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“Sandals Royal beautiful property with horrible food”

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Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island
Ranked #7 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester,Md
Level 6 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Sandals Royal beautiful property with horrible food”
Reviewed 12 January 2009

We just returned from Sandals Royal after an 8 day stay. We were picked up at the airport by one of the assistant managers in a brand new sleek Mercedes Benz and taken to the resort. Check in was prompt and we were upgraded to a beachfront room. The resort was beautiful, very well maintained and the people that worked there were eager to please. The alcohol was top shelf and the drinks were oustanding. The weather was perfect. We had a brief 5 minute shower during one day of our stay. Sounds like a perfect vacation....does it not?


The down side to this resort(and it's a big one if you like to eat) is the food. Breakfast was good, omletts, cereals and fruit etc. Lunch was somtimes ok with the exception of the jerk chicken on the island which was very good.


The evening dinners were horrible. The hot food at all of the restaurants were routinely served cold and half of the items listed on the menus were not available. We attended the repeaters dinner. These dinners are supposed to be special and those attending should be served something special. Not at this resort. We were served lamb. Not lobster or filet migon but lamb. Not a rack of lamb as we were told but, slices of lamb again served COLD.
I like lamb but, this was awful and it was served on the menu at some of the restarants. How is serving a dish off the menu that any guest could order a special dinner? My wife and I both suffered from gastric illnes after this dinner.

The evening of the beach party all of the restaurants are closed except for the pub and the french restaurants(reservations only).
We attended the party only to be dissapointed by the same food served for lunch(same cold fish and jerk chicken) with the exception of pork. I had finally reached my breaking point. I left and immediately went to the french restaurant to see if we could get a late reservation. As calmy as humanly possible I explained my dissapointment with the beach party.
They found an opening and we tried to order dinner.
Again, more missing items on the menu and more dissapointment with poorly prepared food. The next day I noticed that the menus for all the restaurants that were posted for all guest to examine were suddenly removed. I talked to many other guest with the same complaints about the foods that were not available. I assume that the resort removed the posted menus over this issue.

In closing let me say I did not expect 5 star food at this resort. There is no such thing as 5 star food at ANY all inclusive resort regardless of what they claim. This was our 3rd visit to a Sandals resort and my 14th visit to Jamaica staying at an all inclusive resort. I consider my self a seasoned veteran and I don't set the bar to high when judging a resort. I know what to expect and what not to expect.

I really wanted to like this property. It was beautiful and very convienent to the airport.
I would not stay at this resort again unless there are big changes with the food.

Avoid this resort until changes are made It is not worth the money that you pay to stay here. There are better choices to be made and with much better food.


Shame on you Sandals Royal Caribbean.

  • Liked — Well maintained property, very conviienent to airport
  • Disliked — Food
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank djsManchester_Md
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Essex
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 January 2009

This holiday was truly paradise. Don't want to go on about it as others have said it all for me. This place is paradise and the staff are wonderful, all of them. Food fantastic etc.. And New Year's Eve was the best for entertainment.

The comments made by Blue Eyed Tiger are so unfair. They are in the minority. Don't know what your'e talking about mate, there is no Moon Palace in Montego Bay or even in Jamaica for that matter. Nearest is Yucatan! Perhaps you meant to say the Half Moon Resort. This may look pretty good too but you can't compare them, because that resort hotel accepts children, so there are lots of kids activities going on and there are the resident dolphins too! I like my dolphins to live in the wild.

  • Liked — The friendliness
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Holly80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Louisiville, KY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 January 2009

This was our 5th trip to a Sandals Resort and once again, they exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed excellent food throughout the week. The lunch buffet was always changing, but each day equally as delicious and the dinners were fantastic.
We enjoyed every aspect of our stay. The room was clean, well decorated and had an amazing view.
The nightly entertainment was fun and interactive. This particular resort isn't a real party place, so the entertainment was usually over by about 10:00 or so. There was a pub for later entertainment and of course you could play pool at one of the many pool tables on the property.
Overall, I think this was our favorite Sandals, and we've stayed at all of them in Jamaica, except Negril. We will definately be back!

  • Liked — EVERYTHING is included!
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank meland01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prince Edward Island
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2009

My wife and I stayed at this wonderful resort for almost 2 weeks spending Christmas 2008 and New Year 2009 there.

The service was excellent, and the staff were fantastic, from the front desk staff to the maids, gardeners, waiters, entertainment, to the Managers and the Genaral Manager, who would often be seen clearing tables. Most staff remembered our names!!!

We have been to different Sandals, but this was our first Jamaican experience. We would definitely return without hesitation. We were treated to a wonderful dinner for returning guests, and a cruise to the Montego Bay area by resort staff.

