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“Warning: Do not waste your money or time here! Mismanaged/filthy.”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
State College, PA, USA
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Warning: Do not waste your money or time here! Mismanaged/filthy.”
Reviewed 13 March 2011

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.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank dasaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
New Bedford, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at secrets wild orchid for on week in March 2010. Many problems, 3 hours for a room at check in, spa tub wasn't working (4 workers came in removed our tub and brought in another one while we waited), and called everyday for housekeeping (dropped a glass cup on the floor called three times for our room to be cleaned up and then went to the front desk after the third time after dinner and drinks at 11). For these mishaps occuring, Secrest welcomed us back March 2011. On the third day of our stay, both our cell phones were stolen from our night stand drawer. Loss prevention came and took our report and stated they would get back to us in 3 days. They also had us go through all our stuff to show we hadn't misplaced our cell phone somewhere in our luggage and draweres. I felt as though they thought we made up the story and tried getting a free cell phone or something. Very strange. They stated our room card identifies each person who enters the room. Stated they would begin an investigation. Still no response. Spoke to the woman at the front desk and explained the situation and stated she would look into it. Sent an email a couple of days ago and they finally responed back and stated they would look into it. A constant run around. Still waiting.

Regardless of the cell phone issue the resort is beautiful. I recommend this resort for couples over 40. Nothing really do to at night besides the piano bar. Not a lot of entertainment. If your looking to have lots of fun don't go there. No music playing on the beach or pool. Kind of lame. Happy I had my ipod and a good book.

I would recommend staying at the Wild Orchid. Everything is near it. St. James side is about 1/4 mile walk to the main restaurants. Ladies if your planning on wearing heels you better bring your comfortable pairs. All in all, beautiful resort, friendly people, food was great, room service was excellent, and beautiful room. Housekeeping was good this time. My room was cleaned everyday and turned down service at night. That part really improved. Preferred amenties are nice but junior suite is just as nice.

My advice is to lockup everthing in the safe. Never know whos looking through your things when your enjoying yourself at the beach and pool for a couple of hours. To many employees walking around. I didn't feel comfortable leaving my clothes out in the open after that. Not a good feeling. Still tried to enjoy myself regardless. Never had anything stolen from me while on vacation. Its not a good feeling.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank cb13esi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Massachusetts
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 March 2011

What a beautiful resort !!! I can't say enough about our stay there it was fantastic. The food,staff,beach,and rooms exceeded all expectations. Everyone went out of there way to make our stay enjoyable.My wife and I are ready to book again for next year.The only bad part about our trip was we did not stay long enough.
BFG Group Adams,MA

  • Stayed March 2011
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Helpful?
1 Thank thongman10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Memphis, Tennessee
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2011

I was told Jamaica was dirty, people were out to steal everything from you, it was scary and dangerous...well not so people. I did see poverty but that is expected. I loved this place and plan to return very soon. We were treated with so much respect and everyone wanted to help us. The setting was so beautiful, I loved the bike tour, kayaking, and hobie sailing. Some of us went on a raft trip in the mountains and did some other activies for 60.00. They were very happy. The beach party on fri night was so much fun and the food was wonderful, wens they had a talent contest and gave away some prizes including a four night stay there. The only thing I have to complain about is A: the bed was too soft, and sunk in on one side. B: the food in some of the restaurants weren't all that great (the asian one was excellent), C: the bikes aren't available on the weekends for use (BOO!!!!) and D: when we left we couldn't find my husbands leather belt and was missing of all things a shirt. It still didn't turn up after we were home. I can't figure out were it went. Maybe the maid scooped it up with the towels. I love the fresh coconut cart, hamburger cart and jerk chicken cart. You need a full coverup for the two pool restaurants if you have on a bathing suit or a shirt for men with their trunks. I can't remember if you have to have shoes on also but we did anyway. The beach was so nice, it will spoil you. One day we missed american food so we had a cheeseburger in paradise, yes it was very good. You have to ask for mayo, but they have it.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank mysouthernroots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Louis, MO
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2011

This was my 5th time to Jamaica and my first at Secrets. My husband and I both enjoyed it. Food was good, the rooms were nice and the resort is beautiful. We stayed in the Preferred Club and Shellane and Marlin were wonderful! We'd go back in a heartbeat. I usually like to try a different resort each time but would consider going back to Secrets next year. We liked that it wasn't a long trip from the airport to the resort.

Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank belgrl48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginia Beach
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2011

We just returned from our trip to Secrets St. James in Montego Bay. Overall, we had a great time although there were some areas where the resort fell short.

The resort is 15-20 minutes from the airport and is out of the flight zone from incoming and outgoing planes. If you are looking at other resorts such as Sandals, be wary as they are right next to the runway and planes take off and land about every 15 minutes.

The resort

Check in- No issues here. Very fast and to our room within 15 minutes.

Room- Room number (3444) Nice rooms and as everyone mentioned, the bathrooms are pretty much wide open so if you are in the bedroom area you can see and hear everything that is going on in the bathroom. It took a couple of days for the the mini bar to be restocked but once they got going on it, we were ok. The view from the room was great as we could see the ocean, pool and the bay and it is on the quiet side of the resort. If you are looking for the party action, do not book the preferred rooms. They are on the outskirts of the resort. You do get some extra features with the preferred rooms such as your own private lounge with a personal bartender. I thought it was a nice touch.

The Beach- Not a bad beach although you have to get up very early to reserve a chair. The same would hold true for the pools with the exception of the preferred pools. The beach over on the St. James side is protected by a breakwater so the water isn't as rough as it is around the other parts of the resort.

The restaurants- Ok, here is where the resort fell short.

Breakfast- Great- You can get whatever you want. Huge buffet!

French- Lamb was tough and not a very good cut of chop. The other couple in our party didn't care for their dishes at all. The service however was great and the waiter that waited on us was very professional.

Blue Mountain- Not bad but not great either. Just a so-so dinner although my wife thought the goat was pretty good. I stuck with the stew and thought it was ok.

Porto Fino- It was ok. nothing to write home about.

Seaside grill- Again, it was just ok. Steaks are very tough. Stick with the chicken or fish dishes.

El Patio- Skip it!! It is a buffet with the option to order your main dish.

Jerk Chicken Wagon on the beach- JERKY, JERKY, JERKY, JERKY!!! Seek out this gentleman for some of the best jerk chicken I have ever had!!

Room Service- We just had coffee and danishes in the morning. 20-25 minutes for delivery which I thought was extremely fast. Always a smile on their face and a "My pleasure" response.

When we compare this Secrets to the Secrets Capri down in Mexico, the Mexico resort wins hands down for food. Sorry St. James, you really need to step up on the food with a better quality and selection if you want to achive a higher rating.

Other Issues- We could not attend any of the events in the showtime theatre due to the very very strong smell of sewage coming out of the venue. It was like that all week and we couldn't take the stench.

Bottled water- Was very hard to get your hands on. It got better during the week but the first two days we were on the resort we could get ANY bottled water.

Service- Some of the waiters in the restaurants are not trained nearly enough. More training please!!!

What I considered the best-

The bartenders! The servers by the pool and on the beaches! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!! BTW- We tip...always tip and believe in tipping servers, maids tec.. Once you understand what it takes to making a living in Jamaica, you might feel compelled to tip as well.

I would recommend this resort but keep in mind that it is only a year old and they need to do some additional work on service, food, and the showtime lounge!

Claudette- I hope you are reading this and taking notes. Your guests are giving you valuable feedback and I hope you focus on making this a truly top notch resort.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank vabeach_bums
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
morris,mn
1 review
Reviewed 6 March 2011

We had a issue with the AC in our room. The room didn't want to say cool. It was just plain hot and muggy in the room. It took several calls to have a repair person to come up and look at the AC. They offered to move us to another room but the room we were in had a very nice view of the ocean and I didn't want pack up and then move to unpack. Both of us felt like they wanted to suger coat the sitution. We ended up moving to anther room. Instead of a rebate or credit on the room they gave us one night stay for NEXT year stay if we dicide to come back. It took over 24 hrs before anything got solved. We tried not to let this wreck our trip. The weather was very nice and drinks were cold. Hotel management at St. James sucks!!!

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank mx335tractor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Secrets St. James Montego Bay

Property: Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Address: Lot A59, Freeport, Montego Bay, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets St. James Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 350
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Also Known As:
Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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