I just returned from Sandals Montego Bay, and overall had a great time. I didn't feel like the resort really lived up to all the "hype" you hear about Sandals, however we still had a great time and enjoyed almost every aspect of our trip. It was our first trip to Sandals, and we look forward to experiencing other resorts in the Sandals chain for some future vacations. Here is my review:
The room was very small, but it was very nice. It had beautiful dark wood finishes and the bed was quite comfortable! We were in a Luxury Oceanview Room. The balcony was large and made up for lack of space in the actual room. We didn't spend too much time in there, so it didn't matter too much. I did find it funny though that we were in a Luxury room category and it had an ancient Panasonic TV from the 90's - literally the same TV I had to give away a few months ago because I couldn't get $20 for it! We joked that it followed us to Jamaica. We didn't even watch the TV but if you are going to call a room Luxury, I would get with the times and put a flat screen in there. That is a very, very minor detail though. Next time, I will likely book a bigger room or Jr Suite.
Beach was nice and had a few separate sections you could go on. If you are going to Montego Bay, you aren't going there for the long stretches of beach (Negril is where the better beaches are) so I knew what to expect from the beach. Very hard to get any shade though, unless you are up at 8am or have a butler. I was a bit disappointed in that, but what can you do. High winds brought in a lot of sea weed, but the resort cleaned it up mostly. Nothing you can really do about nature. I was surprised that some of the beach chairs were worn and saggy - definitely didn't expect that from Sandals, but that is a very minor detail.
I enjoyed the food. Breakfast was always good, we only did the buffet but there was lots of selection and made to order omelettes etc. Lunch was either at the beach (pizzeria was pretty good and the Jerk Chicken at the grill was great too) or we went to the buffet, which again had a great selection of things to choose from.
For dinners, we did the Bayside a la carte which we thought was excellent (I had a great crab cake there, and coffee cheesecake - so delicious!) We went to Tokyo Joes which I absolutely loved, and we also did Stewfish which was okay. The atmosphere was really nice as it is on the beach and very romantic, however, I was pretty disappointed that they served the exact same rice with my entree that they serve at the beach grill! I hope it wasn't leftovers. That was weird, but other than that we had some great chowder there. Our server never came back after we got our main dish to offer more drinks or anything so we just got up and left when we were done and skipped desert. Overall the food was good - I wouldn't say "5 star gourmet" but I did find it excellent and there was never a meal I didn't like.
The drinks were great! No complaints there at all. Really strong drinks, nothing watered down. They had Jack Daniels which was great. Also a cool variety of cocktails etc. Yum.
Overall, the staff were quite good. However, everyone was raving about the staff at Sandals and I really didn't get "wowed" by anyone except for the bartender Davion who always remembered our names. I found that sometimes when we went to order drinks, you felt like you were bugging them. It wasn't a huge deal to us, but we definitely noticed. Also we weren't sure at the Bayside a la carte if we were going to stay and eat, so we asked if we could just get the appetizer and drinks and were told a simple and flat "no" by the person there. I figured "Luxury Included" meant eating only an appetizer if I want to? That was just plain weird / rude. I guess overall most of the bartenders were average in my opinion and not overly friendly. In general though the staff will walk by and say hello and the Playmakers / Entertainment staff were very friendly and engaging.
The proximity to the airport did not bother me one bit. I thought the planes taking off and landing was really cool to be honest. You never heard the planes at weird hours, so our sleep was not disturbed once by the planes. Everyone on the resort waves to the planes as they take off and land which is kind of neat. I LOVED that we were at the resort within 10 minutes of leaving the airport. This was one of the main things I look for in a vacation - close to the airport. That means vacation starts sooner and you can sleep in a bit on the last day.
Overall, I would give my vacation a 4/5. The resort was nice but there were definitely a few things that was unexpected that could be improved in my opinion, especially for the price that you pay to go. I would recommend this resort to friends and family, BUT let them know all of the above things first so they can make their decision accordingly. I would maybe come back to this Sandals, but first am looking forward to trying out Antigua, St Lucia and Bahamas first.
But at the end of the day, when you are on vacation in Jamaica, you can really make the best of anything. We did, and we had a great time. Ya mon!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Largest private white sand beach on the north coast •The entertainment capital of the Sandals brand with nightly professional shows and upbeat, active, fun-loving daytime activities. •Six exquisite dining options•Complimentary transfers to Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Carlyle. Enjoy all the luxuries included in our “stay at one, play at three” concept offering 18 dining options •Air-conditioned departure lounge•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
- Also Known As:
- Sandals Montego Bay Hotel Montego Bay
- Sandals Hotel Montego Bay
- Montego Bay Sandals Hotel
- Sandal Montego Bay