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“Phenomenal from beginning to end!!!”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #6 of 61 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
chicago
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Phenomenal from beginning to end!!!”
Reviewed May 13, 2007

This WAS my favorite vacation of my life. From beginning to end we were treated like royalty. There was a tremendous vibe with the staff, security and locals. When I used to think Sandals, I though Holiday Inn. I thought it was commercialized. Once we got there the stigma was gone. Everything was extremely manicured and well maintained. I can sit here for hours and not come up with one complaint. I did not go for a wedding or anniversary it was just a break in mid February and I could not have enjoyed my experience any more. I will make it a point to go back as much as possible to get a break from the Chicago winters. One thing that will always stay with me was when we were leaving. The security guard came on the bus and wished us well travels and may we be blessed enough to return soon. Which I was blown away by. You know he does not get paid to do that. He just took it upon himself to give a parting wish to those patrons. Wonderful, and I couldn't ask for more. Thanks Sandals.

Stayed February 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank bznutz311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,169 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2007

We had a great time! As Signature Guests, it was our second trip to a SANDALS resort.
We were greeted at the airport in the private lounge, our bags were picked up and we were transfered to the hotel - about a 15 minute ride.
Our room was ready when we arrived, we were upgraded to a Beachfront Luxury Honeymoon Suite with Concierge service. Full stocked mini bar and frig, whirlpool, a huge room. Room service. Beautifully decorated.
Breakfast was a choice of sit down or buffet, we mixed it up a little. Loved the smoothies!
Lunch was buffet or at the Beach Grill. Not a lot of variety, but I am not a big lunch eater.
Dinner - make your reservations the day you arrive. Check out Tokoyo Joe's at Mo. Bay. That was great!
The Royal Thai was excellent, and the waitstaff was a lot of fun.
Also, make sure you pack dress shoes and pants, some restaurants have a dress code.
Beach - perfect. Never had a problem finding a chair or some shade. There were a few guys on little boats trying to sell stuff, but don't let it bother you. They are harmless, and if you tell them you arent buying anything, they leave you alone. no big deal. Some of them were pretty funny.
Pool - great, there are a few pools on site, we alternated depending if we wanted peace & quiet. The main pool was ok, it needs a little work, but we did not care. The activities were fun, water aerobics, trivia, olympics, etc.
Fitness Center - awesome. Went every morning for an hour.
Activities - we had no problems booking golf, tours, etc.
There is a lot to do, you just have to be willing to try! Billiards, chess, checkers, shuffleboard. The activities office also has board games for you to use. The nightlife was fun, but we were so tired everynight we never made it bast 10pm.
Tea time from 4:30 to 5:30 is a fun snack before dinner. The coffee is delicious!
Shopping was ok - don't expect much, they discourage you from going because Mo. Bay is a little rough. The locals are all looking to sell you stuff.
Overall, it was great. just what we needed, and we will def. go back.

  • Liked — The room
  • Disliked — Dinner reservations
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank amsweet77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington, Kentucky
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 11, 2007

This was our third Sandals vacation and it was the best of the three. Excellent food, great service and friendly staff. We are signature guests and were upgraded from Ocean View to Beach Front. Sandals really knows how to treat their guests, especially the returning ones. When you go, make reservations for the Thai restaurant on Sandals Cay, their off-shore island, ASAP!! It's VERY good and VERY popular. Our only disappointment was that we could not get our favourite beer and scotch in the room. When we were in Negril, we had our in-room bar stocked with our favs. That was not offered at this Sandals. If it was available, we were not made aware. We could get a cold imported beer at the gift shop........for a fee.

  • Liked — room, food, drinks
  • Disliked — no favourite liquors stocked in-room
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Travelgal88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2007

This was one of the best adult vacations that I ever taken. From the reception at the Airport (lovely concierge room), to the welcome and introduction to the property via our Concierge (Nikki Ann), our stay was fantastic. The resort was absolutely gorgeous, magnificently manicured, and the staff was unbelievable. As someone who works in the hospitality industry, I was very impressed at how wonderful the staff was. This is the vacation to take, if you really want a great vacation, adults only, whether its for a honeymoon, or just a relaxing vacation which is what we were there for. Take the time, spend the money, definately at least the concierge level service, and indulge yourself, you wont be sorry.

  • Liked — Everything Was Wonderful !!!
  • Disliked — Nothing !!! It was wonderful !!!
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sjsepk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2007

Just returned saturday the 5th from Jamaica. The place was at best ok. CLean and pretty but several detractions. The food was less than acceptable. If you weren't into the jerk chicken, and local cuisine, this could be the first vacation you go on to lose weight as my husband and I did! The steaks are just decent, the salads usually warm. The beach grill food was generally awful. If you didn't know what to pick, you were beat. Don't try to eat one of their hamburgers! Or what they pass as one. Oh and the liquor is watered down...The service is ok and most people are nice, but you do have to still keep an eye on your belongings. Our housekeeper was the best of the lot.
The vendors allowed by the beach were extremely annoying. They were there from sunup to sundown. A constant irritation and they shouldn't allow it. The island itself is not pretty at all in the area near where we were, and we kept to the compound. I wouldn't go back for free!

  • Liked — Pretty
  • Disliked — The vendors in the area
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Scarlettrhett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — Leaving to Sandals Whitehouse
  • Disliked — Take your pick: Staff, mold, drinks, food, beach, Vendors/Hawkers!
  • Stayed June 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank SmoothCdn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — Staff and Entertainment Team
  • Disliked — Size of swimming pool
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
14 Thank Proby20
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
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 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic 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 (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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