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“"A prefect get away..."”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed October 4, 2012

I just returned from this Spectacular Resort in St. James...not even words can explain...this is my vacation spot.The staff were very pleasant, and the meals were superb. My room felt like my home away from home,the beach view from my suite was just like the commercial of Jamaica on television. If they were selling a suite please have me first on the list!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Faith C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,753 - 4,759 of 6,541 reviews

Reviewed October 4, 2012

i went to secrets st james this summer for the first time and it was wonderfull my son and daughter had a blast the staff member where so nice to us and helpfull.Miss Marlene Dixon was so wonderfull and nice on our arrival!!! i would recomend her for empolyee of the mouth anytime.five stars for this hotel anytime the food was lovely and delioues!!! Secrets St James your the best!!! love it!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank natalie77johnson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

I visited on the 15 of September with a few girlfriends. The property was spectacular. I especially loved the French restaurant and the ladies at the front desk they made my stay memorable. The fire show was also excellent and the bartenders in the clubs were wonderful.
I would recommend this property

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Kim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

My wife and I returned from 2 weeks at this hotel today. Unlike most other guests we were not celebrating a wedding, honeymoon etc and were visiting simply to relax and recharge after a busy year. Also being British we were in the minority with my guess being that over 95% of guests being from the US or Canada staying 5 to 7 days. However saying that we had absolutely no problems fitting in and making several friends during our holiday.

We were the only guests from our flight to be visiting this hotel and on arrival it felt a little like we had surprised the staff a little. I put this down to us being almost 2 hours late due to delays, however check in was quick enough and painless.

We were asked if we wanted to upgrade to 'preferred' but a single reply of 'no thanks' wasnt met with any attempt at pressure sales. We were given our money off vouchers and directed to another desk in the lobby.Here Im guessing that typically the 'holiday club' sales pitch would take place however being from the UK this young lady simply called the bell boy and didnt even try.

We were also given a free bottle of rum and a letter giving us 15% off at the spa. No one else we spoke to got these and I dont know why we did. My guess was due to us booking a 2 week stay.

We were then taken to our room on the 4th (of 5) floors. The room was nice, clean and had a good view. The room was directly next to the lift and I have read reviews that this results in mechanical noise from the lift. I can honestly state I did not hear it once!

Whilst on such things I will quickly cover a couple of points on the room that seem to creep up again and again in the reviews:

1 The fridge - No its not the coolest, but it works OK. Speak to the person who stocks it and they will fill it with what suits you.
2. The Air Con - Again, its not the coolest. It has 3 fan speeds plus a 'auto' setting that keeps in on 24 hours a day. What I could not work out was how to vary the temperature which made up its own mind ranging between 23C and 25C. This was a little too warm for me at night in bed but OK at all other times.
3. Toilet - Yes its only behind a frosted glass door. OK for sharing with your partner, I wouldnt be comfortable in sharing a room with anyone else!
4. Mosquitos - They are a nightmare. Not even 50% DEET Jungle Formula spray stopped them eating my wife and I. We also took a quality plug in repellent that didnt seem to do much. Im confident that they enter the room via the secrets box. It sounds extreme but if youre due to visit take some masking tape and tape closed the edges of box. There is little to no reason to use the box. I would also take a can of fly killer!

The room was cleaned everyday, usually before 1pm, however very occasionally this was a bit later. The room was cleaned to a high standard and I cannot find fault with the maid service. The turn down service was again very good and on most evenings a nice towel arrangement was left.

They do provide a safe in the room, however on several occasions my wife left her iPhone 4s by the bed and it was never touched.

Moving on, and after a shower and a change of clothes we headed out. This hotel and its grounds are fantastic and the staff deserve praise for all of the work they put into keeping it looking this way.

A nice walk to the restaurants resulted in us experiencing some great food over the 2 weeks.

To dispel the myths about how far St James is from these places I counted how long it took me to walk the route. From the Piano Bar (situated roughly in the centre of the restaurants) I walked back to my room. I past the lobby entrance of Wild Orchid at 100 seconds. I reached the Lobby entrance of St James 40 seconds later and my room door on the 4th floor 45 seconds later. At a total of just over 3 minutes I have no idea what people were doing to take 10 minutes. Even from St James preferred your walk should be no more that 5 minutes and you can not physically stay further away than this!

OK, onto the restaurants:

World Cafe. This place is open for breakfast and lunch. It serves good buffet food with a wide choice. At night this restaurant is cleverly transformed into:

El Patio; A very good to excellent Mexican al a carte restaurant that I ate in more than once and did not hear anything negative about. From 2230 - 0200 hours there is a late night snack buffet held here.

Blue Mountain; An OK Jamaican al a carte restaurant I ate at only once. The food just wasnt for me.

However............. Just to confuse matters............ Twice a week World cafe remains open for a buffet dinner of Ribs (Tuesday) and Steak & Lobster (Fridays). As a result both El Patio and Blue Mountain are NOT open these nights.

Barefoot grill; Open 1100 - 1800 for hot dogs, burgers, patties etc. Located just off the beach you can eat here wet in just shorts if you so wish. All other lunch venues need footwear, dry'ish shorts / swimsuit and a t shirt or similar. They also have a self service Red stripe lager tap.

Coffee Shop; Situated in the shopping and games area it does various teas and coffees plus some small sandwiches. It has a self serve ice cream machine next to it too.

Seaside Grill; Situated above the St James swim up pool bar they serve very nice pizzas, good sandwiches, fries etc and have a salad bar. Transforms SOME evenings into a grill where you can get steak, chicken etc that is good and tends to have a more casual dress code i.e. men wear t shirts.

Oceana; Situated above the Wild Orchid swim up pool bar they serve wraps, burgers, fries etc and have a salad bar. Transforms SOME evenings into a seafood place where you can get steak, shrimp, fish etc. Again tends to have a more casual dress code i.e. men wear t shirts.

Himitsu; We ate here on a normal table and at the 'booking required' chefs table. Food was good but would recommend a later booking at the chefs table. It takes a little time for the staff to fully warm up.

Portofino; We ate here several times and a joint favorite with the Bordeaux. Food here is very good. However like the Bordeaux it gets very busy late in the evening. We found it best to arrive by 1915 hours or you could have over an hours wait for a table.

Bordeaux; Again we ate here several times, food is very good. A favorite but the strictest for dress code. To eat inside you will need long trousers here. Whilst they state 'no open toed sandals' I never had an issue with wearing some smart dress leather sandals I had with me.

Its worth noting some restaurants have bottled beers such as the Himitsu stocking a Japanese lager. If you fancy a change its worth asking it they have anything.

In addition of an afternoon you have the legendary jerk chicken cart. Its very good, but how spicy it is varies. In addition there is a fruit cart plus a coconut cart if you fancy some coconut water (with rum too if you wish).

Room service was okay, the menu was a little bit limited however it served it's purpose after a few drink during the evening. The wait for room service varied between 20 minutes to 50 minutes.

On getting up the next day it was off to the pool. At the pool there was never any issue finding a bed. A little shorter on supply were umbrellas that would be all taken by around 0930. Pool side service was good and the staff always happy and friendly. Again just to cover the myth around tipping, I never felt like one was expected here. In fact i would go as far as to say I felt the least pressure to tip here than anywhere I have traveled.

I never spent any significant amount of time on the beach but it was nice enough with plenty of beds.


In most bars the staff tend to go very heavy on the amount of spirits they use. I drink vodka at home at a 40:60 ratio of Vodka:Mixer. At secrets the drinks are so strong I had to order a glass of soft drink to further dilute it!

On the topic of Bars..........

Both St James (Manatee) and Wild Orchid (Sugar Reef) have swim up bars that are open 1000 to 1800. They both also have a walk up section if you dont want to get wet!

St James (The Lounge) and Wild Orchid (Rendez-Vous) have lounge bars that are open 1000 until midnight. They are generally quiet but have air con so are nice to relax in. They stock other lagers if you fancy a change from Red Stripe.

Andrew at the St James bar and Donald from the Marlin bar were the only members of bar staff who could mix my drinks as I liked them. Both were great guys and well worth meeting, they are stars!

On the St James side there is also a hut type swing bar open 1000 to 1800 called the Marlin Bar. The same style Barrauda bar on the Wild Orchid side is open until 2100 (except during the weekly beach party).

Next up is the Piano Bar. Central to all of the restaurants this bar is busy and also stocks other lagers. An attractive location with some shows etc of an evening but im sure we were often bitten by bugs at this venue.

Desires Lounge. This is the resorts night club. Not bad, its best to judge this one for yourself. Open until 0200 and also serves other lagers.

There are one or two other bars, such as one inside the theatre etc but we never made much use of these.

