We stayed at SWO from July 31st thru August 10th 2012 on our Honeymoon. We had read many reviews about the resort prior to our stay and I can tell you that all the positive reviews are correct and we found not one single negative thing to say about the resort itself (Can't say the same for the off the resort trip we went on) during our stay. I had read a few reviews that said all the positive posting on trip advisor were made by actual employees of the resort under fake names to boost their trip advisor rating and hide the negative about the resort. All I can tell you is that we were real guest to the resort and we loved it. This maybe a bit long but I wanted to share everything we experienced so that others may benefit from it.
Rooms: We stayed in room 1304 on the Wild Orchid Preferred Side of the resort. The room was in the perfect location. We were opposite the pool side so we didn’t hear any of the noise from the pool area but still had a great view of Star Fish Bay. We were on the 3rd floor and our room was situated so that our patio was basically blind to anyone who would walk by and gave us ultimate privacy with a terrific view to really enjoy the time we spent on our patio. Our room was PC ocean view suite that had a large marble shower big enough for two comfortably with a rain shower head and separate hand held shower head as well. The bathroom also had a very nice Jacuzzi tub that was just big enough for two. I had read complaints that the bathrooms were open to the room and that is true, but we were on our honeymoon so that never bothered us at all. The shower and toilette have their own doors that close completely so I don't see the real issue. We also had a great soaking tub on our patio that we took advantage of being completely hidden from passerby’s. Our mini bar was always stocked without us having to call down to have it restocked. There were 4 Red Stripe beers, soda, water and some juice each day and many times it was filled throughout the day so if we had used it, it was restocked throughout the day. We also had 3 1Liter bottles of alcohol (Rum, Vodka and Brandy) that we never finished so I don't know if those get restocked. The bed was very comfortable. We didn’t spend much time in the room but it was great while we were in it.
Food: We had also read horror stories about the food prior to our trip but can honestly say that the food was amazing. We were there for 10 nights so we ate all every restaurant. We really enjoyed Bordeaux and Portofino the best and ate at both several times. Everything that we tried was wonderful. We tended to try different things that were out of our normal routine. The best part about being all inclusive is that if we ordered something that we didn’t like, we would just order something else and our servers were always great about it. Our motto was eat early and drink late, and it was perfect. We ate every night between 6-6:30 and never once had to wait for a table or make any reservations. We did meet a few couples that would eat later and have to wait for 20mins or so for a table, but we never had that happen to us by eating earlier.
Preferred Club: As I said before, we stayed on the Wild Orchid side in the PC. We had also ready many reviews about how that was a waste of money and all of the fun was at the regular pools and beaches. If we go back again, we will stay once again in the PC. What we liked best was that it was quiet. We would go down to the pool or ocean early and spend the morning relaxing and then go have lunch. We would then venture to one of the other pools or beaches and participate in all of the activities. We had the best of both worlds and that made it well worth the extra spend. The other perk was the food in the PC lobby. They had very good breakfast and lunches and their dinners were really good. They had Jerk Lobster, shrimp, clams and pasta for hot dishes and then had an assortment of sandwiches, cheeses, fruits and desserts. They also had a great open bar with all of the big “US” brands like Grey Goose, Jack Daniels……….and all of the mixes that you would ever need. The best part was you could walk by at any time during the day, grab a snack and drink and then head to your room or out to the pool or ocean. We loved it and found many times that we would grab a “snack” on the way to lunch or dinner.
Service: I can't say enough about how wonderful everyone was. Almost all the reviews we read said the same thing, but I must restate it once again. I travel the world for work and have found no better service anywhere I had been. Everyone was so upbeat and happy all of the time. They would sing and dance and always stop and say hello. It was not just the people working in the lobbies or the bars either. Even the maintenance workers cleaning the beaches or handing out towels would stop and say hello and ask how are trip was going. The ladies bring drink around the pools and beaches were fantastic as well. All day they walked around bring drinks to everyone and always had a smile on their face in the 90 degree heat. Once you placed a drink order it was there in just a couple of minutes along with a smile. (Speaking of smile, you have to try the Jamaican Smile drink. It is amazing). We have to give a huge shout out to our bartender at the Piano Bar. His name is Rayon and you have to go and see him. He really was one of the highlights of the whole trip. We visited him every single night we were there. After one night he new our names and drinks and within a minute of showing up our drinks were ready for us without even placing an order even if the bar was packed. You have to ask him to make you a Sheetz in the Wind which is his own concoction. We loved being his taste testers as he tried to find new and better drink formulas. He was so upbeat, funny and had great conversations every single night. Andre who played the piano was also great and so much fun. Great piano player and he knows any and every song you think of as long as you know words, he knows the music.
The maid service we received was also wonderful. I think our room got cleaned 3-4 times per day and we always received a turn down service each and every night and she would leave us little notes making sure that we had everything we needed in case we had not seen her.
Activities: There are too many to list. If you are looking for things to do on the resort, you can go from sunup to sundown every day. You can pay for motorized water sports if you want too, but we never participated in any of those or you can enjoy free non motorized water sports like kayaking, snorkeling and windsurfing to name a few. Secrets has group of young people called the “Entertainment Team” and they are all wonderful. They are full of life and you can tell they love what they do. I don't know if they ever sleep. They do all the activities from 8am to 2am. We loved to get involved and loved that we got involved. They knew our names and would pull us up to join in whatever they were doing. If you don't want to get involved and love to just watch stupid fun, then they are ok with that too and are not pushy. They could all sing and dance and were loaded with Talent. They were also a major highlight for us and made our trip even more enjoyable. We were so fortunate to be at SWO during two of the most important Jamaican events, their 50th anniversary of their independence and the Olympics. We will never forget watching Usain Bolt win the 100 meter dash or the Jamaicans coming in 1, 2, 3 in the 200 meter dash from the Barracuda bar on the beach as the entire resort shutdown for those two events. It was amazing!!!! We did not go on the Party Catamaran to Margaretville but heard from others it was so much fun.
Two things that we would like to point out that we didn’t like was our trip to Negril that we booked thru the Apple Vacations representative. We booked it thinking that we were going to Ricks Café but found out once we were on the bus that we had a 2 hour drive there (no worries there) and then 4 hours on a crappy beach with 50 yards of beach roped off and then an hours worth of “shopping” at some of the shadiest places I have ever seen followed by an hour and half at Ricks Café. I will say that Ricks is amazing!!! So much fun and you have to try the cliff diving. I would go back there 100 times if possible and we could eliminate everything else besides Ricks. The bar is so much fun and the sunset from the cliff tops is breathtaking. Bring plenty of $1 bills as you have to donate a buck to jump from the cliffs. Don't let heights scare you.
The other was the MOBAY VIP package they offered us for the airport. At 30 bucks/person they promise expedited process thru customs and security and free internet and food in the lounge. Well, our VIP line moved slower than the non VIP line and the free internet in the lounge is free throughout the airport. And the food is not free in the lounge unless you call cheese and crackers food. You have to pay for everything else. It is not worth the 60 bucks.
Overall, Secrets at Montego Bay was amazing and we are already planning our next trip back.
1304 on the Wild Orchid Side Preferred Club
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC