As the other reviews note, the staff make this hotel special. When you consider the service you get and the ability to go to the other two Sandals properties for the amenities not available at the Carlyle, it is a great deal. If you are looking for the wow factor of the Grand in St. Lucia or Antigua, you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for a clean room, friendly people, and a way to save substantial money, go here.
Room: We were upgraded to a remodeled room on the 3rd floor overlooking the outdoor bar--partial ocean view (room 305). The room was clean, nicely remodeled, and mostly quiet. At night it could get a little loud until the nightly entertainment slowed down around 1030. The bathroom was small, but nicely done. Our housekeeper Charlotte did a great job every day.
Pool: There is a single small pool and hot tub which we only used in the late afternoon after returning from the other resorts. It was never crowded, and always clean.
Bar: Denise at the bar makes fabulous drinks. It is a nice covered space in the garden area. Breezes come through and keep things cool. If you are at the pool, staff will check on you and see if they can bring you a drink.
Food: Breakfast was a la carte. After the first day, we went to Mo Bay every morning before diving and used the buffet there instead. We had dinner at the Carlyle in the garden area twice--Chef Kevin did a great job. We also enjoyed Mr. Nibbles food at the grill for lunch on our first day, and Shantelle (the waitress with the lovely smile) was a delight at the Carlyle and at the Returning Guest Dinner.
Staff: Everyone here was friendly and went out of their way to help--by far the best experience we have had at any Sandals, and we have stayed at or visited all of them except those in the Bahamas. Special thanks to Michael at the front desk, Doreen the Front Desk Manager, Andre and Richard in entertainment, Kavine at Soon Come Back, and the fabulous GM Christopher. The Returning Guest Dinner at the Carlyle was far more fun than any other we have been to. And what other resort would have the GM, the Front Desk Manager, and the Soon Come Back Manager all waiting to hug you goodbye on your last day?
Entertainment: We were lame and went to bed early most nights, but there was always a band or dancing going on below. The few nights we stayed out late, we had fun. Admittedly, we were not there during the day most days because we went to Mo Bay early to go scuba diving. The Carlyle could organize group walking group trips from the resort to the hip strip in the morning or late afternoon to give guests a reason to stick around the property rather than head to Mo Bay or RC. And it might even bring guests over from those resorts. We walked it alone and were fine, but others might prefer a larger group.
Beach: The pictures on the web site are more deceptive than I thought--and I was not expecting much. The beach is really just a small spit of sand across the street. It is usually crowded, and you can't go over there without being offered "brownies" or other substances for purchase. We never tried it.
Diving: We took a cab every day to Mo Bay--and Sandals pays for the cab because it is before the Shuttle runs. This is a great benefit and usually 6 of us went daily. The diving itself was the best we have seen in Jamaica (compared to Ocho Rios, White House, and Negril). There is a lot more life on the reefs, including large eagle rays, sting rays, eels, and lots of fish. The diving staff at Mo Bay was fabulous. We want to thank Donovan, Fast Car, Winston, Owen, Doc, Twelve, Rochelle, Sergeant Major, and every one else at Water Sports for making our vacation amazing.
We already booked our return trip.
In sum, don't stay here if you want to wake up every morning and step out onto the beach and/or have a giant soaking tub in a large bedroom. Do stay here if you want to save a LOT of money, be treated like you are special, don't mind a clean but average size hotel room and bathroom, and don't mind a 10 minute shuttle ride to Mo Bay and 20 or so to the RC. NOTE: the shuttle does not run during lunch or dinner.
I could not give this hotel 5 stars only because I have stayed at Antigua and St. Lucia and know that other Sandals properties are truly on the beach. The lack of a true beach here is truly the only downside, but if you know that going in, you can make the right choice for you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •A romantic, intimate atmosphere with personalized service.•The real Jamaican experience; Jamaican smiles and attentive service to make you feel at home instantly.•Small in size yet big on charm and large in value.•Close proximity to Montego Bay 'Hip Strip', where you will find duty free shopping, restaurants, bars and clubs.•24 hour room service for all room levels.•Butler service available for our newly renovated, top category room, the Carlyle Club Ocean View Penthouse.•Complimentary shuttle bus to Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Montego Bay “Stay at one play at three”, where you can enjoy eighteen dining experiences.•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 Carlyle Hotel Montego Bay
- Sandals Hotel Montego Bay
- Sandals Inn Jamaica
- Sandals Jamaica
- Sandals Montego Bay
- Sandals Inn Montego Bay