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“Wonderful vacation, but overpriced resort”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 61 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Montana
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Wonderful vacation, but overpriced resort”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

My husband and I chose this particular Sandals resort for our honeymoon after our travel agent highly recommended it. We chose an all inclusive vacation for this trip because we really wanted to relax, be pampered and just enjoy the all around convenience of having everything in one place and pre-paid.

THE GOOD:

The food was amazing. Better than any other all inclusive we've stayed at. I don't know what people in other reviews have found to complain about. We loved the food options. The breakfast and lunch buffets were always reliably delicious, the beachside grill serves great snacks and lunches, and the pizzeria was my husband's favorite.

*Tip- make reservations for the Thai restaurant, Le Jardinier or any other Sandals resorts restaurants (Stewfish at Mo Bay was great too) the first day you get there.

The drinks were also good. I'm more of a beer and whiskey person, so didn't get too excited about all of the fruity concoctions. I'm not a huge rum fan, but the Appleton Reserve aged rum (you have to request it) was my go-to drink.

Service was unbeatable. I've stayed at so many resorts before, but non other compares to the friendly staff here. Everyone is so friendly and nice, and after one day of being at the resort, every staff member I met remembered my name, what I drank and what I ate for the rest of the trip.

The private island was fun, and nice to get away from the main resort on a few different occasions. The private island pool and swim up bar was closed (maintenance) the entire time we were there, which was kind of a bummer. The beach chairs on the main beach and by the main pool fill up really quickly, but the island always seemed to have available chairs.

Nighttime - I've read mixed reviews here, but we LOVED the nights at Sandals. We would take in a bit of the nightly entertainment, but then always capped of the night at Cricketers (with Micah, best bartender!) and maybe a late night snack at the beachside grill.


THE BAD:

Our room was a beachside luxury room, but was anything but luxurious. We didn't spend a whole lot of time in our room, and I'm usually pretty flexible and don't complain about the rooms. Our bathroom and room were tiny. I had to lay out a towel on the floor in the bathroom so I had a place to put my toiletries. There's absolutely no counter space. The rooms are dated, like others have mentioned in reviews, but I can deal with that. It was the lack of space that I didn't expect from the price tag associated with the stay. (Beds are super comfy though)

Also, we didn't have concierge service, so all we were allowed in our room fridge was juice and water. We asked if we could have some Red Stripe brought up, but were denied... It's all inclusive, I don't get it?

The beach. I did read about this before our trip, but didn't really care, or thought I'd care. I do really wish the beach was larger. The beach is pretty small and was always packed.

Beach chair wars with the towels. You have to reserve your chair by 7:30am to guarantee you get the spot you want. The pool area filled up really quickly, but we liked the beach better anyway. On several different occasions, we'd reserve our chairs with towels and our beach bag, go eat breakfast, and come back to find that other people would just move our stuff.

We had an iPad USB cord taken from our room. We spoke with a few people about this, and were told that it would be figured out before we left, after several apologies. When we checked out, we just got a shoulder shrug and they told us they didn't find it (like, no big deal). I guess I just assumed that if something is stolen from your room, there would be more done by management to get to the bottom of it.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay. We ate and drank, relaxed and slept in. There's also a lot of fun activities, like paddle boarding, snorkeling and glass bottom boat trips. We did the deep sea fishing, which was the highlight of our trip. If you do go fishing, make sure you bring back your catch and the chef will prepare a FEAST for you. The staff are all amazing, friendly people that seem like they genuinely care about your well-being.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jac100683
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We arrived at this beautiful place with high expectations! Even though the small beaches did not offer long walks, the rest met our expectations. We had an awesome time with Tremaine surfing the waves on the hobbie cats and managed to see several sting rays swim under our paddle boards. Snorkeling is a must even as a beginner as the coral and fish are spectacular. Food was always very good and the drinks even better ( try a Jamaican smile).
The staff were so warm and receptive to any of our requests.
We will look at other Sandals as they are a step above the competition.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank RonO2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IN
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

My wife and I just returned from a great week at Sandals Royal. From the minute we stepped off of the plane we knew it was going to be great. The line at the immigration desk was short and we breezed through customs. We were soon on are way to the resort. We had booked a butler level room and were greeted by one of our butlers (Hughill) who checked us in. Our room was not ready yet so we went to the beach grill for lunch, shortly we were escorted to our room.
We spent the next seven days in paradise. The food was great as well as the drinks. Our two butlers ( Hughill and Ellis), answered every question we had and seemed to know what we wanted before we asked for it.
As returning guests we were treated as family. Every member of the staff always had a smile and a hello and welcome back. We are definitely returning back next year. You could not ask for a more relaxing week in paradise.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tinks02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed at the Royal Caribbean March 08 thru 15th In a Royal Caribbean Walk out Crystal Lagoon swum-up suits Which included Butler service.We were treated like Royalty by
Jason and Tamara (our butler's). and Trudy who took care of us at Montego Bay Cucina Romana and The Orleander Room was large And 5 steps to the pool. Ocean was a 3 minute walk And restaurants no more than 4 minutes.The Thai Restaurant Was a 5 minute boat ride to their private island.. Management and staff were awesome, making you feel at home.,. Entertainment was average. We were disappointed in the food. We definitely will Recommend to our friends.

Room Tip: We had a corner suite, 1st floor, very quiet room 2114
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Donn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honesdale, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed March 17, 2013

It's great to get away during the cold wintery season. This resort with it's own private beach was wonderful. The food was excellent. This was our second stay at an all-inclusive and was really only interested in the warm weather, beach, and alcohol!!! We ate at the Thai restaurant that was on the private island. Originally, the restaurant was booked, but when I explained that it was our last night, they made special arrangements for us. Really appreciated that!!! Our children gave us a gift certificate for massages, so we opted to have them over on the island in a cabana listening to the gentle ocean waves. Well worth it!!! The night-time entertainment was okay, nothing great. I'd go back in a heartbeat!!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Rosanne A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
207 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

The good things about this Club is that it really is all-inclusive. The cons are more consistent: Food is only average, the free drinks at the bar are mixed with second rate, inferior brands (cheap gin, cheap vodka). The club is very noisy, the music is too loud, and the location is quite tight.
Don't believe the pictures: the beach is VERY small.
Great plus: the offshore private island. You have to book a cabane (which is NOT inclusive) as soon as possible and stay there. Only there you have a bit of peace and tranquility.
The service is too much depending of individual mood of the employees, not more than mediocre at the end.
Not so bad, and a good balance between price and offer, but only worth for a short weekend and then try something else.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank FLuisi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013 via mobile

I hadn't been to a Sandals before so admittedly my expectations were high given how much we had heard about these resorts. We had a great time and and would definitely recommend it to people. At the same time, I wasn't blown away. I thought the service was mediocre. For a luxury resort I expected more. I felt a lot of pressure for tips which I didn't like. And there were a few workers that would tell me how much out of their way they had to go to do what I was asking (e.g., get a bottle of Pepsi even though there were many around the resort and in the rooms).

The food was very good. Loved the Thai restaurant over on the private island. One day we rented the cabanas on the island and it was really nice. That was my favourite part of the trip. I also loved that there were so many different places to sit or relax. Lots of private areas. The night entertainment was okay-nothing to write home about but on par with most resorts we have been to.

Overall I would say this resort was very good and would recommend it to others.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank joe321_2
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 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island 4*
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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