We have just returned from Sandals Royal Caribbean having spent two perfect weeks there. Our first week being our daughter’s “Wedding Week” and the second, our “chill out” week. My apologies for this being a long review but there is so much I wish to convey!
It has been over two years since our last visit to SRC, two years too long! Since our last visit, (this was to be our 5th visit to SRC) we have taken vacations on elite penthouse suites on cruise ships, and more recently, in a couples only “five star” resort in Mexico. NONE can compare to Sandals Royal Caribbean!
Having known former manager Jeremy Mutton so well, we were a little concerned as to how things would be run under the new management of Iain McCormack. How wrong could we be!!! Iain has taken SRC from strength to strength and is the loveliest and most helpful GM one could know!
We arrived very late into resort due to a seven hour delay by Thomas Cook Airlines. This meant we did not get into our suite until after midnight by which time we were tired, stressed and fed up from the long wait in airports in the UK. The minute we stepped into our luxurious penthouse suite 328, at SRC, instantly that feeling of “oh we are HOME” stepped in! Our Butler had left snacks for us in the fridge, and every item that he knew we liked from previous visits. Our fridge was filled to perfection.
Our daughter was in a swim up suite below us, and although it was late, we had an amazing family hug as we had not seen her since October 09.
Our daughter was having a large wedding, with guests arriving from all over the globe. Our own family and friends had arrived earlier in the day, and I was somewhat concerned over my elderly parents, who in their 80s and partially disabled, I knew would find both the journey and environment a struggle. Again, I needn’t have concerned myself! Iain had arranged a beautiful ground floor room for them in the Caernarvon Building, with steps into both bed and shower, and ensured that everything was in order for their safety and well being. Throughout the vacation, the staff came to know all of the granparents, and affectionally referred to my mother as “Granny”.. how wonderful this experience was for them. One evening, as they sat on their terrace, they said to me “We have never been as happy in our entire lives”…nice huh! They also ensured that “Granny and Grandad” were safely transported to the island for the wedding reception and made every second of their stay, such a joy for them in their elderly years.
There had been many issues in the administration office before we arrived in resort, causing myself and my daughter concern and stress at the time. The one thing I told myself was “Do NOT worry, when we get to SRC, the staff will do their magic”..and they certainly did!!
EVERY concern was wiped from our minds as Butlers, Wedding co-ordinators, Management and Staff all waved their magic wands and made a fairytale wedding come true!
Our Butlers Hughill and Devon were as always ..amazing! As also were Ellis and Orlando who filled in on days off. Hughill and Devon were under total pressure not only from the fact that the resort was full, but coping with both the Bride and Mother of the Bride was a task in itself!
With three groomsmen and three bridemaids, grandparents, family and friends all needing anything from shirts pressing to hair styling, there was a lot to organise.
The Butlers and staff ensured the wedding day was without a hitch!
Thank you also to the wonderful secretary who in the morning of the wedding, stepped in at the last minute to type up my husbands “Father of the Bride” speech! I cannot remember her name but thank you so much!
The ceremony, and private island reception was simply a magical day which each and every one of us will cherish!
The resort itself has grown since our last visit. On our last stay we stayed in the St. James River suites, and were puzzled as to how it would be with the new river suites in place. The Clarence Building is simply amazing! We had booked a Butler suite but were thrilled when we had been upgraded to the Penthouse 328. It was our idea of perfection in every way. THANK YOU!!
One thing that has not changed, are the staff! Hugs and kisses from Verna, laughs and joy to see Ernie (and his donkey who does a mean dance to Poker Face!), and familiar faces such as Horace-(my darling), Conrad, (love your ties!) Neville around the pool, Ziggy and Adrian in the bars and Lily in housekeeping. Its so wonderful to return to a resort after a long time, and find the same staff and friendly faces. Nicky-Ann, Oakley, Roan the photographer, Mr Fixit Eric, .. and the wonderful Spa girls. I nearly cried when I found Sherna was still in the spa with her calming smiles and gentleness. It was so lovely to have her do my facial!
