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“The Best Vacation Ever!”

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Sandals Montego Bay
Ranked #8 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 9, 2005

My husband and I just returned from Sandals, Mo Bay, where we went to celebrate our 2nd annniversary. It was the best vacation ever, despite all the problems we encountered with U.S. Airlines trying to get there. Any problems they gave us were forgotten as soon as we arrived at the resort. The staff immediately embraced us, and by the next day it felt as if we had lived there for years. Everyone remembers your name, what you like to drink, and they are very receptive to any needs you might have. You really do come to know them, and before long they feel like old friends.

We opted for an upgraded room with our own bar and the jacuzzi tub. It was more than worth it. Every day our bar was completely replinished, and they even brought us other liquors we requested that weren't already in the room! The balcony view of the ocean was unbelievable, and as mentioned in other reviews, there were no bugs! There were a lot of hermit crabs outside though, but they were adorable as they climbed up the walls and ducked into their shells whenever you got near.

The beach was terrific. The staff kept it very clean, but in a very unassuming manner. Cups were picked up as soon as you emptied them, but you hardly even noticed how. The water sports were a blast and there was never any wait for them. Any time you got an inkling you could go water tubing, skiing, snorkling, sailing, kayaking, or wind surfing! Also there were tons of planned activities that my husband and I had a blast participating in. From the water olympics, to a beer drinking contest, to a Jamaican line dancing class, there was always a variety of activities to partcipate in.

We had the unfortunate luck of being there when Hurricane Dennis was supposed to hit, but the resort handled this beautifully. When the airport was closed on the day we were to return home, they let us stay the extra night we needed for no charge (many of the people we met at the airport on Friday who had stayed at other non-Sandals resorts did not have this luxury!) And since we booked our vation directly through Sandals, they rescheduled our flight automatically for us! We walked up to the Guest Relations desk to see what we needed to do, only to be handed a piece of paper with our new flight information on it. During the hours while we sat and waited to see if the storm would come, the resort made sure to keep us all very occupied. They planned games and shows inside, made sure there was food available all day long, and the bar was stocked and ready to go. You almost had too much fun to even realize a Hurricane was barreling down on you!

My only word of advice for anyone considering Sandals is pack a few things with you carry-on! The airline lost mine, along with about ten other couple's bags, and it took them two days to get them to us. At the very least carry on a swimsuit, cover-up, and at least one change of clothes so you won't have to buy them at the over-priced gift shop. I read that a hundred times before we went, but I didn't follow the advice and it's someting I really regret.

We can't wait to go back to Sandals Mo Bay again to see all of our new friends. We're already planning a trip for next summer, but this time I'm getting my sisters and their husbands, as well as my brother-in-law and his wife to go with us!

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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25  Thank Miles K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,126 - 5,132 of 5,434 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
225
Reviewed July 6, 2005

This was our first visit to Jamaica and won’t be our last. We are well travelled but this is by far the best place we have been. Sandals Montego Bay is a beautiful hotel and the staff are FANTASTIC they really look after you. I have to say we were treated like King and Queen from the start to the end of our holiday.

King Duncan and all the guys at the piano bar went the yard to make our holiday thank you. We met some really nice American friends at this bar, wont mention there names I would not have enough room to write anymore. We would like to stay in touch with them please e mail us.

Our renewal of vows was so romantic. Our friends Hilda and Jim came out the second week of our holiday to be with us, this made our day extra special. Our photographer was brilliant we had to have all 91 pictures as we could not choose 36.
I went to the spa for my hair and make up well worth the visit.

Trips we went on was all worth the money i.e. Hilton high day tour, beautiful scenery, you meet the locals and go to a school where the children will sing to you (please take some sweets if you go on this tour).
Martha Bra is so relaxing, our guide encouraged us to have a go at guiding the raft it was brilliant. Dunns River falls and the red stripe tour was amazing. I was going to climb the stairs after the second level really glad I didn’t because after the second level it got so much easier. The video was really good too.

Air Jamaica well I can’t believe the reviews, my husband is 6ft3, and never complained of being uncomfortable, he had loads of leg room. We had free drinks all throughout the flight and the friendliest cabin crew we ever met.

If you would like any questions answerd pleae mail us.

