Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Resort: Hits & Misses

The Husband and I were sad to say goodbye to Jamaica as we boarded the plane departing Montego Bay for Toronto on Sunday.

We had such a wonderful week! Why does vacation always go so fast? Nevertheless, I thought it would be nice share my views on the resort. The Husband and I have been taking resort vacations for over 10 years now. I think we can consider ourselves qualified to give an honest review.

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica for 7 days. The trip was booked through Air Canada Vacations. The resort chain is called “Secrets”. This resort has two sections, St.James & Wild Orchid (where we stayed). Both sides of the resort are equally nice. The resort is surrounded by mountains & aqua coloured water.


The Weather: We were worried when we arrived for the first two days because it was overcast. One afternoon it poured rain for an hour. The rain didn’t put a damper on the fun. We played in the pool and continued to drink the afternoon away. The rest of the week was sun-filled and HOT, HOT, HOT. Just what the doctor ordered – some Vitamin D.

The Details: Secrets did a nice job of providing some little details around the resort that I liked and thought were a nice touch. Coolers filled with ice and bottled water were scattered around outside for the taking. Chips were in a bowl every night at our lobby bar. Cookies & fruit were available in the lobby all day long. “Sundial” the local newsletter for the resort was delivered nightly to outline what’s happening the next day & provides weather updates. No bracelet to identify you as a guest at the resort. You don’t have to sign out towels (if you don’t want to). Mimosa’s were offered outside the breakfast buffet every morning.

The Food: Lots of restaurants on the resort. Lots of options. It was nice to eat at a sit-down restaurant for lunch by the pool. Two restaurants (with different menu options). There were also something like 7 different places you could go to eat at night for dinner and no restrictions. There was a jerk chicken cart on the beach everyday. There was a Jamaican patty station. There was a woman who carved mini-pineapples on the beach. There was a man that cut down coconuts and filled them with rum.

The Bed: This was by far the BEST BED I’ve ever slept in. I love my bed at home and up until this point nothing has compared. But let me tell you – this bed was like sleeping in a cloud or a marshmellow. We had a king sized by as well which is wonderful. So much space. It was like The Husband and I were sleeping in separate beds.

The Spa: The girls and I got our spa-on the last full day at the resort. We had some hydro-water therapy treatment. This is where you go in a sauna and alternate between hot & cold pools. You get to enjoy the shock to your body and the gentle massage from the jets. We also each got a spa treatment done. Some girls had a body wrap done. I opted for the full body swedish massage. SO. FREAKIN’ RELAXING. I think I may have even done some drooling :)

The Bath: Gorgeous stand-alone bath in the rooms where you can watch TV and enjoy the jets. LOVED.IT.

The Drinks: Copious amounts of booze. Lots of drink selection. Lots of sparkling wine. What more do you need!?!

The Pool: Great beach chairs & cushions. You can park your ass all day if you like in a very comfortable lounger.


Air Canada Vacations: I was disappointed that we paid a lot of money for this vacation to then have to pay for crappy airplane food. I think AC Vacations needs to step it up a little. It seems cheap-ass to make people pay ridiculous fairs for sub-par food. Bonus: airport is close to the resort.

The Service: I was disappointed with the quality of service at Secrets. They did not go to any extra effort to make you feel welcome (with the exception of a few staff members who were very entertaining). This resort can make some serious improvements on this. For instance, waiting for a new spa coupon to be issued took all week. Staff members were supposed to get back to me and never did. I had to keep following up. Then they requested written documentation to prove that I was supposed to receive a coupon. There was a lot of questioning and a lack of trust on their part. The resort also closed down the pool bar early for private parties (unacceptable).

The Restaurants: The food was typical resort food. It was great for where we were. Bottom line! I always take it for what it is. We had some nice meals and some disappointing ones. We did not like the service at few of the restaurants. We were a large group (10 peeps) and they don’t take reservations so getting a table often proved difficult. We had long wait times, etc… All worked out in the end. They should allow you to reserve tables if you are in a large group.

The Maid Service: Not so great in our room. I left a tip everyday with a present and our service was lacklustre. It didn’t destroy the vacation or anything but it was nothing special.

Entertainment: The staff was not extraordinary with entertainment. There were some activities in and around the resort. But we’ve seen better at other destination places. We were a large group and made our own activities.

Overall, we had a lot of fun. For us, it was all about the people. They made the vacation for us. I truly think this resort is overpriced for what you get. The Husband and I are very picky about resorts (well I’m picky). We have lots of experience with travel. I don’t think I would return to this particular resort in Jamaica. I may try the Secrets chain elsewhere. We’ve travelled with the Angels and paid the same amount for 4 people for the same quality. I think there is better value for your dollar out there.

Tell you more tomorrow!

Simply Yours,


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth-Anne January 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Thanks for the honest review, Vanessa. I always like reading what people really think of resorts/hotels. Can’t wait to read about your next destination . . .have you booked it yet???


vanessa January 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Heading to Florida in March for 1 week with the kids this time!


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