We returned to the Royal Plantation October 2012 for our 10 year Anniversary, after having spent our Honeymoon there in 2002. It was everything we remembered and MORE! The road from Montego Bay from Ocho Rios was very much improved and our driver was pleasant and very good. Upon arrival, we truly felt like we had returned home. The thing that truly sets this resort apart from others is the service; all the employee's seem genuinely happy to work there, and it really shows in their service. Nothing is too small to ask for. My husband had never tried a fresh coconut and upon asking for one, he received it within minutes. It was small things like this, and the wonderful room turn downs that make you feel extra special. Staying at the Royal Plantation is like living in an opulent, old world home where your every whim is satisfied immediately.
Room: We always book the lowest cost room at any resort as we spend very little time there, we like to live on the beach. The room was still quite nice, with a lovely sitting room, a VERY comfy bed, and a fully stocked fridge. Just tell them what you want in it and it will be there.
Food: The food at this resort is over the top. I have Celiac Disease and cannot tolerate any gluten. My husband is a Pescatarian ( vegetarian with fish ). We both had amazing food at every meal. Whether it was La Pappilion, The Terrace, or the Royal Grill, everything was great. My husband had the best lobster of his life at Jamaica Night ( Fridays ), the mango chutney and French Onion soup stand out in my mind. My favorite part was needing gluten free food can be stressful, and I lugged several safety items with me. Soon, I discovered that they delighted in serving me up GF lemon cake, or a sorbet and fruit, a GF choc cake, nothing was too much to ask for. I loved being able to completely relax, order what I wanted, know it would come out GF, and I was never once sick. I say the Food and Beverage Manager Frederico made it all seamless.
Beach: This is what I came to Jamaica for. The view is so stunning it is hard to get involved in my book, or any conversation. We love wading and the 2 beaches are perfect for this and searching for nature nuggets. The beaches are immaculately groomed every few hours. The East beach is the watersports area, and slightly more laid back. The West Beach has a Bar and diner, and is a bit rowdier, Sea Turtles hatched on the west beach but we missed it! Though both beaches are somewhat smaller, it is never a problem to get a place to lay. The resort never seems to have many people, it offers true respite from the world. Drinks are never hard to get, and sometimes mid morning or afternoon, they bring fruit skewers.
On the far west beach, beyond the giant chess, is a fresh water spring with a stone tub built over it. The water is very cold and can feel very good at mid day when it is hot and humid. Only for the brave!
Trips: If we had it to do over again, we would truly do less trips but only because being at the Royal starts to become a standard by which all else pales. We did enjoy Dolphin Cove ( 10 minutes away ) and enjoyed Dolphin Touch in the tank, but couldn't wait to return "home ". It was the same the next day when we visited Mystic Mountain for the Sky Explorer ( also 10 minutes away ) but it was the same. While the views were outstanding, we could hardly wait to return to our slice of heaven. Lastly, we booked an outside Island Routes trip with a private driver ( arranged by out butler Garey, at a great price ) to Glistening Waters ( 1 hour one way to Falmouth ). You must go in the evening, but it is one of 4 -5 places in the world where the water glows with bioluminesence. Tiny micro organisms make this truly magical. You can swim in the water, it is a bay and the water is calm, silty bottom, about 5 feet deep. VERY COOL, and worth the $25 each person + cab fare. One another note, the Grande Riviera next door to the Royal can be reached by a short 5 minute walk along the beach, or a short shuttle at any time. However, to us, the Grande had an overcrowded hotel feel, very much a party resort, and for our part, we had become spoiled by staff who treated us like they were glad to see us every time. It would be good for anyone who is unhappy with the more sedate feel at the Royal. On the other hand, the Wobbley Peacock, the bar at the Royal, could get pretty exciting some evenings!
Butlers : It may seem over the top, and you don't use them very very much, but it is nice when they give you your personal phone to reach them at any time, for any reason. They work in teams, and we were so pleased with ours : Garey and Kenton. They will make sure you have your dinners arranged, spruce your room up most night, and help with any trips you want. These folks can receive tips when you check out, and while it may seem un - all inclusive, these guys really earn it.
Atmosphere: The peacocks are a delight. We loved watching these mascots roost for the night and they will steal your home fries at breakfast. The grounds are breathtaking and I will say the library is lacking. Bring your own books! I left two spicy romances behind on accident, and I hope they made their way to the library. If you find them, enjoy. You're welcome. Your spouse may thank you too. The employees always seem to meet your every need, while also taking the time to talk to you on many subjects and share with you about their island and their daily lives. I really feel like we made life long friends. You never felt like anyone rushed anything, or you were bothering anyone, yet always the promptness! The nightly entertainments were always fun, the talents were remarkable. The party would go on the terrace til 10 -11pm ,and then continue in the bar. Sometimes people were having quite a good time, despite the small crowd. My husband and I, though in our 30's. aren't big party people, and would often spend after dinner swimming in the pool while the live music plays feet away, and eventually sip cocktails while reclining in the hot tub, watching lightening off in the distance over the ocean. The gaslights burning nearby add that extra touch. Quite romantic and we were able to relax as were never have before. Even other guests are wonderful, one British woman gave me all the daily newsletters that arrive in suite nightly after I lost mine. I love to save these little things, and at tea time, when she heard me lamenting this, she gave them to me ( just as Sherrill surprised me with a gluten free delicacy without me needing to ask ). This place is paradise.
Possible Downsides: The two beaches may seem small, but with only 70 some rooms, there is always plenty of room. The pool is smaller too. Some people seem to really care about this. Personally, I can't understand wanting to be at a pool when there are two gorgeous beaches to lounge at. I like that the maximum depth is 5 feet, but some people may not like this either. If a big pool is important, you can scoot over to the Grande next door. Their beaches cannot compare to the beaches at the Royal.
Weather: A tropical depression was breaking up as we arrived and it looked like it would rain all the time we were there from weather reports. For our first vacation alone with no kids in 10 years, we were hoping for better. However, as they told us upon arrival, rain in Jamaica is liquid sunshine. And they were right, it was warm. When it would happen, it was almost always over within 30 minutes. It was, as they say, no problem. The day we were leaving, staff was rushing around with an " Oh Crap" look in their eye. This was Tuesday. On Wednesday, Hurricane Sandy hit the resort. We were anxious to know all our dear ones were fine, and they were. It does seem we were almost certainly the last couple to renew their vows on that particular gazebo, as it was destroyed in the storm. We did this on our own, with no fanfare although the resort does have packages. It was our choice to do it like that.
If anything this resort seems to have improved over time. Their attentiveness to my dietary needs was especially great. So many people to name and thank : Frederico - food and beverage manager, Supratik - manager, Lucian, Both Adrians - beach butler and Terrace Adrian ( who makes your AM fruit smoothies YUM ) Taniqua, Sherrill, Richard - the boat captain who comforted me after my failed attempt at snorkling ( ALL my fault, I was trying to push myself but I cannot swim ), and so many more. We cannot wait to return to our home away from home.
East Wing is quieter, 2nd or 3d floor
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.