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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed January 6, 2013

We had nevewr been to Jamaica before and wanted to go somewhere warm and the ocean temp to be warm also. We went dec 12-dec19. The weather was great, no rain. The ocean temp seemed to be 80 degrees. We also wanted a place with good snorkeling, and Secrets was a good place, and only 20mn. from airport. Three times a day you can go on a guided snorkeling tour right from Secrets or just jump in and go on your own. Secrets also has sailboats and kayaks to use no charge. My husband did take a 30mn. sailing lesson which was $10.00. The pools were nice and clean, had no problems with finding chairs. Poolside or beach, we mostly sat at the beach. Everyone on staff was great, helpful and fun. The rooms were also in great shape x2 a day.The resturants some good some OK. My favorite was Hirmutsu, both the menu and grill side is good went twice. Second favorite was Blue Mountain which is Jamacian food. For entertainment some concerts were outside which is great on a nice night. The house band is good, piano bar lively. Drinks good but the house wine could be better. Room choice we had booked oceanview and up graded to oceanfront 5th floor. So worth it, great view. We sat out on our balcony every evening and morning. It was $40.00 a night to upgrade to this room. We did do the bike tour which is free, but wanted to see more then the short ride we did. They toke us to Freeport which had 1 shop opened and felt pressured to buy things. Also stopped at a fruit stand and tried juices and different fruits which was ok but cost $7.00. If you dont want to shop or spend money bike trip not worth the time. The other excursion we did was the Dreamers snorkel 3hr trip. It was fun but is a party boat too. Maybe being older not into the party boat scene, but glad we went. I enjoyed this trip but will go to Negril next time.

Room Tip: Upper floors oceanfront we stayed 3542 St James
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank coolbabe1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,544 - 4,550 of 6,566 reviews

Reviewed January 6, 2013

We spent 2 weeks of glorious sunshine at Secrets St James from December 12th until December 26th and the resort is only approximately 20 minutes from Montego Bay airport. Perfect!

I need to begin my LONG review by saying a big thank you to specific staff that were consistent with us throughout our holiday and were always warm and welcoming. They are :-

“Rasta man” Stanley who gave us fruit along the beach from his fruit cart. We wanted mangoes that he told us was out of season, but then he happily went out of his way and got us some. He made us laugh daily and to us he was a real Jamaican, what you see is what you get and made us laugh at the Barefoot Grill where he is the manager. From the time we arrived to the time we left, he was always nice to us whenever we saw him.

Martina – she welcomed us at the front desk of the World Café restaurant for breakfast and for lunch most days. She was always nice, friendly, smiling and made us feel welcome.

Sherna – Also at the world café restaurant and again always made sure we were taken care of by her team and was always welcoming to us at breakfast and lunch. Both Martina and Sherna stood out for us for their excellent service they provided that made us feel right at home.

Joy (seaside grill area) - she always brought us our blended fruit punch by the pool the days we were there and made sure we were ok throughout the day.

Billy Love – We met Billy Love a few days before we left and he made us smile the minute we met him. We were videoing the hotel and were able to film him and asked him to speak to us in Jamaican patois and not the “fake” American accent. I love to hear the Jamaican patois and he was so funny. We went to mass Christmas morning on the resort and he was the minister there. It was an emotional and powerful service and a Christmas day we will never forget. Thank you Billy Love.

Kiki (one of the entertainment team) who had us in tears at the Christmas service with her singing and song choice and to the other ladies from the entertainment team we met at mass that morning who too were emotional and entertained us on the beach all day and then on the outside stage in the evening. They all work so hard, so thank you to them. Christmas day and evening was wonderful. A Christmas we will never forget. Loved it!


POSITIVES

The daily and evening Entertainment team were brilliant and very welcoming.

The beach toilets and hotel public toilet areas were always immaculate and always being cleaned by the friendly cleaning team.

The resort is fabulous, very comfortable, relaxing, clean, good entertainment, good food, nice pool areas.

The Room – very nice. The bed, the bed the bed! The best bed we have slept on and extremely comfortable. Loved it. The room was tidy and cleaned daily. The rooms have a lovely view of the sea. They were spacious and very relaxing.

The Pool – very nice with comfortable sun loungers. You had drinks brought to you if you felt lazy to move, which we were most days! They had restaurants by the pool too for lunch. You couldn’t go hungry or thirsty on this resort.

The Beach – was small but ok. We preferred to sit by the pool in the sun as the beach isn’t facing in the right direction to capture the sun when sitting facing the sea.

Food on the Beach - On the beach they have the “Barefoot Grill” which served tastee Jamaican patties ( the best) daily with fritters, cold drinks and beers from 12pm – 6pm. They also served burgers and hot dogs. Excellent and also had a nice vibe. Romain gave us jokes and he played good music!

The jerk chicken was good and we ate this a few times, but we preferred to have lunch in the world café restaurant. The jerk chicken carts served around 12pm daily along the beach and are a must. The fruit and coconut carts are also from the Barefoot Grill. Check out Stanley’s fruit cart and his work of art with fruit.

Restaurants - we mainly ate at the world café restaurant, but we loved the French restaurant. The food was delicious and the outdoor setting exquisite. We did have good food at breakfast and lunch, but being in Jamaica it would be nice to be able to have an authentic Jamaican cuisine in the evening, but this is not available at this hotel. There was a vast choice of food choices and several restaurants to choose from and some were excellent.


NEGATIVES

Reception – This was un-organised and the team unhelpful. We arrived and the concierge team took our luggage and we were told to check in and leave our luggage outside. We didn't think this was necessary and felt we needed to keep checking on our luggage as they were left unattended. It was a slow process and not enough of the reception team were checking in new arrivals. We read other reviews where they were offered an upgrade at check in, but this wasn’t offered to us, so there is a lack of consistency. On arrival, we would have liked a basic tour around the resort rather than having to find certain things ourselves. We enquired at the reception desk the first morning of our stay as to where the restaurants were and the receptionist just pointed and said go straight! It would have been helpful if she had said someone will show you or in fact give the right direction as going straight took us no where. In fact it takes you to the front gate! Also selling us tours on arrival was unnecessary. We also found the reception team not genuine as with us they wouldn’t sometimes acknowledge us, say hello or even smile, but with other guests they were very overly friendly and seemed somewhat false.

Blue Mountain restaurant – we didn’t enjoy the food. It’s supposed to be Jamaican a la carte, but the quality and the taste wasn’t the authentic Jamaican taste we are used to. We were disappointed we didn’t experience the real Jamaican cuisine in the evenings with real Jamaican food, considering we were in Jamaica and the French cuisine was far better!

Cats - If you don’t like cats , some of the restaurants (mainly the World Café and Mexican) have stray cats in the evenings, which were off putting, but we were moved inside the restaurant.

The gym – could do with some new equipment and more space. For the size of the hotel complex the gym is too small with old equipment and does not have a proper area to do stretching or floor exercises.

Wi-fi – this will cost an additional 25 US per hour!! This is an absolute rip off unless you are staying at the preferred club section of the resort where this is free, but for the cost to stay here this should be included.

Taxis - If you wanted to venture into Montego Bay town, the cost of the hotel taxis is expensive. They quoted 60 US just for a 15 minute car ride and they recommend you do not leave the resort or get your own local taxi. We did for 100 Jamaican dollars each or 400 Jamaican dollars (total) if you didn’t want to share your taxi with anyone !

To all the front desk staff at the restaurants, the waiters and waitresses, the cleaners, the entertainment team, the staff that clean our rooms daily making them clean and tidy, thank you for your hard work and contributing to the maintaining of the high standards this resort offers.

Overall we had a great time and would stay there again, but the hotel management team need to take on board the feedback provided by all reviews in order to make the improvements necessary for this resort to achieve the 5 star visitor experience.

Room Tip: All rooms good but higher floors have better views
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Richiebabes
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 reviewResponded January 9, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

As guest satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, we do appreciate that you have taken the time to detail your experience during your recent stay. We are happy to note that you were indeed satisfied with several elements of you stay, and appreciate the recognition given to team members who helped make your stay a better one.

As a team, we do take pride in our service delivery and overall look of our resort. We thank you for your acknowledgement of the many things that you did enjoy during your stay with us and are glad to have been given the opportunity to provide you with our Jamaican Secrets experience.

I would like to reassure you that Excellent customer service is our priority and in light of that we do wish to extend apologies for the fact that our front office staff did not extend to you, the warm welcome and help needed that is synonymous with our Secrets Unlimited-Luxury brand. We do regret that the quality of our food in our Blue Mountain restaurant did not meet your expectation. Your comments are indeed very valuable to us and our overall operation and have been forwarded to our Food & Beverage Director for review. As part of our ongoing process, please be assured that our team will be working to make the necessary improvements and implementation of changes in a bid to achieve greater guest satisfaction in all areas including the quality of meals provided. I am happy to advise that amidst our pending changes, we will be upgrading our fitness centre; your comments will be taken into consideration during this process.

