My wife and I had never left the US before our honeymoon and Jamaica seemed like a great first destination. We were looking for beautiful beaches, lots of sun and a relaxing atmosphere, and Sandals Royal Carribean met all of those wants.
When we got off the plane, we were surprised to find that the customs area of the airport looked more like a jail than an airport. My suggestion is to bring a pen on the flight, because apparently there is a shortage of pens in the customs section and they will not provide you with one. Our flight had a total of 15 pens for the entire flight and little direction as to how to fill out the customs form. I would also suggest using the restroom on the plane before deplaning or waiting until the Sandals lounge after customs. Customs barely looked at us before letting us through. At the lounge, the Sandals employees said to drop our bags at the entrance and they would be put on the bus/van to the resort. Turns out the red hat guys don't work for sandals and expect to be tipped for carrying your bags 50 yards to the van. I would insist on carrying your bags to save the awkward moment at the front of the van where they ask for a tip. My wife and I quickly grabbed our bags from the van on the return trip to the airport to avoid the same issue. The vans are nice and air conditioned. I liken the drivers to New York cabbies, they drive fast and I'm not going to lie, it was a little scary. We stopped once at the Sandals Montego Bay resort and then continued on to Royal Carribean. My wife and I were a little shocked by how poor Jamaica really was. The ride over looked like we were driving past the Favelas of Brazil.
Once we arrived at the resort it was like a whole other world. We were shown into the welcome lounge and offered a drink. In the lounge, the staff put our credit card on file for incidentals and to charge our purchases on, ie Red Lane Spa and gift shop. I would recommend waiting to purchase gifts or souvenirs at the airport as they are cheaper and there is a larger selection. We went with the beachfront room with butler service, which was great. I believe each room had two butlers assigned. Ours were Hughell and Ellis. They were both great and made sure we did everything we wanted to do. Hughell showed us to our room and gave us a tour of the resort. He then said that he had already made reservations for all the restaurants that needed reservations. Our favorite was the French restaurant, very tasty steak and a banana dessert to die for. We did travel to the Sandals Montego Bay resort to try the Italian restaurant, nothing to write home about. Our butlers also got us on a snorkeling trip that was already full and they can pretty much pull strings the whole time for you. We like sitting on the beach and they would reserve us chairs under the cabanas each day and supply a cooler with beer, water and juice. One more tid bit regarding the beverages, they pretty much only serve coke and red stripe beer. I love both so it worked out for me. We also fell in love with a drink called Sky juice. You won't find it on any of the drink lists or menus. Our butlers introduced us on the first day and that is all I drank the rest of the time.
The room was very nice and had two air conditioners inside, King size bed and living room. We ate dinner and breakfast on our balcony a few times, which was nice. You can have dinner out on the beach or under the pergolas on the piers for $170....or you can have it at your leisure on your beachfront balcony for free. Just a thought. I posted a few pictures of our room and view from our balcony if you wonder what the room looks like. One negative about our rooms were the peacocks. They apparently nested right outside our room. Their call sounds a little like a woman screaming for help, fyi. Expect a peacock wake up call around 6 am if you stay in the Balmoral rooms.
Overall, the resort and staff were fantastic. We usually like to leave resorts to explore, but we did not really feel safe leaving the resort to be honest.
A final note on Sangsters Airport, we purchased tickets to the MoBay club at the airport after realizing it was 93 degrees and the airport was not air conditioned or had a severely under powered A/C...best $60 I ever spent. Club Mobay has A/C, snacks and drinks. It would have been a miserable two hours at the airport without Club Mobay.
- 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