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“Portofino has great food and service.”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 23 July 2010

Our server, Shane, had great recommendations for food. His service was great and the atmosphere was nice. When we needed a drink refill there was little wait time. Menu had a great selection.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank sroeh497
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 July 2010

I am a traveler who reads Trip Advisor faithfully for months before booking a resort. As such, I was prepared for far less than we experienced at the Secrets St. James. Understanding that there can be issues with rooms, food, service and any other components of an all-inclusive, this resort has much more going well for it than poorly. Our check-in was profesional and efficient, our room was ready when we arrived at 1:00 PM, we had a great oceanview and a flawless Jr. Suite with a King Bed. We always prefer new construction although there may be "misses" to an outdated, musty, deteriorating room.

We especially appreciated the staff's command of the English language so there was not a barrier to requesting and receiving what we ordered. We were met with friendly and efficient servers and bartenders. We had an issue with internet connection in our room that was handled by a personal visit from an engineer who determined that the location of the room interferred with the signal. Going out to the balcony and connecting there still allowed us to move back inside and use the service after initiation. We were awed by the service.

Food quality was excellent in the ala carte restaurants; good at the buffet and poolside grills. We found the Bordeaux to be wonderful, also enjoyed the Hibachi table at the Asian. The coffee bar was a real treat with Irish, Mexican and Jamaican coffee drinks, including decaf and espresso options. The outdoor entertainment on the water front was very enjoyable as was the Steel Drum show in the theatre. We only used room service on a our last day as we were packing and the food was served on time, at the right temperature and very tasty. We even received a call letting us know that if we wanted dessert, our order would take longer. Since we didn't have the time to wait, we chose to receive the order more quickly. The courtesy call was a nice touch.

The Spa was amazing with an assortment of steam, sauna, jacuzzi and showers. We had facial, message and salon treatments which were all wonderul. Using the resort coupons made the service more reasonable.

The infinity pools were quieter than the sides with the pool bar so there is something for everyone. The man-made beach is not the powdery sand associated with the natural Caribbean beaches, but the water was warm and clear. The Hobie cats were a treat and complimentary, along with the kayaks. The pool floats were plentiful, although they are already showing wear for such a new resort.

The drinks were more potent that in other resorts we have visited. All of the bars offered wine and champagne which is unusual at the pool and beach. Glasses were also larger for beer and frozen drinks which required less orders in the heat. The breakfast buffet had ingredients out every day for both Mimosas and Bloody Marys; the hotel lobbies had Mimosas and chocolate chip cookies all day and evening. We loved the swings at the two outdoor bars next to the beach with great views of the resort and the bay.

The resort location on a peninsula allowed for a water view from more rooms, restaurants and walking areas. The Blue Mountains in the background were very picturesque. Although there was not a lot of walking beach area, the concrete walkway around the complex was easy to connect to restaurants, lounges and activities.

We had sunshine most mornings and clouds and some rain in the afternoons. Outside of one downpour for a few hours, the rain did not hamper activity or pool time. There is a drainage problem during the heavy rain which did build up outside our room, on the stairs, in the lobby and even in the elevator. This will continue to need attention by the resort or they will suffer damage in time. Umbrellas were in the room, staff was working hard to move the water and guests made the best of the situation.

We left $2 every day with a note for wash cloths for the maid and $2 in the frig with a note for extra water. They were there every time. We had turn down every night. The bed was fabulous, loved the jacuzzi and the shower jets. Absolutely no room issues with everything in perfect working condition.

We had a great vacation time and would encourage those of you who are worried by negative experiences to relax and enjoy your stay. Expect things to take longer than in the US, treat the staff with respect and kindness and they will do everything they can to make you happy. You get what you give in many cases.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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6  Thank rocvic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2010

Hi! We stayed at Secrets St. James from July 14-19 for our honeymoon. This was our first time to a resort. We had a blast at Secrets, and we would go back again although it will take us a long time to save up enough money again.

Just thought I would do some pros and cons and tips if you are staying here soon.

Pros: awesome weather - white, sandy beaches - big selection of restaurants - incredible staff that never show annoyance at your requests although sometimes I wonder if they may be thinking differently (I would if I had to serve some of those people) - great fitness center looking out at the ocean (loved that) - kayaking, snorkeling from shore, and sailboats are included - drinks are delicious - they spray for mosquitoes (we still put on bug spray though) - lots of chairs by the pool and beach - lots of great photography places - comfy, comfy bed - great design for shower and sinks - loved the jets in the tub - great view from our room (no we did not stay in the fancy preferred club, the regular room was more than nice enough for us) - safe was large enough to fit lots of stuff including some alcohol and souvenirs we bought - cleaning service and turn down service were awesome – lots of daily activities like volleyball, poker, snorkeling, ping pong tournament and pool tournament + more – we enjoyed the Secrets Got Talent show on Friday night and the other entertainment - quiet and relaxing atmosphere - beautiful place (grass has some more growing to do, but still pretty landscaping)

Cons: the drywalling and paint job is not great, but we didn't spend much time in our room anyways (compared to other buildings we saw on our excursion, it is built quite well) - the mini fridge in our room did not keep our beverages cold even on the high setting (not sure what’s up with that) - the $200 credits have to be split up certain ways (we knew this before going) so we didn't even use any of them - we didn't go to the spa (way too expensive for us) or buy wine (not big wine people) - it's rainy season so we didn't see any really amazing sunsets, but still a beautiful view -it costs a LOT of money to take the cab anywhere (at least the one at the hotel) $50 to take us up the street 5 min. and pick us back up a couple hours later – they didn’t open the bungee jumping on trampoline enough (I really wanted to do this, but it was only open once in our 5 night stay there) – no clocks anywhere, would be nice to have one by the daily schedule so you could get to the activities on time – they do take your drink order when you are at the beach or not in the pool, but it took a long time (we usually went up the pool bar to get them ourselves) – the fruit at breakfast and salad bar at lunch didn’t seem to be quite cold enough – only one of the two elevators was working in our building our whole stay – there are two pornography channels on the TV so beware when flipping through the channels – you have to go to the spa to get the prices, they are not in your room -

Tips: Fill up your bathtub past the jets before you turn them on or water will shoot all over your bathroom (didn't happen to us but to talked to some that had this problem) - Don't miss out on the starfish way down behind the Wild orchid preferred club (beside the rock jetty almost behind the outdoor stage) - ask lots of questions about the excursions before signing up (we got to Dunn's River Falls and my husband couldn't climb because he had back surgery a few months ago, we didn't realize the climbing was that intense) – water sports are slightly cheaper on the other side of the island (parasailing on the resort $65 and only $50 on our excursion to the other side) – Rick’s Café is AWESOME to go for the view at sunset and to see the divers (we loved it there) – Shopping Trip from the resort was fun (craft market was stressful because the ladies with the shops need the money so they are good at what they do, but I don’t like to be pressured when I shop) - If you have time at the airport before your flight leaves, most of the alcohol is cheaper at the stores there – I was glad I brought snacks with us (candy, poptarts, twizzlers) because there is not a good place to get a snack at the resort (that I found) and we took it on our excursions (food and drinks are expensive the places you go) For example, one place wanted $7 for a can of lays chips that might be $1.50 here in the states – bring an alarm clock if you want to be able to see the time (ours didn’t light up so you had to walk right up to the clock in the room to see the time – we brought clothespins and a sheet to hang over the sheer curtain to the bathroom for more privacy – I brought a thermos-like cup to pour my drinks in (kept them much colder on hot days at the pool and beach) – ask how to turn jets on in jacuzzi (we thought it was broke, but one couple told us you have to hit the button by the emergency label (confusing?)) – It’s not as hot at the Asian grill as people are saying (the cook is in three layers cooking over a hot stove, how can people complain?) and the food was awesome there – bring water shoes if you want to climb Dunn’s River Falls – bring an umbrella (there is one at the resort, but you can’t take it off the property – bring snorkeling gear if you have it (even just a mask and breathing tube) so you can go on your own off the shore – bring DVDS if you want to watch them in your room – guys make sure to bring pants of some sort (maybe two pairs) and collared shirts for night to eat at the restaurants – everyone takes American money, no need to exchange anything – bring lots of one and fives if you plan to tip, it’s hard to get change – be prepared for long drives on the tour buses (bring books and/or music if you have it) – World Café has a HUGE breakfast buffet, try it out

