Secrets Wild Orchid

Review - Photos - All Inclusive

Preferred Club Level

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Review and many photos, Feb. 11 - 16, 2018

See all our photos HERE

Secrets Wild Orchid is a luxurious adult-only all-inclusive resort. It offers a theatre, watersports, a dive center, a shopping area and a casino. Secrets Wild Orchid shares space with St. James, and it's almost impossible to tell where one stops and the other begins. The restaurants were all on the Wild Orchid side.

After talking with our travel agent and reading online reviews, we decided to give this resort a try. We booked a ground-floor swim-up suites for 9 nights.

THE SWIM-UP SUITE - Theroom was perfect! I loved grabbing a floatie and paddling from one end to the other in this private area of beautiful clear water. We've been going to all-inclusive resorts every year since 1997, and we've never enjoyed a room as much as this one! There was plenty of stoage space for everything we brought, including twin sinks, closed-door shower and closed-door toilet anf plenty of shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wipes, q-tips, hand cream, shave cream, extra toothbrushes, etc.) Room service came by twice a day. Our only problem was with the refrigerator. Even after calling maintence three times but it never got cold.

BUTLERS - The room we booked included a concierge, so it was a surprise when we checked in and discovered that instead of the concierge, we had 2 butlers, Garey and Garfield. We immediateely fell in love with both these guys who's only complaint wasthat we did not ask them to do anything! Actually this was not quite true. On the day we arrived, Garfield asked us to pick a location where we would like our chairs to be throughout our 9-night vacation. After we picked, we got up every morning to see those chairs fraped with towels (orange, signifying Preferred), one of which formed a heart. This is one of the top reasons to book a butler when you plan this vacation! We never worried about someone coming along to take our spaces.

On day one, we were presented with a what looked like a tiny phone, about the size of a business card. We used to contact a butler each time you had a question or request. They could also contact us in the same way.

TECHNOLOGY - Secrets Wild Orchid is on top oof the latest technology. They offer a handy app that you can download when you get to the resort. It provided us with "unlimited connectivity." Wow! This worked flawlessly! The app allowed us to connect to wi-fi on our iPhones and we never had a problem. The room also offered many ports. We always travel with 2 Apple Watches, 2 laptops, and 2 iPhones. It was easy to find all the plug-ins we needed.

PREFERRED CLUB LOUNGE The lounge of the Preferred Club is beautiful. There was anarea containing various liquor bottles and drinks, plus an excellent mini buffet of various food choices whether you wanted breakfast, lunch, or a light-night snack. A very large TV screen was against the wall with daily newspapers on a nearby coffee table. There was also a huge coffee maker alongside "regular " and "decaf" carafes. It was about the size of a Boeing 777 and required a Master's degree in Coffee 101 to operate. But if you sort it out (or ask for help) you could choose latte, cappuccino, espresso ad other coffee varities.

We attended a few stage shows by locals which we we enjoyed. The theater is large and modern with good acoustics. The talent was totally upbeat! I don't think anyone can watch these shows without getting big smile on their face.

Every evening when we returned to our room, our bed was turned down, and a copy of the "Sundial" was waiting for our bedtime reading. The Sundial contained information about daily events and activities for both Wild Orchid and St. James as well as the the newest addition, Breathless.

We ate at all the restaurants except Blue Mountain, the Jamaica cuisine. (No particular reason for missing this one....we just ran out of time.) Wed. is Seafood night and we thought this was one of the best meals at the resort. (Loved the lobster!) Lucky us...we were there for two Wednesdays and enjoyed it it twice.

One evening we had dinner at Breathless Resort (just up the hill) and had an excellent meal on the open air rooftop overlooking Montego Bay. Most of the food throughout the resort was good to very good.

Tipping is allowed, although no one ever asked for a tip. Although we did a lot of tipping, the service was always good, tip or not.

One thing that really impressed us about SWO was how every employee greeted us or even stopped to ask how our vacation was going. The gardeners as well as employees doing cleanup work would greet us without fail. Well done, SWO!

VALENTINE'S DAY - We planned to be there for Valentine's Day and we were were not disappointed. The Food and Beverage Manager saw to it that each and every female guest received a fresh long-stemmed rose. All the restaurants had a Valentine's theme, and our Butlers...well you'll see what they did for us in my photos. (BTW, our butler told us that special Valentine dinners on the beach were $600. for that night. And there were a lot of them!)

