If you’re planning a trip to the world-renowned north coast destination of Ocho Rios, the Sandals Royal Plantation resort is bound to come up as one of the premier booking choices available. The property, which is listed as one of the Leading Small Hotels of the World, has built up quite a reputation for its wide range of amenities and unique value proposition for luxurious relaxation, which is explored in this review.
Right off the bat let me say that my stay at Sandals Royal Plantation was a fulfilling experience that I will treasure forever. In fact, I have plans to go back there in the not too distant future to relive the fabulous beach front atmosphere and be pampered by the world-class exclusive service the hotel has become famous for. However, I don’t intend just to give you an account of my time there.
This review will fuse both my personal experience as well as draw on the experiences of travelers who I learned from on Trip Advisor and other review sites, while I was doing research and deciding whether booking a trip to the resort was a good idea. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Why Sandals Royal Plantation
The Sandals brand is one of the most popular in Jamaica and across the Caribbean; in addition to the reggae nation, it also has properties in Barbados, The Bahamas, St. Lucia, Grenada, and Antigua. The group has been in the business for more than thirty years and has opened some stellar vacation properties, especially around the all-inclusive concept, which they seem to have been intent on perfecting. They have won countless awards to that effect.
Today, the string of hotels is among the most popular choices for places to stay in Jamaica. As it relates to the Royal Plantation, there are a number of reasons why it is an excellent option, whether you’re seeking somewhere to spend the perfect honeymoon or just want to go on a memorable vacation getaway with your partner.
For starters, it is one of the few hotels around that offers stunning ocean view for all 74 of its suites. When I stayed there, I stayed on the West Wing (a couple of reviews I read said that the visual experience on that side was a little more remarkable than the East side) and to say the view was stunning is an understatement. Not only that, the presence of the majestic Caribbean Sea, just a glance away through my window, refreshed and energized me during my stay.
Another reason you would want to visit, and one which I absolutely loved, is their exclusive butler service. That’s right, you get your very own courteous and attentive butler, who ensures you are not only fed, but taken care of, right around the clock. If you’ve always wanted your own Geoffrey (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Butler), this is the closest you’ll probably get. Even without the butler service, the attention I got from the rest of the staff was pleasant; they have some really friendly people employed there I must say.
The design of the suites at Sandals Royal Plantation is based on a traditional architecture that dates back to colonial days. On the inside, some of that rustic charm is painstakingly maintained in stuff like huge four-poster beds that add new meaning to sleeping like a baby, along with other furnishings. There are also a lot of modern touches, which can be seen in areas such as the bathroom touchpoints, flat screen TVs, wall décor details, and accent pieces, all of which provide a stable atmosphere for the most indiscriminate guest.
By the way, the bathroom conveniences are incredible; at least mine was, and based on what I have read from other reviewers, they all seem to be. They have beautiful walk-in showers, complemented by fit-for-a-king tubs that make you feel like you would just lie there all day soaking your troubles away.
Food and Dining
Many guests will tell you that one of the things they love about the all-inclusive experience at the Royal Plantation is being able to dine à la carte. As a result, you’re not limited to just eating what’s available on a buffet line, but can pick whatever you want. Besides, you have a total of five restaurants on property, offering a variety of cuisine from French to Italian to the Caribbean, so you are bound to find something that agrees with your taste buds. You even have the option to have food specially prepared if you have an allergy or a particular preference.
Great food is paired with fabulous wine choices and refreshments. In fact, there are bars located all over the property – including a traditional English pub – all of which serve a variety of wines, hard liquors, and mixed drinks, and feature names such as Appleton and Mondavi. Oh, did I mention that the hotel is home to Jamaica’s only Champagne and Caviar bar?
Amenities and Extras
Sandals Royal Plantation has everything to provide you with a home away from home and then some. There is cable TV, free Wi-Fi available at every corner of the property, air conditioned rooms, spas, swimming pools, gym and fitness center, and of course, access to the private beach. For groups, there are top-notch meeting facilities that offer seating for up to 250 guests, and if you want to get married on the property, you can even get a wedding planner to assist you.
One other thing, staying at the Royal Plantation doesn’t mean you have to stay ‘there’ all the time. The brand offers complimentary tours to its other properties, which gives you access to additional restaurants and activities to expand your vacation choices and provide even more possibilities.
For me, staying at Sandals Royal Plantation was a delightful experience from start to finish. However, there are one or two things that are worth mentioning, which I have heard other guests talk about in their reviews. Firstly, it is an expensive hotel when compared to some of its neighboring resorts. With the cost per night/per person starting at $250, you might have to fork out a tidy sum if you’re staying for longer than a weekend. Still, with the private butler and other exclusive services that are available, you will probably feel like you got your money’s worth at the end of your stay. Plus, the hotel does have deals on offer from time to time.
Another thing I should say is that while the atmosphere at the Royal Plantation is impeccably relaxing, it is not a proper fit if you’re looking to visit a resort that offers massive amounts of excitement. Things are relatively quiet there, which is why many of its guests include honeymooners and older couples.
All in all, the resort is world-class and a must-visit for anyone who loves exclusivity. You can book your stay at Sandals Royal Plantation via their website, various travel services, and even through Trip Advisor and other review sites.