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“Lovely, relaxing resort - definitely recommended”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Lovely, relaxing resort - definitely recommended”
Reviewed April 2, 2013 via mobile

This was my first experience of Secrets. We stayed 3 nights. Overall our experience was fantastic. We had a junior suite on the ground floor which was on the beach side, just a few steps away from both the beach and pool.

At lunch time it was great to see the jerk chicken cart come by, or go to get some patties from the nearby booth. There was also coconut and fruit carts that passed by - all very fresh and delicious. We took advantage of the free bars and the Caribbean cocktails on offer. Wine was included with meals at any of the restaurants. There was plenty of variety of food to choose from and we experienced no waiting at dinner as some other reviewers have reported. The breakfast buffet was amazing - something for everyone - my only complaint would be there was not enough Caribbean fruit.

Rooms were spotless and modern. Maid service very good.

The resort is well staffed and all staff we met were fantastic. Carlene (Italian restaurant) and Dwayne ( Bordeaux restaurant) were lovely.

There are lots of water sports on offer - kayaking, snorkelling, parasailing to name a few.

Evening entertainment was not great, in my opinion, but others seemed to enjoy it.

In my opinion, it is important to tip. Some people don't think it's necessary as its an all-inclusive resort but remember the staff won't be on high wages and a tip makes a difference.

Overall a great, relaxing place to stay.

  • Stayed April 2013
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Helpful?
7 Thank sazh999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New Jersey
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2013

Secrets is located on a beautiful piece of property compared to other hotels such as the HIlton and Ritz-Carlton.

Some of the staff who provided outstanding service were:
Relaine and Natalya at the front desk (although other front desk staff seemed paralyzed by simple requests).
Andrew and Allando who are simply wonderful bartenders.
Ezekial, Chris, Marlon and Hopeton who are part of one of the most welcoming bell staffs in the world.

The food is generally good. The buffet has been expanded to 3 nights which is a welcome change. Most hotels have a buffet every night. Secrets should get with the times and spend the extra money for this.

Rooms are clean although housekeeping should make sure the clocks are working and showing the right time. This small item is never overlooked at top hotels.
The in room drinks were not restocked regularly.
I didn't find the huge square bed pillows comfortable but maybe others do.

Overall Secrets does a good job but if they want to be in the elite group of hotels they need to fix a few flaws.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank callmps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2013

I just returned from this resort and be aware, our private information given at check in was breeched. Both at the resort and upon our return home we continued to receive phone calls from Jamaican phone numbers asking us for money. We contacted both our phone carrier who said the phone was not hacked, as it was never turned on while at the resort and left in the safe. Our travel agent advised that she had seen an news report that this was going on and that some guests were sending money to callers calling to beg for it. We signed into the resort in an old school manner with providing our personal information that was entered into a log book. Where that information went after that is a mystery. We were advised to continue to monitor our credit card that was provided as that may have been given out as well! As for the resort, here is the good, bad and ulgy.
Good-The view from each room was nice. We were given an fruit plate, champagne and a breakfast in bed for it being on our anniversary. Also, the coffee house was a nice touch.The beach was great and the pool loungers and rafts were a nice touch.It was nice to be at an adults only resort.
Bad-The food. It was small portions and not very tasty. In the mornings it was only a buffet, which everyone attends and was crazy with long lines.Even the jerk chicken was just ok...if you want better jerk, go to the RIU.
Ulgy-You have to dress up for dinner! After a long day at the hot beach, the last thing any man wants to do on vacation is dress in long pants-especially when all the restaurants DO NOT have air conditioning. We paid a premium to stay at this resort and to sit in the heat while trying to eat-you could at least require long shorts and no tee shirts as a dress code. We met 2 different guests at this resort that lost their luggage and were turned away from all meals and given room service as they did not have the proper clothes-that is horrible!!! Also, who from these past reviews thought the staff was friendly?? We met 1 or 2 half way helpful employees, but even if you tip greatly (as we did) you were given luke warm service at best. WOW could they use some hospitality training!
All in all, I would return to Jamacia, but not to this resort!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank guppy69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oneonta, New York, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 2, 2013

