My husband and I vacationed in Jamaica from April 23rd-May 9th, and stayed at 4 various resorts on the island: Coyaba (montego bay), Royal Plantation (Ocho Rios), Sunset at the Palms (Negril), and Rockhouse (Negril). We are going to review the resorts separately.
This is our first real vacation, and have not travelled extensively, as such, we aren't that picky. Also because we stayed at 4 different places in Jamaica, all the reviews will be in comparison to the other place we stayed there, rather than any places we have stayed in North America. We are both 21, and I am currently pregnant. We are very active people, and were looking for the type of vacation where we could experience the true Jamaican culture, and relax and have a good time. Please keep that in mind, because the type of vacation you are looking for may be different, and as such you may not agree with the thoughts presented.
We stayed at Royal Plantation from April 26th-April30th. I must admit, before we left for our vacation this was the resort I was least looking forward to, because it seemed to 'uppity' and didn't seem unique. Plus I felt that because we are quite young travellor's, and look younger than we actually are, we would be treated differently than other guests. Boy how wrong I was.
We had a private driver pick us up from Coyaba. His name is Melbourne and he's fantastic. It was not uncomfortable to be silent, and I felt comfortable asking questions. Plus, I told him of my studies in history and he proceeded to take me to the oldest Church in Jamaica. It was fantastic. Taking the buses provided by air jamaica is hot, and not as comortable. This was a treat.
Once arrived we were given a cold towel, which smelt just as good as it felt, and a glass of fruit punch. The staff was fantastic, asking us questions and seeming genuinely interested. Our room wasn't ready, so we were escorted to lunch where we met Simone and Laneesha whom made out stay excellent through the entire trip. They found out I was pregnant, and showed me pictures of their children. It was like talking to friends.
Our room was amazing, had a stocked mini bar, big bed, walk in closet so your clothes are out of the way ( something that cannot be taken for granted), and a sitting room. It also had a pillow menu - I made use of the pregnancy one. We also asked for a DVD player because we had brought movies and one was promptly brought - with no questions asked. They have the most comforatable robes, and the shampoo and conditioner is quite high quality. The toilet paper was even monogrammed! They also had q-tips in the room - yay for clean ears.
The grounds are emaculate - full of vegetatuion and animals. Our first day a giant moth came and landed on the wall across from our door and did not leave, we also had a peacock who liked to sleep on our balcony.
The swimming area here is slightly bigger than at Coyaba, but about as deep. The beach is larger, but not by much. Again neither of those things matter to us. The beach staff are amazing. I thought it wouled be awkward to be waited on like that - but they seemed genuine and made everything fun.
The spa is expensive. I am not a spa conniseur - so I dont know if the facial I got was worth the $140 I spent; all I know is that it was pretty fantastic and if it wasnt for the baby kicking me I would have fallen asleep.
They found out it was our honeymoon and brought us champagne and strawberries, and a gift certificate for the spa - it was a nice touch. The gym was perfectly temperatured, and had great machines. The space to do free weights can get a little crowded if there are a lot of people.
The food was amazing at all places - and the Sunday buffet is to die for. The cost of the buffet is $55 a plate - but it is included in the Royal Plan. It is worth doing it if you are not on the plan. They also serve afternoon tea (complimentary) - which even my husband enjoyed. The games room was an actual games room and the bar server would bring us our drinks there so we didnt have to stop our pool game. Bring formal wear for the Papillion. They do have a dress code for all restaurants, which is nice. However, for the Papillion you should be dressed nicely - we saw people being turned away for their attire. We didnt know it was going to be as formal as it was. But it was a great experience for two people who are not used to that kind of dining. They even made something for my husband that wasnt on the menu because he's a vegetarian.
The pool is a good size, but not equipped for lengths. It was perfectly heated and I had fun watching all the lizzards scurrying up to get a drink and then running away. My husband did the scuba diving offered through the resort and really seemed to enjoy it. I went into downtown ocho rios on a sunday (so a lot was closed), but I did it by myself and got to see the real ocho rios and not just the tourist area. Someone did call me a taxi angel and offer to sell me a machete for $10; but I thought that was cool!
Our air conditioner did stop working one night, but I turned it off and let it 'cool down' and then turned it back on and it was fine again. It wasnt as easy to regulate as Coyaba's but I had no problems. There are stairs everywhere here as well. There is an elevator for the rooms, but between the beach, pool, restaurants, and everything else there are stairs - which may be a problem for some people.
They also had an incorrect checkout date for us - they thought we were staying 4 days longer (which would have been great!) but had no problems changing the day and organizing a driver. The staff learned my routine of going to the gym and then coming for breakfast and then had my orange juice and coffee ready for me after I changed - it was marvelous. A gardner would sing to me every morning on my walk to the gym as well, and the one day I didnt go, he saw me later and sang to me then. They also had the New York Times Digest which was nice to read in the morning to catch up on some snippets of news.
This resort was absolutely unbelievable and is hard to top. What made it so great was how genuine and great the staff - at all levels. The manager walked around the resort and I had tea with him one day. I did not feel out of place at this upper class resort, as I thought I would. I would return back here in a flash and am already looking forward to my next trip.
I would reccommend this resort for people who are looking to be pampered in all possible ways. There is enough to do off the resort if you want to do those activities, as well as good ones to do on the resort like cigar rolling and paiting with a local artist. It is not suitable for kids.
- 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