I can't believe it's taken me so long to write this review.
We were at the resort in December 2013 for our honeymoon, and we're still afflicted by major post holiday blues!
Were to begin....
THE PROPERTY: The pictures on the Sandals website tell you the whole story. The grounds are perfectly manicured, the rooms are just as lovely as they look on the photographs. If you think the beach is too small from the pictures, it's probably going to be too small in person. The beach is the "worst" thing about the resort, as it doesn't allow for very long walks. It is however wonderfully maintained, clean and, of course, there's the ocean.
Note: the east beach is the beach where smoking is allowed. We are not smokers, but we spent most of the week at the east beach because it was quieter.
The resort does NOT cater to the party crowd: if, however, you are interested in partying but also want to partake of of exclusivity of the resort, you can use the shuttle bus to Grande Riviera (about 5 minutes). I can't review the entertainment there as I am not a party person, but I thought I put this in considering the amount of people that complained about the "old" vibe of the resort. I'm in my early 30s and I was perfectly happy to laze in the sun with a book and a drink, so it depends on people's definition of "old".
THE ROOM: after much debating, my husband and I picked the lowest category room. I was very happy with it as it met my expectations in every way. You don't "need" the better room: these are all suites. If you can splurge, by all means, get one of the rooms with the terrace, they looked wonderful. We were in one of the rooms closest to the common areas, but there wasn't much noise after 10pm.
THE BUTLERS: Our butlers were Chad and Ashworth. To say they were wonderful is an absolute approximation and it doesn't do these professionals any justice. We were treated like royalty from start to finish. They tried to anticipate our every need and never fell short of expectations.
From the baths and the snacks, to the homemade cold remedy (yep, I had a cold in the Caribbean...lucky me!) and the pizza and wine on the beach, they upgraded our holiday from wonderful to amazing.
FOOD: The food is incredible. That's all you really need to know. They will cater to any and all your needs. Try to visit the sister property as well, the food quality doesn't seem to drop. Don't worry about "all inclusive quality" food. This is another level. Think 5 star dining on tap. Enjoy the french fine dining, the buffets, the incredibly delicious breakfast, and don't leave before having tried a coconut shrimp!
EXTRAS: Our friends and family purchased us wedding gifts on the Sandals gift registries, so we had credit for extras.
This is how we used them:
SPA: very, very good spa. If only they didn't push for sales of products so much...put me off a bit.
CANDLELIGHT DINNER: a wonderful experience. We dined on the pier, served by a wonderfully polite and funny gentleman whose name I forgot. The 5 course menu was chosen by us from the sample menu our butlers gave us, and everything was 5 star. If you have something to celebrate with a loved one, do this: you will remember it for a lifetime.
PICNIC AT MAHOE: This was incredible. A guided, private tour of the wonderful tropical gardens, and a luxury picnic served to us on a clifftop area, white cloth table and all. Magical.
NEGATIVES: Few and far between.
- Some mix-ups with restaurant reservations prevented us from trying two of the restaurants we set out to dine at. I blame this on poor communication between resorts and changing closing schedules for restaurants. We gave our butlers a list of the restaurants we wanted to try as soon as we arrived at the resort, and we expected our reservations to go through as planned. Our butlers couldn't have been more apologetic and it definitely didn't ruin our holiday, but this caliber of resort needs to plan better for such things.
-The Afternoon tea could be much, much improved. More tea choices would be a start, and more pastries/sandwiches as well.
-The pool is very small, which is a shame when the beach is also quite small.
Please note that I am 100% nit-picking here, and I am doing it considering the price category and the fact that you're expecting a perfect, 100% hassle free holiday.
I can't wait to go back to Sandals, and I think Royal Plantation spoiled me for life regarding butler service. But I don't think that's a negative:)
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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