My wife and I chose Jamaica for our Honeymoon and chose Secrets because it was both all inclusive and adults only. We enjoyed eating at the different restaurants each night. The wait at the restaurants was long starting around 7pm. We don't like to wait like most people so we would go to dinner at 6:30 or 6:45 and be seated right away. We loved the staff. It didn't matter who they were or what their job was everyone was smiling and did more than we expected in most cases. The guest concierges Chris Rose and Oneil took care of us when we needed a ride to the airport. Marlon the Hibachi chef sang many songs and was very entertaining while preparing our dinner. There was also a waiter in the breakfast buffet restaurant who would sing to a different couple each Morning in his Cowboy hat. He was a crowd favorite. Guests ages ranged from young adult to seniors, but this was not at spring break type atmosphere which was important to us as it was our honeymoon. The fitness center is adequate, but one complaint that we had, as did every other runner we spoke to, was that there really wasn't a convenient place to run. We tried to run a perimeter, but we found ourselves back tracking because we were on a path that ended at a locked gate, or we jogged though tables and chairs around breakfast. We enjoyed the daily games that the staff had pool side even though I'm very competitive, the games are designed so everyone has a chance. We met some great people from across the globe. Our Spa day was amazing. We did hydrotherapy circuit and couples massage. It was well worth the money. We haven't priced many all inclusive resorts. We loved most everything about Secrets, but the price felt a bit high. I'm not sure if it was a case of "you get what you pay for" or "the market price for a resort in Jamaica." Either way we loved every bit. We didn't want to leave. If we make it back to Jamaica we would definitely return to Secrets St. James.

Room Tip: We chose not to upgrade to the "preferred club" but the people we spoke to had mixed feeli...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kevin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norman, Oklahoma
1 review
Reviewed April 2, 2013

Everything was absolutely amazing about this resort! From the minute you get out of the car at the resort until your final goodbyes everyone was over this world friendly! The staff always made you feel special and important! There was never a time we were not walking around the resort and a staff member did not say hello! Our room was beautiful and very clean. The grounds of the resort were just beautiful as well! This absolutely the place to go and relax and be pampered! There is also plenty going on to keep everyone busy and entertained! They have nightly events as well as a live band! The food was fantastic! We had the pleasure of meeting the head chef of the resort Jose Alias and he really wanted to know what we thought of the food and how his team was doing! Jose was always walking around checking on the guests and offering them the warmest hello and smile! His kitchen staff was just as friends as he was! All our food came out perfect and it was wonderful! Everything about this resort was fantastic! My husband and I will definitely be back!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank 443LauraG443
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moncton, Canada
Level Contributor
88 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We had a wonderful, relaxing vacation at the Secrets St. James. This resort was a short ride from the airport (15 mins) and check in went smoothly. The food was absolutely amazing! All evening restaurants were a-la-carte and they do not take reservations with the exception of the Japanese if you wished to sit at the grill while they cooked. There was a wait between 1- 1 1/2 hours each night; this wasn't a huge inconvenience as long as you didn't expect to be seated right away. Although this is advertised as an all-inclusive, they did try to get you to pay extra for several things. For example, they offer a wine list with dinner but there is a cost ($49/bottle of wine) or some restaurants would charge if you wanted certain items on the menu.

The entertainment for both the St. James and Wild Orchid was held at the same venue near the restaurants. This tended to be very busy as most guests were trying to find chairs. The bar that was located near the stage was over crowded and service was mediocre at best. The piano bars were indoors and didn't lend that "tropical feel" that you would expect in the Caribbean.

The beach although smaller was nice,but slightly rocky. Most guests saved chairs, but we never had a problem getting a chair. Unfortunately, some chairs were saved but never used all day. The grounds are beautiful and well taken care of.

The Preferred area is not policed; therefore, guests from other areas tend to use that beach area and pool. It is not worth the extra cost to stay in this area. Nor is it worth the extra to stay in the Wild Orchid section. The Wild Orchard is slightly closer to the restaurants and entertainment, but very loud.

