My husband and I stayed at the Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas for our anniversary and loved the service and hospitality that we knew we would be back to visit another Sandals destination. We have never been to Jamacia so we thought how wonderful it would be to stay at the original and newly renovated Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica. This is the resort that started it all. It is the true original Sandals flagship resort. It is one of three properties around Montego Bay, Jamaica. There is also the Sandals Royal Caribbean and the Sandals Carlyle.
Read about our stay at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas HERE
Once we landed at Sangster International Airport, got through customs and picked up our checked luggage (this was one busy airport) we were greeted by the Sandals team and whisked away in a private, comfortable lounge while we waited (literally 3 minutes) for our transfer to the resort. The lounge has comfortable sofas and chairs where you can sit and relax after your flight while enjoying a refreshing drink and snacks. After lounging for three minutes, unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to enjoy it but we were eager to head to the resort which was less than a ten-minute drive from the airport.
Tip: the proximity to the airport is awesome which means a short drive but some may see this as an issue. There will be a bit of runway noise at the resort as well as airplanes taking off. It didn’t bother me at all but wanted to make sure you are aware.
When we arrived at Sandals Montego Bay we were greeted by the friendly staff who “welcomed us home”. Nothing says welcome home better than a nice rum punch. They made sure our luggage was ready for us in our room as we waited to meet our butler….yup, you heard right. During our stay, we had two wonderful butlers that took wonderful care of all of our needs.
Did you know that Sandals Resorts are all-inclusive? Your all-inclusive vacation includes the following:
- All Meals
- Premium Spirits
- Luxurious Accommodations
- Gourmet Dining
- Scuba Diving
- Roundtrip Airport Transfers
- All Drinks
- Tips and Gratuities
- Hotel Taxes
- Water Sports
- Exchange Privileges
Sandals Montego Bay has three room categories:
- Luxury Level
- Club Level
- Butler Level
We stayed in the Beachfront One-Bedroom Butler Suite with a tranquillity Soaking Tub. We were super excited when we saw our room hasa tranquillity soaking tub for two on our own private balcony overlooking the beach – I don’t think it gets any better than that. Our spacious room featured a king-size bed with a separate living room that had a fully-stocked bar, two smart TV’s and an iPod docking station. Our bathroom had an amazing dual control, overhead rain shower and a double sink. Let’s talk about the views!! Overlooking the beautiful beach and our own pool right below our room. Really, there was no need to leave the room!
The Butler Service really is a nice touch that made our stay even more memorable. There was nothing that we asked for that our Butlers couldn’t help us with. Their motto is “no problem”! There are no problems in Jamaica, only situations. We loved waking up in the morning and not having to run to reserve beach chairs (don’t you hate that!). The night before we let our Butler know if we would be lounging by the pool or beach and he would ensure that our loungers we set for us the next morning along with a cooler full of our favorite beverages. We had a cell phone to contact our butler if we needed anything but we never had to use the phone as we were often checked up on to make sure we had everything we needed.
TIP: Although there is no tipping at Sandals, only the Butlers and spa personnel can accept tips. Please make sure to show your Butlers your appreciation for their service.
Dining at Sandals Montego Bay
There are 9 tantalizing restaurants that offer delicious menu items. The biggest challenge was deciding where to go for dinner as we wanted to try them all. The service is impeccable and all the meals were prepared to perfection. Each of the restaurants features its own chef dedicated to every detail. They have a wonderful selection of renowned Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks Wines and of course the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Like it wasn’t stressful enough trying to decide where to eat with 9 restaurants at the Sandals Montego Bay, we also had the option to dine at one of the other 11 restaurants located at the Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Inn. Would you agree that the food of a resort makes or breaks your vacation? Well, you are not going to eat a bad meal here. There is something for everyone.
There are so many wonderful restaurants to choose from or you can simply choose to order room service and stay in and enjoy the wonderful views. Our butler arranged for us to enjoy our breakfast on our balcony. It was the perfect way to start the day.
The Oleander restaurant is set in a colonial, plantation-style setting that seats up to 42 guests and overlooks the beautiful waterscape. We had the most unique Jamaican dishes. My lobster dish was so delicious. We really didn’t have room for dessert but how can you pass up pineapple upside down cake with rum sauce!