The food and drink were excellent, and always served with greetings and a smile. The weather was fantastic.
The beach was manually cleaned with rakes every day.
Much care and attention was given to ensure that Christmas and New Year celebrations were spectacular. Santa Clause arrived on water skis, as an example.

We had a wonderful romantic holiday at Sandals!
Now we are back home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the snow.

Nicole and Gary

Stayed December 2008
Helpful?
6 Thank Douce2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincolnshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2009

We went to the RC for our honeymoon which was our first stay at a Sandals resort & by the end of the first week we asked ourselves why we had never been before now. The resort is well kept & maintained to a high standard. The staff are very friendly and will always speak to you, they seemed very happy & proud to be working there. The food at all the restaurants was amazing and we never had a problem with booking a table. You can dine at the other Sandals resorts but to be honest we didn't feel the need to, in the 2 weeks we stayed there we never ate the same thing & never got bored of the menus. If you are like us and like to have a drink there is plenty to choose from & they never pour short measures. The cocktails were fantastic but unforunately I didn't get to try everyone on the menu. We stayed in a honeymoon beachfront room which I understand to be no different to a normal room apart from the beachfront location. The room wasn't very far from the entertainment area and we did experience some noise level but it only lasted until midnight sometimes. The room was spacious although I felt as though the bathroom needed updating. The housekeeping staff were friendly, kept the room very clean, gave us plenty of fresh towels and kept the fridge stocked.

The beach, I would say is the only thing that lets the hotel down slightly, it just doesn't seem big enough to cater for all the rooms and it seems to be man made.

I've read on a few reviews about the noise of planes flying over head, to be honest you barely heard them while we were there, I wouldn't make a big deal about it, I certainly wouldn't let it put me off.

All in all a fantastic holiday, would definately recommend & can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank lparkinsonuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2009

My husband and I spent 4 days at Sandal's Royal Carribean December 12th-16th, 2008. It was our first time away from our two little ones alone. I couldn't think of a better place to spend it. First of all we received a call a few days before we left offering us an upgrade to an oceanfront room for a mere $200 for our entire stay (we took it), then when we arrived found that we had been upgraded again to a conceirge ocean view room. The view was gorgeous and the room very nice. We spent most of our time on the beach (of which there are two choices). You can go to the more central beach or the quiet cozy beach. You will however, find more shade on the main beach and more activities like beach volleyball. We really enjoyed the playmakers and the managers cocktail hour where I found myself on stage doing the "tootsie roll" and winning a bottle of Appleton rum. The bars all made excellent drinks - be sure to try the daily specials - they were always surprisingly good and STRONG! The food was great. We especially enjoyed the Thai place on the island for dinner - be sure to make reservations. The food there was spicy, elegant and fun. OVerall, we really enjoyed our time at the Royal Carribean and are already planning some time to head back this coming year.

  • Liked — The staff and the other visitors
  • Disliked — nothing!
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank 1bigqt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scotland
Level 5 Contributor
28 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2009

My husband and I stayed at Sandals Inn in June 2008 – had a fantastic time and immediately booked again for December. We were a little disappointed to be informed in August that the Inn would be closed during our visit and offered an ‘upgrade’ to SGOR. No thanks....too far from the airport after a 10 hour flight from the UK so Sandals were happy to move us to SRC.

We were a little apprehensive – the Inn drew us back because of its small size, intimacy, 24 hour room service for all guests, wonderful staff, and we just loved it. So although we had visited SRC we were unsure if it would suit us for a 2 week holiday......

On arrival at the resort we were delighted to have been upgraded from a Grande Luxe room to a suite in the Kensington building....concierge at our disposal, 24 hour room service, full bar in room.(including champagne – every day if we wanted!) We had a beautiful view of the Caribbean and the pool....I couldn’t believe this was to be our home for the next 2 weeks! Off to a good start!

During our walk to our room we could see that the resort grounds were beautiful – very well kept and pretty. Those guys work hard and long hours.

The room was beautiful and in a fantastic location. We had a few issues with housekeeping so i’ll get those out of the way first. The day after we arrived I noticed wee tiny ant type bugs on the marble top over the bar cabinet in our room....no problem thinks me...its the tropics - cant be helped, so i wiped over the worktop myself....yuk....it was really dirty, and that was after housekeeping had serviced the room. Then the toilet backed up and wasn’t cleared. I went to concierge and said that it wasn’t a problem but could they please have a word in the relevant ear before it became one. The maid was sent back to redo....but I have to say housekeeping , for us anyway, wasn’t of the same high standard we experienced at the Inn, and that’s all i have to compare it to. I don’t think the balcony was swept at all in the 2 weeks we were there, sand on the rugs, no coffee left a couple of times, no fresh towels or bath mat one day though they had removed the used ones...The floor was washed once but hey, we’re quite clean and tidy people! However, we had a great room in a nice location so i wasn’t going to worry or complain about niggly little things which, with a little more care and attention to detail would be fine.

