Old Reviews – Royal Plantation Ocho Rios

  Royal Plantation   Sandy and Christine ~ The Netherlands

March 2008

CREDENTIALS : Late 50’s, visited Barbados, Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (3), Jamaica (3), Mexico (2), Turks & Caicos

REVIEW : Agree with the comments below, but must emphasize the role played by the staff. Everyone, from the General Manager, the Hotel Manager, the desk staff, the water sports staff to the serving staff, was wonderful. You did not have to find someone to complain to, first of all, because we had no complaints and secondly because they came to ask you first – no, we had one complaint – there were no dominoes in the games room – resolved by Suzanne Millwood, the Hotel Manager, five minutes later, compliments of the house. When the General Manager carries your barbecued lobster to your table, you start to think you have chosen the right resort ! Finest staff in our 12 visits to the Caribbean.

The resort is small, never feels crowded and has lots of special qualities. Try cooking with the Head Chef on a Monday morning, not only a great cook, but a charming young man as well. The Jamaica Day – who would have thought you would enjoy Curried Goat, serenaded by a steel band. Spiny Lobster BLT on the beach for lunch, serenaded by the Happy Smilers Mento Band, who played lovely calypsos. Breakfast eggs and omelet’s made by the sweet Melissa. Drinks with a barman who doubles as a cricket commentator. It was superb and we shall return.

Don’t go if you want major night life, but take the Royal Plan, relax and have a carefree, wonderful holiday – anything you want – just ask !

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Royal Plantation Denis & Nathalie ~ Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

February 2007

My wife and I had been to the Royal Plantation as day visitors 3 years ago to visit friends that were staying there. We had promised each other that we would one day make it back to stay several days. This February, we visited and stayed from the 15th to the 19th. All we can say is, wow!! Although costly, we were not disappointed in any way.

Dining: After having just spent 7 days at another resort serving buffet food, what a great change to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner "A la carte", with food prepared fresh just for you. Breakfast on the terrasse overlooking the ocean was a wonderful start to everyday. An opening glass of mimosa or mangosa, strong blue mountain coffee, we usually ordered the special of the day with side orders of lox (smoked salmon) and tropical fruit. This would normally take us to mid afternoon. We would then share a light plate at the Royal Cafe on the beach, accompanied by a Red Stripe beer, or a special concoction from Cibony! Dinner for our 4 nights consisted of 3 nights at the French cuisine "Le Papillon" and one night at the Italian "La Terraza" under the stars. We loved the Papillon for its 5 star food and service and the atmosphere of elegance. Lobster was plentiful, and you must try the Lava cake. Wow. The Terraza was a beautiful experience with a wonderful meal under the stars, with a jazz band playing as well. There is something for everyone. The wine was excellent, we enjoyed Italian, Chile and French red wines. We weren’t disappointed.

Room: Our room was in the "west wing" and overlooked the ocean. It was spotless on arrival and was kept that way daily by the excellent daily maid service. We loved the fact the room has a fully stocked bar fridge, and we could serve ourselves and early mimosa in the morning while getting ready. The thick robes and nice slippers were great add ons that made the stay wonderful. All rooms have an ocean view, so regardless of were you are, you will not be disappointed. Since you don’t tend to spend that much time in your room, I would suggest that the least expensive Ocean View Deluxe Suite, which we had, will meet the needs of everyone.

Property: Lush, with beautiful flowers and several peacocks wandering the grounds. It was like being in paradise, in paradise! You were far enough from other resorts and the road that you didn’t hear any traffic or sounds other than the ocean waves coming in. The pathways are clear, clean and well lighted. The buildings, including the old plantation house, are very well kept.

Beach: We aren’t typically beach people, but here we spent our time on the beach. On arrival, someone will set you up with chairs, mattresses and blankets. An umbrella will be provided as well if required. the beach was small and quaint, but with only 77 rooms at the plantation, there was plenty of room for everyone. The beach was well maintained, and raked several times a day to keep it clean. I went for several swims and the water was clear, warm, with a nice white sandy bottom.

Transportation: Dedicated personal transportation to and from the airport was a nice touch. No cramming into a bus with 20 other folks going to 8 different resorts. Here, you get your own car and driver (only the best vehicles are used) and you have a nice relaxing ride. A definite plus considering the state of some of the roads in Jamaica.

Staff: Wow, what can we say!!! My wife and I are socializers, and so we made it a point to speak to as many of the staff as possible, let them know our names, and find out a little bit about each of them. Special thanks to Cibony, for the Cibony Drink Specials and Bar Show! To Barbara for the wonderful Barbara Specials at the Appleton Lounge every afternoon. LaToya, for being sassy, assertive and extremely funny. To Durrant for taking great care of us during dinner (3 times) at Le Papillon. To David for coming by and making sure our meals were as ordered and perfect, and for the nice comments on my wife’s attire. To Audell, for his sense of humor and exceptional service. To Dwight for the tour of the grounds and showing us to our room when we first arrived. To Micheal (Curtis), for wonderful breakfast service on the Terrasse. To Wesley for the glass bottom boat tour. To Kova for restocking our room bar everyday, and for the special order of Red Stripe Light. To Suzanne and David, for spending time with us on the Manager’s martini evening on Friday, to explain to us options available for our return trip (there will be one!). And to all the other staff that made our stay a memorable one, Thank You!

