|Old Reviews - Sunset Beach Resort & Spa|
Arrival - quick and easy, after going through customs, finding the bus assigned we were drink in hand in 1 hour, another family took a cab instead of the assigned bus and they were in the lobby in 1/2hr for $20 US.
Rooms - adequate, we upgraded though and had beach front which was a beautiful view. we did not always get face cloths so, bring your own just in case. nice and clean rooms of 4star quality
Restaurants and Bars -
good food and service was excellent.
beach looked beautiful however there were large stones in the first 2ft of water so you really need to be careful or injuries can happen.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel - we didn't go off the resort and we were quite happy to stay for rest and relaxation.
Other Comments -
for the value, i would come again but the beach was definitely a let down if you like to swim in the ocean.
next time Negril. it was really nice to be able to talk with the staff at this resort and they were all friendly. The food was good. The entertainment
was a little unorganized however we knew this before we left through your reviews.
Restaurants and Bars
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Sunset Beach Resort and Spa Montego Bay, Jamaica: 6 to 13 January, 2008 (unsolicited and unpaid review, by 50+ woman from Ontario, Canada)
Wanted a great nude beach and easy snorkeling as well as all-inclusive decent food and good service: got what I wanted. No long drive to the resort since it’s just across the bay from the airport. This means more beach/ fun time. Three private beaches on the outer edge of Montego Bay are edged by a coral reef about 100 yards out. Decent quality snorkeling equipment as well as paddle boats, kayaks, etc. Staff are magnificent: friendly, helpful, accommodating and well trained. Rooms are fine with decent beds, but we didn’t spend much time inside anyway.
One of the two 10-story towers was closed for renovation, which meant lots of space at the facilities. Children will love Pirate’s Paradise: over an acre of shallow or mid-depth (3.5 feet. 1 metre) pools. Black Pearl pirate ship (larger than the one Columbus crossed the ocean on) rests in the middle of the pool as does a hot tub area. You can float around it all on a Lazy River (narrow channel with water propelled through it). The two water slides and kid activity centers (mid-level and teen) are housed in a castle-like huge structure on one side of the park. My sons would have loved this between ages 5 to 10 or so. There are arcade and computer games available as well, for when the sun is too hot.
I’m not a partygoer, but those that were, seemed to have a good time. Sunset Beach visitors get free entry to Margaritaville on Mondays with free shots all night (so it says – I didn’t go). Of course a free bus takes you back and forth.
I enjoyed the 4 pm High Tea, complete with top quality pianist Mr. Frank. Classically trained and very much the gentleman, he can play pretty much anything you request, from memory. Show tunes, waltzes, classical, pop – you name it and he’ll oblige. I requested something baroque and he obliged with one English (Lady Diana used it for her wedding processional) and one German.
Due to renovations, meals were held in what I am told is a temporary location, but you couldn’t tell, as it was great with a good view past great gardens to the ocean. The original dining and entertainment area is being enlarged so that it is directly by the ocean. They are also adding a mini putt and other items. The Chief Engineer said all should be done by mid to late February 2008 and, considering their progress in just one week, I don’t doubt it. While doing all this work, they still responded to requests from guests, such as ensuring the beach volleyball area was all set up.
Room size and shape depends on where you are. We checked out four rooms and each was different, depending on location. All had wide, deep balconies or patios, each with chairs and a table to sit out and enjoy the view. “Ocean front” faces directly on the ocean with wonderful views (we were on the 10th floor to start). “Ocean view” and “partial ocean view” still have good views of the ocean due to the shape of the towers and the way the beaches curve around. If you face west from Tower A you see the ocean to your left, beaches straight ahead and Montego Bay and the mountains to your right. I was amazed at seeing two huge ocean liners in the bay, just the far side of the resort. The first day I woke at 6 am and, right out from the resort was a huge ship, all lit up. The sea was calm and the ship’s lights caught the waves all the way to the beach. When I got up again, it was in the harbor. Even “garden view” was great as the green hills were refreshing, and the breeze flows down them to the ocean during the day.
The resort is popular with returning guests and we spoke to many who’ve been there again and again because they like it so much. The resort seems to keep good staff and many I spoke to have been there for years. To me, this shows the management is doing something right, for staff and guests to want to return.
The three curved beaches have shells washed up from the reef, though the best ones are at the nude beach since no kids pick them up. Note that it is not a clothing optional beach: you remove your clothes once you’re past a barrier. We snorkeled out from the nude beach with bathing suits and t-shirts for sun protection and in case we drifted to the regular beach. Once we explained this, and since he’d noted we were following the rules earlier, it was not a problem. But this shows they do watch to ensure voyeurs and children don’t approach.
The nude beach (about 200 feet long) was quiet and peaceful, with maybe 6 or 8 guests on it in total during our week. Lots of hermit crabs (tiny ones) and, if you stay quiet and still, land crabs pop up out of holes in the sand and forage for food. Lots of shade due to the wild bush area to the south (behind you). You have to put on clothes to get a drink (the bar is just past the nude beach), so remember to bring a large insulated mug with a lid to cut down on trips. People there were helpful and friendly, and we had no problem setting up in the morning and leaving our bags (sunscreen, personal snorkeling stuff, books and magazines) there all day without anyone bothering them.
