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“Vacation Paradise”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Vacation Paradise”
Reviewed February 5, 2013

The Sandals Royal Caribbean is in a location, convenient to the airport, 15 minutes away. Although planes do fly over when leaving they leqave quickly and do not create an annoyance for more than 30 seconds.
I have been at other sandals locations, although similar in beauty and conveniences, they are somwhat a distance from 1 to 2 hours away on winding roads near hillsides which I found to be inconvenient.
The service and food are excellent, although at times getting reservations in specific restaurants could be somewhat unavailable due to the limiterd seats in the specific restaurant.
The property is well kept and extremely clean as well as all the rooms which I have been four times as of this date and have already signed up for another vacation in January 2014.
The weather at the time I recently went had 15 minutes of rain and 2 hours of clouds over 8 days and the weather was just perfect although sometimes the winds were a little strong.
I would highly recommend this resort, although any SANDALS resort that I have frequented were perfect and most of the time went out of their way to make your vacation quite memorable.

Room Tip: pay early!!!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank roadrunnerbrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Florida
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

I have been to 9 Sandals so I am very familiar with the Sandals experience. This Sandals like the others have the best staff. However staff is only part the experience. As a return guest I have always been upgraded to a nicer room so I always booked the standard room. Since the property was at full capacity we were not able to upgrade which is understandible however the room we were put in was just terrible. When I say terrible I mean it was dark, damp, bad plumming, and the bathroom window faced the entrance to the property so you heard every car, bus, and person entering or exiting the resort from early in the morning to late at night. I would advise anyone who wants to stay at this Sandals to pay for the upgrade or go somewhere else. Another problem which most guest complained about was the beach and pool chairs. The fact of the matter is the people with butler service have the butlers reserve thier chairs early in the morning so not much to choose from by 8am. However if you dare to sleep a bit late by 9 am most if not all the chairs are taken. The main pool was ice cold but it didnt matter because I couldnt get a seat there anyway. There is only a buffet in the evenings on Mondays and Fridays and if you want room service you need to be in a room with a butler or you will be charged extra. I also noticed that the average age in this specific resort was in the late 50s to 60s which again is a personal choice. As for the food itself, it was what you can expect at an all inclusive not the greatest but it was good.
The bottom line is if you are going to stay at this property then get the upgrade with the butler service or dont waste your money. I still believe that Sandals is a good place to stay but not what they used to be.

Room Tip: If you cant afford a room with butler service than find a different place to stay.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank rnew13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Battle Mountain, Nevada
1 review
Reviewed February 3, 2013

This was the best vacation ever!!! The resort and all it's staff was amazing!! Thank you to everyone. To name of few, Tremaine Gordon, Nichola (She served us our drinks everyday no matter where we where at.), Cory, an amazing bartender, The wonderful girls in the gift shop, Crystal Johnson and Sidonney Plummer. Diesel who was our most wonderful diving instructor. He went out of his way to make sure we all got down and had an amazing experience. All the people in the diving shack. Desmond, he was the guard who stood out front everyday to make sure that we stayed safe, Omar was our wonderful baggage man, who always had a smile on his face. Our most wonderful house keeper, and so many more. Everyone who works there are totaly amazing. I wish that I could thank everyone by name, but I can't remember all. Thank you Royal Caribbean for making our first, but not last, trip to Jamaica a wonderful experience!!!! You are all number one in our books!!!!! Keep up the good work and we will see you all again soon.

Room Tip: Web stayed in the semi-private pool room. Awesome!!!!!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Aaron H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

We just returned last week from our 8 day stay. This was our second trip to Jamaica.

We loved loved loved the private island. It so relaxing and wonderful snorkling. We enjoyed the clothing optional side of the island - although it was the main spot for the snorkling on the island and that made for quite a bit of extra traffic.
The FOOD was amazing. The Bamboo Shack on the island has a wonderful selection of food for lunches. Best steak we ever had was at the Regency restaurant. It just melted in your mouth. Can't say enough about the jerk chicken & patties @ the Mariners Grill - oh and a shout out to Albert and Linvile for the the best Purple Rain and Dirty Banana drinks!!!! YUM
A must is the Jerk chicken pizza @ Bella Napoli pizza. The crust and sauce is amazing. Cricketers Pub was visited every evening for a piece of the best apple crumble and homemade ice cream - also the most tasty and fresh fish and chips - thank you Jason. Dinner @ La Jardinier was a lovely romantic experience. Our server Andre surprised us with little "extras" from the chef. In all of our dining experiences that were a la carte we were asked if there were any food allergies. Nicely done.

