More about Secrets St James
still needs the kinks ironed out
we were missing a phone, asked several times but never received one. we had to have maintenance fix our air. Tv's were out an entire day. cant use sink and shower at same time. Bad odor in shower area, poor room service. Left huge flood on floor in bathroom that would not dry. Management was ALWAYS in a meeting and never got to speak with anyone.
Secrets St james Good times
This Is my first review of a hotel bear with me. My wife ant I arrived 5/2 and left 5/6. the transfer to the hotel was easy thanks the Clives Transportation. Arrival at the resort was Ok the porters were helpful. If you are preferred club the check in is a walk from where the drivers let you out. The check in was SLOW there were two agents working but only One was able to assign your room. So you sat with one agent who talked about what the property had to offer, then you moved over to the other agent who actually checked you in, ran CC, gave keys ETC. The room was OK it was a PC jr suite but it did not have, a clock radio, tv remote, bottle opener, the safe did not work and the tv in the bed room did not work. A call to the operator had the items fixed in about a hour. The tv remote did not work and they never did fix the tv, which was no big deal as we did watch alot of tv anyway. The AC was OK also it did help to have the curtains closed to keep out the sun. The mini bar fridge was stocked daily but was not super cold. The two hot tubs in the room did not work. We did not call the operator on those as the pools were great. The resturants were good with a wide range of choices, the menues were the same at each for our stay. I do not know if they will change weekly or what. Breakfast was a buffet that was on par with anything we have seen at any high end resort. Selection was great. Note, none of the resturants have ceiling fans which made a big diffrence depending on where you sat.(outside/inside). Also the asian resturant has gerneral seating for service and the teppanyaki
style which requires reservations from the front desk. All the pool bars were great with prompt and friendly service, everyone really wanted you to have a good time. The night life as good at the piano bar and disco. We went off property via the hotel shuttle to Margaritiville, one night, I do not recommend this as there was a cover charge plus you had to pay for drinks. The water sports group were great you could use the Hobie cats your self if you know how or have some one take you out for abour 1/2 an hour. We did the later and it was fun. We did not try the snorkling. The rainy season started according to the locals. The sun was best before noon /1 pm FYI The sun was STRONG use sunscreen allover (do not forget the tops of your feet). the rain does last longer than we were used to (We live in Orlando ) After the rain the nights were prefect , not humid at all. The grounds were still being landscaped so there were alot of wokers around FYI.The Promenade was still being worked on but the gift shop was open but did not have any paperbacks or magazines for sale.(beach reading) The wi fi worked after you got a code from the front desk, there was a computer in the lounge if needed. Overall you could do as much or as little as you wanted to enjoy your stay, overall the staff was friendly, rooms nice, drinks cold, food good and you did not have a care in the world.....
When we arrived at the Secrets resort - the moment we got off the bus we ran into a couple that said "get back on the bus, you're going to hate it here" - But seriously it was beautiful so we shrugged and walked in the lobby - we ran into another couple that said the ceiling collapsed - then another that said there is no air conditioning! At this point I could of gotten paranoid - but instead decided this was my honeymoon and I got a mimosa. We were reserved in the St. James Preferred Club, so an agent walked us over to the private lobby and got us another cocktail - within moments we were taken to the most beautiful room, cool air conditioning, clean - no fallen ceiling, Perfect with a large living room and a jacuzzi on the terrace overlooking the beautiful carribean.
I don't know what happened to those people, they were pretty rude to the staff (who don't own the place, just work there) we were very calm and I was going to be happy as long as I had a bed, bathroom & beach - we were aware that the resort was new and knew that there would be some imperfections due to it. We didn't get a newspaper and they didn't clean the room until 4pm daily, seriously other than that (which isn't a big deal) It was fantastic - in addition to getting a great discount due to the newness - in a year it's going to be perfect
The Staff is amazing, friendly, helpful and courteous - the restaurants are nice, the rooms are spacious and the pools are beautiful - they were great to us, brought us champagne, flowers - free massages - what more could you ask for?
I don't know about those other couples - but as a restaurant owner I know about people wanting something for nothing - and I even heard a rep offer the "ceiling falling in" complaint couple to refund the money and give them a free week in the future and the lady said "Can't you do any better than that?" which negated all their complaints to me.
Stay here, it's superb - understand it's new and not everything is perfect - but it's closer than many resorts that have been open much longer....
I can't wait to return
I would definitely spring for the preferred club, it made a difference for us for sure.
Not 5 Star
We travelled to Secrets for my birthday celebration, after being notified that the flight would be delayed 24 hours (due to the Icelandic dust cloud) before we left home, and appreciating that we would rather spend an extra day at home rather than Birmingham airport we left for the airport for our holiday.
On arrival at Secrets and waiting two hours to check in to my GUARANTEED free upgrade Preferred Club room, only to be told that there were no Preferred Club rooms available, I felt totally let down.
The check in process is at best chaotic in that there are no expected meet and greet staff to offer the extra touches such as cool towels or tray of drinks, however after standing around for 40 minutes someone pointed into a corner and said help yourself to a drink.
Our first room was a standard in the St James side of the hotel, in fact we were the first to occupy the room, being the first has its advantages i/e first to sleep in the very comfortable bed, first to use the very good Jacuzzi bath, first to notice there were items missing from the room hair dryer, towels, kettle, the TV had not been set up.. you get the picture (or not as the case may be). None of the niggles put a damper on the first impressions the room and view were excellent.
I was told by the check in guy to call back the following day regarding the upgrade, once again no joy but with any luck there would be something the following day....alas not the check in guy "Dwaine" was doing all he could to get me into a nice Preferred Club room, but thought there would be non available for the following day either.
I saw Dwaine the same evening and in answer to "Where have you been Mr Edwards" I said on the beach in the sea ecxetera, he said he had phoned my room and left me a message to tell me that he had found a fantastic Full Sea View Preferred Club room, however because I had not got back to him he had let the room go.... Guess what the other thing that the brand new room we were occupying that was faulty was the phone.
We eventually got into the GUARANTEED Preferred Club room on day 5 of our now 13 day holiday... But I would like to express my thanks to the afore mentioned Dwaine as he really did help and was a very good ambassador for the hotel.
I am sure that as the next few months pass great improvements will be made to the rooms.
On to things that will effect most people:-
I have been to true 5 star hotels such as The Excellence Riviera Cancun which is at least 2 stars higher than Secrets in Montego Bay, and have compared various aspect of Secrets with Excellence.
Check In 0 5
Room(Standard) 5 4
Room(Prefurred) 5 4
Service 3 5
Staff:- 4 5
Restaurants:- 2 5
Bars:- 3 5
Entertainment:- 5 3
Location:- 5 3
Value:- 3 4
The restaurants are so mediocre that for the first time we ordered room service for two lunches and two evening meals, they got the order wrong EVERY TIME.
Secrets does beet the pants off Excellence when it comes to location and entertainment, however I don't think I have encountered worse entertainment than that of the Excellence.
There are signs that Secrets is getting there as during our last two days new retail outlets and coffee bar facility were opened, but I would in the words of a manager “when we get fully operational you will see a large increase in prices.
I do not think we got value for money on our visit and even with the improvements that are planned I do not think we would get value for money when the prices go up.
All in all do not go there now, and if the prices go up think really hard about spending your cash at Secrets in Montego Bay.
We arrived on May 2nd at 10am in the morning and stayed on the Preferred Club St. James side. We were able to check in early so didn't have to wait too long to start our vacation. To summarize:
Room: Very contemporary yet not a lot of privacy if you aren't with your significant other. Yes, the shower leaks into the toilet area and is something maintenance needs to address. Our mini bar was filled every day. Maid service didn't arrive at the same time every day to clean our room though. The tub out on the balcony is a soaking tub only (no jacuzzi) and is not private.