The only other problem we had was with room service –this was a bit ‘hit and miss’. The first time we tried for a snack we were told no one was available to take our call and to phone back in 10 minutes. Hey, no problem we said, let’s just go down to the beach grill and grab something. We were sitting enjoying a drink and a snack when we recognised Kayon, who had been an assistant manager at the Inn. He greeted us warmly and asked how we were enjoying our snack. We said we had come down because of the wee problem with room service – turns out he was the assistant food and beverages manager and had tried to phone us straight back to apologise (which there was no need to do) but we had already left. He even had our room number written down! He was so apologetic we were almost embarrassed – it really wasn’t an issue but he said it shouldn’t have happened and if we had any further problems to bring them to his attention. The next time we tried for a late night snack we discovered our phone wasn’t working. Reported it to concierge the next day and when we returned to our room there was a note of apology that they hadn’t been able to fix it, but they left us a cell phone to use free of charge until the phone was working again. Great service! A couple of days later we got a new phone in the room and no further problems with it. We didn’t use room service too often, but one night we had arranged to meet friends for drinks but were late back from our Negril trip so to save time we ordered room service at 8 expecting to have it delivered and eaten by 9....but it didn’t arrive until 9.25.....stone cold and very undercooked! I did try to call room service to tell them, but nobody answered. Wouldn’t have been so bad, but all the restaurants except Cricketers pub closed at 9.30 so it was too late to get anything else apart from jerk chicken or a burger! Hey, i was tired after our Negril trip (which was fabulous and highly recommended), our friends had got fed up waiting for us so went to bed...i didn’t want jerk chicken again, so ended up with 4 cookies for dinner. Next day i ran into Kayon and was still a little ticked off so I told him about our experience the previous evening. What can i say about this man? From that day on he made it his personal mission to make our holiday as wonderful as he could. The next time we ordered a room service dinner it was just delicious, very hot, perfectly cooked, and i immediately called to thank them. They were delighted i had called and said how they wanted to make everything perfect after our last disastrous experience, and they did. It was absolutely lovely and very much appreciated.

Anyway, i digress. On our very first evening at the Royal i was talking to Nancy and Blake who checked in with us and were also upgraded (lovely guys from Canada, and i meant to get your email address!), when a voice called my name....it was Roy, who was employed at the Inn and remembered us from our June visit! Was brilliant to see him, and to find him so happy to have been moved to the Royal where he was working towards his licence to pilot the boats..which he achieved while we were there....well done Roy! Why he remembered us is a mystery...maybe had something to do with the frequent trips he made to the bar for us....he insisted!!

Had 3 meals at La Jardiniere, which was our favourite restaurant on our last visit. This time we enjoyed it as much on the first 2 occasions, but not the last. It had rained during the evening so we were moved indoors to the ‘Hampton Court’ meeting room. Whether it was because they had lost the ‘ambience’ of the open air restaurant or not i don’t know, but the food and the service wasn’t to the standard we had previously experienced, though Janice and Carole were just as friendly and professional as we had remembered from our last trip.

We really enjoyed the Pavilion restaurant and the Regency for buffet lunches and a la carte dining in the evening where we were well looked after by the lovely Travis. Afternoon tea at 4pm was a bit odd....but i wasn’t expecting authentic! I think they need to work on that a little bit...lol

We were fortunate to be invited to the returners’ dinner both weeks we were there. Absolutely lovely meal, excellent entertainment and great company. We enjoyed meeting other guests, and all the managers, we really felt like VIP’s. (And of course we got 2 bottles of Rum!) The second dinner fell on Christmas Eve, which also happened to be my husbands birthday. Kayon had arranged for a birthday cake which was delivered during the meal, Rory (the opera singer) sang happy birthday accompanied by the rest of the guests, and my husband was delighted although a little embarrassed. Think he may have preferred Nastasia (playmaker) to serenade him rather than Rory.....lol. Later we were sitting on the Almond terrace enjoying the entertainment when Kayon sent a waiter over with an ice bucket and bottle of Champagne to celebrate my husbands birthday....a wonderful ‘last evening’ at the Royal. We met Adam, a fellow guest, who was a balloon artist from Canada. I’ve seen those guys fashion balloons into dogs and other animals, but this guy was fantastic! He created Viking hats, belts and swords, tweetie pie, jester hats, a Harley Davidson...he was amazing! The wonderful Ziggy and the other bartenders in the piano bar were all wearing his creations! He only stopped when he ran out of balloons.