The entertainment was varied, from steel band to magnificent singers and even Elvis but, (as noted below) sometimes hard to understand. I don’t think some of the acts really need microphones, or at least the sound doesn’t have to be cranked up so high (but then, I like things quiet).
Negatives: Most of these will be fixed when the construction is finished in February 2008. Due to the entertainment area being upgraded, the main lobby was used for entertainment and the sound has nothing to absorb it. Therefore, it bounces around and you can’t understand the announcers’ voices as they speak so quickly. If they slowed down a bit it might help. Construction noise can be a pain during the day if you want an afternoon nap and your room looks out over it, but I found staff were sympathetic and changed rooms if they could (not always available). If they couldn’t, the air conditioning usually managed to cover up noise.
There were temporary problems with the elevator, so we were moved from the 10th floor down to the 3rd on the second day, with no hassles. The view was great but this was not the full ocean view we’d signed up for, so a few days later (as soon as a room was available) we were moved to the West wing on the bottom floor. This had a patio directly fronting the main beach (with a garden area and slight drop so that we didn’t feel people were intruding at all).
The food was fine, but not wonderful, but we’re told that, once the second tower is open, the dining area revised and the resort is running at full capacity, this will change. This was said by people who’d been there many times: one woman has come for the last nine years, for three weeks at a time. I especially liked the pound-cake type desserts and the Manager’s reception, where Jamaican fruits and food can be tasted (soursop, sweetsop, etc.).
Summation: I would certainly return, as I met great people and had a good relax.
We just returned from your resort after a week stay Aug 27th to Sept.3rd. and we all had a lovely time. Your staff was so very courteous and everything was clean and orderly. A special thanks to Peter (Italian Restaurant), he was so welcoming and lively. All 12 members of my relatives had someone from the staff that we liked but as this is my letter...
My days consisted of an early morning workout, back to my room for a shower and change, hearty breakfast, lounging seaside until 1:00 P.M., lunch, lounging poolside or in your beautiful courtyard, playing board games. I miss it and I will return.
We just returned from the resort. There were 16 of us that went. We were there from June 12th to the 17th, 2007. This was our first trip to Jamaica. My husband and I own a timeshare so we normally travel that way. We have 2 kids, ages 14 and 16 and they each took a friend. My kids were bored most of the time there. They played sand volleyball and pool volleyball and did the water slide but this became old for them fast. I think this age group did not have a lot to do there. The teen center only had three video games in it. The restaurants were not what we expected. You could only reserve each of them 1 night of your vacation. We ate at Italian first and service was slow. We were there over 2 hours. My kids ended up not going to Chinese as they did not like the long wait. As far as food, Chinese was better than Italian, but neither one overly impressive. The buffet had a variety and was good but again I was expecting better. It was average food. The grill was closed when buffet was open which did not help our kids when they just wanted a quick burger. The fruit was great. We did a 4 day cruise 2 years ago and I was expecting food like that. This was not the case.
The people were very friendly. The two major things that happened to us were 1) check in took forever, just my husband and I and kids took 1 hour from wait time to finish. Also, the wearing of the wristbands was annoying. The second issue was we planned a snorkeling trip off site and booked for 10 people, on of which was a 12 year old and when we got on bus to go we were told he could not go because they were going through sandals and he was too young. This was an am trip and was considered a family one and the brochure even said age 12 was okay. I think this was a combination of resort, Travel Company and the catamaran company but still annoying and we ended up not going at all.
My father in law was hurt in the pool (no ones fault) but he was bleeding and they were aware and the pool was not closed to clean, nor was the concrete cleaned where he bled. I am a nurse and I cleaned some of it up buy I thought as far as infection control this was not good.
I felt the beach was small as we like to walk but because of safety issues it was small area to walk and you could not walk onto nude beach.
I would not go back to this resort. We had an okay time but not our best vacation.
The entertainment was not the best either.
I have read the reviews for the Sunset Beach Resort and Spa for 1 year and finally I get to write my review. This Resort was fantastic. I read the negative reviews and I know who those people are...they are the people who sit around and do nothing. We had a blast in the rain every afternoon, we had a blast in the sun when it was out, we had a blast on the water slides (I am over 50) we had a blast drinking in the pool bar and meeting the friendliest people from around the world. We had fantastic people wait on us and no one expected a tip and the service was great. The Food was wonderful...sure there was stuff I tried I didn't like...but you get that anywhere in the world. We had a blast at night partying...sure the music got loud but when we had enough we went and walked on the beach and sat and just relaxed. I don't know what time our rooms got cleaned...we DIDN'T STAY in the them. My daughter got married there during this visit and all 34 of us had nothing but high praise for everything. IT IS NOT THE RITZ...if you want the Ritz go pay the price....I have been there...The Sunset Beach was perfect...sure there are better places and there are worse...but if you want the truth....you make it what you want it to be and we had a blast. I met some of those people who thought this was a terrible place...we all have. I literally travel around the world at least twice a year and I am out of the country at least 3 months a year and I have seen it all....Sunset Beach doesn't pretend to be the Sands or anyone else, but, if you want to stay in your bathing suit, enjoy great food and service and be with your family and friends this is the place. We had a fantastic wedding and my daughter would do it again without making a change....and did you see any of the kids sitting around with nothing to do...this is a great family place...try being a kid with your kids...you to will have fun. Good snorkeling too....I've seen better as well but how can you not enjoy snorkeling when you’re with the people you love....
You make it what it is...but you can not or will not make it the Ritz...We will be Back. Thank you Staff of Sunset...let it rain or shine...!
My husband and I just returned from a 2 week vacation at the Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We have visited quite a few other Caribbean islands, but this was our first Jamaican holiday so did not know what to expect.
We started our vacation with a complaint. When we arrived in our 1st floor room in Tower B, we had literally no view but a thatched roof. The patio door would not lock. The "engineers" maintenance crew came up to repair it. It took them hours to finally get it fixed. The next morning, I opened our drapes only to see a Jamaican employee (probably a gardener from his uniform) walking right outside our patio. He had climbed up the thatched roof and was just looking around. He could easily have jumped over the railing and come in if our patio door wasn't locked. Not too comforting and a little scary. When we reported it to the front desk, they said he was probably picking up something people had dropped from a higher floor. We told them no, he was just looking around then left. They found that puzzling. Anyway, we insisted to change rooms because we did not feel safe. They told us there were no extra rooms available. We asked for an upgrade to a higher floor with a better view. We did get one but at an additional cost to us. Our new room faced the marina where we watched the yachts and cruise ships come to port.
With that incident out of the way, the rest of our vacation was great! All staff were very courteous and friendly. The food at Banana Walk was really good with a good variety. And yes, their desserts are to die for! You really have to be a picky eater not to enjoy something off the buffet. We tried both the Italian and Chinese restaurant. They were ok but nothing special. We could not see the need to reserve so much in advance. There were always empty tables available.
The rooms and grounds were kept very clean. Public washrooms were regularly cleaned and supplied.
We did use the pools but spent most of our mornings on the nude beach. (It is a nude beach, not a clothes optional beach as described in the brochure which was fine with us). Most days we were the only ones on the beach so it was really relaxing and weren't bothered by anyone.
We did do the Dunn's River Falls, Negril's seven mile beach and the semi-submarine for an underwater look at the coral reefs and fish.
As for nightly entertainment, there wasn't much except a lot of Reggae music. I originally planned on buying a CD but after two weeks I didn't want to hear Reggae at all.
Would go back again but Cuba can't be beat for its beaches!
4 Hour direct flight from Boston. 15 minute bus ride to resort. Could see resort from right side of plane as came in for landing. Took 15 - 20 minutes to check-in.
Got room and had bags delivered with in 10 minutes. Changed and went to beach. Nice and warm. Ocean temp. warm. Pools slightly cooler. Perfect weather all week.
Has several beaches listed at this resort. Beaches not as wide or nice as Punta Cana in DR. But better than the snow we left behind.
Small protected beach area great for little children, will always need adult supervision. Main beach about 700 feet long, sand and ground up coral. At end of this beach is a sign forbidding cameras. Code for allowing topless sunbathing. Very few took advantage of this arrangment, would be nice to have sign more explicit, some didn't know that this was avaliable. Last beach had sand, coral, small coral stones. This was nude area beach. All beaches seperated by stone barriers going out into water. Guard at nude beach looks for those who go there with out removing it all. There are several signs stating what the beach is for, no kids, cameras. Had read review where someone complained that they had to remove clothing close to non nude beach area before they could enter. We didn't find that the case. There was a hut with a guard at nude beach entrance. If you had your stuff, towel, bag, etc. and looked like you were going to go to stay, we were not asked to remove clothing. Most walked to where they would stay for the day and then disrobe. Nude beach had the most shady areas to get out of hot sun, but plenty of sunny areas too, lots of loungers at all beaches. Spent every day at nude beach. Very quiet, people very friendly. If someone was going to the beach bar, which was between regular beach and nude beach, they would offer to get what ever you wanted. Yes you had to cover up to get to beach bar. Was 50 feet from nude beach sign. Some people were chased ( asked to leave ) away from the nude beach as they were either just walking around but not disrobing, or on one occassion, 3 women, in swim suits walked through nude beach area looking for sea shells. Note: nude beach best area for finding shells as other beaches combed over by children. The guard asked them to either remove swim suits or leave, so they left. A couple of times a young single guy would come to nude beach, remove his trunks and look around for the Hot Babes, finding almost all were married couples in 30 - 60's they would leave in a few minutes never to return.
The food was ok, never got sick, but didn't go for food, just sand, sun, and surf. Snorkling was very good right off the beach, best on nude side but ok other beaches. Note: wear water shoes, lots of sea urchens, don't step on them, will ruin the day or week if you do. We stayed in one of the twin towers on the 8th floor. Our room was quiet, nice view of harbor and cruise ships. Good place for kids as part of resort is a water park with 2 slides. Resort had all ages. No venders walking and trying to sell you something. Some local venders had specific place in Resort to set up and let you see what they were selling, carvings, clothes, shoes etc. Would go back agian if could get another good deal on this Resort. All spoke English as former British colony, yes they drive on other side of road.
Just got back from Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Montego Bay Jamaica. Stayed from December 7th through 10th 2006.
My wife and I along with a group of 4 other couples went and all in all it was a great trip.
The worst part was upon arrival in Jamaica and having to wait in line to enter the country for hours along with hundreds of others. My heart goes out to those with small children, they weren’t happy.
The Resort has an awesome slide, may I recommend wearing a t-shirt while riding, the ridges rub your back but it’s tolerable.
I warned everyone about the Sea Urchins but I still found myself limping home, my bad. Never, ever step in the grassy areas under water without shoes. I did just once and OUCH. Beaches are beautiful and not at all crowded, plenty of chairs to go around.
The night club was a joke, cool room, lots of guest showing up but the DJ ran in put on a CD of hard core Reggae and left for good. This blaring horrible music ran off all of us and the locals within 10 minutes.
Place was well kept, the pools go on forever. This place is highly recommended for families with children. For us we found ourselves bored often, the live music was okay at best and I missed the shows due to unplanned unconsciousness. The food was good especially at the Chinese restaurant. The nude beach wasn’t raked or maintained much and only a few participants. It seems all the topless women would only lay out close to the nude beach to avoid the kids I assume. The staff was great, courteous and quick to serve but they don’t have an entertainment host like Club Ambiance had the last time we went.
I guess I’m easy to please because I had fun. It helped to have our friends along with us. It also helps to be trashed the whole time.
Thanks Jamaica for a weekend I’ll never forget, we all had a great time.
Having been to the Caribbean each spring for the last 8 years we finally made it to Jamaica !
SBHR&S is rated in Canada as a 3+ star resort, but with the addition of the Water Theme Park and it's popularity with families of young children and the recent renovations, that may rise.
All the things that can be said about the Room's, Grounds, Pools, Beaches (3), the Resort Employees, are pretty much right on. We found it to be comfortable and well appointed. It all depends on what your hopes are and what you realistically expect to get for what you pay. If you expect to be pampered and tended to, you'll be disappointed. You'll probably be disappointed where ever you go ! If you go with an open mind and flow with the program, you'll have a ball !
For those traveling with young children ( 6-14 ) the Resort should be a best seller ! This is the place for you. There is everything there for this age group. For the older teens - unless they come with friends it could be a long and boring holiday if they expect to experience any kind of fun inside the gates and away from their parents. For those traveling with infants and very young children, the day care center is not set up to look after your kids while you lay in the sun all day. You'll still have to tend to them constantly to ensure they are not bothersome to the other vacationers. The holiday will basically be yours because after all, they won't remember anything about it in a few months anyway !
We compared this resort to those we have visited in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico. To put it plain and simple, if you plan to stay on the resort you'll get more bang for your bucks if you visit Cuba or the D.R. !! You'll find only minor differences. ( IE: the resort music is largely reggae and the entertainers and staff speak english ) The only real difference between Jamaica and the Spanish Caribbean Islands is the time spent off the resort, and for that the increase in price, for us, did not justify the experience ! We did 3 excursions while there over the course of 15 nights, ( YS Falls, Negril - Margaritaville - Ricks Cafe and shopping in Montego Bay ) All the excursions were OK, the vistas and locations were great, it's just that it didn't add up to an experience that justified the higher vacation package price.
We found that we spent our beach time at the nude section, partly because of the adventure of the experience but mostly to get away from the kids and the constant LOUD music and the other beachgoers hovering around the too few shady places on the other beaches. ( OK that was my gripe... )
We really enjoyed our holiday to SBHR&S, but wouldn't go back there. I should have researched out the attractions for the kids, and gave that more consideration.... It's off to the DR next spring !! Hola !
Pictures of the resort are available. Just send me an email. Amosbeagle15@canada.com
Our family group of 20 went to Sunset Beach Resort and Spa for 2 weeks Dec 26-Jan 9. Overall experience was good.
Rooms - too small for 4 people. Just basic room of 2 double beds and a dresser/desk with TV. Not enough drawer space to put much of anything in so we lived out of our luggage.
- Chinese Restaurant - average take out stuff but good service.
- Italian Restaurant - good food and service. Worth going to. We took the kids but would have preffered just the adults at this one.
Beach Grill - good food but kind of greasy. The kids loved eating here all day long and again after 10:00 p.m. when there wasn't anything else for them to eat.
Bars - staff very friendly. Always tried the drink of the day. Good variety of rums.
Waterpark - GREAT! All the kids and the adults had a blast from the waterslides to floating around in the tubes. Depth was 3 - 3 1/2 feet deep so even the little ones were quite safe.
Pools - very clean (even the swim up bar pools). Grounds - very clean - always saw people sweeping, mopping, painting, etc.
Kids Club - very well organized and supervised. A list was posted everyday outlining the activities. My kids asked to go everyday (nice break for the parents). The arcade for the older kids was pretty cool too since they had their own place to hang out.
Beach - didn't spend much time there. Wasn't much room between the lounge chairs and the water. We preferred the pools.
Hints - Bring thermal insulated cups as the plastic cups from the bars are small. If you want to call home, you have to purchase a Jamaican phone card to use in the pay phones. Rates were $2 US for 2 minutes and $5 US for 11 minutes. If you bring Canadian travellers cheques the resort will only exchange them to Jamaican currency.
If you get a chance to go for New Year's Eve, you won't be disappointed. This year they pulled out all the stops. From the live band to the awesome selection of food to the ice sculptures, it truly was a night to remember.
