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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
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Reviewed October 4, 2006

Sandals Royal Caribbean was a decent resort that could use a major update. My wife and I went there on our honeymoon.

Good things...

1) Service. Most of the staff are very accomodating and friendly. We had a butler who was excellent (Hughill), but his replacement (Kevon) made several errors causing a good deal of frustration on our part.

2) People. Mostly couples celebrating anniverseries, honeymooners, or those who were getting married at Sandals. Everyone we met was very nice and there was definitely (as cheesy as it sounds) love in the air.

3) Daytime Activities. Lots of stuff to do during the day and it's all included in the price. We snorkeled, sailed, kayaked, etc. Wanted to scuba but never got around to taking the class. We were never bored.

4) The Water. We really enjoyed the bay and all of the aquatic life that is everywere. From hermit crabs to barracuda, you will see (and swim with) all of it.

5) Surfboard Merchants. These are the guys that aren't allowed on the property, so they go up and down the shoreline on surfboards/kayaks. They have souvenirs and ANYthing else you need. Some of them are hilarious. Skinny is the man.

6) No Kids. I like them, but not on vacation.

Bad Things...

1) The Food. Ok, it's not "Bad" per say. I was just expecting better. We liked the food at Montego Bay a little better. Tokyo Joes was good. The Courtyard is a joke, don't eat there. And the "fabulous Tai Restaurant" in it's mysterious island location totally misses the mark. We love Tai food and eat it often... theirs was subpar. Plus there are no fans so if it's a hot evening, you will sweat through your clothes while you eat. Breakfast is decent, but we preferred the room service breakfast to the buffet. The jerk chicken is good... I ate it all week.

2) Private Dinner. At $140, it's not cheap. But the menu is enticing so we decided to try it. First our butler screwed up our reservation so we did not have a private terrace. We ended up dining on the beach an hour late. We got the lobster... it was the dryest, worst lobster I've ever tasted. Go to TownHouse in Montego Bay instead. You'll spend less and have a much better experience with great food.

3) Room. We got the Royal Suite on the beach. It was very dated. The shower head came up to my chest and fluxuated from hot to cold often. Ants marched through our room daily. The couches were gross. We felt the need to put sheets over them. The location was was awesome however... we could walk right out to the beach (where we spent most of our time).

4) Construction. The Regency restaurant was closed for renovations. When we were there half the property was under construction. Hammering, crashing, chainsaws... paradise.

5) Nightlife. They usually have a band or some kind of show going on at night. We didn't care much for the bands... we love reggae music, but not the bands they had there. And we're not really the type of people that participate in a "couples gameshow". In fact, anything titled "couples..." we're probably not into. We heard Sandals Montego Bay has a much better nightlife.

6) Beach. It's very small and seems fake. If you dig more than 3 inches into the white sand, you'll find dark gray cement-like sand.

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Overall, it was our honeymoon so I expected better... and I may be a bit of a perfectionist, but I know what I like. I think I would have enjoyed Sandals Whitehouse more, but I think I might be done with all-inclusives all-together.

Hope my review helps your decision.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
17  Thank ktrane331
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2006

Royal Caribbean: The first four days of our vacation was spent totally at the Royal. We found the beach to be very small and the resort much smaller and compact then what the brochure makes it seem to be. My wife and I found our spot under a tree on the beach and we slept, swam, and ate. The surfboard venders were annoying. At one time, I counted seven of them. However, some consider that to be the Jamaican experience and patronize them. So, you just get use to it and ignore them. The construction in the St. James building was going on. It is completely gutted. The noise from that construction was not bad for us. We talked to a British couple that stayed in the Clarence or Buckingham building that requested a transfer to the Caernarvon building because the noise was so loud in their area. They also replaced the roof on the Almond Terrace area. Now that was loud. Fortunately, they are almost done with that.

We stayed in the Caernarvon Building. The rooms were recently renovated. The rooms were very nice with a fully stocked refrigerator. I estimate the rooms are 20 by 15 feet with an additional balcony, sink area, and tub area with a jacuzzi tub. My wife used it one night after we finally had hot water. (The rest of the time it was warm water but not cold). The pool is quiet in tha block with 3 couples at the most using it.

The staff was accommodating but I was not overly impressed. They would say “hello” and “good morning” but that was about all. When we arrived, we had to look them up to tell them we were there. I guess we surprised them. Took three days to fix a problem in our room after three trips to the front desk.