With regard to Wi-Fi service, kindly note that this is provided by an independent company who have their own established rates. The daily rate for the service is and has been $15US for some time now. We do apologize that the incorrect information was given to you and hope that you were not inconvenienced by this in any way.

Our sincere gratitude to you once again for having taken the time to share your views and do wish for you and yours all the best for 2013!!!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Our family spent 9 nights at Secrets St. James to celebrate Christmas. Bernadette Dunn really took a lot of time put together an amazing itinerary for us. Our days were spent either relaxing on the beautiful beaches, shopping at Secrets Handcraft and Boutique shops, or touring Jamaica. Bernadette Dunn's hospitality and guidance choosing tours, restaurants and shopping helped provide us with one of the BEST vacations we have ever experienced. The drivers and guides she helped us find were safe and courteous. We got to see so much more and do so much more than we ever though possible because of her insight and help.

With Mrs. Dunn and the entire Secrets staff, we as a family have never been served better. Starting with Joseph and Jeremy helping us with our luggage and teaching us some of the local language.

All of the ladies in the lobby telling us "welcome home" and greeting us as we entered and exited the building, asking how our day was or what our plans were. We could tell they cared.

Kelmar, who works for Mrs. Dunn was so friendly and helpful! He always came out to greet us when he saw us and hugged us when we left. Karen helped me find the perfect swimsuit.

I wish I remembered the young man's name who brought our room service dinner one night. We were astonished when we opened the door and saw him standing there with the tray on his head! He ducked down to enter the room and kept walking without touching the tray with his hands. I asked if we could take his picture and he said, "yes. the camera likes me." We really enjoyed the food that night, especially the fries!

Room Tip: Second story and up provides a better view of the beach and sunset.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank JMetteer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

My boyfriend and I had an fantastic holiday here!
There was always loads going on, and all the staff that we came in contact with were polite, helpful, happy, and couldn't do enough to help and make our holiday there an amazing experience.
The views were breathtaking, the service was second to none, we can't fault anything about this holiday.
We had a private romantic dinner over looking the sea, with Darius as our waiter, he was brilliant - thank you Darius, that was a great way to finish our holiday.
There was Oraldo, who made himself known by his singing, every morning he would be singing at breakfast. Even serenading people. He was so happy, always made me smile at breakfast.
Everything was awesome about this holiday and i would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, lively, or relaxing holiday, it caters for all.
We can't wait to go back next year already :-)

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Sexybum980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

My wife and I visited for Christmas 2012. We both felt everything was very average. There just wasn't anything that stands out and makes Secrets a place I'd want to visit again. I know food is very subjective, but the best I had was the room service club sandwich. We read all the earlier reviews and really thought the food was going to be good. The service, as everyone seems to agree, was excellent. Both the pool and the beach were very congested. Every square inch has a lounger of some sort stacked next to another. Also, the loungers were very uncomfortable. The preferred club ones looked nicer though. Bars were very good. Top shelf booze. Beds were comfortable. Lots of included toiletries: big bottles of shampoo, body wash, sunscreen, etc. I guess it just didn't really meet our expectations. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, it's still Jamaica. But we won't return.

Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
3  Thank JoshG909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We had the most awesome vacation ever. Gorgeous hotel, clean and beautiful spacious rooms, breathtaking views, food and drinks abundantly, well kept grounds and most importantly the friendly and helpful staff. Marlene at the front desk was very polite and helpful. Thanks to her we had a terrific trip. Can't wait to go back!!!!!

Room Tip: ocean view
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Sharon W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We recently returned from our 2nd trip to Secrets St James Resort. The resort and staff are awesome and we plan to return again. One of the highlights of our trip was the last day at the pool with several SEC fans. The pool staff Xavier kept the refreshing beverages coming with a big smile. Others staff members that made a big impact on our stay are: Stanley, Shermain in housekeeping, Shaleene (St James Preferred Club), Shavonna (Jerk Chicken Wagon) and Vanessa on the entertainment staff. The entire staff was great and this resort is AWESOME.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Anthony H
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
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 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $393 - $1,048 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets St. James Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 350
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Also Known As:
Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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