TIP: Review the dining options before your arrival and make reservations when you arrive as it can get busy during peak season
If you love stir fry then you are going to love Tokyo Joe’s. You will have your pan-Asian style cuisine prepared right before your eyes. It is a popular restaurant and I can see why. You will get to create your own Signature entrée from the Wok Station from a selection of the freshest ingredients available, with your choice of side orders of Vegetable Fried Rice, Steamed White Rice, Egg Noodles, Asian Sauce & Spices. Not only is the food delicious but it is fascinating watching the chefs prepare our meal.
The Mariner is the perfect place to meet up for a grilled lunch, pizza, a midday snack or pre-dinner nibble. It is located just off the beach makig it a great location for a quick bite.
Cafe de Paris
This is where you could find me like clockwork every morning and afternoon for the most amazing blue mountain coffee. This Parisian-style patisserie always had fresh pastries, crepes, ice cream and of course coffee and tea. We loved to grab an afternoon coffee and treat and enjoy it on the patio outside of the cafe. I’m a coffee snob and we absolutely loved the coffee.
There was a beach party on one of the nights we were there and they brought out all kinds of food, beverages, entertainment, and fun for everyone to enjoy. There was some fun entertainment that made this a fun night.
Private Beach Dining
What a perfect way to celebrate a special occasion than to dine on the beach.
Sandals Montego Bay has four amazing pools and four whirlpools. One of the pools was literally below our room and we were steps away from the main pool. There is something for everyone at Sandals Montego Bay. All the water and land sports are included in your vacation. You can go swimming, sailing, snorkeling or enjoy the beach or the pool. Decisions, decisions. If keeping fit is important to you while on vacation then you will surely want to visit the state-of-the-art fitness center…or hit the court for a game of tennis. You truly can do it all, because it’s all included. For those who want to do absolutely nothing ……… they’ve got that, too. Do as little or as much as you want.
Water activities (and all included) at Montego Bay:
- 4 Pools, 4 Whirlpools
- 1 Swim-up Pool Bar
- Paddle Boarding
- Scuba Diving
- Hobie Cats
On land you’ll find:
- Table Tennis
- Day/Night Tennis
- Xbox One Experience
- Fitness Center
- Board Games
- Beach Volleyball
Sandals features Island Routes for off-resort excursions. There are so many great off-resort excursions giving you the opportunity to get off the resort and take in all that Montego Bay has to offer. Some of your choices include:
Visiting Dunn’s River Falls
Taking an off-road 4×4 safari
Swimming with the dolphins
Segwaying around an estate
Taking a reggae cruise on one of those cool resort catamarans
We decided to try the Bamboo River Rafting in the jade-green waters of the Martha Brae River located in the parish of Trelawny (the birthplace of sprinter Usain Bolt). I would highly recommend this excursion. It is so serene and tranquil gliding down the river. Be sure to bring some cash! You may want to purchase some souvenirs before you embark on your river tour. When you reach the end there will be a jerk chicken restaurant that has the best jerk chicken ever. We bought some jerk chicken for the ride back to the reosrt…..well, it never made it back. We had the entire bus craving our chicken.
Packing tips for Sandals Montego Bay
We spent most of our time in a swimsuit and flip flops but you may want to pack a few more items especially if you want to dine in the fancier restaurants.
- beach coverup
- long pants for men for dinner
- casual dress shirt for men
- dress shoes (for the fancier restaurants)
- hat (the sun is intense)
- bug repellent (although I did not need it
- shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, and moisturizer are all provided in the room
The restaurants at the resort are casual except the Oleander where you will need to dress up. Dress pants or Jeans (you don’t need your three-piece suit) and long or short sleeve shirts are fine for men. Dress shoes or nice shoes (you wouldn’t wear your flip-flops to a fancy restaurant).
We absolutely loved our stay at Sandals Montego Bay that I wish we had a longer stay. We were really sad to leave but know that we will be returning one day. There are a lot more Sandals Resorts to explore on the island, right! We loved the Sandals Jamaica.
Thank you Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica for a memorable stay. You truly make your guests feel right at home.