We spent a wonderful weeklong Honeymoon at Royal Plantation. We arrived into Jamaica into the busy Montego Bay Airport. Once we arrived we were greeted by a wonderful sales agent from Sandals who welcomed us into their luxury waiting room in the luggage area of the MoBay Airport. You had your choice of Coffee & Teas and On-Tap Beers.
After a short wait in the room they announced that our bellhop had our bags and we were escorted to the Royal Plantation (RP) Van. It was a regular 12 passenger van and luckily we were the only ones on the 2 hour ride to the resort.
Once we arrived to the resort we were welcomed with open arms to the lobby with bubbly champagne waiting for us. After a short wait, Jermaine (our incredible Butler) said his hello and took us on a grand, private tour of the grounds. Jermaine then escorted us to our room where he offered to unpack our bags and press our clothes. The view from our Coconut Plantation Suite was breathtaking. Sounds & Views of the ocean less than 200 feet away and we were excited that we could leave the doors open at night to hear the amazing sounds of the waves crashing near our room.
Here's a recap of some of the other things we LOVED!
Activities in Jamaica:
We went on some wonderful activities during our stay. The "must do's" are:
- Chucka Chuka Zipline
- Dunn's River Falls
- Snorkel at Royal Plantation
A few pieces of advice with the activities:
- The Zipline adventure is about 1.5 hr total. The slow, long drive to & from the adventure is 2.5 hr total and we wish we paid extra for a private cab to the adventure so we could have had more beach time during that day.
- Be ready to tip the tour guides with cash as they'll mention that they want to be tipped with US Dollars during the adventure. They don't ever let that down.
- Do take the private transfer to Dunn's River Falls.
- Royal Plantation snorkeling is so-so. We saw few fish and 1 sting ray which made the trip worth it. They do charge extra for a snorkel trip to a sunken ship. We didn't have time for that but want to next time.
How the hotel went Above & Beyond for us:
- Our butlers (Jermaine & Sheldon) catered to every request we had. You are also given a private cell phone that calls directly to your butler. We really miss Jermaine. He was so incredible and the best part of the trip we rave to everyone about.
- If you want your butler to unpack your bags, escort you to dinner, grab things for you, etc.. You need to mention these to them as they'll not offer to do it.
- Food is incredible. We had Jermaine deliver fresh breakfast to our room every morning. You must get the waffles, french toast & omelet! Food on the terrace & french restaurant was wonderful every night.
The Butlers went Above & Beyond and delivered "Special Touches" without us asking:
- Every night, we returned to our room to be decorated with candles, towel animals, candy and music playing from the radio.
- Jermaine surprised us with fresh coconuts one afternoon! These are a MUST
A few extra things & tips:
- The manager, always found a moment to say hello and Thank us both for being at Royal Plantation. We thought that was a great personal touch!
- The pool is small and hot tub was fun but the beach is better than both combined. For traveling to paradise, we wanted to be by the beach, not the pool anyways.
- The two beaches are very small but have an intimate feel. You won't be walking on these beaches at night.. not enough room for that, but they are great to lounge by and relax.
- Bring long pants & closed toed shoes. You'll be expected to dress up a few nights out of the week while you eat dinner.
- When we left, the entire staff stood outside and shook our hands and waved goodbye to us as the van left for the airport. That was an extremely special touch.
If you're looking for an intimate & relaxing resort, RP is for you. If you want to party and dance all night, go to Ocho Rios Grand which is next door. We took a walk over there one afternoon and ran back to RP right away. Sandals Ocho Rios is very dirty and messy looking and we felt like we were in Spring Break central as we passed college aged kids taking shots. Not to mention, the quality of the staff, no one who worked there that we passed even said hello, vs. at RP, everyone greets you so friendly.
Another MUST during you stay. Book the private 5 course meal on the pier. You get to choose your full menu, get to eat privately on the pier under the bright sky and be entertained by your own private dinner butler Ray.
In addition to the things we loved, we wanted to make aware of a few let downs at the resort. We chose to give RP a 5/5 star rating but we do have a few things that others coming here need to know of.
- When arriving to MoBay, you have the option to purchase a "Private Luxury Transfer". As we found out, it isn't in a luxury car and you don't get wine & cheese upon arrival like we read in another Trip Advisor review.
- Advertised is "Once you exit the ocean, you're greeted by a body mist & foot massage." We had to ask 3 times for a Body Mist before it happened and never got a foot massage and were told you must pay separate for it.
- Don't book the activity "Champagne at Sea". It's advertised as a very luxury style adventure and with its high cost, you'd believe you get your own catamaran. We were even told by a hotel employee that you get to be on a large sailing boat. The "day of" the event, Sheldon (the other butler) told us we were wrong and the trip is not at sunset and will be on a dinky 3 person boat we used for snorkeling with water flying in your face. If we wanted to get a big sailing boat for the two of us, they'd charge us $1900!! We cancelled the activity immediately.
- Seaweed wrap was relaxing but not worth it. It is advertised as "the perfect detox". We didn't feel any different afterwards and suggest you invest your money into a regular massage. Its not even a "true seaweed wrap". They put some weird green stuff on you and wrap you in a foil layer, it's not seaweed being wrapped on you.
- The spa employees try to up-sell you on every item so be ready for that
- Wifi costs way too much and should be free with the cost of the resort that we paid
- The "Scents of Love" couples massage was nice. The website sells it as "on the beach". When we arrived to the massage I was asked to sign an additional invoice on the spot that paid an extra $80 to have the massage on the beach. Not included in the price?? Also, in an ad in a book we showed them with a picture next to Royal Plantation, the massage on the beach is under a luxurious canopy, and when we asked about the picture, they responded "Oh that's at another resort". We were bummed at their false advertising.
It seems as Royal Plantation needs to meet with their marketing staff and make sure what their marketing matches what they sell to their guests and make their resort better at how they explain things.
Other than the things we didn't like here, we got a wonderful and perfect memorable Honeymoon from our stay and wish that you have a wonderful time while here. We will definitely be returning to Royal Plantation and hope they'll fix the few things we listed within the next year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •All suite resort and all are serviced by butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers•2 private beaches with beach butler service•The Caribbean’s only Champagne and Caviar Bar•Exquisite International, Mediterranean, Caribbean and French cuisine•24 hour in suite dining•Complimentary transfers from this resort to all Sandals Resorts•Voted Sandals Resorts “World Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Five Star Diamond Award - American Academy of Hospitality Sciences ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Royal Plantation Hotel Ocho Rios
- Royal Plantation Ocho Rios
- Royal Plantation Jamaica
- Sandals Royal Plantation Jamaica/Ocho Rios