Over the 2 weeks we stayed we had a mixture of sun and rain with some amazing storms. A tip is than you should NOT place anything on the floor in your wardrobe. We found out the hard way that during very heavy rain and wind water can be blown under your room door several feet!

Cannabis. Its illegal in Jamaica but some people use it around the resort so you will smell it from time to time. Some even use it at the pool side. If you are very anti its use, you may want to consider somewhere other than Jamaica.

So how did we find it? Whilst there was very little we could fault with the hotel or staff, the resort was just missing something. It took us some time to identify what it was but as the holiday went on I began to realise that it was the peace and quiet we had traveled all this way for.

With many of the other guests being away for a short break a few of them appeared to want to make the most of the all inclusive. Whilst being far from an 18 - 30 holiday some found it hard not to shout and with loud pool side music and entertainment staff encouraging games including the biggest pool bomb it fell short of what I expected from a £4000 holiday.

We still had a great time and i'm sure many people would have a great holiday here, just make sure it offers all you want.

Room Tip: Dont forget there is a departure tax payable upon checking in at Montego bay on your way home. It mu...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank welshrexer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

We had a fabulous stay at Secrets St James!

My boyfriend planned this trip to celebrate my birthday and although my birthday wasn't during the week we went the Secrets staff still went out of there way to make sure it felt special :)

Firstly, we checked in around 6pm and Charlene made sure we were fully taken care of! Our room was clean and ready with a beautiful welcome fruit platter and a bottle of Champagne... and to top it off a Spectacular View!!!

♥ Restaurants ♥
♥We ate at the breakfast buffet every morning of our visit, there was a nice selection of traditional breakfast foods i.e.. hash browns, french toast, pancakes, and made to order eggs. There were also several local dishes available on the buffet that changed daily i.e.. Jamaican One Pot & Ackee & Salt-Fish... all delish!
◆One complaint I do have over breakfast is that it took forever to get a coffee served to the table, we would sometimes be finished our meal before coffee was poured. I am however a person who must have coffee asap in the morning, so when I would see the amazing coffee cart in the buffet I would be thrilled and running for it!

We ate at both the Buffet & the Sea Side Grill both very nice. Most afternoons however, I was on a hunt for the Jerk Chicken (you can smell it coming!) & the Fruit Cart which both offer huge portions so be ready to share :)

We ate at several of the restaurants and they were all awesome! We know booking trips to Secrets the food is always wonderful (part of the reason we keep coming back).

♥Blue Mountain is local cuisine and very good, we ate here the first night and a second time in the week. The jerk pork was so good!!!!
♥Bordeaux is the french restaurant was also very good we ate here twice as well and really enjoyed the Surf and Turf!
♥Portofino was probably my fovourite restaurant the Smoked Salmon pasta was probably my favourite meal all week!!
♥Himitsu was also fun and the food good!
◆This restaurant was so hot inside it was hard to enjoy (by hot I mean sweat dripping from my forehead within the first 5 minutes we sat down) it would have been much more enjoyable had it been a comfortable temperature at least a fan pushing hot air out as it was hotter inside than outside.
♥Coco Cafe is a gem I wish all Secrets Resorts offered this restaurant!! Jamaican coffee is awesome!!

♥ Romantic Beach Dinner ♥
This was ahhh-maze-ing! I am so glad we chose to do this at sunset and not later, we had such a spectacular view and even got to see the cruise ship leaving! The food was so delicious I wish I could have done this every night! To top of this amazing dinner our service was outstanding. Damar Richards was very welcoming and really showed pride in the service he gave us as well as pride in his home/community... employees like Damar & Charlene really make us want to return to this resort!
◆There was not a special surprise when we returned to our room as we had read in other reviews.

♥ Grounds, Pools, Beach ♥
The grounds at this resort are STUNNING and very well maintained, the pools are very clean (a little warm in the afternoon at the main pool) plenty of lounge chairs but could use a few more umbrellas. The beach was GREAT plenty of chairs and shade not too rocky and much cooler in the afternoon for swimming.

♥ Drinks, Bars & Entertainment ♥
Drinks were plentiful! Many top shelf liquors and the mixed drinks were nice a stiff :) My favourite blended drink was the Jamaican Smile!
The Piano Bar was super fun at night with lots of energy! We did not go to desires as our long days of fun and sun made it hard to stay up late enough.
The entertainment was very good & interactive, the circus was my favourite night.

