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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Hi, we are the Scioli family and we just left Secrets Saint James Montego Bay yesterday :(. We met the greatest staff I have ever met in my traveling experience. We made some wonderful friendships and were treated beautifully. It was beautiful to see how the staff and people of Jamaica treated one another as well. You have all left a wonderful impression on my husband, son and myself. We will be back one day with the rest of our family for sure! Thankyou for the trip of a lifetime, your professionalism and friendship. My son needed a Dr's appointment,...it was made...we wanted tickets for a show..we got them!!! :) Shout outs to Kamar, Vaneese, King Julian, Mickey Mouse, Inch, Chris Brown, Omar, Alvin, Michael Sterling, Yaval, Oraldo, Francine Nordia UVC and to the nice guy who went into town and bought tickets for us for the Western Consciousness show...So grateful to all of you ...ONE LOVE, the SCIOLI"S New Jersey xo

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank taras170
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,278 - 4,284 of 6,566 reviews

Reviewed April 20, 2013

Just returned from our third time at this resort. The resort keeps getting better.
The rooms all have fantastic views of the ocean. Food was great. What makes this resort so great is the fantastic service. Managers are all very visible and I think that makes the difference.
Our thanks to Emiilo Huhn for making our vacation better every year.We travel with a large group and did not have any problem being seated for dinner. The wait staff went out of their way for us.We stayed in the preferred club with butler service. Our butlers, Patrick, Petrona and Michael gave us everything we needed, even before we asked for it. Our group can't wait to start planning our next vacation to this over the top resort.

Room Tip: The preferred club is well worth the extra cost.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jeanne B
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 April 24, 2013

Dear Valued Guest:

It is a great feeling to know that you selected our resort for vacation yet another time and it was certainly our pleasure to host you. Words cannot truly express how grateful we are for the time you have spared to share your recent experience with us and others interested to visit our property. This is very valuable to us and I can assure you that we will remain committed to providing great service to all our guests.

Looking forward to welcoming you back Home!

Best Regards,
Christina Smith
eConcierge Assistant

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013

We just returned from another great vacation at Secrets St James ( april 6 - 13 ) We could not be happier that our group of 12 have been going to this property every year for the past 3 years. G.M Emilio Huhn and his staff run a great resort from the room accomodations, the restaurants to the outstanding service that we receive every time we go there. One thing that is for sure no matter how big your group is ( 200 people - 12 people or just a first time couple ) they make you feel like you are special and when it is time to go home you just want to cry. I want to give special thanks to Isabella, Patrick, Petronia, Micheal and Deidre ( with those beautiful eyes ) at the prefered club for making our stay a great one. Also to Simone at the pool along with the other girls at the beach who were always there to serve you. And I can"t forget Billy Love who when you arrive welcomes you home with a smile, a hug and a song.(way to go Billy ) I just can't say enough about this Resort. You get all this love and it is only 15 minutes from the Airport ( What is not to Love ) See you next year.

Room Tip: We stayed in the prefered club 3rd floor. Great view of ocean, close to Spa and Gym and has the best...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank trmeat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013

We stayed at Secrets St James for 6 days this past week. The service was very good and the attitudes of the staff was excellent. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to help you and interested in how your stay was going. The pools are very nice, swim up bar is great and the beach is nice too.

On the downside, the food is very average generally, which is common for most all inclusives Ive stayed at. I thought it would be different here, but not really. The habachi place has good food, and the buffet is also pretty good. The rest is ok, with small portions, although you can probably order as many entrees as you want. The jerk chicken guy is something to look forward to everyday, it is very tasty. The hamburgers are tasteless, dont waste your time on those though.

You will receive their sales pitch to go to the "exclusive invitation only" breakfast which is a sales pitch to a timeshare program they have. That was the most annoying part, we were pitched 3 times to go. You just have to be firm and let them know you arent interested, but it gets old especially when you are on vacation.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay and thought it was worth it. The weather and drinks were good which mattered the most.

Room Tip: Go higher up for a good view.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bashring2013
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 April 24, 2013

Dear Valued Guest:

As a valued guest of our resort we appreciate and thank you for taking the time to highlight the areas of your vacation which pleased you and those by which you were not fully satisfied. I am happy that you did enjoy some aspects of our food and beverage offerings but I am disappointed that everything was not up to your expectation. Our culinary department is usually considered exceptional and we are constantly working on improving the quality and taste. Your review has been forwarded to our food and beverage director and I can assure you that In light of your recent experience even more effort will be placed on ensuring that we strike excellence in this area.

Providing a complete experience of overall excellence to all guests is our priority and we do use all feedback to help us in our future plans. Thank you once again for sharing and I do hope that you will consider our resort for future vacations.

Best Regards,
Christina Smith
eConcierge Assistant

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2013

Before going to Secrets St. James I read a lot of negative and positive reviews. So I am writing this to clear everything up. This was my first trip to Jamaica and did not know what to expect, so we packed everything you could imagine because we did not want to get caught without something. Secrets is split into two resorts basically, there is the St. James side and the Wild Orchid side. My wife and I stayed in St. James preferred area at first we thought it was going to be a pain, but it turned out to be perfect. The room was excellent and stocked with a few bottles of booze, which we hardly touched because there was a full do it yourself-bar right outside our room.

All the good restaurants are on the Wild Orchid side of the resort, so if you don’t mind a stroll along the beach before and after dinner then the St. James is the perfect place. There a 8 different places to eat at, and each of them were excellent; The World Café, The Barefoot Grill, an Italian (Portofino), French (Bordeaux), Japanese (Himitsu), Mexican (El Patio), Seafood (Seaside Grill), and the Oceana (not sure what they served there). One thing the Secrets website fails to tell you is that there is a small dress code for dinner: shirts with sleeves, dress shorts are allowed; flip-flops and swimsuits are NOT permitted. The Bordeaux is the only restaurant that requires you to have long pants if you want to sit inside, but shorts are okay to sit outside. The place to eat breakfast is the World Café and this is the best place to eat breakfast, on the preferred side of the St. James you can eat breakfast, but it just isn’t that good. Not sure if they had the same on the preferred Wild Orchid side. Don’t forget to try the jerk chicken it is AMAZING, but do yourself a favor and get the dark meat (leg and Thighs) otherwise you they will chop up the breast and you will get lots of bones in your chicken it is still good and if you like it spicy put the sauce on it.

One thing to keep in mind even though the resort states that reservation are not required to eat dinner, I would highly recommend making reservations to eat dinner. Especially at the Himitsu restaurant if you want to sit at the table where the chef cooks in front of you. My wife and I winged it every night and did not make reservations, so we had to wait a couple of time, but usually not longer than 30-45 minutes.

Room service was a little disappointing, but it was still good to order that late night snack. I kept ordering the Beef patty and it was amazing each time, but my wife had ordered a chicken wrap and I think they forgot to put the chicken in the wrap. They always told us that it was going to be 45 minutes, but they were always there quicker than that. The Surf and Turf was excellent on every Friday night.

The St. James side is a little bit more laid back and tranquil, and the Wild Orchid is a little louder and more active. The Wild Orchid side has the Beach volleyball net, but the sailboats, kayaks, scuba, parasailing, and glass bottom boats are in the middle but more towards the St. James side. The following activities are complimentary to guests: snorkeling, kayaking, Windsurfing, and Sailing (if you have never sailed it will cost you $10.00 for someone to go with you, but if you are daring and want to try sailing without any knowledge do not get stuck out on the ocean because it will cost you $30.00 to be rescued, [no this did not happen to us]) also if you want there are lessons for windsurfing and sailing for a small cost.

There are activities every night, and sometimes you can be torn on which side of the resort you want to be on due to what is happening. The Piano bar is where we hung out quite a bit at night, but that is not the only place to hang out at night. They had barn fires on the beach, there is a place called “Desires” to do a little dancing, which is open from 9 pm until 2 am.

We had one problem with the bar staff and that was because the bar tender was more concerned with flirting with the guests rather than doing his job. I had to tell him I was going to talk to his boss and from that moment one he paid a lot of attention to everyone wanting a drink. We also feel that the all-inclusive cost is way too much. We do all-inclusive just about everywhere we vacation, but this is the first time we paid $225 per person per day. We also did notice that since we did not buy into the vacation club that he level of attention went down a little bit after our meeting with the vacation club. We even told them up front that we would not be buying into the vacation club, but we did it anyway just so they would comp our spa time.

