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“Our Week at Royal Caribbean”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #5 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 27, 2004

I was a bit nervous after reading the mix of reviews here, but we were still anxious to go (as this was our first trip to Jamaica). The check-in process was very quick and painless. Be prepared to tip the guys in the red hats since it's pretty much mandatory that they handle your bags. They will demand $1 per bag. After that, it's a very quick 5 or 10 minute ride to the resort. We were treated extremely well and the check-in process was very easy. Within 10 minutes we were in our room.
We had a great room, on the end of one of the sections so we had windows looking onto the beach and onto the ocean. The room was slightly above average, but wasn't much to rave about. It was smaller than expected. When you go to the new guest "orientation" be prepared to be there a while. They do a good job telling you about the resort and the amenities, but then they hit you up with a hour long presentation trying to get you to go on tours, trips, rides..etc (that are not included in your package and are very expensive). The resort is very nice, but is much smaller than what you expect by looking at the pictures. It's quaint and everything is in easy walking distance so it's good, but it doesn't make for much walking/exploring space. The surfboard vendors are a pain and might as well be working for the resort. They constantly were yelling for you and on more than one occasion I saw the hotel staff taking them drinks and food. This was a big disapointment as they are obviously not discouraging them from being there. The beach is nice (again though, much smaller than you expect) and fills up quick. The island is great and you can sunbathe nude. We went there almost every day. A word of note: There is not a lot of room on the nude beach and there are only a dozen or so loungechairs. You need to be there by 9/10 am to get a spot because they stay full all day. We had tons of people come out but then have to leave after there were more chairs available. Several of the chairs that are there are all broken as well. There is a pool and bar on the nude island. There is a jacuzzi too but it has been broken (according to the bartender) for over 3 years. There are restrooms too, so you can stay all day. We were nude all over the island, but be prepared for lots of "gawkers" as lots of people wanted to come out and see the nude people, but not participate. Still, it is a nice time. Our biggest problem the entire week was the food. Not one night did we actually have a hot meal. We went to all of the restaurants at Royal Caribbean and to several at Montego Bay. They are all about the same. The presentation of the food is excellent. The quality of the food is "lunch-room" quality at best. Don't expect much and you'll be fine. We were expecting very high quality, gourmet meals and were very disappointed. The alcohol is flowing non-stop from the second you get on the resort until you leave. I had no problems with too little alcohol in my drinks. Also, know that the airport is only 10 minutes away so you will hear the planes flying overhead throughout the day.
It's not terribly distracting. At Sandals Montego Bay however, it's rediculous. The resort is litterally right next to the resort and the entire resort shakes when the planes take off. Now, the big question: would I recommend Royal Caribbean? Yes, I would. Just know what to expect and you'll be fine; the resort is smaller than you think, the food is not that good. The people are very friendly and will do anything that you ask. One note: If you can afford the difference, definately go to Negril instead of Montego Bay. It's MUCH MUCH nicer.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to shoot me an email and I'll help you out! Enjoy!

  • Stayed: February 2004
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4  Thank Freehike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,467 - 5,473 of 5,609 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
wilmington, de
14
Reviewed February 25, 2004

when we got to the resort,it was smaller than it looked in the literature we recieved from the travel agent. we were not happy about stray cats roaming around the grounds. the cats even wondered around the dining area. one evening the dining room was short on ashtrays,so the waiter brought me a saucer with sand on it. the resort advertises side day trips at one rate,then when you sign up,the rate increases for some excuse.i will say,the food and service was very good.if you go,watch for the annoying vendors that are sitting on surfboards in the water.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Maryland
16
Reviewed February 23, 2004

