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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 64 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 February 2012

Awesome service, good food, wonderful staff! Always updating, you can walk anywhere on the resort at anytime of the day or night and feel safe. It's nice to be able to take the shuttle to the other two Montego Bay Sandals and dine. It's fun to go down to hip strip at night and party at Margueritaville.

Room Tip: Kensington Building
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Pepper52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 February 2012

This was our 3rd stay&fabulous like always. The staff is always exceptional,but this time we thought we'd mention a few who were above & beyond.Juanita our housekeeper&Winston her counterpart,both always smiling &very helpful.Winston the groundskeeper made beautiful bouquets for me daily.Sheldon at the desk got us out of several scrapes with a smile&laugh.Kevin with the wait staff found callalou for me3x whenit wasn't on the menu&Theodore,playmaker extraordinaire,the best,most fun,caring,wild guy ever. Also the Gift Shop Ladies and their infinite patience. We'll be seeing you next year,our family,when we come back home. Thanks again. Rick&Shannon Jones Rm 504 Lincoln Illinois

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank shannon j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

My husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary here in Feb. It was absolutely stunning!! It was so clean, so meticulously manicured, gorgeous quiet pools away from the main area. The workers here are nothing short of smiles, welcoming, accommodating, and just downright genuine!! The food was arranged beautifully and tasted wonderful also. If you want the night life, there's plenty of it, we did not, so we had no problem going to our quiet little area by the pool, where most eve and afternoons there were few people around. We also went to Montego Bay for the evening show and walked the beach there. We love the people of Jamaica and the beauty of the landscape!! God bless Jamaica.........we just may come back!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank M G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

The Sandals Royal Caribbean has both positive and negative aspects. Would I return to this resort? Not likely. I’m starting to have a real issue with the butlers. I’ve never had one, and don’t want one, but without one you’re treated like a second class guest, and getting into any of the specialty restaurants is nearly impossible. I’m not prepared to spend $6,000 per week to be treated like a second class citizen, and I’m certainly not prepared to spend another $1000 just to get one or two restaurant reservations.

This is an old resort but the rooms are well maintained. The beds are comfortable and the linens are fine. Our room hadn’t been redone in some time, and we had an old tube TV and a toilet that flushed most but not all of the time. Given how little time we spend in our room, that’s not an issue – and it’s not why I go to a beach resort. The grounds are well maintained, the beaches are raked free of debris, and the pools and common areas are kept up nicely.

The people at this resort are amazing, and service at the bars is fabulous. Drinks are delicious and made quickly.

I have three big issues with this resort.

My first issue is with the lack of dining options. There are, technically 7 restaurants, but that’s very deceiving. Two of those restaurants are reservation-only. Two don’t open during dinner service. One is a pub. That leaves two proper restaurants you can actually eat dinner in – the Pavilion and the Regency. On our first night there it was threatening to rain, so they moved the Pavilion, which is all outside seating, into the Regency, and replaced the a la carte menus for both restaurants with one buffet. On another night they closed both restaurants again to have a beach barbeque.

On the first of those nights we put up with the buffet and it wasn’t very good. Half of the mussels I took were dead (not open). There were pieces of shell scattered throughout the rest of if. The jerk chicken was dry and without flavor as was the rice and peas. The second time the two restaurants were closed we were forced to eat in the pub. Given that we were already covered in welts from the sand fleas we didn’t want to venture onto the beach, so we had no other option.

My second big issue is with the reservations for the restaurants. The sign-up sheets come out on Thursday for the following week. Our trip was Monday to Monday, so by the time we arrived all the specialty restaurants were full for the week we were there. That’s absolutely infuriating. Someone who arrives on Monday should have the same chance at reservations as someone who arrives on Thursday. Since our visit another reviewer has stated that with a butler you can book a restaurant on the day you want to dine. I find the whole reservation process so infuriating that it’s barely worth it, and I’m not prepared to pay a lot more money to get a butler just to make it happen.

We managed to get a reservation at both Le Jardinier and the Thai Restaurant. Le Jardinier was excellent, but the Thai restaurant was a different story. It was the worst Thai food I’ve ever eaten and the worst meal I’ve had in any of the 10 or so Sandals restaurants I’ve eaten in, spread across 5 resorts. The menu is completely fixed, except for the soup. My wife had the coconut chicken soup which tasted like used dish water. I had the hot and sour soup which tasted like the same dish water with some vinegar and pepper added. The main course wasn’t much better. Moments before we’d received our main course the couple at the table next to us got theirs, took a few bites, threw down their napkins, and dashed out the back end of the restaurant to get out as quickly as possible. I thought that was extremely strange and that perhaps they were going for a smoke until our food arrived and I quickly understood their reaction. My wife ate a few mouthfuls. I ate more because I was hungry, but didn’t finish the meal. We left the second I stopped eating and didn’t stay for dessert, fearing that it might be even worse. As we returned to the resort several people on the boat commented that their food was cold. I commented that not only was it cold, but having a piece of salmon in a Thai seafood dish was odd to say the least. One other person agreed, and the rest said they hadn’t had any salmon in their seafood dish. You’d think they’d be able to serve the same thing to all diners who are eating at the same time from a fixed menu. After arriving back at the main resort we went to the Pavilion restaurant for salad and dessert to replace the dinner we didn’t get at Royal Thai.

My last big issue is the safety, or lack thereof. The main areas of the resort and a couple of the restaurants have numerous little steps up or down – an inch here, two inches there. They aren’t “real” steps, and none of them are marked. On top of that, many of the surfaces are uneven, there are doorways with huge inch-high thresholds, and steps on the stairwells are very difficult to see due to poor lighting. My wife tripped on one of the 1-inch steps in the pub and fell flat on her face. She’s lucky she didn’t break anything.

All in all, we did have a great time, and Sandals is generally a cut above most of the other all-inclusive resorts, but they’re starting to slip. A few of the old timers commented that since the founder Butch Stewart stepped down and handed over the reins to his son that quality has been sacrificed in order to feed the bottom line. Having been to Sandals 4 times in the past 5 years I can certainly agree . The experience now isn’t what it used to be.

Room Tip: Rooms in the Kensington and Balmoral buildings are far away from the main buildings thus quiet and r...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank TravelSkeptic43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

My wife and I went to Sandals in Sept. 2008. We went with a large group of family and had our wedding there at the resort. We were married on our third day there, the family left the next day, leaving us another five days on our own for the “honeymoon”.

If your family can accommodate it, this is the greatest way to get married. If you are staying for more than seven days (or whatever it is now) the wedding is free! Be advised they will take you aside for about an hour and try to get you to upgrade cakes and flowers etc… to get more money out of you. Neither me nor my wife saw anything that blew our hair back, so we stuck with the basic free package and don’t regret it one bit. The staff wasn’t pushy about the upgrades so I didn’t mind them trying for the up-sale. Some might even like the extras you can get, like video production, but they are overly expensive in my opinion. If we hadn’t had family there, all with cameras, I might have splurged on something like that, but we didn’t need it.

I was married once before and the lead up and preparations were a nightmare. This is so much nicer. No stress, no worries, everything taken care of for you so that you can just relax and enjoy yourselves and each other. Plus what we got was really like something right out of a romantic chick flick. My wife loved it, and all her girlfriends were so jealous at the wedding she had without all the headaches.

Now for the resort.

Rooms
We had an issue with the TV and AC in our first room. Neither was working quit right. The staff was great about it. They gave us a new room key and showed us where it was, we took off to eat and they moved all of our things to the new room for us. The new room was even nicer (of course everything worked) and it was right on the beach, stepped of our little porch right onto the sand. The staff was really great about moving others in our group around too. Some wanted to be over at the little cove area, and the staff just up and moved them without a second thought. Technically I think some of us were getting upgrades to more expensive rooms, but sandals doesn’t seem to have any problem with that if there’s room.

So if you don’t like your room or its location, just ask and they’ll move you. One of our party screwed up on their reservation and booked the wrong resort completely (I think they booked for Ochos Rios). There were no empty rooms that first night, so they had to stay there, but the next day Sandals brought them and all their stuff to ours and gave them and even better room than what they paid for. This is customer service at its best.

Rooms varied from acceptable to lavish. Ours was pretty nice, but not the best of our groups. The resort offered to upgrade us to a better room but we loved where ours was located and it’s view, so we just stayed there. It was comfortable/nice enough but the view out over the ocean and of the private island was to die for. We just loved getting up and stumbling out to the patio to have breakfast and watch the ocean.
In summary, there is a varied selection, so research your choice and choose carefully. If you don’t like what you get just say something, from our experience they are more than happy to move you/upgrade you to keep you happy.

Food

I am a hardcore foodie, but not a food snob. I like low brow and well executed as much as haute cuisine. With that in mind I rate the food as average, most of the group would have rated it higher than me though. If you think Chili’s is great dining you’ll be right at home and happy, not that the dishes are the same, but similar levels of quality. There were a few standout dishes that were truly great.

The Seaside Bar and Grill— The grilled hot dogs are amazing. Yes it’s a simple food, but wow, the flavor of the dogs they were using was outstanding!

Le Jardinier-- Had one of the best prepared and seasoned escargots I’ve ever had.

The Cricketers Pub—Bourbon glazed pork chop with grilled green apple. Sublime… I have tried and tried to recreate this dish, but can never get the glaze quite right. I end up with a good dish, but not quite like theirs

The Royal Thai-- The spicy pumpkin soup. Wow that was a shocker. No one in the group but me would order it because… Well let’s face it, doesn’t sound like the greatest combo, but holy cow was it good. After I tried it, everyone got it and agreed it was spectacular, so give it a shot.

Drinks

Liquor— They have most any premium liquor that you would commonly find in a well stocked bar. I was expecting no-name whiskey, vodka etc… but they had Jack, Sky, Drambuie, Jager, Glen Levit etc… though no Crown for some reason.

Wine— Mid range, such as Kindle Jackson. Nothing special, but nothing horrible either.

Daiquiris and what not--- An endless supply and flavorful combinations will leave you walking around in a slushy induced low level buzz for most of your time there. I don’t know what’s in that purple “Jamaican Smile” but we drank them by the gallon.

Beer—you better like Red Stripe. That’s you’re only choice unless you buy some Miller from the gift shop.

Actives

Scuba, snorkeling, boating, games etc… It’s all free. We took part in most and they were all enjoyable. If you’re not PADI certified to dive, they will run you through a little quickie course and let you go do some shallow dives. This is also free and was great for most of my group, as I was the only diver. I really like this option, because it let everyone participate in the beautiful diving there without them having to get certified before going.

If you don’t know how to sail, they’ll take you out for an hour or so, on a hobbie cat and teach you. Also free.

I like that they have little courses like this set up to give people the chance to do these things that they have no experience at.

Overall
I loved it. It the perfect vacation for couples. There’s plenty to do if you are the active type. If you’re the move at you own pace take it easy type, it’s great too. There’s no schedules or organized structure like cruise ships. Eat when you want, sleep when you want and spend a week ignoring the clock.
Overall accommodations are nice, while the location is like paradise. Food ranges from fair to surprisingly good, but none of it was bad. Staff was all pleasant, and always seemed to be in a great mood.
The best thing is the complete lack of stress. You don’t need money when you get there. Everything is included, no surprises or let downs. We spent maybe forty dollars total (in the gift shop) while we were there. There’s no worry about budgeting while on vacation you can just relax and be spoiled.
We spent nine days there and didn’t want to leave. And I mean really didn’t want to leave. It took an act of will to get on the bus and head to the airport. Going to Sandals is great, coming home sucks.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Heath W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2012

My husband and I stayed at the RC from Feb.18th to Feb.25th for a delayed honeymoon. We couldn't have had a better time! We did splurge for the butler service and it was well worth it. Tamara and Adia got us into all the restaurants we wanted to sample. They reserved us chairs on the beach every day and brought us coolers full of drinks which they always kept stocked in the room. They even drew a surprise bubble bath with chilled champagne for when we arrived back from an excursion. Our minifridge was always full and we had every kind of liquor that we requested stocked in the room.
The highlight of our nights was Theon at the Cricketeer. Most of the time he would have our drinks waiting for us before we even walked in and was better than any of the entertainment they offered! He really kept the crowd at the bar lively and having a great time!
The beach did get crowded sometimes, but it was always better at the private island. Beautiful ocean, small pool with swim up bar and a fair lunch buffet. Remember to bring your own towel if you go down later in the day!!!
The excursions were not worth it. Once you get off the Sandals, everything is delayed "jamaican time". Dunns Falls was so overcrowded the day we went because several cruise ships had just come into port, it was really unsafe. Guides were trying to push their group all the way to the front at the same time and we watched a lot of people fall.
Only complaint was the beer selection...I will be okay if I never see a Red Stripe again. Portions were small at the restaurants too..we went out as a group of 4 many nights and thought that if we each got a different appetizer we would be able to split them and try it all but they were too small to split. So we would all order them all and that worked out well.
We spent no time at the main pool during the day. It was usually crowded, and who really wants to swim in a pool when you have the beautiful Caribbean Sea steps from your door?
Service was fantastic, not just by the butlers. We asked a security guard out front what type of tree had certain leaves we liked and he ran to get the head gardner to give us the information!
Your vacation is what you make of it. Talk to other couples. Participate in some of the activities. We had a great trip and hope to go back soon!

Room Tip: The swim up suites didnt seem worth the money.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Erin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2012

My wife and i just got back from our trip and we had a great time. The food was great, the staff were excellent. Always happy and joked around.

The only thing that we missed was the long walk on he beach. There is no long stretch of beach at that resort.

The nude section of the island is very small but very secluded. We spent most of our time there and relaxed without being to bothered by people walking by just to see how was there.

It was a great experience and would recommend it for your first trip to Jamaica

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jean1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island

Address: Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $544 - $1,445 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island 5*
Number of rooms: 197
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•7 exquisite dining options, with world-class culinary cuisines.•Only Jamaican resort with a private offshore island, housing an authentic Thai restaurant.•Magnificent, swim-up crystal lagoon suites.•24 hour room service as a part of our concierge service.•English pub offering an authentic pub dining experience.•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row.•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Caribbean Hotel Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Jamaica
Sandal Royal Caribbean

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