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“Good but Not Up to Sandals High Standards”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Fair Lawn
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“Good but Not Up to Sandals High Standards”
Reviewed November 11, 2013

My wife and I have stayed at several Sandals resorts over the years and we are strong supporters of the Sandals brand. That said, we enjoyed our recent stay at Royal Caribbean but we did notice that this resort is not up to the high standards of other Sandals resorts we have visited.

First the pro's (and there are several):
- The staff is outstanding- everyone was friendly, accommodating, and ready to go out of their way to assist you in any way possible- no complaint whatever about any of the staff
- The resort is immaculate- clean, beautiful and tended to every day whether in the rooms or on the grounds. You always see someone landscaping, painting, sweeping, etc.
- The beach area and the water sports shop are focal points of this resort- it's a clean and readily accessible beach near to the many water sports activities.
- The restaurants that require reservations are excellent- Both Le Jardinier and the Royal Thai restaurants were highlights of our stay- I definitely recommend making reservations as soon as you arrive- you won't be disappointed.

Now the con's:
- The resort is very small - whenever I visit a Sandals property, I enjoy exploring the grounds, walking, discovering new on-site areas and activities. The Royal Caribbean is basically a series of low-rise buildings and motel-like residences situated around a central plaza area. Since the hotel was at near-capacity, it was very apparent that the place was crowded and at times, there appeared to be too many guests for the size of the property- very little privacy at this resort !
- The pool areas are TINY!! The main pool situated in the center of the main plaza is very small- we were never able to get seats at any time during our entire stay there. Similarly, smaller pools situated around the property were more private but also very difficult to enjoy in terms of locating a seat. This property is one of those where guests get up at dawn, reserve their seats with towels, and make it impossible for anyone to find a seat at the pool if you get up at a reasonable hour or just want to take a swim during the day- I dislike intensely this aspect of the resort.
- When we checked in at the hotel. I noticed that the room I was assigned was not at all the room I had reserved as per the Sandals website. I was told that the room was in the same category as the price I had booked and that Sandals reserves the right to give you another room that is comparable in terms of quality and size. I did not like the room I was given at all- it was definitely smaller, on the first floor (not at all the ocean view second floor room I had booked) and not in a location I preferred. I did complain, basically refusing the room, and another room was found that was lovely and in a location I preferred. I do appreciate that another room was identified to our liking. But the bigger issue here is that the room you reserve online is not necessarily the room you get- this speaks of a "bait and switch" strategy which I do not appreciate and makes me wary when I book subsequent stays at Sandals resorts.
- Wi-Fi is charged at the rate of $14.95 a day unless you are Club Sandals members- in that case, Wi-Fi s free- a fact that underscores that the resort caters to its very frequent, butler/concierge customers who get many perks that other guests do not. (including reserved seats at the pools). I support the fact that Sandals does offer perks to it frequent consumers but I am a frequent consumer also- we have been to five Sandals resorts in the past four years and yet we still have to battle for the rooms we want and upgrades which should be offered to frequent guests.

I need to conclude with the statement that despite the above criticisms, we still enjoy staying at Sandals resorts (in fact, we've booked another stay next year in Exuma). It appears, however, the we experienced the better of the Sandals brand in larger resorts (Whitehouse, Grand St. Lucia, Antigua, etc.) and that our Royal Caribbean experience might have left a better impression for the novice Sandals guest than we experienced as frequent guests at other more desirable properties.

Room Tip: Be sure that the room you are assigned is the room (level) that you reserve online- if not, do not a...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank PrincipalTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this review, November 15, 2013
We're happy to read that your stay, overall, was very enjoyable. However, we did not quite meet your expectations during your stay and for this, we apologize.

Thank you for your feedback. We look forward to hosting you on your next stay in Exuma and offering a vacation that truly exceeds your expectations.

Happy Travels!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Tampa, Florida, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2013

First class resort all the way! Thank you, Adia and Flo, our butlers who made this experience one to remember and one to repeat! We spent seven days and we do not have one complaint. Will recommend it to our friends and family. Loved, loved, loved the couples massage on the island, got back to the room with a bath drawn and bottle of champagne! All, and I mean ALL the staff were friendly. The food was great. The French was our favorite!! Can't wait to return, ya mon!!!

Room Tip: Spend the extra money and get the butler suites, you won't be disappointed!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Melissa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2013

We spent our honeymoon here at it couldn't have been more perfect! We got one of the butler suites and the service was beyond expected. Our butlers were Adia and Flo and they treated us like royalty, but made us feel humble at the same time. They set breakfast up in our room ever morning at anytime we wished. They also surprised us with a drawn bath, champagne on ice, flower pedals and candles lit after a long day of laying on the beach and excursions. When we first got there, they knew everything we had planned from the massage to excursions off the resort and had a schedule printed for us which they made sure we were at each place at the right time. Talk about not needing a watch! Perfect touch to vacation! They even made reservations at restaurants for us and escorted us to our reserved table each night! They also reserved chairs on the beach for us and filled a small cooler filled with some fun beverages too. They also surprised us on the beach randomly with some fun drinks that were amazing! Butler service is the way to go when you just want to relax to the fullest and be catered to.

Another than the butler service, the entertainment was just as great. We had the pleasure of meeting Kermit, Chico and Storm who really brought the energy! I couldn't believe how happy, friendly and excited they were from morning to night. We got recruited by Kermit to join and team where did a dance off and did other fun games on the beach against other teams. So much fun! At night they were interactive and got onlookers involved with fun games on stage. I would not have had as nearly as much fun if it wasn't for those three. Great job Sandals!

All together, the resort is beautiful, fun, relaxing and exciting. You can do what you want with it. Relax all day or party all day. Either way, the 5 staff members mentioned above (Kermit, Chico, Storm, Adia and Flo) really made our experience the best we have ever had. We love Jamaica and will return soon!

Room Tip: Get a cabaña on the off shore island from 1pm-5pm. Just the right amount of time right after a mass...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Rubble1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this review, November 8, 2013
Thank you so much for your review of Sandals Royal Caribbean. We're thrilled to read of your amazing honeymoon spent at our resort. Adia and Flo took excellent care of you and we can't wait to share your kind comments with our General Manager. We look forward to your return in the near future!
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New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2013

The service was the highlight of our trip. The room was up to date, fully stocked, service was consistent and attentive. Would like better amenities other than "Red Lane" - cheap route.

Regina and Kirkland in the concierge office made us feel at home, but answered every question, walked us to destinations instead of pointing.... just overall great and fantastic!! Our comfort is 90% due to them.

The other 10% goes to Cleveland the bartender. His drinks, attentiveness and overall bar service exceeded our expectations.

In general though, Royal Thai is a must eat, no matter how long you are on the property. Lunch on the island is more Caribbean (excellent food). We ate buffet breakfast, but when we couldn't find what we wanted the chef came out and took our order!! Talk about SERVICE.

We visited Montego Bay and was very very happy with our choice. Royal was more our relaxation speed. Montego Bay was younger and louder.

Close to the airport (10 minutes), but you hear all the planes take off. Annoying at first, but you will get over it quickly.

Room Tip: Beach is really dark at night, rooms that open out to beach are nice during the day - a bit scary at...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 335gj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this review, November 8, 2013
We're so happy that you enjoyed your stay at Sandals Royal Caribbean. Regina, Kirkland and Cleveland exemplified the true high standard of service for which we strive every day and they will be so proud to hear your comments. Thank you so much for your review. We hope to welcome you back for another great stay!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mooresville, North Carolina
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2013

