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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #6 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 7, 2007

The flight to Jamaica was scheduled to land at 10:00am, but we made good time and actually arrived at 9:30am. Immigration and customs were easy and we made our way to the Sandals arrivals lounge by about 10:00. We weren’t even there 10 minutes before we were taken outside for the shuttle. They did a poor job of communicating, as none of the travelers knew which shuttle we were supposed to be on. Eventually, someone came over and, without saying a word to us, started taking our bags. Unfortunately, his van was hidden behind other busses, so my wife had to follow him to make sure we knew where our bags were, while I carried the rest of our luggage.

When we got everyone loaded onto the van, we were all offered illegal substances, but, after declining, the issue wasn’t pressed. The shuttle ride was short (first to SMB then to SRC). Do keep in mind that the folks at the airport carrying your bags and the shuttle drivers are not Sandals employees, and you are expected to tip them. It was easy enough to keep a stock of ones in my pocket.

Sandals Royal Caribbean
The two of us and another couple on our shuttle were escorted to sofas in the lounge at SRC. Cookies were on the table and champagne and cold towels were brought to us. Turns out you need the towels as the lounge is not air conditioned.

We were in the lounge for about 30 minutes or so. Our room was not ready (which we expected), so they let us go get lunch and enjoy the facility some. After lunch we visited our luggage up front and got changed in the restrooms so we could use the pool. Around 1:00 (1½ hours early) the gentleman from the front desk found us at the pool and escorted us and our luggage to our room. We were very pleased with the fact that we didn’t have to keep checking back with the desk to see if it was ready, they found us.

Room (C+)- The Grande Lux room at SRC leaves something to be desired. The four poster bed was nice, and the vanity area was excellent. The washroom was small and run down. There was mold on the walls and in the Tub. The TV had something like 120 channels (but who watches TV when you’re in the Caribbean?). There were not nearly enough hangers in the room, and it took several phone calls over 2 days to get them to deliver more.

Pool (D-)– Unacceptable. Fairly small. Bigger than most backyard pools (though I know some folks whose pools are at least 2/3 the size of the SRC main pool. The pool had a ring of mold around it, especially at the swim up bar. The swim-up bar area was a little crowded to begin with, then a large wedding party showed up and took over the whole area. You couldn’t get close enough for a drink, and there was a cloud of smoke around it. The group was pretty loud and obnoxious, and with the small facility, you couldn’t get away from them. All of the resort’s activities were centered around the pool. Since it was small, you were pretty much participating whether you liked it or not.

Swim up bar (D)- small and can be crowded. They are not well stocked, and couldn’t make us 70% of the drinks on their menu. No premium drinks. Even when they weren’t busy they were incredibly slow getting your drink order, and didn’t seem happy to do it. I was even asked once to collect empty drink glasses that were left out since the bartender didn’t want to go out in the rain. Unacceptable for any resort.

Restaurants (C) – Limited.

Beach grill – Limited menu, decent food, decent service. It was nice that they were open kindof late (2am), but after 9, service got very slow. It would take an average of 20 -30 minutes to get just a plate of french fries, even when they were empty.

The Royal Thai restaurant was nice, but it is a little tough to get reservations. The food was pretty good, though not excellent. No dragon boat as promised to take us out there, just the regular snorkeling boat, a little disappointing.

The Courtyard was never open our whole stay.

The Regency is pretty repetitive for breakfast; they don’t vary the buffet much. Dinner our first night was also a buffet, but overall the food was very good (when a-la-carte).

The Pavilion was not open our whole stay there. They offered the pavilion menu in the Regency, but it got tiresome of seeing the same scenery for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Staff (C-) –They were mostly friendly, but I would expect nothing less from a resort. The front desk staff seemed like they didn’t have time for you, and didn’t want to work with us when we asked for a transfer. The grounds crew worked as if no one was around. One day we had to walk through piles of brush and leaves just to get to our room because the grounds crew had just left all the trimmings on the path. They watched us, but didn’t stray from what they were doing.

