Hotels Jamaica The Caribbean

Hotel Review: Secret St James, Montego Bay

All-inclusive can be a great option for those who love to relax, enjoy the beach and really take time out from their busy life – after all, that’s what a holiday’s about right? (*the first time we’ve ever relaxed in our lives!)

The downside of all-inclusive is that sometimes it can be EXPENSIVE. And you feel like you need to drink your body weight in alcohol every single day just to make up for the cost.

And you’re not wrong.

When my best friend told me she was getting married in Jamaica, and their chosen destination wedding was going to be on a 5-star, all-inclusive resort, I think my bank account started crying. To make things worse, it was going to be peak summer holiday prices…

But the big question – was it worth it?

I won’t lie, I had HIGH expectations and boy was I going to be unhappy if standards slip.

The hotel room

The actual hotel room was gorgeous. We’d been upgraded to a sea view as part of the wedding party – I think they’d messed up somewhere and were providing complimentary upgrades to all of us as compensation – and it was well worth it (it put us right next to the pool).

Image source: These photos of the room have been taken from the TUI website. Unfortunately, my own photos have been lost.

We had a standing bath with beautiful shutters that – when pulled back – would just about let you see over the bed and out to sea whilst you soaked in bubbles.

We had a huge bed, plenty of space and a balcony with one of the best views I think I’ve ever seen (sorry Bellagio in Las Vegas).

All in all, we were impressed.

The service

Our luxurious bliss was to last for a total of 10 days – by day 2, Lee was trying to see if we could sell the house and live there permanently.

I’ll admit we didn’t do much but laze around the pool all day, make the quick dash to our room around 3-4pm when the rains started, and then headed out for dinner in the evening after freshening up.

Everywhere we went, the service was impeccable. The restaurant staff, the bar staff, the front desk staff, the room service staff, everyone was smiley, gracious, kind, and thoughtful. It was like we’d entered some weird utopia where nothing bad could ever happen.

In fact, we didn’t encounter a single problem the whole time we were there – and that’s more than I can say for any other holiday.

The facilities

Whilst all-inclusive generally does involve just sitting by the pool or the beach, it’s still nice to know there are other things you can do when it all gets a bit too much.

And there was plenty to choose from.

We could have done morning yoga classes by the water, gone for a bike ride, or watched a movie under the stars amongst other activities. What we did end up doing was taking full advantage of the help-yourself-popcorn-machine, the do-it-yourself-Mr-whippy-machine, enjoyed evening entertainment, and headed over to the Hard Rock Café next door just because we could.

All-in-all, I was thoroughly impressed and especially enjoyed that the pool bar staff knew when we needed a drink top up without asking.

Personally, I felt like every penny was worth it, but probably wouldn’t book something that expensive again in a hurry. Not everyone can afford to splash out, but if you’re thinking about all-inclusive, I would highly recommend.

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