Sandals Montego Bay Jamaica is one of the highest-rated resorts in the chain, it also happens to be the first all-inclusive resort ever. Recently renovated this hotel is a prime destination in the breathless Montego Bay, known for its long sandy beaches, wonderful decor, a wide range of dining options, and close proximity to the airport. Upon entry, you are greeted by a large open-air lobby, the welcoming smiles of the hotel staff, and that bright blue ocean view that made you choose an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica in the first place.
Sandals Montego Bay is a couple’s resort and an ultimate romantic destination, which naturally also welcomes friends and family for all of the spectacular wedding celebrations that take place in the hotel year-round.
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The trip was hosted by Jamaica Tourism Board, which did not review or approve the story.
The Vibe & Shared Spaces
Standing on the beach all you see is blue water and white sand wrapping gently around the bay. The waterfront amenities are all shared with sun beds dotted along the shore, a small chapel, and a sunset bar bridging out into the sea. One of the Sandals’ selling points is their level of inclusivity, which is basically everything from dining to water sports, and if you chose the top tier of luxury, even a butler, but more on that later. Wherever on the resort you might be you are always close to a pool, and between the pools are game areas, restaurants, bars, fitness facilities, and one very lovely spa.
Guests of Sandals Montego Bay also have exchange privileges with the nearby Sandals Royal Caribbean* (complimentary 5-min ride) where they can make use of all of the amenities including the restaurants.
Dining & Entertainment
Between themed restaurants and daytime cafes, there is a lot to choose from when it comes to dining – to be exact there are 12 restaurants and 6 bars (including an English pub). Sandals resorts pride themselves on food quality and all of their restaurants hold a 5-star Global Gourmet designation. My favourite was Tokyo Jo’s for their phenomenally fresh seafood and the over-the-water bar where you can kick back by a fire pit or stretch out over the water in a net bed. Naturally, there is a lot of evening entertainment from live music at the piano bar to nightly themed events with live bands, and an occasional beach party or Jamaican jamboree.
The different stay categories
All Sandals rooms are all-inclusive, but some categories offer special rooms with added benefits. The categories that Sandals offer, above standard all-inclusive, are Luxury (prime location), Club, and Butler Elite. Club-level rooms offer:
- Free room service (read: breakfast in bed)
- Private check-in lounge
- Exclusive access to the Sandals lounge
- Access to a concierge who can handle your bookings and reservations
- And a bottomless liquor minibar
The highest room category is Butler Elite, which (on top of all Club inclusions) has access to the most luxurious suites on the property and a personal butler. In many ways, the butler creates a more intimate experience for you and your partner:
- You have a private phone to reach them
- They can expedite all your food orders
- Make reservations
- Build your beach coolers
- Bring cocktails from any restaurant on the resort or switch towels on demand
The butler becomes your primary point of contact while you are on vacation. They really do make sure to check in with you throughout the day.
Note: You do need to tip the butler. After extensive research, I came up with an average of $15-$20 per day given either each day or as a total sum at the end of the stay.
Inside the Suite
There is quite a lot of variety when it comes to room types in Sandals Montego Bay*. Some are condo-style buildings with ground-floor swim-up rooms, some are villas with private sunbathing areas, and others are lovely quiet units looking out into the garden. This time I’ve had the pleasure of staying in the One-Bedroom Butler Suite. This room category is very spacious with a lovely kitchenette and a seating area looking out on the ocean. The two tranquility soaking tubs (indoor and on the balcony) are certainly a great bonus. I thoroughly enjoyed soaking in mine while watching the beach wedding happenings. See all room types here.
Wellness & Fitness
The Red Lane Spa, tucked away in the garden near the gym, is an optional activity. The guests can book a wide range of services including massage therapy, body scrubs and polishes, facial treatments, and of course a selection of Mani/Pedi options. During my visit, I enjoyed the Deep Relief with CBD massage treatment. Here you have the option to include a belly and head massage, curious about the effects of it all I said yes to everything. The experience was incredibly relaxing and soothing to my travel and schedule-stressed muscles and mind.
Note: If you opt-in for the CBD massage you will need to wash your hair after so plan accordingly.
The on-site fitness facilities include a state-of-the-art gym, tennis court, beach volleyball, and even offer complimentary fitness classes (tennis 101, Tabata, gym assist, etc).
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A few packing & shopping ideas for your trip*
In the gear bag: Fujifilm X-T100 with an XF50mmF2 R WR lens. This time I was in Jamaica with Quip Magazine covering Reggae Sumfest, you can read more on that on quipmag.com.