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“Loved the Royal!”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #6 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 14, 2007

My husband & I stayed at the Royal from Jan 31st to Feb 7th, 2007. We have been to many all-inclusives in Jamaica before, Sandals, Couples, Hedo and by far, in our opinion, this is the best resort yet. We have never encounter staff that are so friendly, go out of their way to smile and ask if you need help. It was also the cleaniest resort and we think the food blows Sandals Mo Bay away. Every place we ate at on the Royal was excellent. We were so pleased, we already booked our 2008 trip for the Royal. We never got bitten my mosquitos, perhaps it makes a difference where your room is located? We're SSG and were in a Grande Lux room, recently re-done and very nice. We didn't find the resort quiet, we actually thought it was livilier than Sandals Mo Bay, where we've stayed multiple times. One word of caution, after we got home, we checked our credit card charges (because of the review that stated a few cards were copied and were getting fradulent charges on them) and discovered the hotel had double charged us for our check out balance. But other than that, we can't say enough about the Royal.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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16  Thank Kilokitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 6, 2007

My husband and I stayed at Sandals Royal Caribbean from Feb.2-5. We were previously at Sandals Ocho Rios on our honeymoon 17 years ago. We booked our trip at the last minute and wanted an all inclusive that did not allow kids. It was our 8th time at an all inclusive in Jamaica so we got exactly what we were expecting (we have also been to FDR 5 times with the kids and Couples in Negril).

I had read reviews which complained about the planes flying overhead which we did experience but being close to the aiport was a priority to us since we were only there for 3 nites. The ride was only 15 minutes, which was a treat for us after having done the ride to ocho rios and negril previously. The busiest time of day for the planes was between 1-2pm. My husband and I agreed in advance that we would just ignore the planes and we didn't let it get to us. The noise would last less than a minute each time.

We booked a grande luxe oceanfront room and got upgraded to to concierge service due to our signature guest status as returning guests. We were in the Kensington building which is the last building furthest from the restaurants (about a 5-7 minute walk) overlooking the pool and hottub with a beautiful ocean view. The room was recently renovated with a 4 poster bed and marble bathroom.

The service was very good, every worker that passed us on the grounds always said hello. The grounds were well maintained, the drinks and breakfasts and the grill were good. Dinners were adequate, the Thai restaurant was the best. Other guests told us that some restaurants at the montego bay property were good (Tokyo Joe's) although we didn't get a chance to go over there. The beach was very nice, the only annoying thing were the vendors who passed by on their boats and tried to solicit us. If you ignore them, they will just leave you alone. Once you start engaging them, they keep trying to solicit you.

Bring bug spray or buy it when you get there if you are prone to getting bitten by mosquitoes. I am still scratching at my mosquito bites, although I don't think my husband got any.

Overall, we had a very romantic getaway. If we had more time I definitely would have tried the Whitehouse property. But being close to the airport was really a priority to us. If you are expecting gourmet food, this is not the place for you but I think the price was reasonable, the food was adequate and everything else was great.

Any questions, feel free to email @ Dawnlw@optonline.net.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank dawnlw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2007

I'd like to register my disappointment and warn you about what I consider a big issue that can cause lots of trouble for anyone.

We arrived at the Sandals Royal Caribbean at approximately 4 a.m. on December 22nd for a 4 days vacation. My husband and I and a couple of friends (who happen to have suffered from the same problem here related) were the only guests checking in at the time. We left at the reception, as it is common, a credit card number for future purchases or debts. We did not use the credit cards anywhere else since we did not leave the hotel. Both credit cards were copied and have been freely used for different expenses in Ocho Rios!!!! My friends are still trying to solve the problem with the credit card administrator and, since I knew about their problem, I kept checking my invoice everyday and was able to cancel the credit card the very day the expenses started appearing. But now I'm left without my credit card until the problem is solved. Really, really sad.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank DriBahamas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2007

Review of SRC 1/20-1/27 2007 by Jean B in NJ
What a fantastic resort! I cannot say enough about our experience at SRC! We had such a great time we cannot wait to return! 6 of us traveled together and we all agreed that this resort was top notch. Jeremy Mutton the General Manager has been such an asset to this resort; we heard testimony from both the staff and returning guests. He is very hands on and is constantly seen around the resort coordinating, and even picking up sugar wrappers in the coffee room.

We had visited Sandals Whitehouse, the newest resort last year and thought that was the best resort ever. When we went to Sandals Royal Caribbean we were equally impressed. They are very different and difficult to compare. SWH was huge with several restaurants, but located in the middle of nowhere. SRC is a smaller more intimate resort with more personalized attention with a private island.