Beach: Excellent snorkeling! There is a charge for the snorkeling boat, but you can see so much just snorkeling off of the beach. Go straight out to the rocks directly in front of the St. James (non-PC) block of rooms. You can kayak and sail for free too. I would suggest taking water shoes because the sand is course and a bit rocky in areas. Note that the beach is man-made and consists of small rock jetties - so it isn't one long stretch of beach to walk on. There are no vendors on the beach that we saw.
Restaurants: The Portifino and Bordeux restaurants were excellent! The Himitsu was really good as well. The Caribbean buffet night was just ok. Note that the restaurants are all located on the Wild Orchid side so it is a walk to get too if staying on the St. James side.
Tips: (1) Grab one of the photographers at sunset. They will do a photo session with you and the photo session is free of charge. You can purchase the pictures if you wish. (2) Bring bug spray (3) Check the "Sun Dial" placed in your room each night for the following day. There are daily and nightly activities including a movie on the beach. This was very nice one night plus they had waiter service during the movie for cocktails. The resort does offer a bike ride (free) into the city for shopping. This is something we wanted to do but never got around to doing it.
They are still doing work around the resort but it didn't disturb us in any way. Not sure if the extra money for the Perferred Club is really worth it though. In the end, we would recommend this resort and would consider staying again in the future.
Not what you would expect from a Secrets Resort.....
We arrived at the Secrets St. James Preferred Club on May 1, 2010. We took a taxi from the airport for $30.00 for 4 people. This was definitely the best way to get there. After arriving at 2:30 p.m. we were escorted to the check-in desk at the Preferred Club. Check-in was relatively easy, our rooms were not ready but we did not expect them to be since we arrived before 3:00. However, our rooms were ready within the hour. The rooms have amazing views of the ocean and pool areas. I would suggest that there is no reason to pay extra for the Preferred Club rooms, the views are great from all rooms. The Preferred Club rooms are suppose to come with upgraded minibar service (we had trouble just getting any minibar service), 24 hour concierge (everytime we needed anything from the conceirge service we were told to check with the main office of St James or the main office at Wild Orchid) 24 hour room service (non-existent). Restaurants close at 10:00 p.m. and room service stops at 11:00 p.m. So if you want anything between 11:00p.m. and 6:00 a.m. you are out of luck. I'm not sure if this is the case at the Wild Orchid side or not. I can only speak for what we were offered at the St. James Preferred side. Almost everyone we spoke with had problems with the shower leaking into the toilet area (not a big problem, but definitely something that needs to be fixed). The a/c does not really work as well as other resorts we have been to. If you do manage to get your room cool as soon as housekeeping comes in to clean they turn your air off. We did ask several times for the housekeeping staff to leave our a/c on but that never happened. Our biggest complaint with this hotel is that the St. James Preferred Club is the furtherest part of the hotel complex from any of the shops, bars or restaurants. This is really bad when it rains, however they do provide umbrellas in the room for your long journey to the restaurants. LOL. We did suggest that the resort offer golf cart transportation for the guests but at this time that is not available. Room service is also slow to this part of the resort, the first time we ordered it took almost 2 hours for our food to arrive. I will say that over our 8 day stay the room service delivery did get better. However, our secret room service box stayed full with dirty dishes. We had to call almost everytime to get the staff to clean it out because it started to smell. (This was the case with several couples we spoke with). The St James Preferred Club hot tub did not work the entire time we were there. (I know new resort.....still working out the kinks....and really who needs a hot tub when its 90 degrees outside. The spa was amazing...a little over priced but all in all definitley worth it. A couple of hiccups at the spa as well, some parts are not available as of yet. (The juice bar is non-existent and parts of the spa relaxation pool do not work, but I am sure as the resort gets up and going this will not be a problem). If I had it to do all over again I would not spend the extra money to stay in the Preferred Club and I definitley would stay on the Wild Orchid side since it is closer to all of the bars, entertainment, shops and restaurants. One last thing the beaches are amazing at both resorts and the pools are nice too. The service could be better but if you tip then the service is excellent. (Yes I said tip....I know all inclusive should mean "all inclusive" but not here my friend....tipping is expected.)
