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“The week of Hurricane Sandy”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The week of Hurricane Sandy”
Reviewed November 13, 2012

My wife and I visited Secrets St. James for the first time from Oct21st thru 27th. The hospitality when we arrived from Rochelle was fantastic and she kept in touch with us several times during our stay to make sure all was good. Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy hit on 10/24 of that week and I must say the entire management team at Secrets did a fantastic job keeping everyone informed of the situation. The staff went above and beyond making the two Ballrooms into a shelter and meeting place while keeping all guests well fed and the libations still flowing. Thursday the skies were once again clear and the vacation did not miss a beat once Sandy left the island. Hat's off to the staff for their clean up crews and getting us all back on our vacations once again.

Secrets also went above and beyond giving all guests a complimentary three day / two nights all expenses paid vacation to come back again and enjoy St. James due to the weather related issues. That was a First Class gesture and my wife and I will definitely go back and enjoy Secrets St. James again!!

Ed C

Room Tip: The ocean view in the morning is wonderful!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank EClark60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SWO_STJconcierge, Manager at Secrets St. James Montego Bay, responded to this review, November 14, 2012
Dear Ed:

It is always our aim as a team to give great service to all our guests. We are happy to know that this shone through Rochelle who seemed to have had a great impact on your stay. We truly appreciate your review and thank you for your recognition of our efforts in ensuring that you and other guests were kept safe, fed and entertained throughout Hurricane Sandy's passage.

Thanks once again and looking forward to your return stay in our tropical oasis.

Warm Regards,
Caulette
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2012

The bliss began at check in (preferred club) where we met our concierge Shydonnie. She made our initial contact with the resort pure bliss and a pleasure. Her competency, warm welcome, and upbeat, friendly personality made us feel welcomed and special the second we met her.

We stayed in the preferred club area as we generally do when traveling to these sorts of resorts. We find the preferred area of the resort less populated and more conducive to romance.

We truly enjoy the preferred lounge. The staff continuously replenishes the snacks, tidies the area, welcomes and encourages you to take part of the abundance spread of food and drink. The lounge decor (indoor and out) has a sleek modern look with tints of warmth and comfort. And just outside of the lounge are 2 computers that can be used 24 hours a day.

To access the pool, beach, and hot tub area you simply exit the preferred lounge area and walk across a small wooden bridge which covers a cute little fish pond. A few steps away is the pool area. There are 2 pools-one is heated to the optimal temperature and the 2nd pool seems to be kept a bit cooler which is great to jump into when the suns' heat gets to be a bit too much. There are plenty of beach loungers, towels, and the bar service is very attentive.

Just a few steps from the pool is the beach with it's plush white sand. The sand continues into the waters. As you walk out into the sea the plush sand is still under your feet. There are no rocks, pebbles or debris in the water. As with the pool area there are plenty of loungers and the bar service is attentive.

The hot tub is just steps away from the beach. The hot tub was a bit too large for me. You could host a small wedding in that hot tub...I wish we were able to find a more intimate hot tub. However I must say we went to the hot tub everyday and mostly had the tub to ourselves.

We stayed in a Jr. Suite on the 3rd floor. The room is modern and well kept. The bed was beyond comfortable with ample pillows. There is a large soaking tub on the terrace with an awesome view of the sea and mountains...this is how I began each day. The shower, double sink, toilet room were high quality highlighted with beautiful marble. The jacuzzi was a perfect way to relax before dinner and again, as you enjoy the jacuzzi you can see the mountains and sea.

My thoughts on the restaurants-The Bordeaux is their French restaurant and it good but it was the service that made it a great experience.

Blue mountain is the Jamaican restaurant. We've never experienced much in Jamaican culinary foods besides meat patties and americanized jerk chicken. I'm happy to post that from appetizer to desert it was delicious with excellent service.

El Patio which is their mexican restaurant was very tasty although it has a very small menu and like the other restaurants the service could not have been beat.

Portofino the Italian restaurant was a culinary disaster. The best I can describe it as its similar to an 8th grade cooking class. I would urge you skip Potifino and I would urge management to revisit and restructure Portofino. All that being said the service was beyond reproach.

We were disappointed that we could get into Himhisu. This is the only restaurant where a reservation is needed. We knew this and was told to make a reservation but we didn't realize we needed to do it days in advance. When we called the night of our last day we weren't able to get a reservation....so it's more our fault than a flaw in the resorts system. So please book the day of arrival.