My only complaint about the buffet style selections is that most of the foods contained bell peppers and my spouse has a food allergy to them so that limited his choices.

Our room was nice - however, we were upgraded before we got there and I was truly disappointed because I booked a room that was directly on the beach and the management upgraded us to a honeymoon suite located at the farthest end of the resort with a jacuzzi tub? Not much of an upgrade - and when I asked to be moved back, there were no rooms available - that was very disappointing. Our housekeeper Simone did a wonderful job of pampering us and creating my favorite "towel creations" with the most beautiful hibiscus flowers.

I must say that we met the most polite and smart young man - Romaine. He was the lifeguard / pool staff in our end of the resort - the Kensington building. He took time to talk to us and we learned alot about Jamaica. We really appreciated him and he introduced us to the Jamaican Otaheiti Apple. We came back almost every day to this delicious little gift left on our outside table from him. Thank You Romaine. Best of luck in your studies.

The staff was friendly as always. One of the reasons we love the island of jamaica - the people are wonderful!

The Beaches are our biggest complaint. We did not like the fact that the beaches were broken up by the concrete piers. This does not allow for long walks on the beach. They were very small. We likely won't return to this resort for that reason.
The resort is also in the flight path of all outbound planes - it was very noisy. There were 10 - 15 planes flying out every day that we were there.
One more thing to mention - was there were 2 times that they fumigated the grounds during peak times in the day - the bugs were not a problem the entire time that we were there so I did not see the need for it.

All in all - we have returned fully relaxed and golden brown. Thank you Jamaica - See you Next year

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank rayna f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

I think our impressions have all been covered in other reviews, so a brief summary... Positives: weather in January was 80s and sunny; drinks were nice and strong; some staff members were great; private island was good for extra space; rooms were large and clean. Negatives: check-in was a nightmare, no drinks offered to us, slow, wouldn't let anyone check in until every single room was clean; many staff members half-[--] it and clearly wanted tips, even though tips were supposed to be included; hot tub by our room didn't have working jets; wine was terrible (wasn't about to pay extra for better stuff); mass confusion about our room upgrade; getting dinner reservations was a hassle - can't until you have a room number, but they conveniently close at 3 PM, so your first night is out!; food was just okay, though we are spoiled w/ good food at home. But all vacations are what you make of them. We drank and ate and laid in the sun, and that you can't complain about. Close to the airport, loved the peacocks and cats. Definitely wouldn't return to this resort, but wouldn't rule out another Sandals in the future - it was an 'easy' vacation, for what that's worth!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank JulieBalt33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Our first time at any Sandals and as I get bored if we're in one place for too long we decided to have 1 week at Whitehouse immediately followed by 1 week at Royal Caribbean - we get to experience two different Sandals on the same holiday, on different parts of Jamaica and get a trip across the island thrown in! Oddly Sandals had no mechanism on their web site to allow me to book two resorts on the same holiday and I had to phone to explain my requirements - even then the Sandals operator had to book two holidays, one with flights and one without.

To add to the comparison we also visited the two other Sandals resorts in Montego Bay (Carlyle and Montego Bay) and ate three times in Montego Bay (2 lunches and 1 dinner) with a day visit to Carlyle.

Grounds: within the limits of large, busy resorts with a high turnover of guests all properties were kept immaculate (or as close as you could realistically expect).

Service: excellent all through with the only odd exception being Montego Bay 'Bayside' for lunch on both occasions we tried it.

Food: the best I've had consistently for two weeks - other places we've stayed have had the odd better meal but very few others have come close to the overall standard. I cannot think of a bad meal of even a mediocre one - the odd bad choice on my part but I can't blame the chef's for that.

Wine: the Berringer house wine, while not one of their premium wines, a major improvement on any 'all inclusive' previously experienced.

Rooms: the room in Whitehouse was 'Luxury Beachfront' which I think was about the most basic. In Royal Carrib it was a 'Royal Grand Luxe' which was 2 or 3 steps up the ladder as I noticed the basic rooms did not have any balcony. The Whitehouse room was larger and newer and all rooms there seemed to have sea views, not true in Royal Carrib. Having said that I paid extra for a balcony I have to confess we didn't use it much as we went down to sit on the beach for sundown and if I was going again I'm not sure I would bother.

