Secrets St. James Montego Bay

5.0 star rating

Exceptional accommodation with superior facilities and services.

    Average ratings from our guests:

    Cleanliness

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Value

    Rated4.0 out of 5

    Service

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Hotel Amenities

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Food / Restaurants

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Beach

    Rated3.0 out of 5

    Pool

    Rated4.0 out of 5

    C

    Very clean. Lovely grounds. Great service. Bad wine.

    Reviewed by Cathy on Mar 09, 2015

    Our guests rated this hotel 5 out of

    Would recommend

    Travel date: March 2015

    Trip Type: Couple

    Very nice place. Beach is small but sandy. Loved that you did not need dinner reservations. Food better than most all inclusives. Booze typically weak or poor quality.

    This traveller's ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Rated5 out of 5

    Value

    Rated4 out of 5

    Service

    Rated5 out of 5

    Hotel Amenities

    Rated5 out of 5

    Food / Restaurants

    Rated5 out of 5

    Beach

    Rated3 out of 5

    Pool

    Rated4 out of 5

    What to expect (based on 7522 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4.5

    Location

    Location-4.5

    Rooms

    Rooms-4.5

    Service

    Service-4.5

    Value

    Value-4.5

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    Average+

    Reviewed by luv-n-life08(luv-n-life08) on Apr 14, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    We just returned back from a 10 day stay at Secrets St. James. So overall, our stay was average+. There were many things we enjoyed and things we disliked or didn't quite meet our comfort level. It's best to break down by pros and cons. Pros: 1. The grounds are beautiful and well-maintained. The greenery and floral surround the resort area. The look is lush and tropical. It's very beautiful outside and loved being on the grounds surrounded by the palm trees. 2. The beach area(s) are small, but nice. Plenty of seating options available to sun-bathe, chill and look at the beautiful turquoise waters. Though lots of seating, not always in a shaded area. 3. The pool area(s) are nice. Seem to have plenty of seating, but not always in the shade. 4. Staff are friendly. We tipped all the time, but they would have been nice regardless in my opinion. I've never worked in the hospitality industry, but I'm going to assume it's not always easy. You have to smile the days you don't feel like it and have to deal with entitled people; which unfortunately the folks who behaved this way were from the U.S. and it was quite embarrassing to see at times. We have come to another country and should be appreciative. Encountered too many people complaining about stupid things. 5. Bed in the room was very comfortable and lots of hot water for shower with good pressure. 6. Our room was cleaned with fresh towels and toiletries often; which was much appreciated. We never had to ask for anything. Well-stocked fridge all the time. 7. The food in most of the restaurants we attended were very good. We went to all except the Mexican restaurant, El Patio, and the French restaurant, Bordeaux. We elected to not do Mexican the times we were there and Bordeaux required for my husband to wear pants and shirt with collar - oh and no sandals (open toe). Just seemed like too much work for vacation on a beach for us. The Italian restaurant, Portfino, was very good. We ate there twice and we ordered almost every appetizer to try out and ordered two dinner each time. Lol! Yes, we were beging greedy, but wanted to try everything. The spaghetti was a little different, but tasty. However, everything else was good. My husband loved the lasagna; which is very meaty. The hibachi restaurant was an Asian-fusion. We liked the spring roll appetizers a lot. Everything else was ok. Not bad, but didn't wow us. The breakfast and lunch options at World Cafe were great and in abundance. They also had an Italian buffet there one night and there was so much to choose from and everything was very tasty. Sea Side Grill for dinner was good as well. We had NY steak and it was cooked to perfection with lots of flavor. Dinner at Oceanside was good as well; but thought our steak at Sea Side was better. The jerk chicken cart on the beach during the afternoon held us over until dinner. Beware of chicken bones. When chopped, the bone fragments sometimes are in the meaty parts so just be careful while eating. It's spicy and good jerk chicken. They also have pork, but I didn't try it. They also have burgers; but we didn't care for those on the beach. The meat was hard to chew; but the patties (like empanadas) were great snacks to take on the beach. Lastly the Jamaican restaurant, Blue Mountain, was great. We had the oxtail dinner on a couple of occassions and very good. The cafe; which the name escapes me right now is great to grab a coffee (with rum of course) and pastry. Lots of food options and honestly we thought they did a great job considering the amount of people the resort has to feed daily. Food was always with flavor. Cons: 1. Though a lot of seating on the beach and pool areas, people would claim loungers by placing towels and personal belongings; but be gone most of the day. It was ridiculously. That shouldn't be allowed. I don't mind if they leave for lunch and return, but they took all the loungers so by the time we came out (after breakfast) the only seating available didn't have umbrellas or palapas. The resort needs to do something about this. 2. We stayed on the St. James side. Apparently, there is the Wild Orchid side and the Breatheless. Well, we got the brown towels and the other towel colors were for the other resorts; which I guess were of higher caliber than St. James. However, "they" took up all the beach areas designated for St. James. We couldn't use the pools or were supposed to be in the beach areas designated for the preferred customers. It was a bit stupid to us. 3. Large groups from companies were the most obnoxious and entitled resort customers. Very irritating to be around these drunk people who were suppose to be there for a conference. Yeah right ... a conference. The main folks who spoke loudly about not tipping. They seemed proud of it. One older couple on the beach said, "We're not supposed to tip. Noooooooo, we're not supposed to do that at all. I'm not not, because "they" expect it." I wanted to jump in that conversation so fast, but had to remind myself I was on vacation that I paid for and wasn't going to allow for someone to put me in that mood. Though an all-inclusive, it doesn't mean you aren't allowed to tip. If you receive kind, quality service why the hell won't you tip??? We tipped $5 for dinner and did $2 for breakfast or lunch. If we ate at the jerk cart we usually tipped $1 and for drinks, we usually did $1 each time we ordered up to 2 drinks. We left a tip for housekeeping at $5 a day and for turn down service we tipped $1 since the room didn't require cleaning since we were out all day. We felt this was reasonable and would do it again. I decided that as long as we are in the position to do so and we received good service, we would. 4. The quality of the room is somewhat poor in our opinion. Though the bed was comfortable, it constantly felt damp in the room and had a smell of mold. We're in the tropics with lots of humidity; but we've stayed at other resorts and never experienced air quality that was somewhat poor in the room. The toilet and shower area was separated by a glass door from the room. There was no fan to pull in the damp/hot air and when going to the bathroom it felt like you were going poop or pee right be the bed. It was somewhat gross because you could hear everything. My husband and I are close, but not in that way. The resort seriously needs to upgrade the bathroom and bedroom. Very tired looking with poor craftmanship with paint in places where it shouldn't be. 5. The exterior of the resort approaching it as we were coming up is not very pretty. Doesn't look like much of anything. The lobby was unimpressive, small and dark. Not a great first impression and barely a view of the beach from the lobby. Resorts we've stayed out in the past have been huge, light and airy with a massive view of the beach and pool areas. This was just blah to say the least. 6. As shared everyone was nice, but when we first arrived we were hit hard to make a selection of how we wanted to use the resort coupons and to schedule time for a presentation for their preferred club; which they insisted was not a timeshare presentation; but essentially it is. It might not be called a timeshare, but essentially they are wanting you to purchase a membership share into their preferred club. They said we would have breakfast during the presentation and it would be 90 minutes of our time. Well, we were there for 3 hours on our second day there. A waste of our time and it took time away from our vacation. The resort strategically schedules all this when you first arrive by asking a bunch of questions; which seems to be used to determine possible interest to purchase. Well, they got us wrong and it still makes me a bit irritated that our time was spent at the presentation. 7. Lots of nice people we met who were vacationing, but so many who were entitled. Leaving their towels and glasses wherever. The resort placed large baskets around the pool areas and beaches for vacationers to place used towels in once done - but no, folks just left piles of towels on the beach, pool, under the stairs ... everywhere. Just lazy! We found glasses left on the stairs as we walked back to our room at the end of the day. So, this has nothing to do with the resort; other than they should enforce people to check out towel and return once done. They might start paying attention more closely instead of leaving stuff everywhere. Also, towels were left and at times we would think that people were saving the loungers, but they simply just elected to not return the towels. People should be better than this. Come on :-( 8. The TV in the room. Goodness (as I'm shaking my head). We were rarely in the room, but after dinner before going to bed we would turn on the TV and the picture was of poor quality. Wires were hanging down from the TV. The lock on our door kept falling off and the battery ended up going out after a couple of days. Our security safe kept saying low battery during our stay. This happens, but one would think the resort would have checked everything before our stay. So the reason why it is more of an average+ rating is due to the timeshare presentation forced upon us the moment we checked in, the obnoxious guests there for company conferences and lazy guests, the moldy smelling rooms with no fan in the toilet area and the toilet glass door that doesn't close all the way with the see-through glass. Oh the dark lobby that didn't have a "wow" effect for first impression.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-3

    Service

    Service-4

    This is a fantastic piece of paradise

    Reviewed by Janet F(Wisconsin) on Apr 13, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    This place was so much fun and the location was perfect. The staff was excellent with a special thank you to Babyface, Nico, and Alvin. You 3 made our trip even better. Shan was extremely helpful and knowledgeable with everything. Can't say enough about the entire staff and the place itself. The entertainment was excellent and the food was very good. Thank you all for making our vacation the best ever.

    Great stay!

    Reviewed by gr82fly2018(Dallas, Texas) on Apr 13, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    We stayed at the Secrets St James for four nights at the end of March. Overall is was a great experience. We had an oceanfront suite that came with a butler. The hotel and room were as expected for a 4-star hotel. The staff was wonderful and the food was pretty good for an all inclusive hotel. The beach is small but there were always available chairs there and also some by the pools. People do run down early in the morning to claim their chairs but since we had a butler he reserved our chairs on the beach every day. The property is beautiful and well maintained. The gym is adequate, although a bit dated and the nightly entertainment was fun and entertaining.

    Girls trip 2019

    Reviewed by Susan D() on Apr 13, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    Meh...The resort was clean and the spa was excellent! My hot stone massage was the best I have ever had. It all ended there. Night life was none existent after 10. The food was not good at all. Breakfast was the only meal that was decent everything else was non-descriptive and bland. The service was poor. Many of the staff do not want to be there or that is how they make you feel. They seem annoyed. They need to attempt to screw a smile on. The drinks were free flowing but I question if there was actually any alcohol in them. Be sure to ask for a shot on the side to add to your drink. We learned this trick on our last day there. Oh and bring your own insulated cup with straw. Overall the trip was fun, because how can you not have fun with a group of your besties, but expensive for 4 nights and not somewhere I would want to travel to again. We payed for the VIP club Mobay transfer to and from the airport. It was a diaster. That is another review.

    Mixed Review

    Reviewed by Tina F(Ellensburg) on Apr 12, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    I read the recent reviews before going on this trip. I have to say that it met my lowered expectations. The resort is beautiful and I felt like it was maintained very well. Views were spectacular, the beach was great with a roped off swim area. The water was the perfect temperature and not rough at all so being in it was a pleasure. Our room was very nicely appointed and decorated. Now the low points...the staff was very hit and miss. Most were a delight and so friendly! But a good 25% of them were not really friendly at all. We were in the St James preferred area. Very few of the check in staff were what I would term as friendly. Same with the little buffet lounge in that lobby. Very hit and miss with the restaurants and bars. Some went very out of their way and others could care less about you. We tipped everyone well. Especially our pool server. She was great. I wish I had her name! Food and drinks...again...hit and miss. They were ALWAYS out of food, The night we went to the Seaside grill, they had 2 of the 5 steaks on the menu. I have to say, the steaks we chose were excellent as was the service we received. We ate their at lunch often and had the Jerk Chicken Wrap. We loved it although the spice varied from day to day. Some days mild...some days it left your mouth on fire! Barefoot Grill...we didn't find this until our second to last day! Dang! The food there was great, neat atmosphere, and the staff incredible. It's WAY at the end of the resort past the St James preferred pool. Keep walking you won't be sorry! Blue Mountain...nothing to write home about. Bordeaux, didn't eat there because we got bad reviews from three couples traveling with us. El Patio...eh! Himitsu...great food. But our reservation was at 9:00...it was scorching hot in there! They sing a lot and hit their spatulas for rhythm. We all had headaches by the time we left. They didn't do any tricks or show off their cooking skills like most hibachi chefs. It was all about the singing performance? Weird! Portofino...all of our food was great, staff was pretty snooty. Baracuda Bar...it was the hot bar to hang out at, but beware...a customer asked for the final four to be turned on. As the bar tender flicked through the stations he landed on a hard core porn channel (he knew where that channel was) and lingered there while everyone freaked out. I'm not a prude, but 60" of up close detail was absolutely disgusting and I felt intentional. The jerk chicken cart was a hit. Every restaurant we went to was out of something every time without fail (usually what I wanted!). Sometimes the bars were out of stuff too. We spent a lot of time at the St James Preferred Pool as we had a group of 24 of us. Just get down to the pools or beach by 8-9am and you'll find a great place to call yours. Toss a towel and a magazine on the chair and you're good. The other two pools filled up fast! If you weren't down early you wouldn't get a chair later. They say you can't have your own music with a Bluetooth speaker, but I found if you kept it low they didn't enforce it. Our pool wasn't heated, but it was plenty warm. My picky husband spent hours in it. The rooms were FREEZING. There was a thermostat that seemed to do nothing. We learned our last night that you have to have a a staff member come change it for you. Honestly...if it weren't for the "being out of food" and 25% crabby staff. I would have given this place a 5.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4

    Rooms

    Rooms-4

    Service

    Service-3

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