Just got back from SRC as a Halloween weekend get away. There was not one issue the entire stay. My first impression was Alpine the Captain of the welcome bulters. Wow what an impact he made the first 15 minutes of my entrance. No waiting on a room at 1000am in the morning and his service to a quick room arrival was the first. This gentleman knows how to treat a guest. Everyone was outstanding Mr Walker the excutetive cheif of SRC explained so many things about cuisine in the dining process. Every night the food was outstanding with their siguature cocktails. The Regency had stingrays swimming up to the dining table for entertainment. The Thai restaurant was outstanding with Francina Jevaun Rolando and Matthew. I felt like the bacholette that night in the surrounding of a private island and full dining staff. Honestly you want for nothing at Sandals. The food, beauty, and entertainment are beyond anywhere else. The staff will do anything to make it happen. Storm performs the entertainment departure for nothing but high standards. Robin Spence will make sure your work out has a meaning to your fitness level. Wonderful classes everyday for fitness. The room was always being cleaned and freshen up many times during the day. There is not one staff person who did not speak to me as I passed by them. I just want to say this place is only set up for an outstanding vacation that is beyond any written review. You can have it all at SRC and then more beyond your belief.

Room Tip: They all have an unique feeling to offer. Depending if you want to hear the night life or the quiet...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Luvie1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Forest, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2013

Sandals RC is an amazing resort about 35 minutes from the Falmouth port. My husband and I spent the day here as part of a day pass/excursion. The hotel staff are amazing and the hotel grounds are beautiful.

We spent some time at the beach, then went over to one of the pools in front of the rooms. The hotel appeared to be at very low occupancy while we were there. The ocean water is very calm, they have a dock/floating area where you can sunbathe and there are plenty of chairs around.

For lunch we tried one of their Hawaiian brick oven pizzas and it was aaaamazing. The drinks are fabulous... try the purple rain :) Since we were there just for the day we didn't see the inside of any of the rooms, but the swim up rooms looked amazing from the outside... also we never made it over to the private island... just too relaxed! I would definitely stay here for a weeks vacation, or do it again for a daypass. AWESOME.

Room Tip: I would recommend asking for a room close to the beach, but away from the main pool (noisy with dail...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank AimeeParsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2013

I stayed at Sandals Royal Caribbean in October 2013. Our intentions on this holiday were just pure relaxation and that is exactly what it was.

Check in at the airport was quick and flawless and the Sandals lounge at Montego Bay airport is a nice extra whilst you wait for your transfer.

We stayed in a butler suite and our two butlers, Jason and Ian, could not have been more attentive. We didn't use the the mobile phone we were given to contact them once as they just seemed to just read our minds! Every morning we had sun beds reserved in a perfect spot and every evening they would make our dinner reservations for us which was great. We also enjoyed coming back to our room to find various treats waiting on the bed such as fruit, cakes, cheese boards etc. We even came back one night to find a nice hot bubble bath waiting with a trail of rose petals around the room. I also mentioned one day that I enjoyed snorkelling and Ian came over the same day to say that he booked us a snorkelling trip for the following morning and I didn't even have to ask.

The food was amazing, in particular the French restaurant, where the steak was amazing. We also tried to Italian at Sandals Montego Bay which was fantastic.
The cocktails were also brilliant and all of the bar staff in resort were great and would make you any cocktail you could ever wish for. Sometimes we would just say that we would like a cocktail containing a particular liqueur and they would make us a range of cocktails until we found our favourite. We spent most evenings in the Cricketers pub and the staff in there were also brilliant especially Big Bird!

The offshore private island is a must. We had a great day over there and the bartenders really took care of us and the beach over there is lovely.
All of the entertainment staff were great and really made an effort to ensure every one was always happy. Although the only negative I could say is that if people are not into joining in with games and activities it can be a little overwhelming at times. However, as soon as we said no thank you they never pressured you into joining in and the activities that we did join in with we really enjoyed.

Our room was lovely and really spacious and close to the reception and main pool. The mini bar is vey good and topped up daily. The location of the resort in general was great for us as it was only a ten minute transfer from the airport and the noise did not bother us one bit. We also spent a day visiting friends in a near by resort in Montego bay and again this was just short taxi ride.
I would definitely re-visit the resort in future and recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing break with plenty of entertainment.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Katie M
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 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury 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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