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Reviewed 15 July 2014

Bottom line: I would not return to Secrets Wild Orchid.

We spent four days and three nights here in early July. I have been to many all-inclusive resorts (including other Secrets properties) and this is one of the few to which I would not return. Of course the people are nice (duh - it's Jamaica, plus they get paid to be nice to you) and the ocean views are beautiful. The same can be said about pretty much any other other Caribbean or Mexican resort. Everything else here was mediocre at best.

We stayed in the Wild Orchid Preferred Club side in a Presidential suite. That room was over $3200/night (we were upgraded from the junior suite we had booked because they were overbooked). I have no problem spending that kind of money on a trip but am so glad we did not, as our experience here was worth MAYBE 1/10th of that. I am shocked that this is a AAA Four Diamond resort - I have stayed at other four and even five diamond properties that were exponentially nicer and better experiences than this. Even the surprise of the Presidential suite upgrade wasn't enough to make our trip memorable (well, not in a good way anyway).

People: As expected, the resort employees were very friendly. Everyone greets you, they ask you how your day is going, how they can help you, etc. Kerry Ann was our girl for drinks on the beach - we gave her $20 each day and she took great care of us. She gave us some good recommendations for a place to have dinner the last night as well. The Jamaican people are very touchy feely, so be prepared for that.

Property: When we first arrived, I was underwhelmed as I was expecting a more luxurious feel. I immediately felt like we had made a mistake. The property is very plain. Thankfully, the inside was much nicer, poolside bathrooms plentiful and good air conditioning in the common areas. They light incense in the lobby area at dusk, which caused my boyfriend to have an allergy attack, so he spent a night stuck up in the room barely able to breathe. He finished the last of the allergy medicine he had brought along and there was none available on the property unless you went to the nurse.

Room: The presidential suite was of course large, on the top (4th) floor with beautiful views. Overall I felt it was clean but lacked any feeling of luxury. The finishes were okay, some worn/needing to be updated - the sectional couch was dingy and so hard that you were more comfortable on the floor. The hot tub on the balcony was dirty and the water pressure was so low it would have taken an entire day to fill (we called to have someone come up to help us clean and fill it and she said she did not even know how to operate it). So, no hot tub. The minibar was standard but did include full bottles of vodka, rum and brandy. The bed was hard and they did not have a fitted sheet on it. The flat sheet that they used as a makeshift fitted sheet did not cover the entire mattress, so our feet were touching the dirty mattress pad. Once I discovered that, I did not get a good night's rest for the remainder of the trip. The double shower was nice and the toilet area was clean. Robes were old, crusty and scratchy. Slippers were standard. There was a handheld steamer in the room which was a nice touch, but not really necessary in that humidity. The air conditioner automatically turns off every time you opened one of the balcony doors, so you have to remember to turn it back on unless you want to come back to a sweltering room. The room consistently stayed at 72-74 degrees, despite us setting the thermostat to a lower temperature. Initially we had hoped for a swim-out room but am glad we did not get one - not only were the views obstructed from those first floor rooms, but there seemed to be no privacy or security either.

Pool/Beach: The pool was clean/fine, nothing special, and they had lounges that you could use in the water. I prefer pools with built-in lounges on the sides, but they did not have any of these at any pool on the property. The beach was pretty and private (on the Preferred side), though heavy on seaweed and on the second day we were advised not to go in the water due to jellies.

Food: This was the absolute WORST part of our experience. The food at this resort is abhorrent. If it weren't for the jerk chicken cart, room service french fries and minibar peanut M&Ms we would have starved. How's that for a balanced diet?! The one piece of good news is that this was the first trip on which I have LOST weight. I heard the breakfast buffet had an omelette bar so that was probably fine too, but we aren't really breakfast eaters so I can't say for certain. All we wanted while we were there was some grilled fresh fish - after all, we were on the ocean - and it was nowhere to be found. We took turns being holed up in the bathroom after every meal, and we are adventurous eaters with strong stomachs. We have eaten street food all over the world and never been sick like this.

Drinks: If you are resourceful, you can get drunk on the Preferred side, but it won't happen without some effort (at least if you have any sort of tolerance). On the other side, alcohol seemed to flow much more freely. Take advantage of the Preferred self-serve bar and don't waste your time (and calories) on the fruity drinks (Bob Marleys, Dirty Bananas, Love Connections). They taste good but are really just liquid dessert. We mostly drank Red Stripe and Dark & Stormys (really a Bermudan drink, but they did them well enough here). Red Stripe is a beer that I enjoy in "real life" too, so it was nice to visit a country with a good local beer versus being stuck with Corona at Mexican all-inclusives.

Preferred Club: The only real benefit to the Preferred Club is that you get access to a quieter pool and beach. The non-Preferred pools on the north end of the resort are much larger with swim-up bars and music. And way more people. There were only two servers on the Preferred side - one on the beach and one at the pool - so getting drinks took forever. We found ourselves going to the Barracuda Bar to get our own drinks a lot of the time. On the other side there were lots of servers, so the non-Preferred pools are really the place for those who want to get drunk with little to no effort. There is also a self-service bar in the Preferred lounge area, which came in handy when we could not find servers outside. You could literally pour yourself half a bottle of vodka if you so chose. There was also food in that lounge (mostly canapes and desserts) but it looked very unappetizing.

If you still decide to visit Secrets Wild Orchid after reading this, here are some tips:
- Bring, and use, bug spray
- Tip generously
- Do not eat the room service cheeseburger under any circumstances. I don't care how drunk and/or hungry you are
- Upgrade to Preferred only if you are looking for a quieter/more relaxed experience
- At the beach and pool, order drinks two (or more) at a time
- Eat as little as possible
- Drink as much as possible
- When you check out, buy the Club Mobay pass for the airport ($30pp). Even if you have airline status there are no premier lines at MBJ and this also gets you into the lounge, which actually had good food - the beef and chicken patties just may have saved our lives

Room Tip: Ask to be on the 3rd or 4th floor for views. All rooms are ocean view. Skip the swim out rooms and only upgrade to Preferred if you want peace and quiet.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Tara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2014

I enjoyed my stayed here at secrets wild orchid. Jamaica is a beautiful country and the resort just compliments. the hotel was only 20minutes away from the airport and when you arrived you are just welcomed. I highly recommend this resort for weddings, or honeymoons. DEF would go back again!

Room Tip: ALL ROOMS face the ocean!
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank lovepcd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2014

If you are looking for a 5 star resort, here it is. We have been here twice, with no regrets.
The staff is amazing and everyone makes you feel at home. We would like to make special mention of Oraldo Mullings, who works in the World Cafe. He serves and sings beautiful melodies to his patrons. Thank you Secrets for the great experience.
Hope and Carlson Samuels..Canada

Room Tip: Rooms facing the ocean or mountains are great.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Hope S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2014

This was our fifth time at this Secrets, and, once again we are left with the most wonderful memories of how special we were treated. I want to express my gratitude to the general manager, Emilio Huhn, for having the absolutely best managed resort on the island of Jamaica. It was our 26th trip to Jamaica since we found the island in 1980, on our honeymoon, and we will never stay at another resort again. We were greeted by our precious Billy Love who gave us a big bear hug and welcomed us home; he is such a special person. We were so glad to see Andre, whose skill at the piano is a thing of legend; caught up on the past year with Dianna, the efficient and so kind manager of Portofino's, and her talented staff, especially Ryan. Because Wild Orchid is such a great place to visit each year, they draw the nicest couples, who we so enjoyed getting to know while sipping drinks at the pool bar. Always ask for Mark. He will mix you some awesome drinks. And for those who said it was not five star service; they obviously have not met Dalton and Keen, our butlers, who made this year so easy for us, so memorable, so fun. It is true that they have great and loud band music, classic rock and steel drum bands playing on the outdoor stage from 9:30-10:30, or a troubadour with an acoustic guitar, but it is too good to miss so don't go to bed so early on vacation! Please know that if you visit Jamaica it will become your little island paradise, and if you stay at Secrets Wild Orchid you will return again and again to enjoy being stress free and totally relaxed and pampered.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

My wife and I stayed at the Wild Orchid from 7/9-7/13 to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and had a blast. We have been taking a trip every 5 years to celebrate our anniversary and have stayed in some great places, but this was hands down the best place we have ever stayed.

The people here are extremely friendly and treated us very well. We were already talking about a return trip as soon as we can make it happen. This is the type of place that you can travel with a group and have a great party together (as we saw many doing) or a place that a couple can just relax together (as we did). We were certainly able to relax even when partying was loud in other places. Plenty of beach to relax on and plenty of partying to enjoy at the pools.

The one area I would say that I would like to see a little more out of is the nightly shows and the theatre could use a little sprucing up. The seating is a little old and needs upgrading. Otherwise, the food was very good (recommend the Japanese as the #1 spot), our rooms were well kept (get an upper floor for the best views), and there are always some things to do during the day. I would recommned the bike tour and a trip to the spa. I have never had a massage before but I will be getting more.

Not really any reason to not like this resort. If you had issues, you were probably the issue. Vacations are for enjoyment and Secrets Wild Orchid makes that happen.

Thanks to all, we are coming back!!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank bigcat15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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