I will shut up now…just trying to be helpful because I know I had lots of questions before I left, especially since we hadn’t been to a resort before. Have fun!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank honeymooners_2010_07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2010

Not what you expect for the high price they charge. Poor food, Poor room service, Too much waiting for everything you try to do, poor bedding and pillows,Tips- Tips- Tips Etc. We have stayed in Jamiaca before and stayed at alot better resorts, this one is brand new and they have alot of work to do to win you over. Before we left to go home they even tried to get me to write a review (positive) Because they are getting so many complaints about the resort it is hurting business. I did not think that was very professional because when I read a review I want it to be the truth.
The resort has no control over the airport but you need to know it is a mess, so slow that when we arrived it took us 2 hrs to get thru it before we could even board the transportation to the resort.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Randy575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2010

We stayed at Secrets St. James Montego Bay May 18-23, 2010. We got a great deal in February before it opened. We expected there to be a few hiccups because it was so and therefore kept an open mind. The resort is about 15-20 minutes from the airport. Upon arrival we received champage and cool towels. Checked in within 10 minutes and was in our room within 15 minutes. It was about 1 in the afternoon and we were expecting to have to wait for the room but didn't have to. Our escort to our room showed up how to operate all the electronics and showed us around. The safe did not lock but was fixed in approximately two hours. We also requested a bottle opener (I beleive that this should be standard in every room if you have bottles that require an opener) but again it was brought to us promptly. The room was on the warmer side but we constantly made sure that the air was on and fans were moving to keep it cooler. The bed was heaven. If I could have packed it in my suitcase, it would have been gone.

I would rate the food as okay. I am not that picky and I am not a food critic, but when you are feeding an entire resort full of people you have to be realistic about the quality of food that you are going to get. We ordered room service at least once a day and it was almost always there within 45 minutes. We enjoyed Hitmitsu and Portofino. You have to ask for saki at Hitmitsu.

The bartenders are great and will pretty much do anything to make you happy. Just ask! Lesmore at the pool bar is great! The piano bar entertainment was great but you have to sing along! Its so much more fun that way.

We really didn't care for the snorkeling. We were told by some other guests that you had to go out farther and we decided that we really didn't feel like it so we went back to the pool.

We got a couples massage at the Spa. It was pretty good and the other spa facilities were great.

There are only two things that I would complain about and one no one can control. The weather was not so great. In the afternoon it rained from 12-2 until about 5-6. Then it was southern US late August humid. It sucked but there really isn't any reason to complaint about it. The other was the room service personnel barging into the room. We had kept the light on when we wanted privacy and there were three seperate occasions when the resort personnel knocked and then quickly proceded to open the door themselves. It was just rude and uncomfortable. I would suggest using the dead bolt when you really do not want anyone coming into the room.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kvonhoene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2010

Just returned from a 1 week stay with my husband. Check in went smoothly, however, once brought to room with bellman, only to find electronic key doesn't work. Rather than him going down to correctly recode key, he made us go with him. Waited about 1 hour for maintenance to show up and accompany us again back to room - only to realize maintenance thought he was called for "another" reason - the safe! So now the bellman, leaves us standing there while he argues with the maintenance person - finally get in! Room very nice, limited space in shower to put your stuff. Mosquitoes and flies galore! Everywhere - day and night - by poolside and in restaurants - minimal air conditioning in restaurants. Waitresses serving guests drinks at pool and beach are wonderful (Nadine) and housekeeping day and night are wonderful and friendly. But everybody else - not very personable. Trying to get change was ridiculous - all the front desk employees did was apologize saying they had no more. We tip everywhere we go and don't travel with 100's of dollars in small bills - cashing those larger bills was a futile attempt! Anyway on Day 3 the safe didn't work - had to sit in room for 2 hours with 2 hotel employees - one from Lock & Safe dept to try to figure it out . I'm missing my day at the beach - this is my vacation after all. I told them, look I'll just empty safe and you 2 fix the problem - but no - I had to stay. Finally get it fixed and we leave room. That evening just before going out to dinner - guess what? safe doesn't work ! So I called downstairs and told them I want my room changed and they did - but I had to come down and get a new key - check out the new room and let her know if it was satisfactory - this is 7 pm now. So my husband and I moved all our stuff into new room - 3 doors down thank goodness with NO assistance. Restaurants are ridiculously slow service - had our coffee served practically after our breakfast. We are patient people and always tip and are very appreciative of everyone but this is unheard of. We stayed at Excellence Riviera Maya, Cancun in March 2010 and April 2009 and it was superb. Staff and service were definitely worthy of the 4 1/2 stars rated. This place - not worth 3 stars, but apparently given 4 1/2 - I have no idea why. I called my Travel Agent at :Liberty and left a message to "get us outta there". She called next day told us to go see GM of hotel which we did. We met Douglas Anderson - who was listened to us and we told him we had met a couple two days ago who also had problem with their safe and room, and he was like "okay we're not talking about them - we're talking about you". He didn't welcome us and was like "okay so in effect what you want to know is what can I do to make you happy or give you to make you feel better"? He was very condescending and obviously doesn't give a hoot about his guests by the way he spoke to us. He asked us what he could do to make the rest of our stay better. We mentioned we were going to the Spa that day and he asked us for what - when we told him we were getting Swedish Massages - he says "oh you're getting the best". Needless to say he said he'd see what he can do for us - offered us a free "shoulder and neck massage" on Sunday, the day before we checked out - which never happened. By the way, he saw us in passing 2 times since our meeting on Wednesday. He just avoided us.

