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Sandals Montego Bay
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4,499 - 4,504 of 5,747 reviews
Reviewed January 1, 2009

We went to Sandals Montego Bay for our honeymoon and stayed in a concierge suite with a waterfront view which costs us over $2500 each for 1 week. Definetly not worth the money. I've been to Dominican Republic for just over $1000 at a 4 star resort and the experience was far better. Some things to be aware of if you are planning to vacation there: 1) there is an airport right around the corner, so all day while you are lying on the beach be prepared for thunderous airplanes overhead. 2) There are locals that sell their products in the water on the beach. The come up almost right to the shore, and call to you while you are relaxing on the beach. "hey you sweetheart, yes you, come over here and say hello" etc. The management rarely does anything about it. They are there from sun up to sun down all day calling to people.
3) In the brochure they say that this resort has amazing sunsets. In the 7 days we were there we saw 1 half decent sunset. In July, the sun goes down very early there, around 7, so be prepared for a short day. 4) The food is terrible. Literally, barely edible, in my opinion and very small servings. I got fajitas one night and expected strips of chicken breast like at home in Canada and the pieces of chicken were the size of tiny bacon bits. The lasagne I got was a square of ground beef, with a few noodles holding it together. 5) Be prepared for some staff members who are overzealous, they eat meals with you! They will pull up a chair, with their meals in hand, and 'say you don't mind if I sit with you do you?' and chat it up from there. 6) Other staff members are outright rude. Once night, having missed orientation, we walked into a restaurant not realizing we had to wait to be seated - there were a ton of empty seats and nothing on the tables indicating reserved - so we took a seat. Next thing I know I hear one of the staff members right behind us talking to a waiter saying "did you see those people, they just walked right up in here and sat down without even waiting to be seated!", she then sucked her teeth very loud, even with my poor hearing there was no way you could miss that. 6) Be prepared that concierge service is totally useless. They do nothing for you, whatever you ask for they either say they don't do that (bring ice?), or it will be there shortly and 3-4 calls, 2-3 hrs later, still nothing. 7) You better believe if they want something from you, they are relentless. They left a bag in our room with a sandals golf shirt and a water bottle with an envelope with another guests name on it. I returned the bag immediately to the concierge and it apparently never got into the right hands because they called us to return the bag 3-4 times and I had to explain to every different person that called that I had already sent the bag back. They even called again the next morning at 8:30 AM while we were sleeping asking again for the bag. Overall, a very disappointing sandals experience. I'm writing this to prevent people from wasting their money like we did.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ABFair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2008

My husband and I visited SMB from Dec. 21-26 of 08 for our anniversary and for his birthday. Prior to this trip, I read every review and follow-up on many of the thread pertaining to SMB. So many research has been done and we knew what to expect. Not only that, this is our first time traveling to the Caribbean, so everything is new to us. We stayed in the butler suites, and our butler were Olivia and Craig.

We travel on Air Jamaica and leaving from Philadelphia, they were on time and when coming back, we were just about half hour late than scheduled, but nothing more.

Our butler:

Upon arriving at the resort, we met Olivia. We were on our way to the concierge lounge, and she call out my name behind the lobby desk and came over and introduce herself and that she tells us she will be our butler for the entire stay, and Craig is the night butler. She check us in right away, gave us our electronic key card, grab two cold drink for us and we were on our way to our room. She gave us a tour on the way to the room.

We did not meet Craig until early the next morning. He came over to our room and introduced himself and gave us the cell phone. I never really used their service, only when we want to go to dinner or make a reservation at the Royal Thai. Most of the morning, we order breakfast from room service and Craig made sure that it was done right for us. We order room service dinner the first night and that came in less than an hour.

I tip Craig thru-out the week because every time something was needed, he's the one picking up the phone. I did not get to tip Olivia until the very last day. I saw her thru-out the resort here and there, but I never carry cash w/ us on the resort, so I waited until the end to tip her.


The Resort:

Yes, I do agree that the resort is a little run-down, it needs a coat of paint here and there but mostly on the pier or the sidewalk but who goes on vacation to worry about a paint here and there. The whole garden on resort itself is very well-kept and maintain. The grass and the shrub is neatly trimmed. All you see around the garden is falling leaves and flowers. One morning when leaving our room to go to the beach, one of the staff was on his and hands and knees "fixing the soil." It must have rain the night before and he was just "fixing" up the soil so it doesn't look mess-up. We noticed that the path of the flower started from our doorway and goes all the way around the fountain and more, so he got a full day of work ahead of him. On another day, a couple of staff was trimming the shrubs and hedges.

