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Sandals Royal Plantation
Ranked #2 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 April 2015

Let me start by saying, if you are looking for a week full of 20 something, party all night long resorts this is not it. If you are looking for a truly peaceful, relaxing, want for nothing experience, Sandals Royal Plantation is the only place that you need to look. From the moment that we arrived at the airport and were whisked away to the Sandals Lounge, to the moment we departed the resort we were in total bliss.

While traveling to Sandals Royal Plantation from the airport our driver stopped at a local roadside Jerk Stand, and that was some of the best Jerk Chicken I have ever had. Do not think about US standards of food safety...because you probably would not eat there. It had some of the most amazing views and a very friendly bartender/server/cook. Washed down my Jerk Chicken with a cold Red Stripe, and hopped in the car and on our way we went. Along the drive to the resort our driver kept receiving phone calls from the resort asking about our ETA, because when we arrived they want to make sure you are completely taken care of as soon as your feet hit the grounds of the resort.

When we arrived we were greeted with cool towels to clean our hands and a glass of champagne. Check in was simply, they had us wait in the lobby so our 1st Butler could meet us and take us on a tour of the property and give us our cell phone that was a direct link to both of our butlers that would be assisting us in our stay. Chadworth our main butler greeted us with a warm and friendly smile and took us around and escorted us down to the Royal Grill, I will talk about this restaurant shortly. We ate lunch and then Chadworth called to tell us our room was ready.

We stayed in room 310 on the East Wing, when you hear East Wing you automatically think this place must be huge... but remember it only has 75 rooms so you are very close to everything. This is on the 3rd floor, but if you need an elevator...they do not have one. The room was nicely appointed just like you see in the pictures. I have read reviews that state that they are in need of a remodel/ update, not true, the furnishings and the bathrooms were all very clean and up to date. The bathroom had tropical looking tile that could be taken as old looking but if your are focusing on the room... then you have spent way to much time in there and not enough time on the pristine, lush tropical grounds. I only judge a room on how comfy the bed is, which it was very comfy, the cleanliness of the room and are the furnishing and decor up to date and all of the boxes were checked off here as well.

Many people talk about the lack of chairs on the beach, or you have to get up early to get the best seat. This is accurate to a certain extent, there are plenty of chairs but the best ones with a cabana or shade are taken before the sun even rises. This is not a problem for us because my husband is an early riser. The beaches (2) the east and west beach are small, but with only 75 rooms how much beach front do you need. The beaches are combed every morning and afternoon and the sand is soft and clean. While on the beach you are going to meet 2 of the greatest people in the world, Cleon and Adrian. They are your Beach Butlers who will provide you with endless laughter and do not forget your endless supply of drinks. They will mist you down with rose water when the day begins to warm you and chat you up when the libations take there toll. You want fresh vanilla ice cream and warm apple pie, they will get it. These 2 guys are so passionate about there job and it truly shows. We miss you guys already. I can't forget to mention the lifeguards/water activities guys, especially Jermaine, I asked if they had rafts so I could just go float in the ocean and he said no, but no is not a word that you hear around there. He told me to wait a minute and he would be right back, he went and got his own personal float and gave it to me and made sure it was there the rest of the week for me too. Have I said how much they love their jobs and the people they meet.

The food was outstanding. From our first lunch at the Royal Grill to our last breakfast on the terrace it was amazing, not your typical resort style all inclusive food. Everything that people said about the Coconut Shrimp at the Royal Grill was spot on, on the last day my husband ordered a double order. The Lobster BLT was not all that it cracked up to be, that was really the only let down there. We also dined at Le Papillon, make your reservations as soon as you get to the resort because it fills up fast, actually go ahead and make reservations for two nights, you will not regret it. The food here was excellent. The Terrace is where you will dine the most, the menu changes every night. On Friday they had Jamaican night which was out of this world, try everything, they prepared many authentic local dishes and grilled fresh lobster. The Terrace for breakfast was a bountiful display of every breakfast dish you could think of or you can order off the menu. But make sure you try the Ackee and Saltfish, I was skeptical about it, but I am so glad I did. We left the resort one night and tried the Japanese Steak house, just don't go there. It was aweful the worst service and lackluster food. We saw how the other half "lived" the guests were known by numbers and not names. They had to travel around the resort in shuttles it is so large. Just stay on property!

Now back to our Butlers, Chadworth and Jeramine. Chadworth was our primary butler and helped with so many things. He made sure everything we needed was taken care of, from our dinner reservations to decorating the room and drawing a hot bath with hibiscus flowers. One night he even created my husband and myself lounging in the bed by using towels and our robes, he even put our sunglasses and hats on them. I must say this actually scared the crap out of me, I thought for a brief moment that our key had worked in someone else's door... He was outstanding. I had an allergic reaction to my sun screen one day and I called Jermaine to see if they had any Benedryl and the next thing I knew he had gone to the pharmacy across the street and bought some for me and brought it down to the beach. When I say you want for nothing and they are they for you night and day, I mean it! These guys will be who we ask for the next time we go, which will be next year.

When it was time to depart we were actually very sad, the whole staff was there to say goodbye. We actually made an offer to our friends to escort our son over to Jamaica so we never had to leave, we had several takers of course.

One last note, Ferry the General Managers is one of the nicest and passionate persons I have ever met. You can tell he cares about his staff and his guests. It was a pleasure talking to him on many occasions, he was always out talking to his guests and his staff. His staff are truly happy and shows what type of leader he truly is. Make sure to take the time to talk to the staff, they have some great stories of real life in Jamaica. Seek out Sean he is like the resorts Rock Star grounds keeper, what a great guy!

Thanks for everything
The Matthews
See you next year!

Room Tip: The east wing is tucked away behind tropical trees, so you have amazing views of the lush plantation...
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  • Stayed: March 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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6  Thank Candace M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 April 2015

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.

Room Tip: The end rooms have opening windows that face the ocean as well as the French doors. I think all the...
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  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank kippster1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this reviewResponded 22 April 2015

Thank you for your review of Sandals Royal Plantation!
We are thrilled that you had a wonderful stay with us and we certainly appreciate you sharing your insights with not only us but with the other members which I'm sure they found beneficial as well. I will be sure to share your suggestions with our Management team for further review as we are always exploring ways to make our guests' experiences even better.
We look forward to welcoming you back one day for another incredible vacation!

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Reviewed 20 April 2015 via mobile

This is an amazing place. So beautiful and peaceful. All the rooms are butler suites. Kenroy our butler was so fabulous. He made out trip excellent. Had everything planned for is. He also had baths ready and decorated often! Thanks for a great honeymoon Kenroy.

Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Lauralovestrinity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this reviewResponded 20 April 2015

Hello Laura,
Thank you so much for your wonderful review! We were delighted that your honeymoon at Sandals Royal Plantation was everything you had hope it would be and that you returned home with such happy memories. We always want to make such special occasions as perfect as possible and it's fantastic to hear that our staff member made certain that it was during your time with us. We look forward to creating another memorable experience for you on your next trip to paradise!

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Reviewed 20 April 2015

Royal Plantation is a very nice, upscale all-inclusive resort, with only 75 rooms so it is much more boutique than what you might picture as a Caribbean all-inclusive resort. There's not wild dance parties and beach volleyball or ice luges, so if you're looking for a hardcore party spot, you're better off at another place. However, if you are looking for gourmet-level food and an incredible beach, then Sandals Royal Plantation is a good choice. We are pretty picky about our food and find this to be very good. The French restaurant, Le Papillon, is particularly nice. Note to American travelers - they serve at a pace similar to a nice European restaurant, so be prepared for a 2-hour meal.

We also really enjoy the beach and water sports. The twice-daily snorkel tour is excellent. They take you to a couple of different coral reefs that are about a half mile offshore. If you are an active person and will do a lot of water sports, you will probably prefer the East Beach because that is where the snorkel tours, Hobie Cats, paddleboards, and kayaks are. The other beach is more to just chill and/or drink heavily because the bar is right there.

The golf course is a legitimate course that most golfers will enjoy. My wife and I are are 14 and 20 handicappers, respectively, and we found the course to be nice and very playable. We played 3 separate days. If you plan to play multiple days, you can pay in advance. For example, we paid $105 each for 3 days of golf carts & caddie. Then we tipped the caddie $40 each day. Still way cheaper than paying for a championship course in the Caribbean.

The gym is a bit outdated but if you want to grab a quick half hour on a treadmill and/or do a bit of lifting, it's not bad. The RP staff told us they plan to update it in the next year. That will be good. My wife really enjoyed the free yoga classes down on the doc, taught by a really cool Rastafarian guy.

One of the nice perks of RP is that you can venture over to the Grande Riviera next door to use their giant pools (with swim up bars) and restaurants. We thought the restaurants at RP are much better than those at GR but it's good for a change of pace. We had a good experience at the Manor restaurant one night and then tried it again on a Saturday night and it wasn't as good (kind of a zoo that night). The new speakeasy bar called "The RabbitHole" is very cool.

Room Tip: Don't pay for the wifi. Just accept the free option.
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  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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    • Service
3  Thank Boston_BC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this reviewResponded 22 April 2015

Hello and thank you for your review!
It's truly great to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us and that we were able earned your stamp of approval with our delicious fine dining options. It seems that you got to totally unwind and have a bit of fun at our properties which is exactly the kind of excellent feedback we love to receive.
We look forward to welcoming you back again for another fabulous Caribbean getaway!

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Reviewed 19 April 2015

We just returned from a five night stay at RP!I It is a "Slice of Heaven", what and amazing resort! Its peaceful, beautiful, clean and so much more! Every employee, no matter what there job is. are polite, helpful and smiling!!! We both agree that the food is outstanding, with a big variety, my husband can be critical. We did a few outside excursions horseback riding, bobsled, tram ride and zip lined!! Meanwhile, back at the resort there is plenty to do, if you want to! Both beaches are small, we were fine with that. There are also two piers where there are beach chairs set up. We never found them crowded, you could always find a chair. People do save chairs, but its not as bad as some people make it out to be. :)))! We snorkeled, not to many fish but it was fun! Paddle boarded and kayaked! We did visit Sandals Grande next door, it is a totally different atmosphere. This was our first all inclusive, Sandals defiantly fit the bill!!! Please feel free to ask any question's!!

Room Tip: As said before, all rooms face the ocean. There are several trees on the East wing that would block...
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  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank Natalie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Plantation, responded to this reviewResponded 23 April 2015

What an amazing review, Natalie!
It sounds like you had quite an adventure in Jamaica and we could not be happier to hear how much you enjoyed your visit at Sandals Royal Plantation. We are so pleased that our staff made your very first All-Inclusive experience a spectacular one and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future for another "Slice of Heaven"!

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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Plantation

Address: Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#2 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $771 - $2,275 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Plantation 5*
Number of rooms: 74
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 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Plantation Hotel Ocho Rios
Royal Plantation Ocho Rios
Royal Plantation Jamaica

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