Visited this hotel last week, with my wife and 2 children aged 1 and 3.
We took a private car, i would highly suggest this, it saved about 2 hours on the way to Ocho Rios from MBJ. We used jcvtt.com (email@example.com) and booked a private van, return was 135. Was a HUGE bonus to get to the hotel before the bus, and get back to the airport before the buses as well. Many people complained that what was a 1 1/2 hour ride for us turned into 3 or more for them with stops for other hotels, beer, pee breaks.
Upon arriving, hotel looks pretty nice from the lobby. clean, nice view of the sea, not so bad.
When we checked in, there was very little available. The room we got was horrible. smelled, was overlooking these big turbines (something to do with the water filtration I think) and the ugly roofs. (see vid). The room was tiny, completely dated, hard beds, ridiculous bathroom. we tried to change, but had to wait until next day.
We did move to another room which was better, but still very low budget. think of staying in a 30 dollar motel on any interstate in the us.
The north tower which we were in had a couple issues. it was much further from the lobby and restaurants, a bit of a pain with the kids but no big deal. of more concern, the concert theatre is directly in from of the north tower and they play loud music VERY VERY loud every night starting at 9:30 and finishing as late as 1am. very, very loud and very difficult with young children.
Waking up at 6:00am I went down to check out the beach, pool etc. The chair hogs were already out in full force. Warning to parents there is almost NO shade at the pool or beach. you would basically have to leave stuff out all night to get one of the 3 umbrellas on the beach or 2 or 3 by the pool. if you don't have your towels on a chair by 9 or so, you won't get any chair nevermind one in the shade.
the beach is small, but decent for small children. its gradual, and inside a harbour so there is very little wave. the sand is nice enough. its not a huge beach, the large section is maybe a half mile long, but its nice for a small beach. the lack of shade was the killer for us with young kids.
someone mentioned baracuda in the water, and there are, but they are babies, 12-18 inches long and certainly no threat. i've encountered hundreds of large baracuda on dives and I don't know of a single case of a baracuda attacking a person, don't worry about them, enjoy seeing them.
The pools are decent, large, varied in depth and activity. There is one dedicated to volleyball and many free flowing nice pools of various depths appropriate for all ages. This was the nicest part of the resort. Again no shade was hard.
The food..... this was a major let down. the buffet was small, rigid in its hours (I was scolded for taking a banana for my 1 year old at 5 to 7, 5 minutes before the buffet opened.) The food was bland, monotonous and generally poor. There is only one buffet, and while one or two courses would vary meal to meal, the salads and sides were all the same lunch and dinner all week. by day 3 I was having a very hard time finding something edible. There is the grill which is open varying hours but mostly when the buffet is not and you can get decent burgers, hot dogs and grilled cheese along with fries. All in all the food is not an enjoyable part of the vacation, but just something to get by on.
One particular pet peeve. Booking the a la cartes was typical of a cheap resort, like lining up catle for the slaughter. you had to be there early to reserve, then beg for what seemed like an arbitrary assignment of a meal time.
On top of this, we went to the chinese restaurant on the one night we could get a reservation, and the place was EMPTY! I included a picture. We apparently got the last available slot and there were 4 of about 20 tables occupied. There was another side to the restaurant and it was closed. the food was nothing special in any case, the chow mein might possibly have been ramen noodles, but still a nice break from the buffet.
the service was varied, but generally the staff were bored and disinterested. often nobody would ask if you wanted a drink with lunch or dinner (you can't get on your own, no bar in the buffet) you could get beer or juice or pop however. The bar staff were mostly very friendly, Sandy at the pool bar was great.
The maid service in the room was mostly okay, we had no problems with towels or sheets or anything. one day however we did not have our cleaned despite having the sign requesting cleaning on from 7am until 5:30pm when we returned for a nap for our kids.
All in all, there are MUCH better choices in montego bay, i would not return nor recommend this to anyone, particulary anyone with young children. the grand palladium was far better in every way, room, food, grounds, staff, every thing I can think of was better by a large margin at the palladium.
if you have any question please feel free to ask. but generally i would advise not to visit unless it is very cheap and/or you do not have any other option.
Dunns river falls was a great trip, but crowded. the dolphin encounter was nice, but at 50 bucks admission way overpriced.
pictures to follow
south side quieter, and closer to restaurants. also, if you need wifi its more likely, although sti...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC