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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #5 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 April 2014

Staff: Service and staff were great all around. Especially helpful and friendly were Oakley, Matthew, Francina, and Jodian.
Grounds: very attractive, nice landscaping, well kept.
Room: For a club level room I thought it would be nicer. It was good size with a very nice bathroom, but not the view I was expecting for beachfront. My only other complaints would be that my back did not agree with the mattress and Wi-Fi did not work well in our room (worked ok in other places and on the beach even).
Cleanliness: Excellent, no issues.
Food/drinks: Breakfast and lunches were excellent. Huge variety at breakfast and great sandwiches and pizza for lunch. Drinks were great and bartenders were very good about special requests. Dinner was hit or miss. Royal Thai and Regency were good. Filet Mignon at Le Jardinier was awful. We are not too big on Beringer wine and if you want to pay for something better the wine list is extremely limited.
Beach: Generally pretty (sand quality not great) but if you like to walk it is very small which you don't realize from the pictures. No snorkeling at all off the beach. Limited beach umbrellas meant if you were not on the beach early in the morning you were not getting one. Not sure if this is the norm but it was extremely windy just about the entire week we were there.
Activities: Snorkel trip was great. Due to the wind they would not let you take out the Hobie Cats on your own.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Kim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 April 2014

The swimming area was also small and shallow. We had a butler but he had no time to help us with unpacking the night we arrived.. We didn't receive a cell phone to contact him until later the next day. We were locked out of our room 4 times until they finally changed the lock. Our room was at the far end of the resort so going back and forth to the front desk was a pain. Waiting for the butler to let us in was nothing but a time waster, 1/2 hour which could be better spent at the pool. Staff were wonderful lot's of fun. Food was very good in all the restaurants. I would not go back as I look forward to a large beach when I am on vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank pegclegg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2014

I have never wrote a review for a resort, but I felt compelled to this time. I just returned yesterday from 7 nights at the Royal Carribean. BEST….RESORT….EVER! Please, if you are hesitating on booking this place, DON'T!
FOOD
AWESOME, ate at Royal Thai, The Regency (buffet), Le Jardinier, The Pub, The bamboo shack, The Mariner, Pizzeria and La Cucina at the montage bay resort. NEVER HAD A BAD OR SLOW MEAL, THE BEST!
POOLS
they had both a main pool for more social time, and two quieter pools. I have read that people complain about there not being enough towels during the day, get up and get one before breakfast, it's that simple.
BEACH
Yes, as you have read, if you are a beach person, this resort is not for you. Small beach but perfect for my liking.
PRIVATE ISLAND
This is what makes the resort (as well as the entertainment staff). I cannot tell you how amazing it is. beach, pool, bar, food. Snorkeling is not the greatest for those who like to snorkel, but you can go out daily for snorkelling tours (we went twice, not an overabundance of fish, but good)
WATERSPORTS
good
ENTERTAINMENT
What can I say about these employees. AWESOME!!!! They really made the trip. This group of people are the BEST I have ever came across at a resort. Kermit, Queeny, Chiko, Hollywood….wish I could remember everyone's name!!!! Devon from the bar, Kevin from the pub, Valentin from the snorkelling tours……So, So many …..I never did come across an employee that didn't go out of their way to make our trip memorable. THE MOST AMAZING STAFF I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED!!!

And if you read about people complaining about the noise from the planes going overhead….Don't listen to them. Really….you are in the carribean…most of the time I didn't even notice I was having so much fun….Not a factor at this resort.

The only negative thing I have to say is how hard it is not to give these employees tips. They work so hard for what they do. But, on the other hand, it was nice not having people expect it.

If you are looking at booking this resort …….DO IT!!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank jody s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2014

My wife planned our honeymoon to Jamaica and we stayed at the Sandals Royal Caribbean and were pleased beyond measure. Our Royal Butlers for our stay were Tajae and Danae. They made our stay memorable with their professionalism and charm.

Their assistance throughout our honeymoon far exceeded their occupational standards. They did it with ease and a loving nature. Felt like family.

God Bless their Kind Souls!

Mr. and Mrs. Kim and Don Graves

Room Tip: The partial ocean view with private patio is the room to enjoy.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Don G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this reviewResponded 17 April 2014

Thank you for your review of Sandals Royal Caribbean. We're happy that you had a beautiful and relaxing honeymoon at our resort. It's great that Tajae and Danae made an excellent impression on you during your stay!

We hope to welcome you back in the near future for another great stay!

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Reviewed 16 April 2014

We had a great time actually everything that we thought was lost in our relationship only needed the right place to rekindle it all beautiful place and good food and romantic setting. Never a dull moment ever night was a wonderful experience this place brought tears to my eyes...the beach was breath taking and the staff was very polite, well mannered and friendly at your request. One thing for sure never was I in need of a drink they kept it flowing. ...lol We can't wait to return I wouldn't change anything wonderful experience I've been to Jamaica over 17 times n this trip was trip to Sandals was the best I cried when it was time to leave. ...........

  • Stayed: April 2014
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1  Thank pjames0320
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this reviewResponded 17 April 2014

Thank you for your review of Sandals Royal Caribbean. We're so happy to read that you had such an outstanding vacation with us. We always strive to go above and beyond to please our guests and I'm glad we were able to meet that goal during your stay.

We look forward to welcoming you back for an even better experience in the future.

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Reviewed 15 April 2014

I have to start by saying we have been to Jamaica 4 times and we love it. We have always stayed at Sandals and first time to Royal Caribbean. I have to say we had a great vacation. Having been to Sandals Negril,Sandals Royal Planation(my favourite) and Sandals Montego Bay it is hard not to make make comparisons. I must say that we loved the food,drinks and the private island. We had a nice room with a big balcony and an ocean view. The beach party was great and so was the barbeque. The lunch on the island was to die for. The only disappointment with regards to food was the welcome back dinner. I would have thought it would be great. The presentation was good but so little food really. One shrimp,one lamb chop. Everyone I spoke to was still hungry. Some went to the Regency to eat Afterwards,myself I went to the Mariners. And no I am not a big eater. I just expected steak and, lobster or at least bigger portions.
The things that weren't so good was the service. One day on the main beach no one came around to take a drink order for 2 hours. We ate at the french restaurant and the service was exceptional,but one night we ate at the Regency and it took three hours for a three course meal.Don't get me wrong,I don't want to rush but that's too long.
I personally don't think the staff should be at fault,but management. I think it is each managers responsibility go make sure the staff is trained and doing there job. We almost thought maybe this is a training resort. The service definitely lacks compared to the other sandals we have stayed at especially Royal Plantation.
As well the cleanliness could have been better. We went to the island one day and upon returning the next day the same beer bottles and plates were still not cleaned up. So again who is responsible, management should be over seeing this.And please fix the espresso machines it was not working most of the time.
Overall a great vacation but don't know if I would return to this property only because of the service which I think is very important and is what guests remember the most. It's what makes a place that people recommend to friends and family and what makes them want to come back . I still talk about the Royal Plantation because not because of the beach or food of drinks but the amazing service. I think the Sandals brand needs to be consistent. Every resort should have the same great, friendly, consistent service.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Gabys1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this reviewResponded 17 April 2014

We're glad that you had an enjoyable stay, overall, but we strive to meet our goal of providing stellar experiences for our guests. Therefore, we regret to hear that we did not quite meet your expectations for service and quality.

After reading your comments, it is clear there is improvement to be made. Your feedback is crucial in this process so we thank you for your review. Your comments will be sent to our management team for review and action will be taken to ensure our future guests do not share this experience.

Hopefully, we can resolve these matters and welcome you back for a much better vacation in the future.

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Reviewed 14 April 2014

My husband and I spent the first week of April at Sandals Royal Caribbean and although we had a wonderful and relaxing vacation there are a few points you might consider when booking at this resort.

First, the food was excellent! There was not once when we we disappointed with the selection or quality of the food. There were always huge breakfast and lunch buffets with so many different choices. We tired most of the restaurants and the food was consistently hot and delicious no matter where we ate.

The beach was small but perfect. The beach chairs were often very dirty but if you don't mind brushing them off before you settle in you'll be fine. One thing that might bother some people is the excessive number of beach chairs in the shade under the cabanas that are “reserved” by butlers every night for the next day for their guests. I did not notice anywhere when booking that stated if I did not book a butler suite that I would not have access to certain places on the beach but this is certainly the case. Sometimes these places would go “reserved” and never even used for the entire day. This is a selfish abuse of the butler service and unfair to other guests when these places go unused. Sandals should not allow this or they should make it clear to guests when booking that certain spots are only available to those who upgrade as this is “unofficially” the case. This is true on the main beach and on the island.

