Over Thanksgiving week we traveled to the all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios called the Royal Plantation for our belated honeymoon trip. While Mark and I enjoyed each other's company immensely, I promised myself that I would write a review of the "Plantation" from a New Yorker's point of view because the knowledge I now have might help many "city" couples make their travel decisions in the future.
Out of our 8 days there, we counted a total of 4 hours of sunshine. The persistent downpours ruined any chance of enjoying the beach, watersports, the casual grill and the Jacuzzi. I don't blame the hotel for the rain, but I would think that they could weatherproof their bar and grille down by the beach so we could have had more options for food. That grill was closed every night we were there.
The only other options for food were the main glorified cafeteria (Royal Grill) where a meal for two easily cost $150 or their formal French restaurant where a jacket was required. Considering that my husband (who is also a musician) got turned away one night at the cafeteria for improper dress, you can assume that we never made it to La Papillon. The food we had was tasty, although looking at the same menu every single day was a bummer. They also seemed to have an issue with running out of things, like soups, blueberry muffins, etc.
The hotel itself was lovely - not as lovely as the website and brochures portray, but it's nice. The lobby and common area is quite relaxing with nice service (Owane was an excellent host/server). I was however, very disappointed to realize that the hotel had no beach real estate. I was looking forward to morning jogs on the sand, but here, I could literally jog about 10 strides before I hit a wall dividing hotel properties.
Our hotel room was my favorite part of the resort. We had a great view, an awesome sitting area and a wide selection of movie channels (not to mention free DVD rentals) and turndown service. On our second night there, we were delighted to find a bottle of chilled champagne, chocolates and a $50 gift certificate on our night stand as a honeymoon gift from the management team. My husband loved the big canopy bed and slept well (I never sleep well away from home, so you can take is word for it).
Nightlife at The Plantation is non-existent. After 11 the place is silent. We thought on several occasions that we must have been missing something because it was dead at such an early hour, but that's just how it is there. Considering a cab ride to Ocho Rios is $25 for a 5 minute ride, not too many people were heading out.
Speaking of Ocho Rios... if you are a city person, you will definitely not appreciate downtown Ocho Rios. It's basically a port for Cruise Ships, so they've dedicated a block to a shopping area for those folks that includes a tacky Magaritaville Bar and Grill. Outside of the shopping area, it's pretty seedy with cheap tourist shops... not somewhere I'd want to go after night fall.
The Freebies! Yes... we took advantage of all the free perks. Every day we were entitled to a free mango mimosa in the morning and free afternoon tea with snacks! We also participated in the Monday manager's cocktail hour and Martini night a couple days later.
The Royal Plantation is a spa resort, but considering that we were trying to do 8 days for 4K, the $200 massage treatments didn't fit in the budget. I spent a lot of time at their modest fitness center (2 elliptical machines, 3 treadmills, 1 stationary bike) due to the rain and lack of real estate in which to run.
The day we left was quite pleasant. We were presented with an accurate bill of itemized charges (European plan) and a private car with refreshments to take us to the airport. We felt that the place was intimate enough that we knew each of the managers and they all made an effort to say thank you and farewell.
- 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