This resort is very family oriented which was great since the kids in our group ranged in age from 4-14. I wouldn't go here if it were just adults going but for families its a great place.
we have just returned from our first trip to an all-inclusive resort. The sunset beach resort provided us with a wonderful experience for our family of 6. The staff were more than friendly. The rooms were clean the resort layout was great something for everyone.Thoroughly enjoyed the waterpark. Beaches were great. I am not sure why people had complained about the food in previous reveiws the buffet had something for everyone. The Chinese resturant is definately worth the visit. The entertainment staff work very hard to make sure you have fun. I think the only down side is my older children 17,20,22 did not think to much of the disco the room was very small and did not seem very welcoming. We cannot wait to return to this facility.
My wife and I celebrated our anniversary with a trip to Sunset Beach
Resort June 30- July 4, our first visit to the Caribbean. We'd read many
good (and some bad) reviews on this website and others, and decided it
offered us the right combination of features we were looking for -
all-inclusive, secure setting, resort activities, and nice beach. We
effortlessly booked a trip from St. Louis through Funjet Vacations on
Expedia.com. We had a sensational time and have concluded that most of the bad reviews of this resort are probably the work of that certain type
of person who feels a need to complain a lot. During our brief stay we
found very little, if anything, to "complain" about. The staff was friendly,
the food was good, and our room in Building E down by the nude beach was
clean and quiet with a fantastic view of the ocean. The resort actually has three nice beaches - one for families, one topless, and one au natural (nude) where children are not allowed. We have no children and prefer to not have them around during a romantic holiday, so we hung out at the nude beach every day to minimize their presence (and get that all-over tan!). It was our first experience with au natural sunbathing, and we think having this adults-only beach is an attractive amenity at Sunset Beach Resort. The nude beach is separated enough from the rest of the resort to provide privacy, and monitored by hotel staff to prevent unwelcome visitors. It is well-kept (staff would clean and rake it every morning) but rocky in the water, so you need water shoes to go swimming, and yes, we saw many sea urchins and some moon jellyfish, but the water is so crystal clear they are easy to avoid. The jellyfish are really harmless - one of the staff came by and told us "they're no problem, mon, just pick 'em up and toss'em outta yer way, mon!" He was really nice and helpful showing us that, because they (the jellyfish) scared us at first. The nude beach is the prettiest one, too - several beach umbrellas are built for shade, mounds of sand are built up and spaced out to provide even more privacy, and tall vegetation buffers it from the adjoining land - very "natural" looking! It was not crowded at all, with only 5 or 6 couples there at the busiest times. By the second or third day of sunbathing and swimming there, we began to visit with some of them and then wished we had done so sooner! We met a really nice couple from Houston on their honeymoon (HI to Tom and his wife the nurse!) and others from Pennsylvania and North Carolina. We never realized that you can meet the nicest people on a nude beach! On the last day at sunrise before breakfast, we went there one final time with coffee and had the whole beach to ourselves - a perfect and romantic end to our anniversary vacation! Wish we could have stayed longer, and hope to return one day. Highly recommended resort.
Coming up in, now, 4 days, I will be making my 6th trip to Sunset Beach Resort and Spa. I read thru the other reviews and could hardly believe some of them! The staff is exceptional! Everyone from the check-in desk to the activities desk, to the bartenders, and maids have never been anything but super. I travel, by myself, sans husband, to this resort every year.
Why? 2 reasons. I feel absolutely safe and comfortable for one. No one bugs me, my wishes are met with courtesy, (they are as courteous to you as you are to them), and they are always ready with a smile.
For the woman below...there are 3 pools, not 2...oh well, she seems like a snobby type anyway and you won't find many snobs at Sunset Beach. This is a great resort with a family beach, a topless beach, and an au naturel beach.
I'm not a big eater so I can't complain about the buffet. It always has everything I need in the morning to get me going...the coffee and tea bar are open all day..lunch, I do the grill...I love the birds that
watch you but don't bother you. Once you leave tho, anything you left they go for. Its like the resort has an agreement with them! I can't tell you how much I love this resort. Returning for my 6th visit should speak volumes in itself. Sunset Beach is a unpretentious, friendly resort.
If you want to treated like royalty, then you spend the extra thousand dollars for that treatment. I don't go to be treated like royalty, I go to have an afforable single vacation at a resort that is charming, friendly, and has everything I want.
Kudos to Sunsewt Beach...I won't change...se you in a few days Barbie and Ray!
Just returned from a wonderful week, January 2 – 9, 2005 at the Sunset Beach in Jamaica. I had looked at the reviews and was somewhat hesitant to go but I am so glad we did. My family of four went with Sunquest tours flying direct from Ottawa, Canada. Wow, are those seats ever small but everyone on the plane was very accommodating. Airport was great – there were even a welcoming committee of Jamaican women in traditional dress singing a welcome song! We were pulled out of the immigration line and fast tracked through, it may have been that they took pity on us as my 7 and 8 year old sons were pummelling each other. A small bus took us on the 20 minute drive to the resort and the driver pointed out all the points of interest. We arrived at noon and our rooms were not to be ready until 3 but my husband went back after an hour or so and managed to get us a great Ocean view (actually the ocean is about 30 ft from the room) room in the east block in the small two storey section of the hotel (as compared to the two tall towers). Housekeeping was super fast and brought two twin beds which they set up beside our king size one. They had the room made up and lots of towels etc before I even arrived from walking along the beach!
