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Reviewed October 28, 2017 via mobile

This review is half my fault half the resorts if that makes sense. My wife and I have travelled before and always booked higher end accomodations. This trip is like no other when we booked Secret St James and in addition we upgraded to preferred club. First will go over some of the positives

1. Fantastic room and view. One of the best since we started travelling

2. Friendliest staff- staff have been amazing and cant believe I am saything this tooo heavy on the booze lol

3. Seaside Grill- One of the best meals we have ever had on vacation. Tje cajun wedges were little pieces of heavon

Now for some of the not so great moments.

1. When I booked told them it was our anniversary and wifes birthday. I dont care about anything you have to offer unless you can supply towel animals. Its a quirk my wife has and they remembered everything except that even after I reminded them on check in and was reassured no problem

2. No turn down service. Call me picky but when we pay what we pay, told there was turn down and nothing yeah irks me

3. Preferred Club Lounge- dont get me wrong this is a beautiful space stocked with every booze you can think of and snacks. I am a tall man with a bit of gerth but I fit in a standard airline seat but i cant fit in the chairs in the lounge cause they are way to narrow. Waist is a 42 but the chairs are a 40.

All in all would I stay here again? Too early to tell. Will write more reviews of the restaurants and such through the week

Date of stay: October 2017
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
2  Thank 643patrickt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2017

St. James Secrets is tops for catering to Customer. No kids, loads of great couples & they take care of You. We had room problem & VP Customer Service solved it. Food is great, service is good.

Leo, Mr. Emtertainment, what can you say s he will make you hurt from laughing.

Date of stay: October 2017
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank Punisher45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2017

This was our first trip to Jamaica and we stayed in an Ocean Front room (not preferred) and friends of ours stayed in the room next door, so this request was honored. We arrived on a Thursday very tired from traveling all day but check in was easy and we were greeted with smiles and drinks... but this happens to be the day/ night when many weddings and private parties occur so we started out disappointed that we were unable to go to certain areas of the resort our first night. We ordered room service, and the food was so good we ordered it every night except one. (plus we were fascinated at the talent of the waiters able to carry large trays of so many plates of food on their head!) The rooms were very clean and beds comfortable, housekeeping kept our fridge stocked and towels plentiful and also went out of their way by placing towel sculptures and candy on our bed nightly. In fact, all employees were friendly and we chatted with almost everyone . I just read a review saying the bartenders seemed unhappy and depressed and I'm in shock, in fact we spent most of our time bellied up to the bar and pool by the Seaside Grill because of the staff and bartenders working there. I cant say enough about how welcome we felt and how entertaining the staff were. These bartenders worked their butts off keeping the flow of drinks and laughter continuous for every customer they came in contact with and I truly believe they love what they do and making people happy.... Marlando, Andre, Erika, Shekira and Leo are the bomb!!! I don't mean to make less of the others they are a an amazing team of staff, but I mentioned Leo Anderson last because you always have to save the best for last. Leo is the secret jewel in Jamaica just waiting for you to discover!! Leo went above and beyond to make our stay special in many ways. He kept our guys very happy with their favorite beverage choice for one thing. My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years and engaged for nearly 1 year with no hurry to rush into a legal marriage,so while in Jamaica on the spur of the moment (after a lot of drinks!) we thought it would be a beautiful place to have a commitment ceremony performed, however the resort does not perform them. We asked Leo if he would do it for us on the day before we left and he said "I'm going to do something very special for you, my friends" and he delivered!!! I was expecting it to be more of a "joke" than anything, however that wasn't the case. He took us out on the rocks in his tux and started off by saying a prayer for us that I will never forget and made it very meaningful for us as we exchanged our "hooked bracelets" bought on the resort. Only Leo's personality could pull off what he did for us that day and I will never forget the style, class and sense of humor in which he did it. It is obvious on the resort how well loved Leo is. We never once felt pressured to tip any staff and only wish we could have tipped them more as they definitely deserved it. We went off the resort with a staff member for about 3 hours to see some of the culture and enjoy some great jerk chicken at Scotchies and it was only at the nearby craft market I felt pressured and was not able to enjoy shopping or browsing. I can honestly say the gift shop prices on the resort were very reasonable in comparison, and the brothers who do the wood carvings on the resort had much nicer pieces for the same pricing. It was the first time any of us had ever snorkeled and it was beautifully amazing right there on the resort for free with great staff at the water sports as well. Did I mention how good all the food was? It definitely was, but I would skip the French restaurant (inside anyway) the décor was elegant and classy but a little too "stuffy" for our comfort. It may be a long time before we make it back to Jamaica but when we do it will definitely be because of the staff, they are after all the heart of any resort and without great staff it's only wood, stone and pretty architecture, plus Leo says he plans to get ordained to perform marriages so when and if we do decide to do the right thing, he's the one I want to do it!

Date of stay: October 2017
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank ybivens2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2017 via mobile

Let me preface this review by saying we are big fans of the Secrets brand and I have stayed at several of their resorts, some of them multiple times. This particular resort holds a very special place in my heart because I got married here 6 years ago.

Looking back I think I may have had too high of expectations based on all of the other reviews I read and my previous experience for my wedding.

We stayed in preferred again even though it was an extra $1000 because we liked the extra amenities and the private pool from our first visit.

When we arrived Chris Brown walked us and our bags down to preferred from the main entrance. He assisted us on first visit as well and he did an excellent job of checking in with us every time we saw him throughout our trip this time as well.

We were greeted with a cold rum punch and a cool towel and only waited a few mins before we were checked in. Prior to arrival I contacted the resort to see if I needed to bring my marriage license to validate our anniversary package and I was told that I did. When I handed it to the young woman at reception and told her that we got married at the resort she looked at me strangely and said oh I guess I can make a copy of this. I thought it was a strange reaction but it was just excited to be there so I brushed it off.

We then checked in with VIP services. They gave us an offer to sit in on their presentation and said the offer was good if we decided to do it but they didn't pressure us at all.

Our room was in a great location on the 3rd floor with a view of the ocean and the preferred pool. It was comfortable and there was a small basket of flowers and a bottle of rum from VIP services on the dresser and a cheese plate and a note on the table in the sitting room. It was a really nice welcome. Unfortunately the celebration for our anniversary ended there. I was pretty disappointed. The evening of our anniversary after we returned from dinner I was expecting some kind of acknowledgement of the day especially considering we got married at this resort but there wasn't even flowers or towel art on our bed at turndown.

We sat on our patio with a couple cocktails and some music and when my husband went to the lounge to get refills he decided to let the girls at reception know that they missed doing something for our anniversary. Their response was that it was too late to do anything now as we were already in our room.

We did our breakfast in bed the next day and still no acknowledgement. It just felt like room service not like an occasion like it did during our honeymoon.

We were there for 5 more days and they never did anything to rectify the situation. I was pretty bummed and felt even more so when I saw things being done for others every time I turned around.

Food -
The food overall was pretty good and we had excellent service at all of the restaurants. I can say for sure that Portofino was the best meal that I has on SSJ/SWO property if you don't count the jerk chicken cart.

We ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch most days and it was very good. There were plenty of options and they had great salad options at the lunch buffet which I really appreciated. We did try Seaside Grill for the Al-a-carte lunch and it was really good as well!

For dinner we ate all of the restaurants except Himitsu and Oceana. For the most part the meals were good except Bordeaux where my swordfish was so overcooked I couldn't get my fork through it. If we hadn't brought a good bottle of wine to celebrate our anniversary and they hadn't had creme brulee it would have been a complete bust. FYI - Even if creme brulee isn't on the menu ask for it. It wasn't on the menu when we were there but I asked anyway because it is my favorite and they had it.