Every day in the morning, the staff were always raking the leaves, the beach, picking up trashes, hosing down and arranging the lounge chair. Some one is always doing some sort of work or cleaning up something.

The Room:

We stay in Cottage 12, room # 1277. We originally book the BayRoc Ultra Luxury Honeymoon Beachfront villa (garden view) but was upgrade to Bayroc Villa Honeymoon Beachfront suites (beach view). I had email the GM two weeks prior to arriving and ask him if he can confirm our reservation because this is our first time going to any Sandals resort and I just want things to go smoothly. He reply back within the next morning assuring me that our reservation is good to go and upgraded our reservation.

The room itself is very simple w/ four poster bed, 2 night table w/ 2 lamps, tv armoire w/ drawers, another table w/ 2 chairs. We have two patios, one in front of our room and another w/ a table and two lounge chairs and couple step further, we're right on the beach.

The bathroom has a jacuzzi w/ a shower and we also had his/her vanity area right outside from the bathroom and to the left of the vanity is a fully stocked bar w/ rum, scotch, vodka, sodas, juices, red stripes, champagne, red wine, white wine, coffee and tea.

We also had a digital safe and a big walk-in closet w/ his/her robes. Our room had turn-down service every night and our butler make sure we got extra towels everyday.

Pool/Jacuzzi:

Most of the time, the main pool was never used only for pool volleyball. The most crowded pool would be the swim-up bar pool and the jacuzzi. There would be at least 5-10 couples at time. The pool is always clean and clear in the morning but by late afternoon, there would be flowers, leaves, and it' ll get cloudy every now and then. My husband and I prefer the tuck in jacuzzi right by the gym, it's always empty. As for the pool behind the spa, we never saw anyone use it.

Food/Restaurant:

We ate at the Beach Party night, Cucina Romana, the Royal Thai, Tokyo Joe's, and the Bayside

Beach Party night:

I think it has the best food and many varieties of entree, salads, cheese plate, jerk chicken, and too many desserts! Entertainment that night consisted of raffle tickets, tour shows, dancing, fire dancer, and a couple more.

Cucina Romano: We got seated right away and our waiter came over w/ a bread of basket. The food is actually good. My husband order a fish dish and I order a shrimp dish and a pasta dish. We order one from each section of the menu, and by the time we finish the entree, we never made it to desserts. Service was very good and he was very polite, my water glass was filled every time its needed. We were done in less than an hour.

Royal Thai:

We have a reservation for Wednesday Dec. 24th at 8pm. I gotta say, it was a little disappointing, the food is OK. It actually taste like it's been sitting there for a while. There is no menu, you sample everything that is serve that day, I think the menu changes each day. Service was beyond super. Our waiter Alan, was very pleasant. He got a chance to talk to us after dinner and we all had a good laugh.

We tour the island after dinner but it was too dark to see anything so I really can't comment on it, but it was so peaceful and relaxing just to sit by one of the chair right in front of the beach and the breeze makes you want to go to sleep.

Tokyo Joe's:

Food was very good, you get to pick your own vegetables and meat and it's cook for you right on the spot. Service was a little slow and she forgot to bring our soup that we order, but by then, I was already full from the entree, so I told her, just bring out my husband's soup. We never made it to desserts.

Bayside:

We ate lunch there on our last day w/ another couple that we met during our trip and the food was a buffet style and it was very good.

Activities/Entertainment:

We went kayaking three times, and my husband did Hobie Cat w/ one of the staff. We never waited long for any of the activities. Activities station was shut down on one of the day because the water was too choppy.

Entertainment:

I don't know how this resort can go on w/ out the Playmakers. They were the best! They will ask if you want to join, if not, then they leave you alone. Many games and activities are schedule thru-out the day. You can join any game you want or you can just lay on the beach and do nothing. My husband was scouted for the 4:30pm beach volleyball everyday. One of the day, they had Beach Olympic and my husband's team won and they all received a bottle of rum. My husband also participated in the beer chugging contest and he won and he was given two choices of anything from the vendor's table.