The breakfast and lunch buffets were good, however, seemed not to have much variety. The Courtyard restaurant was the best. The Thai was a good experience. (The dragon boat is back.) Did not eat at the Regency and the Pavilion was closed.
Our experience at the Royal would be a three to four stars.


Montego Bay. My wife and I went over to Montego Bay on Monday to spend the day. WOW what a difference. The beach was 10 times bigger than the Royals. Within fifteen minutes of finding our little hut on the beech a worker came up to us and offered us a drink, got to know us, and brought us a fruit drink he made himself (my wife and I are not alcohol drinkers). The next day, Deven, looked for us again and offered us another drink. We never got that treatment at the Royal. The beach was larger and cleaner, sailing is better, and the water sports such as skiing are at Montego Bay. I counted only three surfboard venders that showed up at around 3 o’clock. I even notice the security guards confronting them for rowing through the off limits swimming area.

The food was also better for breakfast and lunch with larger variety and service. The evening meals were also nicer because they had more variety. The best meal was at the Bayside (The fillet mignon was wonderful). The best experience and atmosphere was the Oleander with white glove service (be sure you dress up for this one) and air conditioning. We were fortunate to get into the Cucina Romana before it closed for renovations, which was also very good. We fell in love with Montego Bay and decided to spend the rest of our vacation there. So, we hopped on the shuttle bus every morning and returned to the Royal every night.

The airport noise was no different at Montego Bay then the Royal. At Montego, the planes were beside the resort. At the Royal, they flew over the resort.

Our experience at Montego Bay would be a 5 star. If we had a choice and could have this vacation all over again, we would have chosen Montego Bay over the Royal.

I have included some pictures that are more informational then scenic that I hope answers some questions that some of you may have who are preparing to journey to the Royal.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
21  Thank drwn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2006

We stayed at the SRC from February 23 to March 2. I wasn't going to write a review, but have decided otherwise after finding tripadvisor.com - It is a great resouce for finding the truth.

We stayed in the Balmoral Bldg. We were upgraded once we arrived, which was a nice surprise. I loved our view, but it would have been nice to have some privacy on our balcony; in this section there are no partition between balconies.

We weren't really looking for a wild night life, but I would have thought they would have something to at least keep you interested enough to stay awake. Yes, there was even an Elvis impersonator (I read that in someone elses review). The entertainers were ok, but it was all usually over by 9:30-10pm. They said their was a disco, but I could never find it. The inside bar is very small.

We had an incredibly difficult time getting the sandals we earned. Don't let them talk you into mailing them to you.

The food was passable at best. The desserts are horrible - freezer burnt or stale. The buffet gets really old. The service at the Regency was so slow; I think one night they forgot about us.

I don't want to say our trip was entirely bad - Our view was incredible; I loved the turn-down service. Our frig was always restocked with what they saw we were drinking - they even came back later in the day to put more juice in. Breakfast on our balcony each morning was wonderful!!! Roomservice was always on time.

If you have a chance to take the Snorkeling Booze Cruise to Montego Bay - go, we had a blast! The crew really works hard to make sure you are having a good time.

If you are looking for a party or nightlife, this isn't the place for you. It is very relaxing and quiet. Never had a problem getting a chair at the pool - even if they were all taken, the pool attendant would go and get one from the beach for you.

  • Stayed: February 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank Katmaree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2006

Reviewer: 14th year Anniversary from Brunswick, GA

We just went to Royal Caribbean Sandals Jamaica last week, 9-10 thru 9-15. We had a great time. First off, we booked it through our local travel agent. They set it up for us nicely. The only issue for us was the fight times. First flight leaving out and last flight returning. The leaving flight was ok once you wake up, but waking up is the problem when you have to drive an hour to the airport. Anyway, the flights were out of Jacksonville, Fl with change of plane in Miami. When arrived at the airport and after retrieving our luggage and going through customs, the Sandals staff had signs leading you to the beautiful Sandals waiting room. This room had drinks and cookies and stuff. The staff seemed a bit unorganized and moody, but the room made up for that. They page you when you are ready to go on the bus to transfer to the hotel.

Hotel: This hotel was nice. When we got out immediately the staff were their to assist us with our luggage and checking in process. The concierge level went to an air conditioned room with wine and snacks and the other levels went on outside seats to check in. This process was kind of time consuming, but hey, we're inside. smile
The staff were nice and pleasant. We received cards to use for anything extra. Ex:gift shop, spa, photos. Then at the end of your stay you pay with credit card or cash. They say they have recently become a cashless resort. This is the need for the cards.

