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“Wonderful - Last night cabana a real treat!”

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Sandals Royal Plantation
Ranked #3 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Hampton-in-Arden, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Wonderful - Last night cabana a real treat!”
Reviewed 20 December 2008

We returned last week from our second visit to this wonderful hotel. Royal Plantation is a member of the ‘Leading Small Hotels of the World’, sister to the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ group. We have stayed at several of the latter in the past and the Royal Plantation sets the bar high, as a standard for the rest.

The food at RP is superb. There is a choice of three restaurants to suit your mood, with three dress codes and cuisine styles. The hotel’s web site explains the details so there is no need to repeat them here, but they are all fabulous.

The suites (all rooms from the awesome Presidential Suite to standard rooms are classed as suites) are excellent (we were given a tour of all the room types last year). Every single one looks out over one of the two private beaches (east or west) to the beautiful, blue Caribbean.

The standard rooms are all spacious with a sitting area, with French doors which open on to the view, large four poster bed, refrigerated mini bar & coffee/tea maker, walk in wardrobe, large double-sink bathroom, safe, flat screen TV with VCR and stereo radio with ipod dock. They are very tastefully decorated, have cool, tiled floors and of course, air conditioning.

There are two private beaches, the east beach houses the water sports facilities and is the quieter of the two. The west beach isn’t exactly a bank holiday at Brighton, (this is an adults only resort – one of its many major plus points) but it is larger, houses the Beach Café and the majority of the sun loungers.

All the staff know that good customer service delivery is at the heart of their success. Some reviewers have commented that they have had to wait a while for drinks or food orders to arrive and occasionally, there is a slight delay. But, this is Jamaica, not New York or London, people come here to get away from cities, the pace of life and events here is slower and much more laid back, that’s what you came for – “Yeh Mon”.

As returnees we were treated exceptionally well and we were recognised immediately by the staff who welcomed us upon arrival. We were also invited to attend a dinner for returning couples which was excellent and a great opportunity to socialise with other guests and senior management of the hotel (as we stayed for two weeks, we were invited twice).

The best treat for us was to be able to spend our last night on one of the two Cabanas (palm roofed, curtained, four poster on the beach), we had a ‘camp fire’, and breakfast served to us on the beach on our last morning. Although we were not honeymooners, this would surely be the perfect romantic way to end a honeymoon, or any vacation for that matter.

Its amazing, but the sea sleeps too, it seems to calm itself at night, the waves are gentler, the perfect background sound for, well, whatever you want to do in a four poster bed under the stars, on a tropical beach ; ). This is arranged at an extra cost, but it really is worth it, I recommend that you book this experience at the earliest opportunity to avoid missing out.

Another special treat is the couples’ champagne celebration in the spa – wonderful.

A quick word about the Royal Plan, the details are readily available from the web site and other reviewers, I’ll just add that the only reason you’d choose not use the plan is insanity.

Are there any negatives? One recent reviewer said that there have been cutbacks and quoted the lack of ‘rose water spraying and flags’. Judging by the date, he seems to have been a contemporary of ours. We did enjoy both of these services, however, they did seem to be dependant upon the return of Cleon to the beach café, from his own vacation. Perhaps, some sort of handover to covering staff might be appropriate. There also seemed to be a smaller selection available at the breakfast buffet, although that’s a relative reduction, there is still a wide and comprehensive choice available.

All the staff are friendly and very helpful but several stand out as true contributors to the general excellence of the Royal Plantation, they are: Cleon, Lenmore and Natalie at the Beach Café, Michael and Devon on the Terrace, and Peter, Christine, Shaun and Nakimo representing management and front of house.

This place is just superb – I can’t fault it! If you don’t try it at least once, you’re missing out.

  • Liked — Staff, food, room's view, size and cleanliness, relaxing atmosphere
  • Disliked — Having to leave at the end of the vacation!
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Travelling_Hammer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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memphis
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2008

the royal plantation offers an amazing boutique hotel experience. i went with a few coworkers for a week of relaxation, and we had a great time. november was a great time of year to be in jamaica. we had two perfectly sunny days on the beach (one breezy and comfortable, one humid and hot). while i think it's typically a destination for honeymooners, we had a blast being the only non-coupled group of people there. the food is to die for! i didn't have a single bad meal while i was there. even room service is fantastic (i recommend the frenchman's picnic for an afternoon snack - great cheese plate).

the staff is probably the nicest and most accommodating crew i've ever met. we had the best beach butler (cleon) and bartender (rallston) and sommelier (jeffison). you will not lack for entertainment with those three around! as for off resort fun, there's a great karaoke bar, ocean 11, great shopping and amazing rain forests all around. the cabs are reasonable, plus you're not far from Margaritaville. while we didn't get to do them, you can go snorkeling or on any of the other excursions. Dunn's River falls isn't too far away, either.

i absolutely recommend the royal plantation for your next beach vacation. i'm already planning to go back next year!

  • Liked — the excellent staff, beautiful beach and great food!
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank bulldogbelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boise, Idaho
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 December 2008

We came to Royal Plantation for my brother-in-law's wedding. In perusing the website and reviews I must admit, being an avid outdoors/ activity person, I was quite tepid about the whole place. By the end of our stay, I'm already making plans to return.
Like many of the finer hotels/ resorts, the rooms are clean, well- appointed and elegant.
However, what sets Royal Plantation apart is the staff. Each and every member of the staff's primary concern is that all your needs are met and your stay is the most relaxing and enjoyable possible. Unlike a lot of places, their friendliness is genuine - not forced or programmed. They truly appreciate you being there. After a short time, it wasn't unusual to have your needs anticipated and met before you even voiced them.
The beaches, although somewhat small, are staffed by attentive staff for food/ drink service, watersports, or just to move your chair. Each dinner we were attended by many of the same staff every night (Kingsley is the best!), and the sommlier stopped by each evening recommending the most complimentary wines for each person's meal. After dinner was spent relaxing on the veranda or under the stars, dancing and listening to a reggae or jazz band, sipping appertifs, perhaps a relaxing game of billards. And if you wanted a more 'active' day of volleyball, scuba (Linx is an awesome divemaster), theme parties - you have free access to the Sandals resort ~50 yds down the beach (though they don't have access to RP).
In a nutshell - the grounds are immaculate, the food exquisite, the rooms relaxing and clean, sapphire ocean, the beaches perfect and the service - unmatched and unparalleled. And because the resort is small and intimate, the experience becomes 'personal' and one that we'll go back to again and again.

  • Liked — The staff, the smiles, the little added extras that a small resort can do
  • Disliked — The drive from MoBay
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Tony B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kansas City, MO
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 December 2008

This was our second trip to Royal Plantation. As always, the food was exceptional. They did not offer room service with the royal plan last time we visited and we loved ordering up a cheese plate every afternoon when we came off the beach.

There were a few things that disappointed us this trip compared to our last visit -
1) Water sports - Most of the staff seemed clueless (one person didn't know what a kayak was and when we showed him he launched us directly at their rescue boat). The backrests on the kayaks were mostly broken or missing.
2) The spa - the spa sales people roam the beach trying to sell their services. I was approached both on the beach and while we were dining. I did use the spa and they did attempt to upsell a lot of products. The spa was much higher priced than my usual spa at home and the service wasn't so much better to warrant the extra expense. I will definitely skip the spa on our next visit.
3) The beach butler service has been cut way back. There were no flags given out when we were there and I never once saw any rosewater misting the entire week we were there. Personally, I didn't miss the cucumber/rosewater but it is still being advertised on the web site and doesn't seem to be offered.
4) Returning guests - this was our fourth visit to Sandals owned properties. We were treated far better when we returned to Sandals - welcome items in our room, etc. At Royal Plantation there wasn't even so much as a "welcome back" when we checked in.

Our experience as a whole at Royal Plantation was wonderful with the exception of the above. Our driver from the airport was great. I was told Royal Plantation will begin charging extra for private transfers in the next few months, which will be a shame because it is a great service that really differentiates them from other all inclusives.

The food was excellent at all restaurants we dined in. We got rained out of the beach grill at night but enjoyed dinner at the Terrace and Papillion. Lots of fresh seafood, all food was beautifully presented and the desserts at the buffet were incredibly decorated.

Service was mostly wonderful, with only a very few minor exceptions (one beach butler would come by and ask if we wanted a drink 15 minutes after we ordered one from him and never got it). I think service at the Terrace was the best - Papillion was a little more hit or miss.

In general, Royal Plantation remains the best all inclusive we've traveled to. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a top notch travel experience.

  • Liked — Food, service at restaurants
  • Disliked — Water sports, inconsistent beach butler service
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank renard8450
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2008

We love the Caribbean and have generally stayed in Sandals or similar in the past. Our only complaint about any of these places has been that they can feel a bit large and impersonal - not Royal Plantation!

RP is a small hotel with the most amazing staff - from the manager who greeted us on arrival, through everyone who works there, we spent a fabulous week being smiled at and asked if there was anything they could do for us... Everyone was always willing to have a chat and we have never been so well looked after.

The food was great and we spent our time alternating between the Patio restaurant - brilliantly run by Devon - where the menu changed every night and Le Papillon where the food was exquisite.

We adopted the quieter East beach and by day 2 were being greeted on arrival by the beach staff with beach beds prepared and fruit and drinks on their way... Life was hard...

All in all, a fabulous break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life - we'll be back!

  • Liked — The best staff in the Caribbean
  • Disliked — The only problem we had was with the faulty internet connection when we wanted to use it.
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank scud24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2008

I cannot begin to explain how wonderful the RP is. It is truly one of the best resorts I have ever been and I am not sure that I can ever go anywhere else! I have been to Mexcio 5 times, Hawaii, Aruba, and the USVI and I do believe that the RP is by far the best. Kudos to everyone that works there.

The hotel is small and intimate. The staff are amazing and take such pride in their jobs and also in getting to know you. The hotel picked us up at the airport without any problems. You wait in the Sandal's area and you have your own car and driver. The RP is 1 hr and 30 min away, but it is well worth it.

Once you arrive at the hotel, you never even see the check in desk! Someone does that all for you while you sip a champage cocktail or something non-alcoholic if you prefer.

Our room was wonderful and clean. The maid did such a nice job everyday and was very pleasant. At night, before dinner we would put on the big fluffy robes and watch the sunset from the room.

The beach is great. Small, but great. Go down early and get a chair, but the beach crew will get you chairs if you do not make it down too early. You cannot even move your chair without someone helping you. I took a nap on the large futon type chair one morning and it was so nice and relaxing. The water is calm and breathtaking.

I loved all three resturants, but I actually liked the Terrace Resturant the best. We had a wonderful meal there one evening and we watched a live show right from our table. The menu at La Terrace changes every night, so that is nice.

The french resturant was amazing and I actually liked sitting inside better. It was a romantic atmosphere and they had a great piano player.

We only at the La Grill one night and my seafood was fishy...

We had the breakfast buffet most days and it was yummy. Beware though, give yourself plenty of time to eat. If you have an excursion or spa treatment planned, give yourself at least an hr to eat.

We did go to Dunn's River Falls and we could have done without. It was ok and we were heckled quite a bit. They try to get you to go out on particular exit, but do not listen! It is the marketplace and they bombard you. Leave the way you came in.

Make sure that you have tea time everyday at 4pm. It is fabulous and the woman who runs tea time is classy and very nice. I am having a baby in March and wanted the to be my nanny!

Cleon, the beach butler is amazing! He is so nice, funny and helpful. He would bring me non-alcoholic drink every morning and took care of me. He also brings around fresh fruit and will mist your face with cool water!

If you have any reservations about the RP, throw them away! It is the best place I have ever been and cannot wait to go back!

  • Liked — It was like heaven on earth!
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank kgrodin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Texas
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 December 2008

Absolutely fantastic! It's everything you imagined in a luxury vacation. From the check-in lounge at the airport (don't be confused by the Sandals rep--they handle the RP folks as well) to our private car (okay minivan, but the driver had Red Stripe for us!) to the hotel, everything went so smoothly.

We had a lovely time doing nothing for 4 days. It was amazing! Service was impeccable, food was delicious, and the scenery was incredible. Even when it rained it was pretty!

Do make your dinner reservations for your entire stay as soon as you arrive (or sooner, if you can) because the restaurants are small and do fill up quickly. But, the seating is staggered, so the table is yours for the night.

If you really want to splurge (it's not included in the all-inclusive royal plan), make reservations for the caviar and champagne bar. It is an experience you will always remember. Mr. Green took very good care of us throughout the evening.

The trip was our honeymoon and was so beyond anything I was expecting, I can't wait to go back.

  • Liked — A polished, professional and luxurious all-inclusive resort
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MKNTexas
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

Property: 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 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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