We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

SMB vs. Everywhere else?

New Jersey
Level Contributor
149 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Visited SMB last August and had the most amazing time. Everything was perfect. Now we are planning our next trip but would like possibly try another brand AI adult only resort.

Top things I want:

1. Beautiful beach

2. Pools with floats

3. Lots of umbrellas, or shade

4. Amazing food - lots of variety and choices

5. Modern, clean rooms and bathrooms hopefully with two person Jacuzzi tubs/ocean front or full view

6. Shows or night activities, as well as daily entertainment/activities

I am presently considering Iberostar Grand, Excellence hotels, Karisma, or even going to Secrets in Jamaica. I would love anyone's opinions who has visited any or all to compare.

Im afraid I cannot top my SMB experience but would like to match as closely as possible

Cocoa Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Negril
Level Contributor
16,067 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Sometimes it is best to stick with what you know makes you happy.

Of your list, I have stayed at Excellence PM (and would not return and IMO they do not meet 1 or 4 on your list) and Iberostar Grand as well as all of the El Dorado Resorts.

IGHP was not our cup of tea.

We enjoyed all of the El Dorado Resorts more than Excellence and Iberostar but the only one with a beautiful beach is Maroma and that is a quiet resort - our preference.

I love Jamaica but would not stay at the Secrets there as it is not what I enjoy in a Jamaica beach vacation.

Chester, United...
Level Contributor
60,489 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Hi Melisa

We were at SMB last September end despite the wet weather had a great time overall. I know some people feel it is overrated and not deserving on their AAA 5 Diamond Award but it gets so many great reviews so they must be doing many things right

Of the other properties you list we have been to all the Excellence Resort, Karisma [EDR & EDM] and also Secrets in Jamaica. Like Cavairgal IBGP is not to our taste -m too much glitz

Firstly I would rule out EDR because of the beach and the beach whales

EDM is a wonderful, boutique property with excellent food and a very high service. You also have a good range of room ranging from traditional Mexican though to very modern, state of the art suites. It is however very quiet in the evenings

Of the two Excellence properties we prefer EDM as it is far more modern than ERC and has everything we want in a trip which is why we will be retuning for an 8th time this June. Yes the beach can be a bit hit and miss as sometimes it can pick up seagrass and the past 12 months they have suffered some beach erosion

We have found the food to be very good indeed and have seen very many improvements over the years since it opened in 2007

Whilst we had a great time at Secrets in Jamaica to us it lacked a the WOW factor. The beach is a series of man made coves but the snorkeling id to die for and is just like stepping into an aquarium. It is a modern build and to be fair if you stripped away the staff and scenery it could be anywhere

Other places you could look at in Jamaica would be Couples Resorts but they may not have the modern look you are looking for

You may also want to check out some of the other Secrets properties

If you check out my reviews you will find one for each of the properties I have mentioned which have links to large photo albums which should give you a good feel for them. For the older ones you the photo links will not work as I now use SlickPic and not Webshots - see link below to both my reviews and my album gallery on SlickPic

tripadvisor.co.uk/members-reviews/flipflop_m…

http://flipflopman.slickpic.com/

Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions

Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
185 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Sorry to hijack this thread, but this is a question for flipflop_man.

Which Jamaica Secrets locaiton around you speaking of?

lancashire
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Been to the Grand didn't find it glitzy at all , Met 3 other couples who had stayed at the Grand and at SMB and they all enjoyed both resorts, two of the couples preferred the Grand one couple preferred SMB but all said they would return to both.

The ocean front rooms at the Grand have the most spectacular views.

At the Grand their is no preferred club everyone is treated the same top shelf drink for everyone.

We ate Lobster almost daily at the Grand at no extra cost and had no problem at all with the reservation system.

hope wherever you pick you have a great time.

We also really enjoyed the star friends and the nightly entertainment .

Edited: 15 February 2014, 09:45
America, The...
Level Contributor
7,937 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Melissa,

There is no comparing Maroma Beach to the beach at the Secrets in Montego Bay as FFM says. There is also no comparing it to the beach at Excellence Playa Mujeres, so if a great beach is important to you after your stay at SMB, please factor that in. We stayed there when it was considered a good week for the beach and the water was green and murky. We never went in. I don't hear people discussing Maroma Beach in terms of good and bad weeks (think sea grass, etc). Calmer or rougher...maybe.

As Caviargal says, we also love Couples Swept Away in Jamaica. The beach is best if all, though the rooms are beachy casual...not glitzy. Its inclusions top anything you'll find in Mexico. Food is also excellent.

Iberostar Grand is on a good beach. We stayed next door. It's not as fabulous as SMB's but they will have more luxurious arrangement's for you with their beach set-up. Service, food, and overall experience are often considered a step-up from Secrets. We had a great stay at the IBG in PC and I hear the one in Mexico is even better.

If you did love SMB, though, it may be hard to top. We like going to new resorts and new destinations. Though we do make comparisons, we view each trip as an independent experience. The only place we return to over and over is Couples Swept Away. Other people like the comforts and familiarity of returning to resorts multiple times, making it feel like a second home. Do you have a sense of which category you may fall in? I'm asking because I'd hate for you to spend your trip trying some place new and just wishing the whole time you were back at SMB rather than glad for a new experience, even if imperfect. I hope that helps.

Edited: 15 February 2014, 11:29
Chester, United...
Level Contributor
60,489 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

ankitj

Secrets Wild Orchid & Secrets St James are in Montego Bay

secretsresorts.com/wild-orchid-montego-bay

www.secretsresorts.com/st-james-montego-bay

America, The...
Level Contributor
7,937 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

Just want to clarify...when I say there's no comparing SMB's beach to the secrets in Jamaica and to EPM, I mean SMB is much better! Not as good as Negril, IMO, but better than the other resorts I discussed.

Chester, United...
Level Contributor
60,489 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

I should add that when we stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid we did meet several people who had been to SMB and although a couple were not pleased with it in comparison to SMB a lot of them were as they liked the way Secrets did things

We love trying new places and have rarely wished we had not gone somewhere

PA
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
Level Contributor
1,933 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

We are still looking for a resort that will give us the fabulous experience that we had at SMB but haven't found it. I think the problem is that I continue to compare all of the resorts we've visited to SMB and the experiences just don't top it. I've come to the conclusion that the resorts were just fine but I can't expect them to compare to SMB as each resort has its own vibe and they have all been great. We love going to new places so I am going to stop the comparing and enjoy each resort for what it offers. -- My new motto.

I still love SMB.

Fort McMurray...
Level Contributor
368 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: SMB vs. Everywhere else?

We have yet to find the comparable resort to SMB (our preferences, everyone is different). Might be time book out SMB again.

Get answers to your questions about Playa Maroma