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“Not for everyone, but PERFECT for us!” 5 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 #8 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Clinton, NJ
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Not for everyone, but PERFECT for us!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2009

My husband and I (47 & 44) are giving Sandals Montego Bay a rating of 5 based on the 3 stars it is given on TripAdvisor. We spent 5 wonderful, relaxing days at this resort and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Many people have said that it is the staff that makes this resort such a wonderful spot, and it is true.

Our flight landed in Montego Bay at around 2:15pm on Saturday 6/6. To our amazement, we sped through immigrations and retrieved our bags within minutes. The Sandals lounge is lovely, but we didn't have time to enjoy it (not complaining), as we were whisked outside and onto a bus - we were the only passengers. Within 10 minutes we were at the gates of Sandals M.B.

Now, for those who doubt the resort's proximity to the airport, please keep in mind that it IS located directly across the street from the tarmack for most (if not all) departing flights. I can understand why some people find annoying the roar of the aircraft as they take off occasionally, but we love planes and thought it was beautiful seeing them fly up into the sky...especially, as we stood in the crystal blue water waving at them like fools. I would giggle every time a plane took off - don't know, there was just something funny about it.
The first flight departs at around 7:45 am and the last one we heard was at around 8:00 pm (well before bedtime - even for old fogies like us :-) )

Some reviewers on TA have complained that Sandals M.B. employees were rude and harassed them for tips; however, this was not at all what we experienced. In the 5 days we were there, the only tips that were encouraged were for the bus drivers and luggage handlers who do not work for Sandals.
We are firm believers in treating people the way we would like to be treated - with kindness and respect. We did discreetly tip individuals who we felt deserved it, and to be honest we felt that most everyone did! Sandals has hired the most wonderful people who genuinely care about the guests. We were only there a few days, but feel that we have made friends for life with several of the people that work at this resort.

The public areas at Sandals M.B. are very clean and the spa is absolutely lovely (we highly recommend the massages!) The resort grounds are lush, so there are evenings when the mosquitos come out to feast, but it was never much of a problem while we were there.
Some of the resort facilities are in need of small repairs and touch up's (the piano bar pool especially). We felt that they could probably get most everything repaired and touched up if they closed the resort for a week, but to our surprise, they didn't ask us! :-)

As others have written, the pools are small, but we are beach people, so it didn't effect us very much. Hubby played pool volleyball a few times and we spent a few early evenings lounging at the pool bar (located next to the piano bar), so we were happy.

Upon arrival, we were upgraded to an oceanfront Concierge level room. It was decorated nicely and was absolutely spotless. The bathroom was small and the air conditioner didn't exactly fit in with the decor, but both served us very well. I was told that the Bay Roc suites are beautiful.

The guests at the resort were, for the most part, quite young (early 20's to mid 30's). There was a good mix though, so us "old folks" didn't feel uncomfortable or at all out of place. Personally, we enjoy meeting people from all over the country, the world, and from all walks of life, so for us Sandals M.B. was perfect. The crowd while we were there was mostly American with a few British folks thrown in the the mix (poor dear's, having to put up with us!)

I think it's important that one goes to this resort expecting to meet great people, both young and old, from construction workers to doctors, black, white, green, and purple, who are there to have a good time, to relax, and to enjoy time with their significant other.

If you are looking for an L.A or NYC chic resort, with truly gourmet food, uptight guests and employees, and quiet 24/7, then we suggest you continue your search. But, if you're in need of relaxation, a fun atmosphere, friendly laid back guests, amazing staff, very good food and drink, and a nice beach, we think that you'll have a great time.
It did take Hubby and I a day or so to truly appreciate this resort, but once we took it all in and met some people, we did we didn't want to leave. As a matter of fact, we've already made our reservation for next year.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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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Nebraska
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2009

My husband and I celebrated our honeymoon at Sandals Montego Bay! Here are all the details of our experience…

After arriving at the airport we walked to the Sandals room after collecting our bags. The Sandals people ask for your name and info and handle your bags from that point on. We both grabbed a beer and our bus was ready so we went outside and got on the bus. SMB is super close to the airport so it was a fast drive.

We arrived at SMB and they took our bags for us and took us to a little sitting room for check in. They gave us some cold towels and we just sat there for awhile with a couple other people. One of the couples in the room with us had a lot of problems checking in – we didn’t really have too many problems though.

We originally booked the Luxury Oceanview Room but got upgraded (for free) to a Penthouse Grand Luxe Oceanview room. I just looked online though…and it our room looked more like the Honeymoon Water’s Edge Concierge Room (we were located in the Almonds Building), but we didn’t have the concierge service. The upgraded room was so nice! Our room had a comfortable, huge, 4-poster bed, TV (don’t worry guys, it has ESPN and all the channels you’re used to), mini bar, huge tub & shower, double vanity, mini bar, large walk in closet w/ safe, large balcony with a great view! It was perfect!

The first day we were there we really didn’t know what to do or where to go…so we decided to attend the orientation, thinking that they would explain all of that stuff. Advice: don’t go to the orientation!! Basically it was just a chance for some of the tours to do a sales pitch and we didn’t gain anything from it. After the orientation we walked around and decided to eat the OK Corral BBQ on the beach. The food was great (awesome jerk chicken). We crashed early that night because we were so exhausted from the wedding and the travelling.

The next day we grabbed breakfast at the Bayside Restaurant buffet. The buffet was great. Then we went and made our dinner reservations for the rest of our vacation. Then we had a couples massage at the spa – it was so amazing! Spent some time on the beach and at the pool that day. We ate at the Oleander room that night (no reservations required, but you need to dress pretty nice). The food was amazing once again (you will NOT go hungry on this trip).

Wednesday we lounged on the beach and at the swim up bar pool. We had heard from our family member that we just HAD to go to Margaritaville…so we took a taxi ($10) over to the restaurant for lunch. It wasn’t that great…it was so packed. Every Wednesday the cruise ships come in so the place was packed and there was a very annoying DJ yelling the entire time. The food was good…but it was pretty expensive. We ate quickly and got outta there. We wanted to do a little shopping so we ventured down the street there.

There are tons of little shops down the street. The farther you walk down the street the cheaper stuff gets. We felt pretty safe out there by ourselves. We bought coffee and rum to bring back home. We stopped at the Jamaican Bobsled Café and took a couple pictures there, fun place. When we got back to the resort we went to the swim up pool bar and had a good time. Then all of the Playmakers showed up at the bar and had all of us get out of the pool and go into the piano bar area. It was “Jamaican Mixology” time! You must do this! Basically they made a lot of different shots and drinks and we drank a lot! This was so fun! After the drinks we all jumped in the pool and it started downpouring, but we stayed in! Then we all got in the hottub and played drinking games and passed around the bottle of rum. Definitely was a lot of fun! That night we ate at the Cucina Romana…LOVED that place! So so good.

Thursday we went on the Chukka ATV excursion. We went in the afternoon – I would suggest booking an earlier time in the day – then you can spend your afternoon at the pool/beach/etc. It was a short 10 minute drive to the starting point. Tim (my husband) and I were the only tourists going on the excursion (thought that was really really strange). The tour was pretty fun…stopped along the way and looked at plants and fruits and stuff. The tour turned sour though…the guides took us to the top of the mountain and we stopped at this little village there. The guide wanted us to go and buy something from this little hut thing there. So we get off the ATVs and go check it out…there are lots of Jamaicans standing around the hut and we can smell the marijuana around us…we go in the hut and just pick out the cheapest thing so that we can leave! We were pretty nervous up there being all alone (it would have been better if there was another couple with us!) We made it back safely though…it started pouring rain on us though so we got drenched. The drive back down the mountain was a little nerve-racking…the road was starting to wash out because of the rain…but we survived.

We had dinner at Tokyo Joe’s that night. Sushi was great! Egg rolls were great! The chefs are pretty amazing so take your camera and snap some pictures of them. Great food again.

Friday we hung out at the beach and pool bar again! We had dinner at the Sandals Royal Caribbean’s French restaurant. Again, great food. It was hot over there…and there were stray cats roaming around the restaurant. Kinda creepy, I don’t like cats. The Royal Caribbean resort is a little fancier than SMB – the crowd seemed a little older too (SMB is mainly honeymooners). It is a nice place though!

Saturday we went on the Chukka Zip Lining Excursion (again we went in the afternoon – I would suggest going in the morning). The drive there was about 1.5 hours. The excursion was amazing though! No complaints here! Definitely take your bug spray with you and take your camera. The guides are a lot of fun and make it well worth it. The views are amazing and you’ll have a blast. Tim really didn’t think he would like the zip lining, but he came away loving it and even liked it more than the ATV tour!

