In early February I made an impulse buy on plane tickets to Jamaica, but had no idea where we were going to stay. I contacted my wonderful travel agent Amy McHugh, with Dream Makers Vacation Services, to find us a resort to spend our week in paradise. We wanted a couples only resort in Ocho Rios, I left the rest up to her. After talking to her about a few different properties we settled on Sandals Royal Plantation. I could not imagine how wonderful of a place she was about to introduce us to. This was our 5 year anniversary trip along with my husband’s 40th birthday I wanted it to be special and Royal Plantation and Amy delivered!!
We arrived on Monday, March 19 and basically ran to get through customs to make it to the Sandals Lounge. We made it off the plane to the lounge in about 30 minutes. We checked in at the lounge, grabbed a drink and they announced that we were ready to head out. We were the only arrival at that time so we had a private transfer. Our driver, Renford, was great and very informative. He shared a lot of funny stories.
We arrived at the resort about an hour and half later. We were welcomed by Annesia Taylor, filled out our paperwork and we were off to lunch at the Royal Café. Our meal was delicious. After lunch we walked along the beach and headed back up to see if our room was ready. We met our first butler, Damien who is the head butler. He gave us a tour of the property and took us to our room. We received an upgrade to the Coconut Grove Plantation Oceanfront Suite, which was the first of many surprises during our stay. Damien also gave us our butler phone, which we thought we wouldn’t use, but came in very handy. We threw on our swimsuits and made our way back to the beach. We met the beach butler Adrian, what a fun guy! We didn’t meet up with our second butler, Kenroy, until the second day. He definitely tried to contact us, but we weren’t quite used to the butler experience yet. He did leave us a cheese and fruit tray in our room which was very much appreciated!
The food was the best I have had at a Sandals Property, even the buffet nights were wonderful! I normally hate shrimp and the coconut shrimp at the Royal Café was delicious. The lobster BLT is a must as well. My favorite dessert was the warm chocolate pudding at Le Papillion. We requested it one night that we didn’t eat at La Papillion and Kenroy brought it out to the Terrace for us to enjoy. Tea time was fun as well. My husband also enjoyed the chicken wings from the Pub.
As mentioned we received an upgrade to the Coconut Grove Plantation Oceanfront Suite. I was a little nervous about having a room on the first floor, but it was very quiet and had a beautiful view of the East Beach. The room was spacious and I enjoyed having the large closet with all the shelving. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. It was fun to come back to the room each night to see how our wonderful butlers had decorated it for us.
This is where the resort excels! We were truly pampered at this resort. We really lucked out on our butlers, they were AMAZING!! They checked on us at the beach, worked with the chefs to make a special dishes for us, surprised us with sushi in our room, set up our excursions, and made sure that I had some aloe vera since I burn so easily. We have never received such wonderful service! One night we headed over to the Grande to have dinner with some new friends and Kenroy rode over with us, seated us and brought us our drinks. We called him when we were ready to return and the shuttle was there right away.
Our butlers, the hotel manager, the hotel general manager, and waitstaff all make this a truly special resort. Our rooms were always cleaned before noon. Room service always arrived at the time requested and the food was always hot.
By the end of the first day many of the staff knew our names and the wait staff was great at remembering our preferred drinks.
The property is small at 75 rooms, which I thought might be too small but turned out to be wonderful. The resort was at capacity most of the week we were there and we never had trouble finding somewhere to sit on the beach. The beach is not huge, but we found it to be very nice and very clean.
We utilized the gym most mornings and found it to be nice. We took advantage of the watersports area; we sailed, kayaked and learned to paddleboard. The pool area is small, but adequate. We don’t utilize the pool areas at many resorts; we come to the Caribbean to spend time on the beach. The hot tub was also very nice, there were days that it was really hot (however I was sunburned so I might not be the best judge).
We did head to Sandals Grande next door and thought we would stay for most of the day, but after about 3 hours we were missing our resort so headed back home. The walk to the Grande is very short, less than 5 minutes. The Grande is a beautiful property and has changed significantly since I stayed at Beaches Grande Sport 8 years ago.
The only problem we could find is that it will be difficult to go anywhere else on vacation because there is no way that the service and hospitality of Royal Plantation can be topped. So, Sandals Royal Plantation has our business for years to come! We are already trying to pick out our week for next year, if not sooner.
We did a plantation tour with camel ride; climbed Dunn’s River Falls and headed to Mystic Mountain. We booked all of these through the resort. The camel ride and plantation tour were a lot of fun. Our guide and photographer were great and very helpful! The ladies at the main desk at the Plantation tour were not as friendly. Dunn’s River was packed (there were 3 cruise ships in port), but we still had a great time. We were able to spend a lot of time on the falls and never got bored. The next day we headed to Mystic Mountain and we did the sky explorer and the bobsled. We opted against the zipline as I heard it wasn’t as good as other zipline tours that we had been on. The frustrating part of the Mystic Mountain was they dropped us off around 1pm and we were finished with everything by 2:30 and they weren’t coming to get us until 5! Fortunately, there was another couple from Royal Plantation who brought their butler phone. They called the butler and we were picked up right away. I think I would just hire a driver for the day and do the excursions on our own next time. Even though we had fun at Mystic Mountain, I probably would not return there for several years so they have time to add new items.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC