I stayed on the St. James side Jan. 25th to Feb. 1st - (regular) not Preferred. I traveled with a girlfriend & guy friend - so I roomed with my gal pal and our male counter-part was in his own room. I only mention this because for the first time ever I noticed a difference of service. I normally travel with my husband, or all girlfriends, read on for details. Overall I liked Secrets St. James/Wild Orchid very much (we had some pretty fabulous weather), and it is a beautiful location. Here's some tips and observations. Tipping is openly acceptable and appreciated (I know it's All Inclusive) but I just believe in tipping. One of our gang said tipping was not allowed or frowned on at Sandals Jamaica and that they could lose their job for accepting tips. That is not the case here, in fact it's customary and I believe the workers look for the tips. Not a problem for me, but some people don't like that. The food: I thought the food was pretty good for A/I although we did experience 1 poor meal at El Patio (the beef fajitas), but the salad and soup was great. So, I have to say, it's not the best I've had, but pretty darn good. The Room Numbers: We stayed in Room 3324, this is confusing at 1st but really easy: It's the third building, the third floor & Room 24. So the first number is the building, then the floor, then the room. We had a fabulous view. I prefer going up as opposed to ground level, so if you like a view, go for the 3rd or 4th floor. I walked over to the Preferred side and I have to say, they had these really cool pool sun shade things you could lay out in and their pool looked very nice, and it was very quiet over there, you also get a tub on your patio and a place where they serve snacks (not sure at what time of day), so if you can afford it, you may want to upgrade. For me I was perfectly fine with the regular side. The Piano Bar: All the fun stuff happens on the Wild Orchid side, the restaurants and the piano bar and entertainment. The Piano Bar was a blast and when we weren't singing around the piano, they had live small music acts outside on a small stage area. They also have a disco type bar and had karaoke 2 nights we were there - it was fun. Kayaks & Sailing: You just have to go to the water sport office, sign a release, they give you a ticket & you go down by the guys by the boats/kayaks. There are shoals or rock, so just use caution, it's not that deep until you get out a ways. That was fun & good exercise (kayaks). My 2 favorite staff members were Richard at the swim-up bar and Erica (pool waitress), they were fun, friendly and did a great job. What didn't I like: No WIFI without a fee, the maid service was not very good, but we did have 3 days that it was great once a younger gal got on our floor, prior to that, it was poor and we tipped. But our mini-bar person was fantastic, we had tons of bottled water, which is good after being in the sun all day. We just left a note as to what we wanted and tipped and there it was. We didn't get turn down service until our 3rd night after I complained. Frankly I don't care about someone turning down my bed, I just like fresh towels and they only gave us enough for 1 shower each a day & then we were out of towels. Our friend who stayed on the 4th floor had turn down service every night, towel art, fresh towels a bottle of wine with cheese his first night (we got fruit), so I guess I got my nose out of joint because he got much better service. But heck, we came to Jamaica to enjoy the outside and that we certainly did. One other peeve, the alcohol did not seem very strong. Did you know Red Stripe Light is only 3.6%, so if you want a little buzz go for the regular Red Stripe. I understand they don't want a bunch of drunks drowning in the pool or acting like imbeciles so the booze is not the strongest. You can ask for call brands by the piano bar or lobby bars. We still had some great drinks and met great people and just hung out and relaxed and read books. The grounds are clean and beautiful, it's a nice place. Would I return? Maybe - there's so many other places I'd like to experience. One thing I noticed that stood out (not with Richard or Erica) but with some of the lobby staff and a few of the wait staff, they seem to defer to men more and ignore women. I hate to say this but it was the women employees I noticed this with (not the men - they were more outgoing and friendly). I've never experienced this before, perhaps its a cultural thing, and it wasn't horrible, just odd. Overall, we had a very good time with some minor glitches.
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay