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“Great Place ......almost!” 3 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 41 Hotels in Ocho Rios
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“Great Place ......almost!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2005

There is no question that the RP is a beautiful property and would be a great vacation. There are just some things that in my opinion set it slightly below what the advertising says. I also believe it is not nearly as nice as a Leading Hotel of the World should be.

For starters the ride to Ochie is long and bumpy but if you researched at all you should be expecting that and it really is not that bad. It actually gives you a really good look as to how Jamaicans live and some insight to their culture. The other posts are correct it is very third world but again if you did any research you would know that. There is not one area outside the hotel that was not “sketchy.” The area where cruise ships port is very dirty, disorganized, and has an almost scary feel to the area. I thought before I came that the area around the port would be at least slightly commercial – but no. There are men with guns in the shopping centers which ultimately seem safe but do add a little tension on a day in town. It is Jamaica and if you go in knowing that than you may love it. Regardless RP makes a nice hideaway from the rest of Jamaica. Also we rented a jet ski (which to hotel doesn’t do) and they took us to the property literally adjoining the RP (we walked over the chess pier by beach! sort of scary) and there were about 25 Jamaicans all over a tiny beach just off to the side of the resort. It was a very sketchy house but the 3rd world atmosphere is hidden from the resort but it does encompass every aspect of Jamaica.

Accommodation: The rooms are a different story – there is no question they did a great job in every room with decorations and amenities. We stayed in the Prime minister suite which if you are going all out I highly recommend. We looked inside and saw the basic room and they were far from basic. I would say that the accommodations in RP are the best thing going for the RP. There were some small hiccups though – a handel fell off the door – shower knob broke – cable went out – ac went out for 4 hours - nothing earth shattering but for what was advertised to be the a leading hotel of the world needed some smoothing over.

One side note to the accommodations if you are going to stay in the Villa Plantana please feel free to email me at drinksal0t@yahoo.com (the o is a zero). We were to stay there originally but found the accommodation utterly disappointing in comparison to the advertisement. It is a nice Villa but it is misrepresented –especially when in comparison to the palatial look of the hotel and the prime minister suite. I dont reccomend it for most occasions.

Staff – everyone was extremely fun and happy and nice – no complaints at all – just some small hiccups – the staff is happy to oblige to any request except when the request is not one they are trained to do. What I mean is that it is obvious that the men and women working there are trained well to do what they do, but don’t have the ability to think outside the box – just what they have been taught. I don’t mean that I asked for 1000 brown m&m’s or anything but for example our butler was happy to bring items off the menu from any restaurant at the hotel, but when we wanted appetizers from one and main dishes from another I thought his world was going to fall apart. He was confused and it looked like he couldn’t process the request. Rather than just thinking that he could place 2 different orders at 2 different times – we went through about 4-5 phone calls with him going to different members of staff getting authorization and telling him how it could be done. There were about 2 or 3 such incidents. I don’t want to sound like a snob but when advertised to such a high level, compliance should be at the same level. Whenever we would have the butler bring our food to our room they would literally spend 15-25 min just putting napkins at the exact mathematical angle with the condiments exactly spaced and they would even spend time placing dirty dishes in an organized manner on the tray to take out!! The first time they did it we were watching tv and thought they would quickly plop our food down but after 15 min we felt uncomfortable. Every time after that we just asked them to leave the food on the try and we would get to it – the first time we asked that I got the same “I am going to melt down look” and he even made a lunge at the coke bottle and popped the top after assuring him we were ok. It was nice but bordering crazy.

Hotel/Atmosphere – There is no question the Hotel is beautiful and the facilities are well maintained. Every room in the RP is perfect and all facilities and activities are great. Sure the beach and pool are small but they are perfect for the size of the hotel. Beach service was great but sometimes there wasn’t a server around. Granted we were there in the off season – I don’t know how crowded the pool/beach get but we had them basically to ourselves. Hey if you come in peak time you get peak crowds!!

Food – I thought all the food was excellent! I am now very obsessed with Jerk seasoning. The menu online is not 100% accurate but that is ok. The wait for food I did not feel was extremely long ever also. The only hiccups were that we had food forgotten 2 times. not huge but yet a gain a small hiccup!

Problems : As I stated earlier everything is really nice but just seems to have a small hiccup here and there. It is like the hotel and staff are 90% great but that 10% is noticeable and should not exist in a Worlds Leading Hotel. Here is some of the 10%

1.When we changed rooms fromthe Villa to the suite management did not even offer to decrease our rate which was about a 40% drop in rate. If we had not asked at the end it would not have happened – very unprofessional.
2.I truly (after reading all of these reviews) did not believe that someone being upgraded would affect my trip but I was wrong. Maybe we got unlucky but this woman was upgraded and we knew because she wouldn’t shut up about it. She approached us on the beach and asked us where we were staying and made us feel bad fro being in the nicest room in the resort on our HONEYMOON!! She told another honeymooning couple “Oh living off daddy’s money?” It was rude and obtrusive and I don’t know if that happens often but the simple fact is that when you upgrade someone who could not afford the place you are in you bring in a personality that is on a different level. Rich not rich whatever but you run the risk of bringing in pretty course people.
3.There is a lot of false advertising going on.
a.The Villa is falsely represented - email me!
b.The Golf aspect is misrepresented. There is a golf course you can be shuttled to but ALL Sandals resorts use it as well as anyone else who just wants to go golfing in Jamaica – So the service there is sub par - and you are required to hire a Jamaican caddy. You will have to make your own impression about Jamaicans to see if you enjoy that or not.
c.The caviar bar is litteraly 5 bar stools inside La Papillon. I thought it was its own bar or a side room but you sit in the front of the resturant which is not that big – the caviar is very very good and well prepared buuuut it is very misleading.

4.We overheard a couple who got married there talking with management about the fact that the videographer had butchered their marriage video also – so heads up.

Overall the place is beautiful and the staff is great – as I said earlier it is 90% heaven. The 10% that has not been tightened up yet is the problem. You will more than likely have a great time but know there is the chance that this resort still does not have its ducks in a row. Also, please don’t let these reviews fool you because a lot of the raving reviews are just people who got bumped up into RP. If you have the money to afford the nicest places in the world I would put a lot of places above RP but for what it is and if you really want to hit Jamaica RP is worth a shot.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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  • 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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Cambridge England
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2005

We had the most marvellous holiday with nothing but excellence from the moment we arrived. Superb ocean front suite with wonderful freshly cooked meals with really excellent fine wines. The staff were very friendly and attentive and the Management spoke to all guests. We have already booked for next year

  • Stayed May 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
New York
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2005

Like the couple from Virginia who wrote another review earlier, I also got married at the Royal Plantation on April 23, 2005 (Hi guys!). It was beautiful. Everything was perfect and my husban and I were treated like royalty. When we first arrived we stayed in the Honeymoon Suite (the same as the VA couple) but for our wedding we switched to the Villa Plantata (which I would highly reccomend for a private wedding) and it was amazing and totally worth the money. We had a butler, a private pool and our own personal limo. We also took full advantage of the Royal Plan and the Spa. Andre, our wedding coordinator took care of every little thing, down to the color of my bridesmaids flowers. The weather was great and so were the staff. I can't wait to return! I am an extremely picky person and I fell in love with the place. If you plan on getting getting married in Jamaica this is the place to do it!

  • Stayed April 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Washington, DC
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2005

My husband and I went to RP for our honeymoon. RP exceeding every one of our expections.

The only bumpy part of the trip was the ride from the airport. However, we still laugh about our little adventure. Once, we arrived at the resort, we were in heaven.

We were greeted with champagne and cool towels as we began the check-in process. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful.

Our room was beautiful and spacious. We had a premium suite with seating area. The view from our room was breathtaking. The mini bar was stocked with soda, beer, rum, water, etc. They would replenish it every day.

We loved the fact that the resort is smaller. The beach and restaurants were never crowded. We enjoyed having so much privacy. This is not a resort for people who love non-stop action, nightlife, and parties. But if you are looking for a place to escape and RELAX....RP is perfect. There was a good mix of ages represented. There were several young honeymooners like us.

The food was fabulous. Le Papillon is top notch. We savored every meal we had there. The beach cafe had perfect lunch options...especially the turkey gumbo and jerk chicken sandwich. Room service was better than expected. We enjoyed sleeping in and eating breakfast in the room.

We were blown away when the staff brought around a plate of fresh fruit as we sunbathed. You just held up a flag, and they would bring you a delicious frozen drink. Don't leave without trying the Hummingbird!

Luckily, we had a lot of spa credit and got to enjoy the services they offered. Our favorite was the couples massage, which was incredibly romantic with the candlelit decor. It was the best massage I ever received.

The piano bar is nice area to hang out. It was so much fun getting to to know the bartenders. They would mix the most delicious drinks. The liquor was top shelf.

They have a small but nice workout facility with a TV.

The pools are large, clean, and beautifully landscaped. We loved the big hot tub.

The beaches are beautiful. They have many places to escape. We loved curling up in the hammock chair.

We only left the resort once for a shopping trip. It was fun, and we got some great souvenirs.

As soon as we can, we will return. I have recommended RP to everyone I know. If you want a worry-free, luxurious vacation...RP is an exceptional choice.

  • Stayed June 2003
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
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Richmond, VA
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2005

Mt wife and I got married at The Royal Plantation on April 23rd. There were 34 of our closest family and friends there for the occasion and I must say it was FANTASTIC! We all stayed at the resort which has 77 beautifully decorated suites (which are all ocean front and view). Some stayed for 3 nights and others stayed longer. My wife and I stayed for 9 nights/10days. We got very lucky with weather as it did not rain at all during out stay (which is rare for the Carribean). We were all on the Royal Plan and I would recommend that anybody traveling there pay the extra amount to upgrade to the all-inclusive option.

ROOMS: The resort was unbelievable. The rooms were very clean, spacious, and each had a fabulous view of the ocean. Not one of our guests had a single complaint about the rooms. There is a full bar in each room (Gordon's GIn, Absolut Vodka, Jonny Walker Red Label Scotch, and Appleton Rum). Any / all of these bottles can be traded out for a better (premium) brand or different liquor alltogether with one simple call to the front desk. There is a mini fridge with any mixer you can imagine, juices, cokes, Red Stripe, etc. We were upgraded to the Honeymoon Grande Lux Suite and it was VERY nice (corner room with great views and a balcony, jacuzzi tub, separate shower). We loved it.

FOOD: There are three main restaurants on the resort. All food is served a la carte - there are no buffets. We loved this as each meal was a relaxing experience. The presentation of every meal is superb. We were there a while and tried just about everything in the menu. I did not eat one thing that I didn't love. It's the best food I've ever eaten at any resort hands-down. Pay attention to the dress code on the website for each restaurant as they are enforced. The staff simply asks that you look nice for dinner (no sandals, t-shirts, etc). It's not a big deal.

STAFF: One word - amazing. Our entire group was treated lilke royalty. The staff does everything for you. They put the napkin in your lap before each meal, serve each drink / meal with a smile, and each staff member was a pleasure to be around. There was always someone around asking if we needed anything and they were always happy to go the extra mile with any request we had. Remember, you are in the Carribean and things take a little bit longer that they do in the states. The resort almost forces you to relax and enjoy things as much as possible. We never waited long for anything so don't let that be an issue in your decision to visit the resort. By the time we left, just about every single staff member knew our names and what we liked to drink / eat.

SPA: VERY nice. We all had something done at the spa. Everyone really enjoyed the staff (very professional) and the treatments. You can expect to pay comparable prices as you would in the states for spa treatments. Everything gets billed to your room and all prices include gratuity.

BEACH / POOL: We did a lot of research before deciding on the RP so we knew that the beach was smaller than some other resorts. However, when you only have 77 suites, how big of a beach do you need? There are two sides of the beach and each has ample room for all guests. The staff keeps the beach VERY clean and the ocean water was crystal clear everyday we were there. There are no waves and no current as the beach is protected by the reef (about 250 yards off shore).

The resort has a pool and a 2-tier jacuzzi. I, personally, did not get in the pool but did spend a lot of time in the jacuzzi (which was very nice). The pool was very clean but who needs a pool when you're in Jamaica? There were several people at the pool everyday and there is always someone around taking drink orders (beach and poolside).

WEDDING: Since we went to Jamaica to get married, this was the most impressive part of our stay. All we knew about RP was what we read on this site, so we were (naturally) nervous - hoping things would go well. We had read a few reviews that mentioned a wedding coordinator named Andre. To say that Andre took very good care of us would be a HUGE understatement. He took care of every single detail and made sure that our wedding day was beautiful. I'm not sure if RP knows how lucky they are to have such a gentleman working for them. The ceremony was very nice, we had a reception afterwards for all of our family and friends, and then a dinner that night for everyone. Andre took care of everything! Very professional, caring, and thoughtful. He planned the day just as he would his own wedding day and truly cared about every small detail. If we had gotten married in the states and hired a wedding cooredinator here, I don't think we would have received anywhere close to the service / professionalism that we did from Andre. Quite simply, he made the day perfect (our entire vacation perfect, actually). Thank you Andre - from the bottom of our hearts.

OVERALL: Out of 34 guests, most of them VERY well-traveled, we knew there would be somebody that wasn't pleased with something. Well, that was not the case at all. Each of our guests were treated the same as we were and they all hope to return to Royal Plantation soon. There was not one single complaint among the group. We all loved the food, staff, rooms, beach, spa, and Andre. The resort is very well-run. The staff ensure that your vacation is perfect. What more could you ask for?

If you have any questions about the resort, our wedding, or any particulars that we did not list, please feel free to contact us. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. (craigbagby@hotmail.com). We would highly recommend the resort to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation, a beautiful resort, fabulous food, great rooms, and a staff that rivals any other.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2005

My husband and I loved the Royal Plantation. We thought the food was excellent and service was outstanding. All the employees are very friendly and cater to your every need. The beach is beautiful and very quiet. The beach butler service is wonderful. The rooms were very nice and comfortable with spectacular ocean views. We would highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a relaxing, low-key vacation. Keep in mind that the ride from the airport is a miserable two hours but we think it was well worth it!

  • Stayed April 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Columbia, South Carolina
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2005

Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! My husband and I went for our honeymoon and definitely plan to go back. I travel a great deal and this was the best vacation I have ever taken- hands down: the staff is excellent( they are all very professional and you can tell they take their work seriously), the food was great, drinks were even better- you must try a "mellow mood"; the rooms are clean, spacious, colorfully decorated, and well-maintained. What I loved most about this facility was the intimacy of a small resort- there are maybe 70 rooms on the whole grounds: so it was very peaceful and not a whole lot of activity, bars and restaurants are never crowded , you are seated and served right away and after a few days you get to know the other couples vacationing ( one couple got so familiar the invited us to "SWING"- definitely an isolated incident-don't get the wrong idea). The exterior and interior are beautifully done. The beach is beautiful and well-kept- never crowded and you can always find a private spot just to hang out. Entertainment was great- however I'm a huge fan of reggae music-so I'm a bit biased. We booked through a small firm and got the "stay at one-play at six deal". We ventured out about mid-week to some of the other partner resorts and even ate dinner at one: we still loved Royal Plantation the best ........definitely an appropriate name: you are treated like royalty from the time you are arrive until the time you leave.

  • Stayed July 2002
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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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
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 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Business Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Plantation 5*
Number of rooms: 74
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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