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“Sandals at it's best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Royal Plantation

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Sandals Royal Plantation
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Main Street, Ocho Rios 2, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #3 of 39 hotels in Ocho Rios
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Sandals at it's best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

We have just returned from our best holiday ever. Before going we were a little unsure of the butler service never having experienced it before. We had nothing to worry about - our butlers Ricardo and Orayne made us feel very special and spoiled always there with advice and help when we needed them without being at all intrusive. Our room (Coconut Grove) was lovely and always beautifully clean with the mini bar constantly well stocked with the ice bucket always filled for us returning from the beach. We were running low on coffee one day and asked Orayne if we could have some more. 10 packets later........
The wobbly peacock with Seantastic and Shakin Aiken and Yanque (Yanee) just to name a few was great fun with not only great food but great drinks including my favourite the dirty banana and appleton's rum and ginger beer. Entertainment in the wobbly peacock in the evening was fantastic especially Andre on the piano and with the help O'Shane and Jason as a support act.
Le Papillion French restuarant is superb and the Surf and Turf at the Royal Grill is not to be missed. We also tried the Jamaican restuarant and China Doll at Hillside part of Grand Riveria next door. Both were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed both.
The beaches West and East are scrupulously clean and you are never short of a drink from the beach butlers Cleon, Fiona and Adrian - try the Bob Marley, Cleon will love you for it. :-
All in all an absolutely fabulous resort and holiday with one of the best features being the wonderful friendly staff. Thank you to Mark for suggesting trying the Hillside restuarants and for being so approachable and welcoming. Good luck to Peter Fraser on his new adventure in Grenada.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this review, June 23, 2013
We're so delighted to read that you had such an amazing experience with us at Sandals Royal Plantation. We always want our guests to feel relaxed and worry-free in a comfortable, luxurious environment. I am happy that we were able to achieve that goal during your stay.

Thank you for taking the time to write this review. We can't wait to welcome you back in the future.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Norfolk, Virginia
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
146 helpful votes 146 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

I should start my stating that my husband and I had high expectations of our vacation. We read the reviews of Sandals Royal Plantation and have stayed at other 5 star resorts… unfortunately this resort did not meet our expectations. The resort itself is beautiful. It is very small, however it is well appointed. The landscaping is picturesque and the décor unique. The two beaches are tiny; however they seemed to be proportionate to the resort size. There does appear to be an issue with “reserved” beach chairs though. A few mornings we were the first people on the beach, yet multiple chairs had magazines laying on them. The daily resort “newsletter/bulletin” addressed “beach protocol” daily. The bar service on the beach was nice, however the level of service we experienced was not nearly as good as other reviewers remarked it was.

The restaurants and food service left much to be desired. During our very first meal at the resort (at the Royal Cafe), our server commented something to the effect of “What’s the rush? You’re on vacation” when I asked him for the drink menu three times. Not exactly the type of customer service I expect at a 5 star resort. Our first dinner at the resort was disappointing as well. After waiting 45 minutes for our meals during Italian Night at The Terrace, my husband and I were both served the wrong dishes and then had to wait while our meals were prepared again. A few nights later during the “Jamaican Night” at The Terrace, we were seated at a table along the outskirts of the patio dining area and promptly forgotten about. After watching all of the tables around us being served and attended to, we stopped a server from another table and told her that we thought we were forgotten about. The server apologized and a lead/manager did come over and apologize, however this did not change the fact that the service was so lacking.

Breakfast at The Terrace was pretty basic and the menu was the same each morning. Many mornings the egg/omelet station was not ready when breakfast service began. One morning we went to the “continental breakfast” (which is served from 0630-0730) and found only fruit. Since the breakfast service left something to be desired, we ordered room service 2 times. The food was satisfactory, however the first time the food arrived 30+ minutes after the requested delivery time. The second time the food arrived 30 minutes before the requested time.

