VACATION RECAP | SECRETS ST JAMES REVIEW MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA

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Hi everyone!

How is your Wednesday going so far? I'm currently having beach withdraws so reminisce about a time where I was only steps away from the beach. What better way than to do a little recap of my trip down to Jamaica. I thought I would also do little review of the resort we stayed in. We booked an all inclusive trip through Sunwing and stayed at the Secrets St James Hotel in Montego Bay. Patrick & I flew down done for some much-needed R&R & also to celebrate my birthday. As we both have fairly hectic work schedules, we decided on an easy going vacation. Although I had the full intention of vlogging the whole trip, as the days passed I did end up slacking. I'll blame it on the fact that I had fully embraced the relaxed vibe of the vacation. Honestly, most of days consisted of laying by the beach with tasty cocktails, nachos, and ample amount of jerk chicken on hand. I think it's great mixing vacation styles from time to time. Although I love sightseeings and discovering new cities and town, it was a nice change to just relax and lay on the beach. It's definitely different from all the other hectic and action packed vacations we've had in the past.

I also uploaded a little vlog of my trip down there as well as a hotel room tour :) Click here if you'd like to see the vlog. Also if you would to be updated for when I upload my videos, be sure to subscribe to my channel so we can keep in touch :)





HOTEL, LOCATION & PRICE
As I mentioned above, we booked our trip through Sunwing and stayed at the Secrets St James Resort, which is located in Montego Bay. The resort is only about 15-20 minutes away from the airport. The resort was rated as a 5stars resort, which I do I agree on. It's also a adults only resort (18 years + ).We paid just under 1800$ CAD each for a 7night stay. As the name suggest, the price was all inclusive and include the flight, transfers, accommodation as well as all the meals and drinks. 

CHECKING IN 
As we arrived at the hotel, we were immediately welcomed and the bellman took care of our luggage. There was even a cute doormat that said: "Welcome home". I love cute details like that! The check in process was quick and simple, and they even offered us champagne during the check in process. Talk about a chic check in! The lobby though was fairly small (I usually associate all inclusive resorts with a grand lobby). But this just made for a more intimate check in process.

HOTEL ROOM
The great thing about this resort is all the rooms are suites with either a balcony or a patio which means that space isn't an issue. This particular hotel is described as having a colonial style (their sister hotel Wild Orchid has more of a contemporary style if that's your preference). Although the decor definitely has a colonial vibe, I didn't feel as though it was outdated. The room features a soaking bathtub, a rainfall shower head, a mini bar, and king bed, a balcony with the view of the pool and beach (AMAZING) and many more amenities.  Click here if you'd like to know have more room details.

HOTEL GROUNDS
Although the Secrets St James shares its amenities with the Wild Orchid Hotel, I personally did not find the resort to be overly crowded. Perhaps that's also in part due to our timing there. We went early June when it isn't technically high-season. The hotel grounds were well maintained and beautiful throughout. I honestly have no complaints. The beach, the sand, the decor and everything was aesthetically pleasing. They also had peacocks that randomly roamed around the hotel grounds. I was always fascinated every time I saw them casually wandering around. They also had a couple of parrots with an open cage (Bob & Rita (not pictured). Also, I think it's also worthy to mention that they had swings throughout the resort. They basically rock you to relaxation. This bed swing was my favorite though! It's literally a bed hanging from a tree with the view of the ocean. Now that's what I can bliss!
BOB the parrot, Jerk chicken & Pina Colada, & a casual bed swing facing the ocean (it was so pretty I wanted to cry)

FOOD
The all inclusive package included 24h room service and snacks, unlimited a la carte restaurants, and of unlimited liquor. The room service was basic, and excluded cocktails but overall it was decent. They had a variety of a la carte restaurant, ranging from Italian, French, Mexican, Jamaican, and even a Hibachi restaurant. My experience with Jamaican cuisine is quite limited, and therefore I can't be completely certain of how authentic the Jamaican food was, but regardless of its authenticity, it was absolutely delicious. The resort also featured a jerk chicken cart that would travel throughout the resort around lunch time as well as late at night. Just imagine jerk chicken and Pina Coladas by the beach, and that pretty much was a routine during my vacation. There was also a self-service soft ice cream by the coffee shop (where you can usually find peacocks waiting in line as line:), which Patrick & I hovered around on many occasions


Fresh Coconut, My happy face when I see a Mai Tai, and a bob marley drink.

ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT
The resort was definitely not short of activities, however, Patrick & I did not participate in many of the activities because we were busy being beach bum during the day. What can I say, we took the term relaxing literally and had a great time. What I really took advantage of though was the sunset yoga. Practicing yoga while listenning to the calming beach waves as the sun set was beyond incredible. It took relaxation to a whole new level. There were also activities throughout the day by pool and staff we were really engaging. One of my favorite activities they hosted was chocolate night, where they wide variety of chocolate treats (chocolate fountains, even roasting your marshmallow, an abundance of chocolate dessert, a flambe station, and of course chocolate cocktails!) They also had nightly entertainment ranging from their live bands to interactive games (couples night), circus acts and many more.&nbsp

The gazebo where sunset yoga took place 
TIPPING
I read several posts prior to going to Jamaica to see what the tipping situation was, and from what I gathered, tipping is to your discretion. We ended up converting our money into USD (that seemed to be the consensus from reading the forums) and had asked the bank for many 1$ - 5$ bills. Although technically all taxes and services charges are included in the package, personally I was more comfortable providing a tip for the workers. Generally, most of the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming that I think they truly deserved it. They were all so appreciative when it came down to giving them a small tip. Basically, for drinks, Patrick & I would tip 1$ USD each. During meals, depending on the service we would tip between 2-5$ USD, and for the turn down and housekeeping, we would tip 5$ USD.

THE BAD
As much as I loved this resort and overall found the service to be quite good, there were a few hiccups. First, our toilet broke a few times, and although I'm not extremely technically with the mechanism of a toilet, I think it had something to do with the flusher. This wasn't really a hindrance because it was fixed quite quickly and the housekeeper also left us a note on to remedy this (by pressing a certain button twice.) Again, not an expert with the exact parts of a toilet, but her advice seemed to do the trick. Also, our mini bar wasn't consistently refilled, but I think that had more to do with the times we put the "do not disturb sign", as the bar is refilled during a certain time period. Also, we did encounter a few staff members that were not as pleasant others, but honestly it didn't phase us. There were probably only one or two we had come across, and maybe they were simply having a bad day themselves. Like I said earlier, most of the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. note, I thought I'd end this post with the good aspects of this resort.

THE GOOD
As I hate ending things on a negative ample amounts of food available throughout the resort ranging from snack bars, room services, and restaurants. (Food is very important to me while on vacation) Also, there was also several self-serve cases of water bottles available (on ice) near the beach, and waiters that would make their way to the beach and pool to bring your desired cocktails, so being thirsty was never an option :)  Patrick & I both had an extremely relaxed and fantastic vacation at the Secrets St James. They had a mixed between a relaxing resort to party resort. If you wanted to day drink and party the night away they had you covered, but there were also many spots throughout the resort that allowed you to just relax and to decompress. Overall I would definitely recommend this resort. :)

If you made it this far to the post, thank you so much for reading this post. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask :) Also, I'd love to know if you guys have any all inclusive resort recommendations. I definitely foresee going to another one in the future :)


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