Entertainment at night varies. It consisted of cabaret performers, Sandals Award Ceremony, Christmas Bingo Bonanza, Mr. Irie Man Competition, "Authentic Jamaican Showcase, and many more. There is always a Sing along at the piano bar every night.

On Dec. 25th, Santa arrived by boat and we all got in line to take pictures. We have to sit on Santa's lap to get a bottle of rum, so my husband and I both sat on his lap.

Tours:

We hired a driver that was recommended by another couple that we met on Tripadvisor before getting to the resort. We did the Dunns River Falls. With some part so hard to climb, I was ready to back out half way, but I was more than halfway and when looking up the rest of the climb look easy, so I finish it. Our driver took us to visit the oldest church in Falmouth, we also tour where Columbus land ( I think) and he also took us to Rainbow to shop for souvenirs and for the amount that he charge us, it was worth every penny.

Staff:

I can't say enough how friendly everyone is. Every time we pass a staff member, it's always a hi or hello and everyone has a big smile, especially the ladies at the front desk and the playmakers. My electronic key card did not work twice and that was my fault. I keep putting it next to the cell phone and my digital camera and the magnetic strip did not scan, so we went to the lobby and they were more than happy to give us a new one.

Overall, I will go back to SMB if we get the chance but as of right now, we're still new to this Caribbean traveling so we would like to visit other island, but SMB will be on "go again" list.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank sns0800
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2008

I visited Sandal Montego Bay on Dec 18-25, 2008. I reserved a Bay Roc Villa Room with concierge, butler service and room service.

We arrived to Montego Bay and really like the Sandals "welcome" center right at the airport which had some drinks and food while you waited for your shuttle bus. We only waited about 3 minutes, so no time for food or drinks. What they fail to tell you is that after the Sandals person at the airport takes you bags and tells you to relax, you bags are taken by a non-Sandals porter and they are loaded on a non-Sandals shuttle bus. I really did not like getting hit with having to tip two seperate people right from the start at this no-tipping "all-inclusive" resort.

Upon arrival at the resort, we had to wait in the concierge center for our butler to check us in. We waited about 25 minutes, which was a little long. The butler arrived and took us to our room, giving us a very basic tour of the resort as we walked. The butler was nice. We arrived at our room and found it to be quite small and very run down. I was very disappointed. The entire room looked about as old as the resort. The room was OK at best, but I really expected more considering the money I paid and the upgraded level of the room.

Our butler showed us the room and pointed out the most ridiculous things to us, like where the feminine napkin bags were. In hindsight I wish the butler would have told us about the resort amenities and options, which would have been far more helpful and never happened.

Butler service for us was a giant waste of time and certainly not worth the extra money and the extra tip. Butlers are allowed to get tips at this no-tipping resort. The butler was nice, but really did not do anything for us and when we actually asked for something, it was very slow going. The only good thing about butler service is only butler guests can reserve tables at the restaurants.

The resort as a whole is very run down and needs a face lift. The grounds are very well kept and the beach is fantastic and extremely clean. The gym is nice, but half the machines don't work and this caused it to be very crowded when we tried to go workout daily. The included water sports are good, but again, much of the equipment is broken. I asked about using a water-bike and was told it's broken. When I asked if someone was going to fix it, I was told they were not really sure what was wrong with it. It sat in the same spot for the next five days, not getting used or fixed. This was another example of how this resort could be so much better if they invested a little time and money in maintenance.

The food was average. The bar service was good. It is what you expect to get from a bartendar who makes the same whether he gives great service or crappy service. That seemed to be the attitute throughout the trip, Ok but really should be better.

Overall, I would never visit Sandals Montego Bay again. I am curious to see if this resort is isolated and perhaps the other Sandals Resorts provide the quality and service you hear such good things about. I definitely do not have rave reviews for Sandals Montego Bay. It is OK at best.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Joefromphx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2008

We were at Sandals MoBay 12/15-12/25 and enjoyed our normal fun/relaxing vacation. This was our 5th stay here and it has never disappointed, and the staff is most accommodating and they always welcome us back "home". We vacation primarily for simple relaxation and good food and we are big time beach people and Sandals Montego Bay is a perfect fit for us on these accounts, not to mention the general hospitality. Phillip Cardnell is the new GM, and he is doing a great job filling the shoes of his predecessor Horace Peterkin. Amy at Dream Makers Vacation Services is a travel agent who will do anything for you as well so we would always highyly recommend them for any kind of travel, especially Sandals!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank johnandlindaVirginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2008

