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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 64 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 22, 2008

We stayed at the Sandals Royal Caribbean resort for 7 nights in August 2008 for our honeymoon.

After waiting through looong Immigration and Customs lines at the airport, we easily located the Sandals lounge, and only had a moment to use the bathroom before it was time for us to leave. Apparently they offer free drinks upon arrival, but we weren't able to take advantage of that, and it was pretty hectic overall in the lounge.

It probably only took 10 minutes to get the the resort, and the bus drivers blatantly ask for your tips, informing you that they are not Sandals employees and supposedly "won't get paid" unless we tip them. That was somewhat irking, but whatever.

We got into the beautiful airy entryway, our bags were all taken care of for us, and we were seated on some comfy couches and brought drinks while we waited to fill out some paperwork, before being escorted to our room.

We had booked the lowest room level there was, with the expectation that we wouldn't be spending a terribly long time in our rooms anyway. The room was very basic, it had a nice little patio and chairs, with a nice garden view and partial ocean view. The AC worked fine, and the bed was big and comfy. The decor was bland, the room wasn't huge, but it was clean and got the job done. I regretted having no mini fridge. We were close (two doors down) to the construction going on for the new swim up suites, but it was all blocked off by huge wooden boards painted with murals, until about our 3rd day, when they took the boards down next to our room, and there were loud noises, and lots of construction workers coming in and out of the construction area maybe 15 feet from our patio. This was allllll day, including early in the A.M. To me, this was completely unacceptable. So we requested to have our room changed, and weren't able to until the following night, and they informed us that we had originally received a room upgrade (no one even told us), and our new room would be a downgrade, but we still agreed. The new room had no patio, and no view, however, it was far from the construction, and much cuter inside. The decor was pretty and it had a nice sitting area in it.

The resort was very pretty and we spent a lot of time hanging out on the beach sipping drinks in the shade. We never had trouble finding a good seat, however, as you walk along the paths by the ocean edge or if you go swimming in the water, except to be constantly yelled at by the vendors trying to sell you "necklaces" and other assorted drugs. It was basically relentless, and we would even go so far as to avoid certain areas of the resort. The staff did nothing, and instead basically encouraged the local vendors by standing out there chatting with them all day.

The beach is not huge. If you go expecting a huge, grand beach, you are going to the wrong beach. If you want a nice, gorgeous swimming area, I'd recommend the Sandals Grand Ocho Rios, which we visited briefly one day en route to an excursion. They had a large, GORGEOUS swimming area, with no vendors in sight. However, the beach at the Royal Caribbean suited us just fine.

We thought the food was really great. Every member of the restaurant staff we encountered was very nice and provided great service. The Thai restaurant was fabulous and a lot of fun to to go, and we also enjoyed the Regency as well. The dinners were all great, the lunches left a bit to be desired, as all that is really available is a buffet from 12:30-2.

The Beach Grill is a lifesaver though, and my husband ate at least on serving of jerk chicken per day, usually more. They had burgers, wraps (my fave), nachos, ice cream, etc. We got a nice little post-cocktails snack here nightly.

Several nights we went to the nightly entertainment, which was not bad. We saw a couple different singers, some dancers, and some nights they had little game shows which we watched, but didn't partake in. The piano bar is a classy little place where we got our drinks most nights.

Extra: We went on 3 excursions - 1. Dunn's River falls, which was SOOO crowded, but pretty fun. It's kind of awkward holding random people's hands as you climb up the waterfall, but a cool experience anyways. 2. Zip-lining: Something I was dying to do, but it was pourrrrrrring rain and lightening right by us. But it was awesome regardless, for those who are adventurous. 3. Jeep Safari - this was a really fun, somewhat adventurous, yet still a bit relaxing, as you and 2 or 3 other couples ride in the back of a land rover and your guide drives you to several different sites and up in the mountains. I highly recommend this excursion.

Overall, we had an amazing honeymoon. There were several smaller details that we did not much care for, as discussed above, however, we didn't let any of them hurt our trip and I still give the resort 5 stars, or maybe slightly less due to the incessant vendors, willingness to place us near construction, and smallish beach. However, there were far more good things than bad, and I recommend the resort for the beauty of it, great service, great food and drinks. I don't know that we would go back to this resort again, but I would definitely love to visit another Sandals someday.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank princessmeg2786
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,760 - 4,766 of 5,549 reviews

Reviewed September 22, 2008

the staff was above and beyond, could not ask for a better vacation. I will go back soon.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank ctrtl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2008

My husband and I planned a trip the first one in 14 years! I called 1800Sandals and booked the trip! They were very good and nice! I can't explain how amazing our trip was! The team that greeted us when we arrived at the airport in Montego Bay were great we didn't have to wounder what to do or where to go! The greetings at the resort were the same! We were amazed by the friendliness of everyone at the Royal Caribbean! We went on some great tours and the team at the Royal Caribbean set it all up for us! The dining was incredible! We felt so relaxed and comfortable during our stay! The team at the Royal Caribbean treated us like royalty it was an awesome experience! We really got to see and know Jamaica while we were there! I'd visit again in a heart beat! It won't take us long to return!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank wrightwwdeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2008

Just returned from a long weekend at the Sandals - Royal Caribbean in Mobay, no plans to go back there anytime soon. While the the room was decent, the condition of grounds and facilities was very suprising - other than the pool areas they look very run down, especially the "private island". The food was mediocre (buffets and "French" Restaurant) - except for the Thai restaurant (but need to book upon arrival - spots fills up quickly).

