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Reviewed 1 August 2015

We have mixed feelings but would probably return. This is gonna be long, sorry. We visited in late July 2015 for 5 days and booked very last minute. Our stressful lives just needed a break. We have been to many all inclusives including a few high end but we are not very picky, especially for these short trips. A quick note about the resort(s), they are almost identical resorts and we saw nothing to put one over the other. We certainly didn't feel that either one was quieter than the other. The restaurants are closer to Wild Orchid but it's a 5 minute walk from one end of the grounds to the other so not an issue. We did pay a decent amount to stay here, rivaling some of the higher end places we have visited so our expectations were on the high side.I'll take this in order...

We arrived about 1:30 PM and were a little frustrated with the lengthy check in. They pushed for the Welcome Breakfast (timeshare sales) and we declined, more than once. They gave us the "resort credit" coupons and explained the ridiculous way they had to be used. $40 per person per day in the spa on sessions 45 minutes or longer. $10 per day off expensive bottles of wine etc. Who buys expensive wine at an all inclusive? We were very surprised they didn't push for the preferred upgrade, more on that in a minute. We were then sent (not escorted) to our room. We were on the 2nd floor overlooking the pool and it was LOUD! Pounding music and partying people. The room was average for a resort of this caliber. Funky setup for the bathroom with a curtain dividing it from the bed, a half closed glass door with a sign that says "This door doesn't open or close" (HAHA) and a very small balcony. Seeing small balcony and loud music had me scampering back to the front desk to try and upgrade to preferred even before our luggage arrived. Full! Now we know why they didn't push us! About 5:30 the music stopped and the pool quickly emptied. We took a nap and went for dinner.

All the restaurants are in one area and there were lots of people milling about. It felt crowded. We entered the Mediterranean place and were seated quickly. We ordered drinks and 90 minutes later as we were leaving the drinks came. Oh boy... Next morning we realized that there was only one breakfast venue. They were pushing 700 people through ONE buffet? Oh boy again... Afterwards we went to the beach and had no trouble finding chairs together under an umbrella. Towels were plentiful and no towel cards or anything. Take as many as you like! We settled in and started to finally unwind a little. Then two couples set up their iPod and speakers and started blaring European Techno, mixed with the pool music we were fit to be tied. At the resort less than 24 hours and ready to leave! We decided we would just have to make the most of it, and then the magic started. The couples were asked to turn their music down, a breeze picked up and the pool music switched to classic Caribbean. Then a server asked up what we would like to drink. Ahhhh...... Everything got better from that moment on.

You can see (not hear) planes landing in the distance steady from late morning until early afternoon. That's when the airlines like to come in, drop off, reload and go home again. That puts a huge amount of people at the resorts at the same time. No wonder check in was slow. The pool is loud from about 11 to 5 but guess what? You aren't in your room at that time anyway. Two gripes settled already!

Beach service was terrific and you could choose to be as far away or as close to the pool music as you liked. We spent our days on the beach wandering over to the pools occasionally. Later we went over to the "crowded" restaurant area with a whole new attitude. We strolled around casually deciding where to eat. No reservations except one venue so you don't have to decide ahead of time. We went Mexican and had AWESOME service! We quickly forgot the first nights experience and had great service the rest of the stay. Next morning back to the breakfast area and guess what? They may move 700 people though there in a few hours but they do it well! The buffet is huge and varied and the service is good. You don't feel rushed but when you leave your table is quickly reset.

Some people have said they felt the grounds were expansive but we didn't think so. They were immaculate though and although there are people pretty much everywhere it doesn't feel crowded. The staff were some of the nicest we have ever met.