We’ve traveled all over the world and came here at the suggestion of friends who have visited other Sandals Resorts. Needless to say, we were all disappointed in the Montego Bay establishment. First, to be fair, there were some positives we should share with you: the on-site spa, the diving activities, the gardens in the interior of the resort were well maintained and the room cleaning staff was friendly and thorough. Otherwise, our general impression of this resort was not favorable. We would not recommend it to friends and will not stay at another Sandals resort. Many of the critical reviews on the trip advisor site are spot on and we wish we had read them in advance, so we could have chosen another place to stay. Interestingly, the only reason we knew about this site was because one of the staff at the resort asked us to go to this site to say positive things about them. That says something in itself. Our general impression was the facilities were run down, the staff was inattentive and not customer service oriented and the overall experience was definitely not on par with a “luxury” resort as advertised by Sandals.

Customer Service: Our arrival at both the airport and the hotel was disorganized and we waited for long periods of time at both places. We were told very little during our check in about the services that would be available to us, even though we had purchased the “concierge service.” We were surprised to find out there was no room service and reservations couldn’t be made for dinner. Apparently this comes only with the “butler service.” We waited an hour and a half to get a table the first evening. The next night, we had no idea that 5 of the 6 restaurants were closed for a beach party and had to wait again for a sit down restaurant meal, at the only remaining open restaurant. We were not the only guests that were frustrated with the situation as we met several who were unhappily waiting to eat. After complaining, the management reluctantly made dinner reservations for the rest of the week for us, which begged the question as to what the concierge service buys the hotel guest. The wait staff at breakfast and the bartenders at the bars were disinterested and at times bordered on being rude. They made guests feel like they were putting them out by asking for a cup of coffee or a mixed drink. They were so slow at clearing breakfast tables that when guests left the open air restaurant, the birds would fly in and take large pieces of leftover food in their beaks and fly away (until the tables were cleared). On any given day, if you didn’t pick up beach towels first thing in the morning, there were none to be had for the rest of the day.

Facilities: The general condition of the resort would probably best be classified as campy and deteriorating. The sidewalks are not in good condition throughout, the curbs, piers and other areas were in dire need of painting, many locks on public bathroom doors didn’t work, the public showers for washing off sand weren’t all operational and the Jacuzzi motors were very loud (and old), making it difficult to hear another person in the vicinity of the motor. The gyms at Sandals Resorts are advertised as “state of the art,” but they are not even close. Almost half of the aerobic machines in the gym (treadmills, stair steppers, bikes) were not working and those that were functional were old and rusting. There was no air conditioning in the fitness center, because it was an open air facility, which gets hot when you’re working out in high humidity and tropical temperatures. It’s also worth noting that there was no air conditioning in the bathrooms adjoining guest rooms.

A Few More Things: We never expected a “luxury” resort would be located in the clear zone of the airport (or so it seemed), have Jamaicans hawking their wares on the resort’s “private” beach, butler carts waking us up in the morning and loud music playing throughout the day. We counted as many as 20 planes flying over the resort in one day, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, except that the resort is directly in the take off pattern of the Montego Bay airport and on most nights planes flew out after midnight, waking us up in the middle of the night. We were also surprised to find Jamaicans rowing kayaks up onto the resort beach, lollygagging for hours on resort property and selling their wares to guests, with security guards looking on. Lastly, the combination of sidewalks in bad condition and the carts used for “butler service,” resulted in being woken most mornings by a cart’s squeaky wheels whizzing by our room on its way to the “butler service” guests. This particular Sandals has a team of young adults called “playmakers” that live on the resort and whose job it is to keep guests entertained. They were nice enough people, but their view of relaxation was loud party music all day long on the beach. We don’t mind good music, but they should limit it to a smaller area of the resort. A better use of resources may be to reduce the number of playmakers and increase the maintenance staff to improve the condition of the oldest Sandals resort on the island. All in all, this inclusive resort was less than impressive and their advertising is misleading. They need management with a much better attention to detail and a new customer service program for its employees to teach them how guests should be treated, commensurate with a “luxury” resort.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank USAWorldTraveler01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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