beautiful location and resort, terrible management
Checking was slow (about 45min). Room service sometimes rings the wrong food, sometimes the right food plus other people’s food. Room cleaning service has 2 shifts: Morning and evening. The evening service was always good. The morning service is unresponsive. Other resorts adjust their room cleaning schedule to accommodate yours. Here, they don’t even give you an estimate for when room cleaning will arrive so that you can adjust yours. The room has a motion sensor that should theoretically tell room service when you are no longer in the room so that they can come and clean it. The trouble is that the sensor is not hooked up to anything. The data is ignored. There is also a privacy light outside the door that you can control. The trouble is that the light bulb burns out if you leave it on all night. So room service comes in while you are indecent, even after you yell at them through the door to stay out. We did that and then they laughed. Funny for them but not funny for us.
Certain small details need to be worked out. For example, low tables with sharp corners really hurt when you bang your knee against them. Inside the room, there is no privacy between the bathroom area and the bedroom area. (Girls, you best be ready to an exhibitionist for your man 24/7 when you check into these rooms.) The balcony curtains are too close to the balcony sliding door. When you close the sliding door, you’ll catch the balcony curtain in the door and you’ll perforate it. Be careful…
This resort has potential. It’s brand new and they haven’t quite ironed out all the wrinkles. Certain operations suffer from a lack of performance metrics and appropriate controls that would otherwise result in consistently good service. As of the time of this writing, sometimes the service is good and sometimes it’s bad. It’s a beautiful brand new resort built on an awesome location. Too bad it’s not run as well as other more “mature” resorts.
Don't go here!
We went for our honeymoon. Although the room is beautiful stacks up. The property has immature landscape, so not so pretty. The phones didn't work most of the time, so no room service. The a/c was miswired so people fixing things. A big gorgeous jacuzzi tub for 2 and they put the drain at the back, so two people can't use it together, no place to lean back. The food was so bad we couldn't believe it. Premium all-inclusive bar --NOT. Red Stripe only. One chillean wine that was terrible. You couldn't even purchase the premium beers, they don't have them. Personally I will not go back to Jamaica, even though we got moved to a really nice property. The reason is that the women there are very rude and unpleasant as if they hate our presence. It makes you uncomfortable. The men were very kind and pleasant though and provided decent service. The beach at this hotel is very nice if you don't care about food and service. Travel agent told us the spa was included (not servcies but the facility)... nope. $55 a day, same thing for internet access.
has great potential
My husband & I along with another couple just returned May 8th from an 7 night stay @ St James...do not let the bad reviews discourage you. It is not perfect yet, but "has great potential". We had a fabulous trip with yes, a few set backs but nothing to ruin our stay. It is a gorgeous resort with a great staff & fantastic beach! Go with a open mind that it is a new resort so like a new home a couple adjustments may have to be made.
The pros: any room in the St. James resort has a great view, it looked like Wild Orchid the shared resort next door would be the same ( they are almost identical & use the same bars, restuarants, beaches & shoppes) I beleive St James is a few months newer
Rooms and hotel were clean just need some touch ups( paint, spackle splatters etc.)
We didnt have room problems aside from periodically the phone not working
which was difficult to call room service
Our friends next door had problems with the air conditioning being not cold enough
the shower clogging & lights shutting off because of a faulty sensor but after 2days & 10 complaints they were resolved.- dont be shy after her 9th time her husband went to the front desk & told them her being unhappy was now ruining his vacation & in not so nice words said it wouldnt be tolerated & wola- fixed!
Pools were good-BEACHES ARE AMAZING!
Drinks were great! they were NOT watered down
There was a periodic fire alarm that would sound everyother day- briefly
Restaurants were good for breakfast & lunch, good variety at world cafe (ask for directions) @ breakfast if you are a coffee drinker ask for two, wait staff disappears after the first
Dinners were great no complaints!!!!!
We all had a fabulous time & would go back tomorrow or maybe next year when it will be close to perfect!!!
Oh yes & the Spa was very nice!
The breakfast & lunch restaurants were good ( great variety at the world cafe (ask directions)
The night dining was Great!!!!! no complaints