We all used the spa on many occasions from hair dos, to massages. Lois, Therese, and all, thank you! My niece Claire and I had a massage on the island…there was music which was rather loud and I thought it was coming from the pool bar and was quite surprised. I asked Therese could they turn it down. I was shocked to find it was in fact coming from the Riu next door! God help the poor souls staying there! The SRC team however phoned the Riu, and lo and behold, they turned it down a bit!
Another thing that has definitely improved is the food! It was always good, but now, it would seem thanks to Executive Chef Martin, it is simply superb! We are world class food producers in the UK and highly acclaimed experts on good food. The food here at SRC is faultless!
Our favourite dining is the French Restaurant, and of course it was beyond joyful to find Janice still at the head of the realm in this beautiful eatery. One of the great Butler suite perks is that one can have any food from any restaurant served to you by your Butler on your balcony if you wish. We had an absolutely perfect day, sunshine all day then returned to our suite to find Devon had prepared us a rose petal bubble bath, we were so relaxed we could not be bothered to go out. Having already made reservations for the French restauarant we were reluctant to cancel however “Not a Problem” says Devon, “Forget it, get into your robes and allow me to bring the French Restaurant to you!”
Where else in the world does one get service such as this!
On another evening, my husband and I wanted to venture out into a REAL Jamaica night life off the tourist route. Being a little wary of going on our own, we told our Butlers. Again, Devon stepped in, he arranged on his night off to have a car pick us up, and bring us to the Hip Strip where we met with Devon and two other Butlers Orlando and Joshayne where we had a fun filled night with the guys in their “Civvies”.. (Hah..but the Scots play pool better than the Jamaicans eh boys!)
Hughill has been our Butler and friend for as far back as we can remember. He is still every bit the star he has always been, and despite my “wind ups”, he really does make our vacation perfect. Be it a private island picnic, igloo by the pool, or helping us with day to day arrangements, he is the epitome of perfection!
Ellis, smiling Ellis, always always a star! And Orlando, who happened to be filling in on my husbands birthday. I asked Orlando would he lay out my husbands birthday cards on the bed for us coming home after midnight. Check out the video, as per usual they go way and beyond!
Housekeeping was as per usual faultless. Sadly I did not get a chance to thank and say goodbye to my housemaid Linnette, but will catch up with you next time Linnette. Thank you so much for looking after us, I know we sure made a mess at times with visitors to our suite etc, you sure did your job so well, so HUGE thank you Linnette!!
Snapshots! We bought a beautiful wedding album which cost $350. Fantastic value! It contains 18 wedding photographs, plus extra pages and inserts for us to add our own. I would say the ivory leather and silk album alone would cost a lot more than that in this country let alone the photography!
The bars as always were such fun!
We loved the newly renovated beach grill, though Rayon there was terrific!
The pool bar as always run to perfection by Verna closely assisted by “Bigs” and gold star to new trainee Stacey-Ann. You’ll be getting your shirt Stacey-Ann don’t you fret!
The Piano Bar, Ziggy with his great chocolate martinis, and the fantastic Pianist Daniel who gave us endless hours of fun filled memories! I am sorry if I don’t mention all names here, you are ALL wonderful!
Then of course, party time in the Cricketeers Pub. I am afraid some of the memories of nights spent in here are somewhat hazy, but they sure were good! Leon and Ernie, we love you guys!!
I wont mention too many details on the wedding itself as my daughter has already written her review on here. But to re-iterate here words, thank you everyone, for the perfect magical wedding and week. Thank you for ensuring each and every one of our family had the perfect vacation. We ourselves have already booked for our return visit and already plans for 2011 re-union for all of us are in place!
As one final note, to tell you how great this place is. My husband and I last took a vacation at Eldorado Seaside Suites in Mexico which is rated as one of the highest resorts on TA in Mexico. We had their VERY top one and only Presidential Suite. Fabulous room, pity about the service! I would rather spend my vacation in the lowest grade room at SRC, than in the Presidential Suite at Eldorado Seaside Suites. When it comes to Couples Only vacations, NO ONE can lick the boots of Sandals!!!!
We wont make the same mistake twice, Sandals Royal Caribbean, YOU are our home forever!
Iain, thank you and your team from the bottom of our hearts. You are ALL superstars!!
- 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