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“Yeah mon - for real!”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 64 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 30 January 2014

My wife and I stayed at St. James from Jan 10 -17. This was our 9th visit to a Secrets resort but our first time at St. James. Check in was smooth and we were in our room with our luggage within minutes. There was no sales pitch, as mentioned by other reviewers. The property is beautiful and rooms are clean and comfortable – the bed and pillow, extremely so.

There are very good food options for breakfast and lunch with plenty of choice. I did find the a-la-carte restaurants a little disappointing and several guests mentioned, it would be nice to have a themed buffet option available in the evening, though the “no reservation” system at all Secrets resorts is always a bonus The Teppanyaki table at Himitsu was our favourite evening meal. Our chef, Marlon, was tremendously entertaining and the stir fry was delicious. The lunch time Jerk chicken cart is also a must!

Bar and beach service is good and there is rarely a wait for a drink. Both, Marvin and Alandro in the lobby bars were great fun in the evening and showed us some good magic tricks and puzzles, to keep us entertained. Tanesha, on beach service, was very nice and kept up a steady steam of liquid refreshment to keep us hydrated in the hot sun!

The staff at Secrets resorts are one of the reasons we keep returning, as we find their service and attitude is second to none. I would like to mention a few more who contributed to making this stay so enjoyable...

Oraldo at The World Cafe was a real star and tremendous fun, with his repartee and many songs, while giving excellent service – “for real”!
Lorenzo, also at the breakfast buffet was a real gentleman and attentive server.
Clinton, our waiter at Bordeaux, also impressed us with the quality of his service.

One special feature of Secrets resorts, which we particularly enjoy, is the daily yoga practice, guided by a professional guest instructor. St. James/Wild Orchid was no exception, with Tara from Alberta, Canada, who was absolutely terrific - a fantastic way to start the day! I also really enjoyed the Jamaican cooking class, which was given by Xavien and followed with a fun Jamaican patois lesson from Bon Jovi.

Although we stayed at St. James, there seems to be no real difference from Wild Orchid, other than SJ is further from the restaurants and evening entertainment - they essentially seem to operate as one hotel, sharing the restaurants and beach. Our only real criticism is that Wi-Fi is not included, without paying extra, which would seem to be a major oversight, as it is included at other Secrets resorts. Regardless, we look forward to returning soon.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank Kevin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,502 - 3,508 of 6,439 reviews

Reviewed 29 January 2014

First and foremost, go no further....run and book this resort! From the time my wife and I stepped off the bus, we were pampered and felt like family. Each person tells you "welcome home" and the bellhop meets you in your room with your luggage. So I will try to tell you about everything, but I really don't have anything negative to say.

BEST OF THE BEST:

1) STAFF: Many of the staff are very friendly and helpful. Make sure you ask about their culture and engage the staff working. Once they understand that your truly interested in the island, they will tell you so much. Plenty to eat and drink, and plenty of activities to keep you interested. I say this because many "Westerners" feel the need to treat them like crap because they have paid so much to be there. You talk to staff, and you will get a feeling of how much they truly love where they live. And trust me, they know a lot about the island. My best dudes throughout the week were Herman (bellhop), Niron (casino), and the two crazy but fun bartenders at the nightclub. Herman took time to say hello to our kids via facetime, Niron told us everything about Rum and kept us company on many occasions. What a bunch of amazing people!!!!

You will learn that nothing is a problem, only situations. Meaning, they will always tell you "no problem", and everything is going to be alllright (cue Bob Marley). They say "Ya Mon" A LOT! I finally asked them...like seriously...are you just saying that because we are here, or is this the culture. Trust me, its the culture. You will hear "ya mon" or "irie mon" day in and day out, but I love it.

2) FOOD: Food was average (and I am not a snob) but there are many gems throughout that made my day. Take the "jerk-man" and the "fruit-lady" for example. Each day, they roll their carts out by the ocean to feed you the BEST jerk chicken and freshly peeled fruit. The jerk man cuts/chops it in front of you and adds a bit of extra jerk sauce, which is amazing. The fruit is fresh and may actually surprise you, but try all of it, especially the sour-sap!! Book your dinner reservations when you arrive! Breakfast is overwhelming in a good way. Plenty of food, including international delights, and Jamaican breakfast items. Make sure you try the coffee from the coffee shop. That guy is good!!!

3) ROOMS: We loved our room, despite not being able to see the ocean (boo hoo right). Beds were awesome and big! We loved the stocked bar, and they kept it full! Turn down service with chocolate each night (and two bottles of rum the first night) was a big surprise that put a smile on our faces.

4) ACTIVITIES: Poker, blackjack (no charge) by the ocean, watersports, dancing, horseshoes, bocce-ball, badminton, the gym, volleyball, yada-yada-yada! You get the point. Did I mention the jerk-man?? BTW, that was lunch accompanied by a cold Red Stripe.....yum!

5) EXCURSIONS: Ok, so this is the real deal. We visited the Hip Strip which was a good experience if you are looking for deals (yes...haggle), and entertainment. Bring cash, but come with a shopping list, or not. We also went to Negril and visited Ricks Café, about a 1.5 hour drive ($35 per person for the transportation round trip). If you are interested in an amazing sun set, good food, and (drum roll) cliff diving, this is the spot. I jumped from the 35 foot (2nd highest) and it was exhilarating.....actually, it made my heart pound and I kept second guessing myself. As if the tour guide saying multiple times in her Jamaican dialect "Keep in mind...you jump at your own risk" multiple times would stop me.

So I hope this helps. I was truly sad before I left. For the first time, I felt like I actually connected with something that I have never felt before. Sounds strange, but its the only way I can explain it. Hope you enjoy your stay, and go tell Niron (at the casino bar) that we said hello!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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11  Thank JaredGoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014

To start this review off let me say if you are looking for a place to party with friends or relax with your family, I'd probably go somewhere else. If you are looking for a romantic get away, whether it be for your honeymoon, anniversary or just a nice trip with your significant other, look no further. Don't get me wrong, this resort does have a lot to offer for older families (no kids), I just wouldn't recommend it for a family resort. St James was a great resort and I will break it down by area;

Service: From start to finish I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the service my wife and I experienced. We stayed in the preferred club for our honeymoon and were treated like gold. Reception was nice, quick and easy. In the the time we waited we were offered drinks. We were brought to our room, which had a honeymoon banner on the door. We were also given a bottle of champagne and fruits. Throughout the resort, there was nothing but smiles from everyone. I could keep going but you get the point. Everyone was nice, helpful, made you feel at home.

Room: Our room was on the top floor in the preferred club. We had 3 bottles of alcohol waiting for us, a full mini fridge and had room service included. The room was clean and the view was spectacular. On the balcony was a soaker tub where my wife would... well... soak, after a nice day in the sun. In the lobby of the preferred club was a self serve bar with a plethora of choices. Juice, pop, coffee, alcohol... everything, as well as a small buffet. There were also 2 computers with internet access.

Bars/Entertainment: This would be my favorite part of the trip. The night we arrived, we walked around to see the resort, stopped off at the bars along the way while heading over to the Wild Orchid side and started talking to the entertainment crew. My wife ended up being a judge for the talent show that night. I was left by myself and ended having a good laugh with the servers and bartenders during the show, while my wife was having fun with the entertainment crew. After the show we went to the club where the staff and us had a great time. During the days we would hang out by the pool bar on the wild orchid side where the staff was fun and there was always something to do. At night the bartenders were fast and made great drinks with amazing selection. Being from Canada, I like my rye and they had Crown Royal. One more time, the entertainment staff was absolutely amazing.

Food: The jerk chicken was delicious! The food was very nice and there was a good selection of restaurants at dinner time. Breakfast buffet was delicious, just get there early because it fills up fast. Lunch we spent by the pool so don't have much to say there.

Resort: The grounds were well kept and quite beautiful. Walking along the path you were pretty much walking along the ocean. There were coolers all around the resort filled with water bottles that were ice cold, which honestly, when walking around in the heat, it was nice to be able to just grab and go.

Overall: It was an expensive trip that we will never forget. Was it worth the price? We got everything we wanted and needed from a vacation so I'd say it was. Friendly and fun staff, good food, nice beach, great beverage selection and beautiful view and grounds. My wife and I would absolutely do it all over again. Only wish we could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: Request a room on the top floor, great views! The preferred club was great, although I'm not sur...
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank yannxrab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014

I have made many trips to Jamaica by far one of my stays. Love the property and the employees. Our only distaste was the club that played no reggae music. Could not believe we were in Jamaica and the fact that we were placed in a adjoining room as requested but our friend was not placed next door, although it was not reserved up until the night before we checked out. Besides that little snafu. OMG beautiful property and loved the place. I was not pleased with the Jamaican dishes in the World Cafe. Minor flaws overall definitely a five star resort. Would have loved to get marry there next May but the property don't allow children on the property, I have about 10 children in the family that will be in attendance at my wedding.

Room Tip: St. James Preffered
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Mystikallady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

The room was very goo, clean and quite big, with a nice terrace overviewing the pool and the beach.
The staff very helpful and kind.
The spa is also very good but too expensive.
The sea is not outstanding; I have seen much better. And I am not talking about Maldives but if you go to Sardinia you will find much better places.
Food was good but I would like to give a suggestion.
Restaurants does not have to be booked in advance but this create a long queue in the evening:
And when is raining, standing outside may not be nice.
So, it would be better to keep some restaurants free and some others to be booked in advance, to be sure not too wait to long.
Last but not least, it is too far from everything and in the evening you must stay inside.
If you have company is fine but if you are alone it might be boring.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled on business
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2  Thank BrunoFacchinetti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

After being booked to stay for a week my wife and I read the reviews and saw some startling reviews with statements like " rip off in the Caribbean", "poor service", "unclean rooms", "indifferent staff". We encountered none of these situations and much to the contrary. Our room was always clean and well serviced. All staff in every location bent over backwards to please us. We did tip and the recipients well deserved our gratuities. We enjoyed breakfast and lunch and most dinners except one or two which could have been better but since all other features more than met our expectations we can only allow our rating to move a bit lower to very very good. Would we stay at Secrets again? Absolutely!!! I also want to add that the warmth and sincerity of the waiters, waitresses, grounds keepers, servers, room attendants and management was exemplary. The rooms were well appointed, the beach was excellent and the grounds were also excellent and well kept.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rhstocks188
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

We returned from Secrets St. James on 1/23/2014. We have taken an annual trip to the Caribbean each year for the past 10 years, and this is the first resort I would NOT return to. We have stayed at Riu's, Couples, Sandals, Iberostars, etc. I have not a single complaint about any of these other resorts. I mistakenly assumed that paying more for Secrets would make for a nicer stay.

PRO's: The property is well maintained, there are no beach vendors, the rooms were very nice, the food was good (some restaurants better than others), and the servers were genuinely very nice. The beach and pool drink service was very good. There were nice touches, such as iced bottled water available in large bins, the jerk chicken cart/fresh fruit cart at lunch time, and the coconut guy that served up fresh coconut water every afternoon. Also, it's a short, convenient trip from the airport.

CON's: Unless you pay for an upgrade upon arrival, the best areas of the resort are off limits. The "Preferred Club" has the best views, the best beaches, and the best chairs, hot tubs, etc. It is annoying that the website advertises these locations, but without the upgrade of $50/day......you are asked to leave the "Preferred Area".
Despite being all-inclusive, wifi is $15/day. We stayed at a $89 park and fly hotel on our way to the airport and it had free wifi! Seriously Secrets....stop nickel and diming your guests that paid good money to stay at your resort!
There is high pressure to attend a "90 minute quick and easy meeting" to purchase "Unlimited vacation options". Thankfully, we did not attend because I had read the trip advisor reviews that warned against it, but it's basically a glorified time share pitch. Before we were even given our room keys, we had to listen to the pro's of attending the meeting. It was scheduled for us, despite my lack of interest and my husband's motion sickness from the trip. We were called in our room to remind us of the meeting, and notes were slipped under our door to remind us of the meeting. We told the lady we didn't want to attend. Prior to this, we were fondly greeted every time we passed through the lobby. After we said we were not going and didn't want to be asked about it again, we were not spoken to at all when passing through the lobby. It's one thing when people at the airport try to sell you timeshares, it's another when it's the resort! Very low class Secrets!
In summary, all resorts have pro's and con's. But, I have historically found the con's at other resorts to be minor such as only being able to make dinner reservations for that day and not in advance. I found the Con's at Secrets to be very insulting, given the price paid. The Con's overshadowed my feelings and left us both with a bad taste for Secrets!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Kristy1207
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 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Romantic 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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