Monday 7/19 upon checkout we had a torrential rain and a blackout - so all the incoming guests had to sit in a hot lobby, no AC, no computers, no rooms until lights turned back on. My husband and I brought down our own luggage - as no one answered when we called for a Bellman to pick them up. This was right after rainstorm, water everywhere, towels stuffed under every door, hallways soaked like walking on a sheet of ice in the winter. The one and only elevator on the floor was soaked and water coming down the shaft - but we took it and thank GOD it worked ! Those poor incoming guests putting up with the, heat, mosquitoes and no rooms - I feel bad for them.

I've traveled at least once a year for the past 30 years - and I never looked forward to coming home - aside from seeing my family - but this vacation - couldn't wait to come home - and we paid $1575 each for this? This was not a "summer bargain price" It cost us about $3,500 in all. I'm on vacation - I shouldn't have to deal with maintenance people and fixing things that aren't working - we are supposed to be enjoying ourselves !

Secret Box - is for room service without being disturbed - but they never pick up the finished food. We ordered coffee and fruit each night which was delivered when we asked for it - however, when we finished with it we'd put back our empty plates back into the box for them to pick up . They never came. So 2 days they ring our bell and hand me the food on a huge plate that I have to bring into the room. If you walk the halls during the afternoon or on the way to dinner - almost every secret box is open with empty dirty dishes.

Hotel is understaffed and the employees seem overworked. One night in the Asian restaurant we swear the waiter called in sick and made a busboy the waiter that night - he got everything we ordered wrong and the table next to ours too. Not the pool staff though - many lifeguards who have a meeting every morning in the gazebo on the beach - what do they discuss at those meetings? Not personable at all.

Honestly, employees are only as good as the management that manages them. Douglas Anderson and his other head honchos (Emilio Huhn) need to go to the Excellence Hotel & Spa in Cancun and watch how those employees treat the hotel guests. They are kind and can't do enough for people. Every person is treated as if they are a "Preferred" guest. I went there two times and I'm going back - that's our place. Management is on top of things and make sure employees make guests happy. Love that place!

Fitness Center - nice, clean, have bottled water and towels. Could use a little more AC. Also restaurants should have ceiling fans - I mean this is the Caribbean - fans provide great cooling feature.

Bathrooms: Water leaked out of shower onto floor (in our first room), jacuzzi tub took forever for water to drain (2nd room), toilet bowl sometimes wouldn't flush.

Housekeeping employees were wonderful and very nice to guests - more personable than servers and Hotel Lobby employees. Wouldn't return if they gave it to us for free - Honest!
Be forewarned - and listen to the people's reviews. The only people who might be complacent with this place and the less experienced traveler who has nothing to compare this to. Try the Excellence - you won't be disappointed ! And Doug, go see the management there !

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank 3village
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2010

Since we checked in, everyone has been so grateful to have us as guests. We have been pampered beyond what is deserved.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank lmm3301
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 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: $469 - $1,069 (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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