Since we were in PC we had access to Breathless which was really nice on the evenings when it was raining so we didn't have to stay in or run in the rain to the other side of the resort. The food there was excellent! Their breakfast buffet was much smaller but everything fresh and tasted great. We dined at the rooftop restaurant altitude which was Indian and Sofrito a cuban fusion place which were both absolutely delicious! Out of all the dinners we had at both resorts Sofrito was hands down our favortite. The staff their was very welcoming as well.. we never felt like interlopers coming over from SSJ. The same guy waited on us at both restaurants at Breathless and brought us one of each dessert to share so we didn't have to decide which was a great way to end our meal.

I know I don't need to tell you that the best thing you will eat all week is the jerk chicken from the cart. It is my favorite thing I have ever had on a vacation. If you get the chance make sure to go to the cooking class on Monday and Friday at 11am. Chef Jerome taught us how to make jerk and this really good fish dish which I can't quite figure out how to replicate. They also gave us a little card with the recepie for jerk chicken which I have made a few times since and it is really good.

There is also a small beach grill where they make patties, chips and sandwiches which was very good and nice for a quick snack. Those chips are addictive.

Beach/Pool -
Like I said we stayed in PC because we really liked the quiet private pool/beach. We spent the majority of our time in this area and never really went over to the other pools. It was really nice and relaxing which is exactly what I want in a vacation. The staff at the closest beach bar and the girls that brought drinks around the pool and beach were great. They were very attentive and friendly. Within a day they knew what we were drinking and said it as soon as they saw me.
I was a little confused when they ran out of the vodka that I drink since it was the only thing i ever ordered and for some reason it took them 2 days to get it replaced. Not sure why it was an issue to get more but when I asked for it they told me they were out for the day both days.

Entertainment -
We didn't really join in on the fun much while we were there but we did participate in the cooking class like I mentioned before and the paella and sangria on the beach. Both were excellent. The staff that we did interact with were great and didn't push people that were relaxing to join in like at other resorts.

Overall our impression of the resort was good but the hiccups that we had with our anniversary really hurt my feelings. I know that there are so many people that come there for their weddings/honeymoons/anniversaries and they do so many weddings that they wouldn't remember us after 6 years but I just had higher expectations since we got married here. I thought it would be just as special to them as it was to us. Especially after our anniversary was celebrated so well at all the other resorts in the Secrets Family.

We checked out with the same person that checked us in which was also the person my Husband talked to about them missing our Anniversary. For the first time in 5 years of staying at Secrets properties twice a year they didn't have us fill out the exit survey. I asked if I was supposed to fill it out and she said oh well i guess you can if you want to but you don't need to.

Overall we did had a great time during our 9 days at this resort. We came back tanned and relaxed and full of great food and drink. The resort is showing wear but the atmosphere is still beautiful and you couldn't ask for a more amazing place to vacation.

Date of stay: September 2017
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank KMcGough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2017

This was our first time in Jamaica and we adored this resort! We had a garden view room and even though I am usually an ocean view person, I did not miss it one bit.

The rooms are big and beautiful with a comfy bed. The bathrooms are great although we could have used a tiny bit more counter space and did not like the lack of privacy with the toilet.

The pools were awesome, drinks flowed freely and the bartenders make sure you have what you need. Not enough alcohol in your drink? Just ask for more. Too much? Ask for less. They will make sure you are happy.

The beach and ocean was stunning. I liked the WO beach a tad better but it really didn't matter.

The food was good but not great. However, we could always find something yummy to eat. Skip desserts at the restaurants and have dessert at Coco Cafe. It is much better.

Yes, there are nitpicky things that I could complain about but I opted not to look for flaws on this vacation as we are prone to do. Instead, I enjoyed every aspect of this beautiful resort with some of the kindest people I have ever met. Thanks for a great stay!

Date of stay: October 2017
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
3  Thank DiB1212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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