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“Gorgeous, relaxing, great snorkeling right in front!”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 15 September 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at Secrets St. James with another couple in the middle of August 2011. This is two resorts in one and you can use the amenities at both. At first I was afraid that this would make the resort huge and crowded. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. Though there were quite a few people there (I think we saw 2 or 3 weddings take place during our stay) I never felt as if it was over crowded. There were always plenty of chairs by the pools and on the beach for everyone, though if you wanted the huts on the beach you needed to claim them fairly early or after it rained. (August is during rainy season so it rained everyday, but only in the afternoon and only for a short period of time)

Check-in

We arrived at the same time as a TON of other guests, but there were several people working the check in desks so overall it did not take as long as I expected when we first walked in. We did, however, have a little snag. I had previously emailed the resort to confirm our reservation and the confirmation email was very quick to come back (yay!), but once we were in the lobby we figured out that they had sent me the incorrect information and it did not have my name on it, but my friend's name who had booked our rooms together. Apparently this was some sort of problem because they made my friend get on a computer and print out something with my name on it in order for me to be able to check in. I don't know why they couldn't just look up my name in the computer and then check my ID as every other hotel I've stayed at has done. They also never gave us the welcome drink, but I had so many drinks over the course of the stay that I didn't mind. This was slightly annoying, but not enough to ruin the day or trip. Once we got past this, they informed us that our room was not ready, but we could have lunch while we waited. So the 4 of us went to the Seaside Grill to have a drink/snack while we waited. We had already been served lunch on the plane and were not that hungry so we all ended up getting dessert instead of a meal. I had the guava mousse and it was to die for! I think my friend had it twice after that because she loved it so much. After our snack we returned to the lobby and our rooms were ready. The bellman brought our luggage and pointed out all the amenities our room category had to offer.

The room

We did not choose to upgrade our room to preferred as we didn't think it was worth the extra cost. Our 2nd floor room was extremely nice! We had a king size bed, jacuzzi tub, separate shower, mini fridge with drinks and we would have had a view of the pool if not for the palm tree in front of our balcony. The room was very clean and the maid did an excellent job every day. Our AC worked perfectly, but our friend's room had a problem with theirs. They called the front desk and they sent someone to fix it and never had another problem after that. The only complaint I had was that they did not offer free internet to all the room categories. At this caliber resort I sort expected that they would. They did however have a business center with pay by the minute (50 cents US) internet or $15 per day or $60 for the entire stay. A bit steep so we never used it, but our friends did the pay by minute a couple of times.

The food

I have found that most people tend to find the food at All-inclusives to be middle of the road or mediocre, but we actually liked the food here. The Italian restaurant was our favorite and the food was very good. We also ate at the French restaurant, Oceana and did the buffet for breakfast. Those were good as well, but the buffet was nothing special as is pretty typical. This isn't Vegas though so we weren't expecting anything spectacular. We tried to make reservations for the hibachi grill, but we made the mistake of not calling the day before and could not get a reservation. As this was our last night at the resort we never got to eat here, but we heard from a couple of other guests that it was good.

The service

Most service in the Caribbean would be considered slow. However I felt that it was actually pretty good at this resort. What do you want to hurry up on vacation for anyway? All of the staff was very friendly and greeted you with a smile. Tipping was not required, but was always appreciated. I never had a drink that was stingy on the alcohol and my boyfriend stayed pretty buzzed as a result.

The Spa

I got a hot stone massage at the spa which also allowed me access to the facilities. I thought these were awesome! The dynamic pool was fun to play around in, the sauna was nice, the sensation path was pretty cool too. They had a beverage bar area with lounge chairs in the hydro therapy room which was very nice. I love cucumber water! You waited in this area for your therapist to come and call you by name. I recommend getting to the spa an hour in advance (they tell you this when you sign up) as check-in can take quite awhile. I arrived 30-40 minutes early and ended up only being able to use the hydrotherapy room for about 15-20 minutes. The hot stone massage itself was AMAZING! I had only had one on my feet during pedicures before and a full body one was excellent.

Watersports

All the non-motorized sports were included, kayaking, hobie cat, snorkeling etc. However, they wouldn't check out snorkel gear to you unless you went on their short guided snorkel tour and then you had to give it back at the end. We heard this was free, but we never went on it. I ended up buying snorkel gear at one of the resort shops (30$) so bring your own! You can snorkel right past the jetties in front of the resort and I highly recommend this if you can swim. I took out both a two and single person kayak and had a lot of fun. They don't allow you to snorkel from the kayaks (though we did anyway), but if you are in a two person and one person stays in the kayak to make sure it doesn't drift off it's doable. If you have never tried to get back in a kayak from the water I do NOT recommend it. It can be fairly difficult if you don't know what you are doing. My boyfriend and I knew what we were doing and we flipped twice trying to get back in. We paid to go para sailing one day. This was both fun and scary. My two friends were the last to go up in the para sail and as they were in the air a rainstorm (that the two other couples on the boat with us had been watching) hit. The rain was pouring so hard we couldn't see land anymore and our poor friends were stuck in the air because they couldn't get the para sail down due to the wind! I was scared that they were going to get struck by lightning while they were in the air, but thankfully the two guys running the boat were able to get them safely back down. I feel this incident was bad judgement on their part for letting my friends go up when we could clearly see the storm heading our way, but excellent job on getting them back in the boat.

Advice

The jerk chicken and burger carts start on the Wild Orchid side and make their way over to the St. James side. Go get in line when they are on the Wild Orchid side as we never saw them actually make it to the St. James side before running out. The same goes for the pineapple and coconut carver! All of these are delicious (and free) so I recommend trying them.

Overall we had a wonderful time at this hotel and Jamaica and we would definitely return again.

Room Tip: Ask for a higher room if you can get it. 2nd floor view could be blocked by a palm tree if there is...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank KelliM819
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,865 - 5,871 of 6,706 reviews

Reviewed 15 September 2011

I have been to Jamaica 5 times and have stayed at a different all-inclusive every time. While I have to say I have always preferred the "Couples" chain, I am completely SOLD on Secrets! The resort was extremely well kept and you feel so far away and secluded even though you are only 20 minutes from the airport.The food, staff, pools, drinks, beaches and rooms were all fantastic. I am surprised at how many friends we made. I loved that it is adult only but you saw more than just couples and people were very social. Everyone was fun without being obnoxiously rowdy like some other resorts (like Riu).

For those who are nervous to go to Jamaica in September - trust me I have been there 4 times in hurricane season and have always had incredible weather while scoring cheaper rates.

We did not opt for preferred and will not next time either - I don't see the value other than the free wifi in your room. Check-in and check-out were flawless and we were moved to another room right away when there was a problem with the bathroom door (we even got a better view out of it!). Even with the room move the entire check-in process was under a half hour. I loved the St. James side and will stay there again next time although nothing is far so don't be fooled by the reviews by lazier folks.

My only criticism would be the lack of night life and the lack of complimentary excursions that I was used to with the "Couples" chain but the criticism is minor because the vacation was nearly perfect. We will definitely be back!!! It was an excellent vacation at an excellent value.

Room Tip: The rooms are crazy dark at night so next time I will bring a flash light or night light so I can fi...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank CMT22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2011

First, my wife and I are seasoned travelers. This was our fifth land vacation to an all inclusive Jamaica Hotel. Our first Secrets Resort. Immigration and customs where a breeze, in and out in fifteen minutes, but, we did hear other not so good stories of 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to the hotel was quick and our driver was a hoot. Expect to tip porter who brought bags to bus and the driver. We where met at the bus by Mr. Chris Brown, bellman. On our way to the private check in of the preferred club, we received a short description of the facility, actually very well done. The check in was private, concise, yet detailed information was given. If you enjoy being spoiled, this is for you. While we where there, Chris brought us cool towels and anything we chose to drink. Upon completion, he escorted us to our room. He gave us a detailed explanation of everything in the room and answered all of my wife's questions. THE ROOM- in a word SPECTACULAR!! I've read the other rooms complaining about leaks A/C lack of housekeeping, not being clean. We did not experience any of this. A/C- your housekeeper WILL shut it off after cleaning the room IF you do not request otherwise !!! The room was as clean as I've ever seen, the housekeeping was timely, turn down service was never missed and had great touches like hearts and flowers on the bed, very nice touches. The mini bar was replenished daily with whatever you requested, no it's not extremely cold, but acceptable. The "rain" shower is a delight, the bed and bedding are the best I've ever had !! The flat screen TV was more than acceptable with plenty of channels from a variety of countries. The room is 5 star. ROOM SERVICE- we had some sort of room service every day. Every waiter was a delight. Smiling, happy, talkative and efficient. When ordering the order taker will give you a time window and they where always within it. {30-45} minutes. There was absoulutely no pressure or hint to tip any employee at this resort at any time in any place....with that being said, we tipped all that where deserving, all inclusive or not, good to excellent service should be rewarded. Observing other guests, some tipped, some didn't. We observed no difference in service either way. THE RESORT- it is immaculate. Period. All areas, lobby, restaurants, grounds, public areas, rest rooms, walk ways, pool areas, beach, top shelf, 5 star.FOOD- well, not so good. They have enough varities, but it's edible, but tasteless. You won't go hungry but you never leave dinner feeling you had a real good meal. They really have to work on food quality if they want patrons to return. Breakfast was the best meal of the day but buffet only. There is no order off menu breakfast. The buffet was ample enough with every breakfast choice available. Service was strangely different every day, some days they where all over you other days, not so much. 2 stars only, sorry. ENTERTAINMENT- for Jamaica, my god, non existent, what a disappointment. You really had to go off property.0 stars.LOGISTICS- awful. If your not staying at the wild orchid be prepared to walk everywhere !!!! Nothing is close to The St James side and it's not a short walk. If it rains your gonna get soaked!!! None of the walk ways are covered, a huge mistake. A shuttle would be the answer, ya listening ?? The beach and pools are 5 star all the way. We have found the Jamaican people to always be a delight and we wer'nt let down here either we had a BLAST WITH ALL OF THEM, A SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO SHANEIL AND JASON[WATER SPORTS] AND FABIAN [PORTOFINO] We see many trying to compare Secrets to Sandals, come on folks Sandals has been doing this in Jamaica for 30 years and if you where to get a room like Secrets offers you at Sandals with the same view you would pay at least twice as much !! Secrets has all the ingredients they just have to learn how to stir them. Now our favorite encounter, one evening in the pouring rain, we ducked into a service room for shelter. A housekeeper in the ST. James {Jacqueline} noticed us there and immediately gave us umbrellas and took us the back way through the building to avoid the torrential down pour for as far as she could, at this point we where going to have to venture out in the rain again to get to our room. Jacqueline gets down on her knees and rolls my pants up to my knees and pulls my socks down to help me on my way. Jacqueline you are Jamaica. Your the reason we come and will return. Thank you for caring for the old folks from Florida. Secrets is a "good" resort, it can be great. I hope your listening, and I sure hope you read all the reviews with a grain of salt but do what you have to do to make this a 5 star resort !!

