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“Secret no more.”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Bronte, Ontario
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Secret no more.”
Reviewed 27 March 2014

My wife and I stayed at Secrets Montego Bay in February this year. We opted for the St James side and to be in the Preferred Club. To explain to those unfamiliar with the resort, the property
has two distinct but connected sides. The St James side is generally quieter as it is further from the entertainment zone which is found in and around the Wild Orchid side. A Preferred Club is found on both sides and is an upgraded section with bigger rooms, better mini bar, private lounge, private pool and areas on the beach. The whole property faces the sea and I would imagine all rooms face that general direction as well The beach which is manmade, is steps from each of the two blocks which make up the property. The property is quite close to Mobay Airport so no painful bus ride of 2 hrs plus.
We picked this property wanting to experience Jamaica but through a resort setting. We had stayed in I Prefer properties previously in Dominican Republic and Mexico and found the resorts to be clean and well run. The 'Secrets' part of the chain is adults only, and as a peaceful vacation is what we generally desire, then that is our first choice for a resort.
The positives of the resort are that it is clean, well run, there are several dining opportunies in the day and the evening. There are several bars which serve a variety of drinks you would expect at a resort in this location, drinks of the day, mixed drinks, Red Stripe reguar and light etc. The standard of the food and quality of the drinks can vary somewhat so I would advise some exploring and experimentation. The beach front bars and restaurants have the lower standards with food and beverages. Often at the bars you will be advised rather flatly that they don't carry that brand or liquor. Again experiment as you will. Sometimes you can forgive the mediocre fare if you enjoy the ambience or the friendly staff.
A big plus of the resort and to my mind the greatest resource of Secrets Montago Bay is the super warm and friendly staff who smile and greet you at every turn. They have been well trained and are seem quite genuine. Show them some interest, talk to them about their country and culture and you will make a great impression. I found it works better than taking the 'fistful of dollars approach'.
There were two areas in which we were disappointed in this trip.
The scale of the place and the layout felt as if you were in a theme park. Everything was safe, standardised, predictable.The place lacked some originality and personality. I would describe it as JamLite. Not necessarily a criticism more an observation. If you want something more authentic go smaller scale.
Our second area of concern was noise factors from neighbouring properties and the large numbers of convention goers. The Seawind bar which borders the Secrets St James side of the property hosts some very noisy parties and events in the day and into the late evening. The windows at the Preferred Club literally rattle and hum when events there are in full swing.
This does not make for a relaxing day at the beach or a quiet evening enjoying the terrace of your upgraded suite.
The property seems to have sold out in someways to hosting conventions. This might be the future for large resorts to survive, but it was not what we had in mind when we signed up for this destination. A large group of attendees, I did not consider them as guests, took over the Preferred Club area proceeded to be drunk and horse around disturbing all in their wake on several occasions. Unlimited alcohol and a lack of self awareness can and often does bring out the worst in people. A group that seems hell bent on having 'fun' in such a small space is no joke. Is there really the need for the Entertainment team to hype these individuals even further?
Also you risk being seated next to a dinner table of twenty individuals yelling and trying to outscore one another as to who can be the most outrageous. Again not what we imagined or signed up for.
Would we return to resort again? Well maybe, although we would seriously consider other options first, The property has a lot to offer and again as stated earlier the staff are its best resource. As to the 'theme park' aspect, that really is a question of taste. If people know themselves then they should decide that one on its own merit.
I gave the resort 4 stars overall. This allows for the fact that others would not always experience the larger groups we did and would enjoy the many facilities the property has to offer.

Room Tip: Opt for the Preferred Club if you can. You can upgrade once you are there if you don't want to c...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank Ben T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 March 2014

Our daughter chose Secrets for her wedding venue and we were SO glad she did. The wedding was absolutely beautiful and the staff did an excellent job with the presentation. Thank you Simone and Rocio for your patience and professionalism!! We had quite the crew that traveled with us and everyone commented on how nice the wedding/reception was along with the resort itself. The beach was great and many took advantage of the kayaking and snorkeling. We never had to wait to get into a restaurant with Portofino being our favorite. Thanks to Diane and Carole who always took good care of us. Ingrid at the one pool cafe was such a sweetheart with a wonderful demeanor about her. AND, our absolute favorite part was the pool with Alister really making our week. He was so fun and engaging. We loved when he was working because he was so funny! We also loved when he emceed the beach party and the entertainment pit. That's really his forte since he has a great sense of humor and knows how to engage the crowd. Hennessey was also great with the pool games with Donald taking care of us at the pool bar. We tortured that man all week!
I would highly recommend this resort for a group vacation (we are already looking at airfare to go back) and as a wedding location. You will not regret it. Absolutely fabulous!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank jc2kc2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pgh
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2014

