parts of our vacation were the water sports, the lifeguards who made sure we went out and sailed each day, the beach bartenders, and the outdoor activity directors. The beach & ocean was beautiful and the Jamaican people wonderful! We will go back to Jamaica, but not with Sandals, Montego Bay!

  • Stayed January 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Montego Bay

Address: Montego Bay, Kent Avenue, Montego Bay 100, 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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#8 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#12 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 223
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•Largest private white sand beach on the north coast •The entertainment capital of the Sandals brand with nightly professional shows and upbeat, active, fun-loving daytime activities. •Six exquisite dining options•Complimentary transfers to Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Carlyle. Enjoy all the luxuries included in our “stay at one, play at three” concept offering 18 dining options •Air-conditioned departure lounge•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 Montego Bay Hotel Montego Bay
Sandals Hotel Montego Bay
Montego Bay Sandals Hotel
Sandal Montego Bay

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