The theater-the house band was very good and we enjoyed them very much. However we can't comment on the other acts since we didn't see the other acts in the theater. The theater had great comfortable seats, a fantastic sound system and prompt bar service.

All in all I have to say we were very pleased with this resort. We've stayed at several Dreams resorts and Couples and out of all the resorts this has been our favorite. So much so that I am in the process of booking our return stay in June for our wedding anniversary.....hopefully Shydonna will be there again to greet us begin another great stay.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ilse1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SWO_STJconcierge, Manager at Secrets St. James Montego Bay, responded to this review, November 22, 2012
Dear Guest:

It is quite pleasing to read your very thorough review and we are happy to see that you enjoyed your vacation with us very much. It is very flattering that we are now your favorite and we look forward to welcoming you back Home for many future visits.

Your review of our dining experience is greatly appreciated and I can assure you that this will be reviewed and enhanced to the best of our ability. Many persons love the Himitsu restaurant and often make their reservations for the teppenyaki table in advance. The next time you will be visiting you can send us an email and I will be more than happy to assist you with this prior to your arrival.

We aim to satisfy all our guests and your review is very valuable to us. It is our hope that when you do come back you will notice the differences that will be implemented.

Thanks for taking the time out to share with us.

Regards,
Caulette
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Orlando, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Secrets St James is located on a shared property with the Wild Orchid in Montego Bay. This is an all inclusive. It is about 20-30 min from the airport. On arrival, we were greeted with a cool drink. The junior suites are clean and fairly spacious. The restaurant food is a 8/10, with a pretty good variety. The best meal is the lasagna with tiriamisu for dessert at the Italian place. Also the jerk cart is included and roams the property during the afternoon. The drinks are not watered down. There is some entertainment planned for every evening and the piano bar stays open late. One nice touch is that none of the restaurants require reservations, it's just first come first served. There is a limited 24h room service menu which is included. The service was excellent.
One drawback is that you have to pay for wifi or rent a laptop at the business center, and the spa is very overpriced. Also, note that if you are staying with >1 person in a room, the junior suites at least have no real divider between the bedroom and the bathroom, there are stalls for the WC and shower but other than this there is just a sheer curtain between the bathroom/changing area and the beds, so poor privacy within the room.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Vista30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SWO_STJconcierge, Manager at Secrets St. James Montego Bay, responded to this review, December 11, 2012
Dear Valued Guest:

It is indeed very flattering that you have recommended our resort as an “Excellent Choice”. Your overall review of our services is greatly valued and very important to us. Wi-Fi service here at the resort is provided through an independent contractor and as a result attracts an associated cost. As we continue to make improvements and changes in a bid to achieve highest guest satisfaction, Wi-Fi service is high on our list of priorities. We do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back Home to our beautiful resort so that you are able to experience the improvements first-hand.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us and other future guests.

Regards,
Christina
eConcierge Assistant
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
2 reviews
Reviewed November 12, 2012

My wife and I recently stayed at Secrets St. James for our wedding. From the moment we arrived to the second we left, I felt welcome and almost like we were getting special treatment. Every staff member we encountered was unbelievably welcoming, polite and a pleasure to talk to. The resort itself was beautiful and very well maintained. All the restaurants were awesome and the entertainment at night was great. Garfield "The Mayor," Marlon, Chris Brown, Archibald and Michael are the bellboys and they are super cool. They're funny, helpful and they remembered my name, which I think is impressive. If you plan on going to Jamaica, I strongly recommend Secrets St. James.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Frank B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Secrets is a great resort if you're looking for an all-inclusive paradise to just kick back and relax in. The pools and beaches are great and not crowded and the staff are all wonderful, personable and helpful (Kiki on the entertainment team was really fun). The food seems to have been improved quite a bit since the first time I went, and the jerk chicken, which is by far the best food on the premises, is now available every day. The resort is very romance-oriented, with privacy and romantic opportunities a priority, so it's best for couples, but you can have fun there with friends too.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank xlmnop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

A friend was getting married and chose this resort as their venue. What did I think about the resort? Eh. But, we figured out a way to have an excellent time regardless.

If you want to use a phone for a resonable cost, go to the business center and rent a cell phone for $15 for the day. This is far more reasonable than the $3 per minute from your hotel room phone or the sketchy service that your phone provider may provide. Note - you cannot dial toll free or local numbers from the cell phones.

