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Our Sandals Royal Plantation Review

In the last 6 months, we visited every Sandals Resort, including spending one week at Sandals Royal Plantation, and wanted to share this review to help you if you are considering booking a trip.

Sandals Royal Plantation is one of the best-rated Sandals Resort and it is located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

What We Loved About Sandals Royal Plantation

Sandals Royal Plantation stands out for us for two main reasons against other Sandals Resorts, its size and the Butler Elite service provided to every room. There are only 74 ocean-view suites which all have butler service.

Of all the Sandals Resorts, the service was unbeatable. For example, I was jet-lagged and woke up around 5 am for the first few mornings. I would go sit outside and get some work done and catch up on emails and someone would always offer me coffee or a drink. At the beach, the servers are quick to spot an empty drink and you can expect your butler to check in on you with snacks and any other request throughout the day.

Another benefit of staying at Sandals Royal Plantation is if you want the quiet stay, but still want the amenities you find at the larger resorts you can always take a shuttle to Sandals Ochi which is just down the road.

The guests who enjoy the more laid-back and intimate approach love this resort and there is a reason 65% of the visitors rebook a stay.

Why Some People Do Not Like Sandals Royal Plantation

While we loved having staff that recognized us by day 2 of our vacation and perfect service, some people may find the resort too small and too quiet. While you can go to Ochi next door for more variety and dining options, it is always better not need to leave your resort for that.

Additionally, the resort has not been updated recently so the rooms feel a bit more rustic. We asked the staff about this and found out that a lot of guests do not want to see a change. They like it the way it is or some do not want to see a price hike if renovations are done.

Sandals Royal Plantations Deals

Sandals has regular discounts on some rooms and resorts so it is best to check their website before booking. I have seen great last-minute deals where you get the 4th night free at and they have ongoing 777 deals that change each week.

Prefer Video? See our video review of Sandals Royal Plantation

Arriving at Sandals Royal Plantation

While most people fly into Montego Bay which is a 90-minute drive from the resort, we flew into Kingston and were the only people on the plane going to Sandals Royal Plantation so we had a private driver picking us up.

If you fly into Montego Bay, you can expect a 90-minute air-conditioned bus transfer included in the cost of your stay. From Kingston, the drive is about 20 minutes shorter, but the roads are windier.

For an additional cost, you can arrive in a private transfer in a luxury vehicle.

The airport in Ocho Rios is starting to have a few flights each week from Miami as well which are the most convenient.

Rooms at Sandals Royal Plantation

Usually after arriving at the hotel, your butler will meet you in the lobby and take you to your room but since we arrived at nearly midnight we were escorted there by our bellman.

Sandals Royal Plantation Room

When it comes to choosing a room you can’t go wrong. Every room has a butler and an ocean view. The main difference is the size of the room and how good the view is. We stayed in a Monarch Oceanfront Butler Suite which is the smallest room type, but with an amazing view of the resort.

Each room has a king-size bed and a dining area that feels like a balcony when the oversized sliding glass doors are open. As mentioned above, the rooms have not been updated in a while. In guest reviews, you can see this is polarizing with some wanting it to stay this way and others surprised by it.

Sandals Royal Plantation Food & Drink Review

There are five restaurants at Sandals Royal Plantation and many more at Sandals Ochi which you have access to when staying at Sandals Royal Plantation.

For breakfast, you can have breakfast in your room or at Le Papillon. It is one of our favorite breakfast spots at any Sandals Resort. They have a buffet, an omelet station, a juice/smoothie menu, and an a la carte menu as well.

For lunch, our butler always checked in on us to see what we would like to eat or we would eat at the Royal Grill.

Le Papillion has French cuisine made with the fresh produce of Jamaica. You will want to try the herb-crusted rack of lamb and the French onion soup. The restaurant’s signature drink, L’Aphrodisiaque is a blend of St. Remy VSOP brandy, Cointreau, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and Sprite.

At the Terrace, you’ll enjoy amazing views of the ocean while dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Terrace is a fine a la carte restaurant with a main menu, but also a rotating menu of different cuisines. We had a Jamaican night and an Italian night. Dining here will also get you seating for the nightly entertainment from your table after a meal at the Terrace. We loved the crab cake and the snapper.

The Royal Grill is right on the beach where we enjoyed the calming sound of the waves and delicious food for dinner, especially the Surf and Turf.

