Many thanks to those who took the time to share about their trip(s) to Sandals, Montego Bay. My wife and I are repaying with this monologue of our trip.
We caught an early flight from Atlanta and arrived on time courtesy of our friends at Delta. We had decided to spend a few extra buck$ and did the Club Mobay – VIP arrival package. The extra cost was worth it, when we got off the plane and Ashley from Club Mobay was there (with our names on a placard) to escort us through immigration. She checked our immigration forms, took us through the fast lines at customs, then at immigration after we got our bags. Departure was similarly easy and saved few minutes. The real nicety was our flight had been delayed so we enjoyed the club facilities an hour longer than planned. Recommendation on Club Mobay – My wife got a kick out of it, we definitely enjoyed the lounge on the way out, I’d do it again (vacation comes once a year!)
Ashley took us to the Sandals Reception area in the departure area and we said our goodbyes. The Sandals lounge at arrival is very nice, we waited a few minutes then they loaded us up in a van for the short trip to Sandals, Montego Bay.
Several things I had not read in previous reviews:
Tip 1 – the gentleman who takes your bags to the Sandals bus from their arrival reception area expects a tip.
Tip 2 – the gentleman driving the bus to the Sandals Resorts (we dropped people off at Sandals Royal Bahamian) also expects a tip.
The tipping caught many of us by surprise as we had very little cash on us. I talked to the other couple going to Montego Bay and they tipped the bus driver for all of us, I got the baggage guy. Recommend carrying some small bills so you are not surprised.
When we arrived to Montego Bay we were greeted by Alford “Big Al.” He expedited check in and ensured all the business was taken care of upfront. We waited 90 minutes for our room, but used the time to wander about and then had a terrific jerk cheese burger at the beach grill. We did have issues getting reservations to restaurants on certain days. Not sure what the deal is, but it seemed that since we did not use concierge services we had problems getting the nights we selected but eventually got into Cucina Romano, StewFish and Tokyo Joe’s.
Orientation was at 4:00 PM on day of arrival. The leader was Antonio. We were the only ones in the group so we got an excellent walking tour of the grounds and facilities. Thanks Antonio!
Dinner first night at Stewfish was excellent. We arrived early and were seated facing the ocean, weather was perfect as we watched the sunset during dinner. Stewfish is picnic tables used for overflow for the beach grill during the day. They close at 5:00 PM and reopen at 6:00 with tablecloths, glass and silverware. Very acceptable given you are basically on the beach. Food – very good. Appetizers – I had the scallops and the lobster bisque, pretty wife had the shrimp appetizer (deliciously spicy.) Scallops and shrimp were excellent, skip the lobster bisque. For dinner we had the shrimp kebabs, grilled veggies and beans and rice. Shrimp and veggies were grilled perfectly, I could have eaten many more. Highly recommended. Desserts were standard resort fare, they were sweet.
We booked a luxury ocean view room with a small balcony. We had a great view of the grounds, the piano bar pool and the ocean. The building was the Sea grapes and the rooms were very nice, the A/C was on the pleasant side of freezing. The room had a fridge which they stock with whatever you want. Other essentials were a coffee pot, hair dryer and extra pillows. I am a coffee person, the Blue Mountain blend in the room was quite good.
Spa – during our visit we enjoyed excellent treatment across the board. Jirdeen (pronounced Grrr-dean) was the hostess and ensured everything was on time, every time. Between pretty wife and I we hit the salt scrub, facial, pedicure and ended with couples massage the day before we left. All were excellent, we’d do it again.
Excursion 1- A family friend from Jamaica insisted we do Dunn River Falls. Pretty wife signed us up for the Dunn River Falls / Dolphin Cove Combo. This is a long day with 90 minutes of travel on each end of the trip. We left at 9:30 and were returned to Sandals at 6:15. Pointers – make dinner reservations for a later time on the day you do this excursion. We had read mixed reviews on the Dunn River Falls visit. Specifically pushy locals, in your face for gratuities etc. Our experience was more pleasant. First, know going in that your guide and driver from the tour company expect a tip (we tipped $20 for the day.) Anita our guide was excellent, walking us through what to expect and avoid. The guide(s) at Dunn River Falls expect a tip. They even walked with us to the bus to collect from some who had not brought money on the wet trip up the falls. The guys in yellow shirts are taking photos and video of your group along the way. Several of our group purchased the photos and were happy. I recommend buying a water camera and taking it with you on the trip. Also, the water shoes recommendation is suspect. Sneakers or adventure sandals are fine (what we did.) Dolphin Cove is a nice little place, don’t expect Sea World folks. We did not elect to swim with the dolphins, sharks (yes, but they are nurse sharks) or rays. Those who did in our group really enjoyed it and bought the photos and DVDs available afterwards.
Excursion 2 – Chukka Zipline adventure (www.chukkacaribbean.com) was awesome. The trip to the Chukka site is 30-45 minutes from Sandals. It is a very Spartan location in the mountains that was inland of Montego Bay. They offered a package with river tubing following the zipline. We only did the zipline and were back at the hotel by 2:15. The Zipline crew is very entertaining and ensure you have a good time safely. There is some climbing of hills so expect some moderate physical exertion. Hints- if you have a GoPro, this is the place to take it, several in our group had them and I wished I had brought mine for this and Dunn River Falls. We were very happy to have only done the Zip, it was a blast, we were hot, sweaty and ready to go after the Ziplines. They did have a photographer following us and we bought 10 of the photos for $30.00 and were very happy with them. The driver from the hotel to the site, expects a tip. The guides on the Zipline adventure also expect a tip.
Wrap Up – Easy to get here from the states, it’s very hot here in August, bring Tervis Tumbler cups (the cups here are very small), bring small bills for tipping during arrival/departure and excursions. The BEST service we have experienced in many years of traveling.
Cheers on – Room, Service, atmosphere/grounds/facilities/spa/wedding watching
Opportunities to improve - all restaurants are outdoors except Oleander (did I mention avoid visiting in August?), entertainment is mixed bag, there are some young ladies who sang who are ready for American Idol(awesome), some of the games, casino night, yelling (wanna be singers) and screaming not so much. We enjoyed celebrating a birthday and anniversary while there and highly recommend Sandals MoBay to others.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Largest private white sand beach on the north coast •The entertainment capital of the Sandals brand with nightly professional shows and upbeat, active, fun-loving daytime activities. •Six exquisite dining options•Complimentary transfers to Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Carlyle. Enjoy all the luxuries included in our “stay at one, play at three” concept offering 18 dining options •Air-conditioned departure lounge•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 Montego Bay Hotel Montego Bay
- Sandals Hotel Montego Bay
- Montego Bay Sandals Hotel
- Sandal Montego Bay