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Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

Audubon...
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Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

I did find this topic out there, but it was from 2011. So now I'm asking again.

We want Montego Bay because we don't want the long ride from the airport. Its to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Please post what you found better or worse at one vs the other. THANKS!!

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near Chicago
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1. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

What are you looking for in a resort?

Both SRC and SMB are great, in my opinion. In my opinion, SMB has a better beach. It is longer and deeper. I like SMB better because it runs along the ocean instead of back from the ocean.

But, you will find others with exactly the opposite opinion. So, if we all knew what you wanted it would be easier to let you know which one would be better for you.

Ontario Canada
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2. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

agree with max that it's important to know what your preferences are when looking at a resort. Both are great resorts, both have different vibes. When staying in MoBay we prefer SRC, but that isn't a knock against SMB...it's only because SRC more closely matches our preferences.

Chambersburg...
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3. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

SMB: SMB is across the street from the airport, therefore the ride is very short and the aircraft noise is at its loudest (yet shortest) at this location. Tons of new renovations just completed including an all new chic lobby/deck area and several accommodations buildings. The beach at this resort is longer and wider, yet not plentiful in shade so not having a Butler to reserve chairs under the palpas for you can potentially mean limited shade available. The resort itself is great for guests who really like a beach front resort feel. Most of the main social areas, bars, and restaurants are all along the beach with a promenade style feel to it. So that means overlooking the water from many of the dining and bar locations. Walking along the beach is much easier at this resort.

SRC: Is a touch further from the airport and is under the flight path so the aircraft noise is not as loud but lasts a tad longer. Newly renovated buildings as well and just had a revamp on the private offshore island and brand new over the water bungalows have been built along with it. The beach at this resort is not as large and is broken into small sectional coves. Yet it is plentiful with shade from the many almond trees and palpas. Therefore finding a place in the sun or shade is super easy for all guests. The resort itself is like a quaint tropical village and the main aspects like pools, restaurants and bars are all tucked away in various locations which helps create more variety and seclusion within the resort rather than everything feeling blocked into one area.

Both resorts offer the stay at 1, play at 3 so really you can enjoy and play at both as much as you like with no limits or passes.

Both resorts have great entertainment and nightlife depending on the crowd at any given night.

Both resorts have had recent updated renovations and additions to improve the overall experience. Yet both still have affordable room options for those who do not need all the bells and whistles.

Both resorts have small to med size pools. But SRC has a larger quantity and variety of pools than SMB including SRCs 2 swim up bars compared to SMBs 1 singular swim up bar.

Both resorts have great staff and service. We personally feel the staff is better at SRC but we could be biased because we stay there and therefore experience significantly more staff interaction than we do when visiting SMB.

Hope this helps.

Middletown, Ohio
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4. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

I agree with all posters. Both are excellent resorts. We prefer SMB because it is a bit more energetic and SRC.

Audubon...
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5. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

Thank you for your advice. Its very helpful.

I purposely didn't put our interests in the original question because we like it all. I love the beach, but if there is a nice pool (with a swim up bar) I like that too. We like lively nightlife, yet relaxing. I'm not really sure if we want the butler, but we like the rooms with the tranquility tub on the balcony/patio.

I think I'm leaning toward SRC........

Rochester, New York
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6. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

We've stayed at SMB maybe 5 times and SRC over 20 visits. We prefer SRC for the following reasons:

1. Smaller footprint and intimate atmosphere.

2. Clothing optional section of the SRC Private Island.

3. We've become friends with many of the SRC staff so it just feels like coming home.

But we also spend at least one or two nights over at SMB because we like Oleander, Cucina and Stewfish for dining...and we're not big fans of the weekly beach party...so on SRC beach party night we head over to SMB for dining and whatever entertainment they have that evening.

Pennsylvania
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7. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

We stayed at SMB in 2015 and spent a half day at SRC during our trip. Our initial thought then was "we couldn't see ourselves staying here". That's what I actually wrote in a TripAdvisor post back then. We thought the resort was small and I guess it was just "different" than SMB. But then when we went back to SMB and reflected on our half day at SRC over the next few days. We kept thinking how awesome the vibe was at SRC and we were comparing our daily interactions against what we experienced at SRC. The people...both staff and guests...were so welcoming, nice, friendly, open, talkative, respectful. Just awesome. And we didn't see that same kind of vibe at all back at SMB. We felt alone and on our own. We ended up booking SRC 2016 and it's our absolutely favorite of the 3 Sandals we've been to in Jamaica (the other being Sandals South Coast when it was Whitehouse in 2014).

And when we stayed there in 2016...wow. It faaaaarrrrrrr exceeded our satisfaction of our stays at SMB and SRC. We got to experience a full week of that awesome vibe and it was a fantastic vacation. The staff there truly are your friends when you leave and they took such great care of us. It's as if they've all gone through customer service training at the Ritz Carlton...although it is absolutely genuine.

And the beach......oh yeah. We're beach snobs and don't even go into the pools except maybe for a few minutes. Soft sandy beach, plenty of shade, a "zero entry" style of beach going into the crystal clear waters that are always calm. Oh yeah. We set up camp under our palapa every single day.

We're still in the process of exploring other Sandals resorts in the chain but SRC is the only stop for us in Jamaica. We wouldn't even consider any other Sandals location in Jamaica.

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8. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

Is SRC very low key? is there anything to do outside of the resort? Was the ride from the airport awful? I love pools more than beach and I like "upscale" vs old resort feel but I don't want to be bored to death since I am traveling with my friend and we are single.....worrying that MB pools are to small and the hotel/rooms are outdated?

Chambersburg...
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9. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

Sweetnickki

Not sure what you mean by low key. SRC is a very quaint resort. You can walk from one end of the property to the other in 10 minutes give or take. Everything is spread out nicely yet easy to get to. Because everything is spread out and tucked away throughout the resort, there are plenty of places for seclusion, relaxation, romance, yet plenty of areas to find more social fun and activities to enjoy. There is a little bit for everyone. But its certainly not a huge, overwhelming or busy resort if thats your concern.

I am not sure why you feel the ride would be awful. It takes less than 10 minutes on an air conditioned bus.

This resort has several pools. None of them are large but there is plenty of them to choose from including both quiet and secluded as well as social swim up pool where they have music and fun activities that happen during the day.

This resort is not upscale or modern. While it has had recent renovations, it still maintains the feeling of being a quaint tropical village on a deserted island which is part of why I love it so much. I can stay at a hotel anywhere. this does not feel like a hotel. if you are looking for chic and upscale, this is not the resort for you.

All sandals resorts are couples only. You and your friend may feel out of place as sandals are vacations designed for couples in love. While its not unheard of to have to occasional girls trip, you will find 99% of resort guests will be couples on romantic vacations. the entertainment, dining and resort ambiance is all geared around couples vacations so you and your friend may be more comfortable as another chain that is adults only instead of couples only.

Kitchener Ontario
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10. Re: Sandals Royal Caribbean vs Sandals Montego Bay?

Sweetnickki - you may want to clarify if you are referring to the same resorts as the original post. When you ask about the ride to the resort - was it awful ? - both SMB and SRC are only about a 5min transfer.

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