  • Stayed: June 2005
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15  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2005

We stayed in a Water's Edge Honeymoon Penthouse Concierge room. It was a very nice room with a great view of the Ocean. The room had a stocked Mini Bar. It was great to have the cold drinks available at anytime. We really enjoyed that.
We arrived on Saturday but we didn't try to get any dinner reservations until Sunday. At that point it was difficult to get reservations. We were able but the other couple traveling with us were not able to get into Tokoyo Joe's. Both Tokoyo Joe's and Cuccina Romma are good restaurants. However Bayside does not make a good dinner. We ate there twice and each time the food was bad. The Salmon was overcooked and the quality of the beef was horrible. The Breakfast buffet at the Bayside was fine and the lunch at the Bayside and on the Beach were fine, but dinners were just not good.
The entertainment was disappointing. For 2 of the night we were there the entertainment was a fashion show of items for sale in the gift shop. For another 2 nights the entertainment was an Art Auction. To me these are not entertaining.
The water activities were good. We really enjoyed the snorkeling. The beach was great with plenty of chairs in the sun and in the shade. The swimming at the beach was wonderful. I didn't really like the people in the water trying to sell you things, but if you ignore them, they leave you alone.
The Concierge service was nice for checking in. They bring you to a comfortable air conditioned room while they check you in. Pray you don't need any maintenance service. When we arrived, the lock they gave us for the in room save wouldn't work. Instead of sending someone up with a new lock they sent someone up 45 minutes after we called and they took the lock with them to fix it. another 45 minutes later someone brought us a new lock. We were stuck in the room for almost 2 hours taking care of this.
Overall the place was beautiful, the rooms are nice and clean, the staff was friendly. Try to get dinner reservations for as many nights as possible at Tokoyo Joe's and Cuccina Rommas. Plan on your own evening entertainment.

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
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13  Thank Lynne V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2005

Well, my wife and I just got back from our honeymoon at MOBAY (8 days). Like all of you I had been reading the reviews for months leading up to our trip. And like many of you I held some amount of concern over the poor reviews that pop up from time to time. Now I wouldn't call myelf a seasoned traveler, but I have been all around Europe, Mexico, and most of the States (Hawaii and Alaska included). With that said, I am very pleased to say that we had a GREAT time at MOBAY. I will break this down in as many categories as possible so you can know all about the resort. I will try to be as consice as possible.

Arrival - We got in a bit late, due to delays in Houston. I had heard some bad things about clearing customs, so when I got there, I was hoping for the best. Well, we were lucky because it was empty, just our plane. We got through in a few minutes and was off to pick up the luggage. No problems so far, picked up the luggage and cleared the check of declaration. An airport employee then directed us to the Sandals check in room. We gave them our certificates and our names. A quick minute or two, a "Welcome to Sandals" and lead to there very nice AIR CONDITIONED waiting room. Red Stripe on tap as well as other sodas. A driver came in and gathered all who were going to MOBAY. A quick 5 minute ride to MOBAY, a $2 tip to the driver (not a Sandals employee) and were were there!!!!!!

Check-in - Escorted to concierge check in room (different than regular check in room) and given champagne. We went through and set up all of our dinner reservations and set a loose itinerary for our stay. They gave us all our keys, lotions, aloe, etc., in a little bag. A bellman came, grabbed our bags, escorted us to our room (306 Almond block - Waters Edge Concierge Honeymoon Suite). And like that we were finally in our room.

Room - It was very clean, just as it looks on line. Stocked bar with Red Stripe, water, juices, white/red wine, rum, vodka, gin. I called and asked for a bottle of Jack Daniels which was delivered in no time. Big walk-in closet, two sink bathroom, very nice jacuzzi tub and shower. The view from our balcony was awesome.

Restaurants:

Bayside (No reservations)- This is where we ate the most. We had dinner there twice, lunch there most of the days and breakfast there daily. The dinners are off a menu which were good. The lunch and breakfast are buffet style. They mix it up so you don't get the same food each day. I really enjoyed the breakfasts.

Oleander Room (No reservations) - This place is very nice with great service. Highest level dress code adds nice ambiance to the experience.

Cucina Romana (Reservations) - Very nice italian with great selection of entrees. Large antipasta self serve selection as well. The service here is a bit slower that the other two, but still not slow by any means.

Tokyo Joe's (Reservations) - EXCELLENT!!!!!!! After appetizers, you select your veggies and noodles, then tell the chef the type of meat you want. He asks you the type of flavor, spice, garlic, etc. you want then off you go. Into a giant wok and flames everywhere. Tons of food and taste.

