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“The King and Queen have returned home....reluctantly!”

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Sandals Royal Plantation
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“The King and Queen have returned home....reluctantly!”
Reviewed September 7, 2008

WOW! What an amazing vacation. RP deserves every bit of positive praise it receives. My fiancée and I went right after Gustav blew through the Caribbean. Air Jamaica started our trip out in the worst way by delaying the flight 14 hours. Yep. Instead of arriving in Mo' Bay around 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday August 30, we arrived at 3:30 in the morning, Sunday, August 31 (we're never flying Air Jamaica again). At one point in the airport my fiancée suggested we "cash in" our travel insurance and forget the whole thing. Fortunately, I convinced her otherwise. I stayed in touch with the front desk at RP advising them of our travel status. When we arrived in Mo' Bay in the wee hours of Sunday morning, our driver was there to meet us and quickly got us to the resort (thanks Heinz). I had mentioned in one of my calls to them that we had had very little to eat at the airport. When we arrived in our room, a fruit and cheese tray was there waiting for us. Amazing service right from the get go. We knew we had made a good decision. Please believe me when I say that it's the people that make this resort what it is. Yes, the food is amazing and the grounds are beautiful (see my pics) but those aren't the things that make you feel special, like family. Before I give my shout outs, let me offer this one SUPER valuable piece of advice. Book your reservations and take advantage of the Royal Plan. If you go EP, don't be surprised at the price of food, drink and activities. If you are wise enough to purchase the Royal Plan option, you will have one of the most carefree (spoiled) vacations of your life. You will want for absolutely nothing. Consider yourself informed. To our guys at breakfast and lunch (Michael, Ramone and Basil), thanks for seeing to us every morning with smiles and the enthusiastic, "Yeh Mon" that encouraged me to try all the local dishes (I loved the Ackee and Saltfish). Breakfast hasn't been the same since we got back! To the guys that took awesome care of us at dinner (Audell, Melton and Jeffison), who taught us, when you can't decide on one menu item, no problem, try 'em both! You recommendations were always spot on. Jeffison, your engaging conversation and positive outlook on everyday life made the meals that much more enjoyable. To the ladies of Royal Plantation (Iolla, Natalie and Camara)...you made the afternoons so relaxing. We really enjoyed drinks on the terrace (I experienced my first "tea time"). Natalie and Camara, your big smiles and soft-spoken manner endeared us to you from our first meeting. To our guys on the beach who made sure we had plenty to do, plenty to drink and plenty of shade to sit in when the temperature climbed (Cleon, Courtney and Dwight). A big thanks Mon. Don't even think of lifting a finger to do anything for yourself while you're out on the beach. One of the friendly staff will promptly remind you that what you're trying to do is their job and you're on vacation. It really has been tough adjusting to the "real world" since coming home! To the management at RP (Mr. Fraser, Shawn, Christine and Brean). Your attention to detail and your willingness to engage us one-on-one to ensure our vacation was living up to our expectations meant more to us than you can imagine. Last and most certainly not least, our deepest thanks to the housekeeping and grounds staff (Mr. Black, we're doing great Mon, I hope this letter finds you well). While we never had the opportunity to meet many of you personally, we appreciate your hard work and tireless effort you put in each and every day to make Royal Plantation what it is. In the heat of the day as we sipped Mangosas on the beach, we observed, and were impressed by, the way you all conducted yourselves. It's hard work and we thank you sincerely for all you do. For those reading this review that may think I've rambled, my apologies. But what I hope you take away from this is that while we were there only 6 days, the staff made such an impact on us that we will never forget our time at RP and the friendships we made. BTW, we met several couples during the week. One couple had returned to the resort for the ninth time. The other, their third time. Both said it was the people that kept them coming back. We agree and will "Soon Come Back" to this little corner of heaven.

  • Liked — The people. Hands down the service is second to none!
  • Disliked — Almost cried the day we had to leave
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank JCB0920
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Washington DC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2008

The Royal Plantation was simply fabulous. The grounds are beautiful, the rooms are big and beautifully decorated, the staff was very friendly and accomodating....all our needs were anticipated. The beach was fantastic. Other then our honeymoon...this was the best trip. The Royal Plantation is "adults only". The Montego Bay airport is almost a two hour drive but the hotel sends a private car to pick you up and take you back to the airport. We did the all inclusive Royal Plan which I highly recommend....the food and drinks are expensive.

  • Liked — Beautiful hotel, beautiful grounds, fantastic staff
  • Disliked — distance from airport...would not prevent me from going back
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank natalie259
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2008

We really enjoyed this hotel over all. It was nothing special but as long as you understand the Jamaican clock you're safe.

The beach service is slow, get it yourself, it's quicker!

The Papillion Restaurant is trying to be something that it cannot reach with the skill set, stick to La Terrace, it's simple and much better.

The hotel runs out of items such as Sauvignon Blanc, patties (on Sundays) and Jerk Chicken at the beach cafe'.

The rooms are smallish, hide the A/C control in the safe otherwise they turn it off to save energy/money!

Remember the window from the shower/loo to the walkway is open to the public! No singing!

The service is friendly, especially Cassarre on the Verandah who completely took care of us in every way she could.

Miss the Monday night buffet and order room service! Great Club Sandwich.

Go to Hooves and do the Heritage Beach Tour, well worth it but take a cheap waterproof camera for photos. Oh, and the one regret I have...ask questions as you ride past antiquity that is ignored.

Have your camera ready for the Friday night Limbo, great show!

Would I return...probably not as it needs some tweaking!

  • Liked — The bed was excellent
  • Disliked — The size of he room
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank croakies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2008

My husband I traveled to the Royal Plantation at the end of May to celebrate our 15 year anniversary. We travel to Jamaica at least once a year and have stayed at a variety of resorts. I can honestly stay that no other experience compared to this trip. We have never received bad service at any resort in Jamaica in fact we have always had over the top service. The RP, however, managed to take it to another level. I'm not sure how anyone can complain about anything with this resort.

We enjoyed talking with our personal driver-very nice touch- on the way to the resort. We have been to that area a number of times so we were prepared for the drive. Trust me you don't notice the time at all. Upon our arrival at the RP we were greeted with cool towels and champagne. Our room and it's view was breathtaking. I wish I could remember the room number.

My husband surprised me with a candlelight dinner one night on the pier. It was unbelievable! I am still talking about it. I would highly recommend it and it is worth the cost. The resort delivered champagne and a small cake with Happy Anniversary written on it to our room one night. We both also had one of our best massages ever at this resort. I lowered my expectations going in to my appointment based on some of the reviews on TA, but it was fantastic.

I think for both my husband and myself the most rewarding experience of this trip was our visit to Mansfield Heights Basic School. Going to Jamaica often we were aware that a lot of the resorts partner with the schools or orphanages in the area. We took two suitcases full of school supplies (our kids collected them from their friends) with us, and the RP's wonderful Andre' Reid took us to the school one morning. The hotel provided lunch that day so we were able to serve the kids lunch, talk with them, and hear some wonderful poetry recited by 3-5 year olds. I want to say that the RP does walk the walk here. It was so obvious that Mr. Reid was really involved at the school and that the love between he and the children was mutual.

Thank you Royal Plantation for making our anniversary a truly royal experience. We can't wait to come back!

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank Gina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2008

The website doesn't do this place justice...pure luxury from the moment you sip your first glass of champagne upon arrival. Overall the service is first rate, and nothing is too much. Total relaxation is the order of the day. So if your idea of a dream vacation is to be pampered, stuffed to the gills with fine cuisine, every whim catered to and all in a exquisite locale, then Royal Plantation is for you!!

  • Liked — Overall experience
  • Disliked — If I had to say something, it would be the 2 hour ride from Montego Bay - although they do send a private car for transfer
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank frequentflyrAA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2008

Six of us traveled to the Royal Plantation in early August and the resort earned rave reviews from all of us. I had researched several different vacation options (reading countless reviews on Trip Advisor!) and ended up recommending RP to the group, so I was particularly pleased that everything exceeded our expectations.

From the moment we arrived at the Montego Bay airport, picked up our luggage, and were ushed to the Sandals lounge, we knew it would be a great vacation. The lounge had beverages and tea sandwiches on hand to which we could help ourselves while we waited. A few of us were itching to get in car and head to the resort but it was actually a welcome respite to sit on a comfortable couch for a few minutes before continuing on the journey.

The ride to the resort is very comfortable, with beer and water in the car (plus they recently renovated the highway), but it is still 1.5 hours so be prepared. For some reason it seemed to go a lot more quickly on the way back, probably because the anticipation of arriving dragged out every minute!

Once you pull into the resort, however, that last leg is more than worth it--you are greated with champagne & sugarcane, and a refreshing cold towel. We arrived around noon and our rooms were not quite ready so we went down to have lunch at the beach grill. After a delicious meal and some red stripes we walked upstairs and our luggage was already waiting in our rooms. This was just one example of the level of service that happens behind the scenes at the RP. We rarely saw any housekeeping staff--it was almost as if our rooms were magically made up every morning and then magically turned down again in the evenings. It made us feel like royalty and given their effort we were sure to leave them a little something extra on the nightstand when we left.

Briefly, here are some tips based on our stay:

-Definitely go for the royal plan, even if you are a light to moderate drinker food and drinks add up quickly a la carte. We definitely felt like we got more than our money's worth and as others have noted, it is nice not to have to worry about every individual bill once you are there.

-House wine is included in the plan and it is quite nice but it was fun to splurge and order different bottles a la carte when we ate at Le Papillion. The waiters also entertained us by sabering open a bottle of champagne, which was a great experience.

-Tips are included in the royal plan but we usually tipped a few dollars extra, especially to the beach staff who set up our chairs and brought us bottled water and drinks all day.

-If you don't feel like sitting at the restaurant for breakfast, know that they bring a heaping tray of fresh fruit down to the beach every morning around 11:30. I highly recommend the mango, it is out of this world.

-Order a "dark and stormy" (appleton rum, ginger beer, and lime)

-All of the food is 5 star, but some highlights are...
*breakfast (La Terrace)--steak eggs benedict
*lunch (we ate at the beach grill every day)--club sandwich, shrimp cesear salad, jerk chicken, seafood salad
*dinner (we alternated between Le Papillion and La Terrace and enjoyed both. La Terrace has a more extensive menu)--lamb or any fish at either restaurant, surf & turf to order and chocolate lava cake at Le Papillion.

-Activities...
*The men in our group golfed every morning (another perk of the royal plan, since all greens fees are included). Although the course is not quite as nice as the award winning White Witch (at the Ritz), they still enjoyed themselves. Also since it was the off season the course wasn't too crowded and they were able to play 18 holes in only 3 hours and then spend the rest of the day at the pool/beach. (See below for a more detailed review from one of the golfers.)
*2 members of our group took a tennis lesson but it was nothing special. It is particularly hot out on the courts because the breeze from the ocean doesn't reach the inner courtyard.
*4 of us went snorkeling and had a great time. Please know that they now charge $150 to take you to the "wreck", so we opted against that and went to the reef closer to the resort which had plenty of beautiful marine life.

Finally, it is a stretch to come up with any negatives, but if pressed one might be that the majority of guests at the RP are couples. I recognize this is probably a plus for honeymooners, but our group consisted of 2 couples and 2 friends. Even though the staff seemed extra pleased to accomodate us (Jefferson in particular consistently gravitated our way!) and many of the restaurants in fact have round tables designed for 6-8, the non-couple felt slightly out of place at times given the general romantic atmosphere. Later in the week another group arrived, however, so this was no longer an issue.

Overall I would recommend the Royal Plantation to anyone--it was an absolutely fabulous vacation and we are all already planning our trip back. Shout out to LK for giving us a reason to celebrate and my gracious thanks to RK and SK for their generosity!

If you have any specific questions please email me directly, I will do my best to answer them.

**Golf**
"Golf course was in good condition but not great. Definitely gets played a lot by all the Sandals resorts in the area. The greens are tough so get ready for no straight putts. There are 2 holes that are currently under repair 16 and 17 and are using temporary greens. Unfortunately, those 2 holes leave a bad taste in your mouth but the rest of the course is great. It is not a difficult course off the tee and the pace moved quickly. We finished almost all our rounds in circa 3 hours as a twosome. Besides the 2 holes under repair, the course is a fun and challenging round. The staff is accommodating and there is a great sitting area for beers after the round. I would like to see some work done to the course to improve some of the fairways and greens but I would definitely play again."

  • Liked — Service, Food, General Atmosphere
  • Disliked — n/a
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
14 Thank beukespew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2008

Our stay was for our honeymoon, and though the property was beautiful, my husband and I thought the whole experience could have greatly improved with regard to some details. The initial greeting at Montego Bay airport was smooth, as we did not have to wait for our transport. However, Jamaica travelers be warned that you will most likely have to wait a whole hour to get out of the immigration and then customs line in the Montego Bay airport. This was unexpected. When we finally got through, the Royal Plantation driver was waiting outside, and that was a relief. When we reached the hotel property, I think things started getting not so pleasing. There are just some small details that the RP plays up in their website, that weren't so satisfactory. For example, when serving the champagne welcome drink, the service member asked us if we wanted to have one. Well, of course, we want to have one! I think a welcome drink ought to be presented rather than asked for, especially when the majority of the clients are honeymooners and are still in the celebratory mindset. There was no congratulations about our wedding, which would have just been a bonus. .....(I'm in the service industry, so I can be a grouch.) Then we also did not get our cool towels....big woop. If you claim to provide these things, then there should be consistency and unquestionable service. On the first night, all the RP restaurants were closed except for the main Terrace restaurant which was offering a buffet. We called down to see what was on the menu and also for the buffet price (we did not opt for the Royal Plan, which did cause us to experience some sticker shock when ordering from their menu.) However, the concierge said that they did not know what was being served tonight and (of course) did not know the price???? The concierge should have better command over hotel dining information. When we visited the restaurant as well, the waiters did not know either, and still we had no answer. We just gave up and decided to eat there as there was no other choice at the hotel. Fortunately, the buffet was delicious and well worth it ($65/person), but RP ought to know what the dining hall is serving so that its guests can make a decision. I'd also like to point out that on the non-RP plan, drinks are not served by the glass, which makes it hard for us to buy the cheapest bottle $65 when only one of us drinks.....
If you like to explore, this hotel seems to discourage going into town by making it really expensive to hire their hotel car and also not permitting other taxi companies (e.g. Juta Taxi) coming into the property. The hotel car costs $25 just to go to downtown Ocho Rios - 1.5 km!? Mind you, that is a generous roundtrip, but when we took a regular taxi, it only cost us a mere $2.50 for the same, and you can also bargain with the driver if you want. Granted the hotel car is deluxe and I believe was air-conditioned. In order to take the local taxi, you also have to hail it from outside of the Royal Plantation property. That did not seem too fair, but perhaps that was for security reasons. Another strange thing is that there's a policy of charging $150 if you forget your password for your in-room safe. Honestly, I think that's preposterous. This is the first hotel establishment I have ever encountered that penalizes their guests for a poor memory. Last, I'm a big tea-drinker. I love an afternoon tea and was hoping to be spoiled with the Royal Plantation tea-time. While their tea ware, serving ware, scones were excellent, and server friendly too, if you requested earl grey or english breakfast tea, then they served Lipton tea bags!!! Augh!!! I know I'm being a tea-snob, but for goodness sake, let's have loose tea or something better than the cheapest brand out there on the island. This is a small detail that would have reinforced the high-class image RP creates on their website. Also the rooms are not as bright as they are in the pictures. I think the whole pillow menu is not that luxurious. DVD players were lacking (still only vcrs), and the beach is quite small. Despite these gripes, we STILL had a good time, but we were mainly shocked at these details as we were expecting world-class service and accommodations. Nonetheless, there's a beautiful peacock that runs about the property, the sunsets are gorgeous, and the flower arranging class was interesting. We took many walks inside the front drive way as the garden is beautiful too.

  • Liked — The peacock, sunsets, chess set on the beach
  • Disliked — Service was not up to par
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank SMOOTHRIDE
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 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Romantic 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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