Saturday night we went back to the Royal Caribbean and ate at the thai restaurant on the island. We missed the bus to the hotel so we took a taxi (only $2 a person). Then we got to the hotel and had a few drinks at the air conditioned bar. Then we went to get in line for the boat to take us to the island. There were a lot of us standing there and the boat was sitting there with the captain in it…we had to wait about 45 minutes for the boat to take us to the island. I guess the restaurant was still getting all of the food ready. Waiting there wasn’t fun…it was hot and we didn’t have any drinks or anything. The dinner was very good. We wish we would have went over to that island during the day.

Sunday we packed up our bags and checked out of the hotel. Got to the airport and one of our bags weighed 80 pounds (from all the rum) so we had to switch around all the stuff to get it under 70 (still had to pay $50 though). We ate lunch at Margaritaville in the airport (the jerk chicken pizza was good) and hung around the airport for a couple hours. The hotel takes you to the airport 3 hours before your flight – this is way too much time. We stopped at the liquor stores in the airport and the rum was soooo much cheaper there. In the airport it is $9 a bottle (no tax), at the resort in the gift shop it is $25 a bottle (plus tax), and at the stores in the city we got it for $15 a bottle (plus tax). We felt like we got ripped off! If you want to bring some of the rum back with you this is what you should do: buy the rum at the airport and carry it on the plane with you. When you get to the airport in the US, you will have to pick up all of your checked luggage and take it with you through customs. Before you check your bags again, put the rum in your suitcase (You can’t carry liquids on with you). So make sure you leave room in your suitcase. They won’t weigh your bags again at this point – so if it is overweight it will be ok. Just make sure you put all the liquids in your checked bags – if you do not you will have to throw it away when you go back through security. This is the cheapest way to bring the rum back! If you have any questions just message me.

Tim and I really like to drink and have a good time…but we both thought it was odd that we only got drunk one time on the trip. I’m not saying that we get drunk all the time…but we like to have fun! We drank all day long every day we were there…the drinks are pretty weak so if you’re like us ask for a double!

The gift shop at the hotel is really nice – we went there a few times and bought rum (ugh) and some souvenirs.

The airplanes didn’t both us at all. Not sure why everyone complains so much about it. If you think it’s going to be a huge deal for you then go somewhere else! But really, it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

I would say that this resort is good for a younger crowd that likes to have fun. There is always something going on so if you want to be really involved you can or you can just be lazy and enjoy yourself!

The Royal Caribbean hotel seemed newer, nicer, fancier, etc. Both resorts have an amazing staff though!

My only compliant is that the bartenders don’t come around and serve you drinks when you’re sitting on the beach! I was surprised they didn’t do this.

Getting a lounge chair on the beach was never a problem. We didn’t wake up early and always found one.

There are some really cool cabanas on the beach – we didn’t do this, but next time I want to! I would do it if I was you! You have to pay to rent them (I believe they are about $150) and you get butler service at it all day long serving you drinks, etc. I would do it!

There are some Jamaicans that hang around in the water on their little boats trying to sell little trinkets and junk. If you just ignore them and don’t look at them then they won’t talk to you.

Advice: book your excursions before you leave. Make dinner reservations as soon as possible. Go over to the Royal Caribbean for an entire day and lay on the beach, etc. there. Don’t go to Margaritaville (there is one in the airport, just go to that one). Meet lots of people! Make sure you are in the piano bar/swim up pool bar when they have “Jamaican Mixology” – check your weekly schedule for that. Buy rum at the airport. Rent one of the cabanas on the beach! Book your excursions for the AM.

That is all! Please message me if you have any comments/questions! I'd be glad to help!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2009

Even if we tried to find negatives about our trip we could not. It was perfect. The food was incredible. The romance was at a peak. The staff was friendly. and the resort was emaculate. PERFECT HONEYMOON

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, NH
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2009

Although this was my first and hopefully only honeymoon, I can not imagine having a better honeymoon. Getting to Jamacia we went through customs very easily then when we got to Sandals area at the airport they check us in right away and had an area for us to hang out in til our bus was ready to leave for the airport. We waited 10 mins tops!

When we got to the hotel we went right to our conceirage and they checked us into our room. Our room was not ready yet, but they brought us to lunch and we were set to go. When we went to our room. We had reservations set up for the restaurants that needed it. That was a relief because I didn't want to think about it.

