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.
- 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