Just returned from a week at the Secrets St James, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Visited the resort for my honeymoon. We stayed 1st to 8th June 2013.
As we were on honeymoon, we treated ourselves to a stay in a suite in the Prefered Club Section of the resort which, I must say, was fantastic.
First time visiting Jamaica, our previous holidays were to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, so we have experienced long haul, all inclusive resorts before. This was up there with the best!
After a ten hour flight (albeit, travelling premium class which really helped) we were still pretty exhausted and that 30 degree heat and himidity really hits you as soon as you get off the plane, we were glad to get to the resort.
I must just say, prepare yourslef for a long queue getting through customs in Jamaica, no air conditioning, loads of people clambering to get through and very few staff to cope. We took over an hour just to get our bags! And you thought the UK border agency had problems!
First arriving at the hotel, we were welcomed by the porter (bell-hop in American English), called Chris Brown. No, I'm not making that up, he even had a name badge to prove it. What a legend. Such a friendly, funny guy who perfectly sums up the Jamaican spirit and mood. Yeah Mon, Take It Easy! We did ask if Rhianna would be making an appearance but sadly she didn't.
Check in at the Preferred section was easy, no awkward time-share selling here. Friendly, informative and made all the more easier with a complimentary drink as we sat down.
We were taken to our room by Chris, a 'Honeymoon' banner attached to our door was a nice touch. As we stepped in to the perfectly air conditioned suite, the room looked fantastic. Eleganltly decorated, marble floors, his 'n' hers sinks, jacuzzi in the bathroom, large flat screen tv on the wall and even another hot tub out on the balcony. Great.
Another superb touch was the three, full bottles of spirits on the table, chocolates, fruit and chocolates. I've NEVER seen complimentary 1 litre bottles of branded alcohol left for you to enjoy. That's in addition to the fully stocked mini bar. Great start.
Staying in the preferred side, we were able to enjoy the private pool and restaurant which was lovely as it was WAY quieter than the two main pools. Perfect for a honeymoon couple.
Food was superb. Loads of restaurants to choose from. No reservations needed at any (unless you wanted to sit at the chefs table in Himitsu, which is an absolute MUST). Bordeaux is the most elegant restaurant and has a much tighter dress code but well worth the experience and the food is sublime there. Try the steak!
The world cafe is the main buffet style restaurant which has a couple of theme nights each week. If you like fish, go for the lobster night. I've never seen lobster that big before and you can eat as much as you like. Also checkout the surf n turf night too.
We also booked a romantic candle lit dinner on the beach which was amazing. A must. Perfect food, service and a setting I will never forget.
If you've done your research, you will have read about the jerk chicken cart and the fruit carts that come around the resort lunch time. The jerk chicken is fantastic. If you like it with a kick, have the sauce but if you can't take the heat, avoid, its got a real kick. A must try though.
Entertainment at night is actually pretty good, mostly taking place on the outdoor stage close to where the restaurants are. My only tip though is, if you want a decent seat, you do need to get there early as there isn't really enough seating after nine when everyone swamps the place. The acts that we did see were good though.
Pools - Preferred club private pool is quiet. The two main pools are busy and much more lively. Whatever floats your boat I guess.
Gym - I used the gym three times during the week and it is very well equipped for a hotel gym. Busy in the morning but empty all afternoon.
Spa - We took a couples massage and facial which were superbly done. The spa is very high spec and the staff there were fantastic. Worth a visit.
Drinks - Plenty of bars to choose from, all serving top shelf spirits, cocktails, wine by the glass, if you ask for it, chances are they stock it.
Trips - We didn't take any external trips so can't comment but we looked at the prices and expect to pay £50 or $100 per person for most of the big trips. Ouch!
Secret tips - Look out for the peacocks and the families of semi-wild cats. Highly entertaining.
Himitsu - Book at reception a chefs table. It's free but you must book. You will get to sit 'ring side' as your chef prepares your dinner. We had a really entertaining chef who put on one heck of a performance. Book at the start of your trip though as reservations full up FAST. It's the only way to properly experience Himitsu.
We travelled with First Choice out of Gatwick UK and had no hicups with the flight whatsoever.
Overall, we had a fantastic time. I loved the size of the resort too, not too big but not so large that you got lost. The buildings are also really low, no nasty high rise towers here.
The resort really does deserve its high Tripadvisor rating, ignore the rare negative comment, accept that the majority are telling the truth and book yourself a really great vacation.
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay