Sandals Royal Caribbean
After clearing customs at the Sangster airport after a potentially long day of travel, the Sandals airport lounge is a welcome site. You will have your bags tagged for the resort you are headed to in this case Royal Caribbaen, while you grab a drink and relax until your transportation to the resort is ready. Sometimes you may have to wait for others for a shuttle, but if you’re staying in a higher category room they should have a private car, likely a Mercedes to transport you to the hotel.
One of the benefits to staying at a property located in Montego Bay is the transfer to your resort isn’t near as long as some other destinations in Jamaica. Sandals Royal Caribbean (SRC) is less than 6 km from the airport so you will be there in less than 10 minutes. The downside to this is you will see and hear a number of airplanes departing each afternoon, which can wake you up from a nap on the beach.
The airport isn’t nearly as busy as those in major cities located in North America or Europe however, so it won’t be anything bad unless traffic gets extremely higher in the future. As you leave Jamaica you will notice once airborne the plane immediately banks left, if you look out the window on the right side of the plane you will see SRC below.
The Hotel Spa and Grounds
The resort is set on a beautiful beachfront property, and includes a private island set just offshore that houses a Thai restaurant for dinners, a beach grill for lunch, and a bar as well. There is also a pool and two beaches, one nude on the ocean side for privacy, and one for those that prefer to keep their bathing suits on facing the resort located on the private island as well.
Back on the main land, the resort offers a main pool with a swim up bar and a volleyball net, and various other pools located closer to the guest rooms, and in front of the swim up rooms. The main pool is where activities tended to occur, music playing and a more social atmosphere, quieter more romantic time could easily be spent around the other pools on property.
The beach is small but private, and typical for what is found in the Montego Bay area. Both the island, and the main beach have covered day beds available for rental at an additional charge.
The spa offers various treatments such as massage, body scrubs, facials, and hair styling at typical resort pricing, and offers treatments in spa, or in the privacy of your own room for some services. There is a couple of peacocks located on property and you will see them occasionally as you walk around during your stay.
The rooms and Butler service
Like other Sandals properties SRC has a number of room categories. Standard rooms are offered for the lowest price, while concierge and butler suites are available and include extras such as room service, and priority seating at dinners along with bigger and well appointed rooms. Some suites being lagoon pool waterfront, some lagoon pool swim up while others are beachfront suites. Rooms come with a mini bar and you can have juices, sodas, beers, water, and there are also a few bottles of hard liquor available in room.
If you have a suite with a butler they (you are assigned a team of two) are available to you via private cell phone, and can book meals, excursions, have drinks brought to you in a cooler during the day on the beach, or help you with any of your needs on property during your stay.
Food / Drinks / Restaurants
The bars at SRC offer all the standard face booze you will find all over the island, in addition however Sandals carries better wine, and a larger selection of top shelf liquor including imported vodkas, whiskeys, and other liquors then many other properties located on the island which only carry domestic brands.
Sandals Royal Caribbean offers 7 different dining options, however just one is open for breakfast, the buffet at The Regency Suite & Deck, breakfast is typical for a resort buffet, with made to order omelettes, pastry stations, breakfast meats, and eggs, cereal, and fresh fruit. However the room in which you get your food gets quite hot, and the same can be said for the lunch buffet served here. The dining area is nice, with an outdoor patio option that overlooks the sea.
Besides the buffet for lunch you can get made to order food at the Mariners grill, offering typical grill food, burgers, wraps, fries, the food here was quite good and was a regular lunch option, preferred over the buffet on many days. Over on the island they also have the bamboo shack grill. This lunch option serves the best Jerk chicken on the resort, made in the traditional fashion. They also have jerk porn, corn on the cob, as well as salads, buns and other choices.
Dinner is where SRC really has the most choices, with 5 options available depending on the evening. As with almost all all inclusive resorts each of the a la carte restaurants are closed one night per week. But SRC has plenty of options each night.
The regency offers traditional international cuisine; various meats or pasta dishes, prepared with various cooking influences depending on the day. The cricketers pub offers English pub food, Le Jardinier offers a fine French dining experience, The Pavilion Restaurant offers fine cuisine with a Jamaican flair, located under the stars Finally located on the offshore island Royal Thai offers Thai cuisine of course, but in an unforgettable setting over the beach with a great view of the resort and Montego Bay at night. The fine dining restaurants require gentleman to wear long pants, the rest shorts are fine.
Because Sandals has the stay at 1 play at all policy, in Montego Bay this means you can use the facilities and dine at the other two properties nearby, Sandals Montego Bay, and Sandals Carlyle. This feature adds in 10 more dining options; however in reality some restaurants are similar. While you might go to Sandals Montego Bay for Cucina Romano and the Italian fare, there is no point to go there to eat at their version of the Cricketers pub.
If you’re staying in a suite there is also room service available, with a midsized menu offering fare from the various restaurants around the resort, sometimes prepared slightly different, and a couple of more common hotel room service items, such as a club sandwich.
Overall the food is good, but could be a bit better in certain areas, more variety in flavours at some of the fine dining would have been nicer, and breakfast could have more variety, a few items which changed flavours during the week for example.
Activities / Inclusions
Two tennis courts, one basketball court, beach and pool volleyball, bocce ball, are available, as well as games such as table tennis, billiards table, and board games. The two volleyball games were played often around mid day, as there were lots of couples that were looking for extra to do besides enjoy the good weather, food, drinks and water.
There are water sports and scuba available depending on the weather.
The resort has an entertainment staff that organizes games and activities during the day, some sporting, such as volleyball, and some recreational, such as trivia, bingo, or fishing for rum.
There are various nightly activities that range from beach parties, gala parties, and quieter evenings with shows after dinner. The pub had sports on TV nightly as well.
The resort doesn’t offer an internet cafe; internet is available in room, but only for an additional charge. This is one of the only real downsides to this resort. For an all inclusive they had a few options that while it may be nice that they are available, almost feel like you are getting nickled and dimed after spending quite a bit of money for your holiday. The rentable day beds on the beach are understandable due to supply and demand, but free wifi, or an internet station or three would be nice.
Great rooms, a gorgeous properties with great views, a good beach, close to the airport which is good and bad, good food, great variety of food, great drinks, and a good staff make this a good vacation and hopefully it will provide many wonderful experiences and memories for you.