The private island was one of the best features of this resort. We spent every day going to the island to snorkel (we saw tons of fish) and swim in the pool. It was very secluded because many guests were afraid of encountering nude sunbathers. We found that we rarely saw these guests because they stayed on the other side of the island out of view. This was the best-kept secret because we had the pool bar and Jacuzzi mostly to ourselves the entire week!

One night we had a private dinner for the six of us on the island. It was a candle lit dinner from the Thai restaurant with our own server. This is a special dinner you can request for a very reasonable price. We highly recommend doing this whether you are honeymooners, celebrating your anniversary or just a group of friends that want a private dinner. This was the highlight of our trip! We also saw couples enjoying their dinners in gazebos along the ocean. It looked so romantic. Don’t skip this opportunity!

Another highlight was the Sandal’s returning guest dinner. The food was fantastic and we were happy to hear Jeremy rave about the employees. We learned that out of the 382 employees; over 100 have been with SRC for over 10 years. That says a lot to me! The best, most clever part was the end when dessert was presented. Employees from all over the resort from housekeeping to maintenance delivered our dessert to us. This had to be a real moral boost for the employees to see how much of an impact they have on the guests, but also a treat for us to meet the behind the scenes staff.

I truly believe the respect and warm feelings shared between Jeremy and the staff influences the overall mood at the resort. Everyone we encountered was happy and accommodating. We will definitely return to this resort in the future!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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15  Thank JeanBNewJersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2007

My husband and I just returned from an 8 day, 7 night vacation to Jamaica (1-20-07 to 1-27-07). We booked and stayed at the Sandals (all-inclusive) Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay. Everything was great!

Arrival & Check-in
We arrived at the airport in Montego Bay not knowing what to expect, but we were met by a Sandals rep that ushered us to a Sandals waiting room in the airport. (Beer and soda were available to start the “all inclusiveness.” After about 10 minutes, we were taken by bus to the resort. Just an FYI "All Inclusive" means at the Sandals resort only! Everyone else expects to be tipped, from the Red Caps who take your baggage at the airport, to anyone who transports you anywhere on the island.

Once we arrived on property, we were given a cool towel and a glass of champagne, and quickly ushered to the concierge lounge directly off the lobby. This room was lovely, air conditioned and had fun snacks including cheese, fruit, and a Jamaican sweet with Ginger which we told them was so good – and they told us we could stop by anytime to enjoy some more.

We were taken on a tour of the resort and all it had to offer and then we were taken to our room. Impressively our luggage had already arrived to our patio.

Grounds & Room
They do a great job keeping the place neat. They rake every morning before most people rise (I am an early bird so I enjoyed walking around before everyone was awake). They are always cleaning the beach & picking up cups. The construction going on while we were there was not intrusive at all. In fact, one night we were at the restaurant in front of the construction, and because the “hiding wall” was the same color, I did not realize it until my husband pointed it out. (In addition, I had not been drinking at the time.)

The pools were nice (small, but nice). There were plenty to choose from, as well as hot tubs. All were PERFECTLY clean our entire week. In addition, unlike other places I have been they were also all working.

Take towels with you to the island... they do not have a towel hut there. There is also no food over there. I am sure, though, that you could take food with you. I saw a group with a cheese/cracker/fruit plate there. They must have asked for it at a restaurant (or room/butler service) & taken it over. I am sure they would be willing to accommodate you if you would want to ask:

Bugs -- I had about six or seven bites the entire week. Which is actually VERY good for me? I read reviews that mentioned it. Therefore, I took bug spray & sprayed every evening. I am sure it helped. I would recommend it to anyone going.

We stayed in the Kensington block, the rooms were very new (2004 renovations), and the stocked refrigerator was a great plus. It had regular and diet soda, water, beer, champagne and juice. If you wanted a different mix of sodas, or possibly all beer, all you had to do was let the concierge team or the housekeeper know. In addition, a well stocked bar came with the room (Rum, Gin, Vodka and Scotch), if you did not want to party near the bars. Our patio was not big enough, and we never did sit on it. In addition, it is at the END of the resort, so it is a bit out of the way.

The concierge team was the best, and it was their assistance with every little thing you could think have that made the category upgrade worth the extra cost

Fitness Center & Spa
The fitness center was actually quite amazing – it surpassed those that I have seen at major hotels 3-5 times the size of Sandals! It had five treadmills, two elliptical machines, two step climbers, and two stationary bikes. In addition, it had a smith press, a cable tower, two leg machines, a chest press station, a lat station, a full rack of dumbbells, a full rack of barbells, two dip stations, and an incline sit-up bench. All this, plus room leftover for cardio classes (Step class and Resistance Ball training were offered while we were there). This was all staffed by Marlon, who was very friendly, helpful, and engaging. Once you met him once he knew you and would say hi and encourage you to join in. In addition to keeping watch on the fitness center, helping people with the equipment, and running cardio classes, he also led power walks around the grounds and conducted water aerobic classes in the main pool. Whew!! I guess this is all good for a place that offers all you can eat and drink!

