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“Wonderful New Year's vacation”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 64 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 3 January 2014

Stayed here for 4 nights during New Year's eve celebrations...The hotel really went all out with fireworks, decorations, food, champagne, dessert, party accessories, dj was great...everything was wonderful....except, they ran out of some of their pre-fix dinner options....they tried to accommodate however they could but since we made reservations several days in advance, and we didn't have a choice of meals because it was pre-fix, they should have had enough food for everyone.

The only other complaint is that they only serve breakfast in one restaurant, so it tends to get crowded and we had to wait several times for about 20 minutes to be seated for breakfast buffet.

The beach and the water are so beautiful. Grounds are kept very very clean...but wake up early to make sure you get a lounge chair.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jenechka4u2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,554 - 3,560 of 6,439 reviews

Reviewed 3 January 2014

You know when you get to that time of year when you simply just need a good holiday…some sunshine, some time to relax and you want to know where your going will be nice, not just nice but a little bit of luxury, because well you deserve it…well that was me…and if that is you, book Secrets confidently knowing your room will be amazing, the sunshine will be there and the staff will be brilliant.
Reception / check-in – we arrived to the very lovely welcome of Jeremy, he turned out to be a total legend the whole stay. Check-in was quick and with rum! And Kimberly was great – she always asked if there was anything she could help with etc etc
If you just want to lie in the sun – stop reading, get booking and you’ll enjoy it.
If you want a little more keep reading..
I went with my friend as my other half had run out of holiday – so we spent the first day enjoying the Spa, which is next to the gym so we also decided we’d be relatively good. (I’d go maybe after breakfast as the world and his wife were there before 9am!). You get a newsletter everyday – which covers what’s on in the resort and it’s up to you what you do if anything… We enjoyed some free tennis lessons with Cliff – who was great if you want to pick up that sport again, but it also meant I met a lady up for playing some golf.
Golf – MUST DO White witch, I have to say I’ve been lucky enough to play a few courses but this was an absolute delight , not only a great course with amazing views, but also reasonably priced and the caddy was fantastic.
(I’d maybe speak to the course direct next time before I fly and see what kind of deal they can do it cost me $150 including transfers/caddy/club hire)
Food – there are loads of restaurants to pick from – but TOP TIP, jerk chicken by the beach, the chicken was great and you can go grab a salad from the many buffet places to have with it, also fresh fruit by beach….you don’t really need to stop for lunch unless you need some shade time!
Room – room was massive, Jacuzzi bath, pull the curtains and watch the sun set with a cocktail in hand!
Other
Landing in Jamaica if it’s your first time, you can get an official cab from the airport – if your happy to share (and really why wouldn’t you be it’s about $20 from the airport to Secrets).
Taxi’s – if like us you wanted to explore a little – and really you should as Jamaica is an amazing island and a lot bigger than I expected, I suggest you befriend a driver and come up with you own deals and agree prices up front if you want to do a the private tourist things…or failing that book through your hotel (Dunns river falls, swimming with Dolphins, etc)
Enjoy!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Katy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

Overall we had a very nice time, but based on the other reviews I had read I was expecting more. It was enjoyable, but the various service problems were disappointing and frustrating.

Pros
1. Jerk Chicken & Coconut water cart – chicken was delicious, we got without sauce because it was spicy even without the sauce.
2. Pools & Beaches - beautiful view (albeit the beaches are fairly narrow). We didn’t have a problem getting chairs at the pool or beach, but there definitely were more available in the preferred areas. I also liked the preferred pool better because it was quiet and relaxing. However, the wait staff at the main pool was much more attentive than the preferred pool. It was always faster to go to the bar yourself at the preferred pool.
3. NYE extras – the entertainment, desert tables and extra bars set up were all great. The fireworks set off on the property were incredibly beautiful reflecting off the water.
4. Food - Most of the food was fairly good. As one other reviewer noted, I did get the impression that the meals were prepared ahead of time and simply brought out. The Italian wasn’t very good in my opinion, but the others were fine.
5. Staff is very friendly and polite – even though there were several service issues, I got the impression that they were all a result of poor management rather than the individual’s failing.
6. Room – the shower had an option of a regular or rain shower. The bed was comfortable, room was clean and fairly large with a beautiful balcony view.
7. Very close to airport

Cons
1. Check-In - We were served a drink and chilled towel upon arriving. We decided to upgrade our room after the sales pitch. Our room wasn't ready. So, we came back at the time we were told. Unfortunately when we arrived at the room, housekeeping had just arrived. So, we traipsed back to the front desk. No one seemed to know what the problem was or what to do with us. They offered to put us in an interim room until our room was cleaned. We said that we would keep our keys and asked that our bags be delivered to the room whenever housekeeping was completed. When we arrived in our room, we still needed to call for our bags. It was frustrating to have to waste time trying to figure out where they were going to put us. We easily spent an hour and a half trying to get checked in.
2. No towels – Replacing of the towels was a bit spotty. One day we didn’t have a bath mat, which we dealt with. The next we didn’t have any fresh towels and the used ones were gone. We called the front desk and it was over an hour and still no towels, called again and 30 minutes after call #2 they came.
3. NYE Dinner – Service was SO slow. It took over 2 hours. It took over an hour after we sat down for anything besides water to arrive, which was consistent with everyone around us. Management eventually came over to one of the neighboring tables and they complained of the wait, but the management response was inadequate. For example, another table said that they were currently waiting for bread. Rather than the manager go get the bread, he went to the waiter who was assisting another table and told him “they need some bread”. Also, the kitchen did not seem to have enough food available, which is a little crazy considering it was a prix fixe menu, reservations required and even the wine was pre-ordered.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
2  Thank travelgirl1009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

Stayed here a week and I have very little to recommend for someone to choose Secrets over the other. Staff were not friendly at all, as a mater of fact most could have cared less if we were having a good time or not. There were a few exceptions like some of the bar staff but in general, very poor customer service. The food was average at best, buffet breakfasts were OK, lots of food but not the best quality. We did have a nice dinner at the French restaurant one night and it is nice that you can prebook the restauranats as many times as you want.