The French restaurant, Le Papillon, was by far the best restaurant at the resort. I wish that we had dined there earlier in the week as we would have chosen to dine there instead of at The Terrace the other nights. (Note: We enjoyed 4 wonderful meals next door at the Sandals Grande Riviera. A huge thanks to our butler, Neil, for suggesting that we try Soy Sushi Bar.) The Wobbly Peacock Pub at the Royal Plantation was also nice. The servers were all pleasant and their service was good.

The rooms are beautifully appointed and quite comfortable. All rooms have a great view of the ocean. I enjoyed being able to sit in front of the doors and look across the water.
Other amenities/services: The spa is nice, with prices comparable to other resorts. The gift shop is small. I was hoping for a better selection of quality gifts. The shuttles back and forth between Royal Plantation and Grande Riviera (and between RP and the Sandals golf course) are available on demand. I would suggest visiting the Ochi Beach Club at the Sandals Grande Riviera if you are looking for larger beaches and pools (and additional restaurant options). The Dive Shop and staff at the Ochi Beach Club were great.

I will definitely try another Sandals resort; however we will not be returning to the Royal Plantation. This was not a 5 star resort; however we certainly paid 5 star prices. I really wish that the service had been better.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Dallas, Texas
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
117 helpful votes 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

My husband and I enjoyed a great week at Sandals Royal Plantation from May 25 - June 1st. Our travel agent, the wonderful Amy McHugh of Dream Makers Vacation Services, booked this for us after we spent a week there last May and decided we had to return. This week was as good,if not better, than our previous week. Amy takes care of all the details and had arranged my birthday dinner for our first night of our trip as well as letting our butler know we wanted to take advantage of the spa upon arrival. We had a super couples massage and then back to our room to prepare for dinner at the French restaurant. The meal was fabulous and topped off by a special birthday cake and serenade by the wait staff.

We got into our routine of gym for an hour, then breakfast at the Terrace on the covered patio and then back to the room to get ready to hit the beach. Once on the beach, Adrian and Cleon took care of us from drinks to lunch to checking in on us for a chat. Tip: For lunch have the jerk shrimp from the Royal Cafe! The watersports team that takes care of the west beach guests/chairs/towels did an amazing job. As soon as you arrived on the beach, they would help you find a chair, set up the umbrella and provide you with beach towels. With most of our days spent at the beach, we really enjoyed this top-notch service from all of them. Adrian even helped us negotiate a wooden giraffe to bring home from the beach vendor.

In the evenings we ate at the restaurants at Royal Plantation with two exceptions. We went to Kelly's dockside one evening at Sandals Grande Riveria next door. It was nice but nothing special. We were happy to return to Royal Plantation though we do think we would enjoy staying at SGR someday.

The best dinner of the week was a custom dinner that Sean arranged for us. Sean is a bartender at the Wobbly Peacock bar and we always chatted with him in the evenings. He once asked if we liked sushi (we do) and asked if he could arrange a special treat for us one evening. We were super excited and looked forward to this. He told us to arrive at 8pm on Wednesday in the pub and he'd take care of everything. We arrived and he brought us both "Seantastics" - his signature martini and then shortly thereafter we had 2 trays of beautiful sushi in front of us. We then had an appetizer of spring rolls, a trio of chicken, shrimp and beef with steamed rice. It was such a treat!!! For desert, we had a lemon tart and lava cake. Such a great evening and such a wonderful surprise from Sean. We see big things in Sean's future!!!

Our room butlers, Sheldon and Ricardo, were also excellent and took great care of us throughout the week. At check-in, we were advised of an upgrade but it wasn't available until the 2nd day. No problem - Ricardo helped get us all moved and settled in (we didn't fully unpack knowing we were moving.) Our new room was perfect for us - on the west side of the resort just at the top of the steps from the beach on the ground floor. No one on either side of us and near the elevator. So convenient.

