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“Now we are SPOILED!”

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Sandals Royal Plantation
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver
Level 6 Contributor
60 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Now we are SPOILED!”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

It is hard for me to imagine going to another resort that I will enjoy as much! I echo all the accolades already expressed. At first, I thought it might be a little too quiet, but by the end I didn’t feel that way at all. What makes this resort truly special are the people. The staff's friendly, witty, encouraging banter sets a magical tone that is contagious, and creates a family feeling that penetrates your interactions with everyone – guests and staff alike. That takes a special kind of leadership!

Every employee we met was superb! Far too many to mention, but a special call out to those we came into contact most often – our butlers Donard and Fiona were attentive without smothering, Chase, Sean, Akein, Danielo and William all made our stay special. The talented team of Oshane (our Irish brother from a different mother) and Jason provided great entertainment. The musical talent of some of the musicians was among the best we’ve seen anywhere.

Our tips:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for anything.
- Reserve your beach chairs. I didn’t have the nerve to ask my butler to do this at some ungodly hour, so one morning I went out at 6:30 a.m. and 6 loungers were already being held with personal items.
- Get to know the staff. We made a point of regularly sitting at the beach bar and in the pub as the interaction with the bartenders was so great…it was a highlight of the trip.
- If you like scuba diving, Mouse and his crew are great. The best dive is the shipwreck as it also involves swimming through rock caverns.
- Take advantage of the spa….treatments were wonderful!

Our suggestion:
- We loved the piano bar, and would have liked to have the DJ one more time.

Some history:
Found the following history from the internet quite interesting. Enjoy!
“Throughout the years, this resort has always been a magnet for the rich, famous, privileged, powerful, aristocratic and worthy, such as various members of the British Royal Family, the Earl of Mansfield and Mansfield, Sir Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, Pierre Trudeau, Prince Ernst of Hanover (the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco), the younger brother of the Maharajah of Jaipur, Mr. & Mrs. Stanhope Joel, of the South African diamond dynasty, and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr.

Artists, art patrons and art lovers have always found a home at Royal Plantation, where, to this day, fine art weekends with world-renowned local artists occur monthly and exquisite, original paintings line the walls. The tradition began in the 1950’s when English playwright, Noel Coward, would often bring guests here to dine from his nearby home, Firefly, on the inn’s gourmet cuisine. And popular author, Ian Fleming, would take breaks from writing his James Bond novels and come here from his house, Goldeneye, to enjoy the amiable company and gourmet fare. Richmond Barthe, the renowned American sculptor, frequently stayed here as well.

In the 21st Century Royal Plantation’s reputation for excellence and opulence has been resuscitated and rejuvenated by its current owner, the internationally renowned hotelier and entrepreneur, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who purchased the inn in 2000 and rapidly restored it to its former glory. A native of Ocho Rios, who spent his formative years in this very town, Stewart spent his childhood dreaming of owning this sublimely sophisticated resort—today his wishes have been fulfilled beyond even his wildest expectations.”

Room Tip: All rooms with french sliders are wonderful. We didn't feel the need to upgrade.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Pantix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Delaware
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2013

When we first arrived I was actually upset at the size of the property. My husband and I had stayed next door at the Grande Riviera and the possibilities were limitless there because the resort was huge but it was very noisy and had more of a party atmosphere than we were looking for in terms of our anniversary trip this year. So needless to say I thought we would be incredibly bored at the Royal Plantation. I couldn't have been any more incorrect. We found the size of the hotel to be perfect for us! And it was great for a couple looking to relax for a week and escape from our very busy lives.

The Terrace offers a different menu 3 nights a week and listen to me people: Don't miss Italian night! You could fill up at the Antipasta bar alone and there is still soup and an entree to be had. The french restaurant was delicious and the Grill down by the beach was also very good for dinner so be sure to head down there at least once.

I need to emphasize how fantastic the staff is at this resort. As the manager said, there is never the word 'no' here. If you want it, they'll figure out a way to accomodate you. The service in the restaurants is top notch, the servers know not to reach in front of you and they never rush you to get through your meal. It was so refreshing, American restaurant owners could take some lessons from the service at the Royal Plantation.

Our butlers were friendly and helpful but didn't hover us which we liked. We noticed some people running their butlers ragged but we liked that we only saw ours 2 or 3 times a day.

The spa was very nice, I had a massage and a body wrap and over a week later my skin is still soft!

I would agree with others that have said there is an older crowd at the Royal Plantation but my husband and I are in our 30's and we never felt we were out of place. We actually went to bed earlier than some of the couples twice our age. :)

Remember also, you can dine at any of the restaurants next door at the Grande Riviera so if you've been there before and you're dying to get back to Kimono's or Kelly's, just let your butler know and they'll drive you over and pick you up.

Oh, and I have to compliment the water sports staff at the Royal Plantation also! They were all SO NICE! They were helpful and sweet.

If you're looking to party all day and night, I would stay at the Grande Riviera. If you're looking for a relaxing vacation where you don't have to duke it out in the morning for a lounge chair on the beach, stay at the Royal Plantation. My only complaint is that I really feel like the resort needs a 2nd pool, perhaps in the area of the tennis courts that are rarely used. :) Everything else is perfect.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
7 Thank Janna1080
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2013

Quite possibly the best hotel we've ever stayed in. The service was fantastic, all the staff are very friendly and work hard to make sure visitors feel welcome and enjoy everything the hotel has to offer. There are some who definitely seemed to be more like friends to us than staff by the time we left.
I was worried that the butler service would feel a little awkward but it wasn't how I'd imagined and they were wonderful....it was fun to come back to our room on a couple of occasions and find they'd left us a surprise like a bubble bath or petals on the bed.
The bed was the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in so every night was a great night's sleep. The rooms are big and we had a lovely view from the second floor. Only slight negative point for the room was not having a proper balcony but it wasn't a big problem for us.
The food was outstanding at every place we ate in. I think the evening we spent at the beach grill was our favourite meal - the surf and turf was amazing. It was also great that the alcohol being served was 'branded' alcohol and not budget 'paint stripper' like you get in a lot of AI resorts. We found that Sean the barman also makes fabulous cocktails. We also enjoyed the DJ set night in the pub when the staff seemed to really enjoy dancing the night away!
The grounds are beautiful and the beaches are kept very clean. One of the issues we found is that people will 'reserve' their sun loungers for an entire day and a lot of these actually remain unused for most of the day. We did find that one couple had 'reserved' 2 sun loungers on one of the beaches whilst at the same time they were using the loungers on the other beach! At busy times it can be hard to find free loungers although the beach staff will try to help you find/move some as long as they aren't 'reserved'.
The main negative for us was that the pool is very small but it is a very short walk along the beach to get to the larger Grand Riviera hotel next door and use their larger facilities and this worked well for us and it was nice to go and spend some time at the more lively Riviera but equally nice to then return to the very tranquil RP.
Overall we had a lovely stay and I would absolutely love to come back one day and recommend that if you're looking for luxury in Jamaica you look no further than this hotel. It won't disappoint.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank malude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We always used trip advisor in the selection of our travels but it is the first time we have decided to write a review. We have never stayed at a sandels property and were reluctant.... However, the royal plantation exceeded all of our expectations! The property is small but beautiful, with magnificent views, lush gardens, serene beaches, and always well manicured. The staff... There aren't words to describe how wonderful all the staff is. You are greeted day one by warm smiles and were sent home-off by waving smiles from our new "friends". We felt like we were leaving a good friends house, not a resort. A special thanks to; Cleon on the beach, OSean to keeping the night life fun for all, the wobbley peacock bartender Sean (recommend the drink seantastic!) for keeping the cocktails flowing into the evening, our butlers (audelle and tafari) and William for doing such a great job managing the bar and amazing food. There is also one special person who made our trip and words just can't thank enough... jermaine who sits on the beach and handles beach chairs, water sports,etc. I managed to lose my engagement ring in the ocean! Jermaine grabbed a snorkel and after 30 minutes of search and directing all the wonderful guests who came in to help us, he found my engagement ring deep in the ocean waters! It was delivered with a hug and a smile.

The only downside we experienced was with the wine selection. The included wines were limited and the wines available for purchase were limited, often out of stock and overpriced....

