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“Extremely Disappointed in Hotel”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #5 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 26, 2004

My husband and I visited in September 03 for our ninth anniversary. We were immediately disappointed. I had specifically asked for non-smoking, ocean front room, on their "Club Level". We got a second floor, ocean front room with a great view, but it smelled like a smokers lounge. We then asked to be moved and had to argue with the staff. When moved we got, for the same price, a poolside first floor room with no ocean view at all. The room was dirty, worn, and old looking. The food was terrible. There was no beach to speak of. The drinks were very good, as was the friendly waitstaff. The only thing that saved this vacation for us were the many tours and day trips we took. We are taking a trip for our tenth. Needless to say it won't be at a Sandles resort. We are going to the Ritz in Cancun.

3  Thank tshughes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,553 - 5,559 of 5,717 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Cleveland, OH
12
Reviewed May 26, 2004

My husband and I went to SRC for our honeymoon, Dec. 14-19, 2003. When we got to the resort, we were greeted with chilled towels and champagne. We had reserved a honeymoon suite. The suite was a dump, literally. The floor was all tile and the sheets on the bed smelled of mold, like someone in their swimsuit had passed out on the bed. I was disgusted with the room. It was nothing like had been on the pictures they had sent us ahead of time. The only impressive part was that it actually opened up to the beach. At night, they played their reggae, which I didn't mind at all during the day, but it was on until 1 or 2 in the morning. My husband and I like to go to bed around 12:30 or so and wake up early. So that was a mess. The food was so-so, I think the best meal we ate there was from a restaurant surrounded by a pier, I can't remember what the name was. It really is all you can eat, but sometimes it takes forever to get waited on because the service is slow. They don't rush anything! We did have some memorable moments, we swam in the pool and used the swim-up pool bar. I guess it would be an okay vacation for the couple who likes to do things as a team, (i.e. with every guest there) because they kept trying to get us to participate in silly games. Being this was our honeymoon, we wanted to just be by ourselves and enjoy this special time. We are the kind of people that don't want to be bothered in making friends with people on the resort. I hope this is helpful to anyone planning a trip there. By the third night, we wanted to call it quits. Good luck and hopefully you will like it or hopefully you'll vacation elsewhere!

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2004

My husband and I spent May 3-13th at SRC for our honeymoon. We both agreed that Sandals must employ an excellent public relations team, because their website and brochures make the resort look better than it actually is.

Overall, the service was adequate but not excellent. The food was delicious and plentiful, but the bar service was excruciatingly slow. Our theory is that management keeps alcohol costs down by discouraging staff from bringing your drinks too quickly. The bar was not well-stocked...I only drink beer and wine but my whiskey-loving husband was disappointed not to find a good Irish whiskey like Jameson's. He feels their claim of "unlimited top-shelf alcoholic beverages" is exaggerated.

For the price we paid for our "Grande Luxe Beachfront Room", I expected something more than a generic hotel room and too-small bathroom. We did enjoy sitting on our balcony, however. It may be a weird fluke, but we witnessed two domestic violence incidents take place (security had to get involved) during the time we were there.

We had considered getting married at Sandals but after seeing what their weddings are like, we were glad we didn't! We saw a lot of weddings while we were there because Sandals seems to schedule them one after another. We saw numerous wedding dinners take place about ten feet away from the shuffleboard courts, and there are people walking by - some barefoot and in bathing suits - constantly. During one wedding, a repair crew was hammering and drilling while the couple was taking their vows. Hardly an intimate, romantic event! The Kenny G. music emanating from a cheesy boom box didn't help, either.

The musical entertainment was also disappointing. The Sandals band was talented, but their selections were awful. We can hear Celine Dion songs and other bad American music at home. Jamaica has such a wonderful musical legacy - yet the only Jamaican music we heard were a few well-known Bob Marley songs. We never felt like we were in another country. If Disney were to create a "Jamaica: the Experience" attraction, they wouldn't have to look any further than Sandals.

My husband and I agreed that this all-inclusive resort wasn't a very good deal. We ate at the "Margaritaville" restaurant at the MoBay airport and the service was faster than any we received at Sandals. We'd have been happier somewhere else. However, there were plenty of others who seemed delighted with their SRC experience. It just wasn't our cup of tea, and we will certainly look elsewhere next time.

