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Sandals Royal Plantation
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Reviews (2,731)
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2,301 - 2,306 of 2,731 reviews
Reviewed 5 April 2009

We enoyed this hotel so much we want to return next year. Romantic, wonderful food, beautiful scenery and quiet, relaxing environment.
The nightly entertainment was different each night and always fun and lively.
Water sports were provided with snorkeling, sea bikes and sailing.
The only down fall was the distance from the airport was about an hour away but our driver was so friendly it didn't seem that way.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TraveLoggin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2009

For a change we wanted to try something different... Jamaica here we come. The Royal Plantation offered us just about everything a couple could want. Service (with a smile), beautiful grounds, ocean views, good restaurants, VALUE (We did sign on for the "Royal Plan" - all inclusive), class and some majestic peacocks roaming the grounds.

Our personal concierge, Shawn Moses, in concert with the resort manager and restaurant staff took care of our every needs... be it a day trip, special meals, beverages, or answer to a question. Never did we hear "no problem mahn". It was always "thank you, where, and at what time, sir"... always polite, professional and courteous.

The property could use some paint and updated plumbing. Unfortunately the pool is the size of a postage stamp and neither whirlpools were working during our stay. That being said, the beaches are small and intimate with soft sand, and greatfully, there was no hawking on the property. Privacy was always respected. Need a refresher, fresh fruit, fresh towels, an umbrella moved... just hold up a flag; a beach butler will quickly respond.

On a negative note: the food in La Papillon (their finest restaurant) was good. Unfortunately, their limited menu never changed and fresh fish a rarety. Service okay, but definately not fine.The sommelier was totally inept and non-professional. In addition, the private estate wine list was a bit over-priced. Given a choice, we preferred the Terrace Restaurant with its relaxed atmosphere and finer service. When we sat down, our cocktails were waiting.

Our major disappointment is the Island of Jamaica itself. We were told not to roam the island for fear of personal safety. That mist of insecurity hovers across the island. In the evening in Ocho Rios they suggest you not leave the property without escort or approved taxi.

The question of the hour: "Would you go back to the Royal Plantation?" The answer: "Yes, if it were on another island."

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank TheSunTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2009

My husband and I visited the Royal Plantation (RP) for 7 nights. It was a wonderful experience. We travel extensively and are seasoned travellers to many of the "Leading Hotels of the World." I understand why this resort is amongst the ranks. Upon arrival, we were a little critical of areas that needed updating, upgrading, additions/expantions, however, with each day we were rewarded with magical moments in many different forms. This resort is truly a sleeper and as you awake to its beauty, you will be marvelled at its "old-world" charm" from its plantation furnishings to its history of martinis on the terrace and you will be gratified by its grace and elegance.

The personalized service of the staff was excellent. In fact, we had dinner reservations at Le Papillion which we had to cancel as my husband had sun stroke. The recptionist immediately asked if she could bring the menu to us to order in our room. We were of course thrilled with this option. The waiter came to take our order and brought our dinner course by course and not all at once. Now, that is service!

We were on the Royal Plan and I advise you to do the same as the food prices are high. The Royal Plan includes just about everything and as far as tipping goes, we did both. We tipped when we felt it was worthy and didn't tip for the average drink etc. We found no difference in future service whether we tiped or not. The food was good but too much of it if that's a bad thing. You can have lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I highly recommend the Chocolate Moelleux dessert in Le Papillion restaurant.

The Royal Plan also allows you to use the Sandals Grande Ochio Rios facility, dining etc. This Sandals is the adjacent facility to the RP. Make sure you get a pass from the RP reception which will allow you access to Sandals for the length of your stay. We did walk over to the resort but did not like its large size or its facilities as it is quite old. I would be very upset if we had stayed there! RP is much better.

You must keep in mind the RP is a small resort of only 77 rooms, hence there are not as many facilities. The facilities that are available are smaller scale, not as many restaurants etc. What you do get with it being smaller is more boutique like and personal. The gardens are lovely with the trees and plants named so you can be eduacated on the local varieties. Peacocks roam the resorts and are beautiful. In fact, between the Peacock gift shop and the tennis court is a female peacock sitting on her nest. If you keep an eye out over the next few weeks, you just might see the babies...remember what I said about magical moments.

The hotel was renovated about ten years ago. Most of it has been maintained and the rooms in good condition. The bathrooms could use updating as you won't find luxuious marble washrooms and the plumbing is in need of a little repair. It is too bad that the designer/architect didn't take advantage of switching the placement of the walk-in closet with the bathroom to take advantage of a large soaker tub with the ocean view.

As for room location, we had room 202 on the east wing. This was a fabulous room as was quiet with an ocean view (all are ocean view). The east wing is quieter as it faces the quieter east beach. If you are a people watcher and don't mind people looking in your room when the curtains are opened, the the west wing is your thing. The west wing rooms look onto the busier beach and the terrace.

There is a quiet nightlife at RP bu the entertainers are good. Late one evening, my husband and I retired to the bar. The nightly entertaining had finished but Dennis the piano player was still playing in the bar. The singer from outside had finished for the night so he came into the bar. Dennis and the singer began playing and singing together and we had our own private concert. They played all the music we like and without a request, played our wedding song form 16 years ago...another magical moment.

One day, it rained so we spent the entire day on the verandah reading books while wine, cheese, lunch, tea, and snacks were served to us...absolute bliss.

The tennis pro Tyrone is a great instructor, I highly recommend booking a lesson with him. He is one of the best instructors we've had yet! If you are planning on golfing with the Royal Plan, there are still costs associated with golfing so check ahead. The Red Lane Spa is nice, but again it is small. You won't find an elaborate spa facility but it is quite and relaxing and the ladies are lovely. Make sure you take advantage of the complimentary 15 minute foot massage on the beach. The ladies set up in the bed /canopy. When you see them there (two at a time) just go up and they will happily give you and your spouse 15 minutes of bliss! You will also receive other bonuses ie. spa gift certificates etc.

The fitness facility is small but clean with water and towels. It is quite and better than the Sandals next door. If the cleaning spray bottle is empty, just ask the spa ladies next door for a refill. The swimming pool is very small and is on the terrace but it is nice. The hot tub is great and is two-tiered in the pool area just below the terrace.

If Jamaica is your destination, this is certainly a wonderful childless choice. The average age of visitors is 35 to 70 but there were some younger and some older and it seems all enjoyed their vacation. If we were to return to Jamaica, I would return to this resort. It definitely ranks together with my other favourites, those being the Occidental Royal Hideaway in the Mayan Riviera, The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Deerhurt Resort in Hunstville, Ontario and the Sacher Hotel in Salzburg, Austria.

Hope this helped!!!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Jumpinround
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2009

Food is great. 95% of the service is accomodating and warm. However, the 5% will wreck your trip unless, of course, you don't care.

My wife and I were having drinks by the ocean when a "trainee" (they have many of these) thought it might be appropriate to put his hands on wife's shoulder and say, " It's only raining here because SOMEBODY did not "come" enough last night". (wink wink) Needless to say I almost tore the guy's head of his shoulders.

The concierge made "outdoor patio" reservations for us at their prestigious French restaurant (Le Papillion). Well, when we aririved the "Maitre' De" (who was clearly stoned) stated, in a firm tone , " You are sitting inside." My wife and I were ok with "sitting inside". However, a more appropriate reply might had been, " I'm sorry, apparantly there was a mistake with your reservation. Let me see what I can do to accomodate you." By the way, we never asked to be seated outside! lol

Oh, it gets better. The next night, we decided to eat dessert at Le Papillon after a decent meal at La Terrace. "The manager" of the restaurant seated us in the waiting area with dessert menus (By the way, I gave him 1,000 Jamaican dollars the previous night) . Nice! Then, he asked (10 minutes later), "What would you like?" MInd you, we are still seating in the waiting area of the restaurant! When's the last time someone took your order in the waiting area of a restaurant, especially after paying nearly 6 grand for a one week stay?? Uh, yaeh, we left! You get the point.

Finally, tipping is a weird thing here. Less exclusive resorts like Sandals do not allow tipping. However, tipping is accepted here, If you purchase the "Royal Plan", it states that gratuity is included. However, I was informed by several staff that they "split" all the tips and they receieve very little. Hmm.?? So, as a empathetic person, do I tip beyond the Royal Plan charge, or do I not tip because they make it very clear that gratuity is not neccesary? And, if I do tip- then is it customary to tip 10, 20, or 100%? I asked several room service attendants, shuttle drivers, and even management. They all responded, " Tip based upon your means." lol OK

I hope if you stay at this property you have better luck than us. Of note, the general manager offered us complimentary "VIP" reservations at a restaurant off location and a nice beach front dinner with champaigne and all the trimmings. He is clearly among the 95% I stated earlier. However, if you buy a house and 95% of it is great- but the 5% that is wrong are things like a bad roof, termites, etc.... The granite coutertops, 4 car garage, swimming pool, etc... that are in excellent condition help- but, don't quite do it. If you know what I mean- stay away! If you don't care- "COME MON!" I'm sure you will find someone here that will say or even make that happen for you or your partener- man or woman.

This is the truth about this property. Don't listen to what other people write. We are here in peak of spring break and the place is less than 1/2 full. This is for a reason! However, I do encourage you to check back later becasue I believe that the current general manager will get this place back up to par and clean up the mess.

-Happy traveling

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank mtl18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2009

I went with my girlfriend to spend a long weekend at the Royal Plantation. From the moment we got to the sandals booth at Montego Bay airport, we were treated like Royalty. The journey from the airport to the resort is approximately 2 hours. On arrival, there were 2 people to greet us. We were given cold towels and a glass of champagne, and the paperwork was quickly sorted out and dinner reservation was sorted out for us. The food at each of the 3 restaurants was divine and all our awkward requests were met without fuss. We spent our first day on the beach, where the butler furnished us with mangosa's galore in addition to spraying us down with rose water when it was getting hot. We were waited on hand and foot. On one occasion when our table was not immediately available, we were whisked off to the bar where drinks were organised for us.

We are in our mid to late 20's but were considerably younger than all the other guests but this did not affect our experience. We had a wonderful time and will definitely be going back!

Def do the Royal plan all inclusive package!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank professional_Harry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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