We have been to many high end resorts, and the royal plantation is truley a special place. I have always been one to always want to try something new regardless in my travels, but the royal plantation is one place that I won't forget and look forward to my return and return again in the years to come. If you are looking for a beautiful resort with top notch food, spa, service, people and the type of place you will think about the return while you are still there... The royal plantation is for you!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank lskyrm15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

We loved our first Sandals vacation and are not sure there can be another resort that comes close to the Royal Plantation. A very special thank you to our butlers Jermaine and Marvin who made our stay an incredible experience. Thank you also to William who does an amazing job managing the food and beverages and who constantly made sure we wanted for nothing. We found the food to be excellent whether it be breakfast on the terrace, room service, beach grill or the amazing fine dining experience at the Le Papillon Restaurant. We look forward to going back in the future.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank abc796
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 6, 2013

This was our second visit to this hotel, after the first we, simply, could not envisage finding anywhere nicer and so chose to return. The rooms, the beaches, the food and the grounds are all wonderful but what makes this place is the wonderful staff.

For ten days, with 3 meals a day, countless drinks and various other requests, we interacted with a variety of staff on hundreds of occassions and without fail, every single membe of staff of every single occassion was smiling, friendly and keen to help in any way possible. I have never experienced anything that comes close anywhere else in my entire life. If you are looking for a peaceful stay and plenty of relaxation, I literally, could not recommend this hotel more.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Martin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davenport, Iowa, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 5, 2013

We returned to the Royal Plantation October 2012 for our 10 year Anniversary, after having spent our Honeymoon there in 2002. It was everything we remembered and MORE! The road from Montego Bay from Ocho Rios was very much improved and our driver was pleasant and very good. Upon arrival, we truly felt like we had returned home. The thing that truly sets this resort apart from others is the service; all the employee's seem genuinely happy to work there, and it really shows in their service. Nothing is too small to ask for. My husband had never tried a fresh coconut and upon asking for one, he received it within minutes. It was small things like this, and the wonderful room turn downs that make you feel extra special. Staying at the Royal Plantation is like living in an opulent, old world home where your every whim is satisfied immediately.

Room: We always book the lowest cost room at any resort as we spend very little time there, we like to live on the beach. The room was still quite nice, with a lovely sitting room, a VERY comfy bed, and a fully stocked fridge. Just tell them what you want in it and it will be there.

Food: The food at this resort is over the top. I have Celiac Disease and cannot tolerate any gluten. My husband is a Pescatarian ( vegetarian with fish ). We both had amazing food at every meal. Whether it was La Pappilion, The Terrace, or the Royal Grill, everything was great. My husband had the best lobster of his life at Jamaica Night ( Fridays ), the mango chutney and French Onion soup stand out in my mind. My favorite part was needing gluten free food can be stressful, and I lugged several safety items with me. Soon, I discovered that they delighted in serving me up GF lemon cake, or a sorbet and fruit, a GF choc cake, nothing was too much to ask for. I loved being able to completely relax, order what I wanted, know it would come out GF, and I was never once sick. I say the Food and Beverage Manager Frederico made it all seamless.

Beach: This is what I came to Jamaica for. The view is so stunning it is hard to get involved in my book, or any conversation. We love wading and the 2 beaches are perfect for this and searching for nature nuggets. The beaches are immaculately groomed every few hours. The East beach is the watersports area, and slightly more laid back. The West Beach has a Bar and diner, and is a bit rowdier, Sea Turtles hatched on the west beach but we missed it! Though both beaches are somewhat smaller, it is never a problem to get a place to lay. The resort never seems to have many people, it offers true respite from the world. Drinks are never hard to get, and sometimes mid morning or afternoon, they bring fruit skewers.
On the far west beach, beyond the giant chess, is a fresh water spring with a stone tub built over it. The water is very cold and can feel very good at mid day when it is hot and humid. Only for the brave!

Trips: If we had it to do over again, we would truly do less trips but only because being at the Royal starts to become a standard by which all else pales. We did enjoy Dolphin Cove ( 10 minutes away ) and enjoyed Dolphin Touch in the tank, but couldn't wait to return "home ". It was the same the next day when we visited Mystic Mountain for the Sky Explorer ( also 10 minutes away ) but it was the same. While the views were outstanding, we could hardly wait to return to our slice of heaven. Lastly, we booked an outside Island Routes trip with a private driver ( arranged by out butler Garey, at a great price ) to Glistening Waters ( 1 hour one way to Falmouth ). You must go in the evening, but it is one of 4 -5 places in the world where the water glows with bioluminesence. Tiny micro organisms make this truly magical. You can swim in the water, it is a bay and the water is calm, silty bottom, about 5 feet deep. VERY COOL, and worth the $25 each person + cab fare. One another note, the Grande Riviera next door to the Royal can be reached by a short 5 minute walk along the beach, or a short shuttle at any time. However, to us, the Grande had an overcrowded hotel feel, very much a party resort, and for our part, we had become spoiled by staff who treated us like they were glad to see us every time. It would be good for anyone who is unhappy with the more sedate feel at the Royal. On the other hand, the Wobbley Peacock, the bar at the Royal, could get pretty exciting some evenings!