4  Thank corrinajean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Waynesboro, VA
12
Reviewed May 17, 2004

My husband and I just returned last night from a 5 night vacation at SRC. After reading some of the negative reviews I felt I had to give my own review. From the time we made our booking to the time we left the staff and the whole experience was fantastic. We booked our 5 night vacation and wedding directly through Sandals (Cynthia was extremely helpful). We had all airfares (from a small regional airport), accommodation, wedding etc for $3000. Now come on, where else for $1500 each are you going to a deal like that at an all-inclusive resort? Think about it...... airfares, accommodation, ALL meals, ALL drinks, activities, wedding ceremony, photography, reception??? We were a little nervous before going due to the bad reviews we had read. But from the time we arrived until the time we left we were looked after very well. Check-in and orientation was extremely quick. We had great meals (especially The Courtyard and Thai restaurant). There is a lot of variety, and if you don't like something - order a different dish. There were plenty of activities and we never had a problem finding a chair at the beach to sit in and relax. All the staff we dealt with would go out of their way to assist you. As for weak drinks?!? We never had a problem - Gerald, Colin, Ainsley and Mark at the Beach Bar always had the drinks coming and if you wanted it stronger - they handed you the bottle to pour in as much as you want!!
We even found it fun to sit and talk with the surfboard vendors - Sunshine was funny and always had a happy song to sing. Our room was great, it had everything you needed, was always clean and right on the beach. What more could you want for a vacation? This was our first time to a Sandals resort and if this is what you can expect from the others then we'll definitely be returning. For those of you who have written complaints - I pity you. Obviously you are looking for things to complain about and what a great vacation it would be with a whiner like yourself! The way you talk it is as if you had paid over $10000 for your 5 day trip. SRC is a great vacation destination. I can't think of wanting for more - but it sounds like some of you do. Ever heard of champagne taste on a beer budget?

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Raleigh, North Carolina
13
Reviewed May 17, 2004

My husband and I visited Sandals Royal Caribbean from May 3 - May 6, 2004, and had an awesome time. We were there for our honeymoon, and it was perfect for that. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful...just what the doctor ordered after a wedding! From the minute you finish customs, (which are NOT bad, as stated in other reviews. No one likes to wait in line, but it is part of traveling!) every airport employee there is working to get you where you need to be. Bring dollar bills to tip the "red hats" who will handle your luggage. The moment we arrived at the resort, we were taken into the concierge suite, and within minutes, we were in our fantastic renovated suite on the Kensington block. It was beautiful. Huge bathroom, tile floors, sliding glass door to a great balcony and view of the ocean. No complaints. The concierge service was great, food within 20 minutes whenever you order, bar stocked everyday, etc. If anything does go wrong (our in-room safe broke), they take care of it immediately. We ate at several restaurants, food was always fantastic. Drinks were great. Beaches were great. Vendors could be annoying, but if you just tell them politely that you're not interested, they leave you alone. In fact, they kind of grow on you by the end! "Yah mon!" The staff was VERY friendly and always asked us how our stay was going. The room-cleaning was a little delayed some days, but not really a problem. And yes, there were cats, but they were harmless and really, if a few cats are going to ruin your trip...come on! We had a great time and will do it again as soon as we can. Our friends all watched our videos and are ready to go, too. Enjoy!

3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Plymouth, MA
12
Reviewed May 12, 2004

Just returned from the Royal on 5/8/04. This was my 5th time vacationing at a Sandals resort. We paid a total of $3050.00US "air included' which also included our $745.00 discount by applying our Sandals Signature guest points. We were aware before hand that the Royal is one of Sandals lower end resorts but I did not expect such a difference in food and general overall service & atmosphere. It's not that the staff or accomodations were bad as a matter of fact they were satifactory. The main issue was the food and the availability of it. The wait time for drinks was totally unacceptable, always a 5 min at the pool bar etc.. My main complaints were are as follows:
A) always ! I repeat always ! waiting for a "watered down drink" pool bar, restaurant bar etc.
B) the window of time for breakfast, lunch or dinner was very limited "approx 2hr windows"
C) overall quality of food was sub-par as compared to other Sandal Resorts
D) (2) very small pools

Positive points were as follows:
A) Nice room
B) Great weather
C) Good staff

From my experience at Sandals, I would recommend only staying at a Sandals Resort that offers a spa. Those properities offer a much more premium food quality, selection ,and availability. Overall I enjoyed myself but at an effort. Spend the extra money if you can .

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Atlantic City, New Jersey
11
Reviewed May 10, 2004

We attended this wonderful resort on April 24th to April 29th, it wasn't enough time - needed to be there for another week. There was a few of us in our group so we were always having a good time. This resort was amazing, the people, pools, beaches, food, unbelievable!!! We will return again! I recommand this resort to those of you who have children & has a busy life style at home because at this resort they know how to relax & have fun. I was so scared for our group going here reading some of these reviews, thank god that I didn't say anything to them about what some people wrote, they would have laughed at me. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!THE NEW JERSEY CREW WILL BE RETURNING

1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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:
#4 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $476 - $1,412 (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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