Room Service
It was not overly consistent or reliable. We told the person who delivered beverages that we preferred water and juice. We do not drink beer EVER. She never took the beer out and refilled it quite a bit. The coffee maker did not work. We asked for it to be fixed, it never was. The cups that are in the room were dirty. It was not just a 'rinse out and clean yourself sort of dirty', it was a soap,water, dishwasher dirty. I called housekeeping to ask for cups to replace them, they told me to call room service. I only needed the cups that were never cleaned from the last person who stayed in the room. I ordered from room service. They delivered hot water but NO CUPS. When I asked for replacement cups, they said that I should have asked housekeeping. Yeah, I know. The toilets are supposed to be eco friendly. But, the toilet in our room ran all night and day long. It is not ask simple as picking up the lid to jiggle - I called to report it, no one ever came. We would get up to go out in order to enjoy the resort, but upon our return, the room would not be clean. Then, if we were hanging out in the room, the housekeeper would keep asking us to leave in order for her to clean the room. Sometimes we got evening turndown service (we did leave the room for dinner each night), but most times we did not.

If you are booking through a travel agent, then they are likely telling you that you are going to get $100 in room credits upon your arrival to the resort. Well, kinda, but it is not as good as it seems. I have had room credits when going on cruises in the past and they really were as straight forward as they said. But, such is not the case here. You get a 'coupon book' that has a series of coupon credits that are specially marked for various amenities across the resort. You can use about $30 on wine, but you can use $10 at a time, not all at once. Now, I am no wine fan at all, but at an all inclusive resort, they GIVE you wine, so why buy some bottles? You can use about $40 towards having dinner served on the beach. Now, we witnessed a few folks who were having dinner on the beach, it was the weirdest and most awkward thing that I had come across in a while. You are just randomly sitting at a table as everyone else who is going about their business at the resort having dinner. It is likely in the pitch black dark, you have a waiter who comes to check on you as they please (and as they are checking on all of the others) and you are eating the same food that is likely served in one of the restaurants. I think that the cost for this service is about $160. But, it is an all-inclusive resort!!! The last of the coupons can be used towards spa services. You cannot combine the coupons and the basic massage service is approximately $160 for an hour massage. Needless to say, we left there with our coupon books completely in tact, using none of them.

When you sit down to receive your coupons, you are given an extremely generous explanation of these coupons. You are told that you can go to a non-timeshare presenation in order to have a no-pressure intense presentation over breakfast that will get you an extra $100 coupon in the spa. It is presented as if you will receive the coupon for each person (we had one certificate for the both of us) and you are told that you can combine the coupon with the certificates that you already have - that is not the case. It is also presented as if there is some breakfast reception that is specifically in place for those who are coming for the non-timeshare presentation. We ate breakfast in the same place that we did everyday, the only difference was that we had a stranger (as nice as she was, she was still a stranger) that we were forced to share a meal with after the initial info gathering and before the lengthy, exhaustive and awkwardly presented non-timeshare presentation. Just FYI - do not agree to do this presentation.

There are options all over the place - Do you stay at Wild Orchid or St. James? Well, it depends. Do you prefer to stay on the right side of the resort (St. James) or left (Wild Orchid). Do you prefer to walk 10 steps to the majority of the restaurants(Wild Orchid) instead of 20 (St. James)? Do you like to catch the jerk chicken man as soon as lunch starts or can you wait until he works his way down the path? Do you prefer a lighter wood on your furniture to dark? And, with that being stated - that is about all that you have to decide. My opinion - save your cash, stay in St. James - there is NO difference between the two places of significant worth and it is rather dishonest of them to suggest that there is.
Next decision when deciding to stay here is if you want to be 'preferred' or not. There are a total of 4 buildings. For example if your room number is 1111, then you are in the first building (Wild Orchid, preferred) on the 1st floor, in the 11th room. If you are in 3237, then you are in the third building (St. James, regular) on the 2nd floor in the 37th room. Building 2 is Wild Orchid regular and 4 is St. James preferred. These are the perks for those who are in the preferred buildings:
-they get free wi-fi (this is the only awesome benefit that I found). Others have to pay ridiculous amounts to get onto the same spotty network.
-if you are on the first floor, you MIGHT have a room where you have access to being able to come out on your balcony & being able to wade in the water that will eventually lead to a pool.
-there is a tub on your back porch. It is not a jacuzzi, it has no jets.
-in the lobby, there are some bottles of alcohol, juice and hors d'oeuvres available for you to snack on.
-there is a longer list of items to order from the room service menu (but, you are going to wait for the room service just as long as anyone else, the food is highly unlikely to be fresh)
-you have access to the 'preferred' pool.
My verdict: save your money. this silly little caste system at a resort is complete nonsense. We were not preferred, but if you feel so moved to go into the buildings that have Usain Bolt bobbleheads on them, go right ahead, no one is really gonna say anything to you.

