We recentaly visited the Royal Plantation for a 5 night stay in April, 2015. You absolutely can not go wrong by staying here. I'll break down the visit and mention what we found exceptional and worthwhile.
We decided to use Club Mobay at the airport in Montego Bay. It was so helpful. We arrived on a Friday and the lines for immigration were long. The representative from Club Mobay met us as we de-planed and made sure our immigration forms were completed properly. This is important and can result in delays if not done properly! They escorted us through a private immigration and customs line which took us, literally, less than a minute! We were given the option to go to Sandals lounge or Club Mobay in the airport. We went to the Sandals lounge for a quick change before the van ride. Club Mobay is especially worthwhile when departing. I would advise you to look into it as it is a great angst reducer!
We were taken by mini-van to Sandals Royal Plantation. We were the only couple on the bus and it was a very nice 90 minute ride. We picked the driver's mind for suggestions in Jamaica. You should tip these drivers as they are not Sandals employees.
We were met at the resort immediately and given champagne and cold towels. We were introduced to our Butler, Hector, and escorted to our room, #161. This was an end room on the first level on the West end of the resort. I loved the location. The view was great and we also had end-unit windows (which opened) which allowed us to have two vantage points to the ocean. It doesn't matter how high you are....the views of the blue and aqua Caribbean are fantastic.
The rooms are lovely. It is true that they are somewhat dated and in some need of renovation, but they are clean, decorated nicely and the French doors that open to the Caribbean are very unique and special. We had a bathroom that had a seperate whirlpool tub and shower. It still felt slightly cramped and the single vanity would be better served with more counter space. A double vanity would be even nicer! Still, the rooms and views are very comfortable and welcoming.
Our butlers, Hector and Olivia, were fantastic! You contact them with a cell phone they provide. They arrange your dinner reservations and any other excurions, spa appts, snorkeling trips, etc. They are always trying their best to provide you with anything you may need to make your vacation better. Although tipping is not required, most folks we talked to do, indeed, tip their butlers at the end of the stay. We tipped 15 dollars a day, but that's up to you.
The pool is very small, but uniquely situated on an upper level from the beach. Most people at this resort use the beaches, not the pool. If you're a pool person, this is probably not the resort for you. Still, the pool area has some neat tucked-away spaces to listen to music or read a book in relative privacy while still having a great view of the beach and ocean. The grounds are immaculate and very lush and tropical. Very well maintained. The two beaches are not endless, but they are very clean and the water was warm and great to hang out in. We had no problem with umbrellas, but if you head to the beach at 11 am, you'll probably be stuck without one. Even so, there are numerous other shady places to hang out in or there are plenty of lounge chairs in the sun. The beach butlers bring you drinks, water, cucumbers for your eyes and appetizers! So nice!
The food...fantastic. Papillon...stellar. We're not foodies, but we're close. And we were very happy with all of our meals. Our friends are cooking freaks and they loved the food. We ventured to the Grande Riviera and tried out Kelly's Dockside on our last night. It was also excellent. The one criticism is the house wine....it is supposedly Beringer, but I didn't find any of the house wine very good. That was kind of a downer for me as I really enjoy good wine. I didn't feel that I should have to pay extra for good wine as the Royal Plantation is not cheap!
Excursions and Extras. We did enjoy a couples massage in a hidden spot overlooking the ocean. It was fantastic! I'm not much of a massage guy but this was in a great location and my wife loved it. I highly recommend people go to the Blue Hole. This is not an excursion that Sandals sponsors, but your butlers will set you up with transportation if you decide to go. (about 100 bucks for a vanload). The Blue Hole is a cool, limestone, waterfall formation with several pools that you can venture into and explore. There are guides that take you around for about 10 bucks! It is not commercialized yet, but it will be as it is beautiful, exciting and great fun. You can't do it if you can't ambulate well. There are plenty of opportunities to dive or jump from various heights (5 feet to 30 feet!). Kudos to Mike, our guide, who was fantastic and helpful in deciding what was safe for us.
All in all, a great vacation. We're in our early 50's and we loved the Royal Plantation. The Grande Riviera next door is a much more festive and boisterous atmosphere and we did venture over there once or twice, but it was very nice to come back. You have to take the shuttle over to the GR or wade through the knee high ocean to get there, but it's easy if you want to go.
Sorry so long, but I hope this is helpful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •All suite resort and all are serviced by butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers•2 private beaches with beach butler service•The Caribbean’s only Champagne and Caviar Bar•Exquisite International, Mediterranean, Caribbean and French cuisine•24 hour in suite dining•Complimentary transfers from this resort to all Sandals Resorts•Voted Sandals Resorts “World Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Five Star Diamond Award - American Academy of Hospitality Sciences ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Royal Plantation Hotel Ocho Rios
- Royal Plantation Ocho Rios
- Royal Plantation Jamaica