OK Corral - Never ate there

Irie Grill (lunch grill) - Not much here. I didn't care for this one for the selection was quit limited. Hamburgers, pizza, nachos, etc. I preferred the Bayside lunch.

Bars - All the bars were ready to give you any drink you wanted. Ask for their own special drink or one off the menu, they are all good. Too weak or too strong, just ask for another the way you want it. I DID!!!!!!!!!!!

Outdoor activities - We are certified scuba divers and did six dives while we were there. Absolutely beautiful dives. Water was well above 80 degrees with clarity no less then 50 feet in the worst of the conditions. The dive crews were extremely friendly and helpful. All you need before you get on the boat is your fins and wetsuit (if you want it) which you get at the sports shed. If you are certified, they won't hold your hand, they will have the BCD's, regulators, tanks, weights and all on the boat. You will put together your own equipment, as I prefer to do. They offer two dives a day, 9 and 11:30 am. If you are certified you can go on both, but if not, you will have to take the resort course ($70) and only allowed to go on the 11:30 trip. We also did, innertubing, windsurfing and Hobie cats. The ladies in the sports shed were not the friendliest there, but with some well directed sarcasm they lightened up immediately.

Staff - I would say 90% of the staff were extremely friendly and would do anything they could to make your stay better. You would find from time to time some staff who were not as friendly or may be busy. NO PROBLEM MON. Just move on and tell yourself that you are in Jamaica, at one of the most beautiful beaches around, don't have a care in the world while you are there and go get a nice fruity cocktail.

Misc. - We are not ones to just stay inside the grounds. We went to a place called the Rockland Bird Sanctuary. A half hour ride from MOBAY up into the mountains where for $10, you sit with the man who runs the place and feed hummingbirds that land on your finger. Plus many types of finches and others. Quite an amazing experience. We asked our cab driver where a "real" Jamaican jerk restaurant was, because we wanted the real thing. He mentioned two places, the Pork Pit and Scotchie's. We asked him where he eats, he said Scotchie's, so we went there for dinner. SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!! Got a half pound of pork and half pound of chicken, yams, four Red Stripe for $20. One of the guys cooking the meat made us our jerk spice mix to dip the meat into. If you like spice, this is the place to go, let's just say the two Red Stripe each didn't suffice. We also took the trip through the resort to the Dunn's River Falls. A day long trip which includes shopping in Ocho Rios, lunch at Sandals Ocho Rios and the trip up the falls. You get to see a lot of the island on the way there as well. The falls were great and a must do in my opinion.

Entertainment - We did not do much of the activities with the playmakers just because we were so busy with diving and watersports we found we had less time to relax on the beach and read than we thought. It's up to you as to how much you want to participate. There was also nightly music and dancing performed by the staff. For the most part we did not stay out too late because of all the sun, diving, eating, drinking.

Overall - After experiencing first hand the trip I had read so much about, I can see how some people may not like it. It is not a 5 star, Ritzy type place. It is clean, fun, entertaining, mellow, relaxing, exciting all in one. You can't allow yourself to let the small things get you mad. Just look around and think where you could be!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
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34  Thank NotSunDiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Boston, MA
19
Reviewed July 4, 2005

I really expected to be one of those people saying the nay-sayers were crazy and the place was fantastic.

But, alas, it wasn't fantastic.

The staff is nice enough, not great. The food was below average. The alcohol was plentiful, but we're not really the party types. The rooms were ok, clean enough to get by.

We were on vacation and we were going to be darned if we didn't have a good time! So we definately made the best of it and found ways to have fun. But I wouldn't recommend it to others, and we wouldn't go back.

The beach I must say was amazing. The pools were very clean, and snorkeling was a blast. The grounds were also nice.

You can have fun, but you sort of have to work at it. The vacation won't come to you, you have to go to it, and there's no clear instruction, you have to ask for anything. We're more the self-help types. Also, if you're on a short trip (we were only there 3 nights) you can't get dinner reservations, everything is full.

Anyway, for the money, we'll go else where next time.

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Memphis, TN
117
Reviewed July 3, 2005

We went for our second anniversary and loved it. We stayed a week (sat-sat) and had a blast.

The beach has plenty of room, never crowded, never had to wait for any watersports (hobie cats, kayaks, tubing, skiing). They do snorkelling trips out to the reef 4 or 5 times a day and glass bottom boat rides twice a day. They'll teach you how to do anything that you want to learn.

The beach bar and the swim up bar are fun, the bartenders there are fun and friendly and give great service. The beach grill has a small but good menu from 10:30AM-5PM then from 10PM until... Good burgers, quesadillas, jerk chicken, fries, etc.

Resturants are good. Bayside has fair meals for all meals (breakfast is really good). The italalian resturant and Tokoyo Joes are great. Service at all is excellent.

Saw one cat hanging around. Do bring or buy some bug spray for the evenings close to the water. The gift store has this and any other items you may need. The planes go over about 10-12 times a day, if you are talking to someone you have to wat a few seconds to finish. Not a problem at night or early AM.

The staff works hard to make this place fun for the guests.

If you are looking for "high class" go somewhere else, but if you want a laid-back great time this is the place.

We will return to SMB.

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2005

We just returned from our Weddingmoon trip to Sandals Montego Bay. We were there From June 24 - July 1.

Our last trip was very nice, but this one was nearly perfect. We were delayed due to hurricane Charley last year and received 2 complimenatry nights for future use. The 2 other couples who travelled with us last year agreed with us that we would return to SMB. We later decided to add our wedding to the agenda.

We booked Honeymoon Water's Edge Concierge rooms, and we received room 218 on the second floor of the Almonds Block, right in front of the jacuzzi. What a beautiful room with a beautiful view. We had a jacuzzi tub inside the room as well. We got concierge service, so we had a fridge stocked with bottled water, coke, diet coke, sprite, juice, Red Stripe, champagne, white wine, red wine, rum, scotch, gin, vodka, and when we requested Jack Daniels and Red Stripe Light, we received them propmtly from our concierce, Rohan. We also had everything replinished daily.

To keep up last year's tradition, my two girlfriends and I had pineapple mimosas daily (except the day after the wedding) at 6:30am on our balcony to toast the day. We received "breakfast in bed" the morning after the wedding and we enjoyed it on our balcony. It was beautiful. I drank lots of champagne this trip!

The staff is so friendly, and I thought doubly so when they recognized that we were return guests. We received so many "Welcome Home"s from people who we met last year, and we were admonished over and again that this should not be our last trip.

The food was as good as it was last year. Certainly not all gourmet, but some of it was, and everything was good. We ate at Oleander, Tokyo Joe's, Bayside, and Regency and Royal Thai at Royal Carribbean.

The wedding was early. It was supposed to be at 9am, but we actually got started at about 9:45 due to my hair and makeup taking longer than an hour (the salon opened at 8am). Everyone was very patient, and though I was very concerned, the technician in the salon (Ta Taneisha - who was EXCELLENT did my hair, makeup, and later in the week my massage as well) assured me that "They can not do it without the bride, mon, don't you worry, we will make you stunning and they will all forget the wait". She was absolutely correct, she did a very intricate up-do and it was amazing. The minister was very nice and gave us very sweet and thoughtful advice before performing a fairly short and sentimental ceremony. It felt very appropriate. The pictures came out very nice. I can not say enough about the wedding staff. They were very efficient, and they took care of my every request very quickly and efficiently. The only comment I have (not really a complaint), is that the reception area was not shaded, and it was VERY hot, even so early in the morning. We retreated to our balcony rather than sit in the direct sun.

The returning guest dinner was nice, and all of the little touches that returning guests get are very nice.

We visited all of the other Sandals Jamaica properties last year except Whitehouse and Grande Ocho Rios (which were both under construction at the time). We did not get to the Grande, but we did spend a morning at Whitehouse, which was just plain gorgeous and very big with elegant pool areas and commons. Somehow though, the layout and the beautiful beach at SMB just can't be rivaled in my opinion.

I have read all of the reviews on this site since before my first trip, and some of the criticism is certainly well-placed, but it seems to me that the service levels have been taken up a notch since our last trip in terms of proficiency of the staff, and general friendliness.

This is a very nice place with great staff and a gorgeous beach. For a 20+ year old property, it is lovely and there was constant painting and sprucing going on during both of our trips.

Overall the trip was RELAXING and fun. The whole weddingmoon concept is great because you really only have to get dressed up and show up. That's all.

I'm thinking that this will probably NOT be our last trip home!

  • Stayed: June 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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20  Thank patronlime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Montego Bay

Address: Montego Bay, Kent Avenue, Montego Bay 100, 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:
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#8 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $554 - $1,677 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 223
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

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