Review:
Secrets Wild Orchid
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Preferred Level - Feb. 7 - 16, 2018

All our photos can be viewed HERE are 50+ our best photos

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

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

SWIM-UP SUITE (review) - The room 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 storage space for all we brought, including twin sinks, closed-door shower and closed-door toilet and plenty of shampoo, conditioner, soap, face-wipes, q-tips, hand cream, shave cream, extra toothbrushes, etc.) Room service visited our room twice a day. Our enly problem with the room was the refrigerator. Even after calling for maintenance several times, it never stayed cold.

BUTLERS - (review) 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 immediately fell in love with both these guys who's only complaint was that 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 "our" chairs draped with towels (orange, signifying Preferred), one of which formed a heart. We never worried about someone coming along to take our spaces. We were presented with what looked like looked like a tiny phone, about the size of a business card. We used this device each time we needed to contact a butler with a question or request. They could also contact us the same way.

TECHNOLOGY (review) - Secrets Wild Orchid is on top of 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. We also loved the small communications phone with which we were able to contact and talk with our butler. (Mentioned above.)

PREFERRED CLUB LOUNGE (review) The lounge for the Preferred Club is beautiful. There was an area containing various liquor bottles and drinks, plus an excellent mini buffet of various food choices whether you wanted breakfast, lunch, or a late-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 the "regular " and "decaf" carafes. It was about the size of a Boeing 777 and required a Master's degree in Coffee101 to operate. But if you sort it out (or ask for help) you could choose latte, cappuccino, espresso and other coffee varieties.

RESTAURANTS (review) The restaurants are all located in the Secrets Wild Orchid resort area, and there are none in St. James. We enjoyed the French Restaurant, Brodeaux, twice. Long pants are required at this location, and it was , in our opinion the best of the bunch. All other restaurants are casual and there was nothing outstanding about the menus or food. The only restaurant requiring reservations is the Japanese, due to timed interval seatings. This was the weakest restaurant, in our opinion and one visit was plenty. We couldn't wait to get finished and back outside. The "chef" did not know how to use hibachi knives and he had no clue as to how these restaurants should present themselves. I don't believe he had any training before stepping into this position. He kept screaming throughout the entire dinner, making noises much like the peacocks that roam around Secrets. The chicken and veggies were OK, but the steak was not worth chewing. Here is my short YouTube. Am I right or wrong? Japanese Restaurant YouTube.

Stage Shows (review) We attended a few stage shows by local talent which we enjoyed. The theater is large and modern with good acoustics. The talent was totally upbeat and the local staff members work hard to please and entertain their audience. I don't think you can watch these shows without getting a big smile on your face.

Every evening upon entering our bed was turned down and a copy of the "Sundial" was waiting for our bedtime reading. The Sundial contained information about the next days events and activities for both Wild Orchid and St. James as well as the newest 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 this is THE BEST DINNER at the resort. (Loved the lobster!) Lucky us...we were there for two Wednesdays and enjoyed it it twice. Do NOT miss this special food evening.

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. We also enjoyed chatting with the bartender t Breathless. Since the bar wasn't busy, we asked him about his specialty drink (all bartenders have their own) and his was simply delicious! And pink! We loved it!

Tipping is allowed, althought no one asked, nor were there any hopeful hands extended. 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. Even the gardeners(as well as all employees doing their daily chores) would greet us without fail. Well done, SWO!

VALENTINE'S DAY - We planned out vacation dates to include this holiday, and we were were not disappointed. The Food and Beverage Manager saw to it that each and every guest on the property was presented with 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 "Valentine Dinners on the Beach" were selling for $600. for that night - whew! -nd we saw a lot of them!

LOBSTER NIGHT - Wow...just WOW! We enjoyed this special seafood dinner twice do to thelength of our stay. It wa delicious.

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.) This evening entertainment met or exceeded any similar event we've experienced at any other all-inclusive resort. Yes, there was a lot of chocolate and other delicious desserts, but there were also various appetizers including shrimp dishes. Beautiful masks were distributed during this event, giving the evening an atmosphere of mystery. Live music and dnacing too! What a fun night!

