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Sandals Montego Bay 4.5

Montego Bay, Jamaica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Couples-only property with tons of amenities and activities
  • On a long sandy beach with free loungers and umbrellas
  • Easy drive from airport (10 minutes) and cruise port (30 minutes)
  • Sleek, modern rooms with large flat-screen TVs, minibars, and hairdryers
  • Some units have butler service, terrace hot tubs, and living spaces
  • Serene spa with free facilities and well-equipped fitness center
  • Quality buffet and several excellent specialty restaurants
  • Several pools and whirlpools overlooking the ocean
  • Multiple bars, including a swim-up option
  • Free access to two other Montego Bay Sandals properties
  • Daily activities and entertainment, plus free water sports
  • Free Wi-FI and shuttle to the airport

Cons

  • Proximity to airport creates a lot of noise
  • Room decor varies between classic and modern
  • Lower-category rooms only have shower/tub combos or showers
  • Room service only free for upgraded rooms
  • Ongoing construction until late 2019

Bottom Line

The luxurious Sandals Montego Bay is a solid beachfront all-inclusive option for couples who don't want to travel far from the airport or cruise port. The 1981-opened hotel is mostly modern thanks to renovations in 2018, but some of the 264 rooms still have colonial-style decor. Additionally, some only have shower/tub combos or walk-in showers. All, however, come with outdoor spaces, minibars with wine and beer, and king-size beds. Plenty of activities and dining options are on-site, including specialty Italian and Japanese restaurants, ocean-view pools and whirlpools, a full-service spa with free-to-use sauna and steam room, unlimited non-motorized water sports, and daily entertainment. On the downside, planes from the nearby airport can be noisy and bothersome, and room service is only free for butler-level units. For those willing to travel farther, Sandals Negril has a more impressive setting.

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Scene

Couples- and adults-only resort near the airport

After driving through the towering arches that welcome guests to Sandals Montego Bay, the spacious, open-air lobby is easy to find. Renovations completed in 2018 brought a fresh, airy style to the lobby, as well as most rooms and some public areas. Replacing colonial-style decor -- think lots of mahogany, patterned linens, and earth-tone hues -- with modern furnishings and a beachy palette heavy on blues, whites, and natural textures, the design is breezy and contemporary. Taking a page from W Hotels, the lobby is called the Living Room, and the casual space offers small bands at night, an ocean-view bar and expansive terrace, and access to indoor restaurants. An upbeat vibe, and events such as weekly foam parties, draw younger couples, though the majority are travelers who don't want to travel far from the nearby airport and cruise port. One notable downside of the location, however, is the consistent noise of planes flying overhead during the day, as well as ongoing construction until late 2019. 

Travelers wanting the all-inclusive amenities of a Sandals property will likely be happy here, but Sandals Negril offers a more subdued atmosphere and better beach. In Montego Bay, meanwhile, Sandals Royal Caribbean attracts an older crowd with its British-Colonial design and 15 overwater bungalows (which get booked far in advance). Round Hill is another great luxury option, but the presence of kids may be a deterrent for some. 

Location

Close to the airport, tucked between several other resorts

Just a 10-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. The Montego Bay Cruise Port is a 30-minute drive. 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, the Hip Strip with a variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs, and plenty of local golf courses to suit any skill level.

Rooms

Mostly modern rooms with king-size beds, terraces, and coffeemakers

Sandals Montego Bay has a whopping 27 room categories to choose from, ranging from the entry-level and underwhelming Caribbean Deluxe Rooms all the way up to Beachfront Swim-up Honeymoon One-Bedroom Butler Suites w/ Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub. Most rooms have a modern design with neutral hues and pops of blue, but several still have a colonial-style design with dark mahogany wood, earth tones, and old-fashioned artwork. They're well-maintained and attractive, and all but the Caribbean Rooms have whirlpool tubs on their terraces. On the downside, those lower-category units only have shower/tub combos or walk-in showers, instead of the separate showers and tubs that are typical for a hotel of this caliber.

Standard amenities consist of king-size beds, air-conditioning, minibars stocked with water, soda, beer, and Robert Mondavi wine, coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi, ironing facilities, and flat-screen cable TVs. Marble bathrooms have hairdryers and quality toiletries. 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, free room service during select hours, and in-room bars, Butler-level suites have free 24-hour room service and the best views.

Food

Ample tasty dining options

There are nine high-quality restaurants here, all of which are covered under the all-inclusive package. Bayside is the all-day eatery that serves buffet-style breakfast and lunch, and a la carte dinner. It has indoor and outdoor seating, and extensive, well-reviewed fare. Standout specialty restaurants include the Italian Cucina Romana, Jamaican eatery Oleander, and Tokyo Jo's serving Asian fare. A French patisserie and beach grill are also popular. Reservations are required for Oleander and Cucina Romana. Four bars include a swim-up and piano spot, and the pub-style Cricketer's Pint. Unlimited dining and premium spirits are included, as well as Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wine and Jamaican Blue Coffee.

Room service is only free for certain accommodations.

Travelers also get free transportation to Sandals Inn and Sandals Royal Caribbean to dine at their restaurants.

Features

Dozens of activities and amenities

The resort itself is enormous, with six pools, three whirlpools, and a long stretch of beach. Although the beach and water aren't as impressive as those found in Negril, it's still lovely and lined with free loungers and umbrellas. Cabanas require a fee on the beach, but they're free around the pool. A wide variety of water and land sports are available, including snorkeling, sailing, waterskiing, paddleboarding, beach volleyball, tennis, croquet, and billiards. Scuba lessons are offered, and divers that are already certified can dive unlimited for free. The Red Lane Spa provides a large assortment of treatments, and guests can also have their massages on the beach. Saunas and steam rooms are free to use. A modern fitness center has a good array of equipment and free classes.

A stage and entertainment area host a variety of events, including talent shows, live music, cocktail parties, and theme nights. The wedding lounge can help guests plan their special day or anniversary events, and there is a chapel on-site, as well as several gazebos and ceremony sites to choose from. Additionally, the resort offers laundry and dry cleaning services, photographers, gift shops, and money exchanges. Guests who wish to visit the restaurants, bars, or activities at the nearby sister resorts, Sandals Inn and Sandals Royal Caribbean, can do so for free. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.

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Address

Montego Bay, Kent Avenue, Montego Bay 100, Caribbean

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