Beach: this was quite small in Royal Carrib but it did have the off shore island which added a bit more beach but not as much as it looks from the photos as the sea facing side has none. Whitehouse beach was massive and it was possible to walk out, on the beach, either side of the property - one side having completely untouched, unspoilt beach. Major annoyance in Whitehouse was the habit of reserving sun beds and shade for the 'suites' made even worse when it was never used for the whole day!! Having said that there were always plenty of sun beds available but not in the 'prime' spots. Montego Bay beach was larger than Royal Carrib but much smaller than Whitehouse. Carlyle is not actually on a beach but across a road.

Another quick word about Carlyle it is sited in a built-up area of the town of Montego Bay and I have to confess at being at a loss to understand why anyone would chose to stay there when there are two other Sandals with 10 mins drive out of town and on the beach?

Activities: organised around the pool in Whitehouse but the rest of the beach is left quiet. Montego Bay it's hard to escape them. Royal Carrib has some but not like Montego Bay.

Overall: Whitehouse is very spread out with lots of space and lots of walking and a beach that stretches the whole width. Royal Carrib is much more compact and feels more like a colonial house party. Montego Bay somewhere between the two, more towards Royal Carrib than Whitehouse.

So, if you're a quiet beach person choose Whitehouse.
If you like your beach with activities choose Montego Bay.
If you want the one with the best food and service (marginally!) choose Royal Carrib.
If you want all of the above choose any of them they will all deliver!

Which would I choose again - Whitehouse!
I'm a quiet beach person but I have to give Royal Carrib the award for better food and service.

Finally, if you're a Carlyle person can you please explain why?

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
12 Thank MushroomTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 30, 2013

This was our fourth Sandals resort, and like a previous reviewer, we left with mixed feelings uncertain if we will ever return. We LOVED staying at the Whitehouse resort, but didn't relish the idea of the l-o-n-g van ride from the airport. Therefore, we chose the Royal Caribbean because it was close to the airport. Our first mistake was expecting it to be like Whitehouse, making for a pretty unhappy first 24 hours. However, once we accepted the Royal Caribbean for what it is-and is not-we were fine.

The positives:
1.The concierge staff is top notch! When we asked to be moved from the amazing room to which they had so graciously upgraded us because it reeked of smoke and was very noisy, they did so with no problem.They found us a room that perfectly suited our needs. They were helpful, friendly and efficient our entire stay. They made it clear that it was their job to make our stay the best it could possibly be.

2. The property is very small, which made it very intimate and friendly which is why I think people return there time after time. We met quite a few returning guests who liked the idea that the staff knew their names and felt as if they were "part of the family".

3. Due to the size, nothing is too far away. The main pool is also small which may be a problem for people who like to party at a huge pool. However, there are many smaller pools tucked away on the property which is perfect for those looking for a laid back quiet time.

The negatives:
1. The food is generally pretty mediocre-and in some cases downright poor. The best meal we had was a hambuger and french fries at the beach grill which gives you an idea of how we felt about the rest of the food. If you are going for terrific food and a large variety, I'd skip this property. Service at the bars and resturants ranged from fantastic to downright rude, depending on which staff member we encountered.

2. While the room was comfortable and clean, there were little things you wouldn't expect at a "luxury" resort. The jacuzzi tub was stained, there were stains on the drapes, the rug was starting to look its age-nothing awful. Just not what we have come to expect from a Sandals.

3. The beach is very, very small so if you like long walks on the beach-or to be on a beach where you are not on top of the next person-go to another resort.

If you choose to go to this resort, go with moderate expectations and you will be fine..and you may even be pleasantly surprised.

Room Tip: For a quiet room, try the Kensington building.
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Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
9 Thank RunnerGirl53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island

Property: Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Address: Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
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:
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island 5*
Number of rooms: 197
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•7 exquisite dining options, with world-class culinary cuisines.•Only Jamaican resort with a private offshore island, housing an authentic Thai restaurant.•Magnificent, swim-up crystal lagoon suites.•24 hour room service as a part of our concierge service.•English pub offering an authentic pub dining experience.•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row.•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Caribbean Hotel Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Jamaica
Sandal Royal Caribbean

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