Room Tip: as high as possible center
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank drumma56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2011

We have stayed at many resorts for the past 8 yrs an this is the first that the bartenders were so RUDE! You could not get them to wait on you, an when they did they acted as if they didn't want to wait on us.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank DonnerNRay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2011

From start to finish the experience was stellar. Drinks, food, entertainment, staff, all were awesome. Did I mention the awesome staff? Everyone was great, I was greeted by Sharol at the front desk, she was extremely nice, and gorgeous. I almost didn't want to go to my room after she finished checking me in.
The room was absolutely amazing! Jacuzzi, balcony, view of the ocean, and a mini fridge stocked with beer, soda, and water.
My advice to people going here or anywhere else is to bring the party with you. What I mean by that is drink and get on the dance floor if there is one, don't just sit around looking depressed. If you're at a show clap and scream as loud as you can. You'll have a much better experience. Last but not least is TIP TIP TIP. This resort allows it so if you can tip a few bucks every once and a while it should be done. These people are super friendly and despite the smiles and kind words i'm sure they put up with a lot of crap.
There's more but its mostly been said by others, this place is great. Everyone I spoke to on the resort was pleased with their stay here. I heard a lot of people talking about various other resorts on the way back and many of them had bad experiences but everyone and I mean everyone at Secrets St. James had a blast. Just want to say again that the front desk staff, motor sports staff, bartenders and all the rest were awesome, and thank you to Sharol and Kamecia at the front desk for taking such good care of me.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Derick R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2011

I took a girls trip from July 20-24, 2011. I have been to many resorts in JA many considered ultra luxury. I thought this was one of the best in MoBay. Overall, it was a nice resort. Check in was not smooth and confusing..I did arrive during a very busy time (Sun Splash). The rooms are very nice. Comfy bed and nice decor, the food was good not great. I was disapponted in the 24 hr service after a certain time its only sandwiches(mediocre at best). Most resorts offer full menu 24hrs... There were a few issues, clogged shower head, problem with sliding door. Nothing big enough to deter me from a great stay.
The pools were very nice. Although, I spent more time at Wild Orchid pool(it was just livelier). I wasn't happy with the food/drink service at either pools/beach...slow and bad service in general. I am talking about while sitting around the pool or at the beach...not at the restaurant tables. Everyday I was there I had to track somebody down for service and when they delivered upI had to get up again for napkins, ketchup or just to tell them it was served cold. The drinks were good if you swam up to the bar, otherwise you had to wait forever for service.
I will add all the pool/bar staff was great and curteous. The concierge folks were fantastic and made sure I had a nice stay. It was easy to overlook my other complaints when you had such wonderful people looking out for you!
The shows, nightclub and entertainment was also fantastic. We all had a good time and would go back in a heartbeat!

Room Tip: I was on the ground floor with a pool view but wish I had stayed higher up with the ocean view.
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank TonyaCareer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2011

Just return from a nine day stay . @ST James.The place was beautiful. We had a great time.The location was wonderful.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank battersyboyja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Secrets St. James Montego Bay

Address: Lot A59, Freeport, Montego Bay, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: C$450 - C$959 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets St. James Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 350
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Also Known As:
Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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