Food is good although they do not have a huge variety there is always something good on the buffet. Fruit was not as plentiful as usual as the hurricane destroyed the banana crop. The lamb at the Italian restaurant was wonderful, as was all the meal and our server Andrew S. was delightful. The chef even boned the boys rack of lamb for them to make it easier! I have to say that the staff went out of their way to be helpful and my sons had a great time with the bartenders who would hand them a virgin strawberry daiquiri every time they went to the bar. Dessert selection was incredible every day!
Beach was nice and never crowded. There seems to be a lot of British and Americans, some Germans and not many Canadians vacationing.
Some of the extra nice touches at this hotel are the games loan out, board games, ping pong and the book exchange where you could pick up a book if you are like me and have read everything you have brought in the first 3 days. They also loan out snorkelling equipment and kayaks, paddleboats. There are no motorized boats allowed as it is a marine conservation area.
There is construction going on right now as there are plans for a beautiful water park to open sometime this year (the date says January 2005 but I would think maybe by this fall) but it does not interfere with your enjoyment – although it did freak me out to see no hard hats or steal toes and the men walking unteathered on the roof!
My kids loved the hotel but did not want to participate in the kids club and I think it was not geared to their age group but more to the 3 – 6 year old. The hotel is on a private beach so they could freely travel through the resort without us worrying. Because of the water park the hotel has had to move the mini-golf but that should be up and running soon as well.
All in all we really enjoyed ourselves and have to say that the service was excellent – this hotel is really trying hard to capture the 3 – 4 star market and I think it is very successful. I am sure we will be back!
Your website was very helpful to us in choosing our vacation spot, so I wanted to return the favor to other visitors...
It's September 2004, and we just arrived back from four nights at Sunset Beach Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We didn't expect to be there until less than 24 hours before we left--long story, involving two hurricanes and two canceled trips--but we couldn't pass up the deal we got, and Sunset Beach seemed to have a fair number of satisfied customers posting on various websites, including this one.
Bottom line: Your visit will be what you make of it. It's not a five-star resort, but it's very nice, and we had a good time. We were looking for a nice, relaxing trip, and that's what we got. If you're terribly picky, or you want to be treated like royalty, you're probably not going to be satisfied with Sunset Beach. But we came away with a generally favorable reaction and will visit again--and, judging by the number of return visitors we saw, we're not alone. It seems like a great spot for all types: those who want a little quiet and just a bit of interaction with other guests (we made some nice temporary friends), party animals (there were a few of those, although we never saw a single person get out of control or obnoxious--remarkable, considering the amount of alcohol flowing), families (lots of those), groups, etc.
Important note: DON'T use the in-room phones at Sunset Beach to make credit card calls home. I made two calls, of 11 minutes and 5 minutes, one to Pennsylvania and one to New York. I just got the bills on my credit card--those two calls were, respectively, $70+ and $30+!!!! And that's in addition to the several dollars charged by the hotel for the outgoing calls. It's a complete ripoff. (We also made two collect calls--I can't wait to find out what THEY cost!)
In conclusion, Sunset Beach was a perfectly good vacation spot, and considering the deal we got (an all-inclusive package for two with nonstop airfare from New York City both ways, plus four nights in an oceanfront room, for much less than $1,500), we were satisfied. Next time, we might upgrade to Sandals or Breezes--but we might decide to save $1,000 and return to Sunset Beach for a good time. I think that's a pretty good endorsement.
We have just got back from the above resort and could not find any major faults. Having read the other reviews on here I am wondering if it is the same place! We stayed from 24th Feb to 8th March and would definitely go back. I will give my views on each category below:
Staff: Very friendly but please make the effort to say hello to them, they will always respond pleasantly and will remember you for the rest of your stay.
Airport: Clean but very inefficient. Immigration clearance took ages! Luggage collection was a nightmare as you did not know which carousel to look on, a bit like a treasure hunt!
Food: Very good in all restaurants, particularly Silk Road and Botticelli. Banana Walk food became a bit 'samey' after a week or so, but was always hot and fresh. A great selection of fruit and desserts.
Beach: A good long beach with plenty of room for everyone. Dependent on tide, but generally 15-25 ft walk from loungers to the sea. Beware the Sea Urchins though which you will find from about 20ft out and lots of them. Great snorkelling and does not get too deep until you get maybe 200-300 yds out.
Pools: Did not use them, but only because I prefer the ocean. They did seem quite cold though!
Room: Very well fitted with a massive bed, satellite TV, balcony etc. Ironing Board and Iron are provided along with a hair dryer. Cleaned thoroughly and clean towels every day. Maids very friendly, well worth tipping despite the 'No Tipping' policy.
Bars: Drinks are small but plentiful. Barmen will always give you a large drink or less ice, just ask.
Entertainment: Always very good, but beware the art auction. You will pay another $19 buyers premium + 14% insurance on any purchase, but all are reproduction prints.
Do not just stay on the resort by the pool, get out and meet the people. They are the most friendly I have met from the many Caribbean islands I have visited. Everything is 'No Problem, Mon'. There are lots of great excursions, we saw Crocs on the Black River, climbed Dunns River Falls, rode horses in the sea, took a quad bike tour in the mountains, visited the Appleton rum distillery and loads more. All were great fun. Before we left the UK we were warned, 'you will be pushed drugs everywhere you go, careful you dont get mugged, you get hassled everywhere, the people are rude'. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, dope is available if you want it, but it is not pushed at you and a simple 'no thanks' is all that is needed.
