Check in was a breeze. We were met at the airport and guided to a private Sandals arrival lounge with self serve coffee, soda and beer and very comfortable seating. We arrived after dark, and it was raining, but I was still shocked by the beauty of the resort's gardens. The walk from check in to our room was almost surreal. The unique sounds of the crickets and the distant lapping of the waves on the beach sprinkled with the pitter-patter of the rain...I'll never forget it.
A bit uneven. Almost everyone we encountered was friendly and accommodating, however sometimes the smile felt forced.
There was a very ackward moment for us in the swim up bar. We were the only couple in the pool, and overheard 2 bartenders screaming at each other over a football game. The tirade lasted 2 or 3 minutes with both waiters screaming and swearing at eachother over what illicit acts the other's mother or sister did to (or with) the manchester united football squad. Very juvinile, and very unprofessional. After, make eye contact with one of them, and they notice we exist...he's like Good morning! Like nothing even happened. No apology for their language or anything.
On the flip side....The stand out experience for us was in the Oleander Room for dinner the night before we left. Robert was hands down best, most attentive, most sincere waiter we've ever had at a meal. Ever.
Not sure how to rate this. We are "cruise people" and for the money spent on 3 days, we could have had a 10 night cruise. That said, I know a cruise is not a resort...I feel that I did get my money's worth. All inclusive is pretty nice....unlimited drinks. The beach sports (we tried every single one of 'em over 2 days) were great, however the ocean kayaks really need an overhaul...paddling in the ocean without a seat back was kind of a drag.
Sleep Quality: 5
Now...I've NEVER slept better in my entire life...but this was a vacation for relaxing and shutting down. The bed was amazingly comfortable, the room solid, never heard a neighbor....but the jets are pretty loud up until around 11:30 at night, and the first flights start going out around 8:30 or 9.
The gardens and grounds are amazing! Stunningly beautiful groundskeeping. The entire property is like an immaculate garden. The beach and public spaces are constantly being looked after. The sand is raked every morning. Our sheets were crisp, and the bathroom absolutely spotless.
I'd rate this category a 5......but we had a cockroach in our room when we checked in. ick.
Can't beat the view, the short cab ride is very nice, but you WILL know you're by the airport. The jets are LOUD when they take off....but by the end of the first day, as you watch all of the resort staff stop what they're doing and wave goodbye to each and every plane that takes off...eventually you find yourself doing it too...and it turns into a sort of cheerful game rather than an annoyance.
Beautiful room. Sea Grapes building, but I can't recall our room number. I know it was on the west end of the building. (see my room tip below)
Beverage Selection: 5
All inclusive, and they mean it. I was even able to have my favorite night cap (drambuie) each night.
My only suggestion for improvement is that there is a Jamaican soft drink called "Ting" that my wife and I like to drink when we're in the Caribbean and they did not have it.
Food was pretty typical of any cruise or other vacation we've ever taken. Sometimes it seems the chefs try too hard to be impressive and something is lost. (example...don't put whole mussels in the shell on a seafood pizza. Eating pizza should not involve a lobster fork...plus pulling chunks of clamshell out of my pizza cheese made the entire experience kinda gross)
Standout dish for me was a spectacular seafood bouillabaisse at Stew Fish, the seaside restaurant. All of the different types of seafood...clams,mussels,shrimp,fish,and a whole lobster tail.. blended together seamlessly, yet each ingredient retained its own unique flavor. Just a sensory delight. The restaurant is nice too. It's on the beach, with sand floors and wooden picnic-style tables. White linen transforms a rather drab room into a romantic beach dining space.
DON'T MISS ITEM
For an additional fee the resort offers a Nighttime snorkel excursion, by boat out to the reef.
This was arguably the most Amazing underwater adventure we've ever had. It's just pitch black down there. The narrow shaft of light emanating from each swimmers flashlight illuminates about a 8 inch circle on the bottom. Unnerving at first...but its amazing how quickly your eyes adjust. The amount of sea life to be seen easily doubles. Moray eels are mystifying in the dark. Saw some huge trumpet fish. Crabs and crayfish that have ruby red eyes that light up like gemstones when the light hits them. Lobsters reflect back in brilliant spots of ruby and sapphire...like tiny little bicycle reflectors. Caribbean reef squid...best for last here...they're like an alien space ship in the ocean. Fluttering through their spectrums of colors...they almost seem to illuminate from within.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Largest private white sand beach on the north coast •The entertainment capital of the Sandals brand with nightly professional shows and upbeat, active, fun-loving daytime activities. •Six exquisite dining options•Complimentary transfers to Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Carlyle. Enjoy all the luxuries included in our “stay at one, play at three” concept offering 18 dining options •Air-conditioned departure lounge•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 Montego Bay Hotel Montego Bay
- Sandals Hotel Montego Bay
- Montego Bay Sandals Hotel
- Sandal Montego Bay