My husband and I (both in our early 30’s) have just returned from a fantastic week at Secrets St James. This was our first time at a Secrets resort but we have stayed in many 5* hotels in the past and would say that this hotel is up there with the rest! I will not repeat what others have said but will highlight our pro’s and (very few) con’s:
What we loved-
The friendly happy staff who went out of their way to make sure we had the most enjoyable holiday. Bar/restaurant staff, entertainment team, front desk, gardeners everyone was always smiling and happy to help.
The snorkel trip- We did this twice and would recommend it to everyone. The hotel provides equipment but you can use your own. Our first trip was short and we didn’t see much as the water was slightly cloudy. However on our second trip we were taken out to the reef where we snorkelled for over an hour. We saw sting rays, jellyfish, puffer fish, sea cucumbers and many beautiful fish and shells. Our guide made sure we were all safe and told us all about the sea creatures we encountered.
The nature walk- Elaine gave us a very thorough tour of the complex. She pointed out marine life, flora and fauna and even told us about local natural remedies. Very enjoyable.
The food/drink- With a range of restaurants and bars on site we never went hungry or thirsty. We dined in all the restaurants and I would find it difficult to pick a favourite. The grill, Italian, French and Mexican were probably the best I would say. Staff in all restaurants were friendly and provided excellent service. Bar staff at the St James pool were very attentive and checked on us every hour or so to bring us new drinks if we needed them.
Water barrels-These are placed along the walkway at the beach and are filled with ice and bottled water.
Jerk chicken cart-as mentioned by so many on here, one of the chefs brings round bbq chicken with jerk sauce (very hot but delicious!) everyday at lunchtime to the walkway between the pool and beach. You have to try it!
Weather-We had brilliant weather for the entire week. One afternoon it rained for 2hours, the rest was over 30oC and sun sun sun!!
short transfer to/from airport.
What we liked-
The entertainment- Plenty of daytime activities such as yoga, pool Olympics, volleyball, games-jenga etc... which you are able to partake in but don’t get hassled if you just want to relax. Evening shows -e.g. ‘secrets got talent’, circus, Mr & Mrs etc. were all ok-quite short. Live music was good and karaoke in Desires nightclub was also fun.
The beach- Ok so the beach is manmade and not the best we have ever been to (only because it is quite narrow) but it was clean, had plenty of chairs and shade and the water was warm and clear. We tended to stay by the St James pool more as we enjoyed watching the entertainment, but had some nice walks along the beach in the mornings.
What we weren’t so keen on-
The bike ride. Our guide Isaac took us on a brief cycle (approx 45mins) towards Montego Bay centre. We stopped off at a Montego Bay sign for photos then we were taken to a ‘shopping area’ which was basically 5-6 buildings with only one small shop open. We were ushered inside by the owner where she proceeded to hound us for 20 minutes to buy something. It was awkward and embarrassing as we were the only people in the shop and as we walked round she kept following us saying ‘take your time, have a look and if you don’t have money with you it’s ok to pay the guide when you return to the hotel’ I understand she was only trying to make a living but we really felt under pressure as our guide stood and watched also. We thought then we would be going into the town centre but our guide informed us that the traffic was too busy and we would be returning to the hotel! I hate to write negative comments as we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this hotel, however if you are partaking in the bike ride be warned that you may not see very much. Yes it is a flat road with no hills and not too many cars, but the only things that were pointed out to us on the way was the local call centre and the Montego Bay sign.
We did not stay preferred as it wouldn’t be of benefit to us. Apart from the free wifi it offered we didn’t feel the need to sit at the preferred pools/beach areas or have an extra lounge with more drinks and food as everything we needed was available to us in our standard package. From what I heard from others, the rooms were similar also but had a soaking tub on the balcony-again not essential for us. Our room was clean, spacious, well stocked and on the 5th floor with a beautiful view overlooking the St. James pool and beach area.
I would love to visit this hotel in the future and will be recommending it to friends and family.
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets St James Hotel Montego Bay