I too was a little nervous going on this trip after reading all the negative reviews for the Royal Carribean Montego Bay Sandals resort. There were 15 couples in our group that stayed there from 2/10/04 - 2/17/04. This was suppose to be a very busy week for Jamaica because it was a holiday-long weekend with President's day being that Monday and also was Valentines weekend. We had a GREAT time. The airport was a little confusing, but there were plenty of representatives telling you where to go next. Once we arrrived at the RC, we were home. They were very nice and processed us very quickly (and yes, the rooms were ready). The ones in our group who did not have upgraded rooms (they had reserved the standard rooms), were automatically upgraded to a grand lux room. Mgmt did this as a surprise for us because they were happy to have such a large group. The Grand lux rooms were average to nice. We stayed in the bldgs that faced the main pool. I did not expect fancy and therefor was not disappointed. My room was very clean and the maid kept it that way (even giving me flowers everyday!). We had a big king size poster bed, iron, coffee pot, safe and the cable tv had 99 chanels. (even though one of our friend's complained that their TV only had 9 working channels). These rooms do not have refrigerators, but the beach bar has a self-serve soda/water dispenser open 24 hours. The resort was smaller than we thought, but we discovered that only made it more comfortable and service more personal. We had spent an afternoon over at Montego Bay and realized how much more we liked our smaller resort. MB was so much more bigger and ALOT more people and lines were ALOT longer and we all agreed that we were very happy to get back to RC. The food was average. I never got lucky with the beef or pork, mine was always tuff, but there was plenty of other stuff to eat. Breakfast was the best! They had a buffett where you could get anything you wanted and they even made eggs to your liking while you waited. You need a big breakfast before you hit one of the beach/pool bars. Thia Island was really romantic and good food. It is spicy (even their salads), but they will put less/more if you ask. Everyone loved what they got except for the beef dish. I'm not sure what they put on it but it comes out green and they said it did not have a good taste. The beach bar food was ok especially when you needed some good old american junk food. As far as the drinks - all great and they will add more if you do not think there is enough alcohol. But if you are a beer drinker, you probably will be disappointed. Red stripe draft light or regular is all you will get and it is never really cold. Guess they use it faster than it can get cold. The gift shop did have other beer or Smirnoff Ice for like $3/btl !!! Bottled water was the same price - you could not get it for free unless you had a room with conc svc. We had a great time and stayed very busy. I had heard NOT to go into town, but the hotel gave us a cab/minivan driver that they recommended and he took us on a personal tour/shopping trip that was great. He stays right along beside you the whole time, so you don't get into trouble..... If you are looking for "party time" and dancing the night away, you DO need to stay at Montego Bay. Even though RC has 1 or 2 bands a nights, the place is very empty by 11pm. When you are up by 6:30a every day partying in the sun by 9am, most of us were ready for bed by 10pm. It just depends on what you are looking for. We had a great time at RC!

6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Chester, NH
29
Reviewed February 22, 2004

My husband and I stayed here from 2/5-2/19/04 and were very happy. We had a first floor room in the Windsor Block right on the beach-what a way to wake up every morning with breakfast on the patio and a morning dip in the ocean. The check in was fast and smooth with Pernell being our concierge. He out did himself with any request-any liquor we wanted for our room, complimentary massages and a stretch Mercedes limo ride to the airport on our departure. Our room attendant Paulette, paid special attention to us every day with requested room cleaning by 10 am, fresh flowers every day and even a petal floor for Valentine's Day.
The playmakers Dre, Garfield, Ryan, Wright, Candice, Nadine, Monique & Tabia became our special friends and made sure we had a great time everyday. We really didn't get to know the bartenders well as we had a full bar in our room and it was only a few steps away, so we made our drinks the way we like them. The food was good but we found the Pavillion and the Thai restaurant to be too spicy. We would of liked some type of a steak restaurant or Italian. However, our 24 hour room service allowed us to order pretty much whatever we wanted so no complaints. We even had a special lobster & steak dinner served on our patio with tablecloth, candlelight and our own waiter. The room, restaurants and surrounding grounds and areas were kept impeccably clean except for guests who couldn't lift a finger to pick up their own trash. The Signature Guest-concierge-& managers parties were really not much fun-rather boring! We received our tee shirts, sandals & rum on the second day there but were disappointed with the way we received our silver sandals. Soneill, one of the watersports guys, stopped by every afternoon for a visit and he even took us for a special boat ride down an inlet. He is a great kid and is a definite asset. The beach vendors Areese and Roadsta were quite the entertainment. We weren't bothered by any of them as we would just talk and they knew we weren't going to buy the baubles. We even got special gifts from the 2 mentioned above on the day we left. So all in all, we would return to SRC for our room, Pernell, Paulette, the Playmakers, the sun and the beach. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have. Ellen