BARS and DRINKS (review) 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 forumla without Bailey's Irish Cream (which we soon learned was not available at most bars.) For the most part we were disappointed in the bar drinks. We love a good Chocolate Martini, which requires Godiva which requires Chocolate liqueur and a good White Chocolate Martini. Bailey's Bristol Creme and Vanilla Vodka are essential ingredients. We found Bailey's only at the piano bar and the Preferred Club bar, but nowhere else. Even in the Piano Bar we had to tell the bartender how to make this drink. We are by no means not what anyone would consider heavy drinkers, but have certain favorites, and we know how they should be made.

THE DREADED SALES PRESENTATION (review) :

This is very important. We knew ahead that the resort was going to try and talk us into attending a sales presentation, connected to a tour of the resort or some other way. We also knew we were not going to be interested. We paid a bunch of money for the highest level in this resort and did not want to waste any time listening to a sales pitch. So before we left home, I found a couple reviews on TripAdvisor where people complained vehemently about being snookered into these "presentations." I printed them, then slid them into my carry-on. At the Secrets check in desk, I presented the 2 typed pages to the rep saying were not interested and I hoped we would not be bulldozed into a sales presentation such as these people had reported. Have to give her credit for taking the time to read 2 or 3, but she kept looking around like the proverbial deer in the headlights, probably wishing another staff member would come to her aid.

We quickly learned tht the sales people wore yellow/gold jackets,so we avoided them. However, I was not prepared to be verbally assaulted 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?" And being the polite southern gal I was raised up to be, and in spite of them looking like hooligans, I replied "I'm fine, how are you?" He said "I'm not doing well, but you can help." Suddenly he got diarrhea of the mouth and began talking so fast I couldn't understand a word 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! " And they were. Two big guys, right in my face while I was reading by the pool! I was getting ready to scream (southern women can do this quite well.) We practice on spiders and cockroaches.) At that point, both these guys backed up their Segways and moved on. I contacted our butler and complained. He said he would take care of it, and he did. We did not see them again.

BOATS (review) - We were disappointed to learn that at this "all-inclusive" resort, a snorkeling boat was not included without paying extra. There was also an extra fee for the he glass bottom boat, and a Catamaran was also available... for a price. We thought tht at an "all inclusive resort" these things would be included...especially since we had booked their most expensive Preferred Club level.

BREATHLESS is a new all-inclusive resort which I believe opened 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 P.M. daily they make "foam" and the balls float slowly over Breathless, Secrets and St. James. You can view photos from the photo gallery linked near the top of this page. The restaurant and bar on the roof offer spectacular views of the surrounding atnosphere and twinkling lights of Montego Bay. We had dinner there one night, and it was one of the best meals we experienced.

Wrapping it up....
Atmosphere - excellent
Location: excellent
Staff - excellent
Technologny - excellent
Bars - OK, except for the bar at Breathless and the Piano Bar at Wild Orchid...both were excellent.
Restaurants - average to very good

All-inclusive concept - important. There are way too many things that shoulf have been included, but were not. but were not. Even if you booked Preferred Level as we did, it did not matter. No snorkling boat. No Catamaran ride. No included glass bottom boat, no non-motorized water equipment, and more "nos". If you want to rent these items at your own expense, they are available. But you will find the cost is excessively high for what you get. This resort should not be advertised as "all inclusive" because it is not...even for people like us who paid a lot more to book the Preferrred Level

We enjoyed this beautiful resort. Ater 10 Sandals vacations where we are Diamond Level members, plus a few other all inclusive resorts, we wanted to try something different. While we enjoyed the resort, we would not return to a Secrets Resort. The term "all inclusive" simply does not apply to them, and there are way too many people trying to sell timeshare-style investments. And the REALLY scary ones ride Segways and get right in your face. Nobody should have to experience anything like that - at ANY beach resort!

Secrets does an excellent job of keeping in touch with their guests, and it's a gorgeous resort that offers exceptional up to date technology. One big advantage of Secrets is the Breathless Resort, located next door within walking distance. It is extremely impressive. We also loved Secret's Mardi Gras night...a combination of chocolate night, live music and an unbelievable Mardi Gras theme, complete with beautiful Mardi Gras masks. (see my photos.)

Feturing 50+ great photos

Feel feel to contact me with questions. Patricia Blackstock

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