Recommendation: The hustle and bustle of the daily grind back home, work, kids, school, friends, can sometimes take a toll on your relationship with your significant other. This trip and this stay was an opportunity for my wife and I to spend some quality time together, with the focus squarely on our relationship. We had a strong relationship on arrival, and it was even stronger when we left. We would recommend to anyone wishing to get away to re-energize, refocus or just escape, to consider the Royal Plantation.

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May 2006

Since I did not see any reviews for this fabulous small upscale resort, I felt I would write one.

My wife and I just returned from eighth glorious days at Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios. We opted for the all-inclusive royal plan which, in my opinion, is the only way to go. The near fairy tale began upon entering the property. We were met by free roaming peacocks, a beautiful courtyard w/ fountain and Dwight, one of the concierge persons. Since it was a little early (1 PM), our suite was not yet ready, but we checked in (took all of 5 minutes), had a glass of champagne and were escorted to the beachside patio for lunch. The menu was great. Examples of lunch offerings included shrimp blt (substitute lobster during lobster season), smoked marlin on garlic toast, ceasar salad w/ shrimp or chicken, great burgers, jerk chicken, pork or fish. grouper, wraps…..specials every day. All of the staff introduced themselves and since this was our second visit, we reunited with some old friends, even though it had been four years, they were still there. Terri-Ann who runs the beach restaurant was the sweetest person, very attentive and always with a huge, genuine smile. She would have the kitchen make anything you wanted (menu was a guide). Beach bar was open and serving fabulous icy concoctions. You name it, it was available.(top shelf booze..just ask). While dining we noticed the beach staff serving drinks and meals to the lounge chairs on the beach. With just a wave of the blue flag from your lounge chair, the beach butlers would race to take your order or adjust your umbrella. We were escorted to our suite after lunch. Our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived. Our room, like all rooms, overlooked the ocean & the beach. The suite was huge with a king bed, amoire w/ t.v., vcr & dvd, two cushioned chairs, two night stands, one expandable table w/ chairs, walk in closet, double sink area w/ lighted make-up mirror & hair dryer, separate toilet room, whirlpool tub, doorless shower and add’l sink area, six foot sliding door facing west beach & door leading to balcony facing east beach & pool. (Suite 301). We unpacked quickly and went to the beach where we were met by Dalan (beach crew) and escorted to two padded, covered lounges with an umbrella and table. He then took our drink order and the ultimate rest began.

We hung out every night at the hot tub on the elevated terrace for the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever experienced. Drinks and champagne were served at the pool and hot tubs (2) the same as they are served at the beach. Most days the pool deck was virtually empty until one hour before sunset. The pool was warm & the hot tubs were hot (about 103 degrees).

At 4PM every afternoon, high tea was served on the upper verandah porch. The tea, coffee and cappuccino was great. The scones with fresh cream were not dietetic. Fresh fruit was available as well.

We dined at all three dinner restaurants. Pappilion (the 5 star) is located on the second floor of the main building overlooking the ocean. The selection, service and atmosphere was amazing. Bayside was on the main patio overlooking the ocean & served breakfast, formal lunch and a great dinner with live music every night. Dance if you wish. Flambe was a flambe and fondue restaurant. The food was great, but I’m not a fondue person. This restaurant was also located entirely inside and not breezy nor with any kind of view.

By the third day, at least 75% of the wait/beach/bar/management staff knew our names. They also began to know our drinks and likes & dislikes.

We dined one evening with Peter Frassier (GM) at the returning guest dinner (only one other couple). He was the perfect host and spent several hours with us. He even wanted OUR comments on the property.

A typical day could be as follows; breakfast overlooking the ocean, walk down to the beach and find your lounge & umbrella already for you, 10AM Mango or orange mimosas are served on the beach by the beach butlers, dip in the ocean, turn over, 11AM fresh fruit served loungeside on the beach by the beach butlers, dip in ocean, lots of sun screen, order a frozen drink or water, beach butlers spray you with rose water to help you stay cool, walk on the beach to the water sports center & go for a glass bottom boat ride (1/2 hour..included), back to the lounge and read a couple chapters in your book, order lunch from your lounge or walk 50 feet to the patio, sit down and enjoy lunch at a table with music being played (live) by a local band, back to the lounge, couple dips in the pool, walk to water sports and take out a kayak or water tricycle, back to the lounge and order a frosty drink, rose water spray, order an ice cream sundae or banana split and eat it fast, rinse off in the beautiful clear ocean, walk up to the upper porch for high tea, go to the spa and have a massage, head to the upper patio pool/hot tub area, order a glass of champagne, watch the sun set, go to your suite, sit on the balcony and have a drink from the room wet bar or open a bottle of wine or champagne from the refrigerator, shower, dress, cocktail on the patio, dinner, romantic walk down to the beach to look at the moon & stars, walk back up to the patio and enter the piano bar, order an after dinner drink, enjoy the breeze and the music, drift to your suite and sleep like a baby. REPEAT DAILY!

Sounds delightful? It is! You cannot go wrong recharging at the Royal Plantation. The road from MoBay to Ocho Rios is under construction and it does take 2 hours by private car to get there, but hopefully within 6-9 months the road will be complete and it should only take a little over an hour. Either way…it is worth the trip.

If you e-mail me I will answer any questions.

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