Butlers : It may seem over the top, and you don't use them very very much, but it is nice when they give you your personal phone to reach them at any time, for any reason. They work in teams, and we were so pleased with ours : Garey and Kenton. They will make sure you have your dinners arranged, spruce your room up most night, and help with any trips you want. These folks can receive tips when you check out, and while it may seem un - all inclusive, these guys really earn it.

Atmosphere: The peacocks are a delight. We loved watching these mascots roost for the night and they will steal your home fries at breakfast. The grounds are breathtaking and I will say the library is lacking. Bring your own books! I left two spicy romances behind on accident, and I hope they made their way to the library. If you find them, enjoy. You're welcome. Your spouse may thank you too. The employees always seem to meet your every need, while also taking the time to talk to you on many subjects and share with you about their island and their daily lives. I really feel like we made life long friends. You never felt like anyone rushed anything, or you were bothering anyone, yet always the promptness! The nightly entertainments were always fun, the talents were remarkable. The party would go on the terrace til 10 -11pm ,and then continue in the bar. Sometimes people were having quite a good time, despite the small crowd. My husband and I, though in our 30's. aren't big party people, and would often spend after dinner swimming in the pool while the live music plays feet away, and eventually sip cocktails while reclining in the hot tub, watching lightening off in the distance over the ocean. The gaslights burning nearby add that extra touch. Quite romantic and we were able to relax as were never have before. Even other guests are wonderful, one British woman gave me all the daily newsletters that arrive in suite nightly after I lost mine. I love to save these little things, and at tea time, when she heard me lamenting this, she gave them to me ( just as Sherrill surprised me with a gluten free delicacy without me needing to ask ). This place is paradise.

Possible Downsides: The two beaches may seem small, but with only 70 some rooms, there is always plenty of room. The pool is smaller too. Some people seem to really care about this. Personally, I can't understand wanting to be at a pool when there are two gorgeous beaches to lounge at. I like that the maximum depth is 5 feet, but some people may not like this either. If a big pool is important, you can scoot over to the Grande next door. Their beaches cannot compare to the beaches at the Royal.


Weather: A tropical depression was breaking up as we arrived and it looked like it would rain all the time we were there from weather reports. For our first vacation alone with no kids in 10 years, we were hoping for better. However, as they told us upon arrival, rain in Jamaica is liquid sunshine. And they were right, it was warm. When it would happen, it was almost always over within 30 minutes. It was, as they say, no problem. The day we were leaving, staff was rushing around with an " Oh Crap" look in their eye. This was Tuesday. On Wednesday, Hurricane Sandy hit the resort. We were anxious to know all our dear ones were fine, and they were. It does seem we were almost certainly the last couple to renew their vows on that particular gazebo, as it was destroyed in the storm. We did this on our own, with no fanfare although the resort does have packages. It was our choice to do it like that.

If anything this resort seems to have improved over time. Their attentiveness to my dietary needs was especially great. So many people to name and thank : Frederico - food and beverage manager, Supratik - manager, Lucian, Both Adrians - beach butler and Terrace Adrian ( who makes your AM fruit smoothies YUM ) Taniqua, Sherrill, Richard - the boat captain who comforted me after my failed attempt at snorkling ( ALL my fault, I was trying to push myself but I cannot swim ), and so many more. We cannot wait to return to our home away from home.

Room Tip: East Wing is quieter, 2nd or 3d floor
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lori M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Plantation

Property: Sandals Royal Plantation
Address: Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Plantation 5*
Number of rooms: 74
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•All suite resort and all are serviced by butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers•2 private beaches with beach butler service•The Caribbean’s only Champagne and Caviar Bar•Exquisite International, Mediterranean, Caribbean and French cuisine•24 hour in suite dining•Complimentary transfers from this resort to all Sandals Resorts•Voted Sandals Resorts “World Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Five Star Diamond Award - American Academy of Hospitality Sciences ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Plantation Hotel Ocho Rios
Royal Plantation Ocho Rios
Royal Plantation Jamaica
Sandals Royal Plantation Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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