Our room included a sunset catamaran cruise which we enjoyed as well as a 30 minutes couples massage. We enjoyed our initial spa visit so much we booked again TWICE later in the week twice when we were advised of specials by the spa ladies coming around on the beach. During our last visit, we had lots of time to take advantage of the steam room and sauna (separately) since our services were back to back instead of together as a couple's massage.

We are diamond return guests and definitely enjoyed the perks. We were presented with a lovely wooden box with coffee cup set and Jamaican coffee at the return guest dinner. We were also invited to and attended a diamond guest luncheon hosted by Mr Fraser, the GM, and Kelly Ann from SCB desk. This was really a treat and hope other resorts adopt this practice.

All in all, we had a wonderful time. We are super excited about Mr Fraser's new position as the GM at the new Sandals in Grenada and will be booking there for 2015. I am certain that the remaining staff at Royal Plantation will carry on in his tradition and keep the Royal a super-special vacation destination. We'll definitely be back to Royal Plantation in the future...

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals Resorts Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this review, June 15, 2013
We're so thrilled to read of your exceptional stay at Sandals Royal Plantation. Our GM, Mr Fraser and our staff have certainly made an impression on you. We are so proud to hear your kind words. Thank you so much for the feedback.

We look forward to welcoming you back for another amazing stay or perhaps seeing you in Grenada for a new and exciting experience.

Happy Travels!


Cassie C.
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San Diego
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013

It saddens me to write this review because my wife and I went to this resort on our honeymoon 5 years ago and had one of the greatest trips of our life. We decided to go back and have another amazing week in paradise. Sadly, we were very disappointed.

This resort was not a Sandals back in 2008. It was owned by the same corporation, but was run separately. On that trip, the food was wonderful and the rooms were clean and comfortable. They made a point of letting you enjoy yourself while they met your every need. When they rebranded as a Sandals, the experience changed greatly. The biggest impact was the food and the staff. In 2008, every night we had lobster tails in a curry sauce. On this trip, it was mass produced meals that didn't match the price point for this resort. The staff had also lost its charm and everyone was looking for a tip.

What really ruined this trip was our welcome back meal with the managers of the property. I mentioned that I noticed the quality and the service of the resort had been somewhat hanged by the Sandals rebranding and his was response was punch in the face. He said that the most important thing was the resort was making more money and the service was not the focus. My wife laughed thinking it was a joke and the manager was visibly angry. It sounds crazy, but I was hurt. This was the best resort I had ever stayed at and now it is a business that doesn't care as much about the customers as the bottom line.

Summary: This is not a bad resort, but I would definitely not recommend it like I used to. The food is low quality, the butlers are always looking for a tip and the staff has moved away from the customer comes first. The price point is too high for what you get and I would definitely recommend you look at other resorts on the island. I hope one day this resort will find its roots again, but until then, we will be staying somewhere else in Jamaica.

Room Tip: The double digit rooms on the beach are the best.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Cassie C, Sandals Resorts Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this review, June 15, 2013
We regret to hear that we did not meet your expectations for service and quality during your return visit. We have many guests who feel the direct opposite and have boasted of our luxurious accommodations and stellar service. I'm surprised to hear of your conversation with one of our managers. Maintaining a high level of service provided has always been our top priority and we certainly strive to go above and beyond not matter what.

As hoteliers we realize that there is always room for improvement and feedback is crucial in this process so we thank you for your review. We are in a constant state of evolving our resorts and updating our amenities so I will be sure to send your feedback to our General Manager.

We hope to welcome you back in the future for a stay that will exceed your expectations.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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Leawood, Kansas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

This was our first visit to an all-inclusive and the Royal Plantation not only dispelled our preconceived notions about Sandals/all-inclusive resorts, but proved to be the best vacation we have ever taken. We do not like repeating trips because there is so much of the world to see, however, the Royal Plantation has so much to do and is so lovely, we have already booked a return in 2014 with our adult children.

Our butlers, Neil and Jermaine ensured our time at the resort was outstanding. We had connectivity issues with our cells in Jamaica. Jermaine arranged out Butler phone to make international calls until we got our phones working properly. This was of the utmost importance because our daughter was ill at home and we had to be able to communicate. This was handled quickly and effectively, enabling us to then enjoy the rest of our trip! Neil brought us wonderful treats every late afternoon, including breadfruit chips. We loved them so much that we asked for more. He actually fried a fresh batch for us. We didn't know how we would like or if we really needed butlers, but it made our time spent at the resort the ultimate in pampering and service.

Royal Plantation has wonderful activities to engage in. We particularly loved the beach front with all of the fun things like paddle boarding, wind surfing (we took lessons), kayaks, sailing, snorkeling etc. We could also use the Sandals Resort next door when we wanted other offerings, but we found we preferred the food and pace of the Royal Plantation. A highlight each day was taking breadcrumbs from breakfast to feed the peacocks at the resort. They are very tame and would eat right out of our hand.

We look forward to our return!

Room Tip: We selected the room with the balcony. It was well worth it because: we felt like we were still on...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Galloway, New Jersey, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

My wife and I will be visiting what has become our home away from home in August. Over the years things have changed a bit (most for the better), but one thing that has never changed is the degree of of relaxation offered. Peter Fraser has put his heart and soul into this wonderful hotel as he has served as the General Manager for over a decade. If you are looking to relax, enjoy great food, fantastic views, exceptional service, and basically be pampered..... This is the place for you! If you are looking for a huge resort, stay up all night and party kinda vacation, you will be disappointed. Some of our friends think we are nuts going to the same place all the time, we feel why mess with relaxing perfection???
Rainer and Kathy B

Room Tip: all rooms face the ocean. We prefer elevation to get the best views but that means walking up more s...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals Resorts Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this review, June 15, 2013
Thank you for the kind words. We look forward to welcoming you back for your 13th visit. Sandals Royal Plantation is considered your home in paradise.

Have a fantastic stay!


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed at the Sandals Royal Plantation for a family destination wedding. Everyone working at the resort was more than accommodating and very friendly. The rooms were nicely decorated and the beds were comfortable. I loved being able to open the french doors to let in the ocean air everyday! While the food at the restaurants was great, there are only, at most, two restaurants open for any given meal. Once we tired of these selections, we took the two minute shuttle ride to the larger Sandals resort next door. The butlers took care of everything to help us get over there - make reservations, call the shuttle, escort us to the restaurant, etc. They made it very easy. My only complaint is that there were times that things seemed unorganized. We had booked all of our excursions ahead of time, and one of them happened to be when a cruise ship was in town. I was informed that the cruise ships did not go on this particular tour. Twenty minutes before we were supposed to leave for said tour, it was cancelled on us because cruise passengers do in fact book the tour. The money was refunded, so no problem there. It was the late notice that bothered us. So, my advice is to:
1) Check online pre-trip when the cruise ships are docked. The lady helping us schedule everything gave me incorrect information. http://www.cruiseportinsider.com/ochoriosschedule2013.html#.UbYLOHd0vos
2) Even if they are calling you and telling you to book everything before you get there, it is not necessary. We were told the French Restaurant would be booked, but there was no problem making reservations the day of. Excursions were easily booked the day before. Spa services were the same.
Otherwise, a great hotel with lovely people!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Plantation

Address: Main Street, Ocho Rios 2, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
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:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Plantation 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•All suite resort and all are serviced by butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers•2 private beaches with beach butler service•The Caribbean’s only Champagne and Caviar Bar•Exquisite International, Mediterranean, Caribbean and French cuisine•24 hour in suite dining•Complimentary transfers from this resort to all Sandals Resorts•Voted Sandals Resorts “World Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Five Star Diamond Award - American Academy of Hospitality Sciences ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Plantation Hotel Ocho Rios
Royal Plantation Ocho Rios
Royal Plantation Jamaica
Sandals Royal Plantation Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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