Reviewed by: The Urban Traveler
Overall Grade: A
Kid’s Rating: N/A
Fun Factor: A
The Food: B+
Best For: Couples who like to have fun and relax.
Date of Stay: December 2009.
The Lowdown: What? Five whole days alone with my husband? Sign me up! My hubby and I were lucky enough to be invited to spend some time at the couples only Sandals in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We have vacationed on occasion without children in the past but never to a couples only all inclusive so we were certainly up for the challenge.
There are many Sandals Resorts to choose from should you be looking for a romantic escape. Each one offers its own vibe and Sandals Montego Bay is known for its classic charm and white sand beaches. It is also known as a great place to relax and let loose. And all of this without a single temper tantrum or declaration of boredom. Luxury indeed.
My husband and I stayed in the Bay Roc Villa Honeymoon Grande Luxe Beachfront Suite. We had a private terrace overlooking the ocean, butler service, a living area, and romantic touches throughout our stay. Although we found the decor slightly dated the resort had a certain charm that was undeniable. In addition to room service we had five a la carte restaurants to choose from, beach time lunch or buffet, as well as full access to the other Sandals resorts nearby. We enjoyed a couples Scents of Love Massage (hey, no snickering) at the Red Lane Spa, fabulous nightly entertainment, and a zip lining tour from Chukka Caribbean Adventures that had us soaring like birds over the Jamaican jungle.
1. The Beach: The beach at Sandals Mo Bay is fabulous. The soft, white sand extends from the main resort area all the way along to past the Piano Bar and pool toward the Bay Roc Villas. You will find lots of beach chairs and umbrellas as well as cabanas for hire. My hubby and I took full advantage of these for a few lazy hours. We also enjoyed a few meals overlooking the beach from the Bayside Restaurant as well as the Italian restaurant, Cucina Romana. In addition, we enjoyed a beach bonfire one evening in between our dinner and the evening’s entertainment.
2. The Extras: All Sandals Resorts are all-inclusive. This means that however much you want to eat, you can. My hubby took full advantage of this one. Also, you can drink non-stop if that is your desire. The bars open at 11am but I saw at least a few folks show up to a 9am breakfast beer in hand. Strange but true. Many of the water activities are included although there is a surcharge for some as well as the spa services and any excursions outside of the resort (except to the airport or neighbouring Sandals) are extra. But the real “all-inclusives”, in my opinion, are the little extras. The tub drawn with champagne chilled and flower petals surprising you after a tough day lounging on the beach (this was likely a product of the Honeymoon component to our room), the evening entertainment (I got my groove on to the steel drum band!), and the friendly and responsive service.
3. The Location: Sandals Montego Bay is perfectly situation less than 5 minutes from the airport. This means that, assuming all runs smoothly at the airport (which it did for us), you will be on the beach, drink in hand, within an hour of landing. This is a huge advantage. However, there is a downside that you absolutely need to know before you book at Sandals Mo Bay. Because of the close proximity to the airport you will be acutely aware of every plane taking off from Montego Bay’s little airport. As you snooze on the beach you will curse the engines as they roar overhead. The good news is, you get used to it surprisingly fast. As the staff all turn and wave to departing planes as a cheerful distraction you find yourself settling in. Plus, the airport is small so there are not many over the course of the day and they are never too early in the morning and stop flying before 9pm. This is definitely something you want to be prepared for before you arrive.
4. Adventure: If you are simply looking for beach time there is plenty to be had however, if you’re up for a little adventure there are a variety of fabulous excursions you can arrange through the resort. My husband and I were lucky enough to take the Chukka Zipline Canopy tour. Neither of us had ever been zipling before but boy were we glad we did! The view soaring over the treetops of the dense Jamaican forests was the closest I will ever come to flying (yup, that little pink dot is me in the pic). It was incredible. The tour guides, Superman, Scrappy, and Kyfa were fun and fearless while subtly insuring every safety measure was met. There were lots of other tour choices including rafting and safari tours for those with an adventurous spirit.
5. The Food: I’m not really a fan of big resort food. Buffets and rubber chicken are not my favourites but the food at Sandals, especially the a la carte dinners, were actually pretty good. My husband and I particularly enjoyed our trip to Sandals Royal Caribbean where we visited their private island and ate at the asian inspired Royal Thai restaurant. Another favourite was the on-site Tokyo Joe’s where we selected our ingredients and chef’s grilled up our stir fry right in front of us customized to our individual taste. At the Italian Cucina Romana the view is spectacular and the caesar salad with parmasan shell divine and it was topped off by a serenade courtesy of a beautiful singer.