My husband and I spent a week at Secrets St. James in mid February. This was the third Secrets resort we have been to, the others being Capri and Maroma Beach, both in the Riviera Maya. We love Jamaica and appreciate that nice hotels are coming to the Montego Bay area so you do not have to travel as far. The property was absolutely gorgeous from the buildings, botanicals, beach and ocean.
Staff: The staff was wonderful. Most of the staff was very polite and gracious that you spent your vacation in their country. They are very proud of their country and culture and it is wonderful to see.
Pool area: I was a little disappointed in the pool area. It is nice there are different pools to select from, but it got a little annoying that you had to get out of one pool and into a different one if you wanted a swim up bar to get a drink. The swim up pool bars were located in the heated pools, which were actually too warm. I understand that they do not want the pools connected so they can offer a heated pool and a non-heated pool (just the right temperature for 80 degree weather) at each hotel (Wild Orchid and St. James). To get a good lounge chair you had to get up early to reserve a place. I wish the hotels did not allow you to do this, but most of them do not stop this behavior. It is vacation, and if you prefer to sleep in one day, it was hard to find a chair in a decent location by 9:30 after breakfast.
Beach/Ocean: The beach and ocean were wonderful here! The water is so much prettier here than on the north side of Montego Bay by the Iberostar Hotels. The beach is maintained daily and the sand is like white powder. The water is so clear you can see little fish and star fish. The sand in the water is pure sand and not mushy…which is always a plus. The ocean here is absolutely breath taking!
Restaurants: There are numerous restaurants to choose from with a good variety. However, I did not feel this location offered as large of a menu selection as other Secrets locations or other hotel chains. The food was good and plentiful and of course being an all-inclusive, you can order as much as you would like. The Mexican and Italian were our favorites and visited those two times each. The Breakfast buffet was excellent each morning with numerous items to select from. They even had some Mexican lunch items on the buffet incase you were not interested in breakfast. Drinks were fantastic here and they did not water them down. Sing along bar at night was a lot of fun….but crowded.
Rooms: We had requested a room on a higher floor with an ocean view. But WOW, I think all of the rooms had an ocean view except for the first floor. We were on the top floor, 3rd room from the beach, which was a wonderful view. Each night we could watch the sunset from the balcony or enjoy a peaceful hour on the balcony with a book and the most beautiful view. The rooms were very clean and very nice, but not extravagant. The air conditioner worked perfect and did not have to worry about moisture in the room, unlike some other locations we have stayed recently.
Misc.: The bike tour was fun but don’t expect too much. The bikes are older even though I was lucky to get one of the newer ones. We took a tour within a few miles of the hotel and went to the “Houseboat” restaurant and bar. We were there during the day but would have loved to of gone back at night. It looked like a fun place! If you wanted activities there were plenty to do. If you wanted to lay at the beach or pool they did not bother you to get involved. Entertainment was pretty good. Most of it is held outside under the stars, which is what we prefer vs. inside some building. The funniest was the show where couples from the resort participated; don’t miss that one if you want a good laugh! The “jerk” chicken hut guy was awesome. Some of the best chicken I have ever had. Very moist and fresh. I think we had it 5 days out of the 7 while we were there. Took our own transportation to and from the airport / hotel. I have used Explore Jamaica 4 times and have had wonderful success. They aim to please and have been punctual on each visit. It was odd to see single people at this resort because I always felt Secrets to be more for couples.
It was Mardi Gras while we were there and they even had a special event set up for that evening. The staff and planning staff really do go out of their way to make you enjoy your trip.
Would I go back to SSJ, yes for a long weekend, but not for a week. It is fabulous but we like to try new places. Go and enjoy yourself, it is a beautiful location. We fell absolutely in love with Sandals Whitehouse a few years back and would rate that resort just a little above Secrets St. James. Enjoy!
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay