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“WOW : Secrets St. James”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 17 March 2014

We just got back from this wonderful resort & had a great 7 days. Keep in mind that St. James & Wild Orchid are all 1 resort with different room styles. They share all the same bars, restaurants,pools & other facilities. I did not see a real advantage to getting the room upgrade. The beach & pool areas that came with the upgrade seemed equally occupied although I think the upgrade areas had nicer pool & beachside chairs. We were not pressured to change our room status.Check in was a breeze & we were greeted with cooled refreshing towels & champaign. Food & restaurants were outstanding. Room was clean & comfortable. Furniture was nice & well maintaned. One almost funny feature of the rooms were some post construction ammendments: the shower will leak if you don't close the door just right. It looks like they may have installed extra sealers around the door to address this, but it is hardly a reason to complain. Also, there was a sliding glass door to seal off the bathroom from the rest of the room. There must have been some problems here as well because 1/2 of of the door is now solidly immovable & the other half has been removed. Again, not a big deal. The grounds were beautiful with ever present peacocks,parrots (& geckos). The beach is plenty long & again well maintained. You won't find any empty glasses, tobacco butts or seeweed on the beach or around the pool (more on that topic later) They do not have alot of activities during the day but lots of evening entertainment. (My wife & I are never big on this, nor do we bar hop much) The Staff & management could not have been better !!! Some were friendy & effusive, others quiet & efficient. None were rude. All were professional. Bar service was very good. Drinks seemed fine to me with not a hint of cheap booze, except for the beer where I am admittidly a snob. Attention management: please get something on tap that is high end : Sam Adams or Blue moon. Change it up every so often. Red Stripe & Miller Light are well below this excellent resort's standards. Also the gym should be at least twice as large. There was not enough equipment & wait times were to long. The only downside to this resort was actually some of the guests themselves. Apparently this resort attracts a higher than average number of entitled demanders, shrieking harpies, whiny malcontents, drunken louts & 3 ppd chain smokers.It started almost as soon as we arrived & from then on the atrocious behaviour never stopped. I often felt bad for the staff & found myself looking for a hole to crawl in. Smoking is only allowed outside, but it will bother you if you have clean pink lungs. It is to bad they don't have smoking & non-smoking beach & pool areas. At least 1/3 of the guests smoked so if you don't , this may not be the resort for you. We will be back & still consider this a favorite resort.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank michael j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,586 - 3,592 of 6,636 reviews

Reviewed 17 March 2014

The scenery is beautiful........but the rest, not so much. The rooms are WIERD, just plain WIERD! Do you REALLY want a bathroom without walls. We didn't. While it looked pretty, it was totally dysfunctional. Who wants to watch/listen to each other's most private moments in the bathroom--even after being married for 30 years, we don't. We went on a company trip with 75 people from hubby's company, so the basic vacation was paid for. We paid to upgrade to the preferred area--no one else of our group did that. The only thing that got us was a serve-yourself snack bar and open bar inside our building. The fact that they "say" you have a private pool and private beach is not true, because they do not stop others from using them--case in point, all the 70-something people in our traveling group who did not upgrade wound up on our beach.

We also had a bathtub on our balcony--not a hot tub, a literal bathtub with a shower. However, all the balconies were in full view of the pool and each other's balconies. So who on earth would take a bath or shower out there?

The breakfast and lunch buffets were decent. The evening meals provided no buffet, so be very choosy in your selection of restaurants.. We enjoyed the Himatsu and the Bordeaux, but were completely disappointed with the Oceana and the El Patio. We did not try Blue Mountain. Room service menus are very limited. There was no restaurant that was reserved only for "preferred club" customers. On the bright side, we ate early and always had immediate seating.

Night life is almost non-existent. There was a guest talent show one night, silent disco one night, and a dance party on the beach one night. They showed the movie Lone Ranger one night. None of this entertainment was anything we were interested in attending. We did not hear of any of our 70-something co-workers there who attended any event either--which is odd because they are party folks and would've stayed out all night if they had found anything to do. We ate dinner, found a chair by the beach and sat in the dark every night. Also, they keep the lights turned off on the grounds at night. It is very dark to get around at night with just a few footlights to light the way. It is like that want you to eat dinner and go to bed.

The departure experience at the Jamacan airport was an absolute nightmare. We had been warned to get to the airport 3 hours before our flight. We were in the security line for 1 hour, 50 minutes. Part of that time was in a snaked line without any rope guides (the first hour). Then just as we thought we were nearing the head of the line, we instead entered another building full of rope lines. People were jumping lines and getting upset because they were afraid they were missing their flights. It was hot, because the lines went right in front of the all entrance doors so the electronic openers were keeping the doors constantly open. The airport is small and meant to accomodate a few hundred people, yet there were THOUSANDS there that day. We were departing on a Saturday as well as during spring break time--my advice is to travel out on a week day and NEVER go at spring break time. My husband found a hyperdermic needle under the edge of the toilet seat in the bathroom. Food in the airport is outrageous. We ate at Dairy Queen in the airport, purchase a cheesburger, 4-piece chicken fingers, a bottle of water and a fountain drink--the bill was $25.

We would NEVER pay to go back there--EVER--NEVER--EVER--NEVER.

Room Tip: Get a suite, so perhaps your bathroom would have walls. This hotel is meant for "couples,&qu...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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5  Thank KimmyandJimmy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

This is our 6th visit to a Secrets/Dreams property over the past 7 years and our first stay at this property.
There were so many incredible aspects to this resort and two things which caused concern.
Let's begin with the great. Thanks to management, my husband and I were upgraded to a master suite in the preferred section of St. James.
This approximately 900 sq ft. suite was gorgeous. We had a living/dining room with wet bar,two Smart T.V.'s a large king bedroom with whirlpool tub and a huge, beautiful balcony with another whirlpool and two chaise lounges. The view was stunning.
We also had two incredible butlers, Refinesha and Dalton, who were beyond compare. Their warmth, ebullience and professionalism made our holiday the happy time that it was.
After a week, they seemed like family. Nothing was too much trouble for these amazing people, from catering a small cocktail party on our balcony, to getting me the latest Reggae C.D.s.
The beach here is lovely and we never had trouble finding chairs(two are provided daily for suite guests).
The Preferred pool area was lovely and was kept very clean.
We enjoyed the Preferred lounge area with meals, canapés and top shelf liquor and coffee and tea.
We also really appreciated the excellent service from Nadia at the Preferred desk.She organized a fun excursion to the Hip strip in moray for us and it was fun.
We both visited the spa and truly enjoyed our massages from Phyllis and Joan, two talented and lovely women.
The food here was generally good to very good. We loved our room service breakfasts, which arrived fast and piping hot. Each server was bubbly and so much fun to talk to.
We really enjoyed the Blue Mountain restaurant, which specializes in Jamaican cuisine. My curried lobster was succulent and the run down shrimps with callaloo were delicious.
Service here was very slow, however.
We felt that the chef had missed the mark at Bordeaux. The lobster was tough and seemed to have been reheated. We also did not appreciate our waiter's comments about the current mayor of Toronto. Best to keep politics private.
We really enjoyed the World Cafe, both for lunch and dinner. The fresh pasta was delicious, as was the lobster on Lobster Night.
Portofino is very romantic and most of the food was good.
What spoiled the romantic, peaceful atmosphere at some of these dining establishments was the omnipresence of the many conference attendees, who were often loud, overly served from the bar, and who appeared in great numbers and generally spoiled the ambience. One conference member spent 45 minutes hanging onto the railing outside of Blue Mountain talking loudly to the other conference people at the next table. We left quickly.
The other issue last week was noise from a neighbouring property (Seawind). They held an event one night with music so loud that any aspect of peace or even living normally was shattered.
Management was contacted about this and did rectify the situation.
Conference folks held a disco on the lawn under our room the next night for several hours.
Again, management was contacted and we were assured that this situation would not reoccur.
I so wanted to give st.James 5*, because their personnel is the best and this is a beautiful, upscale resort. Hopefully, some tweaking will allow it to rise to its well-deserved benchmark.
Bottom line, we loved Jamaica and the Jamaica people and St. James has the best staff in Jamaica.
We would return.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the Preferred Club. It is quieter.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Katherine E C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

We travel a lot and stay in 4+ or 5*. This was our best holiday ever, it was luxurious, beautiful, the food and drinks were to a high standard, facilities and attention to detail were spot on and the Jamaican people are wonderful. We stayed at the Preferred Section and it was worth every penny, the Preferred Girls were amazing and made us feel like the most important people on Earth. Everything about SSJ was perfect. I will be booking a return visit for next year and if I hadn't already booked another vacation for July to Rhodes, then I would be returning to Secrets St James even sooner. Thank you to all of the staff that made our holiday so special, there are far to many to name but one person I will name who gave 120% all the time is Nordia at SSJ Preferred. Thank you.

Room Tip: 4305 was wonderful for views and peace
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Fran R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed our stay! The food, atmosphere, grounds, entertainment, and most of the staff are exceptional. I especially enjoyed meeting some of the groundskeepers, some of whom conduct nature walks around the resort. Melvin and Elaine are very knowledgeable about the local flora and natural remedies available. We met Melvin early on and he remembered us for the duration of our stay. His co-worker, Errol, prepared a bouquet for our anniversary and left it on our patio for us. Super people!

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
3  Thank Lorna P
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 27 March 2014

Dear Valued Guest:

Firstly, thank you for sharing your review of our resort. It is our aim to provide guests with a complete experience and so it does please us to note that you thoroughly enjoyed your stay with us.

I am happy that you were able to participate in one of our nature walks and enjoyed interacting with Elaine and Melvin from our landscaping team. Many guests often express their love for this as well especially for the insight it gives into what makes up the beauty of our property. WE do also appreciate your mention of the extra touches by team members that made your stay that much more memorable.

Best Regards,
Christina Smith
eConcierge Assistant

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2014

After staying at other 5 star rated resorts recently in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, my wife and I were very much looking forward to our holiday at the Secrets resort in Jamaica.
Overall it was very good starting off with the beach area, which was small but excellent for snorkeling, and you could join the organised snorkeling trips out to the reef, up to three times a day.Beach/pool beds were available most days no need to get up at 6am to book a bed.
Food was also very good across all the restaurants, with no need to book, breakfast in the buffet was very good and lunch in the same buffet restaurant was also good. My one point was that the buffet was only open at night twice during the week,and this made the other restaurants busy and more difficult to book. My issues was with the housekeeping. Three times in ONE week there was NO towels left in the room. Also as we were on the ground floor there was dozens of mosquito,s consistently in our room and I was bitten many times. I requested for the room to be sprayed but was bitten many times after the spray if it happened. Also the room was tired and dirty and the shower leaked water onto the floor making it like an ice rink. My wife took a bath in the room, the plug got stuck so it could not be emptied, and housekeeping left the bath full for three days! The turn down service happened three days out of seven so was it part of the service? This is a five star resort with 2 star rooms, but if management did their jobs and checked guests rooms this would not happen.
Also a last word of warning over the airport at Montego Bay, it took two hours to get through customs, when entering Jamaica, and getting out of the country was worse, with queues at check in and constant bag searches until you board your flight. I am afraid i will never return to this resort as given the amount of money paid for this holiday it falls way short.

Room Tip: Do not accept a ground floor room
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank rwburn1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

My husband and I recently stayed here for a week and had such a wonderful time. The hotel is beautiful and the accommodations were superb. I normally think all inclusive resorts are similar but this one stands out. The staff here are exceptional and made us feel at home the minute we got to the resort. The rooms are lovely and the pools and beach are well maintained. I loved the close proximity from the pool to the beach. It's a really nice hotel with a nice layout. It's not too big where you feel like you can't get around. You don't need reservations to eat at any of the restaurants which I loved. The entertainment at night was awesome! We really enjoyed the music and the performers every night. There were always activities going on that you could partake in if you wanted to. I have to give a special shout out to some of the incredible staff I had the pleasure of meeting....Oraldo! aka Tim McGraw. Singing every morning at breakfast. What a delight! Stacy Ann, Sophia and Sonya. Awesome. Thank you!!! Housekeeping....Antonette and Marcia. Thank you for taking care of me and my husband! At the pool... Cordiff, Julio and Nadine. How you always have a smile on your face. Especially in the heat! Thank you so much for all the delicious drinks you made us all week. We had a great time and enjoyed our first Jamaican experience so very much. Also my experience at the Spa was excellent. I had two outstanding massages! All in all it was a wonderful experience and I hope to get back to your beautiful country again.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank jane m
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 Luxury Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range: £268 - £599 (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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Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay

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