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“Not quite there...”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Surrey UK
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Not quite there...”
Reviewed March 1, 2005

We have just returned from The Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay. Setting aside the appalling service provided by Air Jamaica - 8 hour delay going; 7 coming back - we generally enjoyed our stay. All the staff were lovely, friendly and enjoyed a joke. Generally cleanliness was of a high order and the facilities seemed good.
A couple of down sides: the catering and menus seemed a little tired and could do with some revision. We got the feeling that they were seldom changed and lacked imagination. The piano in the piano bar was extremely underused and not the focal point for get=togethers in the evenings.
Didn't enjoy our meal at Tokyo Joe's [Sandals Mo Bay] and didn't bother returning to this hotel situated beside the airport runway!
Overall, loved Jamaica but can't wee us returning because of terrible prospects for flights there Air Jaimaca looks to be in serious trouble.
Andy & Lynne Clayton
Surrey UK

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank Andiseas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 27, 2005

Just returned from Jamaica on February 27. We booked Royal Carib. from the 24-27th. We left the resort on the 25th and found a different hotel. The only thing I could think of someone giving this resort a high rating, is that they are on their first trip, or, they have always gone to this type of hotel and don't know the difference. To put it mildly, this place is a complete dump. Do not go by the pictures that you see through the Sandal's, they are completely doctored. From the moment we drove up to the main building we knew what we were in for. I have to say, that we travel quite extensively through the carribean, and usual stay at a Ritz, Four Seasons, Hyatt and the like. We settled on this place based on the fact it was a quick getaway and the pictures looked inviting and we wanted to try something new.

This place is a glorified travel motel in Jamaica. Firstly, the building, the furnishings and the landscape was in complete state of needed repair and/or replacement. There is ABSOLUTELY NO BEACH..NONE, the pictures are very deceiving. The offshore island is really not offshore..there is actually a sand bar that you could literally walk on to get to the island. The furniture was falling apart, and the landscaping looked like nobody has attended to it in month's. They have 2 pools, and they were tiny. I am talking that the average person has a larger pool in their backyard, and there was absolutely no place to sit.

I am not trying to sound like a snob, and I know that many of those reading this do not have the capacity to go to a more exclusive resort, so I direct my feelings to those of you who are more apt to visit a true 4/5 star resort. If you are this type of traveller..DO NOT GO HERE!!!! We were so disappointed that we left the day after we arrived and moved to the Round Hill resort. If we were not able to get another resort, we were prepared to fly home...this is how bad this place is.

The food was absolutely horrible. It was almost impossible to get a drink as they only had a couple of small bars with a couple of bartenders, and literally 20 people deep to get served. Their is NO poolside bar service..no waitress's to get you a drink.

I equate this resort to a kids camp type facility. Once again, if you have never been away, or,you are familar with this type of resort..I am sure you will have a good time. If you are a traveller with high expectations..stay away..you will not be happy at all.

When we checked out the next day, we spoke to the manager (who was very nice), and he agreed with us that if you are a person who enjoys a better level of service and accommodations this resort is not for you.

I will say..the staff were all very friendly...were smiling the whole time, and always asked how you were doing. We had a beachfront suite, which was also very nice. We saw the lower tier rooms and they were horrible.

22 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2005

We have just returned from an excellent week at the Royal Caribbean.The weather could have been a bit kinder for us. It was lovely and hot but there was quite a breeze which made it feel a bit cooler. My husband and I have never been to a Sandals Resort before and we were rather dubious if we should believe every thing the brochure said. If you are expecting perfection and your expertation is very high well you may be disapointed.If you went to the Ritz there would always be something not to your liking. On the whole it is a good place to go for a holiday.If you want to be really picky you could say that there should be more sun beds on the beach and in better condition also the island could do with a bit of a tidy up but that is just minor things.The staff could not do enough for us and were very friendly. We have stayed at many hotels/resorts and never had such helpful and happy staff. We loved being served in the restaurants it made a change from the buffett style you usually receive in an "all inclusive". The food was enjoyable and quite a variety to choose from. We loved the Regency, mainly because we liked sitting outside on the veranda in the evening over the sea. This is also where you can eat your breakfast.The Thai restaurant over on the island was good. We had not eaten Thai before but we really enjoyed it even though it was a bit breezy.You have to book for that restaurant so do that as early as you can. We had a standard room on the second floor which was quite large, it was clean,with a lovely coffee maker.If you wanted clean sheets all you had to do was ask.The balcony was large and private. One morning we had breakfast delivered and it was lovely eating it on the balcony. On the friday there were a few craft stalls put up on the beach for you to buy your souvinors but make sure you bata with them. We also hired a taxi for $6 each to take us to the craft market. That was some experience. It was a bit like pressure selling to you but in such a nice polite way that you did not feel annoyed about it. In fact I would not have missed it for the world it was quite fun really.All you have to say is "no" and they leave you alone.If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me.