Stayed at SSB from 2/21 to 2/25. Don't listen to all the negative remarks and let them ruin your trip. The beach was fine and extremely close to the hotel. We took cheap snorkels of our own and spent hours floating around and seeing all kinds of fish. Try taking bread from the buffet, we forgot that trick you may see even more. There are plenty of snorkels and vests available though. The food was fine at the buffet, just not fancy just remember the rule if you don't like it just get something else.Sat. night was seafood night shrimp was spicy but OK. Ate at both specialty restaurants, they were fine service was excellent another good feature was the beach grill was open till 1 am. Drinks are weak just ask for a double. Another nice feature was there was always some type of entertainment evening a 3 man band playing during lunch. We stayed in the towers, yes the room looked worn and a little old, but the view from the 9th floor was incredible. A lot of people stood on their balcony and listened to the bands in the evening. We talked to people from all over the states and most had a great time, if you are the cruise ship type then go somewhere else. If you take one trip go to Dunns River. It does take a whole day though with shopping and lunch. Don't do it if you are over 60 or in poor physical shape because you won't enjoy it. We did not go to the nude beach because it's just not our thing but it seemed very popular. We have been to better resorts in Punta Cana and Cancun and had a better time in Jamaica. Enjoy.
My wife and I stayed at the Sunset Beach Resort & Spa from 2/12/04 to 2/18/04 and I will divide my reviews into multiple categories as I have seen this done previously and it makes for easy reading.
Flight: Our flight was on Air Jamaica out of Newark and went nice and smooth. They showed a movie and served breakfast (cheese omelet) with complementary champagne. I am afraid to fly for the most part, and despite a little turbulence, this was a nice smooth flight, about 3 hours and twenty minutes.
Airport: The airport in Montego Bay is not unlike other Caribbean airports I've been to except to say that it was a tad more developed (air conditioning) than say Punta Cana. Getting through customs and getting your bags was rather arduous however because our customs agent chose to ask everyone what seemed like a plethora of questions. "Why are you here?" etc. Taking a wild guess, I'd say that 99% of the people are there for vacation and this is insanely obvious. On a good note there was a nice Jamaican band singing and dancing while you waited. Upon exiting the airport, our bags were literally taken from us by a porter. This is my one negative experience really. They take your bags and then when you give them a tip, they actually look at what it is! Two bucks for two suitcases to go ten feet to a van is more than adequate in my mind.
Bus: Uneventful, except, this is a former English colony therefore they drive on the left side of the road, trip was about ten minutes long.
Check-in: As others said they give you a nice rum punch and some towels when you get there and tell you to go check out the food and the beach, because your room is not ready until 3:00.
Lobby: The lobby in my mind is great. There is a bar, and tons of chairs & lounge beds to lay around on. We saw several people sleeping in them which was comforting to know. The lobby traffic didn't seem to disturb them.
Pools: there are three pools, two connected by a bar that has stools in the water, aka swim up bar. The one thing I can say about swim up bars is this. If your using them, they are the greatest things ever, lots of fun, never want the day to end. If you are observing them, you tend to look at the people sitting there with a bit of disdain. Don't they ever move? Where are they going to the bathroom? They are loud, etc, etc. That being said, lest not, lest ye be judged. We used the pool bar the first day and the last day. The third pool is on the other side of the resort & seemed pretty quiet. One last note, the water in the pool was definitely colder than the ocean itself, which was quite amazing to me considering its usually the other way around.
Ocean: As previous reviewers have noted, bring water shoes. I cannot stress this enough. They are only about 10 bucks in any Modells you go to. If you buy them in the gift shop they are very expensive. Sunset beach is parked on a giant protected coral reef (this is why there are no motorized sports allowed), which makes for great snorkeling, but not great sand in the water. The water however is warm, and aqua blue and crystal clear. You can see little fish all around you.
Beach: There are plenty of lounge chairs and not plenty of shade. There are Palapas along the beach, but are usually taken very early in the morning by people who leave there towels on the chairs under them. A very shady move that you curse in the beginning and then learn to do the same thing or live without shade. In fact, since my wife and I are not early risers on vacation we even snuck down the night before, picked the palapa we wanted and put our towels there overnight. A risky move indeed because if someone were to take your towel it would be a 15 dollar charge. Yes, I know this is a tad sneaky, but much like the NY Yankees you must operate within the rules of the game to be successful. Nonetheless, our chairs and Palapa remained for us when we woke up the next morning.
Food: I will start with the buffet. I am a food person, so I tend to be very picky. I will be brutally honest here as well. The breakfast was fine, homemade omelets and all the usual good breakfast items. Lunch and dinner were not good at all. Trays of things that looked like they had sat out for quite sometime, no ambiance at all. During the day there is a beach grill where you can get grilled cheese, French fries, hot dogs hamburgers and jerk chicken. This is where I ate every lunch possible. Do try the jerk chicken, it was outstanding, and ask for extra sauce! The separate restaurants were delightful. Again, this is where I confess we cheated a little. You were only allowed to make two reservations, one for each restaurant, Botoccelli (Italian) and Silk Road (Chinese). They never kept track of this however, so we ate in the restaurants every night but one. The Italian was very good, rack of lamb, red snapper, calamari. The Chinese was standard Chinese, sweet and sour pork, wontons, spring rolls, very good. To sum it up, the restaurants were like a true dining experience. You had a waiter and three course meals. The difference between the restaurants and the buffet was night and day.
