Located just north of Montego Bay’s tourist district, the all-inclusive SeaGarden Beach Resort is convenient to the island’s international airport and many restaurants, shops, and attractions. This three-and-a-half-pearl hotel offers a solid list of amenities including a clean, private beach, a well-maintained pool, three restaurants, and a wine bar. Each of its 140 rooms features colonial Caribbean decor with amenities such as free Wi-Fi and mini-fridges -- many rooms have private balconies, some of which include ocean views. Keep in mind that the street separating the beach from the hotel can be noisy and may be an issue for some, and the classic style won't be everyone's cup of tea. For a value alternative with similar amenities, check rates at the nearby Royal Decameron Montego Beach Resort.
Relaxed, upper-middle-range beachfront resort with colonial Caribbean charm
Unlike many of the area’s soulless all-inclusives, the SeaGarden Beach Resort has a style that's colonial Caribbean, calling to mind 19th-century island homes and hotels. Arched doorways, mosaic-tile flooring, ornate oak furniture, and crystal chandeliers all provide a healthy dose of Old-World charm. Of course, one of the downfalls of this style is that some areas -- like the piano bar and after hours lounge -- fall stylistically short of charming and instead just look old. While the property offers five restaurants, a pool, a wine bar, and a private beach, its limited size (just 140 rooms) means that it feels more intimate than expected. Children are allowed on the property, and dedicated childcare services are also available. However, the mostly elegant design and relaxed vibe seem geared more toward adults and couples -- there hotel even has a night club and the piano bar for late-night entertainment.
On the edge of Montego Bay’s tourist district, minutes from the airport and many attractions
Situated on the northern edge of downtown Montego Bay, the hotel is a five-minute drive to many restaurants, shops, beaches, and other tourist attractions. The popular Aqua Sol Theme Park and Doctors Cave Beach are likewise only five minutes away by car. Other local sights include the Rose Hall Great House, which is about a 10-minute drive from the hotel. The street that runs between the hotel’s buildings and the beach receives moderate traffic when compared to other parts of busy Montego Bay, but the stream of motorbikes and trucks may prove too noisy for some.
Sangster International Airport is less than five minutes away by car. The hotel provides an airport shuttle, and taxi and private shuttle service are readily available in Montego Bay with affordable fares on par with other islands in the Caribbean.
Charming rooms with modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges
Like many of the hotel’s common areas, most rooms feature colonial Caribbean decor with subtle modern accents. Bright walls, light tile flooring or dark carpets, striped linens, and ornate headboards are typical. Additional accents include lots of carved wood and a generally neutral color palette accented by deep greens, reds, and yellows. While some rooms look charmingly Old World, others show a slightly less-thorough attention to detail, like the spartan Garden View Room that we visited, where the pale yellow walls are largely empty and white furniture does little to create much in the way of ambience.
The hotel offers only two room categories, however, there are wide variations in size and floor plans. Entry-level Garden View Rooms in the Annex Block are the smallest on the property, bordering on cramped. In general, however, Garden View rooms are spacious, with a one-room floor plan that’s slightly larger than a typical mid-range hotel. Upgraded Deluxe Poolview Rooms provide additional floor space, plus a private outdoor balcony with views of the mountains and the hotel courtyard. The property’s flagship Deluxe Oceanview Rooms offer a similar layout with a balcony that overlooks the ocean. While the water views are lovely and mostly unobstructed (especially on the upper floors), the street that separates the beach from the hotel buildings detracts from the experience.
The list of modern amenities in all categories is virtually identical. Mini-fridges, bottled water, and flat-screen TVs with cable are all standard. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, and we found the Internet service to be fast and reliable. Beds are also well-reviewed as plush and comfortable.
In all categories, bathrooms are similar in size and appointments. Walls and floors are awash in tile (sometimes mismatched) while pedestal sinks and marble shower basins in some rooms add a whiff of sophistication. Fixtures are functional, but dated, with clear signs of wear and salt corrosion. The overall aesthetic -- color schemes, patterns, and materials -- in each bathroom feels more dated than in each of the sleeping areas. Basic shower/tub combinations and generic bath products are all standard.
A private beach, clean pool, three full restaurants, and a wine bar
Even though it’s a relatively small resort, SeaGarden Beach Resort offers a surprising list of amenities. Among its most notable are a clean, private beach with calm waters, a well-maintained pool, and three full-service restaurants. A separate wine bar and a piano lounge add additional, adult-centric entertainment options. However, the lack of a spa is surprising compared to other three-and-a-half-pearl hotels in the area.
All meals, drinks, and snacks are part of the hotel's all-inclusive rates and Wi-Fi is free as well. The hotel hosts various entertainment during the week and can assist in booking excursions. Childcare can also be arranged.
Small, private beach with crystal clear, swimmable water
The hotel’s beach is small but clean and private. Situated below rows of palm trees, dozens of cushioned wood lounge chairs provide plenty of shaded relaxation space, though we'd like to see a fresh coat of paint on some of the chairs. Two jetties -- one at either end of the beach -- form a horseshoe around the wading area to ensure the water is consistently calm and swimmable. Unfortunately, guests must cross a moderately trafficked street that divides the property to reach the beach. A small outdoor theater at one end of the beach also provides a venue for live music on select nights.
Clean, well-maintained pool with a kiddy area and a snack shack
The hotel’s only pool is situated in a courtyard surrounded by its Poolview Rooms. The pool and deck are both clean and well-maintained. A stone fountain and wall divide the water into two spaces -- one for all guests and a shallower area for children. Dozens of plastic lounge chairs provide plenty of seating, but the small number of umbrellas limits the amount of shade throughout the day. While there is no poolside drink service, the nearby snack shack offers a full menu of wine, beer, and liquor.
Three full-service restaurants and two snack shacks
Three full restaurants collectively provide all-day dining options. The hotel’s main Jasmine restaurant is a casual space with a buffet menu of authentic, Jamaican-style food. Like most of the hotel’s common areas, the decor is colonial, with creamy tile flooring, crisp white table linens, and dark wood throughout. The Naseberry Grill provides alfresco dining in a bright, lovely space overlooking an outdoor terrace and garden area. The Chatham is the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, adorned with white leather seating, stone walls, and modern accents. The layout is curious, however, with only a dozen tables in a single-file line along a gently curved corridor. While upscale and romantic, it feels similar to dining in a fancy hallway. The adults-only policy ensures the atmosphere is quiet, elegant, and reserved.
For a small property, the resort surprisingly provides three distinct spaces for adult-centric entertainment. A piano lounge situated above the lobby offers live music on select weeknights. The space is among the property’s most dated, however. Bold red carpeting and black lacquer furniture -- both of which feel original to the hotel’s grand opening -- are reminiscent of '80s-era nightclubs.
Adjacent to The Chatham restaurant, a tiny wine bar provides bar and lounge seating for just twelve guests. The simple menu features a variety of international wines along with simple tapas and appetizers.
After both of these close, an after-hours lounge near the pool hosts DJ sets and live music acts. The dated decor is similar to the piano lounge and opening hours are dictated by the season and the hotel’s occupancy.
The on-site fitness center is clean but basic. Each of the strength- and cardio-training machines is in good working order. However, they fall short of “modern.” A stack of free weights and a yoga ball provide additional workout opportunities.
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