Every day from 4-5 pm you can enjoy tea service at the tea terrace. This comes with your tea of choice which you choose from based on flavors and caffeine content. You also receive a selection of sandwiches. scones, and other small treats.

For a late-night option, you can go to the Wobbly Peacock, a lively pub with an impressive list of ales and a small food menu. I enjoyed the chicken wings and any drinks the bartender made.

Overall, we enjoyed the food at Sandals Royal Plantation and loved that we could go to Sandals Ochi for more variety.

Sandal’s Royal Plantation Pools & Beaches

Sandal’s Royal Plantation has one main pool, a whirlpool, and a small spring-fed pool. These pools are great for lounging and relaxing. Honestly, it is a very small area, but even when the resort is at full capacity, the pool area usually has chairs available. While relaxing at the pool, servers or your butler will come by to offer you drinks, snacks, and lunch which is very nice.

If you are looking for a more lively environment you can go next door to Sandals Ochi where there are several large pools and whirlpools to enjoy with a few swim-up bars as well. You’ll find a lot of entertainment with DJs and games throughout the day.

The Beaches

The Beaches at Sandals Royal Plantation are amazing. The water is clear and the sand is great. The staff rakes the sand daily to keep it free from debris.

Since there are not a lot of rooms at the resort we never had an issue finding available chairs here.

Among Sandals Resorts, these beaches are some of the best. They are private so no one will be there to try to sell you anything (except some Sandals employees from the Spa and loyalty office).

We had someone checking on us every 10 or 15 minutes to see if we wanted a new drink or food.

The East Beach is surrounded by a coral reef, making it some of the calmest water in Jamacia. This is also where you take the snorkeling boat, and glass bottom boat tours, and can check out watersports equipment like kayaks and SUPs.

On the West Beach, you will find swings, day beds, and tiki huts, perfect for a relaxing day. You are next to one of the restaurants so you can easily stop by to grab a bite as you would like.

Things to do at Sandals Royal Plantation

You won’t run out of things to do at Sandals Royal Plantation during your stay.

Our days were mostly spent at the beach and going to Sandals Ochi for dinner a few times. We also went snorkeling and kayaking a few of the days and went to a yoga class.

You can enjoy the water with a variety of complimentary water sports including snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, scuba diving, windsurfing, and Hobie Cat sailing. For an extra fee, you can even try SNUBA, a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. Keep in mind for some activities like Scuba you will need to go to Sandals Ochi.

Any guests can choose from water activities like using the Aquatrikes, Underwater Vision (Glass bottom) Boat, Kayaks, Windsurfing, Paddleboard, or snorkeling.

Around the resort, there is always something to do. You’ll find pool tables, tennis courts, and other land sports.

Caddies are mandatory and come at a cost of around $20 for walking or $30 for a shared cart. Please tip your caddies since they are not Sandals employees. If you would like a golf cart, shoes, or clubs, they are available as well at an additional cost.

I went for one of the free golf workshops and then played some golf myself. I highly recommend the workshop for beginners.

If you are looking for a workout, the Red Lane Spa has complimentary classes and workout equipment available.


There is nightly entertainment at the resort which varies between a Jazz trio, a Caribbean steel band, and dancing with the Cabaret performer. Inside the Wobbly Peacock, you can hear live piano melodies.

A few days a week there will be additional cocktail parties in the afternoon.

Honeymoon Packages at Sandals Royal Plantation

Sandals Royal Plantation is an ideal place for a honeymoon. Beyond all the many things included in a stay at a Sandals resort, if you make your trip within 30 days of your wedding date, there are a few add-ons that come free.

For a honeymoon at Sandals Royal Plantation, you will enjoy:

  • A bottle of chilled sparkling wine is elegantly arranged in your room to toast your future.
  • A special turndown service that includes flower petals on your bed on the first evening of your honeymoon.
  • Fresh flowers and a decadent breakfast in bed one morning of your choice.

Wedding Packages at Sandals Royal Plantation

The free Wedding Package at Sandals includes:

  • A personal wedding planning team
  • Preparation of marriage documents
  • Picturesque ceremony location
  • Bridal bouquet and a groom’s boutonniere of fuchsia Dendrobium orchids
  • Reception including a wedding cake, table settings, a cocktail reception including a signature cocktail, and more.