Secrets St. James is a beautiful resort with a fabulous staff (especially Alister) and amazing entertainment. We traveled with a party of 34 and no one had a bad time. The Entertainment team keeps you entertained at the pool each day and every night there was a different show outside with waitresses constantly bringing you drinks. The night club opens at 10:30 PM each night and has a dj and some nights with karaoke that was so fun!

We had our wedding on St. Patrick's Day and the staff took care of everything for us and our guests couldn't believe how beautiful everything was.

We also went on an excursion to Margaritaville via catamaran which I would recommend. The blow up rafts in the water were like a Wipeout course that had everyone cracking up.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Ks5810
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2014

Overall, we had an enjoyable stay. I feel like it's probably a hit or miss with this resort; if you're lucky this resort can be outstanding, otherwise it can leave you disappointed. If it weren't for the specific issues we were unlucky to encounter, the resort and our experience would've been fabulous. Minus a star for cockroaches in our room, and another for inconsistent service. Value was alright, not great but not a rip-off either.

Room:
I really liked the contemporary design, and the matching furniture. Yes, it is an open concept design and the bathtub is visible through the semi-sheer curtain from the main living area. However, the shower is enclosed separately so for guests who like their privacy there is another option. The rain shower is a very nice touch. The toilet is enclosed separately next to the shower, and for some reason our washroom smelled like old urine the entire time we were there. Whether this was because of the way water smells here or because the floors weren't cleaned well, we don't know. Some of the furniture were showing beginning signs of wear and tear, and there were also minor stains on the curtain and one of the decorative pillows, not a big deal. Lights are motion sensored and while I was showering in the room by myself one time they all turned off, not a big deal as this situation probably does not happen frequently and is not a huge problem in my view, but could be a potential hazard for some. Hair dryer was great, very strong (but not quite hot enough), as someone with thick hair, I appreciated it.
Main issue we had with the room was cockroaches. This was quite surprising and unexpected. Yes, this is a tropical country and it is a resort with lots of food around which is a risk factor. However, I still find it unacceptable. We ignored it the first day when we saw a few, on the second day we saw a few more and my boyfriend talked to the front desk. They apologized and offered to spray the room, but did not offer to change the room or anything else. We figured even if we changed rooms, there would be no guarantee there wouldn't be bugs in the new one so we left it at that. To their credit, they did spray it within 3 hours or so as we started finding dying/dead bugs in our room. I find that this issue really detracted from my experience; I was more worried about bringing home cockroaches in my luggage than actually having them in my room for the duration of the stay. I spent quite a bit of time searching through my luggage when I got home as I didn't want an infestation - not enjoyable. The floors were not dirty (no sand, dirt), but also did not look like they were mopped thoroughly prior to our stay as there were some marks on the floor, not a huge deal but I somehow expected better.

Food/drinks:
Excellent food for an all-inclusive. Enough variety to keep most people happy. Our favourite is the Italian and the Japanese grill. Great seafood, mediocre beef. Jerk chicken cart is AMAZING, so is the fruit stand and the coconut cart. We don't drink alcohol often and are not familiar with our drinks, but the Coco cafe has some really good mixed alcoholic coffee drinks. Seems like they have a good variety of drinks at this resort in general. Some drinks were quite strong, whereas some were not at all.

Property:
Very clean exterior, beautiful property. You can see different people cleaning the resort in a variety of ways throughout the day and night. The resort was not crowded, which we liked. Beach was kept very clean, not the prettiest but no complaints (the sand was rough though which made walking in bare feet uncomfortable). There were enough lounges around for everyone, although the standard is for people to put towels to claim them so it does take time to find empty ones. The spa looked beautiful, but we didn't use their services. Fitness room was new and impressive for a resort. Pools are clean and not that many people are actually in the pool at any given time.
Public washrooms were very clean and smelled nice (much more pleasant smelling than the toilet in our room).

Service:
Hit or miss. Almost everyone working there was enthusiastic or pleasant, a few went above and beyond, and a couple were entirely indifferent. No one ever pressured for tips and did not seem to expect them; these people certainly deserved to be tipped depending on the type and/or quality of service they provided. Some guests tipped while others did not. When we arrived we didn't have slippers, shampoo or shower gel in our room, however we made a call and this was resolved in 30 mins with no hassle. Room service took between 30 to 45 minutes and the selection and food was good. We only had turn down service on the first night for some reason. Towels were replenished with no issues. Bed was always made in the morning.

Entertainment:
No complaints. Mostly bands playing at night, some of them quite excellent and entertaining. Not much variety though in terms of shows.

Value:
Overall ok. Wifi at an extra cost of $15/day seemed extravagant. We did not get the Preferred Club Membership, as we didn't think it was worth the extra money.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
10 Thank AnonymousMember2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marine, Illinois
Level Contributor
48 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2014

We upgraded to the Preferred Club and it was great. We loved having our own pools and private are of the beach. I really enjoyed having the ability to make our own drinks from the private lounge and the food was great in our lounge. Twice in the afternoon there were lobster tails as part of the hot hor dervous. Our room was huge and very clean. The bathroom was large and open. The bathtub with the jets was nice. We were only there for 3 nights and it rained every day so that was a bummer. It was close to the airport and I like that. The outdoor grill restaurant was the best. My fish was perfect and my husband liked his steak. Breakfast and lunch were great. The buffet for breakfast and we ate at the outdoor restaurant for lunch.

We did like being pressured into listening to the Vacation Club presentation especially since we had a couple of days. We missed the appointment with our Apple Rep because of it. We don't want to buy a time share. If we want to go someplace then we will. This was the biggest disappointment.

The beach was small but nice. The ocean water was very pretty and I walked out on the rocks each day and saw little crab walking around. One evening we were walking near the water and saw a stingray right by the wall and just playing around so that was cool.

The food was average for the most part. We tried the French and Italian plus the outdoor grill restaurant which like I said was the best.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank smmartin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2014

We had our company President's Club trip from February 28 through March 5 this year and found this to be an great resort. The grounds are beautiful, the buildings are clean and well maintained. Workers were very pleasant. The bonus here was that for a resort, I thought the food was 5 Star plus. Did not have a bad meal at any restaurant. The whole experience was enhanced certainly but the beautiful weather we had during our stay but I would certainly recommend this resort. Nice little shops within, plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from and the little coffee bar was my favorite of all. As you might expect, the locals are on Jamaican time so don't expect quick service, but it was far from the slowest I have ever experienced. The rooms probably are not conducive to what Americans want for privacy in their own bedroom as their is really no separation from bed to toilet other than a pull curtain which does not give you much privacy. Smoked glass doors across shower and toilet area. That was common complaint amongst our group. Showers did have a dual head shower. One was a rain shower head above and the other a removable head on a hose. Both could operate at the same time. Some liked it, others did not. If you have a room with a balcony, then you had a good view of the ocean. Very nice. Our maid service was very slow and we did not get towels one day. Took a few calls to get some up there. Likely just our maid as others had no issue. Preferred club members had some nice amenities and if you were on the first floor, a private swim pool outside your sliding door. No wristbands at this place. Loved that aspect of it. Overall, I would go back here in a heart beat.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jsmith2102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 March 2014

My husband and myself went to Secrets St. James for a wedding. The wedding was beautiful! Food was great! Staff was great! Resort was nice and very cleanly! Our favorite staff members were Donald from the Pool Bar and Allister from the Entertainment Team! We have a group of 34 that went and we had a blast! Definitely looking forward to going back!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jill H
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 review, 27 March 2014
Dear Valued Guest:

I am happy that you were able to experience our resort recently. It is great to note that you and your friends/family enjoyed our food, staff and overall experience. It was our pleasure to have hosted you and I must express thanks for taking the time to share your feedback with us.

We look forward to welcoming you back Home!

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
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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 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
#11 Family Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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