Toughing on a few points seen in other review:
Bugs - NONE (in or out)
Staff - Super
Food - Above resort average
Loud - From 11-5 ONLY and only by the pools
Preferred - Didn't get to find out but saw nothing special walking through
In Room Fridge - not nearly cold enough
Noise from other rooms - non-existent
Local vendors on the grounds - none (nice)
WiFi - Free and very fast! (download their app to view activities and menus)

The only thing that stopped us from giving it 5 stars was them trying to sell you stuff everywhere. From spa service, to tours, to motorized water sports. In line for breakfast there is a desk and they are trying to sell you stuff while you wait in line. For the amount we paid and being an ALL inclusive we didn't appreciate this.

Bottom line - wait 24 hours to judge this place. Once we lost our attitude and adjusted to island pace we had a great time and would probably return.

  • Stayed: July 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank Mark G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2015

My niece stayed here she said it was like a dream land everything it stated on the brochure was there which helps if you've never been before the drinks were cool in the fridge all rooms which were refilled daily had air con staff were very friendly and welcoming... Beach close by... The hotel consists of 7 restaurants on site sheets changed everyday if your looking for luxury this is defiantly the place for families couples you name it very clean and tidy five plus star rating

Stayed: August 2014
3  Thank campbell19692015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2015

My husband and I take vacations every year, and we have been to some very nice resorts. When we arrived at Secrets (St. James) we both looked at each other and said "This is it?!. We didn't know what all the hype was all about, we saw nothing special or different and this was our most expensive trip!!. The sheets were dirty, so I had to call room service to have them changed. The food was ok, I gave the appearance an A plus, the gardens were will taken care of. But that was about it. May because it's located in Jamaica. But yea, nothing eye catching. I don't think we will be back....especially for the price.

Room Tip: Make sure you sheets are clean, all the rooms might all be the same
  • Stayed: July 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Nicole F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2015

Everything about the Secrets St. James hotel was phenomenal!! The scenery, the staff, the restaurants and food, the beach and pools, the service, the rooms, and the amenities - were all AMAZING!! Everything about the resort was fantastic! There is free WiFi throughout the entire resort, as well, which I thought was a great added touch. There was always something to do on the resort; the entertainment schedules were extremely well put-together, too, and if you wanted to join a tour or some sort of excursion, (either on the resort or off the resort), the staff in the lobby are more than happy to assist you and get you all signed-up. I had a ton of fun, and an overall, extremely relaxing vacation!! I definitely plan to stay at the Secrets St. James hotel, again, the next time I visit Montego, Jamaica!

Room Tip: The staff are great, and they will make sure you get a good room.
  • Stayed: July 2015, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Stephanie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2015

My husband and I visited Secrets St James in April 2015. It was just a short drive from the airport. We did upgrade to the preferred club so we were escorted to the preferred lobby. The concierge was wonderful but insisted we attend their special breakfast (timeshare sales... Been there, done that... Skipped) Our room was finally ready and we were ready to hit the beach...... We waited about 45 min for our bags and then went back down and they were still sitting there after they told us they would bring them up immediately. No big deal.... Everyone is soooooo nice that's it's hard to get upset about that. We enjoyed the next few days relaxing in the pool and on the beach. The resort was veryyyyyy relaxing. The music played throughout the resort is the same as in the spa... Soothing tones.... Almost too relaxing. We met a few people at the 'loud' pool who had a butler upgrade. If it wasn't for them requesting to hear some music we wouldn't have had any besides the relaxing tunes. Lol. We ate at just about every restaurant. We always look forward to the Japanese, but we couldn't get out of there fast enough because it was so incredibly hot in there.. Still delish though!!!
About the preferred club..... Not worth the money. We may have made one drink in their exclusive preferred club bar but you can get a drink anywhere. They have a preferred club pool but really anyone could have used it. There wasn't anyone from the hotel regulating the area to see who was preferred or not. Those were the only 2 perks really. Another thing that I think is absolutely absurd is how people can go down to the pool and stake their claim with towels on chairs and not even come down for hours or even late afternoon. This is at all resorts and the hotels need to do something about this because it is really annoying and frustrating!!!!
Overall, this resort was amazing!!!! The food, the wonderful people, the rooms, the grounds..... Top notch!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Terah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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