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at the Sandals Montego Bay
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A blown opportunity...
Jan 26th, 2020
For those of you reading this review, please know that I am not a lunatic review writer, one that is attempting to scream over the noise of thousands of reviews, or looking for money back from a resort. I am however, a very experienced Caribbean traveler having been to many islands and resorts. Truth be told, while I have read hundreds of reviews here, I have only written one prior to this. While this missive is a bit lengthy, I believe it is worth the read. Please stick with it. Today’s review is on behalf of all of the guests who experienced what we did at Sandals this week. It is a tale of 2 cities. Allow me to explain. We booked this Sandals vacation to be with friends from another city. We had previously been to a Sandals (Grand St Lucia) 7 years ago, and had a pretty good idea what to expect – A well-organized all-inclusive with not much to think about, just a chance to relax without limits to food and drink. We had booked a millionaire’s beachfront room (their name), with a swim up pool and butler service. Please pay attention to the swim up part. This room, at our choosing was significantly more money than our friend’s choice, but walking out of your room and into a pool sounded like a great way to spend time “in” your room. That is the beauty of Sandal’s, designing an experience that meets your needs. Our butler experience throughout the week was quite nice. Cameal and Nasha proactively stayed connected with us via a personal cell phone to ensure that we had everything we needed. In fact, they were absolutely what defined the enjoyment of this trip! The management they work for however, is an entirely different story. On our 3rd day into the trip, a storm with heavy winds and a high tide brought the beach, and its water into our pool – literally. The beach in front of our building, completely washed away. Clearly caught off-guard (not sure how no one would have thought this to be a possibility before) the hotel management team devoted their resources to “restore” things to their original state, concerning themselves with the property, and yet completely ignoring the affected guests in the building. But before I go into management’s complete selfish ineptitude, let me go back to the positive and thank Dione, the chef at Cucina. She was all smiles and made a fantastic breakfast each time we were there. And many thanks to the folks who cleaned our room. They were also spot on (pun intended). But then there’s this management thing… By the next day, it was apparent that all of the resources dedicated to the restoration were overwhelmed. The pool and it’s swim up component (the component that we paid a significant amount for…) remained closed. Our beach gone with just piles of pungent seaweed remaining, suggested that our doors from our room to the outside, remain closed. So, for this management team (and your reading enjoyment), I pose the following multiple-choice question: Based on the developments mentioned above, hotel management should do the following: a) Apologize to the affected guests for nature’s events and seek ways to repair their experience (as opposed to just the facilities) b) Say or do nothing for the guests c) Not only do nothing, but in fact reinforce that they are doing nothing because nature is simply out of their control. Guess which option, Sandals’ management team applied? On Day 5 it occurred to me, that maybe no one actually though about the guest experience, so I decided to take time out of my vacation to speak with someone to ask them if they were planning on providing a way to repair the experience and show some good will. Here’s where it actually gets comical…I meet a very pleasant individual from the management team, named Christopher. Christopher is a pure gentleman and explains to me that this was an unprecedented storm and that there is nothing to be done. My position was for them to simply recognize that for whatever the reason, I along with the other guests in the affected rooms were not receiving what we paid a premium for. I continued the explanation of my logic to Christopher. If an unprecedented snowstorm had hit at home before I left preventing me from getting there, I would still be responsible for paying for my room. Why is the reverse not true? I wasn’t asking for a free vacation, I was simply suggesting that the Sandals think about some way to compensate affected guests if they were unable to fulfill their end of the reservation agreement. I found myself alone in my thinking that a hospitality business is about thinking of the guests first. Christopher suggested that this would have to be brought to the “executive management team”. To his credit, he dutifully protected the identity of his bosses, and replied as he suggested they would – blame nature. That evening Christopher located me at a restaurant to let me know that the management was going to provide me with a $250 credit to a future Sandal’s vacation. Please understand that this offer was decked against a multi-thousand dollar premium charge for our current vacation. What school of customer service did this team attend? I politely declined. Day 8 (checkout day) I bumped into Christopher again, wondering if there had been any change in thought? Perhaps someone from the “executive” team would actually have the where-with-all to greet me and apologize for the experience? Not a chance. As someone who has made a career in a service-oriented business, I can tell you numerous times