5 Thank Gwencw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolton, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 360 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2005

Sandals is overpriced and overated food average rooms less so staff are very pleasant and helpful though dont be in a hurry to get drinks !!!
There are far better value places in Jamaica ie they recycle the food from lunch to dinner Italian a joke pizza hut is better !!
Americans 70% of guests mmmm !!! everthing seems to be AWESOME !!!!!!!!!
I would rate it no mre than 3/4 star been to lots better all round the world for far less money
Anyone who thinks this resort is wonderful just hasnt been anywhere of real 5 star class.

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
30 Thank grahamggm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 16, 2005

My husband and I just returned from Sandals Royal Caribbean after a week long stay. The weather was great, a little windy, but no rain and at least 85 every day. This was our first trip to the Royal Caribbean, though we have stayed at Sandal Halcyon in St. Lucia twice before. Many returning guests that we met in St. Lucia highly recommended this resort so we felt comfortable booking here, even after reading all of the negative feedback. I have done enough travel to know that I can not believe everything I read.

Our stay started off with being upgraded from a standard room to a Royal Suite with a fantastic view of the 'quiet pool' and the beach and ocean. We were on the second floor so we had a lovely balcony with a table and 2 chairs, perfect for cocktail hour or morning coffee. I am not really sure why we were so fortunate but I certainly was not going to complain. The room was spacious and clean and freshly re-decorated. Minor problems with hot water and water pressure, but nothing that was serious enough to ruin a vacation or even voice a complaint about.

The food was good most of the time. We had heard fabulous things about the Royal Thai and Tokyo Joes so we made it a point to eat at both of those places- had a little trouble getting reservations but they finally came through, however we were unable to get to La Cucina Romana over at Montego Bay. Oh well, can't win them all. The food at these 2 restaurants was fine, I am not a big chinese/japanese food person and but my husband does enjoy it, so my opinion really may not be fair. Neither of us had ever had Thai food so we were cautious with our ordering so as not to be 'spiced out'. We had an enjoyable dinner except for the wind...since the restaurant on the Island is open air, the wind just whips right through...trying to keep the hair out of your food does kind of dampen the enjoyment of the meal.
Tokyo Joes was a little more disappointing. Same wind issues and the food was just so-so. We were under the impression that they cooked at your table but that was not the case- you go over to a grill and pick out what you want them to stir-fry for you. Not bad but not the best either.
We ate twice at the Courtyard which was probably the best overall dining experience...food, atomsphere etc.

We love to snorkel but because of the wind, the water was too rough and the bottom was too churned up to really see anything. We did go out one day but there were 5-6 foot waves crashing over you as you tried to snorkel which was not alot of fun so we decided that 'beaching it' was a better idea.

Everyone at the resort was very pleasant. Always a "hello" and more than willing to help whenever they could. They could use a little help with organization at the front desk but maybe that is just the Jamaican way of life- no problem, 'mon.......

All in all we had a very pleasant stay at the Royal Caribbean and would recommend it to anyone. If you are looking to be treated like a Queen and waited on hand and foot, this may not be the place for you- the service is very good but but not "royal". We believe that we got our moneys worth for sure and will most certainly visit Sandals again.....maybe Antigua next time, or perhaps Negril.......

  • Stayed January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 14, 2005

We visited Sandals RC from Aug 19-23, 2002. This was my husband and my first trip to Jamaica and we loved it. My husband and I were married at the Sandals Royal Caribbean on Aug 21, 2002. The staff was very helpful and friendly. The rooms were clean (for those who want to spend time in their room) and the food was great. The only thing we had to do was pick our cake and flowers and the wonderful staff did the rest. After the wedding I surprised at how well the entire staff knew my new last name. They really took the time to get to know us. There was plenty of activities and entertainment for those who just want to relax and stay on the resort. The staff constantly checked with us to make sure we were having a good time.