Bars (C) – Most of the drinks weren’t of premium quality, and when I did ask for the nicer rums and such, ½ the time the request was ignored and well drinks were poured. With the amount of time it took to get a drink, we just accepted it that way. The bar staff was generally unpleasant. They were more occupied talking with their friends/coworkers that wanting to assist guests. They would even point you to the fountain to get a soda instead of pouring it for you.

Beach/Ocean (D) – small and not pretty. The guys on surfboards offering merchandise/goods (legal and not) were annoying. They didn’t bother you much if you told them “no” or “later”, but they spend all day hollering at anyone on the beach; you can’t escape them. The one positive was that beach towels were easy to get and you weren’t forced to keep track of them. If they were left on a chair and someone else picked em up, just go get new ones.

Island (B) – When we went out there it was empty, other than one other couple. Part of the island is a nude beach, but luckily there was no one out there. The pool was ok and the swim up bar wasn’t bad, but it could take a while to get a drink if the bartender wandered off. The staff on the island seemed to spend their whole time getting ready for dinner. Also disappointing was that they decided to bring over crates of fish (for dinner I’m assuming) on the boat on our trip over there. You would think that the fish could go on a separate trip without guests.

Construction! They were working on the central part of the resort, and it was very disruptive. You couldn’t walk to the lobby/front area unless you went around a bunch of buildings. There was no path from the restaurant to the restrooms, so you would have to either go back to your room or to the beach restrooms.

Overall, we booked SRC for 10 nights, we only stayed 5. It was a small resort and there was construction everywhere. Couldn’t relax because you could hear the hammering at the pool and on the beach. Aircrafts flying over wasn’t terrible but they were definitely noticeable and somewhat often. Conversations would have to pause for 20 seconds or so. The staff was mediocre and not what we expected. Seemed as if they cared more about just getting the job done rather than making it a good experience for guests.

  • Stayed: June 2006, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank SmoothCdn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,242 - 5,248 of 5,774 reviews

Reviewed May 2, 2007

After hearing some bad things about Jamaica's safety - I was a bit reluctant to go. However my girlfriend really wanted to go, so I was sure to book a reuptable Hotel chain with a private beach.

On arrival at Montego Bay airport we were escorted into the Sandals Lounge where your were given complimentry drinks while they arranged your transfer. The transfer to the hotel was quick (10 mins) and very amusing with the great sense of humour of the driver.

The hotel was very plush and tropcial. Nothing is over two storeys high and blended in with the beautiful surroundings. The porter showed us to our room which was a large double room with bathroom and separate dressing room/walk in wardrobe. We luckily had a beach front apartment with patio.

The food in the hotel was fantastic. Anything that you could imagine for breakfast (buffet style). The pool bars and beach bars then also open at about 10am for drinks and mid day snacks (burgers, jerk chicken, pizza). The main restaurant is also open for lunch. In the evening you should try all restaurants in the complex, each of them outstanding. However for some reason you couldnt order wine by the bottle, but you could order it by the glass as many times as you like ?? I didnt really understand why that was, however I am being nit-picky !!

The main pool could have been bigger I think, however there are two so feel free to venture to the Private Island to lounge around that pool (beware of the crabs on the Private Island !!!: ) Barring the beautiful rooms and excellent food, the best thing about the whole holiday was the staff, particularly the entertainment team. Huge amounts of credit should be given to Jason the Entertainments Manager and his staff. They were absolutely fantastic all day, every day. In addition to that the evening entertainment, particularly the singers, were some of the best I have ever seen and would cruise to the final of our X-Factor competition. My girlfriend was crowned the Reggae Queen each week we were there due to her dancing talents.

The excursions are well worth while as well. We did the Horse Riding trek which was excellent. Never really rode a horse since I was a kid, so that was an experience. Up the mountains and then into the sea on horse back. The second trip we did was the Dunns River Falls which consisted of climbing up a massive waterfall all linked hand in hand with other holiday makers. On the way home we then stopped off at Sandals Dunn River Falls for lunch which was an outstanding hotel. (Its probably only the transfer time that makes the Royal Caribbean better than Dunns River). The final trip that we did was a shopping trip (with a guide) to the Caribbean markets and shops. Our guide Carol was absolutely outstanding and even took us to a house of a friend of hers who showed us around his personal garden and let us pick a mango from his tropical fruit trees.

The whole holiday was excellent and I would definitely go back. In fact while were were there we won 2 free nights stay in the raffle at the Managers Welcome Party which is held once a week, so try to attend that !! Also the special one off evenings such as 'Dinner Under the Stars' and 'Private Dinner for Two' are nice touches if you want to show your romantic side.

Overall a fantastic holiday and absolute paradise at its best.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank Proby20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2007

I would recommend the Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay (SRC). But it will not be the cheapest of resorts in Jamaica. If you can squeeze in the cost try this resort. You can find cheaper but they may not be of the (5) star quality that I fell SRC offers. These are my reasons for my recommendation. First if you haven’t guessed we have stayed at the SRC already which was last February 2006 (I know this is a late review) we have already booked a second stay with them for this October 2007. This resort tends to have and more middle aged clientele late 30’s to 50s. This resort offers you a mix of a laid back stay or more involvement it’s your choice. There is the quite pool where you also have a smaller beach and hot tub all right there to use in a quite setting. The quieter pool tends to attract a crowd who is looking to lay back get some sun, read a book or float around in the pool. There is the main pool and beach if you want to be more involved with pool activities and volley ball etc. if you’re more into going with the crowd. This resort is not enormous like some other sandals resorts so you don’t feel overwhelmed with huge pools and large crowds. It’s not too small either you can walk around the resort and still feel you can get away from different areas if you wish. The Sandals Montego Bay (SMB) is about 10 mins away and shuttles run there every hour. This resort tends to have livelier crowds and younger people. If you want a more active and louder night life, SMB is the resort for you. What’s nice about staying at the SRC is you can have a quieter relaxed day and a night of dancing and fun crowds just 10 mins away by shuttle at SMB. We have gone over to SMB for the day too it was a nice change of pace. Do not miss a dinner at the Thai Restaurant at SRC it is a great experience and the food is fabulous. If you can afford it stay in a concierge room the 24 hour room service is great to have and the views are wonderful. It’s nice in the middle of the day if you don’t want to walk over to the main building and get something to eat to be able to call up room service and maybe order some fresh fruit and a cheese platter to nibble on while having a drink on your balcony. We order breakfast to be delivered to our room each morning and have a lovely breakfast on our balcony watching the ocean and the sunrise. You can only do this in a concierge and butler rooms. The food in the restaurants was good but keep in mind, you are in the Caribbean and you won’t fine that prime steak you might find in the states. A little about us to compare, we are in our late forties live in New York on Long Island. We have three children and look to go away a least once a year by ourselves. We have traveled to many resorts in the Caribbean, Jamaica, Bermuda, U.S. Virgin Islands, St Thomas, St. Martin and the Bahamas. Both adult only and family and I must say Sandals is the best All Inclusive adult’s only resort we have ever stayed at and we are now hooked. Sorry this got a little lengthy but I hope it helps you in your decision process. Enjoy your trip it will give life to the soul….no matter where you choose.


  • Stayed: February 2006, traveled as a couple
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21  Thank IslandBoy2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2007

If you're used to the big fancy resorts of Cancun or Dominican you definatly won't find Sandals to your liking. If you're into long stretches of beauiful sandy beach- you won't like Sandals RC either. The resort is beautiful- but old. Our room was dark and the floor was stained and the walls in need of a major paint job. We went to Negirl Sandals for the day and the beach wasn't much better there either. One thing I really enjoy while on vacation is -I like to walk. You couldn't walk very far on the resort unless you walked in circles and there wasn't much of a beach to walk on at all. If you're already booked to go to Montego Bay I would recommend going on the Luminous Lagoon Bay tour. They don't offer it at the resort you have to ask about it. It's the most amazing thing to see ever! DO NOT under any circumstances jump from the cliff at RICK'S CAFE in Negril. I really hurt myself, it was crazy! People have broken their backs jumping off I learned this later.Over all we had an OK vacation but I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends or family.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank shannabanana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2007

