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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
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Reviews (6,902)
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4,503
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Reviewed 4 January 2014

We just returned from a 7 night stay at Secrets St. James, Montego Bay. Overall quality of the resort is very good. Some minor issues (no shampoo or lotion in our room) but were quickly resolved once we inquired. Reception is good and most are very friendly and helpful. Nadia helped us arrange a private taxi for a one-day trip to Ocho Rios. Our driver was Mark Campbell and we are so glad we went this route rather than a bus with a large group. Our two activities on this trip was to climb the falls at Dunn's River Falls (very cool) and the Green Grotto cave tour. Both are well worth the trip (about 90 min from Montego Bay). However, Mark was a great host and shared some history of the area (we saw the high school attended by Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt) and made some road side stops to experience the true Jamaica culture. In addition, he stopped at the Coconut Tree restaurant for some real jerk chicken!

Back at Secrets we enjoyed the daily breakfast buffet at the World Cafe. The staff was very friendly, especially Rendardo and LeRoy.

The resort is located on a small bay/inlet which has a very nice sandy beach and a mix of pool side and beach side lounge chairs. We enjoyed beach volleyball each day at 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Our favorites were Bruce (super nice, friendly, good athlete) who joined us playing volleyball. Other were there but not as often as Bruce were Happy Feet, Cornflake, Genius and Alistair. If you have seen the movie Cool Runnings (which you should see!), Alistair sounds exactly like Sanka. He is also very funny and lightens the mood.

Kadeesha was my favorite waitress on the beach. When the resort ran out of mint for Mojito's she recommended a similar drink with limes (Caipirinha). She knew my drink and made sure I never had to order. She has a great personality and was a lot of fun.

At the Seaside bar (one of three beach/pool side bars) Mark was a great bar tender. He looks to be a former military guy, but I was impressed how he went about his business, keeping everything clean and neat.

Each day the Jerk Chicken Guy came by the pools with his grill cart providing the best jerk chicken each day. This was one of our favorite treats out by the pool.

Also, the fruit lady had her cart out each day as well serving up fresh pineapple, papaya, grapes, and mellon.

Included in the resort fees are free access to guided snorkling, hobie's, kayaks, etc. Jermain gave us lessons on the hobie and he was patient and a real sailing expert.

The snorkling just around the rock wall was absolutely amazing! Some of the best coral I've seen and so close to shore you can actually swim right to it.

The restaurants on site were decent - not great, but decent. Our favorites were the Patio (Mexican) restaurant, Bourdeaux (French), Hibachi (Japanese). My personal favorite waiter was Wichester. Very polite, professional.

The New Year's Eve dinner and party was a blast. We were encouraged early in the week to reserve our time for dinner - all restaurants served the same meal that night (surf and turf). We selected a 10:00 p.m. reservation outdoors at Boudeaux. This location allowed us to have a table when the band began playing at 10:30 p.m. through the New Year!

There was a desert station that had some very good sweets including a Banna Foster that the chefs prepared on request.

The New Year came in with a huge fireworks show, band and laser light show. It was quite memorable.

The house wines were so-so and aside from purchasing select wines for New Year and one evening (their wine list is offered each evening) it was ok.

Lunches at the pool side restaurants (Seaside and Oceana) were conveninent and good.

Weather each day was 82-85 - perfect.

In addition to the friendly staff, we met some really nice guests from around the world.

My wife and I brought out two adult children (age 23 and 19) and opted for two rooms. I wasn't real big on the lack of privacy in the bathrooms (especially if someone else came in the room), but we made it work. Our kids had a ocean front walk out room and we were a floor above them, which was convenient for us.

Overall, it was a very relaxing, friendly, sunny place. We loved the weather, the staff and the friendly people we met around the pool and the beach volleyball.

Room Tip: We had a beach view - not beach front. Initially, I wanted the beach front, but later was glad we had the beach view and we were not right on the beach where it had the feel of people looking right in your room. The beach view is angled toward the ocean and has the feeling of being a little more private.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Fred E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

I did not enjoy my stay there. The service was lacking and the atmosphere was not for me. Despite that, the rooms were nice and the food is good. However for the price I paid I would never stay here again. I enjoyed lesser resorts in Montego Bay more. To be honest the most enjoyable time I had was off the resort. I never before have been so anxious to leave a vacation. In the future I would never stay here again.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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7  Thank Hbo1987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014 via mobile

I cannot get enough of Secrets St. James. Each time I visit, it gets better and better. The atmusphere, the food and the staff. My favorite staff member is Mr. Billy Love...he makes your visit very special.

I can't wait to visit again.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
1  Thank Caribkitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank Katy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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