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“Excellent, would be delighted to return”

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Sandals Royal Plantation
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 September 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Sandals Royal Plantation in early September.

I cannot disagree with anything other reviewers have already said. The hotel is beyond super, the staff are excellent, friendly, helpful and efficient. The food was excellent, of a very high standard (the memory of the shrimp in coconut served for lunch at the beach restaurant will forever remain in my memory). The butlers are really helpful and not intrusive which was one of our concerns. On the first day we had Kenton who waded into the sea up to his chest, fully dressed in his butler uniform (complete with shoes), to bring my husband a tray with a full club sandwich lunch as I had told them in advance that my husband was rather partial to these. Hilarious. Unfortunately Kenton then picked up a football injury playing for the hotel (hope you soon get better!) and then Richard and Sherlon took over, seemlessly. I requested a diet coke to be placed in the fridge in the room and thereafter the fridge always had a supply of dc. The housekeeping lady who we met a couple of times was lovely and seemed to appreciate our playing Bob Marley on the in room ipod docking station(s)!

The room was super, best I've encountered in the Caribbean. Jacuzzi corner bath, huge walk in shower with powerful showerhead, walk in wardroom room, iron, ironingboard, hairdrier, safe, umbrellas (unneeded). Two comfy armchairs, loads of drawers, dining table, huge plasma tv (we flicked it on once and the stations were showing Coronation Street and Are You Being Served!). Fabulously comfy and huge bed and the "pillow menu" allowed us to try water pillows etc.

Downside? Went to the huge Sandals next door on our last night as we heard the Kimono Japanese restaurant was super. It's not. We have much better Japanese restaurants in London. We were on a table with 12 Americans who were in their 20s and interested only in drinking games. We rang our butler who sent a taxi (the few hundred yards) to rescue us within an hour. Stay in the Royal Plantation, we couldn't wait to get "home".

It is a long trip from Kingston airport (over two hours) but I believe there is an internal flight that could be taken in a fraction of the time, we would investigate the cost of this if we went back. However, we were in an air conditioned taxi which we had to ourselves with cold bottles of water and really could not moan.

The worst part does not relate to the hotel. The staff at immigration at Kingston airport could not have been more unpleasant or unhelpful. After a 10 hour flight I did not appreciate being grilled about which hotel I was staying at, demands to see the paperwork. Being man handled out of immigration whilst I tried to provide the paperwork to my husband who was also receiving a grilling. Then Customs asking all sorts of questions about my "relationship with that man" ("we're married, does that cause you a problem?") and then ludicrous questions such as what was in my suitcase (hmm for a beach holiday, let me think. My answer was pretty short and sharp). They were so unwelcoming that I wondered whether we had made the right choice of island. I had always wanted to visit Jamaica and this was not what I had thought it would be. However, on reaching the private Sandals lounge our opinion changed immediately. They were so welcoming, friendly and helpful that my mood immediately changed. The immigration and customs people should be ashamed of themselves. Also, the flight (which was not full) had around 200 people on board. Only one person manning the overseas immigration arrivals desk (several manning the desks for those coming from other Caribbean countries). We queued for ages and I received a severe reprimand for using my mobile phone (no idea why). We tourists are bringing a lot of money into Jamaica and to be treated with more courtesy and respect and maybe a smile shouldn't be too much to ask. I've travelled extensively and never had such an unpleasant entry to a country.

At the hotel I would imagine if the resort were full then the beaches would be a bit crowded as they are small (we didn't use the pool area). The resort was quite empty whilst we were there so this was never a problem. Adrian who runs the beach bar and created fabulous cocktails (the BBC is gorgeous) and was a fabulous guy, we miss him! The hotel manager and the lady who manages the butlers were very helpful and approachable. My only comment about the hotel is that the jets in the main jacuzzi by the swimming pool didn't seem to have any effect. A really minor comment though, the water was lovely and I just sat there gazing at the beautiful scenery.

I think they said there were 17 peacocks on the premises, like everyone they were friendly and not intrusive!