MARDI GRAS - CHOCOLATE NIGHT -Earlier in the day there was a parade throughout the resort by staff members giving out hats, masks and beads (see photos.) The evening exceeded any similar event we've experienced at other all-inclusive resorts. Yes, there was a lot of chocolate, but there were also various appetizers including shrimp dishes. Really cool Mardi Gras masks were handed out, which gave the evening an atmosphere of mystery. Live music, too! What a fun night!

BARS and DRINKS Our nearest bar was just steps from our room, and one or two bartenders came by on a regular basis to take drink orders. They have a drink menu at the bar, but if you have another choice, the bartenders are happy to take requests. It has been our tradition every year that our first drink at an all-inclusive is a Mudslide, which is a decadent mix of vodka, Kahlua and Bailey's Irish Cream. However, after the first sip, we realized our mudslides were made with a pre-mixed chocolate formula without Bailey's Irish Cream which we soon learned was not available at most bars. Instead, chocolate syrup and some gunky pre-mix chocolate was substituted. For the most part we were disappointed in the bar drinks. We love a good Chocolate Martini, a Godiva which requires Chocolate liqueur and a good White Chocolate Martini. Bailey's Bristol Creme and Vanilla Vodka are essentials. We found Baileys only at the Piano Bar and the Preferred Club bar, but nowhere else. Even at the Piano Bar we had to tell the bartender how to make this drink. We are by no means what you would consider heavy drinkers, but we like certain drinks and we know how they should be made.

THE DREADED SALES PRESENTATION:

We knew ahead of time that the resort was going to try and talk us into attending a sales presentation, perhaps a time-share, connected to a tour of the resort or some other way. We also knew ahead of time that we were not interested. We paid a bunch of money for this vacation, and did not want to waste any time listening to a sales pitch. So before we left home, I found a couple reviews from TripAdvisor where people complained vehemently about being snookered into these "presentations." I printed them and slid them into my carry-on. At check in, I presented 2 typed pages to the check-in rep saying were not interested in their sales and I hoped we would not be bulldozed into a sales presentation such as these people reported.

But little good it did, and we quickly learned that these salespeople all wore yellow/gold jackets, so we avoided them. However, I was not prepared to be verbally assalted by 2 men on Segways. One day I was reading and relaxing in my beach chair when suddenly these two men pulled up in my space. The one closest to me said "Hi, how are you?" Being the polite southern gal I was raised to be, and in spite of them looking like hooligans, I replied "I'm fine. And you?" He said "I'm not doing well, but you can help." Suddenly he got diarrhea of the mouth began talking so fast I could not understand aword he said. I love the Jamaican lilt, and could listen to it all day long, but this guy was stringing words together way too fast for my brain to translate. Finally, I said "STOP! You are frightening me." I was getting ready to scream (southern women do this quite well.) We practice on spiders and cockroaches.) At that point these guys packed ujp their Segways and moved on. I contacted our butler and complained. He said he would take care of it. And he must hace done so because we did not see them again.

BOATS - We were disappointed to learn that snorkeling boat was not included with our all-inclusive vacation. Snorkeling without paying extra for a boat is done from the shore. There was also an extra fee to go out on the glass bottom boat. A Catamarin (party boat) was also available for a price.

BREATHLESS is a new all-inclusive resort which I believe opened this past March. It's a short walk from Secrets, or you can hitch a ride back and forth on the golf cart that seems to come and go on a regular basis. You'll see some photos in my photo gallery. At 3 PM daily they make "foam" and the balls float slowly over Secrets and St. James. The restaurant and bar on the roof offer spectacular views of the surrounding hills and twinkling lights of Montego Bay. We had dinner there one night, and it was probably the best meal we had ...and certainly the most fun!

Wrapping it up....
Atmosphere - excellent
Staff - excellent
Bars - OK
Restaurants - average
All-inclusive? There were too many items that were not included. It should be called "semi-inclusive."

If yourecently visited this resort, please let me know if any ot this information has changed so I cvan correct it here.

Patricia Blackstock

All our vacations are HERE

Find me on Facebook!