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.
- 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