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“Disliked Sandals Royal Caribbean”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #6 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 27, 2008

A few years ago we went for a week at Sandals Royal Caribbean. The hotel is outdated and needs some major improvements. It was so outdated that it was hard to enjoy ourselves, especially in the room. The grout on the floors and shower walls made us very reluctant to walk barefoot or shower. The bedroom furnishings looked like the original furnishings, the mattress wasn't at all comfortable and the chairs and table were all wobbly and uneven. On our 4th day the power went out a few times and on day 5 the power in our block of rooms went out and stayed out for over 10 hours. We were then temporarily put up overnight in a room that had power, it was 2 categories lower than the room we had but it looked so much more modern than ours. The hot tubs were always too cool,water level too low and some of the jets didn't work. The swimming pool was shut down way too early every evening and there were never enough floats. In 7 days we never were out early enough to get a float. To me the accommodations is 90% of the trip, if the room isn't nice it really negatively affects the vacation. We have been to most of the other Sandals resorts and this one just doesn't compare. The housekeeping service really leaves much to be desired, you never know when or if they are coming to clean your room, if they do they only make up the bed and give new towels they don't clean anything during the stay nor will they change the sheets if you don't ask. The only thing we somewhat enjoyed is our dining experience.

Overall I would say this is probably the worst hotel we have ever stayed in on vacation.

  • Stayed: June 2005, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank roxy1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 26, 2008

We stayed at the Sandals Royal Carribbean in July 08. I have read many reviews on this site before going there and I will expand on some of the good and bad things people have said.

Airport lounge- From reading earlier revews I was expecting this to be better than it was. First, you are made to believe there will be champagne avliable to you upon arrival, I found this not to be true, just Red Stripe beer and fountain pop. When we arrived, since this is a sandals/Beaches(kids-family resort) combined lounge every seat in the place was taken up by a family and their kids. There were out of control kids running around, cutting line for the fountain pop and it was a Disney environment, not really something a couple would relax in. Some people mentioned they were quickly taken away by shuttle to their resort, if 15 minutes is quick then okay. The shuttle stops at Mo Bay Sandals before Royal and takes about 15-20 minutes to get there.

Arrival/Check-in--We were greeted by the general manager when we stepped off the shuttle (very cool) and he escourted us to a couch in the lobby where we were finally offered that champagne they talked about and rum punch, the rum punch is nice. Check in was taken care of while sitting on the couch, a nice touch to start our vacation.

Room- I have yet to see someone who will admit to booking the cheapest room, the deluxe room, we did. I think we were upgraded for free because we had a patio, garden view and were 15 yards from the beach, if this is the cheapest I have no problem with that. The room was like that you would find at a motel 6 or super 8 here in the US. There was mold in the shower, dirt on the floor especially in corners, and the shower at times was down to a trickle. There was construction going on at the resort which could explain the water pressure. At different times during the day we had no water, called the front dest and it was back on soon, again perhaps due to the construction. Some other people paid for beachfront upgrades and others get them free...nobody really hung out at their balconys or patios if they were beachfront so if you are on a budget like we were, dont feel bad you can have your pick of prime real estate on the beach.

Beach- People have complained about its size, it is small but didnt really bother us, weve been to tropical islands and it really wasnt much of a shock. If you frequent the east coast us beaches, you might have trouble with this one. If you like to walk the beach, its not really good for that, but there was always a space for us to sit in the chairs.

Food- some have said the beach bar cheeseburger is great, we tried it and felt burgerkings whopper kills it. The breakfast buffet is ok, nothing special. Dinners were nice, we had 5 course meals every night. The food is presented in a high class fashon, it just doesnt taste high class...it is good through so dont worry about it. Our favorite restaurants were the Regency because you can eat outside and watch the sunset and the pavillion because of the good caribbean style food. The worst was the Royal Thai, which we tried because it was so highly talked about on tripadvisor. The food is served nothing like the other restaurants on the resort, sloppy, like you took it and piled it yourself on a plate and the taste and quality was worse than any quick chinese takeout in the US. Many couples got off the boat after return and like us, went to another restaurant for dinner to get better food.

Service- You really dont have to pay any tips...the airport shuttle driver will want one, but I think they are contracted out. The staff at sandals wear buttons saying not to tip because its their pleasure to serve. The restaurant service was better than any restaurant I have eaten at in the us, even the 5 star ones. Perhaps those who run on tips in the US could learn from these people, they are great! I do hope sandals pays them well, they really do deserve it. They are friendly, always smile, say hello to you and make sure you are having a nice time.

Activities- some of them are free too. We went snorkeling, if you have your own gear, take it, it will do better then what they offered. We werent impressed with the snorkeling because we have done it in Hawaii where there were larger, more fish and reefs with more life. The reef we were taken to didnt have much life, fish were small and hard to find. We also tried sailing. Kamar at the resort took us out of the boat and taught us how to do it, it was fun and I would recommend it.

Overall-The people working at this resort are what makes it amazing, the food just good, the room not impressive, the people above and beyond fantastic. I would go back, book the same cheap room, and aviod the Royal Thai.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank musicteachtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2008

My wife and I recently returned from our second stay at Sandals Royal Caribbean, a glorious 12-day first anniversary stay as a follow-up to our 10-day honeymoon there in 2007. In opposite to the movie industry, our sequel was better than the original.

As on our first stay, we stayed in the Balmoral Building with concierge and butler services. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Adia, one of our Butlers from our first visit, and taken to the Concierge Office for cold drinks and quick arrival verification. Our room was ready for us when we arrived. It was clean and stocked with our desired refreshments. While the bathroom is a bit small (which I think will be addressed), the suite is roomy with a California King-sized four post bed, a comfortable sitting area and balcony (with table & chairs). Oh, and air conditioning . . . . . . wonderful, fantastic air conditioning.

We relaxed and sunned at the East Pool right below our balcony. We had a candlelight dinner in a waterfront gazebo and had candlelight dinners on our balcony. As usual, the grounds were clean and well-maintained.

We dined at Le Jardinier, on the deck at The Regency, at the Thai Restaurant on Sandals Cay, and at the Cricketers Pub. We found the meals to be very good and delicious, and the service ranging from very good to excellent. We ate lunch at the Beach Grill and attended the Friday night Beach Party. We went shopping off resort and we went on the Martha Brae rafting excursion (scenic, relaxing, informative) and a boat cruise (scenic, fun, informative).

Every day, around 3:00 p.m., Richard Barrows (I believe that is his name) and other staff members gave out ice cream cones they carried in wicker baskets as they walked around the grounds. A simple gesture, among many, that attests to SRC’s determination to make everyone’s stay a pleasant one.

There are renovations being done to (I believe) the Clarence & Buckingham Buildings. The renovations, while major in scope, have a very minimal effect on the resort atmosphere. Decorative fencing blocks off the area from view and there is very little noise from the site. The only inconveinence, if any, is that the sidewalk between the Red Spa and the Nurse’s Station is blocked off so a little extra walking might be required. In my opinion, they are carrying out the renovations extremely well with little or no impact on the quality of the guests’ experiences there.

One thing different during this stay made a big difference to us. As returning guests, we were invited to a dinner given only for returning guests. This dinner, beside being absolutely delicious and perfectly served, introduced us to Sandals staff members and guests that we ordinarily may not have met. This dinner, along with the Friday boat ride for the returning guests, made us feel very appreciated by the Sandals staff and opened us to new friends.

Once again, we had the privilege of having Adia and Ellis as our Butlers. They remembered us and our likes and dislikes. They provided everything we needed, everything we wanted, and everything we requested. The are always cheerful and eager to serve, be it making our dinner reservations, bringing us cold drinks to pool side, arranging for our off-resort trips, and meeting out-of-the-ordinary requests. Ellis’ melodic greeting “It’s Ellis the Butleeeeeeeeer” always brings a smile to our faces.

On the night of our anniversary, upon returning to our room after our candlelight dinner, we found that Adia had decorated our bed with a heart and strewn flower petals and “Happy Anniversary” spelled out. On the night before our departure, Ellis obtained from an off-resort retailer some particular packing material I needed for something I had purchased from that same retailer days earlier. Where else can you receive that kind of service? Nowhere, I dare say. In my 2007 review, I said that Ellis and Adia were the reasons we would come back to Royal Caribbean and that is so.

These two go further in showing their dedication to Sandals and Sandals’ reputation. I’ve watched Adia eagerly provide information and assistance to any requesting guest, not only those having butler services. I’ve watched Ellis automatically correct deficiencies in grounds or building appearances as we walked along, or direct other employees in ways to best serve the guests. Both are dedicated and excellent Butlers and Ellis shows true leadership ability.

Other butlers deserve to be mentioned as well. Hughill and Devon remembered us from last year and they always cheerfully greeted us and always asking if they can be of any assistance to us. One late night when I had a minor injury that bled a lot, Damion was the first person to respond. He contacted the appropriate people and he stayed there throughout the event offering his assistance. Each one of these gentlemen deserve high praise for their service and devotion to the guests.

Another person deserving mention is Jason Halloway, whom I believe is the Director for Sales for Sandals Royal Caribbean. We met Jason at the dinner for returning guests, where he was very entertaining as a speaker and truly pleasant as a dinner companion. In the days afterward, we had the pleasure of eating lunch with him and having opportunities to converse with him. He is a warm and charming individual who makes everyone he meets feel welcome and comfortable.

Warren deserves mention as our waiter for our anniversary night candlelight dinner. Warren was extremely professional, very personable and he succeeded in doing his part in making the night special for us.

Our housekeeper Evelyn also deserves mention. She was extremely friendly to us, she always did a little more than what her job required her to do, and she was always willing to accommodate any special request from us.

And a special mention to every other SRC employee who greeted us each and every day with a smile and “Good Morning!” or “How are you today?”

To outgoing GM Jeremy Mutton, I salute you and thank you for overseeing such a remarkable staff and providing such first rate services, and through that providing us with such thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experiences in a tropical paradise.

There were only two negatives with this trip, one minor and one major.