The staff was extremley nice and was always ready to help us when needed. We had a "personal" photographer that took pictures all the time. We didn't pay her she was just always was around when there was a photo opportunity. The playmakers, always had an event going on. Rain or shine. There was never a dull moment when you were on the resort.

All in all we had an amazing time. We have already planned another vacation to another sandals resort! P.S. the food was GREAT!!!

Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
charleston, sc
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2009

Pros:
Great location, about 5 minutes from the airport. This just gives you that much more time poolside.
Great air conditioning in the rooms.
Good layout of resort. Some secluded spots, some crowded spots.
Good variety of activities and shows.
Very good drinks.
Good butler service - Darrion & Roland.
Best massage I have ever had - Sasha. I've been to a lot of spas, this one wasn't extremely elegant, but it was very peaceful, clean, calming, relaxing. And truly, Sasha gave me the best massage I have ever had.
Great beach areas.

Cons:
Not the best food. Breakfast is great, other meals were just so-so.
Occasional airplanes taking off directly over the beach. About a dozen every couple hours. All clustered together. No big deal.
Not a very big pool.
Only 2 small pools.
Only 1 very small swim-up bar.
Of the 3 Sandals resorts I have stayed at, this ranks #2 - mainly because of the food.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mass
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2009

My husband and I checked into Sandals Montego Bay on May 22, 2009 for our honeymoon. We were excited to spend a romantic week together in paradise. From the moment we pulled in we were greatly disappointed. Our bell boy continuously dropped our luggage in puddles on the way to our room. When we got into the room with our wet luggage, we were greeted by a variety of insects and mosquitos. We went to the pub for dinner hoping that a nice dinner together would change our opinion. We waited at our table for upwards of 15 minutes without even being greeted. When our waiter finally did come over he was so drunk that we could barely understand him. The entire first night left a foul taste in our mouths. We went to bed hoping that the next day would be better. However there were so many bugs in our room that I woke up looking and feeling as though I had the chicken pox due to the extraordinary number of mosquito bites I had gotten while asleep. There were a variety of other insects that we discovered on our trip as well, not only in our bedroom but at the beach and inside some of the restaurants flying around the food while we were trying to eat. Not to mention the fact that every 20-45 minutes or so from the hours of 640 am to 1130 pm the entire resort shook and sounded as though it was being bombed because of the airplanes taking off and and landing at the airport nearby. We were also disgusted and discouraged to find that nobody does anything simply to be nice or because it is their job. We traveled with the expectation of tipping the individuals who brought our bags to our rooms, lended an extra hand, etc...however we weren't given even a moment to tip certain individuals before their hand was in our face going "got something for me? got something for me?" An individual whom I handed a generous tip to then turned to my husband and asked him for a tip as well.

We were so disappointed and disgusted with our trip that it was impossible to enjoy ourselves or each other. We left Sandals Montego Bay 4 nights early due to the conditions. We were greatly disappointed that our honeymoon was ruined. Neither of us have any desire at all to visit Sandals again.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milford, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
402 reviews 402 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 140 cities Reviews in 140 cities
657 helpful votes 657 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2009

During our stay at SRC down the road, we decided to check out the Flagship Sandals Montego Bay for a few hours including lunch. The shuttle took only a few minutes to get to SMB. After taking photos of the property, we was able to put the camera in the safe at the front desk. SMB had different plusses than SRC, especially the long beach for those who like a long walk. The only downside was some of vendors hounded you, even after you said “no thank you”. There are vendors at SRC but once you said no, they left you alone. (Even the SMB newsletter has a note instructing guests not to supply the vendors with food or drink or invite them out of the water). The wedding chapel was a nice option for those getting married at the resort. (one of the weddings we saw at SRC had a downpour and the bride’s dress had a large brown ring on the bottom from the grass/mud.) The pools were small and were not as appealing as the ones as SWH or the SRC river suites]main pool. We ate at the Bayside for lunch and was fairly comparable to SRC/SWH. The Wall of Fame near the Activities office was interesting as it included a couple that had been to SMB 101 times!!!

I think that each of the Sandals resorts has plusses/minuses, but it all depends on what your personal interests are. People need to do some research to make the most of the vacation. I appreciate all the help I have received from my questions as well as others reviews/questions.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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:
#4 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#8 Romantic 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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