We were most disappointed by the service. In the four days we were there - no one came up to offer us food or drink - the service at the bar and other food places was slow and very disengaging, difficult to find towels at times. Many staff standing around - typically one person working slowly - very frustrating. There was also noise from the chronic construction - even on the weekend. This was far from a premium experience. Stayed at the Ritz nearby last year - far superior - well worth the extra $$

The one positive - the spa services, while pricey, were excellent

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Roamer_67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2008

We just got back from a 7 day stay at the Sandals RC and overall it was a great experience. The lounge at the airport was lovely and you could get a beer or soft drink right after getting off the plane. We were only there several minutes before being taken to the resort. The staff both at the airport lounge and at the resort was wonderful and our room was very nice and clean. We had an issue one day with our toilet not flushing but the staff addressed it promptly. Our room overlooked the pool which is where we spent every day. The only issue with that was that we were close to the entrance and you could hear buses coming and going. There was also a bit of drilling going on somewhere everyday. I think this may have been a combination of the construction next door. The room however was always clean and well taken care of. Housekeeping was excellent as well. They came twice a day to make sure we had everything we needed. They also came to restock the fridge with water and soft drinks. The weather was great all but one day and that was even during hurricane season.

That being said there are a few things travelers going to this locale should be aware of. One is the mosquito's. I have read other reviews where travelers had no bug problems so this is apparently a seasonal thing. I would advise taking spray just in case as it is $13 in the gift shop. They seem to be most prevalent in the outdoor restaurants as they are surrounded by greenery. Also, there are crickets that come out at dusk and are up all night long. If you get a room next to the garden or any trees you will hear them all night and they are very high pitched with a constant ringing. I had to buy ear plugs from the gift shop.

Bring enough reading material to get you through the stay as the only reading material for sale on site are Jamaican books. The magazines at the airport are $9-$18.

Food was another hit or miss item. Let me just say that dinner was excellent every night. The restaurants are fab especially the Thai place. The Regency and Jamaican Cuisine places had excellent steak and pasta dishes. Please be aware of the laid back culture and the fact that you are going to wait longer than your average time in the US. But, your on vacation, whats the rush anyway? Lunch and breakfast got a little repetitive as breakfast is always the buffet with the same items. Lunch is either the buffet or the Beach Grill. The Beach Grill is good for fries and maybe some nachos but to eat lunch there daily is not something I recommend (great bar though). The lunch buffet doesn't open until12:30 and closes at 2. If you are out snorkeling or doing other activities you are SOL until 6:30 dinnertime unless you want more fries from the grill. I recommend the Cricketer's Pub for some awesome cheese sticks.

I should also mention the peddlers. They are everywhere on the beach in their kayaks. You just need to get used to them because they are not going anywhere and security pretty much hangs out with them. They are pretty nice people though and if you talk to them, even if you don't need anything, they will leave you be. But, if you do make a purchase, they have just about everything you need and no one is going to question you.

Like I said, overall this was a nice place and I think we got our money's worth (especially in rum...rum rum everywhere you go). If you like to drink you will definitely get your money out of Sandals RC. None of the items I listed above were deal breakers but I am a girl who likes to eat when she wants and the regulated times made me feel a little like i was in school. I would go back but probably to a different locale just to try something different.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank smcgal02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2008

Aug.24-30
We had a great time , everyone is so nice at this resort. We got upgraded to a River Suite ,Thanks to Amy at Dreammakers vacation services.Loved the off shore island, we went during the day , Gustav had it closed for the night we had reservations.The beach is small, but you have the choice to go to the island at anytime.We loved the Pub for lunch ,they had the greatest calamari. They walk around the resort and pass out ice creams to everyone. On one of the rainy gustav days went to the spa and had a great message. The resort did a good job finding things for us to do during the storm , even gave us a free day to come back. They really make you feel like family there.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank fishy9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2008

My wife and I stayed at the Sandals RC for our honeymoon (August 24-31, 2008). I read alot of reviews on this site before going, and I was a little nervous based on some of the reviews. I have to say, after being at the resort, that the people who wrote bad reviews are either the most pretentious, up-tight, people in the world or they work for a competitor resort and are trying to sabotage Sandals.

As most people have said in other reviews, a Sandals rep met us at the airport and escorted us to a Sandals lounge where they had snacka and alcohol waiting. We waited about five minutes before the shuttle to the resort arrived (lucky for me, you were able to take your beer on the shuttle).

The resort itself is smaller than advertised, but it is still a very nice resort. Our room overlooked one of the pools and was very nice. The room was neat, clean, and the staff did a great job cleaning the room as well as turning the bed down at night (loved the towel designs on the bed!!). There were a few bugs in the room, but I think that's expected when you're on a tropical island. The pools were always clean and there are enough of them that none ever felt crowded.

The food was above average, but I wouldn't say it was amazing. Everything we had was good, and the portions were huge, so we were compeltely stuffed after every meal.

Our favorite place to hang out was the Cricketeer's Pub. The staff in there were outstanding. Kevin and Theon (or, as he called himself, "the one") were fun and went out of their way to sit with us, teach us card games, and show us some card tricks.

I also want to say that we were tremendously impressed with the staff, as a whole, when Hurrican Gustav interrupted our honeymoon. The staff, especially the Gen Manager, were very calm and reassuring. We never felt in danger for one minute. It rained on Friday of our trip, but the staff had board games ready and kept everyone up-beat with a sweet game of "Battle of the Sexes" trivia.

I would recommend this resort to anyone who asks about it.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank nht4life
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 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $437 - $1,151 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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