Room: We were given a junior suite in the Inn, which is the way to go. It had an ocean view and a four poster king size bed. TV was fine, in fact they had all the local stations from NY, so we could wake up in the morning, turn on the Today show and find out it was 23 degrees in NY and laugh to each other, quite amusing. You can choose to stay in either the Towers or the Inn. The Inn was much newer and cleaner and more quiet. The Tower seemed to be noisy and crowded. We had a nice little balcony too where we could watch the sun go down. Our maid was delightful and had the room made up early pretty much every day.
Bars: These guys are all fabulous. No drink is too much of a challenge for them and they are more than happy to recommend something. Hummingbird, Bob Marley we tried them all, but mostly stuck to the nice cold draft Red Stripe. Another invaluable piece of information I learned from this page was to bring your own cup. The cups are tiny and lots of people were buying bigger mugs in the gift shop to the tune of 12 dollars! For a plastic mug! We had been so warned, and wisely chose to bring our own from home. Also, the resort says strictly no tipping, but this is a load of baloney. These guys LOVE when you tip them, and they expect it. Put out your hand with a few bucks and they grip your hand like old pros. They bust there butt off, so you should indeed throw them a few bucks. After all what's 5-10 bucks in tips for a whole days worth of good service? I did however only tip the guys that were nice. Any attitude got nothing from me.
Casino: Not much to tell here, blew through 10-20 bucks out of sheer boredom. No tables just slot machines & video poker.
Internet Use: Available for five bucks every half an hour. I took advantage because this was the week of the A-Rod to Yanks deal, couldn't resist.
Nightly Entertainment: Have to agree with a previous reviewer, the Art Action was brutal. Paintings were beyond ugly and the auctioneer must have been new to the job, then again I wouldn't buy these paintings from the Pope himself. Elvis impersonator was average, the house band was good "The Elements". The best of the entertainment was the newlywed game, which was downright hilarious to watch these poor people subject themselves to that kind of humiliation all for the likes of a bottle of rum.
Summary: Overall a great vacation. The staff was great, the resort was clean and everything worked. The buffet food was below what they have in Punta Cana, but the restaurants made up for it. Unlike Punta Cana, you can drink the water which was a huge plus for me. One last thing to keep in mind, I never left the resort, but if you do, the resort is ten minute form town, and everyone advised to go with a group. We said why bother, and enjoyed our time right where we were. We usually go to a different Caribbean Island every time we go away, but I would recommend this resort highly to anyone who wants a nice affordable, relaxing vacation with minimal thinking and maximum relaxing. Like they say, "Yeah Mon, Its no problem!"
We visited this resort last February, during the snowstorm on the east coast.
The resort is older, but reasonably clean, and private. The lobby chairs were the only things that we noticed which were not clean. The fabric was quite water stained. The pool areas and hot tub could use a maintenance man! The hot tub was filled with 1 x 1 tiles and several of them were missing leaving holes to sit in! Not terribly comfortable.
I've now said all the good things about it.
Activities during the day were virtually non-existent other than the water sports. There were very few activities around the pool area. The nightly entertainment was better for the most part with a good house band. However, one evening, the resort's idea of entertainment was a really overpriced art auction. Not one person bought a painting the entire night....oh, sorry one man who was drunk purchased a velvet Elvis! There are no beach vendors as there is no room for them to walk in front of your lounger....and I'm not kidding on that. Instead, one day per week, the resort allows vendors to set up shop right in the middle of the resort. However, they are not agressive which is a plus.
We decided to try the nude beach, but when we went on it, my wife thought she would just go topless. There were only 6 people on the beach, and the security officer promptly told us that she had to go totally nude or leave. As she wasn't comfortable with this, we left the beach. We could understand this if both people weren't nude, but since I was, you would think that you would be left alone. The advertising for the beach says clothing "optional" which would leave you to believe that if you wanted to go topless, and leave your bottoms on, you could. Not the case. We asked at the front desk, and got a "go away, leave me alone" attitude. So we did.
The food here sucks, putting it mildly. Absolutly no variety, no taste, no anything. The staff are about the most unfriendly people you will ever meet, no...wait, you won't meet them, because that would imply that they actually spoke to you. The bartenders pour really heavily....beware, get one pop and one mixed drink and combine the two. They pour the equivalent of a triple on every drink!
The beach is terrible, maybe 8 feet wide. It is clean however. Coming from the east coast where there are beaches in abundance, maybe we are spoiled, but 8 feet wide? This resort is rated at 4 star, but at best is a 2 1/2. We have traveled enough to know a 4 star and trust me, this isn't it! I dont want you to think I'm whining, ok I am, but it is your money, your vacation, you should enjoy it! A tip we found out: if you're not happy, tell your representative. We were informed that we could move to another resort if room was available and pay the price difference. Wish we had known about that before the last day!
The resort was almost all Americans on the week that we were there. Few Canadians, no Europeans. Few families.
On a final note, if you do go to Jamaica, and you should, just don't stay here, take the Black River water tour. You will see a beauitful water fall that you can swim and dive into. Also go on the river tour and see live alligators from your boat, from no more than 5 feet away. The boat operator will even handle them!! This alone is worth the trip to this great country, just stay at a real resort!!