Sandals Royal Plantation, Sandals' first boutique resort, is an all-butler, all-oceanview suite resort located on dual cove beaches in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Guests at Sandals Royal Plantation will receive all meals and snacks at 3 la carte restaurants, unlimited premium beverages including excellent house wines, fully-stocked in-room bars, 24-hour room service, use of the fitness center, tennis courts, steam room and sauna, unlimited use of the resort's water sports facility including sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking, live nightly entertainment, shuttle to/from golf course and unlimited greens fees at Sandals Golf & Country Club. Guests will also receive roundtrip airport transfers from both Montego Bay and Kingston International airports, plus exchange privileges at nearby Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort.
Before giving my description of this resort specifically, let’s summarize what is true about all Sandals resorts. All Sandals resorts are located on English speaking islands in the Caribbean. They’re adults only and couples only (no kids and no singles). Sandals resorts are all inclusive and include more amenities than any other resort chain. All Sandals resorts have at least 7 dining options up to 22 depending on which resort you choose. Sandals resorts are smaller and roomier than most all-inclusive resorts (the average in Mexico or the Dominican Republic is 700 rooms with three restaurants). The majority of Sandals Resorts are 250-350 rooms, with the largest being 505 rooms (with 15 restaurants). Sandals serves top shelf liquor and partners with Beringer for their house wines.
Sandals resorts are social! They cater to honeymooners and a younger demographic. There is a full activity program including sports games (volleyball, ping pong, tennis clinics, free throw shooting contests, etc.), silly couples games (water balloon toss, three legged race, belly flop competition), and live music every night. All non-motorized watersports are included (Hobie Cats, water trikes, sea kayaks, stand up paddleboards, wind surfing, and more). SCUBA (if you’re certified) and snorkeling trips are included as well.
Sandals Royal Plantation is located on two scalloped beaches in Jamaica’s tourist capitol, Ocho Rios (90 minutes from the Montego Bay Airport). Royal Plantation is an intimate resort with 74 butler serviced suites. Unlike most Sandals resorts, Royal Plantation attracts an older, quieter crowd, but you have full exchange privileges at Sandals Grande Riviera (5 minute drive). Guests at Sandals Grande Riviera do not receive reciprocal exchange privileges at Sandals Royal Plantation. There are 3 restaurants with an additional 15 restaurants at Sandals Grande St Lucian. Complimentary green fees and transportation is included to Sandals Country Club, an 18 hole Par 72 championship golf course (caddy, cart, and club rental additional).
The suites at Sandals Royal Plantation are richly appointed and elegant. Please keep in mind that the majority of the suites have French (step out) balconies. All suites are serviced by butlers so 24 hour full menu room service is available and there is a custom fully stocked bar in the suite.
Overall, I liked Sandals Royal Plantation, but it’s certainly not for everyone. The quiet elegant atmosphere and older clientele sets it apart from the larger more social Sandals resorts. This would be a good choice for guests looking to be pampered by the butler service and wants to relax with the option for activities in the surrounding tours (Dunns River Falls, Mystic Mountain, and Treasure Beach) and the exchange privileges at Sandals Grande Riviera.