While on the subject of butler suites versus regular rooms--We did not book a butler suite as we thought it was unnecessary and I stand by that. I still don't see any reason why we would require a personal butler; we had no problems whatsoever making our own reservations and drinks and meals were easily accessible without this service. However, there are some things that SHOULD be standard that you only get if you upgrade your suite. At an all inclusive resort everyone is paying for unlimited beverages and food--claiming that it is an “added luxury” to have these things available in your room is a blatant money grab. It does not cost extra to stock the already existing mini bar with alcohol that I am already paying for; nor does it cost extra to provide room service for food I am already paying for. As a matter of principal I would never pay extra for things I am already paying for. I would sooner go somewhere where “all inclusive” actually means “all inclusive”. It's a bit tacky when “added luxury” just means that they will take away standards from those who don't pay extra and simply allow you special access to items you have already paid for at an extra cost. There are plenty of resorts where all of the standards are included.
All that said, we were totally fine without room service and in room alcohol. Very little time is spent in the room and as this is a tiny resort the bar was just steps from our room.

Our room was in an absolutely perfect location. We were just steps from the beach and we had an amazing private balcony with an ocean view. The room itself was very basic and small but we really didn't need much more. The bathroom, however, definitely needs work. The tub glaze was all ripped off, the towel rack was falling off the wall, the walls were dirty, the toilet didn't flush properly and the bathroom was extremely small. These are things I would expect at maybe a 3 star resort but not when paying a premium for a brand such as Sandals which should hold itself to a higher standard in all room categories.

A side note about the room: This was not the room we originally booked and we were not informed upon check-in that we would not be getting the room we originally booked and confirmed. The room we had booked was supposed to have a whirlpool tub and semi-private pool. This was not a problem for us was were were more than content with the vicinity to the beach. But, just beware that just because you book a certain location for specific reasons (eg. Whirlpool tub or semi-private pool) does not mean you will actually get that location. I would think they would have at least told us at check-in that we would not be getting the room we booked but there was not so much as a peep about it. Again, the room we got was great for us so we did not mind.

At the time we were there the resort was apparently sold out but I did not find it to be overcrowded at all. We never had a problem getting a table at meals or getting drinks at the bar. And perhaps because people are spread out between various pools and the beach, the beach was never crowded. I cannot comment on pools because we spent all of our time at the beach. Why anyone would choose a pool over the incredibly warm and refreshing ocean is beyond me.

Beach service was hit and miss. Sometimes servers came quite often and other times we would wait forever for someone to come by. But the bar was so close that we didn't mind getting up to fetch drinks for ourselves. We should not have had to but nevertheless we didn't mind.

The service in other areas was adequate but not excellent. Staff was always obliging and friendly but there was always an underlying impression that they really don't want to be there.

The tipping policy: We were under the impression that there was a no tipping policy at this resort. We were mortified when we realized that this was not the case. I am more than happy to tip for good service but because it is stated that tipping is prohibited I did not bring appropriate cash for tipping. When late in our trip we noticed people tipping the beach servers and bartenders we felt horrible that we had not been tipping all along. Either this is a tipping resort or it is not. They should not have the policy if it is not adhered to. The staff works incredibly hard in the heat (mostly with a smile whether they want to or not) and if they are allowed to accept tips then that should be stated so that guests are not misinformed and thus feel uncomfortable as well as insulting to these hardworking people when they arrive unprepared. If tipping is optional they should say it is optional and not prohibited. Just make it clear.

I would definitely recommend a massage at the Red Lane Spa. I had a mini massage in the gazebo on the water as well as the 90 minute full body massage and it was worth every penny.

Overall, I do think that Sandals with its pristine image and premium cost for the brand has lots of room for improvement and should have higher standards--not just in upgraded categories.
But, my husband and I were completely content lounging on the beach in the sun, relaxing on our balcony, and having a completely stress free week together with delicious food and perfect weather. We had all we needed and none of these bad points spoiled our vacation in any way.

I hope this review is helpful!

Room Tip: 2nd floor beachfront with balcony is perfect!
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank TS C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, responded to this reviewResponded 17 April 2014

We're so happy to read that you had such an amazing stay with us. We always strive to go above and beyond to please our guests and I'm glad we were able to meet that goal during your stay.

At our resorts, we adhere to a strict no-tipping policy. Our team members are all aware of the possible consequences if there is belief that tips have been solicited and/or accepted. We are all more than happy to provide excellent service with no expectation of a tip.

Thank you for your valuable feedback. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future for a truly 5-star experience!

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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island

Address: Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, 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 Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: £343 - £1,020 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island 4*
Number of rooms: 197
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•7 exquisite dining options, with world-class culinary cuisines.•Only Jamaican resort with a private offshore island, housing an authentic Thai restaurant.•Magnificent, swim-up crystal lagoon suites.•24 hour room service as a part of our concierge service.•English pub offering an authentic pub dining experience.•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row.•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Caribbean Hotel Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Montego Bay
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Jamaica
Sandal Royal Caribbean

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