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“Royal treatment”

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Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Ranked #11 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Royal treatment”
Reviewed 7 May 2014

I am a little late in writing my review as I returned to back to my reality. I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to share how amazing my stay at Secrets was. It was nothing but royalty service from the moment we arrived. The butler service was amazing and the beachside authentic jerk chicken was to dye for. I am usually a bargain hunter when booking my trips, this time I paid more than I usually do but it was worth every penny and more. This is the only place I want to stay from now on. If I had to say anything negative it would be that the french restaurant was a disappointment, but that was my fault who goes to Jamaica for french food lol. Loved it can't wait to go back.

Pampered and treated like royalty.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Elaine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014

We just returned from a week at Secrets St. James. We had previously been to Secrets Maroma and Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana. Our room at St. James was excellent. We really enjoyed dining at Bordeax. The service was great and the Steak and Lobster were very good. Definitely get the Lobster bisque...it's excellent!

The breakfast buffet was great as always. What really made breakfast spectacular was the singing of Oraldo!! He is the best!!! He really helped make our trip. He serenaded us each morning.

The resort seemed to be crowded, with several large groups. Not sure if they were company functions, but the pools got pretty crowded.

We loved the calm, still water of the ocean. It was like a huge swimming pool. The water is crystal clear. Bring some bread out into the water with you and you can feed the fish!

One recommendation is to book the VIP membership with Mobay. They will "fast track" you through customs and they have a VIP lounge at the airport which is nice.

The jerk chicken cart is probably the best food at the resort! It comes around every day at noon. Be watching for it and get in line! It is awesome!!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jason P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014

My husband and I stayed at this hotel for our honeymoon in March. We researched many different hotels and locations because we of course wanted to make this the best trip we've ever been on. Unfortunately, the hotel itself fell short on a lot of important details that gave us a somewhat disappointing stay. Hopefully if you are considering staying here (especially for a honeymoon) you will take into account my lengthly review.

Check-in/Room: Upon arrival, the property was gorgeous. Sitting on it's own private beach, this place provides what "ocean front" should always be. At check-in, (we checked in with Dexter) we upgraded to the Preferred Club because we were sold on the free wi-fi that otherwise would've cost us a fortune, and also the perks that seemed to come along with the Preferred Club (such as a tablet that came with the room for use during our stay and the mini appetizers served throughout the day in the preferred club reception area). Our room had a stunning balcony that was just feet away from the water. The way the bathroom was built, it had no 3rd wall separating the bedroom and the bathroom area - just a curtain. I assume this was with the intent to make the room appear more spacious however it would've been nice to have the bathroom completely separate for privacy. The major issue that we had with our room was that there was a motion sensor on the wall that was supposed to detect only when we walked past to conserve energy for the lights and AC. However, ours seemed to be broken because it just clicked on and off flashing repeatedly even when we were in bed trying to sleep nowhere near the sensor. This actually made it difficult to sleep most nights due to the annoying clicking and flashing. We decided to call down to the front desk to have it taken care of. They assured us that they would send the engineer up to fix or dismantle the sensor for us. We left for the beach and came back later at night to find the problem still unresolved. I called the front desk again, and they once again assured me that the engineer was coming to our room next. So we got ready for dinner and left the room until late night to find the sensor still clicking on and off. The next morning we called to complain again and then was told that they were going to try and switch our room and they would let us know. Not only did they not let us know but when I called to ask about it a couple hours later they told me that they could not only not switch us to a different room but they couldn't dismantle the sensor either. This came as a huge disappointment to us. Luckily, we eventually found our own solution to the problem - which was using the lid of one of my cheap cardboard jewelry boxes to cover the motion sensor on the wall and magically the problem was solved.

Food/Drinks: For a 5 star all-inclusive hotel, I would've expected much better quality food and drink variety. All of the outdoor bars served all of the same drinks, which were pretty much all frozen and came out of a machine. If you asked for your own cocktail (even something like a mojito) you received a different variation every time you ordered one. The only bar that we actually enjoyed getting drinks from was the lobby bar inside. Shanomar (sp?) was the bartender most of the time and she was excellent. Not only did she make us unique drinks but you could tell she knew what she was doing. Everything was made fresh and we proceeded to get most of our drinks from her. The restaurants were the biggest disappointment. Our first night we decided to try the Jamaican restaurant since after all, we were in Jamaica and figured it was probably the best one. My food came out cold and just seemed like something that was pre-made and reheated with a sauce from a jar thrown on top. Needless to say, we never went back to that restaurant for the entire 10 days of our stay. One of our favorites was the Mexican restaurant and also the French. The French restaurant was amazing and was the most formal. Every other place was average. We enjoyed the Hibachi however both experienced upset stomachs afterward. Options for lunch were also limited.

Packages: We booked through a travel agency and was told that we received the "honeymoon package" - which on the hotel site included 2-50 min massages, 2 champagne breakfasts in bed, a facial or body scrub and a complimentary dinner on the beach. Even though the hotel is all-inclusive it did not include the private dinner on the beach (which offered the same food from the restaurants and was of $300 value) and the champagne breakfasts in bed were the same food offered in the buffet in the morning except with a bottle of champagne. As we went to the front desk to claim our packages and book each one, we were surprised to hear that we did not indeed have the "honeymoon package" but the "newlywed/honeymoon package" which pretty much only included the breakfast in bed and some coupons toward the spa. We spoke with Dexter and he showed on the hotel site (of course in fine print) that the honeymoon package is only available if you are in the Preferred Club - which we were - but since we didn't book it initially for our stay we did not qualify. This was of course disappointing. The prices on the spa and private dinners were outrages. If I am going to pay extra for food for a private dinner, I should be offered food that isn't available in the hotel restaurants. We decided to book our breakfast in bed and unfortunately both got sick for days afterward. Which then we were tentative to eat anything for the rest of the trip.

Entertainment: Since we stayed at the hotel for 10 days - we saw a repeat of entertainment which was to be expected. The entertainment crew was great during the day and at night. There was 1 bar/"club" that was open until 2am called Desires. This place should be knocked down and rebuilt. It's circular in shape with the bar in the center and a pretty narrow space around it to socialize in which makes for an odd environment. The place had a distinct smell once you entered which was a bit off putting. However the bartender was great and it certainly provided us much entertainment late night.

Excursions: My husband and I only did 1 excursion while in Jamaica and that was to travel to Negril. Instead of taking a group bus - we chose to have through the hotel Bryan take us in a private limo which included a stop in Montego Bay to shop, a stop at where the old cannons were located to fight off the pirates back in the day and took fun photos of us, then we stopped at Margaritaville in Negril for a few hours and then made it to Rick's Café to see the famous sunset and cliff divers. Margaritaville is on a public beach so needless to say we were harassed by people on the beach trying to sell us a bunch of junk which was extremely annoying. Rick's Café was nice but the divers will ask for tips ahead of time so depending on how much money they get in tips depends on how many dives they will take. Meanwhile, anyone else who wanted to just dive off of the smaller cliffs could which was fun to see. We stayed for the sunset which was gorgeous and then Bryan took us back to the hotel. Bryan was fantastic and I highly recommend booking an excursion with him.

Property: The property of this hotel was great and HUGE since it was connected with the Secrets Wild Orchid as well. The only thing I didn't care for was the fact that all of the restaurants were clumped in the same area. But they had residence peacocks roaming, cats too and parrots as well.

Service: Wonderful! Everyone was extremely friendly and we met some great characters.

So to summarize my final thoughts - the hotel was nice but there were just a few distinct details that were missed which made our stay a little disappointing. For a 5 star hotel I expected much better than what we experienced. Food quality and drink selection being the worst offenders. In my opinion, I do not think the all-inclusive was worth it for the quality received.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Brianna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014

Front desk is a mess, they just try to up sell you and when you say no they get an attitude with you. Beautiful grounds, food was good for an all inclusive jerk chicken cart was great. Service slow but in Jamaica you expect that..:noticed almost every woman who worked there was absolutely miserable and the men were the exact opposite. Had a great time but probably would not return, too many other options.

  • Stayed May 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Loumonz
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, 28 May 2014
Dear Valued Guest:

Thank you so much for your positive comments about our resort’s beauty and food. We do also appreciate your feedback regarding your experience with our front desk staff and some others as well. As a team, we aim to give great service and so it is disappointing to hear that you were not impressed with the quality service given by most of our team members. This certainly is not something that is typical and I hope it brings some comfort to know that our training department is constantly working to improve the overall friendliness of our staff as well as their customer service skills.

We truly appreciate that you did visit our resort. In light of our ongoing improvements, I do hope that you may consider us for future vacations so that you will be able to experience the differences and the kind of service that we are known for.

Best Regards,
Christina Smith
eConcierge Assistant
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alpharetta, Georgia
Level Contributor
36 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014

Chose Secrets for a belated anniversary trip. We'll be back! Short drive from airport and once you arrive, the champagne begins flowing! I was skeptical about quality of food at an all inclusive ( had a bad experience previously). but the breakfast buffet alone could feed you all day. Try the crème brulee French toast with your mimosa. Pool bar was lots of fun, to hang out and have drinks and chat with other guests. The choices for dining were excellent and there was not a wait except for the French restaurant, which was very good, worth waiting. The Mexican restaurant was very good too. But I have to say, the jerk chicken cart during lunch was the best of all, I could eat that all day. Spa is amazing, went there every day, if you get sunburned, try the cooling wrap. They will fit you right in, really appreciated that. The views of the mountains were spectacular. We did not want to leave, even for an excursion. Staff was friendly and happy. Yes, we paid to use Internet to check emails, but I really liked locking my iPhone in the safe. Every once in awhile, you have to unplug. It's paradise, why worry about work? If you want to relax and do a whole lot of nothing, this is the place for you.

Room Tip: All rooms have ocean view. The St. James is close to spa but further from bar/dining.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GSDiva
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, 28 May 2014
Dear Valued Guest:

Thanks for choosing our resort for your anniversary trip. It was a pleasure to have been your host and glad to note that you enjoyed your stay very much. Your comments about our food, the fun atmosphere and our wonderful spa services are much appreciated.

Thank you for your review and we look forward to welcoming you back Home!

Best Regards,
Christina Smith
eConcierge Assistant
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlisle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014 via mobile

This place is amazing! Short drive from the airport, greeted with a drink and a wet cloth for your head.
The rooms are beautiful... They keep the fridge well stocked for you.
The food and drink here is lovely although the French restaurant was a disappointment.
The cocktails are lovely... If you are reading this before going then try a Jamaican smile!!
Would love to return... Maybe one day!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Cq1511
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, 28 May 2014
Dear Valued Guest:

A complete experience is what our team aims to provide, so it is great to note that your recent vacation to our resort is dubbed the “Best holiday ever!” Reviews such as yours certainly do help to reinforce the importance of offering excellent service to our guests and for this we are truly grateful.

Our French restaurant is usually one of the most talked about and many guests share a positive comment. It is regrettable that this was not the same for you and I can assure you that this is not the norm. Thanks again for you kind comments regarding our food, drinks and entertainment and I hope that you will be able to visit us again soon.

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
Belfast, N.Ireland
Level Contributor
19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

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.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Suz92
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

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 Romantic Hotel in Montego Bay
#9 Spa 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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