My husband scheduled a lovely surprise for our 10th anniversary...a trip to Jamaica! We were married at a wonderful resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica in 2000 and hadn't been back to Jamaica since. That time bus ride was so long (2.5 hours), that we decided to stay closer to the airport this time. Looking at the website for Secrets St. James, it was only 20 minutes from the airport and because the resort was only about 10 months old, we thought we made the right choice for an upscale, beautiful resort. What a mistake! The website is misleading in so many ways. We arrived and met with the welcoming rep. Had to sign a waiver of liability!
Although this was an "all inclusive" resort (and the 10 or more all inclusive resorts we've been to in the past really meant "all inclusive") the staff had their hands out everywhere we went looking for tips. We complained, but front office said that tipping is ok for exceptional service. Unfortunately, everyone thought they were exceptional and extended their hands for tips and even made comments that we should tip. Very uncomfortable feeling.
We were taken to our room, shown around, saw a beautiful swimming pool outside our door and told with wide open arms "this is all for you to enjoy!" (hand out for tip). Next day went over to get towels for that pool and we were told we could not use that pool, as it was for "preferred" customers. Our pool was on the other side of the building. I went over for towels and to get us two lounge chairs and there were no towels. I waited 2 hours and FINALLY laundry sent clean towels. People were not supposed to "reserve" chairs, but they did anyhow, so it was difficult to find a lounge chair to relax in the sun. I figured out that you do not give up your towel, because you may not get one the next day.
ROOMS: THE PLACE WAS FILTHY! Streaks, dirt, paint splashes, hair, dust, black dirt everywhere. I used a white washcloth to wipe over dressers and areas and it was black when I finished. The floor rug had spill spots all over it. The back of the couch had a BIG TORN spot with foam coming out. Plush bathrobe and slippers were not in the room. No scale. Bathroom featuring "TV speaker with sound control" - not hooked up/did not work. No iron - asked for one and they gave us one that had burned fabric on it. Only two pillows on the bed and no extras in the closet. His and her armoire? Nope, just a dirty closet. The ceiling fan did not work! The AC was difficult to control - either freezing or not working. Found out that the large desk with "internet connection" doesn't mean free internet - they wanted to charge $15 per day! Plus, the "large desk" was just a small table with two chairs. The phone had one button that worked: to the concierge, so we had to go through the concierge everytime we wanted to make a call.
BIG DEAL - husband wanted to watch 2 football playoff games. When he went to watch the Saturday game, the TV had a 1 foot x 1 foot "blackout" box in the middle of the screen. Maintenance could not figure out why (oh, it must be the feed from the network) and they said they have no extra TV's to change it out, so we'd just have to wait and be patient. Sunday's game...DIFFERENT channel...the SAME thing happened! Husband was furious! Again we were told that it must be the feed and no TV's are available. Husband said no one is in the room next door, bring that TV over. Maintenance guy brought it over, hooked it up and it worked fine!
First time we used the "rain forest" shower head, water sprayed horizontally and soaked everything in the bathroom. The construction of this place looked like first graders applied the caulking, paint and grout.
We had hoped to be able to golf, but found out that transport, caddy-required, golf, club rental, etc. would have cost us $500+ each. What a joke.
We called maintenance so many times and talked to the front desk about everything as it happened. The ladies at the front desk usually sat there and looked at us with a "who cares" attitude. The Apple Vacations rep did nothing to help us. We talked to many "managers" often, were promised that they'd make everything right and "turn our vacation around", but after so many things happening and all the stress, we couldn't take it any longer. My husband went to the front desk and made arrangements for our flights to be changed (of course, we had to pay $300 to accomplish that) and we went home 3 days early!
At that point, we were asked to talk to a "district" manager (higher up) and he wanted to know why we were leaving and for us to tell him what was wrong, so they can make it better for other customers. OMG!
Just the most horrible experience we've ever had. I cried the entire way home and it took some time to get over this terrible experience. I would have given it a Zero rating, but that is not available.
I made a list of the problems and took pictures. If you don't believe me, I'll send you pictures. I'm going to try to add some below.
Please do not ruin your vacation by choosing this resort. We'll be going to Mexico or the Dominican Republic from now on - we've never had such problems there.
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay