Happy Travel Tuesday! We’re excited to share a special guest post today from one of our fellow travel couples – The Sundars, newlyweds from Southern California. Congrats to this happy couple! We’re living vicariously through their Jamaican honeymoon today and, man, does it sound nice…
By Casey Sundar
After running on maybe three hours of sleep following the event of our lives (our wedding), there was no time to waste to catch our red-eye flight the very next day. We were trading in our gown and tux for bikinis and board shorts. Visions of swaying palm trees, frozen daiquiris and doing absolutely nothing danced through our heads as we boarded the plane. And that is exactly what Secrets St. James in Jamaica provided—and so much more. Starting our lives in pure paradise—with reggae music as our soundtrack—was a dream come true. Secrets St. James is a secret no more! Read on to discover what could be your next dream vacation.
Where is the hotel located?
Secrets St. James is located in Montego Bay and is only a 20-minute drive from the airport. For us, this was a good perk because a) we wanted to get to all the relaxation right away and b) our departure time back to the States was at 7 a.m., so the ride to the airport wouldn’t be as brutal if we stayed in Negril or Ocho Rios (two other popular resort towns in Jamaica).
What was your first impression when you arrived?
As our shuttle made its way through the gates, we parked outside of the lush entrance and were greeted by exceptionally helpful staff members. When I tried to grab my suitcase from the shuttle, a staffer immediately said, “No, ma’am, I will take it. You should not do any work on your vacation.” Now that’s what I like to hear.
How was check-in?
For a Tuesday, it was busy in the check-in lobby. But we were greeted right away and asked to take a seat on the plush couches. While we waited to check in, the staff brought us mimosas (ah—so refreshing after a long flight!). After 20 minutes, we checked in and our customer service representative was friendly, helpful and always referred to us as “the happy newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Sundar.”
Were you offered a room upgrade or any other complimentary perks?
Yes and we took it! The woman who checked us in escorted us to our initial room, which was lovely but situated close to all the action and was a bit noisy. She offered to take us to a room that felt more private and closer to the ocean. Sold!
What was our first impression of the room?
Both rooms were gorgeous, but the upgraded one was quieter and had a breathtaking view of the ocean. The highlight inside the room: a jet bathtub situated as a divider between the bedroom area and the double-sinks of the bathroom. The sheer curtains around the tub made it über-luxurious.
How was the view from our room?
Amazing! One side of the balcony showcased the pristine waters of Montego Bay, with tiny sailboats docked side-by-side on the white sand. On the other side were palm trees and a smaller, less populated pool.
Bath robe, slippers and bathroom amenities?
Yes and yes! We each had a luxurious bath robe and slippers. The usual travel size lotion, shampoo and conditioner were available, too. Aside from bathroom amenities, we were greeted with a “Happy Honeymoon” sash on our front door, fresh fruit and a bottle of rum atop our dresser. It didn’t take long for us to start conjuring up our inner-Jack Sparrow.
Speaking of pirates, drinks were in abundance! Along with our bottle of rum, our mini-fridge was stocked to the brim with beer, colas and water (and replenished every day while we were out lounging by the pool).
With our room upgrade, we also gained a preferred club membership allowing us access to designated buildings of the resort that housed self-serve drinks and small plated appetizers. It was like attending our own private happy hour before going to dinner.
WiFi / phone-charging station?
WiFi was available for an additional charge and came with an iPad. The connection was so-so, but we really didn’t need to use it much. Who needs technology when you have paradise right outside your door?
The majority of our mornings began at the international buffet, a place comparable to something you would find in Las Vegas. For a place with so much food, it was very delicious and restocked immediately if a station ran low. The one morning we didn’t go to the buffet was when we were served a “champagne breakfast in bed.” This room service was part of our package and we got to enjoy our meal on the balcony in our robes. It really doesn’t get any better.
Along the walkways of the resort during the day, carts were cooking up Jamaican jerk chicken—so scrumptious! And it paired perfectly with the beverages from the swim-up bar. Note: Do yourself a favor and order the Dirty Banana. This refreshing, decadent frozen drink is worth every calorie.
The resort had an array of restaurants to choose from. From hibachi and French cuisine to a Mexican grill and lobster night, there was no shortage of food selection during our five-night stay. When we had a serious tropical storm one night, room service was our savior. It was everyone else’s too, as it took some time to arrive. Once we got our food on a silver platter, we were full and happy (and dry!).
$3,500 for six days for the two of us.
Would we stay there again?
Absolutely! Secrets St. James had everything we could want in an all-inclusive resort and more.
Would we recommend it to a friend?
100%! This gorgeous resort encompasses just the right amount of relaxation and fun. From the delicious food and unlimited drinks, to the amazing service and gorgeous landscape, we have been telling friends and family this is the place to go if they find themselves in Montego Bay.
Casey Sundar is a writer from Redondo Beach, Calif. When she’s not booking her next vacation, Casey is making over people’s homes, dreaming of adopting a puppy and playing fantasy football with her nearest and dearest.
A big THANK YOU to The Sundars for sharing their amazing honeymoon with us – we want to pack our bags for Jamaica! Want to join us?
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Until next time – wishing you safe travels, swashbuckling adventures, and lots of Dirty Bananas! 😉
Jeanette & Todd