There is no free wi-fi, but is available at $15 per day. We bought one day, but the connection was HORRIBLE!! We had to be on our patio to email, it wouldn't work inside the room. But if you go to the Preferred lobby you can connect to their free wi-fi network (this is included for Preferred guests).
,
Only tip if you feel someone has gone above and beyond for you. We found on several occasions we tipped generously, but it didn't improve the level of service. On several other resorts we've tipped the bartender/waitress and have had excellent service.

We did enjoy our vacation, but we would not return to this resort nor would we recommend it. It is not worth paying the extra as there are many resorts that are equal or better for a lower cost. If you are comfortable paying a little more, we would definitely recommend Sandals.

Room Tip: Get a room on the 3rd floor or higher to have the best view of the ocean
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Sahara18
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, May 16, 2013
Dear Valued Guest:

Your time taken to share your experience with us is greatly appreciated.

First and foremost, I must say we are happy to hear you had a wonderful and relaxing vacation here with us despite the few disappointments you encountered.

We are pleased to know that your check in at the front desk upon arrival went smoothly and the food was ‘absolutely amazing’. Much pride is taken in creating and maintaining a beautiful and clean environment for a comfortable vacation and it is satisfying to know that you were happy with the grounds and you found them beautiful and well taken care of.

Each restaurant has its own house wines and champagnes which is cost-free and is available to you; however we do have a wines list with a variety of other options which we offer to our guest for purchase. This list has options varying in cost and guests can choose according to their preference and budget.

We regret that your dining experience was not as expected and we must extend apology for this. In light of your experience we have since made the necessary changes to ensure that there is no re-occurrence of same, in a bid to achieve greater guest satisfaction and comfort.

Changes have been made in the preferred areas ensuring the security and value of the preferred club is maintained. In the past we have had guests complaints about non-preferred guests entering these preferred areas and as a result stricter rules have been implemented to make certain the exclusivity of the area is sustained.

Please be advised that Wi-Fi service is offered by an external provider and is at a cost to Non-Preferred Suites. The service is however complimentary for Preferred Club guests. From time to time issues arise but we would have appreciated it, if the problem was brought to our attention before your departure so that it could have been remedied. We do recommend this for all guests as it helps us to ensure that you have a good experience.

Your feedback is invaluable to us and we thank you for having taken the time to share this with us. As we continue to make improvements to several areas of our resort, it is our hope that you will consider giving us another opportunity to be of service to you. We remain committed to offering our guest the kind of excellent service that is in keeping with our standards and can assure you that if given the opportunity, we will change your initial perception.

Again, thanks for taking the time to write this review to share with us.

Warm Regards,
Christina Smith
eConcierge Assistant
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burbank, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

My wife and I went for our Honeymoon and it was great. We stayed at the Dreams Cancun resort, and had such a positive experience there that we decided to check out the Secrets in Jamaica (because they're the same chain).

They gave us an extremely discounted upgrade to our room at the door (which was awesome), the staff (in general) was extremely out-going and welcoming, and the resort itself was very well maintained, immaculate in cleanliness, and they added a bunch of small things that we didn't even know we were getting! Such as a "vendors" that go down the sidewalk just off the beach that offer things such as amazing Jerk chicken, Fresh cut fruit, or Coconuts that they cut up for you with a machete right in front of you. Just about the whole experience was great!

The only thing I criticize is the food at the restaurants. The food itself was very well cooked, and I thought was delicious... but they aren't lieing when they say they do everything slower in Jamaica. On a few occasions, it took us as long as NINETY minutes to get our food. I don't know what they're doing there but it takes way too long to get food out of the kitchen.

We had a few instances of rude waiters during lunch, which was rather unpleasant but these people aren't robots, and they have bad days like everyone else I'm sure. The worst, though, was the Japanese restaurant. The food was really lack luster (the sushi was AWFUL, which was a big surprise) and it took us forever to get our food.

Don't let this last bit deter you though, it really is a fantastic resort! We stayed 5 nights here and 5 nights at Sandals and hand to heart I swear it was a night and day difference in quality! The Sandals was awful compared to here! It even had the exact same service problems as the St. James, so that might even be a cultural difference more so than a kitchen problem.

Highly recommend!

Room Tip: If you can get a room on the upper floors, I recommend it. Keep an open mind to cheap upgrade pitch...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Scoobings
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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Also Known As:
Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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