We spent 10 glorious days at the Royal Caribbean in Feb/2007 to celebrate our 25th aniversary and are we forever grateful we chose this resort. The moment we stepped off the plane we were greeted by the wonderful staff Sandals' employs. We didn't have to wait very long to be taken to our resort and the check in process was very efficient.The meals were out of this world starting with the buffet breakfast where you can sit on the balcony and enjoy the view of the ocean. The lunch buffet that followed was just as amazing and we tried almost everything they offered. Although I myself would have prefered to have at least one restraunt offer a buffet everynight the evening meals were fantasic. Make sure you try the Thi restraunt on the Island as you will never experience anything like it.
I would like to thank David Binns who was one of the doorman as he was the most charming young man I have met in a long time and I even shed a tear saying goodbye to him. Also to Germain Graham who bartends at the Island bar as he is one outstanding employee.
My advice to anyone is that you can't go by all the reviews written here for if we had we won't have had the "Time of our Lives"
Thanks Sandal Royal Caribbean and we hope to see ya next year.

Laura & Dave Morrison

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank clel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2007

We chose the Sandals Royal Caribbean as a getaway to renew our wedding vows. We wouldn't have considered any other resort. We were married at Sandals in Antigua 5 years ago and were overwhelmed by the total attention to every detail, from the most welcoming glass of champagne and chilled towel, to all of the employees cheerfully catering to our every need. So we knew that our vacation at the Royal Caribbean would be no exception! As always a warm welcome awaited us express check-in, champagne and chilled towels, an upgrade to a ocean-front room with balcony, and a welcoming note on our door. Our room (as expected! ) was lovely and roomy. We enjoyed the breakfast which was brought right to our room every morning if we wished. The restaurants were fantastic, the service extrordinary, and we always came away satisfied! One of the highlights of our 9 days was dinner on the private island just off-shore. There is something for every appetite. There was so much to do with games, swimming, having afternoon tea (so nice and relaxing after a day spent in the sun) and nightly entertainment. Every member of the staff was gracious, welcoming and always smiling. Our room attendant even decorated our bed with flower petals on the day we renewed our vows! Our wedding renewal on the beach , inside a heart lined with beautiful flowers, was as almost as special as our wedding day! From the wedding coordinator to the photograper, every detail from a wedding cake, reception, champagne, to photos and our private dinner in a secluded, candle-lit gazebo with our own waiter, was handled with the utmost care. We only left the resort once to go to Montego Bay on a glass bottomed boat! It was too hard to leave such a beautiful beach, tropical breeze and warm sunshine. Our first visit to Sandals was for 7 days, we have taken my children to Beaches in Ochos Rios in the past for 7 days but we wanted at least 9 days this time. We have already started planning our next trip to Sandals-but this time at least 10 days!

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank antiguajamaicalover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2007

The good: the weather, the resort was in great shape and clean, our honeymoon suite was great, nice staff. Attitudes were nice & laid-back.

The bad: food was below average (hey- it's an island, you're not there for the food), the beer on tap was in plastic cups and not always cold; the staff was "forgetful", and they don't put limes in gin & tonics for some reason, the guys hassling you to buy drugs are in the water when you try to go swimming, and you couldn't hear the waves because they were 100 yards away.

Planes weren't too obtrusive- just a few a day. I would do Sandals again, maybe not in Jamaica though. Glad we stayed at this one and NOT Montego Bay- which is on the runway. Also- glad we didin't have to drive 2 hours to the other reports. Defintiely a place for back-tattooed NASCAR fans from Pensacola.

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tiredboy69
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 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $472 - $1,367 (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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