We visited SMB a couple of times and were delighted to meet more of the staff we had got to know at the Inn – namely Jonathan who now runs the bar at Cucina Romano Italian restaurant where we had a lovely meal. And Kenneth Wolfe who was now in the lobby bar......wonderful friendly guy and both he and Jonathan are a credit to Sandals. Also a big hi to Elvis at Bayside. We remembered him from the Inn also, though the food at Bayside was forgettable! But I think we just got an ‘off night’ because we enjoyed the meal we had on the previous occasion. The food going through to the Oleander looked amazing, but the wait to be seated was too long so we didn’t get to experience that yet again! We ate at Tokyo Joe’s too, nice ambience, and very fresh and tasty food.

Back to the Royal....the private island is just the nicest place to hang out during the day...nice pool, some shelter if its a bit windy, lovely chicken, pork and salads for lunch and frequent boat transportation to and from the main resort. Not to mention the parrot who was the only one who seemed to appreciate my singing! I was singing Jingle Bells to him and he was dancing – I swear!! Then i noticed the security guard sitting under the trees was looking at me like i’d ‘lost the plot’!! I quickly crept back to the pool and hid under my hat til the bar opened! Adrian makes a great dirty banana – and your Rangers shirt is ‘soon come’! The only downside to the island is the entertainment staff at the Riu next door are pretty loud - and their voices seem to carry accross the water!

Beach bar and grill.....undecided about this one. One lady bartender seemed to have a bit of an attitude. I was getting drinks and my husband had asked for a ‘blended’ rum punch. Well this seemed far too much trouble for her – she asked in a disbelieving voice “ you want it blended?” but i stood my ground and insisted! I felt a bit like a naughty child getting told off! I have to admit though everytime i went to the bar after that and she served me i ended up asking for a pina colada or strawberry daiquiri which were ready blended! Well, she was a bit scary! The ladies cooking up the burgers and quesadillas were really sweet and friendly though.

We went horseriding with the double A ranch. That was a great experience – an hours ride downhill on a track which had suffered a bit of damage during the storms earlier in the year. A bit precarious in some places but the horses knew what they were doing! Our guides were quite informative, pointing out the ‘haunted’ Rose Hall, some of the vegetation, and some information about the orphanage we passed on the way to the beach. This was in Barrett Town, and was beautifully kept. It was nice to see Christmas lights and decorations in the grounds and on the various buildings. It wasn’t a ‘tourist’ stop though. We didn’t stop and chat, nobody approached us for money, but the kids did smile and wave at us. It was lovely, and is definitely on my list for some goodies when we go back to Jamaica. My husband has never been on a horse before but really was a natural. When he entered the sea with his horse, Sultan, well...they were heading to Cuba! Sultan loved it, but my ‘Starboy’ was a stubborn old mule...lol.....we did eventually get up to his knees.....but we had a brilliant time anyway. Hubby was a little concerned at first - i got him to jump off a 35 foot cliff in Negril, then on a horse for the first time – he was starting to wonder if i had a big insurance policy on him!

We were fortunate to meet Irie Lady (Ruth from Trip guy travel) who was i’m sure partly responsible for our upgrade), other guests from Scotland, (Iain and Heather), Carolyn and Dennis, i wish we’d had more time to spend with you, and a special hello to Bill and Debbie....who had us in hysterics with their ‘duck tales’ and ‘goose gas’ lol! I wish we had exchanged email addresses – if you read this guys, please get in touch.


So in case you’re still not too sure....we had the most brilliant 2 weeks. No it wasnt perfect, nothing ever is, but the issues we had were quickly sorted out with a polite and respectful word, and much better than moaning about it when we came home. The managers need to know when something isnt right so they can fix it....and they do so happily.

Finally, a special thank you to those i haven’t already mentioned but whose professionalism and caring helped make this holiday so incredible......Nicky-ann and McKoy from concierge, David, our host at the first returnees dinner, Horace Fairweather, Mr Iain McCormack, Rick Burrowes, ‘Santa’ Jason, ‘hurricane’ Christopher on the tour desk, the beautiful Nastasia on the playmakers team....and all the others whose names escape me. You are all wonderful people and we’re looking forward to our next visit! I know i've mentioned Kayon, but he really went above and beyond, even arranging a late check out for us. thank you.

And a final thank you to my husband – you made it special.

  • Liked — No childen allowed, most of the staff, the fact it was in Jamaica!
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Linda G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island

Property: 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:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#6 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
#7 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island 5*
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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