where things didn’t go well. Those difficult times are perfect opportunities to show humanity, earn trust, and build a fantastic reputation. Sandals failed miserably on all fronts. In fact, as an added bonus, I was told that the 90-minute extended check out that I requested, would come with an additional $50 cost. I am not even certain that this review will prompt the canned apology on Trip Advisor. Honestly, I don’t want one. I don’t want a credit. I would simply ask that Sandals recognize and acknowledge that they completely let down the many guests affected this week. I also hope that anyone who reads this review, think about the many alternatives to Sandals before booking a vacation with them. Finally, the signature of this trip was set in the helpless face and hug from Cameal as we left, realizing her company not only let the guests down, but also every Sandals employee who works so hard for them. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Would never go back
Jan 26th, 2020
From the minute our plane landed, we knew the trip was going to suck. We waited on the tarmac for nearly an hour waiting to get to our gate (not sandals fault-got it). Got through customs and immediately felt like we had to tip EVERYONE because there were workers who didn’t work for sandals, escorting our bags for us (which we didn’t like) and the Sandals employees told us we should tip. Got on the bus to go to Sandals, the ‘guide’ or whatever she was called constantly yelled, handed us a survey sheet, then got mad when we asked for a pen. Got to Sandals, where we were ushered to the lobby, given drinks, and had to wait to talk to the concierge so we could put a credit card on file....while waiting we were rushed to our rooms and given no guidance. So, we missed out on knowing about a tour, missed out on validating my military ID, missed out on putting a credit card on file (later making it hard to do anything with a credit card on me), and not introduced to anyone. Our room was super hot, we requested a fan, twice, and never brought one. They “lowered” our thermometer for us because they don’t allow it lower than 68 degrees-which is normally fine for us.....except that the AC wasn’t truly working. They made it seem like a total inconvenience to make a reservation for the same restaurant twice, huffing and eye rolling was included there. We weren’t aware that one day, most restaurants were closed (probably because of the first day where we weren’t given an opportunity to meet with the concierge). Let’s talk about attire tomorrow eat -I paid $6k+ for our room, what I wear shouldn’t matter, but it does. Girls have to covers their swim suites (meaning, I wore a dress and underwear....I only had to wear two articles of clothes), while guys have to either wear pants (to some restaurants) or a t-shirt and shorts to others. I don’t care what people wear, we’re on vacation. With this said, my husband was wearing a hoodie to a restaurant (Tokyo Jo) one night (we just had a storm and it was chilly). Well, he got a little hot and took it off, only to be wearing a tank. Some hot shot who had a butler made a dumb comment on my husbands shirt choice and we were told by the hostess to either wear the hoodie or leave. Seriously. It’s pathetic. You’re literally RIGHT NEXT TO the airport. So they play a dumb game of “wave at the plane” so it’ll distract you from being irritated that you can’t have a conversation. 2 stars bc WiFi was great. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Wonderful resort with great service
Jan 26th, 2020
Just returned from a week at Sandals Montego Bay and this was our second visit. Hotel is immaculate and rooms updated to current standards. Great choice of restaurants and all included. Staff is most attentive and professional especially Andre the manager at Butch's Steakhouse. Ask for Anthony as a waiter as he is great. Great feature is complimentary shuttle to their sister property at Royal Caribbean Sandals just 5 minutes away. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Average at best
Jan 26th, 2020
First I will give you the positives: Most of the staff are happy caring individuals. By far the staff of Miss Dionnes at Cucina for breakfast are the greatest. They take great pride in their service. Radesh in entertainment is a nice young man. He should be in charge of the entertainment group as well. Palmer and Carlene are top notch butlers. This is our 3rd year with them. Carla and Odane in travel and loyalty are super people. Unfortunately,I became ill and had to go to nurses station and receive treatment from the physician. The male nurse was professional and caring. The bad: The crystal lagoon swim out was noisy party central. The food was fair not exceptional. Not as good as in the past for sure. I had a very disappointing discussion with Shamoice at the front desk. It seems no one on location knows how to help with the trip insurance that Sandals recommends and sales. Will we be back?? As 8 time Sandals vacationers I am not so sure. We have our next trip paid for, but can get this anywhere else cheaper. Maybe once this all fades I will be Sandals enthralled again. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
A FUN time!!!
Jan 25th, 2020
THE Sandals Montego Bay is a lovely Resort. The Staff is friendly, the beach is beautiful, very clean, very fun! Lots of things to do if you want. We flat very comfortable there.Good value in our opinion! This is our second Sandals and we will be going to our third in a couple of weeks! TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
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