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Reviewed October 6, 2012

My husband & I just returned from the Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where we stayed 8 nights Sept. 21st-29th. We are a scuba diving couple in our mid 50’s from California. We are Sandals Platinum Members and began our Sandals/Beaches adventure at this resort in 2006 to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and returned this year to celebrate our 31st. We have been to Beaches Turks & Caicos, Beaches Negril, Sandals Royal Bahamian, and twice here at the SRC. We like to travel in September which is the Caribbean’s low season, resorts are not full, and less children at the family resorts.

In 2010 we achieved platinum level at Beaches Negril. Each new level comes with perks, so be sure and sign up for the Sandals Select Members. At Negril we were given a complimentary couple’s romantic bubble bath. This year at SRC we were given a complimentary couples massage. We are 19 nights from our free week!! (To newbie’s: after 70 nights with Beaches/Sandals you receive a free week at any of their resorts.)

With each visit to Beaches/ Sandals we have been given a room upgrade free of charge. This year I booked the lowest category room, anticipating an upgrade, and also….it was what we could afford this year. When we checked in we were told we had received an upgrade and escorted to our room. I have to admit that I was disappointed. The ‘upgraded’ room was farthest back from the beach in the building by the driveway entrance. The room was very nice with a Jacuzzi tub. Now, I don’t want to sound arrogant, but with 51 nights with Beaches/Sandals I expected more. But, we didn’t complain and said ‘thank you’, just happy to be on vacation and be pampered & spoiled. After all, ‘anything’ would be an upgrade to what I actually booked. The lady who escorted us to the room noticed water leaking from the mini refrigerator and that it would need to be fixed. My husband asked if there were any other upgrades available, and off they went. We were moved to the Sandringham building, 2nd floor with a balcony and a view of the beach and private island. Okay! This is what I expected!

Since “Eat, dive, eat, float in the ocean, float in the pool, eat, watch the night sky, sleep” was pretty much our daily routine, instead of a daily review, I will comment on different aspects of our stay.

Security Staff: always visible but in the background which provides a very safe and comfortable stay.

Airport Shuttle drivers: not employees of Sandals, so tip them a buck or two per bag.

Our room: Nice comfortable bed and pillows, black-out curtains, A/C worked well, and mini refrigerator stocked with bottled water, beer, juice, and soda. Bathroom counter was too small to hold all of our toiletries, but we managed with the ledge under the window. Good size fluffy towels. Room taken care of twice a day, including turn down service and cute towel arrangements left on bed.

Beach: it is small, just like the pictures. No long walks on the beach…if that’s your thing, hop a ride on the shuttle and go over to Sandals MoBay. We found the beach sufficient for floating around and cooling off. They do have beach/pool drink service now which was conducted very efficiently, this service was added after 2006. We saw guys out a couple of times a day raking the beach.

The island: I had read positive things on TA about the island, but have to say I was disappointed. The area were TA contributors had said had good snorkeling, we found it to be a very small area and saw nothing more than sea grass, some small fish, small yellow-tail snappers, and a few file fish. Pool was small, and had a very small stretch of sandy beach. Surrounding most of the island is a retainer wall. The jerk pork and chicken on the island was very good as was the service. Boat services runs so often there is rarely a wait to go in either direction. We found we like the main resort better. To each their own. Another important fact about the island: the island can be rented out in the evening to groups not staying at Sandals. Twice during the week, the island was lit up and very loud, fast dance music could be heard at the main resort, including every word the MC was saying. Now….if I had paid almost $200 for a private romantic candle lit dinner on the pier in the gazebo, I’d be pretty disappointed in the ‘romantic music’. So….if you plan on booking this romantic evening, just make sure there isn’t an island party going on that night.

Pools: swim-up bar at the main resort is in the activities pool. When these activities were going on, you had to wade around the players to get to the bar. As you sat on a stool, your back was up against someone participating in the activity. We used this pool only once since it was so crowded. We preferred the east pool which is very quiet. We’d get in the pool after our ocean time was done for the day, and before heading to our room to get ready for dinner.