Restaurants
From the time that you arrive, you are told that the awesome thing about the restaurants is that no reservations are required. Well, that is true. They are not. BUT, if you plan to eat in them, then you might want to make a reservation. We decided on a Thursday that we wanted to go to the Japanese restaurant, we called midday to get a reservation and after having a ridiculous back and forth, discovered that we were not going to get a reservation at the hibachi grill until Monday night. On Friday, we planned to have all 30 of the folks in our group to go to dinner, so we made a reservation at one of the restaurants. When we arrived, we discovered that our table had been given away to another party (all the way, consistently being told 'no problem, we will take care of you'). Well, it took about 2 hours for us to be given a seat, our group was ompletely broken up and there was never an apology for the error. On Sunday night when many of the people in our group were trying to get in their last meal before Monday departure, there were 2 hour waits to get into one of the restaurants.

Desserts
This one has to have a category all its own. The desserts were consistently disgusting. Why bother to come up with such gross items? Can we not just get a few good recipes of how to combine milk,butter & sugar to make a presentable cake? Making something red does not make red velvet. Having something that is somewhat creamy is not cheesecake.

Employees
I found that the majority of the employees were nice, kind folks. I will not specifically call out any names to say that I appreciated their service or not. I think that it is lazy of the management to say that they will go onto Trip Advisor to see if they see the name of employees to determine if their 6 month contracts will be extended or not. I also found that it was ridiculous that none of the hotel management looked at all like the staff that was in place for the day to day operations. Not once did I see anyone who was not of obvious looking Jamaican heritage to serve a meal, drink or clean a room - but not one person who was on the table for a prominent display of upper level management looked like them.

Weddings
In helping my pal to plan her wedding, I was privy to much of the non-sense that she had to deal with. She had to pay for a day pass for her photographer to come onsite in order to photograph the wedding. The photographer was staying on-site at the resort. They nickled and dimed her for every possible category that they could. In the package, there was supposed to be someone to help to get her dressed, no one did. But, there were some parts of the package that she did not need, they would not bend on those offerings. The hors d'oeuvres were supposed to be passed during the cocktail hour, they were placed onto a cocktail table (no napkins) for the guests to get themselves on the sandy beach. I would never recommend this arrangement and the hotel staff seems to have no appreciation for the fact that a couple who has a wedding on their facilities has easily bought several thousands of dollars to the resort with their guests.

General Jamaican Annoyances
We had to go to the airport the day after we arrived. The standard shuttle to the airport is $10 per person. We knew how close the airport was, so we decided to just catch a cab over ourselves. I spoke with one of the the employees off the record and found that a local taxi would be no more than $5, she gave me some tips and we went about our way. There were some folks that we came into contact with who were trying to charge us as much as $40 for a one way trip. The folks who live in Jamaica can NOT afford to pay $40 for a one way trip to a place that is less than 5 miles away - STOP trying to take advantage of the foreigners simply because you feel like they do not have enough sense to shop for a better deal.
We decided to go to Margaritaville one night on the shuttle from the resort. Upon arrival, the prices were posted. If you are paying with Jamaican money, the entry fee is $500 Jamaican Dollars, the price in US is $10. WHAT conversion rates are you all using?
I was not impressed with the advantages that seemed to be the norm in taking advantage of the tourists.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank ShixB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coaldale, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviewed November 12, 2012

This was the best vacation I have ever been on in my life. Granted it was my honeymoon so it should be but I was absolutely amazed at the staff, food, cleanliness, and hospitality of the resort!!!! It was amazing how happy everyone was and it was impossible to have a bad day because of the staff. There were always workers out cleaning the property up, everyone says hello and makes you feel welcome. My husband and I actually shed a tear to come home it was that amazing, We have some great memories from there. The bell boys on St james side kicked royal butt!!! High five x10 for them as they are so fun and energetic and work really hard and have no problem with making your life easier!

Room Tip: we had a suite that overlooked the ocean, but after looking around the facility, i dont believe that...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Krissy Z
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

Property: Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Address: Lot A59, Freeport, Montego Bay, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets St. James Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 350
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Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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