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Reviewed 4 April 2018

Stayed at Secrets St. James from March 26 through April 2, 2018.

Room was nicely appointed (though starting to show it's age). Comfort and cleanliness were never a concern. Meals/drinks were very good. Beach was clean and there was never an issue with chair availability. Water in one of the pools was, surprisingly, heated. We found it to actually be too warm, though it did not seem to bother others.

The mystery about this place is that it is marketed separately from Secrets Wild Orchid even though the two are behind the same gate and staying at one resort gives you free run of both. The two share dinning facilities, entertainment, pools and beaches. Rooms, by all accounts, are identical. When pricing your trip select the side (St. James or Wild Orchid) that is offering the best deal at the time.

  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank quispam_sundevil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 April 2018 via mobile

We didn't stay overnight here so I can't tell you about the rooms. However we were at the neighboring resort Breathless and could access all of the services of this resort. Also next door was the resort Secrets Wild Orchard. The two Secrets share a lot of the restaurants, entertainment and beaches. We went to as many restaurant as we could for dinner and enjoyed each one. Best time to go to avoid lines was before 7 or after 8:30. We stayed for some of the evening entertainment because our resort ended most of their events by 11pm. There is a stage outside a large open air bar so it was very pleasant place to watch the entertainment.
The beaches are side by side so there is a lot of space and variety of seating options. There's no waiter service (that we could see) but there are bars and grills along the beach so it's not far to get what you want.
We'll consider this resort next time we are in Montego Bay.

Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
2  Thank lba754
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 April 2018

The entertainment staff and bar staff were excellent. The place was always clean and staff very accommodating. This was our 4th trip to Jamaica and we will definitely go back! You will not be sorry if you stay here :)

  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank ntaylor3378
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 April 2018

My husband and I stayed at Secrets St. James in late March, and had a fabulous time. We've stayed at AIs in Riviera Maya and in Negril, but this was our first time in Montego Bay.
Travel: I booked through CheapCaribbean by phone, and found their travel agents to be really helpful in comparing different resorts. We used Club Mobay both ways, and breezed past lines and were very quickly through customs. We had round trip private transportation with Joe Cool, and our driver was there right on time. We didn't bother with a drink in the arrival lounge- if you have to wait, that's a nice place to wait, but we would rather get to the resort. On the way home, though, we did appreciate the lounge and service in Mobay (although the food didn't appeal to us).

Room: Our room was not yet ready when we arrived, so we left luggage with the bellmen and ate lunch and wandered the resort. We did not do Preferred Club, and didn't feel we missed out on anything. Our room turned out to be 5th floor (top floor) with a beach view, which was a lovely surprise! The room itself was great- more spacious than I'd expected, with a loveseat and coffee table, plus a table for two in the room, and then a table and two chairs on the balcony. Plenty of hangers, safe worked fine, and we found the bed very comfortable. Bathrobes were not there, but I requested they be delivered with turn down service and they were. Loved the room service cabinet, which allowed delivery even when our privacy light was activated, and was a great way to get dirty dishes/glasses out of sight without leaving them on the floor in the hallway. The only negative about the room was that the loveseat badly needed to be re-upholstered and had several old stains. Draped towels over it and didn't think of it again. Maid service was regular and exactly as expected (new towels, straightened room, cleaned floor etc). The bathroom was actually different than I had pictured after reading previous reviews. A nice sized shower and toilet are both fully enclosed behind their own (very frosted) glass doors. A double vanity and large free-standing tub are more open to the room, with a curtain that can be pulled between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Resort & Beach: It's pretty large, with so many different pool and beach areas. St. James and Wild Orchid flow into each other seamlessly, and we saw no difference real between the two. As others have said, Hard Rock is at far right and the music is very loud during the day. You can hear it across the Breathless beach (designated only by different color towels and a few beach beds), and onto some of the St. James Beach area. If that will bother you, move further to the left where it can't be heard. There isn't very far that you can walk on the beach here, because of the rocks, but the beach is still absolutely beautiful. Since the beaches are broken up into several little cove areas, there are plenty of different places to sit. Some are narrow, with only room for one chaise row, others have rows of chaises. We did see that some people place towels and leave them for hours, and the staff should be more diligent about removing them when unused. It wasn't a problem for us- we came to the beach when we were ready to sit, and found spots we were happy with every day. Lots of little fish near the rocks, which was really cool to see. Service at the Marlin Bar (closest to some of the beach area) was not great- for the most part, these are not bartenders that want to help you find your new favorite vacation drink, but they will provide what you ask for. The beach service servers were nice, but there should be more of them so that they are able to be a bit quicker.

Pool: It was harder to find chairs near the edge of the pool by afternoon, but there were always still some available a little further back. The resort was not full when we were there, but with all the different pool and beach areas, it's hard to imagine any of them feeling crowded. Towel service at Wild Orchid and St. James was fine, no shortages that we saw. Pool bar service was okay, overall not as enthusiastic as we have experienced at other resorts (even after tipping). Pool bathrooms were constantly attended to and no problems there. It seems they are in the process of upgrading the cushions on the chaise lounges- some are super plush brown cushions, some are flatter white cushions, and some have no cushions. The brown ones are extra comfy, but we tried all 3 options and were fine with all 3. The pools themselves are really beautiful.

Breathless: We did venture over the bridge to Breathless to explore the foam party, and it was so much fun, definitely worth experiencing! Breathless had a very modern feel, and essentially could have been in the middle of Las Vegas- there was nothing that made it feel island-y or like you were in Jamiaca. It was beautiful, and we were glad to be able to hang out there as well. We did experience a towel shortage at Breathless on one of the afternoons we visited- no towels available and none expected when we went looking for them around 4:30pm. Pool bartenders were among the worst we've experienced (slow, kind of rude, got drinks wrong), but their pool servers were nice and lobby bar bartenders were always super friendly. Breathless events are not included in the activity info at Secrets, so you have to call concierge and ask if you want more details. For example, we saw a sign at Breathless about a beach party, and I later had to call and ask Secrets concierge to find out what time. Concierge had to call Breathless and find out, and then call me back.

Restaurants: (We did not eat at Breathless, so can't speak to those options.) Breakfast was amazing with all the options you can imagine, although often had a line after 9. We loved the french and mexican restaurants for dinner, as well as the two restaurants near the main pools. While tastes will vary, we found almost everything to be very good (slightly overcooked, as can be typical at AI, but still very good). Quality was much better than moderate chain restaurants, for example, though also not what you would find at a true fine dining establishment in a large city in the US. We were pleased. The options were plentiful, the presentations very nice, and the restaurant service very good. Bordeaux was ultimately our favorite, and felt the "fanciest." We struggled a bit more with lunch, and weren't thrilled with lunch menus at either of the poolside restaurants, where much of the seafood was fried. The Barefoot Bar snack shack had really yummy burgers, and the jerk chicken served from the rolling grill was excellent- so we often defaulted to those for lunch on the beach. Coco café- I was thrilled to find all the options for coffee drinks available 24 hours a day (basically a starbucks style menu).

Entertainment: daytime was pretty typical, and evening entertainment could be a bit improved. The resorts could benefit from some livelier shows and options. The steel drum band and dancers was our favorite night of entertainment. The Piano bar was also fun, and both that and the disco smelled totally fine to my sensitive nose. (Although the lobbies and bathrooms are often overly perfumed with incense.) There was not much nightlife here after 10pm or so.

Overall- we had an amazing time, and I am so glad that I wasn’t scared off by some reviews I had read. Service was not as enthusiastic as we’ve experienced at other resorts, but was adequate (with the restaurant service and bellman service notably the friendliest and best). The resort is stunning, the beach is beautiful, the rooms are luxurious. Restaurant options are plentiful, and all serve very different food in different atmospheres. I’d recommend this resort to even picky travelers, and would be happy to return.

  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank kec2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

Spent a lovely week. Staff are generally friendly and helpful, service is good for drinks and food. Of the restaurants, the Jamaican is best. Mexican was also surprisingly good. Beaches ok with pkenty of shade for those who want it. Excellent snorkeling within swimming distance of beach so strong swimmers don’t need to wait for groups or pay extra for the boat to reef. If you are looking for quiet, ho elsewhere. Lots of bar and activity noise at main pools and for those upgrading to Preferred Club, you hear music from neighboring Hard Rock Cafe all day. Phones were out of service for 3/7 days and there were issues with batteries in safe and door key card. But they were prompt and helpful sending repairmen.
Loved the many beautiful flowers and variety of palms; upkeep of grounds is excellent. Gorgeous peacocks and an exotic parrot are on the grounds as well.
It is a quick easy ride from airport. All in all, you can have a great vacation here if you aren’t expecting perfection.

Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
2  Thank braces2go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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