We also visited Sandals Montego Bay and I think the next time my husband and I go back to Jamaica, alone, we're going to stay there. Although SRC was great, I believe that there were more couples of our age group at the Sandals Montego Bay (ages ranging from 30 to 45). But overall I would recommend both Sandals Resorts for couples of all ages. We will be visiting Jamaica in June 2005. I would love to visit one of the Sandals locations but this time we're taking the kids so we're going to try Sunset Beach Resort and Spa. I heard they are in the process of completing a new water park that is scheduled to be finished by April of 2005. I'll let you know how that goes.

But for now I would say definitely go to Sandal Royal Caribbean. You'll enjoy it.

PLEASE GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8 Thank tdbwatts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2005

I promised myself I would write a review this time because I have used this service alot. I value the opinions, the good and the bad, when making my travel decisions. This was our second trip to this Sandals location. Our last trip was in March of 2003 and we had the best time. I felt we got our moneys worth, the staff was great and loved the all inclusive design. We went to relax and did just that. My wife got some sun and I went on the dive trips with a very good staff. Everything seemed perfect. The food was between good and great. We had very few if any problems and felt like we were important. Truth be told, we are not hard to please. We just wanted to escape Chicago in the winter and relax. So when it came time to choose a destination and resort in December 2004, Sandals was high on the list. I wanted to try a different location, my wife did not care where it was, just wanted sun and a drink. The other locations looked tempting, but cost more then I wanted to spend and the crazy connections with the flights meant two entire days of traveling and the usual wild bus ride to the resort. I felt if the wife really did not care about an exotic location like St. Lucia or Aruba, we never leave the resort anyways, lets stick with the proven winner. The short flight from Tampa, where we dropped off our 3 year old at the grandparents, the short bus trip, like 20 minutes and the good memories from the last trip convinced me. Plus this time I would be a "Signature Guest" and using my credits from the last trip saved me an additional $350.00. Sold!!! and off we went. I will start by saying the weather was terrible. Only 2 1/2 days of any sun at all out of 5. I know it was a big reason for our disappointment, but I have thought alot about it and the place just wasn't the same. I am not one to ask for upgrades or complain much. So when our room, we reserved the basic, cheapest room, was nicer then last time, I thought, this is great, they are upgrading us like our "Signature Guest" program said they would. Truth was the hotel was at only 30% full and we were still in a basic room, but with a better view. Many of the restaurants, including our favorite was not open the entire week. I'm sorry I forget the name, the big one off the pool facing the ocean. Remodeling we were told. One night we started to walk into a restaurant and was told it was for returning guests only....We explained we were and told we were not on the list...The nice woman at the door offered to let us in. The staff really trys hard. But we felt slammed and walked away. I went to the desk and explained what happened. They told us a manager would call in the morning. We grabbed a sandwich and went back to the room. A knock on the door and a bell guy said here ya go, two t-shirts, that said "Signature Guest" and he left. We just sat down and it was clear, things were not going right. The forcast was poor for the rest of the stay, we were not as important as we thought we were and no longer felt it. We were going to the same restaurants since only a few were open each night. We tried to make the best of it. I went on several dives and the wife wrapped herself in towels and sat by the pool reading a book. The dive staff is really top notch and an all inclusive perk I really liked. Granted, our trip was going down hill, mostly because of the uncontrollable weather and a mistake or oversight on the management staff, but I just started to notice things I didn't the first time. Maybe the newness had worn off. I couldn't help but think back to the bargin trips to Mexico I had considered and we could have had them for half the price. We both just wanted to go home. All the planning and all the money was wasted and weather or no weather, no one there did anything special to make us feel any better. At least it seemed that way. I learned a few valuable lessons. When your wife wants sun and sun alone, go for the bargin trip. I won't go back to a place a second time, because my expectations were too high. Next time they tell me I am a preferred guest, I want to be treated like one. So we won't be going back and I have serious reservations about going to a sandals again. It was a lot of money and the value just was not there. So good luck with your search and I hope this was a little helpful.

20 Thank MrFitz66
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
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 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach 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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