What I would have loved is a coffee cart at night after dinner would have been nice before entertainment... but Coco's was not far!

♥ Room ♥

Our room was kept clean and towels & mini bar replenished daily. Our room had a beautiful and comfy king sized bed and a beautiful view (I believe most rooms have a great view). We did not upgrade to preferred although the preferred looks amazing and we will consider upgrading next time. I also loved that we had an ipod dock to listen to music in our room!◆House keeping did come quite late a few of the days, sometimes while we were getting ready for dinner. However, it was nice not to be woken up in the morning when we felt like sleeping in.

♥ Spa ♥
I had a Swedish massage at the spa and it was delightful I felt so relaxed I wanted to go back for another service but time did not permit me to! The circuit before your massage was really nice too and open for you to visit the entire day of your service.

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

I will not complain about mosquitos and weather as that is not something they can control as a resort.. that would be like blaming the resort for a sun burn (ridiculous)!... bring bug spray and YES sometimes it rains!!!

If you are planning on buying liquor to bring back wait until you get to the airport and buy it from duty free as it is much cheaper than on the resort and the same selection is available.

We look forward to visiting again in the future!!

Thank you for a spectacular time ☺

Ashley (the girl with the blue & Purple hair) & Corrie

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ashley_C123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

This was a very enjoyable way to spend a few days. Highlights included:
*welcoming check -in staff at Preferred desk
*we stayed in Preferred Jr Suite 4407 & it was nicely appointed & very clean
*Meals were amazing & authentically Jamaican - from jerk pork from a cart to fresh chopped water coconut it enhances the beach experience
*Im sure the entertainment was great but we only stayed for 15 minutes of one of the live shoes & she could really sing
*beach & pools & general property were very clean. Even after heavy rain it was pristine
*service was genuine & friendly versus some places where it seems scripted or forced
*its located away from all the mega resorts so feels very secluded with a lovely inlet setting for sunsets
*We stayed in the St James side & all restaurants were in the Wild Orchid side so it required some walking. Not great in the rain but not too far otherwise.
*room service menu is a little limited but food was fine
*tipping/ gratuity is a little confusing & we couldn't get change except at the Cambio

I'd recommend anyone stay here! I'll certainly be back!

Room Tip: Stay on the secrets st james side
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ShonetteHC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

I just came back from 5 days at this resort.
The good: the grounds are beautiful and the water is clear and calm and the beaches weren't too crowded. The romantic dinner was nice although we had to ask for the tikki torches that was supposed to be set up beforehand.
The bad:
1.) our room was not clean when we arrived. We had to call twice for them to come change the bed sheets and comforter. It was dirty with some sort of brown stains. Then throughout our stay... Some days, our room would be cleaned when we came back from the beach in the afternoon and some days, it was still the same! And towels weren't replaced.
2.) the mp3 dock didn't work and our remote didn't work. It took them almost 1 day for them to bring a new remote. The bathrobes that should have been in the room, it took us two days from the time we asked for it to get it.
3.) the food was so mediocre. Breakfast buffet was the same thing every day. Lunch and dinner was bad as well. At the restaurants, there was only about 4 or 5 different entrees to choose from. No seafood or steak or pork chops or anything like that to eat. Wait there was steak... From room service - haha. That was a piece of frozen meat. The only good food there was that jerk chicken from the stand.
3.) service was so-so. Most of the staff are not friendly at all. Oh and if you're Asian, be aware - they are very very ignorant. There were a couple workers that were pleasant and always say hi how is your stay when they walk by you. But some don't even acknowledge you, even if you're waiting around for service, especially at the front desk.
4.) room service took over 1 hour. And also our romantic dinner - we were suppose to meet our server at 6:45pm and we went to the spot that they told us to wait, and we waited until 7 and no one came. We had to search for someone to ask. And when we found someone they blamed it on the weather and that they were still setting up. We paid all of this money and they made us wait without any notice that it will be a late. For the price paid, I would expect at least send someone to meet us at the spot and let us know what was happening.
5.) excursions - don't waste your time and money going outside the resort. The tour guides beg for tips and make up stories.

if you're still deciding to head to this resort, brings lots of tip money because they all expect a tip even though its all inclusive and even though they didn't do anything extra for you, they expect a tip.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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9  Thank zhuzhujin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secrets St. James Montego Bay

Address: Lot A59, Freeport, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $404 - $995 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets St. James Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 350
Reservation Options:
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