Co-located in the same building as the fitness center is the Redlane Spa. During our visit, we took advantage of this facility to get a couple’s massage. I enjoy going for regular massages at home, and I must admit I was a little skeptical as to how this staff would do. I was definitely pleasantly surprised, as I got one of the best massages I have ever had. The room was comfortable, and smelled good from the candles they were burning. Everyone was friendly on top of that. I guess now when my regular masseuse is busy, I will have to go back to Jamaica! (Oh darn!)

Food – Regarding the restaurants that require reservations - make your reservations on your first day. We did this and had no problem getting into the restaurants we wanted that needed reservations, although we had heard of others who had been to Sandals Royal previously, and waited to the last minute and were out of luck. Our concierge was also kind enough to call over and get us reservations for six at Tokyo Joes; since it is at the other resort (Sandals Montego Bay), the Sandals Royal people have less access to hold reservations.

There are buffets available with very nice displays almost every night. Sure, after 8 days you may see some of the same choices at different restaurants. BUT you can order something else!:) The ability to visit SMB was a big reason for our choice of this resort too. The food at SMB was nice. Tokyo Joes was one of our favorite meals. On property, The Royal Thai was great, and we enjoyed it two evenings. Interesting to note is the Sunday (the day after we arrived) they started doing it banquet style (instead of ordering, each table gets a little of everything). They found people typically wanted to try more than one item so this worked out best. You have a sampling of three appetizers, each have a salad, share five entrees and then get two samples of dessert. You can also feel free to ask for more of anything at any time. We traveled with two other couples and both times, we ordered extra of the Beef with Green Curry – it was to die for, and I did not even think I liked any kind of curry! The boat ride over to the restaurant was lovely too. In addition, for those who have been to the Royal Bahamian, the level of bugs at the private Island did not come close to what you would encounter on the Royal Bahamian private island. We were eaten alive there, and at Royal Caribbean – not even a bite. We put a little bug spray on before – but everyone in our group was fine both nights.

We have found the snack bar at all Sandals to be of excellent quality and this was no exception. They actually are my favorite French fries in the world. (Maybe the Caribbean air?) As many have mentioned in other posts, you must try the Jerk Chicken at the grill- it is truly addictive! Even if you are just a plain “cheeseburger kind of person”, those were excellent too! These snacks are available daily till 2 am (incase you need to sop up that alcohol from the day)

Breakfast everyday was a buffet, and although not very exciting – had enough choices that everyone could find something to their liking.

Ok Corral at SMB was very cute with picnic table and our friends who ordered the steak were impressed that is was good. Even the fajitas were good, and the homemade tortillas were outstanding.

The beach party on Saturday was fun, and the food variety and quality were excellent. There was a raffle of some t-shirts and free passes to the Dolphin cove. If you are there on a Friday, and will be there for longer, you may want to wait as you could save some $$$ by booking the trip later.

Drinks & Bartenders -- Very nice & plentiful. They'll make them how you like them. Just ask! Never a lack of anything I wanted. Germaine on the private island is GREAT! In addition, Verna was awesome at the pool bar. We were treated like royalty by the staff and there was not a mean or grumpy person to be found.

Tours - Although we did not do any tours, our friends we were traveling with went on the ATV trip, which they said was excellent. In addition, Sharren, the gentleman working the tour desk was great, as we had the pleasure of meeting him at the reunion dinner.

Reunion Dinner
The reunion dinner was top-notch. We were greeted first with a cocktail hour where we were served peach martinis through an ice sculpture to “get things going”. We sat at table each hosted by a member of the management team, where we were served an excellent “surf and turf” dinner. During the dinner, the manager (Jeremy) gave an award to his longest standing employee, their bell captain. He actually worked at the resort for several years BEFORE it was even a Sandals resort!! As a special added touch, the manager arranged to have the dessert course delivered by employees that work behind the scenes, and do not usually interact with the guests. As a flood of people entered the dinner, we had the opportunity to see what it really takes to make a resort like this run, and the employees got a new perspective on what their hard work makes possible. This was new at the reunion dinner, and guests and staff raved about it.

Water sports
The snorkeling was great- we went to two different reefs all which had plenty of fish and the water was nice esp. for January- I was expecting it to be colder. Also, Brown and his crew gave some excellent tips that made snorkeling more enjoyable (like swim up-current from the boat first, so all you have to do is float back) Also, the water was not nearly as rough as prior Caribbean trips and we were in the water for the perfect amount of time. You did not feel rushed, but you were not in the water forever. The only downside was there was a bunch of baby jellyfish, which did freak us out, a little bit. They had a full medical kit on board, and actually, in both our trips no one actually got stung.