We wouldn't hesitate to go back. Am loathe to put too many good things on this review as we don't want floods of people going, we need to keep it to ourselves! This is a gem of a hotel. We had not "done" a Sandals holiday before and visiting the huge resort next door re-enforced our view that they are not for me at all. The Sandals Royal Plantation however is in a league of its own and should be thought of on a whole different level.

Cannot recommend the Royal Plantation highly enough.

Room Tip: All have ocean view. Those on top level (higher grade of room than ours) had a balcony which would...
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Coppins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,866 - 1,872 of 2,566 reviews

Reviewed 20 September 2011

My wife and I arrived on the 3rd September 2011 for a two week stay at this hotel.

We arrived at Montego Bay Airport and were greeted by Sandals staff, we were directed to their large lounge area and offered free cold drinks. After 10 minutes we were taken to our mini bus that we shared with another couple. It took about 90 minutes to get to the resort and on our arrival we were greeted by staff, handed a cold refreshing towel and a rum cocktail, both welcomed. (Bus driver was tipped there and back)
We were introduced to our Butlers Mario and Garey and taken to our room, it was suite 61 on the first floor overlooking the west beach about 30 feet from the sea.
This room was ideal, clean, good proportions, no balcony but french doors, two air conditioning units and two roof fans, the living area had two comfortable arm chairs and a table with two chairs, there was also the fully stocked mini bar and ice bucket. The on-suite had a separate dressing room and safe as well as a good sized shower area and jacuzzi bath.
Mario gave us our dinning arrangements for the forth coming week, we like to eat late and although the reservations were at 1930 hours this was very easily changed to 2000 hours. He offered to un pack but we declined and did this ourselves. The bed is probably the most comfortable I've slept in and the pillows were magnificent.
There are three restaurants in the resort, The Terrace which changes its menu everyday and is used for breakfast lunch and dinner, 1st floor Papilion which is a French restaurant with a Jamaican twist, both have inside and outside dining. For lunch time there is the beach dining area just off the west beach, it has a brilliant menu, must tries are their coconut shrimp and Jamaican beef patties all cooked fresh.
I cannot fault any of the food I had something different every day, they have a catch of the day that can be grouper, mau mau, or lion fish either done in beer batter of pan seared. House wine is included and I felt no need to move to the more expensive wine list. The red merlot was excellent as was the white Pinot Grigo. The steak in Papilion was one of the best I've had in a long time. At breakfast you can have you eggs done anyway you want, Mediterranean omelette was perfect.
We were given a mobile telephone to contact our butlers and we never felt when we used it we were imposing on them, they actually encourage you to use it and will do almost anything you ask.
The following day we were shown around the resort, they have a Red Lane Spa, which my wife used on four occasions, she thought each of the treatments she had were very good, we both had the couples massage with a joint spa bath which included chocolates and fruit truly a beautiful experience. We saw many couples getting the evening sunset massage on the gazebo pier, very romantic with the waves hitting the rocks around them. Yes the girls from the spa did come around the beach asking if you wanted treatments but they were not pushy. I think this may have been due to the fact it was off season and the hotel was about 45% full.
We held off booking excursions and I'm glad we did we were offered the full dolphin experience for the same price as the mid range experience a saving of over $120. We were picked up at the hotel by mini bus and taken to where the dolphins were, about a 15 minute journey just outside Ocho Rios. We were taken to an area where we were kitted up in life vests and given a pep talk, over to the dolphins area and introduced to out two females, in all a 30 minute magical experience, touching the dolphins, being dragged through the water by two holding their dorsal fin and then being pushed through the water by two dolphins noses pushing your feet a humbling experience, the rest of the resort was very commercialised and we ignored most of it and got the bus home early. It was $152 each and well worth the experience.
For our 10th wedding anniversary I booked the private candlelight dinner there are three venues, the two piers or the east beach I chose the gazebo pier which was set out beautifully with candles and flaming torches. Our waiter and host was Ray who did a great job, I was able to pick the menu before hand and pick out a bottle of champagne a truly memorable experience.
Garey our butler took us around the adjoining Sandals resort we could not wait to get back to RP, virtually no eye contact from the staff and very noisy.
There is a meet the management cocktails party every Monday and we turned up at this and on speaking with one of managers, he asked if we had been at `Sandals before which we had several times and if we were going to the returning guests dinner of the Tuesday. We explained we knew nothing about this. He went away and after out dinner we returned to our room to find a letter of apology, beautiful flowers an invite to the returning guests dinner and a bottle of rum. 10 out of 10 for sorting it out so quickly. The dinner was fantastic and met some great people.
Talking of people this is the sort of resort you can either lie back read and book, make small talk and nobody will bother you or because it only has 74 suites you can get to know people from around the world. We met some fantastic couples from the UK, USA and Canada. A group of 6 of us went to Kimonos in the adjoining resort and had a fantastic evening.
Staff in this resort are second to none and I put this down to the GM Peter Fraser, a very unassuming gentleman who is always in the background and has developed a great working environment.
Our Butlers Garey and Mario a great combination and always on hand to assist, we wanted to buy our daughter a watch for her 21st, Garey took us down to Ocho Rios and into the Taj Mahal Mall we got our watch and then we went into a local bar whilst waiting for our taxi, great to do the 'local' thing.
Adrain or 'Biggs" as he is known the most attentive beach butler is the world, he always knew when and what you wanted to drink and boy can he sing.
Adrian Clarke who works in the water sports section, I've never sailed before, he took me out taught me how to sail the Hobbi cats and I was hooked a true gentleman.
They had to close the beaches for a day due to filming from a helicopter for the forthcoming brochures, what did they do they laid on a catamaran for all guests, a trip to James Bond Beach, lunch, snorkelling and drinks, then a little booze cruise back, who could ever forget the "3 Kevin handstand" all for free well done RP.
The security around the resort is second to none RP guests can enter the adjoining Sandals but they cannot get into RP.
The pool is smallish used it once and I can honestly say there was never more then two people in it. You wont see a long beautiful white sand beach stretching a far as the eye can see, but there are two adequate beaches at the resort, they are keep clean and tidy by the beach staff, I never had trouble finding a bed, the beach only reflects the resort small and intimate.
Will we be back, the answer is a most definite yes, if you want to relax, unwind, read a book, meet some great staff then this is the place to go.
If you want to be partying till 3am,falling about drunk with your mates go next door.

Room Tip: Our room was Royal Great House Ocean Front Suite although on first floor quiet and good amenities.
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Treetops20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2011

This award winning 5* diamond prestigious resort (feels like 10*) is so so beautiful. It is Jamaica's most luxurious resort hotel and perfect for indulgence!

It has breathtaking views, outstanding flawless service in every single way - pure heaven on earth!!!! It's an intimate resort; 70 suites (each with ocean view) so they have a big advantage to be able to give every guest a personal service and accommodate every single need.

The butler service is of an extremely high standard and daily romantic surprises arranged by them made stay even more special. If you are not on your honeymoon moon there, you will no doubt feel like you are! Nothing was ever too much trouble and every need was always met with ease with a sense of urgency and importance. Our butler Derron went out of his way for us on so many occasions and he was so so lovely.

Staff always greeted us with a warm smile and were so polite and friendly. The hotel manager made a point to personally speak to all guests to make sure everyone is happy and that the service was nothing but of high standard.

This resort also has the Caribbean's only Champagne and Caviar Bar, so if you like some good champagne, you will appreciate this!

The food was AMAZING. They have three gourmet restaurants and everything made fresh. Couldn't ask for better quality food - some of the best food i have ever had. As i am veggie, the butler arranged for the chef to make bespoke gourmet dishes for me twice a day (lunch and dinner). Beautifully presented and each meal was completely different (this can sometimes be a problem for resorts but certainly not with this one). The chef personally asked me on several occasions if i liked the food which i thought was really nice.

Highly and strongly recommend this resort especially for couples going on their honeymoon - it is the perfect romantic place. Winston Churchill once stayed here so it was good enough for him!!!! :-)

You will never want to leave this tropical paradise! This was the best holiday i have ever been on and i hope to return to this resort one day!

Room Tip: No tips - 70+ suites all have ocean view so all rooms have the best view!
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Sne80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2011

I stayed at this fabulous resort in early August and was so impressed!! The service and food were unbelievable! I think it was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in while on vacation. The staff were so attentive to every need that I had. The pool was quite small, but I spent most of my free time on the beach, which was extremely quiet and peaceful. I have visited most of the other Sandals and this one really stands out with the level of service and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a low key vacation. It was also nice to go next door to Sandals Grande Riviera if you wanted night life. I am big fan of butler level service as well since all of the rooms here offer butler service!

Room Tip: All ocean view suites with butler service
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled on business
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3  Thank Kimg10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2011

We've just had an amazing two weeks in the villa with four friends. We are all Sandal select members and there are only a few of their resorts that we haven't tried but this is the best!

It isn''t cheap to stay but if you want quality, attentive service and food then look no further. The villa was very clean, well stocked with beverages, snacks and music. We used the hotel resturant facilities most of the time and couldn't find fault with any of the food or service. Service at breakfast was a little slow but the view from the terrace more than made up for this. The villa chef prepared dinner on two evenings for us all and everything from planning the menu with us to the actual meal was perfect. The only downside of the villa was the lounge didn't have any air conditioning and the bathrooms in the three bedrooms are a little dated. However when you consider the amount of time we spent in these areas it's a minor issue!

It was our first experience of 'butler service' and we were a little unsure of how it would work. There are three that we would recommend without a doubt, so if you are staying in the hotel ask for Shelly and Jermaine and if staying at the villa, Rochester wont disappoint you! All were attentive but not intrusive and soon got to know our personal likings.

To sum up, we loved it so much we booked to go back for two weeks next year!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Dawn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2011

We just came back from our 1 week vacation.

We stayed for the first week of September and found it was one of the best resorts to stay in: very relaxing place with great service, a nice beach (very small though) and great food. Our room was spacious, clean, it had a great view, a full minibar and the bed was really comfy. Night entertainment could be better.
However, you can arrange time with your butler to visit the next door "Sandals" which is called "Sandals Grande Riviera".
Spa was offering great services so I would really recommend you to get a massage from them: very relaxing and enjoyable. They had a small pool area with a hot-tub but not many people were using it. The resort had a game room with free 8-ball, a tennis court and a gym with alot of machines. You could get wifi internet services for $42 usd per week.

This resort would fit perfectly for people who want a nice relaxing vacation.

Couple of helpful suggestions would be to order room service because there are no buffets and you would have to wait a long time to get your food in the daytime. Make sure you bring a credit card with you because you will have to put your money on hold in case you would like to make further purchases.

We would like to thank our butlers Richard and Sheldon as well as all the staff that provided such a great experience. We would also like to thank one of the waiters who was serving us during tea time on the terrace; my husband forgot sunglasses on a table during tea time (from 4 pm to 5 pm each day) and she kindly returned it to us at night time...

Room Tip: all the rooms have a front ocean view
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Lelik R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2011

We booked this as our honeymoon destination and although we were in no doubt that the hotel would be absolute luxury. We were both nervious about the use of our butler assuming that they would be intrusive on our holiday. We couldn't have been more wrong we had two butlers Kenton and Fiona that were on hand to help make our holiday perfect. When we travelled I was 20 weeks pregnant and the butlers were so thoughtful when they laid out champagne on ice in our room for our return they even placed soft drinks in there for me to enjoy. The food in the resort was outstanding and once again the staff were more than happy to make changes to dishes given the foods that I could no longer eat as a pregnant lady. The whole package was excellent place was clean, rooms were fabulous, entertainment super, water sports varied and superb, even the island routes tours were great. This coupled with the fact that every member of staff you encounter has simply the nicest attitude and makes you feel that you are the only person stopping there and that nothing is too much trouble. We truly were running on Jamaican time by the time we left.

My only gripe and it is smal,l is being asked daily if I want a spa experince whilst I'm sunbathing on the beach and asked if I want my photo taking whilst eating. I wanted and enjoyed the pictures that we did have taken but would have preferred not to be approached when eating

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank paula g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Plantation

Address: Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £404 - £1,078 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Plantation 5*
Number of rooms: 74
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 
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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

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