The minor negative is the impression I received from the woman in charge of the Gift Shop. She appeared to me to be aloof and indifferent to guests in general and on several occasions, she appeared to instruct other staff not to do things they were about to do for guests. She declined to provide me with plastic bags to store cigars I had purchased elsewhere because I hadn’t purchase them there. I think that she should have provided them as a courtesy to a guest, especially as I had already purchased a number of gifts and souvenirs there.

The major negative is the same one I found during our original stay - my fellow Americans. While all do not fall into this category, too many do. Their whining and complaining about non-existent or minor issues, and their drunken behavior, is simply embarrassing.

As example, during our first year, there was a couple from a Southern state who sat at the East Pool getting drunk and making insulting comments toward, and laughing at, every guest and employee they saw. One such gem was “How can they afford a trip here? They must have won it in a contest.” The guy later showed his true nature by urinating in the bushes at pool side, just a mere twenty feet or so from his room.

During our recent stay, we met several people in the East Pool who said they were experienced travelers who were unhappy with their stay at Royal Caribbean, saying that other resorts are classier. One Georgia woman in this group breached all limits of common decency by loudly exclaiming to my wife, who has a spinal cord injury and has had numerous surgeries, “Ewwwwwww. What happened to your back?” Such a show of obvious disgust and such a rude question shows a complete lack of class and sensitivity that too many Americans display. I would suggest that not knowing how to conduct herself with class, she can hardly claim any standing to judge class.

In conclusion, our second stay at Sandals Royal Caribbean was even better than our first and we will return there again. We go there to relax, to escape from the world, and for a little while to forget our personal responsibilities and problems. We go there to experience the island’s beauty and the luxury of the resort. We go there to be pampered and be catered to. We go there for the romance and the memories.

Sandals Royal Caribbean, and all the people who work there, give all of that, and more, to us.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank KSCP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2008

Got married there, and had 10 friends join us.

Have to say, this was a great property. Beautiful people, good food and lots to drink.

Of course there were a couple of things that made for jokes, like having the ceremony paused because of the planes flying overhead...but can't blame the resort for that.

Don't think I'll return, as there are too many places to visit, but enjoyed our time there.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled with friends
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3  Thank theworldover35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2008

/We loved the Royal and everything about it. We thought it was paradise. I had done my homework before we went so I knew what to expect as far as the age of the resort and the condition of the rooms. We had a beachfornt room and loved it.. The view was beautiful.. The room was nice, clean and comfortable. The resort was very clean and everyone was polite and friendly. The grounds were gorgous and the beach was raked everyday. The surfboard vendors were present every day, but they left you along as soon as you said , "No thanks." If they offer you something you do not want, just say No. I bought several necklaces from them for souviners as did many other people. The food is good, not 5 star, but good. The Thai restaurant is beautiful at night and I recommend everyone make a reservation as soon as you get there. The French restaurant is OK. We thought it was slow , and we were hot. We made a reservation for Tokoyo Joe's at MBR when I made all the other restaurant reservations and when we went there , they had no record of our reservation, That was a bummer, but we came back to the Royal and ate at the Regency and everything was fine. (We were not going to let that ruin our day.) We had no problems with reservations at the Royal. The private island is great and very laid back. The bartenders are fun and entertaining. We loved Tracy but they are all good. We enjoyed the nightly entertainment. Will we go back? You bet!

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank swiild
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2008

We had previously visited this resort in July 2000 and truly enjoyed our stay. Since that time, we have visited other Sandals properties (St. Lucia-Loc Regency & Beaches-Royal Plantation)and have enjoyed them, as well. However, this visit to the Sandals Royal was made exceptional when we opted to upgrade to the Butler service.

We were assigned two Butlers, Adia and Ellis - The Butler. We had not previous experience with the service and had no clue what to expect. Well, in a nutshell, both Adia and Ellis-The Butler super exceeded our expectations. Their prompt attention to our needs (even when I did not know I had them....) was exceptional.

They truly made this visit the best Sandals vacation we have ever had! I won't give more details because I'd like you to be as surprised as I. This makes each day at the resort something to look forward to.

Summary: Yes, it is well worth the money!!

Geralyn Stephens Gunn

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank drgeri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2008

First this was our second visit to this property.
We have also stay at two other Sandals resorts one in Negril and one in St Lucia. Jeremy is the general manager at Royal Caribbean has put together an outstanding team that really know how to take care of their guest. On the day of our arrival the concierge Ms Nicky Ann upgraded us to an outstanding room because we were returning guest. It was not the upgraded that impressed us but the way she personally escorted us to the room to make sure it met with our approval (It did). Secondly our friend had the river front suite with butlers. "Ellis the butler and Adia the Butler are the best I've ever seen at work in their roles, now heres the point about this butler team; they unpacked clothes, brought appetizers, had a bath ready with rose petals, made dinner reservations etc. The reason we're talking about them they were not our butlers, but they treated us with first class service also. (We will surely use the butler service on our next visit). While we were on the beach ice cream bars was brought out to us (all the guest) daily by Rick, So needless to we really enjoyed our second visit to this property and our fourth visit with Sandals. We have already booked next year for Antigua. See you there. Phil and Sharon

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with friends
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2  Thank PPrice54
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:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $472 - $1,367 (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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