One last thing, there are mosquitoes and my wife is a magnet for them. If you do not want them in your room do not leave your sliding glass door open, but what I had done was I brought a couple of citronella candles and a couple of packages of “Off” mosquitoes coils just in case I needed them. We never used them. The hotel will spray your room but instead of waiting for the hotel to do it, just go prepared even if you do not need to use them at least you have them. When we were there (April 7 – 14) the mosquitoes were not bad but towards the end of our trip the mosquitoes were starting to bite.

Overall, we had a blast and are looking forward to going back. A big shout out to Nordia at the front desk in the St. James preferred side and if Peaches (Francisco) and King with the entertainment staff are reading this we look forward to another Volleyball match with you. One other person Floyd the life guard was a world of information he got us up to speed on Jamaican life.

Room Tip: If you are looking for an ocean view do not stay on ground level in the St. James preferred side. In...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Luv2beonvacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2013

I am sure in writing this reveiw I will miss so much out....but everything about Secrets is fantastic...We have previously stayed at Secrets Silversands in Cancun, so had an idea what to expect from a Secrets resort, and certainly were not disappointed. We stayed in the Preferred Club, and were so glad, as its a much quieter area of the resort, further from the restaurants and bars, but we enjoyed the stroll...the check-in was smooth and quick, with lovely pleasant staff, and goergeously chirpy bell boy, the preferred pool was quiet with plenty of beds, unlimited towels, and plenty of shade, only downside, quite a few non preferred guests sneeked in, and it seemed to go unmonitered. The waitress at the pool was quick, efficient and delightful. The Preferred lounge was fully stocked with every beverage imaginable on a help yourself basis, and snacks were available all day, again just help yourself.
We also appreciated the free unlimited wifi.
There was a cheese platter and bottle of red wine in our room on arrival, lovely touch.
The room was fabulously spacious and fully equiped, (loved the proper full size hairdryer!!) the mini bar was restocked daily, there is a choice of spirits in the room, but we were never there long enough to drink them!!
The resort was fully booked when we arrived, so we sometimes had a little wait for a table at the al la carte restaurants, they provide you with an electronic buzzer, to let you know when your table is ready, so you can sit and enjoy a few drinks at the bar while you wait, so its no great hardship. We loved the Portofino and Bordeaux, but didnt have a bad meal the whole week we were there, they could however offer a better choice of house wines.
The entertainment was great for an all inclusive.
Great choice of bars, we loved the concept of a separate coffee bar, and went every evening for a "Secrets Coffee" absolutely delicious....it was amazing to get iced coffees and decent expressos, my husband even preferred the jamaican rum to the courvoisier!!
We loved the location,beautifull beaches, and a lovely walk around an estuary with beautiful inland views over the water.
We are not great joiners of the daytime entertainment, and found the St James pool noisy, but fun to visit for an hour or so, and chat at the swim up bar. However, we were there for Easter Sunday, and what a parade they put on, with "playboy easter bunnies" and chippendales and lots of games, beach buffet, marching band, it was great.
And must mention the barefoot grill, so many jamaican snacks including vegatable fritters, they were amazing...ooooo and at luchtime a man comes round with a bar b que cart with fresh jerk chicken, there is also a fresh fruit lady, and an adorable man serving fresh coconuts to drink.
We never felt tipping was expected, but the staff were so absolutely lovely, we tipped more than anywhere else we have ever been.
We were amazed that they sprayed the resort every night to keep the mosquitos at bay.
The resort was also spotlessly clean
You can make this resort as lively or as quiet as you want, we personally had a beautiful, relaxing, romantic holiday.
Just wish Secrets Resorts were in more countries, as we would always pick a Secrets Hotel.

Room Tip: The higher the better, if you like quiet, opt for Preferred.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Doddypoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2013

BEST part of this place is the SPA which is why I didn't give it ZERO stars. The spa is THE MOST spectacular spa I have ever visited. If you do nothing else, at least do the "circuit" (which is included on all spa services anyway).. get there at least 30 minutes to really enjoy the different water treatments: eucalyptus steam shower, ice bath, hydrotherapies, sauna, hot tub, foot pool, etc. My husband is still raving!