When you get married at Sandals Royal Plantation you also receive:

  • Breakfast in bed with mimosas for the morning of your choice
  • Romantic turn-down service the first evening of your honeymoon.
  • Honeymoon dinner with white-glove service in a specialty restaurant.

For an additional price, you can customize your wedding with chair caps, a ceremony structure, and other details.

When you stay longer at the resort, you receive even more. With a 7 night stay, you receive:

  • $500 toward license and administrative fees
  • $500 towards a room upgrade
  • $200 Anniversary credit or videography credit on select packages
  • $100 towards scuba, snuba, cabana, or candlelight dinner

The Bells & Whistles packages get even better when more people come to your wedding.

These extras range from tiki torches, sangria bars, Lobster dinners, firepit pa

What is included?

At Sandals resorts, when they say all-inclusive, they really mean you can arrive at the resort without having to worry about what is included and what is not.

Unlimited Fine Dining

For food, there is unlimited fine dining at 5 restaurants, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You also have access to the 17 restaurants and bars at Sandals Ochi.

Unlimited All-Inclusive Drinks

For drinks, Sandals only serves premium brand liquors that are always included and unlimited. As part of the 5-Star Luxury Included® experience, Sandals only serves premium brand liquors that are always included and unlimited. You can order whatever you would like, including specialties you would expect at a tropical resort, like a Pina Colada, Margarita, Blue Lagoon, or a Bahama Mama.

There is a pub located on the property called the Wobbly Peacock where you can enjoy a drink or you can have your butler bring you a drink by the pool.

In all rooms, there is a mini-fridge with soft drinks, local beer, Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks, and a selection of premium liquor as well.

Additionally, every room includes a coffeemaker with Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend coffee.


At Sandals resorts, even tips, taxes, and gratuities are included for most services you would usually tip for! There is no need to worry about tipping the bartender, the bellman, or your server at one of the specialty restaurants.

Your butler can and will accept tips. We recommend tipping a butler $20 a day, depending on how much you use their services.

A Free Wedding at Sandals

If you are staying for over 3 nights you can get married for free!

Room Service

All Day Room Service is available with a late night menu as well.

What is Not included

You can come to Sandals without spending an additional penny, but there are a few opportunities to spend a little bit more.

Spa treatments are available at an additional cost. Could you imagine how many therapists and spa rooms they would need if they were included in the price?

Additionally, the spa staff is some of the few employees that can accept tips, along with butlers, the staff from off-property tours, and the transfer drivers, since they are not employed by Sandals.

While Scuba diving is included in your stay, the courses are not. Be prepared to pay for them or even better, get scuba certified before you come.

Around the pool, you can rent private cabanas at an additional cost. There are over 30 tours available to book through Sandals including rum tours, ziplines, snorkeling cruises, dolphin encounters, deep-sea fishing, and ATV adventures to name a few.

Is Sandals Royal Plantation a couples-only resort?

Yes, in their own words Sandals states “Because we wanted to make your vacation as romantic and relaxing as possible, only couples may stay at Sandals. But we open our arms to welcome singles, friends, and families to our fabulous Beaches Resorts.”

Which is better; Sandals Royal Plantation or Ochi?

Sandals Royal Plantation provides a small resort feel, while still giving you access to the size and variety that Sandals Ochi has. Since you can experience everything Sandals Ochi has to offer while you are staying at Sandals Royal Plantation, we slightly prefer Sandals Royal Plantation over Ochi, but both are wonderful choices for an all-inclusive experience in Jamaica.

How Far Is Sandals Royal Plantation from the Airport

Sandals provide a 90-minute air-conditioned bus transfer from Montego Bay International Airport to Sandals Royal Plantation and back.

Is there a dress code at the specialty dining locations?

Most restaurants a Sandals have a resort casual dress code. This means shorts or jeans, t-shirts or polo shirts. Swimwear must be covered.

What is included in the butler service?

What we loved most about butler service were the surprises. Going into our room we found snacks and food regularly and while sitting on the beach our butler would brings us food right around lunch time.

You can expect your butler to greet you with scented towels upon arrival, offer welcome cocktails and snacks and escort you to your suite, taking care of your luggage.

Throughout your stay, you can contact them whenever you need anything like making reservations, serving you your favorite drinks, serving you lunch by the pool or on the beach, expediting room service orders and arranging for a romantic dinner for two in your suite or on your patio.

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