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2004

This was our fourth Sandals vacation and also our worst. We went to the Royal Caribbean to renew our wedding vows for our 30th anniversary. We also use our time at Sandals to take time out from our busy schedules and renew our relationship with each other. We have never fought on any Sandals vacation before this one.We had booked the Grande Luxe Beachfront room, one level below the Concierge service. The first thing we saw when we got into our room was a big breasted woman sunbathing nude right in front of our window. There were also others sunbathing topless. I was extremely unconfortable. The bell hop told us this was a topless beach. I had never seen anything like this at a Sandals resort before. We immediately went to the front desk and told them that we didn't realize that this was a topless beach and that we would like to stay at Sandals Montego Bay. They said no, that it was not supposed to be a topless beach, clothing optional was supposed to be only on the island. She went to talk to the women who were sunbathing topless. That woman was gone when we got back, but the others were still there.It was the same thing every day. I complained several more times but nothing was done. One Sandals employee, Cortney, even told me that if the women did not want to cover up there was nothing they could do. I realized at the point, that it was useless to complain because it wouldn't do any good.The tension was so great, that it got between my husband and me. We began to argue and fight as a direct result of the nudity. We almost canceled our vow renewal which was scheduled for Valentine's day and we even began to discuss separating when we got home.We did go ahead with the vow renewal and I tried to resign myself to the nudity. What really upset me, is that with all the money we spend on these vacations, we should be able to choose what we want to see or not. It is never mentioned in any Sandals literature that even the private island is nude. And it is completely nude. The only thing I have seen in Sandals literature about nudity is that if someone wants to sunbathe topless in a remote location, they would not intervene unless another guest complained. If I wanted to see what I saw I would have paid my money to Hedonism. At least they have the decency to state that they are clothing optional.We love the beach, but tended to enjoy it very early in the morning and later at night. The few times that we did venture out to the beach, we have pictures of each other with topless women in the background.Finally, on our fifth day, and elderly couple moved into the room next to us. They were celebrating their 50th anniversary. The first thing they saw was topless women on the beach. Then an big woman came, sat in front of them and took her top off. This poor couple sat there with their mouths open. They were shocked. I decided to try one more time for them. The person I talked to at the front desk was surprised that women were topless and was adamant that it was not allowed. She said that she didn't know who I talked to before and she took care of it. It didn't happen again.I would like to say that the Sandals waitstaff, housekeepers, and water sports workers are very friendly and go above and beyond to assist you. We were very happy with that. The concierge staff is rude and unfriendly. We had been promised concierge service when we got there as an upgrade and did not receive it. They tried to say that we were not promised it. They finally gave it to us the last two days but were rather rude about it.To sum up, we love Sandals. We have been to St. Lucia, Antigua, and Montego Bay. We will probably go back again. But never to Sandals Royal Caribbean. Sandals resorts should put in their literature what they allow at their resorts.

6  Thank dhussey2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2004

I was floored when I experienced this Sandals, I heard so many good things about other Sandals resorts that I was looking forward to a vacation that would be filled with great food, great drinks and great service. I didn't get any. My first clue was when they weren't able to make any drinks, the bartender actually handed us the bottle of absolute to make the drink ourselves. They couldn't even accomplish a pina colada or any kind of daquiri. The food was equivalent to something you would eat on a school trip, if you're used to New York delicious food, this food will just ruin your whole vacation, if they made up for it with service it would be better, but they couldn't even do that, we were getting rushed out of the Courtyard restaurant even after they gave us milk that was spoiled in our coffee. There was absolutely no night life, none. I actually saw honeymooners that were subjected to play checkers or cards with each other because there was nothing better to do at 10:30 at night. The bar smelled nausiating at night, and their only disco was always empty and had carpeting on the floor that probably hasn't been washed in years. The room was okay, nothing special, but the little bugs that were all over the bathroom weren't very pleasant to deal with. To top it off we got ripped off on Valentine's Day, our room was supposed to be decorated with candles and roses, we paid $100 for 2 citronella mosquito candles and dead rose petals, the chocolate covered fruit wasn't even fresh, I couldn't believe it! We even went to visit Sandals Montego Bay which ended up being even dirtier than where we were staying. My overall feeling of this hotel is they took our money before we got there and then treated us like we went there for free. The food wasn't even worth half of what we paid. The last night we were there, we decided to skip the Thai restaurant because we had no faith left that the food would be good. We took a cab and found the Ritz-Carlton where we paid for a delicious dinner and impeccable service, it was the best dinner we had on the whole vacation and we were excited to have finally left our hotel, we even went back the next day for lunch. If you want a real vacation where the people at the hotel actually care, stay somewhere else. This vacation scared me away from all Sandals resorts and all-inclusives in general.

7  Thank Veronica G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Vancouver, BC Canada
11
Reviewed February 15, 2004

We went to SRC four our honeymoon & upon arrival my initial impression wasn't all that great. The lobby definitely needed some sprucing up. Our room was so-so & the restaurant furniture was also outdated. The food was also quite bland & boring. The desserts were very basic. THAT ASIDE, we still had a wonderful time. We're very social people, so we made good friends with the entertainment staff. The activities were all fun & well organized. Early on into our drip I got the runs & visited the nurse. She gave me some good advice & told me to ask the main chef to prepare me chicken broth for a few days. He took such good care of me. The nice thing is, we weren't expected to tip any of the staff & they still provided us with great service. Our maid was a sweetheart. We took pics with just about everyone. Beware of the sandbugs, I was almost eaten alive! The nurse gave me some calomine-type lotion which helped a lot. We visited many of the closeby Sandals resorts & found others that were nicer. We wouldn't stay at SRC again, Nigrel & Dunn's River seemed like more upscale resorts. All in all it was a good trip.

1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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

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:
#4 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $501 - $1,349 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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