from Queens, New York
Submitted on 15-07-2016
Stayed 7/6 -12)
I absolutely LOVED this resort overall. Why did I give it 4 stars instead of 5?? Because I hate the bathroom setup and bathrooms are very, very, very important to me. After a long day my cleansing and refreshing area is a very personal part of my wind down routine. So let me get this out of the way and I'll move on to the good stuff. The toilet area is a small tiny cubicle that is truly claustrophobic. The shower area literally opens up into a space where the double sink is ...
Stayed 7/6 -12)
I absolutely LOVED this resort overall. Why did I give it 4 stars instead of 5?? Because I hate the bathroom setup and bathrooms are very, very, very important to me. After a long day my cleansing and refreshing area is a very personal part of my wind down routine. So let me get this out of the way and I'll move on to the good stuff. The toilet area is a small tiny cubicle that is truly claustrophobic. The shower area literally opens up into a space where the double sink is located along with the jacuzzi tub. So when you come out of the shower you are literally out on the open with nothing but a sheer curtain separating you from whoever you're rooming with. Now partner or no partner, companion or no companion, when I step out of the shower, I want TOTAL privacy because I might have other things I want to do....in....private. With this said, there are no hooks to hang your robe or clothing before you go into the shower. The counter top with the sinks, although quite classy, offer very, very little counter space for toiletries or makeup. And there is no place to hang a toiletry or jewelry bag. I had to bring in the luggage rack and place it in the corner of the bathroom to put my toiletry and jewelry bag on top of it. However, the shower itself is divine with a rainfall shower fall coming down with wonderful pressure. The temperature adjusts really nicely to your preference. There is a great handheld shower thingy which is really nice. The shower itself was heaven. It's just coming out into the open space that personally drove me bananas. Also the jacuzzi is really nice as well.... The setup is very attractive, just not practical, in my opinion....
OK. Now, the service... The shower was very slow to drain at first with my feet swimming in shower water (not good). I told Melonie, the housekeeper, and she made sure it was fixed right away. Kudos to Melonie who also had the faucet fixed on the left sink where it needed a little tightening with water spurting out. Fixed right away. Room service was prompt every morning and unlike some hotels, they actually pay attention to the privacy signs/lights. Turndown service was nice although when the evening housekeeper came by we were mostly in our room chilling (party animals that we are!!! LOL) so we only got turndown 2 out of the 6 nights. We asked for extra towels and we received them. We asked for extra tissue boxes to keep on each side of the bed and we received them (Kleenex brand by the way, the ultra soft ones---big plus).
We had the same housekeeper each day so it was good to keep up with her. Some places you have a different person each day and have to tell them things all over again. Melonie was awesome.
Mini bar was stocked with soda (Coke-diet and regular, Sprite, Fanta Orange), water and Red Stripe Beer. The refrigerator was on high the entire time but did not keep drinks really cold. Other couple said the same thing about their refrigerator. Could be an environmental thing since this hotel is big on saving energy and preserving the environment. Asked for ginger ale, but they did not have any. Who doesn't have ginger ale???
Room Service was used the first two nights. First night I had the shrimp & chicken linguine. It was awful -- very dry and lukewarm. But we had just arrived from the airport and was tired and hungry. Second night had the jerk chicken quesadilla, wings, and a bunch of other stuff that was really really good.
Food overall -- Only went to a few restaurants -- Morning buffet breakfast was enjoyable. Some folk complained, but I thought it was great. The omelette lady made wonderful omelettes and remembered what we liked each time we went. They had grits that were great (not everybody can make great grits.....I was skeptical, but they were good with cheese on top) Every other kind of breakfast food, fruit, bread,meat, fish, waffle, french toast, pancake, juices, fish --- smoked salmon, smoked tuna, cod, etc etc, if you can think of it, it's there for breakfast. I could've eaten breakfast all day long. Breakfast closes at 10:30am but they're on Jamaican time,mon, so no problem, you wander in at 10:45 or 10:50 and there's still food for the taking.
The Famous Jerk Chicken Cart. OMG, this Jerk Chicken Cart that makes it's way up and down the beach is so doggone good. Sometimes there is a long line and I don't like lines even when I'm not vacationing. But it was so good.
Blue Mountain Restaurant -- this is the Jamaican restaurant and because I'm in Jamaica, right, it's gonna be good. I had the oxtails the first night b/c everybody on TripAdvisor was raving about the oxtails. They were dry and bland. My companion had the Curry Lamb which was SOOOOO good!!! We went back 4 nights later with another couple and my girlfriend ordered the oxtails and guess what???? They were to die for!! You hear me? OMG. Tender and falling off the bone!! Seasoned to perfection! What can I say? We went to the Japanese restaurant and it was the usual guys chopping up food in front of you and cooking it while they sang and did tricks. Only difference is they were Jamaican and not Japanese. We did'n't know that there was another part of the Japanese restaurant that did not require reservations where you could have regular seating instead of being seated around the prep table. We would have preferred that rather than the loud song and dance. Again, that's just our preference. A lot of folk seemed to enjoy it.
The Beaches were sooooooooo beautiful and warm. The water was crystal clear and so calm. It's true, there are uncomfortable rocks when you make your way into the water. But once you get past the rocks the water is absolutely perfect!
Preferred Club (PC). While we did not stay in the Preferred Club building, we had Preferred Club access.... he he he..... (Preferred Club folk have room cards which are black while everyone else gets a white card) So even though we were in a regular room (with a very nice Ocean View on the 5th floor) we had access and privledges. So what were these privileges and were they worth it if I had paid for them??? Depends. We went to the PC side on both the Wild Orchid and the St. James side (no matter which resort you stay at, you get to use the facilities at the other resort). The Wild Orchid PC beach and pool is definitely more exclusive and quiet. And I LOVE quiet. I sauntered over to the towel guy who asked to see my card (some folk say they were not carded but I was......no comment on that---sigh) Anywhooo, I proudly showed him my black card and was handed an orange towel, which meant that I was "in"!!! Since it's a smaller and more exclusive area the folk taking drink orders on the beach and by the pool are more responsive because they have fewer people to deal with. On the "regular" beach where the "common" folk were the waiters appear to be fewer. Now the PC area on the St. James side showed very little difference between the regular area and the PC area. There is a small discreet stone sign which says the the area is exclusively for Preferred Club Folk and again you get the much-coveted orange towel as opposed to the brown towel. ooooooohhhhh ahhhhh!!!!! Also in PC Wild Orchid there is a lounge area with hot and cold buffet all day. But really there's hot and cold food available all day and night any old way!! So honestly, if I did not get PC upgrade for free, I definitely would NOT do it. Give me my brown towel and let me be! But wait, I do remember the PC area having really nice cabanas and comfy double bed-like resting areas under beautiful thatched shelters. Hmmmm those were really nice now that I recall. And the PC in Wild Orchid had swim out pools from their rooms where they were receiving drink service --- not sure if I would spring for that, but I would love to visit a friend's room who did......
Service --- Everybody and I mean, everybody was super-dooper nice. Even when I was annoyed b/c the travel agent made a few promises that I felt were not being kept in the beginning, the people at the resort continued to smile while I was acting like a stereotypical NYer. They made efforts to make up for what the agent promised (hence my PC access). Everybody from the housekeeper to the gardeners and the life guards were SO friendly and really seemed to enjoy working there. That's important to me. I can tell when you smile because your boss told you to smile and when you smile b/c you love your job. These people love their jobs. Everyone I asked said they loved it. (I kept assuring them they could tell me the truth... I won't tell management!!! LOL. They just laughed and said, "yeah, mon, i luv it he, mon. Yeah. One love.....Respect, mon)
There's a strolling saxophone guy on some afternoons around sunset. He was really great. I was sleeping in one of the PC cabanas and got a little funny about being awakened by the sax, but I'm in public right??? And I could sleep in my room right??? And the schedule said, "Strolling Saxophone guy 5pm" ---or something to that effect, right?? So it's all good, mon. No problem.
They have a theater area with movies each night. I walked through one night and they were playing Concussion with Will Smith -- all the movies were recent films within the past year which I thought was great.
There's a little shopping area which is also great --- almost like a mini mall with about 5 or 6 different types of stores with a smoothie/juice place, ice cream, clothing, liquor, jewelry, and other stuff. Nice, but I didn't buy anything. Just looked around.
Wi-Fi was AWESOME. Love me a strong wi-fi signal and it was had throughout the entire resort including the beach areas. It was a wee bit weak on the very far end of St. James where the property was ending, but overall the wi-fi was wonderful. As a result, calls could be made from my iPhone using wi-fi as opposed to data. I also was able to do a lot of streaming onto my iPad while laying on the beach.
They have roaming photographers who take your pick and you can go to the photo store and pick out what you want at the end of your stay -- just like they do on the cruise ships.
They had bunches of activities which I did not take part in because I just wanted to sleep and do nothing but lay on the beach. I had planned to go on excursions, but did absolutely nothing. My companion did the spa and got a pedicure which he said was marvelous. He got talked into some sort of expensive foot scrub which he said was really great. (Just remember to NOT pack your expensive lotions and scrubs into your carryon like he did or it will be ditched at the airport -- which his was! :-) My girlfriend went to the gym every morning and said it was great and well-equipped. I packed my sneakers for the gym.... that was about it for me.....
Tipping: Yes, we tipped everybody. From the Housekeeper to the Omelette Lady, we tipped. Whatever these folk were making, it's less than what we make and even though I am not wealthy or rich, I believe in a spirit of generosity, especially when it is well-deserved. And these folk are deserving. I understand not everyone tips and it is not mandatory and they will not screw up their faces if you don't tip. But I got on the plane with bunches of singles set aside in anticipation of good service. And that is what I received -- good service.
For taxi service I recommend Turner Transportation which I will review separately. The taxi services that the resort offers are more expensive.
I also recommend the MoBay VIP Lounge at the Airport which I will review separately.
Aside from the bathroom setup, which many people might not think is a big deal, I LOVED this place. Yes, I would go back given the opportunity and a really good deal. If I were to go, I would go to the St. James side which is slightly less expensive but gives you all of the benefits of Wild Orchid -- Wild Orchid is just where everything is within reach -- food, restaurants, theatre, mini mall, etc. Secrets is a fantastic place from the moment the guy meets you at your car door and says "Welcome Home", you indeed know you are welcome and home.