Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • All-inclusive island resort with man-made sandy beaches and a private island
  • Adults-only policy makes for a tranquil atmosphere
  • One-of-a-kind accommodation options include swim-up rooms with butler service
  • Gorgeous full-service swimming pools and whirlpools with views of the Caribbean
  • Red Lane Spa includes treatment rooms, a salon, and fitness center
  • Wide-variety of on-site restaurants include French, Thai, and Caribbean cuisine
  • Premium alcohol served at bars, on the beach, and in the pool
  • Fun water equipment like standup paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkel gear
  • On-site diving shop with free scuba diving
  • Daily resort entertainment includes beach parties and karaoke
  • Guests can “eat and play” at two other Sandals properties in the area, with free shuttles
  • Free shuttle to and from the nearby airport

Cons

  • Noise complaints due to water sports and the hotel's proximity to the airport
  • Beachfront cabanas cost extra
  • Only Club Level rooms include free Wi-Fi
  • Strict cancellation policy offers no leniency for weather delays

Bottom Line

For adult guests who want to enjoy an all-inclusive experience but prefer a resort that’s a bit smaller and more private, Sandals Royal Caribbean makes a great choice. With a number of small beaches and a private island, the resort feels intimate and secluded even though it’s a short drive to both the airport and downtown Montego Bay. Restaurants cater to all tastes, from a romantic French restaurant to a laid-back British style pub to snacks on the beach, and premium alcohol is unlimited. Guests can also dine at restaurants and partake in activities at the other two Sandals resorts nearby, and on-site activities and entertainment are also extensive. However, it may be worth comparing rates with Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall All-Inclusive, which has an infinity pool and more luxurious spa.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Open and bright, with an adults-only, mellow party vibe

The resort itself is fairly large, though this isn't the biggest Sandals property in Jamaica. After driving through the Sandals archways, guests reach a rounded driveway and a grand Georgian-style entrance with white pillars leading to the spacious and colorful lobby. The large front desk with check-in and concierge services is welcoming, and armchairs and sofas provide comfortable seating. Close by is the elegant entrance to the French restaurant, Le Jardinier, surrounded by flowers and gardens. The long lobby leads to other restaurants, the photography shop, and several pools, as well as a tour desk with information on local attractions and activities. Most of the restaurants, entertainment areas, and activities are located in the center of the resort, with the rooms spread out and further away from the noise.

Fun accents throughout the property include old-fashioned black street lamps on the end of wooden piers and a decorative wooden carriage in the gardens. The garden grounds are heavily planted with lush foliage and tall palm trees -- roaming peacocks add a certain sense of nobility, along with occasional early morning bird calls. The kid-free vibe is romantic and friendly. Groups of guests often mingle at the bars and pools, but the scene doesn't get spring break wild.

 Location

Close to the airport, tucked between several other resorts

Just a ten-minute drive from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, the resort is located right off of the main A1 highway. Set back a ways from the road, the gardens and greenery help to provide privacy from the main street, although the neighboring resorts and hotels are visible from the beach and certain other parts of the property. While the highway is too dangerous for pedestrians, the resort is a short drive from a number of shops and craft boutiques in the town center, as well as the Hip Strip with a variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs, and plenty of local golf courses to suit every skill level. The resort does have a private island with a Thai restaurant and additional beach and pool amenities; you can get there via the hotel's dragon-themed boat or paddle yourself over in a kayak or on paddleboard. Airport transfers and shuttles to Sandals Carlyle and Sandals Montego Bay are free.

 Rooms

Spacious rooms with high-tech amenities

Sandals Royal Caribbean has a wide selection of rooms to suit all types of couples. Decorated in dark woods and elegant, soothing neutrals with bright pops of color, even the most basic rooms feel luxurious. Four-poster beds sprinkled with red rose petals look ultra romantic. All rooms include air-conditioning, mini-fridges stocked with water and sodas, coffeemakers, microwaves, amenities kits, and patios or balconies. Club level rooms offer additional amenities, like access to the Club Sandals lounge, private orientation, free Wi-Fi, a dedicated concierge for help with reservations and activity bookings, private room bars, and free room service. Some Club level rooms are located right on the beach, with a patio that walks out onto the sand, and others include private pools and swim-up entrances. For guests that want a truly luxurious experience, generously-sized butler suites are also available, with beautiful views, large bathrooms that feature whirlpool tubs, and a dedicated butler that’s always on-call for whatever guests may require. Note that rooms located near water activities and entertainment feel less private. Airplane noise is an issue throughout the resort.

 Features

Free scuba diving, water sports, entertainment -- and a private island make this hotel stand out.

It would be fairly easy to spend an entire vacation here with a drink in hand by the beach, but it would be a shame to miss out on at least some of the free and luxe features. Guests can enjoy unlimited scuba diving (certification costs extra), snorkeling, sailing, waterskiing and paddleboarding on the water. A boat runs back and forth between the main property and the private island, giving guests easy access to the Thai restaurant, oceanside spa services, additional beaches with cabanas, and a pool with swim-up bar. The Red Lane Spa features a modern fitness center and a large assortment of treatments. Massages on the beach are also available.

On land, there's beach volleyball, tennis courts, croquet, golf, and billiards. A variety of events are available, including daily afternoon tea, talent shows, reggae fests, and karaoke. Additionally, the resort offers laundry and dry cleaning services, photographers, gift shops, money exchanges, and rentable beachside cabanas. Wi-Fi is free for those in club level rooms; everyone else has to pay extra for it. Guests who wish to visit the restaurants, bars, or activities at the nearby sister resorts, Sandals Carlyle and Sandals Montego Bay, can do so for free.

 Beach

Small, private beaches with sun loungers and fees to use the cabanas

The waterfront at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort is calm and clear for snorkeling with patches of seagrass where fish hide. Sandy beaches are kept clean and raked, though the beaches are short and divided up with manmade seawalls -- so if you're seeking a long walk hand-in-hand on the sand with your significant other, look elsewhere. Blue sun loungers are comfortable and woven straw umbrellas provide a respite from the sun. Guests can bask on the beach at the resort or on the private island -- full drinks service is offered on all beaches. You'll pay an extra fee to use the semi-private cabana beds, an oddity at a resort where most everything is included.

 Pools

Seven heated swimming pools and five whirlpools with drink service

Swimming pools of all shapes and sizes throughout the resort are surrounded by comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas so there's always a spot for guests to relax in the sun without squabbling over space. Pools are heated and kept very clean. Landscaping includes artificial rocks, blooming flowers, and columned pillars to create a tropical and colonial vibe. Some pools have views of the Caribbean. Whirlpools are kept hot, and drink service is available. Two swim-up bars are popular spots. No kids allowed means less splashing and screaming, though we can't guarantee adults won't behave that way.

 Food

All-inclusive restaurants, five bars, two swim-up bars -- and a Thai restaurant on the private island

There are a whopping eight all-inclusive restaurants (five of them have full bars) serving a wide variety of cuisines for adult tastes, though not all restaurants are open all day (some are open for a scant two hours) and reservations are required for many of them. Royal Thai and the casual Bamboo Shack are located on the private island, reachable only via boat. The Regency has longer hours and serves three meals a day with an international menu, and its outdoor dining room overlooks the water. The Mariner Seaside Bar and Grill stays open until the wee hours of the morning and doesn't have a dress code or require reservations. This is where you'll go to eat burgers in your bikini.

Garden-inspired Le Jardinier is the most romantic restaurant and requires evening attire to enjoy the haute French cuisine. A pizza restaurant, Caribbean restaurant, and British style pub round out the food and bar options on property. Premium, unlimited alcohol is included. Guests can take the free shuttle to Sandals Carlyle and Sandals Montego Bay and explore the restaurant options there as well.

 Weddings

"Weddingmoon" packages (with lots of romantic and expensive add-ons available)

This property is extremely popular for couples who want to combine their beach wedding with a Sandals honeymoon and call it a weddingmoon. The package starts with the basics (for two to six people) which include a pre-wedding travel planner and a dedicated wedding team at the resort. Staff can arrange paperwork, witnesses, music, and a small reception afterwards. For larger and more elaborate parties, prices go up. White gazebos and the sandy beach make great ceremony sites and the honeymoon room is decorated with romance in mind. All honeymooners get fun extras like free sparkling wine with a white-glove service dinner.

 Bottom Line

For adult guests who want to enjoy an all-inclusive experience but prefer a resort that’s a bit smaller and more private, Sandals Royal Caribbean makes a great choice. With a number of small beaches and a private island, the resort feels intimate and secluded even though it’s a short drive to both the airport and downtown Montego Bay. Restaurants cater to all tastes, from a romantic French restaurant to a laid-back British style pub to snacks on the beach, and premium alcohol is unlimited. Guests can also dine at restaurants and partake in activities at the other two Sandals resorts nearby, and on-site activities and entertainment are also extensive. However, it may be worth comparing rates with Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall All-Inclusive, which has an infinity pool and more luxurious spa.

Things You Should Know About Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort

Address

  • Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Caribbean

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Hotel Features

Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Address: Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Caribbean
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