Transfers to and from Secrets from Montego Bay Airport.
There is a long walk from the arrival gates to the Immigration section, so be prepared for that. Once past Immigration and Customs it is pretty quick to get to the buses/taxis. If you're traveling on a bus, make sure you pick up your bus voucher at the JBL desk. Once the bus departed it only took about 15 mins to get to the Secrets main gate.
Arrival at Secrets
There are two security points/gates coming onto the property, which assures you the property is well supervised and only staff and guests are on the property.
The concierge staff will unload and look after your bags and direct you through the doors to the reception lobby. The lobby is very nice, but unlike the lobby you see at most hotels. Instead of a reception counter, they have several nice business desks. We were welcomed there and seated before a staff member. At first I felt we were about to get a sales pitch rather than a check-in, but thankfully it was a very relaxing check-in.
They offer you beverages, and a light snack, and some cold hand towels to wipe your face and cool off. Very nice greeting.
We didn't get exactly the room we were hoping for, but we did get a high floor as requested, with a very nice ocean-view (more on the rooms later). We got our room cardkeys, and went up to our room. I was anticipating the concierge staff would have already brought our bags up, but we had to wait. The room was fine, but we couldn't initially get into the safe. We had problems getting this resolved, and eventually had security replace a battery in the safe. Took about an hour in all. The staff were apologetic for the wait, but the wait was annoying after a long trip.
1) If your room is ready, you may wish to take your bags to the room yourself, rather than waiting for the concierge staff. I find that once I am at a resort, I want to lock my valuables and get changed and down to the pool/beach or explore. Waiting a half hour or an hour for your bags to be brought to the room is a waste.
2) Unless you are at the preferred swim-out ground floor rooms, ask for a high floor (preferably the 4th or 5th floor).
* All the rooms have ocean views, but unless you are on the 4th or 5th floors, there is no guarantee your view won't be obstructed by another structure on the property or a palm tree. We did not go with the "preferred" accommodations, so we were in the main Wild Orchid Suites building #2.
* The room was very nice, clean and quite modern. It had all the amenities needed. The king-size bed was very comfortable. The pillow top cushion on the bed might be a bit soft for some, but we found the bed to be quite comfortable.
* The layout of the bathroom is more of an open concept. I suppose this could become a privacy issue if you were travelling with a friend/relative, rather than a spouse/partner. We especially like the shower with its rainfall-like shower head in the ceiling. The shower has a switchable hand shower attachment, so it's easy to have the shower spray directed wherever you want.
* Large flat-screen TV had lots of satellite channels. All the major networks plus a few sports channels and even some channels from Canada which was nice.
* Balconies are a decent size, and have a handy pull-out rack for hanging wet clothes. Note A/C will shut off it the balcony door is left open.
* Room electricity will shut-off automatically if there is no movement in the room after a period of time. We never found this to be an issue, but others felt it caused some concern for charging batteries/phones etc.
* Bar fridge is not very cold, so be prepared to put drinks on ice if want to make sure they are cold. We didn't use much from the fridge. They will refill it, but you are best to leave a note as to what you want added/replenished.
1) Get a room on an upper floor, preferably 4th or 5th floor.
2) Leave a note to staff about what you want added/replenished in the bar fridge.
3) Not sure the "preferred" is worth the extra cost for what you get.
* The World Cafe is very good for breakfast and lunch. The sitting area expands, using seating from the El Patio restaurant, and the Blue Mountain restaurant. The buffet can be busy, but we never had to wait in any lines. There was lots of different food and it was hot, and tasty. On a couple nights the Cafe has special features such as Friday's Surf & Turf and Tuesday there was a rib night.
* The Jerk chicken carts roam on the walkway between the beach and the pool. The chicken is good, but it is spicy, so watch out if you don't care for spicy food.
* The restaurants each have a nice decor, and try to be elegant. The food is generally good, though I would say it is not "5-star" quality. The presentation is very nice, and the selection and quality is generally good. If you're expecting "gourmet", it falls a bit short.
* We preferred Portofino (the Italian Restuarant). Second choice is Bordeaux (the French restaurant). We dined at the Himitsu (Asian restaurant) twice, each time at a Teppanyaki table. The first time we had a very boring chef, who sang a bit but was otherwise dull. The food was good, but it might as well been cooked in another room as watching it being prepared was a disappointment. The second time we went we had a different chef (Marlon) and he was very entertaining. He had flair, spun his utensils, and sang lots of different songs as he cooked.
* We found the house wine to be reasonably good and thus no need to pay extra and order off the wine list. I suppose if you are really a connoisseur of fine wine, you may find the house wine unsatisfactory. We were pleased with the house wine.
1) Don't miss the Surf & Turf buffet at the World Cafe on Fridays. The lobster was very good!
2) Book ahead for the Teppanyaki table, but be forewarned that some of the chefs may not be as experienced/entertaining as you might hope.
* We found the staff to be very friendly and very service-oriented. We've stayed in Jamaica many times, and the staff at Secrets were the best we've seen in Jamaica. They always made a conscientious effort to provide warm greetings and make sure you have everything you need. They were all very good. Special kudos to Harry at the pool bar. That guy makes an awesome Pina Colada!
* A few of the staff can be quite soft-spoken. That combined with their accent can make some of them a bit difficult to hear at times. If you ask politely they will try to speak a bit louder.
* The pools were nice, clean and very refreshing. The main pool seems cold at first, but after you adjust it is very refreshing. They have lots of floating mattresses which are nice. Towels were always available and they are quite big.
* Some people would reserved lounge chairs by the pool by placing a book or towel on the lounge chair. We usually could find a spot, so it is not essential to reserve.
* The swim-up bar has its own pool. It seemed a couple degrees warmer, probably cause it got more sun and was a smaller pool. I wish the two pools connected, because you had to leave one pool to get a drink at the other. Not sure why they don't provide a way to swim between the two pools.
1) Reserve a lounge chair early n the morning (before 8:30), if you have a preferred location at the pool.
2) Check the lounge chair carefully. Some have broken hinges and need to be repaired.
They have lots of beach area, with plenty of lounge chairs and shade huts. The beach is not a fine sand, and in spots can be a bit gritty to the bottoms of bare feet. It was not enough to bother us, but I know some people who were hoping for finer sand for walking.
They have kayaks and sailboats available. The kayaks are free to use, but the sailboats have to be rented.
For snorkeling, the staff will guide you out to a reef area in front of the the resort. The reef is not terribly colorful, but it there is coral and some small fish. For novice snorkelers it is ideal, but for more experienced people they will be a bit disappointed.
* The steel drum band was quite good though they only performed for an hour. They are very talented, and perform a lot of recent pop music. If you're expecting a more traditional steel band playing more cultural music, you'll be disappointed.
* The house band and other entertainers they had were good, but nothing uniquely special. They hardly used the "Showtime" theatre while we were at the resort.
* Entertainment usually ends at 10:30pm, except for Desires Lounge/Disco. Thus noise should not be a problem after 10:30.
* The resort put on a SuperBowl party and had three large projection screens set up on the beack in front of the barefoot grill. They sold some special VIP seats, that were special comfy chairs, and souvenirs etc, but we opted out for the VIP seats. They had a nice buffet set up for the SuperBowl party, along with finger food, a bar, and two huge cakes. The only problem is they failed to advertize they were having this buffet for the SuperBowl. We ended up going to a restaurant to eat, and missing the first quarter of the game. They had advertize the party well, but failed to mention they were having all this food available.
We did a couple of excursions (Ziplining, and the Dreamer Catamaran cruise). Both were fun, though the cruise was a bit more of a party boat with LOTS of drinking.
1) You can book excursion in the lobby, or at the tour office (2 doors over from the CoCo Cafe). If you book online you can save money as both places at the resort charge a premium on the regular price of the tours.
Secrets is a beautiful resort, with excellent accommodations and excellent staff. That part of the resort is 5-star in my opinion. The food and entertainment is very good, though certainly not 5-star yet. Overall Secrets is 4.5 star resort.
Sidenote: We overheard numerous guests at the resort say they much preferred Secrets over Sandals. We have never stayed at Sandals, but have stayed at Couples. The Secrets resort is nicer than Couples, though the food and entertainment at Couples I would say is superior (though not by a huge margin).
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- Also Known As:
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