The Food: was monotonous. There were several restaurants with international themes but aside from the Japanese Hibachi (where you need to make a reservation for good reason), no matter where you go, the menus simply offer different renditions of the same fare. For example, Grouper seemed to be the ‘fish of the week’ when we were there. Hence, there was Grouper at the French place, Grouper at the Italian place and Grouper at the Mexican place. Breakfast was enjoyable and overall, the food was better there, at the World Café, than at the restaurants on any given night for dinner. Given too, that each restaurant was further away from the other, the obligatory two-mile hikes to get something to eat was a nuisance after awhile – especially when it was raining. I happen to have arthritis in my spine so walking such distances back and forth twice per day for seven days absolutely killed me.
Did enjoy the coffee bar which was open all day in to the evening and it was nice to be able to pick up an iced mocha whenever I wanted – even if it meant walking half a mile to get over there.
The Front Desk/Lobby:
There are several front ‘desks’ off to the right but directly in your path on the left are two more who are travel reps. When you arrive – they waste no time in trying to get you to sign up for some kind of travel presentation for which you must present a credit card. In return, they will give you resort a hundred bucks or so in resort credits. JUST SAY NO. They’ll follow up with a phone call to your room – say no again. We learned our lesson in Mexico when we squandered half a day of beach time wandering through a new hotel and refusing to buy a timeshare. So glad we held our ground and didn’t fall for this similar scam.
A few days in, tried to explain to one of the front desk people, that for anyone with a disability or walking issues, it is a quite a distance to get to any of the restaurants – especially those located at the furthest end of the resort. I had noticed that here were older guests there, and a young man who was evidently recuperating from a leg injury. Knowing that they offered a ‘spa tax’ (driver and golf cart) for guests who book a massage (though mine never arrived) – I suggested that they offer a ‘dinner taxi’ as a courtesy for those who may have need or preference for one. Completely oblivious to my concerns, she went on to expound on her plan to never get sick and live well in to her 90s. After talking to her, exhausted and frustrated, I was thankful for the bar right across the hall.
While it’s true that every room has an ocean view –we were booked for an upper floor which undoubtedly offers an expanded site field, we ended up on the ground floor because our room ‘wasn’t ready’. It turned out to be very convenient and more than fine. Plus, I made friends with the stray cats that habitat the resort. I truly wish they would engage a local humane organization in a catch, spay/neuter, and release program to control the overpopulation of the cats on the island. I cringe at the thought that if left uncontrolled, they will resort to cruel extermination methods.
The room was quiet, spacious, clean and had adequate air conditioning, circulation, and hot water. Shower was terrific and the bed was very comfortable. However, because they have everything on a motion sensor/timer thingy, the clock never keeps time and the ceiling fan will shut off if you’re not in the room. Everyone we met complained about the same issue. Maybe it has been resolved by now.
Services and Miscellaneous Notes:
- No coffee in the lobby - a pet peeve of mine.
- Housekeeping times were sporadic but thorough.
- There is no self-service laundry but you can pay to have something done.
- They were good about cleaning up the jellyfish along the shore but several people were bit while scuba diving. Note: October is jellyfish season.
- The spa is pricey and I wouldn’t care but I don’t think it was worth the money. The day after my massage, I woke up with a stiff neck that was so extremely painful I was room bound all day.
- If you need to see the resort nurse – have $200 CASH available. I opted for standing under the hot shower for 20 minutes at a time.
- A small, useless tube of muscle cream in the sundries shop was $12.00. Likewise, for the 3-pack of Neosporin mini’s that I needed for the humongous blister that popped up on my chest after some crazy winged thing bit me at the open air hibachi grill at dinner one night.
- Every day they issue a flyer. Sometimes it’s left by the housekeeper in your room after you’ve already left for the day or else if you remember, you can look at one posted up by the towel house at the pool. Nevertheless, it would have been nice know about these flyers and that they contain daily events as well as listing the drink of the day. We did not realize what they were until just a few days before leaving.
- As far as booking any excursions, know that they range from the low hundreds to the swimming with the dolphins at $400 per/person. We chose not to spend the money or the day traveling on an uncomfortable bus, etc.
- I was not exactly thrilled with the class split of the St. James and the Wild Orchid on the same property. We cut through their lobby one night after dinner to shorten our million-mile trek back to the room and the look and feel of the Wild Orchid was different – more upscale – clearly more expensive.
- Tipping may not be required but it IS expected. If you want those drinks to contain a fair amount of liquor and to keep them coming on the beach – be sure to tip.
What to Pack
- More tanning lotion than you think you need- you don’t want to have to buy it there.
- Bug spray - there are flying creatures and sand fleas.
- TUMS – just because.
One last word of advice: Don’t bother with the rum. There’s nothing worth bringing back that you can’t get stateside. Since you can only carry-on when you leave Jamaica spare yourself the trouble of having to fit your bottles in to a checked bag if you have a connecting flight in the U.S.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
March 1, 2013
Dear Valued Guest,
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As guest satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, we do appreciate that you have taken the time to detail your experience during your recent stay.
We are sorry to hear that the variety of food on offer did not meet your expectations, I have passed on your comments to our Food & Beverage Director for review and implementation of necessary changes.
Thank you for your dinner- cart suggestion, for clarity we do have transportation available within the resort to assist guests with walking difficulties, this is available on request.
As you quite rightly pointed out, although both Resorts share the same property they are different in both décor and cost - St James being modeled with British Colonial-style architecture while Wild Orchid boast contemporary chic.
I am sorry to learn of your experiences with tipping and wish to further assure you that whilst we do allow our team members to accept tips or invitations from our guests, solicitation in any shape or form is strictly prohibited. This is an area that will be reiterated with team members and reinforced within our training programmers as we wish for our guests a most relaxing and enjoyable time without been made to feel pressured.
We are happy to note that you were indeed satisfied with some elements of your stay and trust that as we begin to realize improvements in our overall service delivery in the very short term, we will have the pleasure of being of service to you once again.
Our sincere gratitude to you once again for having taken the time to share your views.
Social Networking eConcierge/Executive Office Manager
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.