Room: Our room was a Honeymoon Concierge Suite. It overlooked the pool. It was beautifully renovated, Kensington Building #110. The furniture is the nicest. The pictures on the walls were even of good choice. We enjoyed the jacuzzi tub, minus the bubbles. When turned on there were stuff floating around. Gross. Not their fault though. I think its hard to keep them clean. I will just not turn the bubbles on next time and just soak. it's calming just the same. The bar was nice and you can request another type wine, or liquor if you don't drink what they have. It did take them about 3 days to bring it though. I had to also call to remind them daily of it. With this level room, 2 bathrobes supposed to be in your closet. Ours were not and I had to call several days to finally get those.

Staff: The staff was pleasant, even when not making things happen in a timely fashion. Joseph who takes you to your room is great and always lively and sweet. The restaurant staff are professional. They could have been more talkative with us, but very professional. We transferred over to Sandals Montego Bay for dinner a few nights, and their staff are so much more fun. Gary and Curtis and the best at the main bar and make whatever you want with no problems man. Royal Carribbean is more laid back with an older group, while Montego Bay is up and jumping nightly.

Beach: The beach was small and dirty. After tanning it was cooling though and the landscape was postcard like. It was close to the room and the guys that sell jewlery are nice and available all day on the surf boards. I have enclosed a picture. We bought a few necklaces from them, which are really pretty.

Photos: The photo staff are nice. We did a photo shoot with Devon around sunset and the pics came out good. The prices are a bit high for them, but great just the same. For 10 5x7's they are $90, and you get a frame. Abraham and Nicole are nice in their as well.

Spa: We went to the spa for a couples room. My husband got a sampler massage and myself a scrub and wrap. It was well worth the $250. Do it please. I had the coffee scrub and wrap, which is a little uncomfortable at first with the scrubbing, but after it's over, your skin feels like silk. A must have.

Restaurants: We weren't that impressed with the selection of food. The best place to eat is the Royal Thai, which is the island. It's great. It is open during the day for topless tanning and a swim up pool. We didn't go then though. Other than that, the best meal is breakfast. The girl who makes the made to order omelets is wonderful. Yummy.

Entertainment: Kind of boring, unless you are wasted all day. The games seem a bit slow and the crowd didn't respond too well to them. They didn't go with everyone all the time. Montego Bay was more lively at night. At Royal Caribbean after 9 or so it's like empty. This is good if you want to go to bed early, but if not...boring.

All in all we had a blast and would come back.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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13  Thank Msfate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2006

My wife and I stayed at the SRC from 09-13-06 to 09-18-06 and I can not say enough about this great place. This was the first all-inclusive vacation, but not the last. This is from now on the only way we spend our vacation. After arriving at Sangster Airport, it took about 1 hour to get to our room.Customs,immigration,bus transfer and all. I have read reviews complaining about the long wait at the airport, but we had absolutly no problems at all. In short, arrived at 1430 hours and we were in the ocean at 1600 hours. Check in was fast and our room (grande luxe beachfront) in the Kensington building was outstanding. elegant furniture, fully stocked bar, very clean and a fantastic view of the pool and ocean. We started to explore the grounds and found that everything was very well maintained, easy to find and the personnel very helpful. Our first dinner was at the Regency Suite that night and it was everything one would expect at a Sandals. Great service, good variety and fantastic view of the ocean.
Food: breakfast and lunch buffets at the Regency were outstanding. I can not think of anything that could be added. Dinner at the Royal Thai Island was good, but the place is too hot and humid to really enjoy it. The Courtyard is open air in a garden setting and very nice.
Pool and ocean: Both are as clean as one can hope for. the pools are well taken care off and our beach was raked at least twice a day.
Entertainment: from pool to shuffleboard to board games and evening entertainment, if you get bored in this resort, there is no help for you.
Fitness: The fitness room is most likely the best I have ever seen. the equipment is in outstanding condition, clean and complete. we work out at a gym 5 days a week and can make a judgement on that. I checked about 60 reviews on this page prior to our trip and wondered about some of the negative ones. None of the complaints voiced in these reviews were encountered by us.
In summary: If you are looking for a romantic vaccation spot to relax and enjoy a beautyful surrounding with you loved one, this is the place.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
13  Thank avtrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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