We had an amazing honeymoon at Secrets St. James. We traveled June 6-13, and stayed in a Junior Suite with Ocean View in the Preferred Club. I'll try to break it down the best I can.
Service: Service was great. Check in took about 10 minutes, and that was only because we forgot our confirmation at home and had to use the public computer to print it out again. The staff is so friendly and helpful. There was never any waiting for a drink at the bar - it probably helped that the resort was only at about 50% capacity. The only places that need some improvement are the restaurants, especially at peak dinner times. We had to wait for a table at Bordeaux one night, and other times had rather slow service in the dining room. As long as they kept the wine flowing (they did), we were ok with that, though.
Room: I love love loved our room. The bed was huge and comfortable, with perfectly fluffed pillows. The jacuzzi tub (big enough for two) was perfectly situated. I know some people have complained about the room set up, but we thought the open floor plan was perfect. We could recline in the jacuzzi tub and watch a movie. There is a door that you CAN'T see through between the room and the toilet, and you can't see into the shower. Also, we are planning on installing a shower exactly like this one in our house (seriously, this is my dream shower). There was no evidence of any sort of leaking or water damage in our room (as previous posters have complained about), nor did we have trouble with the phone or Wi-Fi.
Food: I think my new husband and I both gained about 10 lbs at Secrets. Bordeaux is really delicious; we went twice. I had the stuffed chicken, and he had the steak the first night, and the lamb later in the week. All were delicious. The bouillabaisse was also incredible. The only soup that was more delicious was the Pumpkin Soup at Blue Mountain. I wanted to bottle it up and take it home. The only mediocre meal we had was at El Patio, the "Mexican" restaurant. I had a seafood burrito that was okay, but my husband's "Mexican Shrimp" was yuck. Definitely get the mushroom appetizer at Portofino, and make a reservation for the hibatchi table at Himitsu (you get to try everything on the menu). The World Cafe buffet is wonderful for both breakfast and lunch, but make sure to head to Seafood Grill or Oceana a couple of days for lunch - some days they offer fresh snow crab claws on their salad bar! And room service is 24 hours, and quite tasty (the french fries are amazing after a long day and night). We definitely did not go hungry!
Grounds: The resort is lovely. Not as lush as I would like, but that's to be expected as it's new. As previous posters have mentioned, there is some evidence of a rush to open on time - some of the tile looks hurriedly put up, with spackle everywhere, some of the painting looks shoddy. But, overall, everything was nice. I actually enjoyed the open-air restaurants. The pools are great - since we were Preferred Club guests, we hung out at the PC pool in the mornings, but usually went over the the busier St. James pool with the swim-up bar in the afternoons. There's also a basketball net in that pool, leading to some entertaining games with other guests. We never once had to wait for a chair at either pool, or had trouble getting to the swim up Bar Manatee. While there were enough other guests to chat with, there were few enough that we never felt crowded. It was perfect.
Honeymoon Package: We got the honeymoon package. Unfortunately, we procrastinated in scheduling our "Romantic Beachside Dinner," and they were booked once we tried. Instead, they offered a second Champagne Breakfast. The Champagne Breakfast was great! You schedule it a day or two in advance for the time you want, and can order whatever you want off the room service menu. We ordered a little of everything - fruit, cereals, pancakes (delicious!), eggs, bacon. The tray was massive! They included different juices and a bottle of champagne. They brought it right to the bedside, so we could literally eat breakfast in bed. No problems redeeming our spa package.
Spa: GO TO THE SPA! It is so nice. We had the Couples Massage and Couples Facial (both included in our Honeymoon Package). So relaxing. After your treatment, make sure to take advantage of the sauna, steam room, and hot tub. Even those extra amenities were quiet - only a couple of other people were there.
Cleanliness: They cleaned our room daily. One day we asked housekeeping to come back as we were getting ready to go to the pool when they knocked. When we returned to prepare for our spa appointment, the room had not yet been cleaned. I called the Concierge and asked if they could come while we were at the spa, and gave our appointment times. By the time we can back, the room was clean. No problems there.
Nightlife: We went to bed early about half the time, and went out the other half. The Piano Bar offers near nightly sing-alongs, which are fun! The song list is a bit limited, but it was still a blast. One night we watched a Cirque du Soleil-style show, put on by the Secrets entertainers - they are amazing! The Secrets in-house band is great, and they also play nearly every day. We also went dancing at Desires Music Lounge, which was a little small, but we had a blast! There is definitely something for everyone - the lobby bars are quiet and open late, perfect for a relaxed cocktail. Or you can dance and sing the night away.
Activities: We only participated in the non-motorized activities included in the package. We went kayaking almost every day - SO. MUCH. FUN. One of the Secrets photographers caught some great pictures of us out on the water. Don't miss the Hobie Cat (sailing) rides! We got a great view of the island, and had a great time hopping the waves. They also offer 2 guided snorkeling trips per day.
Preferred Club: Is it worth it? Yes and No. I am really happy we were PC. The PC lounge was great, with all top shelf liquors (including Grey Goose, Johnny Walker, and Maker's Mark), and an irresistible buffet table that had desserts, cold cuts, veggies, and a hot option or two (like fish sticks, nachos, etc) so we didn't have to go all the way to the restaurants if we didn't want to. (NOTE: The first few days they did ask for our names/room number several times to verify we were PC guests, so they are trying to crack down on non-PC taking advantage of these amenities). The PC staff offered even better service than the rest of the resort, if that's even possible. We got free Wi-Fi in our room (non-PC has to pay for it). We were able to walk right out of our room, and into the PC pool. We were able to get a daily paper delivered to our door. So definite perks. However, I suppose it depends on how much extra it is - someone mentioned that it's like an extra $50-100/day now, which I'm not sure would be worth it (we had booked before the grand opening, and got a killer deal). I
Honestly, my only complaint about Secrets St. James and Wild Orchid is the bugs. I had not been to Jamaica before, so I'm not sure if there are mosquitoes elsewhere, but the resort is near the lagoon and has quite a mosquito problem. They do a non-toxic spray of some sort daily, but I still had quite a few bites. If you're going soon, remember to pack some bug repellent. My husband is already planning on returning next year, and taking some other couples with us next time!
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay