Review:
Secrets Wild Orchid
PLUS Review with photos - Breathless Resort
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Prefererred Level
All Photos CLICK HERE
50+ photos from Secrets Wild Orchid
...iincluding photo from Breathless Resort
just a short walk up the hill

Secrets Wild Orchid is a luxurious couples only resort, featuring restaurants, water sports, dive center, a shopping area and a casino. Secrets Wild Orchid shares space with Secrets St. James. It's almost impossible to tell where one stops and the other begins, but all restaurants are on trhe Secrets Wild Orchid side...the main reason we chose Wild Orchid over St. James.

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 as perfect! I loved paddling from one end to the other in this very private area of beautiful clear water. We have been going to all-inclusive resorts yearly since 1997, and we've never enjoyed a room asa much as we did this one. There was enough storage spce for everything we brought (and I brought a lot!) The room included twin sinks, closed-door shower, closed-door toilet and plenty of shampoo, conditioner, soap, face-wipes, Qtips, hand cream, toothbrushes and even more amenities. Room service visited our room twice a day. There was a small latched door by the entrance.  If you had anything to be picked up, (say after ordering a meal delivered to your room) you placed it inside the latched two-way door, and it would be picked up by a staff member from outside the room. our only problkem with the room was the refrigerator. Even after calling maintenance several times, but 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 two butlers, Garey and Garfield. We immediately fell in love with both these guys who's only complaint was that we didn't 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 want our chairs to be our chairs to be throughout our 9-night vacation. After we chose our spot, we awakened 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 a tiny smart phone about the size of a business card. We used this device each time we needed to contact our butlers. They would also contact us the same way.

TECHNOLOGY (review) - Secrets Wild Orchid and Breathless Resort are on top of 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 with the 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 loved the "phone" mentioned above, which we used to communicate with our butler.

PREFERRED CLUB LOUNGE (review) The lounge of the Preferred members is 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 YV screen against the wall with newspapers which are always available on a nearby coffee table.There is also a huge coffee maker alongside the "regular " and "decaf" carafes. It was about the size of a Boeing 777 and requires a Master's Degree in Coffee Pot 101. But if you sort it out (or ask for help) you could choose latte, cappuccino, espresso and other coffee blends.

RESTAURANTS (review) The restaurants are all located on the Secrets side of the resort, and there are none in St. James. We enjoyed the French Restaurant  Brodeaux, twice. Long pants for the guys is a requirement at this location, and it was, in our opinion the best of the bunch. All other restaurants are casual and there is nothing outstanding about the menus or food. The only restaurant that requires reservations is the Japanese Restaurant, due to timed interval seating. 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 Hibachi Chef Training (which should be a requirement) when he stepped into this position. He kept screeching throughout the entire  dinner process, making obnoxious noises like  the peacocks that roam around Secrets. The chicken and veggies were okay, but the steak was too tough to chew! Here's my YouTube video. Am I being too harsh? Judge it here: Japanese Restaurant YouTube.

Stage Shows (review) We attended a few of the local evening shows by local talent which we enjoyed. The theater is large and modern with good acoustics. The local talent was totally upbeat! The 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 when we returned to our room, the bed was turned down and a copy of "Sundial" was waiting for our bedtime reading. The Sundial contained information for the following day's events and activities for both Wild Orchid and St. James - as well as the new Breathless Resort.

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.) Wednesday is seafood night, and this is THE BEST DINNER at the resort. (Loved the lobster!) Lucky us, because we were able to attend this dinner twice due to our vacation overlapping two Wednesdys. Do NOT miss this special food extravaganza.

One evening we had dinner at Breathless Resort (just up the hill) on the open air roof top, overlooking Montego Bay. Not only is the view astounding, the dinner was one of the best dining experiences we had at Secrets. We also enjoyed chatting with the bartender at Breathless. Since the bar wasn't busy, we asked about his specialty drink (all bartenders have their own) and his was delicious! And PINK! We loved it!

Tipping is allowed although no one ever asked for a tip. Nor were there any hopeful hands extended. We did a lot of tipping, but not always. The service was always good, tip or not.

One thing that really impressed us about Secrets Wild Orchid was how every employee greeted us or even stopped to ask how our vacation was going. Even people working on the manicured grounds would greet us without fail. Well done, SWO!

VALENTINE'S DAY - We planned our vacation to include Valentine's Day, and we were not disappointed. The Food and Beverage Manager saw to it that each and every female guest on the property was presented with a fresh long-stemmed rose. All the restaurants had a Valentine Day theme, and our Butlers...well you'll see what they did for us in my photos. (BTW, our butler told us that the not-included "Valentine Dinners on the Beach" were selling for $600. for that one night - whew! Believe it or not, we we spotted several tables in use!

LOBSTER NIGHT - Wow...just WOW! We enjoyed this special dinner twice, due to the length of our stay. It was 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, of course there was a lot of chocolate and other delicious desserts, but there were so many various appetizers including shrimp dishes. Beautiful masks were distributed during this event, giving the evening an air of mystery. Live music, dancing, and interacting with a great group of very happy people! What a fun night out!

BARS and DRINKS (review) Our closest 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 available 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.) For the most part we were not impresseed with 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.

Even at the piano bar we had to tell the bartender how to make this drink. We are by no means 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 veryt important We knew ajead that this 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 at this resort, and did not want to waste any time listening to a sales pitch. So before we left home, I found a couple TripAdvisor reviews 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 my two typed pages to the representative, saying we are not interested in wasting time with a sales representative and we were not going to be bulldozed into a situation such as these people had reported. Have to give her credit for taking the time to read one page through, but she kept looking around like the proverbial deer in the headlights, probably wishing another staff member would come by and rescue her.

We quickly learned that 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 on 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." WHAT?? Then suddenly he got diarrhea of the mouth and began talking so fast I couldn't understand a word he said. Let me tell you, I love the Jamaican lilt, and could listen to it all day long. But this guy was stringing his words together way too fast for my brain to translate. Finally, I said "STOP! You are frightening me!" And they were. Just imagine you're reading a book and you doze off. Suddenly there are two big guys, right in your face! I was getting ready to scream, which southern women can do quite well. (We practice on spiders and cockroaches.) At this point, they 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 but we spotted them down the beach from us once or twice, no doubt bothering other people.

BOATS (review) - We were disappointed to learn that this "all-inclusive" resort, a snorkeling boat was not included without paying extra. There was also an extra fee for the glass bottom boat, and a Catamaran was also available... for a price. We thought that 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 opened in 2018. 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" gloat slowly over Secrets and St. James. You can view our photos from the photo gallery linked near the top of this web page. 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 one of our best meals.

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. We have been spoiled by 10+ Sandals Resort vacations and are Diamond Level members. I am not trying to compare Sandals to Wild Orchid in this review, but we have been visiting all inclusive resorts yearly since 1997 and we have a good understanding of what to expect for what we pay. There are too many things that should have been included but were not.  Even if you booked Preferred Level as we did, it did not matter. No snorkeling boat included. (You could only snorkel from the shore which pretty much sucked.  No Catamaran ride included. No included. no glass bottom boat included, no non-motorized water equipment, and several more "no's" If you want to rent any of these over-priced items at your own expense they are immediately available to you. 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 much more to book the "Preferred Level."

This year 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 here, 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...all-inclusive or not! If we want to be chased by time-share-style employees, we could just stay home in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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 Wikd Orchid is being next to the Breathless Resort, located next door within walking distance. Breathless Resort is extremely impressive and awesome. Secrets 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

please feel free to contact me with questions.  Patricia Blackstock

All our all-inclusive resort reviews are HERE

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