If you want to snorkel, start making reservations the first day. We did not go til our 4th day & wanted to go again. We were happy we did not wait. The early morning (10 am) tour is most likely to get out. It gets cloudy/windy many times by 2-3, which makes for choppy water, and they will not go out if they can't get past the barrier reef's waves.

We also took out the catamarans, which were well attended by Patrick. He was very friendly and helpful – he rode with us the first time out, but let us do all the work so we could learn. His instructions were clear and detailed enough so we felt confident taking the boat back out on our own later in the week. Having been to other Sandals and seen other waters ports crews, this team was clearly the best.

Staff & Management
EVERYONE who worked there was VERY friendly!!! I did not pass any worker the entire time I was there who did not say hello, good morning, how are you today, etc. I have seen some reviews that said the workers are not friendly – after a week here I can honestly say I have no idea what they could possibly be talking about. Unless you are used to being saluted or bowed to by everyone you pass, you could not meet a more friendly and polite bunch.

Many employees remembered you by name, including NickyAnn, Paullette, Sharren, Marlon and all of the playmakers (Mario, Akere, HelenKaye, Renee - who were all just amazing!) Mario has the kind of voice you could listen to all day- they were all just friendly enough to get you involved and have a blast- but if you did not want to do anything all day that was fine also.

The Manager of the whole thing, Jeremy Mutton is the best manager I have seen; not only at Sandals but also of anywhere I stayed. He was always seen on property, always had a friendly smile, and was seen picking up after guests as he passed by. He truly showed he was part of his team, which in management can be very hard to find. Of all the positive things about this resort, Jeremy definitely stood out as the “best of the best” and probably his influence is what makes everything else about this place as good as it is.

Summary
I cannot say enough good things about our Jamaican experience at the RC. I strongly believe it was due to where we stayed. Our Sandals experience was simply the best at this location.

We have been to the Sandals in Antigua (before the overhaul) and St. Lucia – Halcyon and loved both of those. We also went to the Royal Bahamian 2 years ago, and we were not impressed. It was very “city” like with several multi story buildings and management that did not care if you were happy or not.

We plan to return to Sandals RC in Jamaica in 1 year... same week we LOVED it & for the price, it can't be beat!!! The all-inclusive is the way to go! A bunch of couples that met are all going the same time next year- because we had so much fun together!


We can not wait!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled with friends
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13  Thank Chester37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2007

This was supposed to be a great 60th birthday holiday for my wife,it turned out be be a massive dissapointment.

The commercial staff at Sandals earn ever penny they get,because they sold my wife and i a 5* luxery holiday,and gave us 3/4* basic holiday camp.

S R C was probaly a very nice hotel 25 years ago,but now it just looks very tired,Where they say this a a 5* hotel,i cannot begin to think which part of it is the 5* bit.The rooms are very basic,and dark,with only the four poster bed that could possibly be classed as 5* the rest of the room any 3* hotel could match,and more likley better.

The food was average,just.We never got a hot meal in the 5 days we stayed there,apart from the cheese burgers from the beach,which were cooked right in front of you,and were very tasty.The comfort leval in the courtyard,and royal thai restraurants was very poor,cast iron garden furniture,in the courtyard,and wooden garden furniture in the royal thai.

The entertainment was also poor,and again cast iron garden tables and chairs to sit on.Not really what you expect from a 5* hotel.The pool area was small and loud,and theres not much of a beach either.After 5 nights there we managed to get a move over to Sandals Negril,for the remaining 9 nights of our holiday.One thing i must point out is that the staff at the S R C are the only thing that we found to be good,they were great,from the front desk,to the bar tenders,so perhaps there is somthing 5* there after all.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank keeper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2007

We just returned from this resort and it was great. Very friendly staff!!!!! Very clean. The drinks seemed a little weak at times. The food was good. My husband scuba dived and really enjoyed it except for the equipment he thought was old and did not work properly. He will bring his own next time. We had 5 couples, one couple got married. The wedding was great and the staff did a nice job with the reception after the wedding. This is a great place to relax and seemed more like a middle age resort (which we are). There are a lot of airplanes going over, but you just wave and really they don't bother you. Our rooms were not together which we were told they would be and one couple got upgraded to a suite the whole time. This made some upset at first. My room was the Luxury, just the Bed and Bath, no bar and I loved it. The bed was great and the room was clean. I would go again.

Stayed: January 2007
Thank kelbellindiana
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 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $487 - $1,287 (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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