|Old Reviews - Holiday Inn Sunspree|
Arrival: July 11-18, 2009
This is a good choice for the budget traveler who does not expect a 5 star resort from a 3 star with 3 star pricing. Our criteria are a clean room with clean linens, good food and friendly staff and the Sunspree met all of these. The hotel is older and is under new ownership and renovations are underway. We stayed in Block #6 (5, 6, and 7 have been renovated or are in the process). It was close to the adult only pool and the quieter section of the beach. Blocks 1-4 are closer to the activities pool, restaurants, etc. Our room was nicely redecorated, but the bathroom was worn and in need of some attention. However, the room was cleaned daily and fresh towels were always provided (even washcloths which are sometimes hard to find in the Caribbean). Shampoo, lotion and soap were provided and replaced as necessary. There was also an iron and ironing board, coffee maker, clock radio and flat screen TV; nice touches for a 3 star hotel.
We enjoyed the variety of Jamaican foods offered at the main buffet restaurant, but if you are not the adventurous type, there was always pasta, pizza, etc at the buffet and lots of other choices (hot dogs, burgers, fries, nachos, etc) at the poolside and oceanfront snack bars. We found the food to be very good and had good service from the staff. There was good jerk chicken, pork, fish, etc available at various times in the main buffet and daily at the Just Kiddn hut across from the watersports booth. We ate once at the Jamaican a la carte and enjoyed the food and service there. The only complaints were the blaring Michael Bolton music played there and the dribbling of basketballs on the adjacent court during dinner. If you are eating here, ask for an oceanfront table to avoid the basketball court. We did not have the opportunity to try the two other a la cartes (Italian and International) because they were booked for the nights that we were interested in.
We had a couples massage on the beach at sunset which was very relaxing. We also had a pedicure and reflexology treatment which were both nice, although a little costly compared to North American prices.
The only disappointment to us at this resort was the lack of good snorkeling available off shore. There were a few fish, but for the experienced snorkeler, it was not exciting. There is a reef close to shore, but we were advised that we were not to swim there because of the danger of injury. They did have snorkeling trips available for $35 US each for 1 hour, but they went out to the same reef we could have swam to !!!
We felt that we got good value for what we paid and would return to this resort again on a sell-off. If you go with realistic expectations and can overlook the “bumps and bruises” of the resort, this is a good choice, in our opinion, for a budget vacation
After recommendations from friends I was very disappointed. The room was mouldy, the pillows were lumpy, the floors had snails walking around. The bathroom was old with cigarette burns, almost slipped in the tub as it was so slimey. The furniture was falling apart. The dining area was full of flies, the assortments of foods were limited, maybe because it was the end of a long holiday weekend. For the price of more than US$200 it was not worth it. I would not go as far up the scale to rate Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay a 3 star.
Arrival: February 12 - 19
Restaurants and Bars
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
My daughter and I were here for 5 nights in November 8th ~Nov 13th she is getting married this june so this was our last mother/daughter vacation
From the time we landed, until check out, our vacation was great. We upgraded to a Deluxe Ocean Front room, we had a spectacular view of the ocean right outside our window. We were on the ground floor, and had a little patio out there.
FOOD: Food was awesome, great variety, and plenty to go around. I especially liked the “made to order” omelets for breakfast. Staff was friendly, and always handy to fill my coffee, or get another napkin if needed. We loved the Italian restaurant so much, we had dinner there TWICE!
ROOM: as I said we had an oceanfront room, in building 1. It was clean, and housekeeping came in everyday and made sure it stayed that way.
NIGHTLIFE: Was not too busy, it was in Nov. and the kids are in school, but they did the best they could, there was a fashion show, there was “movie night” and there was a beach front dinner at the Jamaican restaurant…
GROUNDS: The beach is a little shallow and is NOT by any means as nice as the beaches in Punta Cana or Mexico, but the sunset makes up for it. I am a beach person and LOVE the beach and ocean..but I could deal with the small amount of sand for the beautiful Jamaican sunset!
They have a great little Market, as well as a gift shop.
The one thing I didn’t like was the fact that refrigerators don’t come with the room, u have to request one. We did and got one right away, but most resorts give you that luxury, that we didn’t realize WAS a luxury, until we didn’t have one.
Would I return? YES, IN FACT I HAVE A WEEK PLANNED THERE THIS SEPT. AND MY FIANCE AND I ARE BEING MARRIED ON THE GAZEBO OVERLOOKING THE WATER , NEAR THE JAMACIAN RESTAURANT, IF U ARE GOING TO BE THERE THIS WEEK, COME SHARE IN OUR HAPPINESS!! The actual date of the ceremony is Sept 17th 4pm.
Restaurants and Bars
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
when i booked this holiday i came home an looked at these reviews and they put me of goin i was goin to cancel the holiday oh my god im just so glad i never it was amazing honest the best holiday ive been on i been mexico didnt think nothin of tha but this holiday this hotel was mind blowing i went in july 2oo8 i have now booked my wedding im goin back to the same hotel holidayinnsunspree so wen u see them sayin on here dont go to this place please take no notice wot so ever it was my perfect holiday and i no its gunna be my perfect wedding the best place i have ever been.
We stayed at this resort from October 31, 2008 until November 8, 2008. I would NOT recommend this hotel. It was dirty, the pillows were moldy and lumpy, and the facilities were horrible. STAY AWAY FROM THIS HOTEL!!!!! There is nothing good about this hotel. There were no activities except for the lame entertainment which consisted of watching the children from the nearby school put on a recital, UGH! Beside all that there is NO beach!!!!! The place is under renovation and new ownership, and should NOT be open during this transition. If I had not been to Jamaica before and this was the first hotel I stayed at I would never had returned. DON’T STAY AT THIS HOTEL!!!!!! OH, yeah, they had bingo that you had to pay for – WHAT????? The prizes were little bottles of rum, give me a break and you have to pay if the kids want to use XBOX, yup! Just a regular game and they want you to pay. Slimy place!
About Us: My name is Chris from Maine, USA. My family and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay in January 2008. Our previous travel experiences have included 2 cruises (Royal Caribbean & Carnival), staying at a Sandals all inclusive in St. Lucia and state side trips. On the trip was myself (38), my husband (48), best female friend (42) and my son age 4.
We found the Holiday Inn Sunspree to be a fair value. It is not a "5 Star" resort by any means, but we did not pay a "5 Star" price.
Check In: My largest complaint was check in which was very slow (even for the Caribbean)...it was a point of frustration after the flight and seemed like an "easy fix" for the hotel. There were plenty of staff on duty so I'm not quite sure why there was such a delay, but we waited at least twenty minutes in Maine clothing in Jamaican heat. Not fun.
Food: The food was very good, lots of variety and plenty of it. I am not a picky eater but I am not very adventurous with my eating either. (i.e. I won't eat a casserole if I don't know what's in it.) There was plenty of fresh fruit and salads and usually a chicken or fish dish. They also had hot dogs, smily fries and chicken tenders which was wonderful for my four year old. On two different nights they had an outside barbeque that was lots of fun and invited in local vendors to sell their wares. We also went to the italian sit down restaurant twice (reservations must be made in advance during the day). The Italian food was nothing special but it was a nice change. The beachfront restaurant was equally as good. It happened to be my birthday and at my husband's request the resort made me a cake. Breakfast at the buffet was especially good with omelets made to order. The buffet area is open to the outside which makes for pleasant dining.
Hot Water: Hot water was always available.
Rooms: The rooms were small and weren't thought out great (i.e. lighting, outlets & mirrors not placed at the best locations). The first room we were given was disappointing. It was bare bones minimum and clearly very worn. (i.e. there was only one curtain over the sliding door - usually there is at least a shear and curtain). My friend, as a single, got a better/newly renovated room. We requested a change and they gladly accommodated us. They took us through the resort to give us several different options. We moved our room and although it was not newly renovated, we were pleased the rest of the week.
Overall: The hotel is clearly older and shows signs of wear (i.e. there were small details left unnoticed such as missing/broken tiles that needed to be replaced) but it was clean. I am a bit neurotic when it comes to germs and I found that I was not concerned about eating the food or drinking from the glasses or walking barefoot on the grounds. The buffet was immaculate and the grounds were constantly maintained.
Entertainment: They made many attempts to keep the adults and kids active through entertainment (i.e. children's poolside games, evening magician and music). We were not bored even though we stayed for seven days. We took one tour to Dunns River Falls and were pleased with the entire tour.
Beach: The beach has a small island in front of it with lounge chairs. The water is very shallow (1-4') in front of the island. We found this to be wonderful for swimming with our son. My husband took advantage of the snorkeling gear and went on the other side of the island where the water is deeper - he saw a small octopus and several kinds of fish. He and my son also took out a paddleboat and enjoyed the trip. My friend went out on a caterman with staff. We had no problem sitting in a shaded area.
Shops: There are shops across the street which were fun to visit. We purchased bottled water here rather than risking drinking it from the tap.
To sum up, we have paid twice the price to stay at a "perfect" resort. This time we needed to go on a budget. We found the Holiday Inn Sunspree to be a friendly and affordable resort that provided us with everything we needed to have a decent vacation.
I would go back again.
Hello my name is Asha and my family and I stayed in the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Jamaica, Montego Bay. I was incredibly displeased with everything that was encompassed within a 5-mile radius of that place. From having absolutely no dinner upon our arrival, we were met after our tiresome journey with a cockroach- infested room, along with dirty glasses filled with alcohol and dirty towels strewn everywhere. When we sent for the sanitation management, an incredibly rude employee came and told us he refused to clean our room because "he was a man, and he won't do a woman's job." Like I stated before, we were extremely tired, and hungry as well, as were the other arrivals and we had to go to bed hungry because there were no accommodations made for any of the new arrivals. Our vacation continued as such, with a string of other disappointments. Half of my family is vegetarian, and hence they starved as there was almost no food in their favor. The last straw was when we were leaving on our last day and were promised a last meal before we went, but were sent home hungry. After all these misfortunes, we lodged a complaint to the management only to be told " that our opinions don't matter, and were one out of all of their customers, and therefore our opinions do not count." All in all, an incredibly terrible place to stay and I would definatly NOT reccomend the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Jamaica, Montego Bay!
Stayed at this resort the first 2 weeks of march. Loved it. We thought that the staff were so accommodating--always asking if you were ok , shaking your hand or just stopping to visit. I think that if you are friendly to them that they will respond to you in a friendly fashion. However, if they feel that they are being snubbed and criticized they back off. It is the same everywhere.
The room was very clean, the sheets changed everyday, thank-you notes left for us and always hello from all the staff. Food was good. If you can't find anything on the buffet then I would like to see your menus at home. Jerk chicken and pork excellent.The restaurants, other than the buffet also were very good. The steak was great for a Carribean country. We are not worldly travellers, but learned to take bubba mugs, fill them with ice and water to take to the beach or wherever. We drank the water and had no trouble. We are 60 yrs. plus, so we could be getting to that age thatlittle things like this upset our stomachs haha. We have only gone south to Mexico, Cuba, D.R. since 2000, but have realized we are going tobe at any Hilton!
Snorkeling was great. Not like some places, but plenty to see.
Would I return?? You bet. God helps those who help themselves!!
We are a regular traveling couple to the Caribbean. Have been to Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic and now Jamaica in a range of resorts from 2.5* to 5*.
Flight: Skyservice check- In at T.O. Huge lineup but many attendants, moved well and extremely friendly. Flight seats very crowded as per usual with some charters. Better plane on way back. Were not able to sit together on way too Jamaica but both got aisle seats one in front of the other.
When filling out visa forms for Jamaica, flight attendants said one form per family but when reaching Jamaica everybody needed to fill out one per person. Held up arrival slightly.
Check -In : We joined the priority club on the hotel website before we got there and although there is not alot of bonuses to it, there is a special line for those who signed up and we had rooms very quickly. There is no cost to this club and it got us a fruit plate delivered to our room, turn down service and express check-in. Suggestion, one person get luggage from bus while other starts registration.
Rooms: Clean and got a King sized bed as requested. My dear wife says my snoring isn't as loud 5 feet away. A/C worked , side balcony with side view of ocean. No cute folded towel animals as in other countries. We were in Building 1 , closest to main pool and buffet.
Beach: Not very deep but stretched out in front of 7 buildings and lots of chairs/loungers. Only 1 day did we have trouble finding a lounger. We snorkelled out front and saw many fish,barracuda and stingrays. Water sports good. Can't take the catamarans out yourself even if you sail but they have workers who will take you out.. Little island nice place to be on. Easily walkable. Down in front of building 6 and 7 were mostly adult only beach.
Bars: 4; Catamaran in the Main building. A little slow at night when very busy but great service during the day and willing to offer new suggestions for drinks etc. Was the place to be in the evenings.
Barefoot Bar & Grill: Fast service even when a little line. Back side of bar had hamburgers,hot dogs, fish and neverending fries.
Jerk Hut/Bar: Fantastic Jerk Chicken available all day. Little round bar on ocean . Great place
Big Smaddys: Bar at far end of resort with swim up bar at adult pool. Wonderful place to hang out during the day . Sharon a marvellous bartender. Beach right in front of bar. Washrooms a little bit of a walk. Closed at 6:00 but pool stayed open to 10:00 would have been nice for the bar to stay open longer as the next bar at night would be way back at the main hall.
FOOD: Great variety. Never tired of having an omellete made for me for breakfast and a plate of fruit. Lots of other variety to choose from.
3 A La Carte Restaurants. Must book the day before at 3:00 p.m on. Great sit down service at all 3 . Trattoria and Cappacino actually shared the same menu, weren't supposed to but I can handle choosing between Filet Mignon and Salmon steak a couple night apart. Seabreeze restaurant was native Jamaican food and right on the beachfront. It is only open a few nights so book early.
A free Nurse on duty from 9-6 which was a great bonus.Used once for minor issue, very friendly and helpful.
Check out day there is a locked, supervise area for your luggage and you can still spend the day on the beach and in the check-out lounge there are showers and change rooms before plane time. Really impressed with that as we did not have to leave till 5:00 p.m and check-out was 11:00. Did look into extended check -out time but was $40 for 3 more hours. A little extreme and not needed with this lounge.
Safe- Used it and put your own code in. Even overheard a maid say to another guest on our floor that when she went to clean their room earlier but the safe was open so she couldn't clean it at that time, hotel policy. Anyway, felt very safe and secure.
Staff: As mentioned before have been to 4 Carribean countries, enjoyed all but Jamaicans were by far the friendliest , courteous of all. Staff just walking by would ask where you were from , were you having a good time etc.
Had a great time at this resort, staff very friendly, grounds maintained well. Could have used a deeper pool to actually swim some laps in but there were 2 pools. This is a family friendly resort great to take kids too. Now we did not have any with us but there were many activites for kids and a great lagoon pool and kids pool and kids club. The entertainers also kept them busy. I would recommend this resort to anyone for a relaxing fun time especially families.
NIghtlife a little dead and although there were many in their 20's at the resort as it was spring break they tended to party off resort at night and not at the Hotel disco which was dead most times but bar was opened to 2 a.m. and never busy.
MArgariteaville: Yes the Jimmy Buffet Bar. Free shuttle and entry to the bar as Holiday Inn owns it. Shuttle went at 9,10 and 11 p.m. Shuttle came back at 12, 1 and 2 a.m. If you wait to last shuttle probably getting your own taxi back. Anyway, saw a great reggae band, NCAA tournament on the TV's and where the younger crowd hung out.
Dunns River Falls: Took the Cool Runnings trip and enjoyed the snorkelling, the falls walk and a party cruise. Great Guides.
Go to Jamaica and you will have NO PROBLEMS MAN!
Arrival - Check in was long, appeared to be disorganized and the rooms we were assigned were very substandard and eventhough we booked 4 months in advance our reservation request to have rooms far away from the pool (very noisy) were not accomodated. Sunquest representatives were not helpful.
Rooms - Hotel and rooms are old and dirty.The floors are in desperate need of a clean mop.For example we all kept sandals next to the beds in the event we had to visit the washroom at night. Rooms show signs of wear and holes in walls should be repaired and repainted.Washrooms are gross. My advice,take household anti-bacterial cleaners and paper towels along to give yourself some piece of mind in terms of germs and the mildew.
Restaurants - The food at the buffet restaurant was limited in choice and not appetizing.Generally when we go away (usually twice a year to the Caribbean) we do not complain about the food because we are essentially there for the water and the beach but,this was horrible.I guess if you can stomach dishes like Stuffed Pork Stomach,Goat and other local delicacies you would do fine. We usually do not eat hamburger patties at home but "the barefoot bar" or as my kids referred to it as "the Krusty Krab" was the only thing we ate. Even the simple things like salads and fruits were limited and short in supply.
Bars - My biggest beef with the bars is being served wine or beer in very very worn plastic glasses and not real glass.Seriously my kids play in their sandbox at home with better looking glasses than what we were served with.
Beach and Pools - We never used the pool because that sign in the pool which appeared every single evening at approximately 5:00 p.m. " Warning.Pool Closed for Treatment" and the fact that the water in it was always cloudy/mirky turned us off even going in.
The beach is very small ( about 20-25 feet) and for three days there was no beach because the tide was high. Don't come to this resort if you're expecting to see beaches like Punta Cana,Cayo Coco,Cayo Santa Maria or like in Aruba.
Grounds - The grounds are old,small but they are maintained
Activities - Live entertainment is not really a focal point to the directors of this resort but,there are activities for kids eventhough we never used them. Watersports are restricted to the pedal boats and kayaks.However when the island gets hit with a mild storm like it was for two days of our stay the resort is ill equipped to keep the guests occupied with alternative activities. The mini golf is very worn and in dire need of new turf
Tours - Tour are available and you can haggle very good prices with local Taxi drivers/Small Bus Operators
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree in the first week of January 2008 and it was our first stay in Jamaica.Everyone has different tastes,likes and dislikes but, if your idea of a vacation is of hearing latin music,being treated by friendly staff and having great accomodation then avoid this resort. The resort is in need of a grandscale renovation,the staff should be more responsive(NOT TO THE POINT OF SNAPPING MY FINGERS AND GETTING SOMETHING FOR ME RIGHT AWAY)but when I ask for a coffee it shouldn't take 10-15 minutes to get a simple cup of coffee.The service is afforded in instalments.For example on the first day that we arrived one bed missing in our romms so we asked that a bed be delivered to the room.It took awhile and the bed was delivered without linens.So when we were getting the kids to bed we called to the front desk and requested that bed linens be provided to the room.After a long wait the bed linens were delivered.But no pillow.We called to the front desk again to request a pillow and subsequently after another long wait the pillow was delivered.The Holiday Inn Sunspree is not a 4 Star resort.There are better resorts in certain parts of the Caribbean that have a 3 Star rating and frankly when,as in our case being a family of five,to spend $8,300.00 CDN for a week,we could have done a lot better.In conclusion,eventhough we were disappointed with our resort and we won't be visiting Jamaica again, nothing can take away the fond memories of the entire family on vacation
I thought this was a fantastic place to stay. We were there for a week and I was so impressed with the service. Jamaicans are so laid back and friendly, I don't think I've ever met a nicer culture of people. True, the front desk is a bit understaffed and that is the place where you have to wait the longest, but you never have to wait for a drink or coffee, or burgers/fries/grilled cheese on the beach.
If you have children this is a great place. We had two very young children with us and usually checked them in daycare when the sun was really hot between 10-2. The ladies were fabulous, and although the service is free, we tipped them everyday because they comforted our teething baby so well. Sometimes I would be on the beach and see one lady strolling him around the shade.
The water sports are fun. Sailing, kayaking, and paddleboats are free. Glass bottom boat tours and snorkling prices range from 9-18 dollars per person depending on your package. They also teach scuba diving for extra money and take you out, I never had a chance but heard it was amazing.
Breakfast was a buffet, had a wide variety of homemade bread, french toast, local fruit, pastries, bacon. They would make an omelot or eggs right in front of you. Lots of stuff to eat for everyone. Lunch was the same idea. I liked it because I'm a vegetarian and they had way more vegetables than I've ever seen in a canadian buffet. They also had pizza, cheese quesadillas, etc...stuff kids like. I didn't mind the buffet suppers as well although my husband didn't like them as much. If you want fancier food, there are two restaurants that you can make reservations, which are very tasty.
The markets across the street are a great bargain if you like carvings, jewelry, clothes, seasonings etc. First you have to watch out for the roads because they come at you from the opposite direction you are used to. A few people might approach you wanting money to be your guide. I didn't find that necessary. Some people are very pushy...it's very competetive. But, I just treated them with respect and talked to them. After a few times people stopped being so pushy with me. One lady even told me how nice how much she appreciated me treating her like a human....that's all they really want. Nobody wants something for nothing, and there might be just a few shady-like people on the street, no different from any city in north america. Some of the craftspeople had amazing talent, and the price is way cheaper thanwhat I'd find at home...just bargain with them.
I even found a grocery store with diapers, wipes, baby food and things. One thing I have to say in defense of one of the previous posts is that I noticed they had a three-step washing system with their glasses in the bar. They would first sanitize them, then rinse them in soapy water and then rinse them in hot clear water.
Lastly, about the hotel staff. I think they make about fifty bucks american each week, the trainees, even less. I thought that must mean their rent must be really cheap, but a montego bay apartment runs from around 500/month american. This means many of them take costly cabs from another parish to work. And this is a GOOD job for them. Knowing this, I can't comprehend how I didn't experience poor service or snotty attitude from anybody-(Like I do in my own country all of the time.) They are very genuine and real people. But, it is Jamaica.and they are pretty relaxed, mon. You could probably get whatever you want if you ask properly, but you have to be really patient, and you might have to remind some of them politely about special requests.
I would definately come back to this hotel,the sooner the better.
3 out of 5
My husband and I travelled from Canada with our 14 month old infant.
Flight: Skyservice through Sunquest: I would not recommend them, they did not seat us together and almost seemingly split many travellers up so that they would pay the extra fee to sit together. Some even paid and still did not get to sit where they wanted. The staff made no effort to try and correct this which and it was very difficult when travelling with an infant.
Rooms: They put us in a smoking room (with an infant) the first night, and had to change us the next day. We never got a crib for our son. The rooms were relatively clean and comfortable, but not top notch. It would be nice to have a fridge.
Water: There was no bottled water offered, and very hard to find on site and you had to pay for it. Also the vending machines, if out of your original selection would give you something else, so we got stuck with pop twice when we tried to buy water. The best place to buy water was across the street. The staff said we could drink the tap water, however, our Doctor here at home advised against it. My husband and I had some tap water, mostly in the form of ice, and got mild traveller's diarrhoea. My son was on bottled water only and did not get any sort of diarrhoea at all.
Food: The food at the buffet was quite good. We booked a late dinner at the Seabreeze and they ran out of a few things that we wanted to order, but he food we got was nice. We had a great dinner at Cappuccino.
Staff: Some staff were friendly, some did not seem to want to be there. The staff are VERY expectant to receive tips, especially the bartenders. You will get better service if you tip and try go back to the same people you tipped each time. I do not enjoy being served by people who expect tips and give you odd looks if you do not tip. I have a child with me and cannot always be carrying around change to tip.
The grounds: We spent most of the time at the beach, which is very nice and shallow with a sandbar about 20 feet from the main beach. The pool was nice too, but got a bit dirty by the end of the day. They could use a better filtration system. It was also very hard to find good spots, especially with shade. People would reserve chairs with their towel (although they are not supposed to). A couple of times we couldn't even find free chairs.
Jamaica: I expected more from Jamaica as it was more expensive than some other Caribbean locations, such as Cuba and Dominican Republic and I had heard good things online. Some of the people were nice but others not so much. They are very expectant of tips and charge a lot for taxi service, souvenirs and such things (even after bargaining). I found they harassed tourists to buy things from them. Downtown Montego Bay was not very impressive. Mostly souvenir shops and a couple of decent restaurants. The street downtown is very busy with traffic and the sidewalk is narrow in places. We saw a lot of strung out, drugged up Jamaicans wandering around. The streets are cleaner than I expected.
Arrival - First I would like to say that this is my wife and mine second time at this resort. This time we brought our children and grandchildren with us. There were 16 of us. When we arrived there was a long line to check in but while we were waiting we were treated to rum punch for the adults and plain for the kids. After we checked in even though our rooms were not ready due to it being early, we didn't mind because when we left it was 20 degrees and it was 85 there. We went checking out our resort for a couple of hours until our rooms were ready.
Rooms - We had ocean view rooms which had tiled floors that neat and very clean and tidy. They were cleaned and well stocked with towels every day. They had a safe which is a nice touch.
Restaurants - We ate at the restaurants: Seabreeze & Cappucino and the service and the food was excellent. The buffet had an excellent variation of foods for each meal which made it easy to find something you liked to eat. For a quick snack we would stop at the Barefoot grill or the Jerk Hut which served wonderful jerk chicken and pork.
Bars - All the bars that we went to made the best drinks I and the rest of our group ever had. Although they mixed heavy on the booze, all you had to do was ask and they would tone them down. The bartenders were very friendly and service was first rate.
Beach and Pools - We mostly hung out on the beach which was rake every morning and there were always plenty lounge chairs for sitting and sunning. The pools were always clean and the water was nice and cool. There were plenty of places for little kids to swim play.
Grounds - The grounds were wonderfully kept with beautiful flowers and shrubs. Many of the exotic plants and trees are pruned and trimed to keep the grounds in amazing condition.
Activities - There are activities for all ages and skill levels continously during the day. With games and contests and music a wonderful time can be had by our whole group.
Tours - We didn't go on any tours or trips even though there are many to choose from.
Like I stated before this is our second trip to jamaica and stay at this resort. Everyone in our group had such a wonderful time that if they have the chance to return to jamaica they would most definately stay at the Holiday Inn Sunspree. The workers and atmosphere at this resort makes the difference.
My husband and I have just arrived home from our week at the Holiday Inn Sunspree. We have traveled throughout the Caribbean in recent years and now have a good idea of what to expect, and have stayed at a variety of hotel chains.
Arrival - The rooms were not ready at 4:30 (check in was supposed to be 3:00)
Rooms - Adequate
Restaurants - The Seabreeze and Cappucino were good. The dining room for breakfast closed at 11:00 for breakfast-no place to get breakfast type food if you sleep late. The staff was not very accomodating.
Bars - Good drinks-great Red Stripe beer.
Beach and Pools - Nice beach and pool area
Grounds - Tours - The Dream Boat Catamaran tour was great!!
The security was not great. We inadvertantly got taken to a very bad part of Montego Bay by a JUTA Tour Van disguised as a van sanctioned by the Holiday Inn. They would not bring us back to the hotel immediately unless we paid them $25.00 to get back. The people from the tour van were allowed to solicit guests at the front lobby. They misrepresented the destination and misrepresented the situation. We did speak with the manager of the Holiday Inn and she was quite concerned but we had a hard time leaving the property after that experience. They need to revise the system of who they allow to come inside the gates of the resort and interact with the tourists.
Not happy with the service, my husband got really sick at the resort, thinking that it was from the glass from the bar, which they just rinse out, they should have a proper washer with hot water to wash these cups, or only give out disposalable cups, after drinking out of one of the glasses he felt sick to his stomach and a couple of hours later was really sick with a high temp, this was Saturday and Sunday we were to leave but not until 4 oclock I asked the front desk well I beg them to leave him in the room until we left because he was soo sick but they would not. I had left him on a couch in the waiting room which was not good so I went to the nurse and she phoned the manager and they gave us back our room until 3, I was not pleased with the attention they gave us. We have now been home for three days and he still is not better, we went to our doctor and still waiting for results. I got rude service from the front desk and from some of the bar tenders they were not happy to be there. The room which I paid for a upgrade which was right in front of the band and VLT's, was soo noisy, and we had some kind of huge bug in our room, which we flushed down the toilet, but again the front desk does not care about that. My husband was soo sick I went down to get a baggage cart to get our bags down but oh no they had to do it and of course for a tip, well by than I was not pleased at all with any of their attidudes. I think if someone is sick like he was that they would give extra attention to this. My husband got his tests back, it was Salmonella,
One of the two rooms we were assigned was not to spec (we required 2 double beds - were given a room w/ 1 king and a handicap shower) - this situation was resolved within a half-hour.
The safe worked just fine, without any problems. The rooms were throughly cleaned every day. We had adjoining rooms in building 6 with a garden view - a great location as the beach was quiet, and we were in close proximity to the Adult-only pool.
Food & Drink
6 Adults, 2 children
This resort offered very good quality at a very nice price – great value for the money.
Check-in This was slow and a bit unorganized but the staff did their best to accommodate us while we were there. We did not have any room problems that needed to be fixed while we were there.
Food The buffet was good and the reservation restaurants. Our party usually got something they loved and something that was just OK. The food is readily available and there is plenty of it.
Room The room was a basic Holiday inn room but roomier. It was clean and just fine. The maid cleaned it every day and we had no complaints here. The only thing we disliked about the rooms is that they are overly spacious while the bathrooms are extremely small. The balcony overlooked the ocean which was very nice.
Pool The main pool was very big and the children enjoyed it very much. The swim up bar is at the other end of the property and adults only.
Beach The beach is ok and you can get a nice spot. We never had trouble finding chairs. There is a small island set up for sunning – a nice option. The water at the beach is very shallow and there is some sea grass but it is a nice place to hang out. There are lots of fish and other creatures if you are interested in snorkeling.
With the short trip from the airport and overall quality, I would visit this resort again.
We stayed at the HI Sunspree the last 2 weeks in July 2007. There were four of us-myself, my husband, 19 year old daughter, and 14 year old son. We are very experienced travellers. We have been to just about every island in the Caribbean, Hawaii twice, and 8 countries in Europe.
Overall we had a nice vacation. We knew it was rated a 3 star. We had stayed there before about 8 years ago. Boy, has it changed. We were disappointed in the changes. The beach was a VERY big disappointment!!!! It was deeper in the pool than the ocean. There was a considerable amount of seaweed. You were very limited where you could go if you did not have water shoes on unless you like to walk in seaweed. It needs to be dredged :( The island was nice, but not worth the sacrifice of the deep ocean. We like to participate in all the activities offered when we stay at a resort. There really was not a lot of organized activities for those older than about 10.
Food was good. No complaints. The food at the Barefoot bar and grill was great. The grilled cheese was out of this world.
Rooms were just HI rooms, nothing fancy. That was okay.
We used the phone across the street at a store called Deals are Us. It cost $2 for 5 min. well worth it. Tours We did the canopy tour ($81)and absolutely loved it!! the tubing tour ($61) and had a good time.
We also went across the street and hired a driver to take us to Negril for the day. ($140 w/ tip) We were gone 12 hours. Our driver Patrick took us anywhere we wanted to go. He was marvelous and we would highly reccomend him. We went to the beach. We could have kicked ourselves for NOT staying in Negril!!!! We stopped at Rick's Cafe' and jumped off the cliffs. What an experience!!
We would NOT return to HI because of the beach. In that respect we feel we wasted our money. Please think carefully about this hotel. If you are not interested in the water, this hotel would be okay.
My wife wanted a Caribbean vacation, so I told her to book one. She wanted to go somewhere family friendly, that wasn't too expensive, and wasn't snooty, Her travel agent booked us for Holiday Inn Sun-spree.
Us: Mid - late 30's with 2 children ages 6 and 13.
Airport: A gentlemen from our travel company greeted us and helped us load our bags, after a long 2 leg flight it was really nice to find it a 10 minute bus ride to the hotel.
Check-in: Fast and friendly. Most people don't sit around with beaming smiles, but with every smile given, one was returned.
Room: Very basic, the safe and phone didn't work, they said they 'd fix it, my wife and I looked at each other and said don't bother. Although we could not make cell phone calls, we could text and receive calls, so we'd text with "call me" to our friends. We kinda liked not being tied back to the mainland. The room was clean , and the staff was diligent in cleaning up.
Amenities: The pool was beautiful, and the kids loved it. We would frequently escape to a sand bar that sits just off shore about 100 feet. You have to walk through water about 4 feet deep to get to it, but it was nice and quiet. A tiki bar would have been wonderful out there. The jerk stand was only open our first day, as were several of the restaurants, because it was slow season, but we always had a good selection of food. The main eating are was a buffet and had a good variety, we tried many things, some we liked some we didn't. The "Barefoot Bar" is located next to the pool and was our main hangout. The rum started flowing at 10 am each morning, and around noon they started cooking fish, hamburgers and hot dogs. We also ate at Cappuccino's, an air conditioned restaurant on the second floor, the food was wonderful. My wife took full advantage of the massage, which she is still raving about, as did my 6 year old. My older daughter had her hair done in braids. There wasn't a lot of kids activities available due to slow season.
Shopping: We spent some money in the shops, if your penny pinching, it's resort pricing. If you're just enjoying your vacation, it's i-re. There are shops across the street owned by locals, be prepared, they need your money and will beg for your business. If you feel bad, talk to them about local stuff and learn something. The same beaded necklace your gonna spend $5 on is $3 in the "shops next door" but $2 is pretty cheap for a memory. The shopping "plaza" is a little nicer and the people are generally real nice. They open the door for you etc. You will find bargains and a wide variety of stuff, the rum is cheaper there.
Nightlife: Fashion shows, dj's and bands. Some nights we went, mostly because my daughter loves to dance(the 6 year old) and became a celebrity. If you get a room by the pool, I think building 1,2 and 3 the music will be loud until 10pm, then it winds down. The rooms further down are quieter at night.
Conclusion: we mostly stayed with the kids, and had a great time. Our regrets: We only ate at the nice restaurants once, we didn't go to the adult pool. We never left the resort except for shopping across the street. There is a lot to do, but we were enjoying, relaxing and not doing anything.We are very busy at home, and preferred to just soak up the sun and drink rum. If you have a family and lead a busy life, I highly recommend this resort. If you want to go to Jamaica and party, maybe there are some other options, or go out of the resort more.
Bottom line: We loved it ! We were talking about traveling to some other places, but now just want to return to Jamaica, and stay at the Sun-spree. We had a "no-problem" real good RELAXING time. We all were teary eyed when we left the resort, I think that says it all. We made many friends.
Firstly let me start by saying, i am of jamaican desent and my partner of Bardadian desent, i have been telling my partner how great jamaica is and decided to book a holiday there and was allocated Holiday Inn.
We looked up the reviews and thought ooohhhh that dosent sound good, anyway i have to say this was our BEST holiday EVER!!!!!! and trust me weve had some great holidays, the food GREAT! facilities GREAT!! staff GREAT!! FACILITIES great!!! .
Our flight back to england was delayed so we had to spend and extra day there (what a result) we couldnt of been happier.
We enjoyed the trips, we did Dunns River, Chukka Horseriding, Swam with the Dolphins ...it was great We have no complaints whatsoever about this resort and would recommend this to anyone who wishes to go to jamaica , we will definatley be going there again in fact ive just been looking at the wedding planning site.
I rate this resort FIVE STAR PLUS
We stayed here July 22-July 26. It was my husband, myself and a 9 yr old. Over all the hotel was very nice. We had a great time.
Food The food here is awful. It was the only downside to our vacation. We are not picky eaters, but most of the time we could not stand the food. The buffet is standard fare. People would pile food on their plates as if they never saw food before, and it was going to be their last meal. There was a nice selection of fruit--melon and pineapple and watermelon every meal. Breakfast was by far the best. Fresh omelet station (they also do eggs over easy and the such). Service at meals was excellent--someone always asking if you want more coffee and do you want juice. Lunch and dinner had a pasta station, where they will mix up any combo to add to your pasta. The jerk hut had great jerk chicken, but it usually ran out several times during the day. The grill was great for most...they had grill cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers and fried fish. Remember that the beef is not American, and has a different texture than American beef. The service here is pretty quick. Ice cream was exactly as has been reported- my daughter especially liked this. And Nachos with cheese all day too. The specialty restaurants have the same menu everyday. They will likely be out of veal. The food is fair. If you are used to eating at good Italian restaurants, then these will not be your favorite places to eat. However the restaurants do have much better food than the buffet. There is a beach bar-b-que during the week and they do serve ribs and chicken and stuff. The food is fair here too. Again it was interesting how people piled their plates with so much food. An example is the man who took 8 ears of corn, and then piled more and more food on top of that. At the buffet you can take a plate of food, and then go back for more if you like.
Room The room was a basic Holiday inn room. It was clean and just fine. The maid cleaned it every day and we had no complaints here. The balcony overlooked the ocean which was very nice. One evening we sat on the balcony and watched a lightening storm. Awesome. We were in building 7 which is the furthest from the pool and a bit of a walk. We didn't mind the walk, good exercise. The buildings run from 1-7, with one and 2 being right next to the pool and the main building. We had a few problems with the room, the safe didn't work and the air conditioning was not working. The girl at guest services was excellent and saw to it that maintenance did come and fix them. It does take a while for anything to get done, but they will literally do anything to make your stay pleasant.
Pool The main pool is very nice. It is large and clean. My daughter enjoyed this the most out of whole stay. There are life guards stationed around the pool, but watch your own kids in the pool because the life guards are not very diligent and are often napping, or gabbing with other employees. People got up very early, around 7 am to place personal things on the most choice lounge chairs, the ones under umbrellas, so if you get down to the pool at 9 am the shaded lounges are gone. The hotel does not enforce their own rules to not allow this. The adult only pool is next to building 7. It is also very clean and a very nice pool. It is much quieter and kids are not allowed here. There is a swim up bar here.
Beach We spent one whole day on the beach. My husband and daughter snorkelled all day. They saw a lot of cool fish and stuff and enjoyed it very much. The beach is very shallow, probably not deeper than knee depth, but it is very clean and the beach area is very well maintained.
Grounds They are beautiful. The landscaping is kept up beautifully. There are paths both in front of the hotel and on the beach front to get from one end of the resort to the other. There is also a covered path through the buildings so when it rains you can stay relatively dry. There are 2 shops to buy things. They have souveniers and snacks, etc. Pretty much the prices at most resorts.
Things to do We went on three day trips, tubing, horse back riding, and a safari. I would recommend doing the trips. They are fun and very safe. We went on Chukka tours, which truly cater to resort guests. Never once did we feel unsafe. They are a bit pricey and if you have a few kids it will be expensive. But they made our trip so much more fun. You can look up Chukka tours on their website. The buses that pick you up are modern, clean and very new. Do not rent a car and try to drive around Jamaica. It is scary.
Hotel Entertainment It is was geared towards kids. It was pretty pathetic, and even though the resort was pretty full there was not much audience participation.
Overall this is a very nice hotel We had a wonderful vacation because you can have fun anywhere, or be miserable anywhere. We have travelled extensively and have stayed in 5 star hotels and in basic Holiday Inn type hotels. This hotel is a great value for your money. There is plenty to do and the people who work there are really very nice. They will try to do whatever they can to make you happy. Just do not expect 5 star amenities. This hotel will attract most bargain hunters who will then try to get the most for their money ( you will see them at the buffets).
The hotel does also allow day trippers who they bus in and pay a fee to use the resort amenities for the day. On the day we left, they had about 4 busloads of people who came for the day. It makes the pool and beaches crowded and definitely detracts from the guests staying there.
Do not expect to check out at 2 pm if you are a holiday inn member. They will tell you that they are booked and your room is not available. We used the quest facilities to shower before we left for the airport. The quest facilities are horrible. The showers are filthy and the water is ice cold.
In conclusion, I do not regret staying here. I would not stay here again, and I wish my travel agent had been a little more forthcoming about this resort. There are definitely nicer resorts on this island with much better beaches, and it would be worth it to spend a little more and go to a better resort.
Our family of 5 stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree for one week (May 28-June4, 2007). There was my husband and I and are three children (17, 14 and 6).
We definitly recommend that you go to the Holiday Inn Website and register for the PRIORITY CLUB. It is a FREE service and you can print your membership number off immediatly. (We did ours literally hours before we left). The Priority Club lets you keep your room until 2 p.m on your last day, and there is a quicker line when you arrive at the hotel to register.
Overall, our trip was very nice. This is a great resort if you have a family with small children.
I was a bit nervous after reading some other reviews for this hotel, but as usual, I think people tend to exaggerate problems. Basically, you can't control weather and things like that, HOWEVER you can control how much fun you have. The people blaming the service or rooms on ruining their trips must really be unhappy people. :)
We basically only had one "problem" which was our room. We had booked with a tour guide and she told us that a joining room might not be available for us to use right away, and to ask for one immediatly upon arrival. We were given one no problem, however the room we were given was not very nice. The air conditioner apparantly had broken or something and there was a very musty smell in the room. BUT the next day they moved us into a BEAUTIFUL set of adjoining rooms in BUILDING SIX overlooking the ocean and they were wonderful.
FOOD- My son loved being able to go up and order his own pizza/popcorn/icecream! I enjoyed most of the food. We had dinner in the italian restaurant one night and I loved the pasta! There could have been a little more variety, but the food was okay.
ROOMS- Our first room was not nice, but the problem was quickly solved (no hassles) and we received a beautiful room in building six. It was a quiet building and had a spectacular view. We liked the joining rooms because the girls could have some privacy, but we were still all together. The showers are clean and the bathroom is big. I loved our patio balcony! And there are little drying racks out there so you can hang towels and bathing suits.
BEACH/SWIMMING- I was a little disappointed with the beach because I enjoy the waves crashing on the beach and being able to swim deep in the ocean, HOWEVER, I knew ahead of time that the beach was not going to be that, so that's okay.
The beach is EXCELLENT for children because it has been surrounded by rocks and does not get any deeper than an adult's waist. There is a nice little island that you can walk out to.
POOL- LOVED IT! Great for children and great for adults too. And seriously, we NEVER had a problem EVER finding a lounge chair near the patio OR on the beach. We never reserved one and we never got up early to get one, so I don't see why so many people have complained about that.
SHOPPING- I am not a shopper, but did do some shopping this time- probably because we had teenaged girls with us. There is a shopping place across the street (be ready to deal) and they also have people come in with their stuff a few times during the week upstairs in the main lobby area. Fridays for sure. Be prepared to deal as the vendors are very persistant, and at times a bit overwhelming. And if you have your young children with you and they see something they like, the vendor will make sure you leave with it!
NIGHT LIFE- They had some cool events, and my son became a night dancer. He was literally known throughout the entire hotel before we left! Some nice shows and dancing. The Jamaicans were so friendly and enthuastic and seemed so happy!
KIDS CLUB- Excellent! The staff geniunely care for the children and they do LOTS of activities. Our son loved going there, and we had no hestiation at all. The have a nursery for babies and a bigger playroom for the older kids (equipped with movies and toys) and a big playground. Face painting, crafts- they had a lot of fun. It was touching because the staff get teary when one of the kids are leaving to go home.
PEOPLE/SERVICE- Fun and happy! We met lots of friendly people and our son loved the attention and by the end of our first day was greeting everyone with "respect" and "yeah, mon" and "no problem"----as you will learn, "in Jamaica we don't have problems, we only have situations". The people were one of the trip's highlights for me.
EXCURSIONS/TRIPS- We booked three trips:
DUNNS RIVER- We did not know that this also included a shopping part, and had we known that we would have paid a taxi cab to take us to the falls separately because we spent too much time being dropped off at various locations to shop. You are basically kicked off the bus and forced to go through the places. Now, had I realized this, and enjoyed shopping, then it would not have mattered to us at all, but we just wanted to get on to Dunns River and enjoy the beauty of the falls. We walked up the falls , and it was an AMAZING EXPERIENCE. I am glad we did this, but, like I said, if we were to do it again, we would pay for a taxi and spend the entire day at Dunns Park because we were kind of rushed along. Definitly buy a waterproof camera before you go because it is a wet trip!
NEGRIL BEACH/SUNSET- Negril Beach is AWESOME. Now that is the beach I want when I go to the carribean. Blue waters and white sand and waves crashing you on to the beach. We all loved this day. We spent four or five hours swimming and sunning and there is a little restuarant to have lunch. One of the trips highlights for us. I LOVED THE BEACH!!!!!! The last part of the tour is at Ricks Cafe and they have amazing cliff jumpers and it was a rocking place. Nice sunset- but not the colours I was expecting.
SUBMARINE TOUR- This got cancelled the first day and the second day we got out on the ocean and had to go back because it had rained the night before and the water was too murky to see anything. We got our money back ,but at least we got a nice boat ride.
WEATHER: Overall it was pretty nice. It typically rained for about 15-20 minutes each afternoon, but cleared up quickly. We loved it anyway. One day there was a storm, but it was still neat and we just danced in the rain. Remember- you're in Jamaica, and if you get upset about something as uncontrollable as weather and let it ruin your vacation you need to lighten up, mon! :)
I would go back to Holiday Inn Sunspree. It was a great price (we paid $647 per person) and a nice place.
There were 6 of us that went to Jamaica for our first time this year. Holiday Inn Sunspree was “deal of the day” so we decided, why not try it. Only a 10-minute drive from the airport was a nice change from other places we have stayed at.
In general we were all quite pleased. If you had a family with you it was great. Remember, Holiday Inns due cater to families and this one was no exception. Lots of play area for children and they all seemed to behaving fun and keeping busy, either with the “games” , playing in the sand along the beach or in the “wrap around pool” which was quite shallow and good for all ages. There was also an Adult pool at the far end of the resort with a swim up bar (that’s where you found us!) The island was a very quiet place to be, but there was absolutely no shade there. Lounges were reserved very early in the a.m. so if you preferred a specific spot or shady spot – get up early. There are lots of lounges so you were never without one.
Food – no complaints – for children there was lots for them to choose from and also the “ice cream/popcorn” hut was always quite a busy place. The grill @ pool had a choice of grilled cheese/hamburgers/hot dogs & fries”. (bar on the side as well)
The Jerk Hut had awesome Jerk Chicken (and pork). Very spicy – make sure you have a cold beer beside you! We enjoyed the Italian restaurant (airconditioned) the best. Although choices were limited, it was delicious and relaxing. I, personally, found the choices @ the buffet limited, but everything was good. There was a BBQ a couple nights of the week and there you had many choices and again all was tasty.
Rooms – basic – some views, of course, are better than others. Building #1 was a “pain” to get to because you had to go thru the pool area, but other than that, they were all the same. No complaints re cleanliness, etc.
Beach/Swimming – not the best beach but certain areas were great. Pools & beach were well used.
Shopping – there is a “strip mall” right across the street – but buy your Appleton’s rum at the Airport on the way home-much cheaper!
Some of us did the “Dunn’s River Falls” day trip – awesome view / busy place / not a relaxing time as they really need to “push” you along so you don’t have too much time to actually enjoy the scenery but we all had fun – that’s the important thing!
One couple went on the Martha Rae Trip – they enjoyed it – very relaxing. Another couple did the “Canopy Tour” – exiciting and fun.
Night Life – most of the time we were too tired as the sun takes so much out of you, but we did spend one evening in the Karaoke bar which was packed and a lot of fun. Most of the time it was quiet, but there is a bus that takes you to Margarittaville and returns every hour or so. We heard it was a good bar but why pay for your drinks when you go to an all-inclusive?
Would we go back – sure, but we would like to try other areas as well. As most places, if you don’t have fun – there’s usually only one person to blame!
Here is a review of the Holiday Inn Sunspree in Jamaica. My wife and I visited for ten days in May 2007. We had some disappointments and will not be returning to this resort, but overall, I have to admit it’s still a decent value for the money. If you are flexible and not too picky, you can have a good time here.
Food & Restaurants
Beach & Pools
Jamaica is beautiful...you can't go wrong in the Carribeans.
We (age: 29) stayed from March 11-18th. As it was "spring break" season, there were many young children at the hotel.
SKY SERVICE FLIGHT:
We left our maid notes and gifts each day. She actually was much more appreciative of the personal notes that we wrote than the actual gifts/tips we left each day. Take the time to write them a note, if you can, it does make the world of difference for your maid as expressed by ours. Thank you Annette, hope to keep in touch! Lobby was well-maintained and nice. Service in all areas was very pleasant.
FOOD/A LA CARTE:
We went to Sunspree for 2 weeks in February and had a great time. This review is written from the perspective of a parent traveling with kids under ten. Here is why you should consider this resort if you have kids:
Health and Safety: we had no problems. We all drank the tap water. No mosquitoes or any bugs whatsoever. Slept with the patio door opened almost every night (full front ocean view, nice to hear the waves). Felt safe at all times. We went shopping across the road – no problem, just mind the traffic when you cross the street. We did not go outside the resort, otherwise. Also, there is a nurse on site (no charge for this service) and Montego Bay has one of the 2 major hospitals in the country (in case of an emergency, help is close).
Location: 15 min by bus from the airport. (Getting thru customs in Montego Bay was a major pain – slow, slow, slow… After that, it was all good.) Resort and rooms: family friendly, with many other kids around. Lots of opportunities to find a play mate for the little ones and meet interesting people for the grown ups. As the resort is not very spread out, little feet will welcome the fact that everything is in close proximity. Avoid rooms facing the pool area, as this are noisy (the guys and girls at the reception will change your room if you go and talk to them – no problem). Buildings are interconnected by covered walkways, so you never have to walk through the rain to get to the restaurants or reception. Rooms could be in better shape, but they’re ok for most part. The main downside of the resort, in my opinion, is the proximity to a busy highway – we could hear honking and traffic noises from our first room; asked to be moved and we got a much better room the next day. Avoid “standard rooms” – just sign up for the free Priority Club rewards on the HI site and you will get a free upgrade. The staff at the reception are very accommodating, but be aware that some might give you a “lesser” room at first (this way, if you’re happy – great, if not, they can easily find something better for you).
Beach: water is shallow, warm and calm, with no sudden drops. No big waves ever, as these crash on a reef, far from the shore. Snorkeling on the north side of the island (away from the resort) with little ones is safe (water is chest deep at high tide) and you will see hundreds of tropical fish. Same for the waters in front of the sports center near the rocks where they usually anchor the rescue boat – these are teeming with fish, feels like you’re floating in an aquarium. Keep some bread in your hand and they will come and eat it. At low tide, if you walk on the grassy patch that surfaces, you will find star fish under rocks and sea urchins. We also saw a large barracuda and spotted a stingray near the west end beach. The east end beach has lots of urchins (green and softer than the black spiky ones), bring water shoes. Scuba diving – 5 min away by boat - is excellent, if you could try it.
Kids/teenage clubs: three of them in total, one for babies, one for children (both opened 9am-9pm) and one for teenagers. The teenagers club has free air hockey and fusball (my 7 year old loved this), as well as the latest equipment in video games (nominal charge applies). The kids club is the one we used the most: the women there are amazing and the facility is very nice and seems new. Large playground in front. My daughter celebrated her birthday and what they’ve done certainly exceeded our expectations: she had a customized cake (you have to order the day before), balloons, candles, a little gift, games and activities for the kids that were present at the event. No cost for all this (we tipped them, because they’ve really done a great job!). Food: loved it. Good choices for the little ones at every meal. Do try the Jamaican dishes – you will be pleasantly surprised in most cases. (The only people I’ve heard complaining about the food were those filling their plates with everything offered at the buffet, eating themselves sick day after day, and then complaining that “everything tastes the same”. Duh! Pick 2 or 3 different dishes every day and try to enjoy the food, don’t just stuff yourself to “get your money’s worth”!) Anyway, some of the buffet offerings included: lamb, duck, turkey, curried goat, plenty of fish and fresh fruits (loved the pineapple). The desserts may be a bit of a let down, for those with a sweet tooth, although the cookies offered were good. “Jus’ kidding” on the beach has ice cream cones 12-7pm, as well as popcorn and nachos.
Pool: gradual entry, great for little ones. We did not use it much as we prefer the beach. Water is colder than the sea.
Facilities: The computer access (for internet, excel, word or whatever) is expensive ($5 for 15 minutes); internet is cheaper in your room if you bring your laptop: $15/day or $40/week – we did not do this, though. Get up early to reserve a good shady spot (or maybe tip one of the guys at the water sports center to do it for you). Free laundry facilities (keep this in mind when you pack), just bring some detergent.
Entertainment: During the day, they have games for kids around the pool. The night shows are good: the resident band and dancers are excellent, but the shows could really use a good MC - someone who can stand up and say a good joke between acts. The shows were different every night during the 2 weeks we were there. Sunday/Monday seems to be mostly singing acts, might not be visually interesting enough for the little ones, but it does get better as the week goes on.
Activities: tennis, including free lessons for kids and adults, basketball court, volleyball, mini-golf. Water sports: kayaks and catamaran trips included (don’t miss these); there is a small sailing boat you can take out if you like. Snorkeling gear included, but better to bring your own. Glass bottom boat was not working while we were there (major letdown for us, but we got the scuba diving guys to give us a ride and snorkeled along the reef there).
Overall: had a 5 star experience at a 3 star price. Would we go back? Absolutely!
We went last week Jan. 7th and just came back last night (the 14th) - we travelled with 4 adults and a 5 year old.
First thing, if you have children this is a great resort for you. They have a free kids club and allow you to drop your children off at any time between 9 nd 6 and then back again at 7:30 for a movie. The nice thing is if they only want to do a few from the agenda items - you can pick them up and drop them off through out the day.
Food - We really enjoyed the food, the resort has 3 a la carte restaurants but because the resort wasn't full, only two were open. If you like authentic Jamaican food, you want to reserve Seabreeze, and the Italian restaurant is called Cappucino - the food was really good, we went to Cappucino 3 times in one week. You can book by 3pm the day before. Even the buffet was really good, it is best to go at the beginning of the dinner times, the food is really hot and fresh... I was impressed as I have done many all inclusives and this is the first time I didn't get sick from the food or water...You can DRINK the Water, it was great! I have never been able to do that..
Beach and Pool - The pool is a really nice pool, has a deep end and a shallow river that goes around the stage whic is pretty neat. The Beach was very different then what I am used to. It does not have a long stretch of beach, but has break walls and they curve around the island and then there are small pockets of beach, the far end of the beach is very windy, it is more secluded near the pool area. Not the best beach - if you are expecting Varadero beach that is not what you will get here. We were lucky as it wasn't too busy and always got a spot, but it was more crowded on the 14th the day we left, so it may not be as easy duriing prime tme.
Rooms - The room was a typical Holiday Inn room. It was clean, good working safe, the bathroom was nice and we had a balcony. There are 7 buildings and are numbered 1 to 7. Number 1 is right beside the pool on one side and the 2 to 7 is on the other side. If you don't want to listen to evening entertainment or the disco in your room, you don't want 1 or 2, we were in 3 and you could still hear the entertainment. 3 was perfect for distance to everything, lobby, food, pool. 7 is great if you are interested in hanging out at the small adult only swim up bar pool. Otherwise it is a long walk to the large pool.
Excursions - We did the Canopy Tour - it was $77 U.S. it was a lot of fun, but a little overpriced, but hey you are on vacation right? We also rented a car for two days and drove to Ocho Rios and did the Dunn's River Fall (great) and the Prospect Plantation. Another Day we rented a car and drove through the interior to the Appleton Rum estates (interesting tour we paid $15) but it is a long drive, then drove along the coast to Negril to see a beautfiul West Coast sunset on the 7mile beach there. The Holiday Inn has free entrance to Margaritaville, so this was the perfect bar to go to and park and then you are right on the beach...kids can come in :) We saved a lot by renting as entrance to the Dunn's River was onlye $15, and the plantation was $27 whereas doing an excursion with the hotel it costs more. However, be careful driviing, many of the roads have been rebuilt but there are many sections still being fixed and there are many potholes. We drove at night from Negril to Montego Bay, you need to be careful as the road dashes are not that clear and there are not many signs that a curve is coming. Note - Honking is not like in Canada, honking is to let you know they are passing you, or just to say hi, or to let you cross the street, very different than here :)
If you do rent a car, find a good map, we just had the one from the hotel, and it was not very detailed. Unless you are in a city there are not many road signs, you mainly travel based on what town you just passed through, it made it very interesting :)
Across the street - there are many shops across the street - t-shirts, jewellery, alcohol (for alchol we paid way too much across the street, it was $6 cheaper for a bottle of rum at the airport). There are also a few shops at the hotel.
Grounds - they did a great job at keeping the grounds really clean.
Staff - the staff were really friendly especially the front desk and the guest services. They always helped us when we needed something. It is really big to tip in jamaica to help the staff out, if they deserve it go for it. We left something in the room every day for the housekeeping staff (kids toys, cosmetics,etc...)
Entertainment - the entertainment was probably the one thing I didn't enjoy as much, they had one great show of drums and dancers it was fantastic, but most other nights there didn't seem to be too much going on that interested me, but hey you might love it!!! Never made it to the disco, the sun tired me out. But they have the witches disco that was suppose to be good.
I recommend the hotel for sure, but just keep in mind it is on the North coast so there always seems to be a wind going on, Negril apparently is much calmer weather wise...and you get the beautiful sunsets (also go to negril to Rick's Cafe, and you can jump off the cliff - it is up by the lighthouse). It was a pleasant place to stay and hey only 15 minutes to the airport , you have to like that :)
Just be prepared for the airport going home, ours was a little chaotic, we left almost 2 hours late, The airline Skyservice was actually really good both going there and coming home.
That's all folks, Every ting is criss!! Enjoy your vaction, man and if you are fine, tell them everyting is Iree!!!
My boyfriend and I just returned from our Jamaican vacation, we went from dec 11th to dec 18th. First the weather was BEAUTIFUL every day was sunny and around 30 degrees. We had a wonderful vacation but I feel it was in spite of some things.
We were 4 adults 3 kids aged 4 yrs 7 yrs and 16 mos.
Arrived Nov 26th and depart Dec 3.
We paid $625 CAD plus tax.
Skyservice flight out of Pearson ( I wont tell you how the flight went because its irrelevant but lets just say it wasn’t the nicest due to a few loud mouthed annoying passengers who made it difficult for the civil and rational people on the plane)
My overall beforehand opinion of this place was that it was cheap, great for kids and close to the airport- all of which were important to me.
Check in painfully slow especially after a long travel. But we got there eventually, and were just happy to be in the tropical air.
Priority membership is an absolute must- late check out which is helpful for later flights.
And turn down service and upgraded room pending occupancy level.
It was typical HOLIDAY INN which is what you must remember when booking so you don’t have unrealistic expectations of the rooms. It has a bed to sleep in - a bathroom to wash up in- a TV to watch if you want- a coffee maker if you cant wait the 3 min walk to the buffet and a safe. What more do you really need? If you need/want more room then get a suite. A room is a room.
Our room was a little outdated but I wasn’t offended since it’s a HOLIDAY INN. Most of the rooms are in the process of being upgraded on Jamaican time so when they are done they will need to start at room one again (Smile)
It was clean and neat and stocked- I am not living there ,so I could care less what kind of wall paper or sink they had. The maid service was the best. Pullout couch was gross when pulled out so I wouldnt expect to sleep someone on it. Folded up it served its purpose.
Main Pool ;
The Island is pretty popular but there is no shade whatsoever. I saw someone bring a table umbrella from home and I cant decide if its stupid or smart? The island is great for kids and its fun to pretend your on survivor if you’re an adult and just want to get away. But beware that there are a few pedlars with boats who hang there all day just off the island in the water who can be annoying and loud. It s very shallow between beach and island and its perfect for kids or putting your chair right in the water to lay there.
The water was always crystal clear and clean. I read that it can get murky????. I really truly have no idea how or why that would happen - if you look at my pics you’ll wonder the same. I just didn’t see that at all. The water is always warm in Jamaica no mater what part your in. If you go a little further out just to the left of the island there is a mat they have placed to keep seaweed down on the ocean floor that can feel spongy but Id rather that than swimming in seaweed- if you don’t like that feeling just don’t go to that area. Your not allowed to hold chairs with towels as some Europeans try to when on vacation. They come by and pick them up as lost and found- I have incl a pic of a sign stating so. Chairs are very new and clean and typical.
Sand can be pebbly (is that a word?) In some places so if your cranky about that than I’d suggest bringing aquasocks. But it wasnt rough at all.
There is an adults only beach at the far left of the property which is not as nice as the family beach area. But they have a beautiful pier there. Some people were sitting on it staring out /some were reading on it. Some used it to take pics of the property since it juts out so much. Either way I really liked it. You can look down and watch the fish the water is so clear and deep there.
Adult pool; was very nice and very modern with a sit in pool bar. They had some light music playing and it was kinda quiet.
Tennis courts were very new, clean and well kept. Same with Gym. Great equipment and amazing view. Basketball courts next to gym and beach volleyball next to that . BUT the beach that volleyball was on was much less nicer than the family area.
Mini-put- forget about it altogether. Its dingy and water collects in the holes and its hard for them to maintain well, through no fault of their own. Its just a bad area to have built it.
Wedding gazebos were both nice and overlooked the ocean.
Shopping in hotel was reasonably priced and comparable to the shopping strip across the street. But not as much interaction so if you want culture then go across the street.
Jewellery store was VERY reasonably priced.
Casino is basically about 20 slots- I am not into them but the last night there were about 10 people in there. Lobby bar is a great open air large bar - great for meeting people and chatting .
Buffet was average. Breakfast was always the best there- its very hard to screw up bfast especially with all the fresh fruit and a great omelette station. ‘ROBERT’ is THE omelette guy- a little bit of a flirt but it comes with the territory. He will hook you up with a big stuffed omelette with a smile on his face even though its 100 degrees! Now that’s service with a smile! I tipped him at the end of the week because he really did make the best omelettes and you never waited long- he was fast and friendly and sometimes he sang while cooking- he was just a good employee and a nice guy.
WE only did dinner twice at the buffet .I wasn’t crazy about it but the people I was with loved it. They seemed to have a good selection of food. I read some reviews that said something about ‘re-using the left over food from the night before’- yeah they do sometimes- and so?? Restaurants do this everyday with ‘specials’ you just don’t know it unless your in that industry. What would you like them to do with it - through it out? They’re there to make money, it’s a business and on top of that unlike spoiled N. Americans they are taught not to waste food so gimme a break. If that was a problem then you should just eat at home ALWAYS.
Night entertainment is really good. They start off every night with a band that you can watch while laying on the loungers- very relaxing. Then they do shows. We all agreed that the shows were 5 star. They work SO HARD and they ENJOY it too. They are all amazing dancers and very charismatic.
Anyone that thought the night entertainment ‘lacked’ -I really question their judgement. The staff were so friendly and fun and talented- very talented.
You could relax if you wanted to good music or you could sit at the lobby bar and still hear the music.
Jamaicans; My husband has been there 4 times and I have been twice and we both love and get inspired by the slang and terms. Its fun and they love when you try to fit in. I never once felt unsafe even in downtown Montego bay. We were the only white people in a sea of 1000 Jamaicans. We were stared at a bit probably for one of two reasons;
1) Hardly any travellers venture outside of the safety of the craft market or bus drop shops.
2)Maybe they want us to know what it feels like to be a visible minority for once?
Either way didn’t matter- I never felt in danger as I had been warned by some when going to Jamaica. You don’t want something you just say no thank you.
They were awesome with him.
Ordeth, Patricia and one other girl whose name I cant remember were all very nice and caring.
It looks just like a prof daycare complete with bathrooms/tub/kitchen/nursery and toys. I incl pics because I was really very impressed by this dept.
The 4- 12 club is being renovated but it is pretty big and it was nice before they started reno’s so I am sure it will be even nicer when done. Because our son is young and needs more attention than the older kids we tipped the ladies each day. We also offered to bring them lunch when he ate because they have a crappy staff caf and we wanted to treat them nicely since they were in charge of our most prized possesion.
4 man Catamaran is free and it’s a GREAT jaunt out into the ocean- he takes you pretty far into big waves but he was experienced and it was a lot of fun. We tipped $2 we loved it so much.
‘Just kiddin’ playarea and snack shack is perfect for kids big or small. I don’t usually eat ice cream but I had one every day. Playground is new and got lots of use.
Bottom line; we had one of the best Vacations ever. It was fun or relaxing- whatever you wanted it to be . It was cheap and for the kids you just cant beat it or find a better resort geared to kids.
The layout was perfect the weather was perfect the staff were the best. I would HIGHLY recc it to anyone travelling with kids especially under 10.
We brought walkie talkies and that was a great idea. The kids can use them so you know where they are or if your with another couple you can find each other etc.
So those are my tips.
Just returned from a week, July 1-8th at the Holiday Inn SunSpree in Montigo Bay, Jamaica. I've been to Jamaica before, in Ocho Rios many years ago and about 5 years ago to the Wyndham Rose Hall and Breezes in Mo Bay. I wasn't impressed then with the hastles we got from the locals outside Breezes, but we were right in the city and didn't experience it this time. My girlfriend and I were planning to stay in Canada, possible drive to Montreal for Jazz Fest when she suggested we look around and see what we could find for a deal south. We found the Holiday Inn Sunspree at and amazing price for a week, and being all inclusive, it would be a hastle free vacation.
We read a number of reviews about the hotel on Trip Advisor and Debbie's Caribbean Vacations forums, and one of the reviews summed it up...."It's all what you make of it". Here's the good and the could be better.
** GOOD **
** HINTS AND TIPS ***
My friend and I decided to have a girlie holiday in Jamaica and found that the Holiday Inn seemed to be the best value for money. Having read the other reviews was a tiny bit worried but decided to give it a go.
In our opinion (and I have travelled extensively) the hotel offers good value for money. We were there for 2 weeks over the Easter holidays and the atmosphere was brilliant. The staff were for the most part friendly and helpful if you are down to earth and friendly. We did note that those people who were putting on airs and graces and speaking to the staff in a rude manner were not getting the same response so its like anywhere...the hotel is what you make it.
The food in my opinion was great. Always fresh and hygienic and a great choice. Easy to get into the other restaurants. Sunbeds were a problem to get at the Easter weekend as the hotel was full to capacity and we were very late to rise looking for our sunbeds at 11.00am. But we soon learned that a word in the ear of one of the lifeguards soon got us a sunbed dragged into the very spot requested. Of course we tipped a dollar or two for their extra effort.
The trip to Negril with a visit to Ricks cafe was an experience not to be missed. Try to do the full day as half a day wasn't enough. If interested in the supernatural, a visit to Rose Hall Great house where the white witch used to reside is a must! The rooms were not very attractive, quite basic, but to be fair the beds were comfortable, always clean and there was everything thing that you might need (don't forget to bring a adaptor) one thing which impressed me was that although my hairdryer wouldn't work as the power voltage was different not powerful enough, upon calling a maintenance man he fitted one of their own plugs on it and plugged it into the aircon socket which runs at the same voltage as ours and my hairdryer worked just fine. When leaving I called him again and he came and put my plug back on again. I thought that was great service.
If you are a great swimmer you probable wont enjoy the water as it doesn't get much higher than waist height. But it is great for kids. In fact although we were without children we noted that the place was just perfect for families with kids the whole place is in fact geared around them. For us single girls there was the shuttle to Margerittaville in montego bay which is the best nightclub there. The atmosphere was just amazing in there. Drinks were about the same as you would spend in the UK. Probably more expensive for the US tourists. Music was great. If you miss the hotel shuttle back (final one leaves at 2.00pm) taxi should be no more than 20 US dollars. Don't let them stitch you up, be firm. Don't wander off the hip strip alone at night a friend of mine was pressured to give out money, then again he was foolish enough to go to the local beach beside the hip strip at 3.00am. Although you may think that the hotel is all inclusive, the American tourists seem to give out tips to the staff (who are really on very low salaries) this does get you better service. So when we arrived we tipped our room cleaner and gave out the odd dollar or two to bar men and waiters who then seemed to go the extra mile for us for the rest of our holiday. The smile on their faces also made it worth while.
All in all we would definately return to the resort and the hotel and we had a great time which we will never forget.
Our group of eleven stayed here from Feb 18-25/06. The flight was Canjet and was fine. We arrived at our resort around 11:30 pm Sunday evening. No greeters with drinks at that time. Check in went fine and we soon all gathered at the beach bar for drinks and something to eat after our long flight. We and another couple were given ground floor rooms in building 1B. We didn't like it there, too dark and dreary and no privacy whatsoever if you were to sit outside on the so called patio. Our Sunquest rep, Sherry, helped us get our rooms changed to the upper floors in building 7 which were 100% better. I wouldn't reccomend staying in any ground floor room, try for the higher floors.
All of our group were now in buildings 6 & 7 which suited us fine. We were beside the adult pool and bar and close to the jerk hut. It was a little walk to the main dining area but it was a lovely walk .
The food was fine, we didn't care for the couple of times they had meals on the beach, but you could book the Italian restaurant. There was always the beach bar which served fries, burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches and of course the jerk hut for chicken and pork.
My sister had a small wedding while we were there and it was lovely. I'm sure there were at least a dozen more weddings that week each varying in size.
We took the tour to Dunns River Falls and recommend if you go to Jamaica you should take it in.
I felt quite safe at this resort, they had security patroling the grounds day and night.
We went shopping at the small "Mall" across the street. We were a little nervous to go at first but once we were there, it was fine. There was less pressure there to buy then when I shopped in the Domincan and the prices were better than the shop in our resort.
The weather was marvellous, we had maybe 30 minutes of rain the whole week. There was always a breeze on the beach if you wanted it. The beach was very nice. This resort is built along the beach so it stretched out quite a distance. There is also the little island they made that alot of people seemed to enjoy.
There were lots of children there but that wasn't a problem for us as we stayed at our end of the resort which was mainly adults. The entertainment was okay, nothing to rave about.
I would reccomend this resort. If you don't have a good time here it's your own fault.
Would like to add that our Sunsquest rep, Sherry, was the best rep I've encountered yet. She was at our resort from 9 - 6 for 6 out of the 7 days we were there and was very friendly and eager to help us in anyway she could.
One last note, be prepared to wait at the Montego airport going back, it is slowwwww.
We visited this resort in January, 2006, and have nothing but good to say. The resort itself is well designed, attractive and has everything you need.
Room: Our room was spacious, with an ocean view and balcony. It was a second floor room, with elevator access. Our maid was very efficient, and we always had everything we needed. We did not have a bar fridge, but found we didn't really need one. The resort is an older one, but everything is well-kept and clean.
Pool: There is a freeform pool for families and an adult-only pool with swim up bar. We did not use the pool, preferring the beach and sea to swim in, but the pools were very nice.
Beach: At this resort, there isn't one long beach, but several smaller bays. There were always plenty of sun loungers, and we never had a problem finding somewhere to settle for the day. Some reserving of loungers does go on, but we never had any difficulty finding some, no matter what time of day we were looking. There is a man-made island a little way from the main beach, with sun loungers on it. You can swim or wade out to it, and the rocks around it are home to many different kinds of fish. We took bananas to feed them, and used our snorkels when the water was calm.
Food: The food was excellent. The main restaurant is buffet-style and there was plenty of choice. As well as "normal" food (pizza, burgers etc.) there were always a selection of Jamaican dishes at every meal. These were particularly good. In addition, there are 3 a-la carte restaurants - a casual Italian, a more formal Italian (same menu, the difference is in the dress code and atmosphere of the restaurants)and a Jamaican restaurant located on the east beach. On Monday night they had a Jamaican evening with dinner served buffet style outdoors and with local vendors selling their wares - jewellery, paintings, clothing etc. We found the prices high - we bought our souvenirs at the resort gift shop (5 t-shirts for $23 US). During the day, you can get excellent jerk chicken and lightly breaded sea trout, along with burgers and hot dogs, at the Barefoot Bar on the beach, or at the Jerk Hut. There is also a Popcorn and Ice-cream stand on the beach for the kids.
Excursions: We took one excursion - the catamaran and snorkelling trip. It was a 3-hour trip which went from Sandals Montego Bay by catamaran out to a snorkelling spot in Montego Bay, where we saw lots of fish, to Margaritaville and then back to Sandals. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would recommend it to anyone. It was about $35 US each.
Other: There is a laundry facility. We used it on the one dull day we had, just to cut down on the amount of laundry we took home. Yes, I know - we're a pair of geeks! You purchase laundry soap at the gift shop, but otherwise it's free.
The gardens are well laid out and full of beautiful flowers. We saw a variety of birds, including hummingbirds, Jamaica's national bird.
The Jamaicans were delightful. We encountered nothing but cheerfulness, friendliness and good service. The only exception to this was at the front desk, where the service was somewhat grudging, and the airport - about which I'll say no more. The checking in process and getting through security on the way home was a complete nightmare, but really was the only negative thing about an otherwise perfect holiday.
We would go back to this resort in a heartbeat, and as soon as we came home, we began saving up for next year's trip. We got a very good deal on our vacation and it was excellent value for money. We would definately recommend it.