WORST part of this place is the behavior of the staff and management especially. Very distrustful, argumentative (my husband and I very quiet), condescending, unhelpful. The front desk persons are usually very upbeat and kind, yet pretty unhelpful still. We had several serious issues occur during our stay including a violent domestic disturbance next door with screaming and breaking glasses in the hallway/bedroom for >25 minutes and NOONE would get involved or even knock on the door after 2 phone calls when they said they would take care of it. We were very concerned that one of our drunk neighbors were going to end up putting the other in a hospital.

We were so excited to go here for our honeymoon. It looked perfect online and our travel agent reviewed it highly. We spent the extra money and got the Preferred Club Honeymoon Package (first mistake as all of the extra's were falsely/over-embellished in their online presentation).

Pro's and Con's listed below. 90% of which would be different if the staff were held to a higher standard/ properly trained / cared about customer service. This staff is incredibly rude, condescending, and they just don't try to practice good customer service. I don't know why, but the poolside staff and management act like you're an inconvenience, as if they think should be on vacation as well. The front desk staff are nice enough, but once again, wouldn't even answer some of our questions (i.e. we asked when the bus departs for the airport for our flight back and they replied "don't worry about it, just enjoy your vacation. Obviously, very unhelpful answer).

Pro's:
Adults-only
GORGEOUS SPA, POOLS, and ROOMS
Photographers will take pictures with YOUR camera if you tip well :)
Bike tour is definitely a really cool experience! Do it!
Outdoor movie is pretty fun because it's right by the coffee bar and pools tables so you don't have to sit down the whole time if you're not really into it.
Preferred Club Suites: beautiful rooms, very clean, modern, nightly turndown service,
private room service delivery, rose petals and candles w/ tub filled.
Multiple restaurants to choose from
Activities and "excursions" on-site (water activities, etc).
Bordeau is the best restaurant, and their traditional Jamaican restaurant is pretty good.
They are the only 2 I would even think about going to again.

Con's:
Preferred club "amenities & extra's" are severely lacking: horrible wi-fi, sometimes private room service doesn't even show up (5 out of 6 times it showed up.. after almost an hour), majority of wait staff treat guests as an inconvenience (the waitstaff would only come so far down the beach to check if the preferred guests wanted their included drinks and wouldn't come down to our umbrella literally 4 people over), our candlelit dinner in the gazebo could not take place in the gazebo even when requested 6 days ahead of time, no petit fours at turndown service as offered (which would have been nice because the foods and desserts at the restaurants are severely lacking). When we arrived at 3pm we could not check in (we weren't warned ahead of time) because someone had not yet checked out of our room (check out is noon and they hadn't started to follow-up and ensure our room was ready... note this was our honeymoon... pretty bad start after being on a plane and sticky bus for a long time and wanting to change and freshen up before exploring the resort) and we were told to go swim until our room was ready (with our luggage and no swimsuit?), so we went to the private preferred club lounge which was an additional amenity provided with food/snacks/desserts/drinks all day long (but there were tons of flies all over the food)... so that was a no-go. The activities personnel on-site are locals that are not employed by the resort and they are not friendly at all. The ones that take you snorkeling are okay but some are flat out rude and will yell on their cell phones the entire time and sound straight up angry all the time (note you pay extra for these guided water activities). After coming back from our $5500+ honeymoon we found the same trip on Groupon for $1600 (yikes)... maybe people have already figured out this place isn't all it's cracked up to be. When legitimately serious issues occurred, management actually disagreed with us (without having any foreknowledge themselves) and did not even apologize (we couldn't wait to get back to America where things are handled appropriately) even after the details were confirmed.

TIPS:
1. Bring lots of sunscreen (EXPENSIVE there) and bring your own BENADRYL! I know it sounds crazy but the bugs down there are awful if you're their type (I was eaten alive and my husband was fine) and Benadryl is prescription-only in Jamaica (bummer).

2. Don't have high expectations based on what you see online, and you'll likely be fine.

3. Bring snacks? (the food available is all pre-fab and pretty yucky-tasting and the American snacks are crazy expensive).

4. Everyone wants additional tips so we fortunately we had been forewarned and had $100 in 1's. We used all but $7.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank ChesapeakeBays
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 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 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $398 - $1,053 (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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