Beaches were small and service beach side was marginal at best. Pool time was annoying as the music was so loud or there were so many "games" that we couldn't sit there and enjoy the experience.

I will not be going back to this resort and likely not Jamaica.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank smyzzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SWO_STJconcierge, Manager at Secrets St. James Montego Bay, responded to this reviewResponded 3 January 2014

Dear Valued Guest:

We thank you for taking the time to share your most recent travel experience with us and do apologize that our service delivery was not as was expected.

Providing the best in customer care is at the top of our priority list and it is sad to note that you found our team members less than friendly to you and although this is very usual at our Resorts, we will ensure that the necessary re-orientation is administered to all staff to make certain that we are consistently meeting the expectations of our guests.

Your feedback is extremely important to us and all reviews are monitored closely so that the changes where necessary, can be implemented as we are committed to delivering on the Unlimited Luxury that our Brand is known for.

Our many thanks once again for posting your review and we do trust that as we realize improvements in these very critical areas, that you will indeed be encouraged to visit with us once again.

Thank you + kind regards,

Caulette Mornan
Social Networking/eConcierge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

We stayed in here in July in the excellence club. It was a great stay – rooms were nice, pool was lovely and heated, there was a good variety of food – which was average resort food (at times yummy at times not but you’re always full). There was a great jerk chicken cart every afternoon not to be missed! The main drawback was the beach – it was small and not all that nice, normally this would have been disappointing but the pool was so nice it didn’t faze us. For a resort so large the service was really great and everyone was always nice and accommodating. Overall a great stay and we would definitely go back! The non excellence club section had more of a loud party vibe and we would not have enjoyed the trip had we stayed there.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Jennifer G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

I've done quite a bit of travelling lately (five trips to different countries in the last twelve months) and missing a few reviews, so hopefully I will find the time to write about those also. Now…., I love love loved this resort and hope to return in March 2014. Don't hesitate in choosing this resort, you will not be disappointed. This was my first trip to Jamaica and I can say that the resort staff and locals are the friendliest people that I have ever encountered along my travels. The airport is ten minutes away and you will not be bothered by any sounds, we enjoyed seeing the planes come and go (all sizes). If you take a look at the website for Secrets St. James/Wild Orchid the map will show you where everything is located. The shows at night are worth the visit! I'm not talking about typical resort skits with the entertainment staff, I'm talking about real steel drum bands and singers brought in from outside of the resort to perform, very talented artists. When you watch the shows outside at night the backdrop across the bay with the mountain full of lights reminds me of Bora Bora. We stayed in room 4320 in a preferred suite and the location was excellent, water views both ways (not looking at other balconies) and very private. The preferred club pool is a beautiful spot (we like it quieter) and if we weren't at this pool we were on the beach. The preferred pool looks like one large pool, but is divided into two sections (hidden by a little foot bridge), the section closest to the building is heated, yes heated, and I loved it!! The other section of the pool has the infinity side and the temperature was good too, maybe 84F. I loved that they had floaties for the pool, used these a lot, especially great to lay on your tummy to tan your back, much more comfy on your body than laying on a sun lounger. Plus, the floaties are great entertainment when you see other guests try to get on them gracefully!! lol (myself included). Important Note: Only one of the restaurants (if you want to sit inside), the Bordeaux Restaurant requires the men to wear long pants, etc. This is a real bonus, I think. We generally bring nice things to wear for dinner anyway, and when we were there others dressed nice too, but it is nice that you can go to dinner and men at least have the option to wear nice bermuda shorts with a great shirt. When we went the weather at night was hotter than expected and my husband was so glad that he could wear shorts. I could really go on and on about this place with only good things to say, you'll just have to go yourself and experience this great resort. Now the question, "would I go back for a repeat visit" - absolutely, without a doubt.

Room Tip: Room 4320 had nice views and didn't lookout to other balconies so was very private, it is also a...
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Tropical_Holidays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2014

My husband and I stayed 12/1-6. The trip was wonderful. Drinks upon arrival. Booked through AMEX and had no problems whatsoever. Everything at the hotel was wonderful: check in, rooms, beach, beach service, pool, food, entertainment, special free anniversary champagne and breakfast room service. We were worried about snorkeling because you can only go in supervised group. The snorkeling wound up being the best thing that we enjoyed. Right outside the roped off beach are coral reefs with wonderful fish. The guide would point out different fish and bring up things for us to see. We did it every day we were there. Also, they serve the BEST Jamaican jerk chicken straight from the grill right by the beach chairs so we never even tried the lunch buffet. The only problem we encountered was a spoiled steak at a restaurant. My husband was slightly sick for one night. It did not ruin our trip and we would go back, but it was still disappointing. Overall, we loved this resort and would go back. Decided after we got there to do no excursions and spend whole time at resort.

Room Tip: We chose a room on top floor. Great views.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PEllenG
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

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 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: £295 - £592 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Secrets St. James Montego Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 350
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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