Restaurants:
Le Jardinier – The entrees of beef tenderloin, rack of lamb and Caribbean Lobster were delicious. All dishes we tried were excellent. House wine, Stone Cellars (of Beringer), cabernet sauvignon was outstanding. Chef’s prepared a special appetizer not on the menu, and we were offered a cherry sorbet palate cleanser before the entrée. We liked this menu/food so much we ate here 3 times out of the 8 nights we were there. Janice was an outstanding hostess, and Samantha was a very friendly server.

Mariner’s grill: burgers, fries, wraps, Panini, bar, self-serve soda machine, self-serve ice cream, and self serve nachos. The Bartender Randle very entertaining. Tables/chairs with umbrellas and picnic tables under palapas offer direct views of the ocean just steps away. Rockisha was a wonderful, fun, and friendly server, who served us lunch every day. She’s the model of outstanding customer interaction. We did bring our own insulated mugs which the bartenders would fill. This kept the ice from melting as fast and our drink stayed colder longer.

Cricketers – good fish and chips

Piano bar – went there a couple of times for before-dinner drinks. Kevin was very personable and loved to discuss sports, which my husband particularly enjoyed.

Buffet – it’s your typical resort buffet. Everyone would be able to find something they like. Michael made my omelet each morning. He was very friendly, which was a great start to my day. Good pastry chef.

Friday Beach BBQ: Both Fridays it was moved into the Regency due to rain. Buffet with lots of choices.

The Pavilion: Great upscale outdoor dining.
Stewfish: at Sandals MoBay. Took the shuttle over on our last night. Every course was delicious and the mussels were cooked perfectly.

Diving: Due to previous storm damage, overfishing, and ignorance, the reef and sea life was a disappointment. Beaches/Sandals does partner with the government to help educate the local population about ocean conservation. But to some, fishing is their only source of income. Shaq, David, Paul, Greg, Andrew, are outstanding Dive Masters. Shaq lead the night dive that my husband went on and enjoyed the dive. But the real boss is Miss Tamara - she keeps the water sports desk fun and orderly. The boat Captain who’s name was pronounced “Saw” (do not remember the correct spelling) ran an excellent boat. All in all Beaches/Sandals run a very professional PADI certified safe operation. We were able to get in 14 dives. The micro life was fun to look for.

Our nighttime entertainment: We did enjoy the Silver Birds steel drum band – very entertaining. The rest of the entertainment for us, the good Lord provided:) Spent all other evenings laying in loungers on the beach/piers and gazed at the stars while my husband smoked a cigar. You are not allowed to go into the ocean at night because some poisonous fish come up into the shallows at night time. We took the dive light out to the piers and looked around. Saw lionfish (poisonous), sea worms, sea cucumbers, misc small fish, and a pastel colored octopus.

Return Guest Dinner: Lovely pool-side setting with gifts and delicious food. A bottle of Appleton Rum for the men, and a red rose bouquet for the ladies. The menu that night included an appetizer, salad, surf 'n turf, and a medley of desserts. Because our stay coincided with Reunion Week, one couple at this dinner was awarded for their 200th night! A raffle was for all in attendance with a prize of a 5 night vacation at Sandals....no we didn't win:(

Maintenance: Someone was always working maintaining the property everywhere you went. It wasn’t a distraction, but encouraging knowing the resort was being kept up. Eric, (aka. Mr. Fix it) was very visible and approachable, always willing and able to address any need brought to his attention by a quest.

Staff: All the employees, from reception to gardeners, were very friendly with smiles and asking how your vacation was going. The resorts are very nice, but it’s the staff, (either at
Beach/Sandals) that keep us loyal and wanting to come back.

As we were on the shuttle bus ready for departure to the airport, the general manager and top staff members sang us a farewell “soon come back” song.

Don’t hesitate, book today!

Room Tip: In choosing a room, make sure you book what you want using the site map. The Windsor Building is the closest to the night time entertainment, so if you are not night owls, beware:) Rooms on the east end are the quietest.
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank tropicaladdict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 6, 2012

We stayed at the Royal Caribbean for our honeymoon. Our favorite part of the resort was the night life! Two playmakers that really stand out are Hollywood and Chico. If you go, get to know these gentlemen! They are hilarious and very entertaining! The room was decent, we didn't pay for a deluxe suite. The maid service is very good, but it's not like American hotels where they come in the morning. The maids can come at anytime. Jamaica is very relaxed and unrushed. Be aware of that. The restaurants and bars are excellent as well. We also booked two excursions through Island Routes. One to Dunn's River Falls in Ochos Rios and one to Let's Go Native Negril. Both were excellent and worth the money! Visit the Soon Come Back booth to receive $$$ savings on your next Sandals vacation. The Royal Caribbean is a great investment!

  • Stayed: October 2012
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1  Thank Andrea A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 5, 2012

This was our 7th trip to a Sandals and 4th to S.R.C. in 3.5 years. We had thought about going to a Reunion Week for a while and because of a great flight price decided to go. Although we have always had a great time at Sandals the Reunion Week was extra special. The Day Time Cruise was a blast! Great people,snorkeling, Margaritaville, good music, upside down shots, how can you top that? The returning guest dinner with a chance to win a free week!
The entire staff at S.R.C. are the best, they really care that you are having a good trip and want to help any way they can. We met a lot of nice couples both returning and new to Sandals. We did not talk to anyone that was having a bad time or who could not get any small problems resolved.
I would like to thank everyone individually but the list would be too long. All that we met contributed to the best vacation ever!
I am sure we will return "home" soon.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SandalsSpielberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 5, 2012

We have just come back from this Sandals Resort in Jamaica. Had a wonderful time being
waited on by our butlers. Scenery brilliant and all inclusive is the way to go. Staff are so
caring and attentive. Pity we had to come back to the Britsh weather. Food was plentiful and
varied. Rooms were so comfortable and spacious. Grounds were excellent. Only 15 minutes
from the airport. There is nothing negative to say about the hotel or Jamaica.

Room Tip: Ask for a sea facing suite as these don't get any of the noisy element if you want a quiet holiday
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank rockyl58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 5, 2012

Just got back from 4 days at the Sandals Royal Caribbean. Cant understand any negative reviews which always concern you a little before travelling after seeing it. Our best experiences were the shows, dining, theme nights (Dont forget to pack white clothes for the Monday night white party!!), piano bar and the island experience including the jerk hut and Thai restaurant. The staff who really stood out for us was the pianist at the piano bar (very talented) and a young guy called Andrew at the watersports who remembered our names the entire time we were there after meeting us once. He always had a smile and would stop and talk whenever we passed. He explained about the Jamaican culture and took the time to bring in ackkee?? from home to show us when we were asking exactly what it was. Great guy. The entire staff are what make this resort stand out. Cant say enough great things about them.
We had a beachfront walkout room with an amazing view, although all of the beaches at this resort were fairly small. Rooms were normal rooms but the whole resort was within a two minute walk from any room on the property.
We did walk down the famous hip strip and were very unimpressed. There was garbage laying around everywhere. The free shuttle bus will drop you at the end of the Hip strip and you can walk back to Sandals Carlyle for lunch. If you are looking for souvenirs and dont wish to go into the town, there are shops directly across the street from the resort, Rose hall great house does have an interesting tour and is worth a visit.
This resort does have a lot of repeat guests. We met a really nice guy (Barry) who was visiting for his 35th time!! In fact, there quite a few people we met who had been there numerous times previously.
The only negative comment I have was nothing to do with Sandals. Watch out for taxi drivers who will severely overcharge if they think they can. We had stayed at the Riu Montego Bay before arriving at this resort. We were trying to prebook our transfers from the Riu to Sandals (Sandals take care of your airport transfers when you are there). The taxi company (Clives) wanted $25 which is the same fare to go to the other end of Montego Bay. It is literally a two minute walk as these properties are adjacent. The concierge desks are great to help you avoid these gougers!!

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank martininblack63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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