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

All photos CLICK HERE
50+ photos

Secrets Wild Orchid is a luxurious couples only adult resort. It offers a theater, water sports, dive center, a shopping area and a casino. Secrets Wid 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 Secrets Wild Orchid side. That's on of 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 the ground floor floor swim-up suite for 9 nights..

SWIM-UP SUITE (review) - The room was perfect! I loved paddling from one end to the other in this private area of beautiful clear water. We've been going to all-inclusive resorts since 1997, and we've never enjoyed a room as much as much as we did this one. There was enough strage space for all we brought including twin sinks, closed-door shower and closed-door toilet and plenty of shampoo, conditioner, soap, face-wipes, Qtips, hand cream, shave cream, extra toothbrushes, etc.) Room service visited our room twice a day. There was a small latched door near the entrance. If you had anything to be picked up (say after ordering a meal delivered to your room) you placed it inside this latched door and it wold be picked up by a staff member from outside the room. Our only problem with the room was the refrigerator. Even after calling 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 chose, 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 modern 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 communication phone (mentioned above) which we used to communicate with our butler.

PREFERRED CLUB LOUNGE (review) The lounge for the Preferred Cub 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 TV screen was against the wall with daily newspapers always available 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 requires 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 on the Wild Orchis side of the resort, and there are none in St. James. We enjoyed the French Restautant Brodeaux, twice. Long pants are required at this location, and it was, in our opinion the besr of the bunch.All other restaurants are casual and there is nothing outstanding about the menus or food. The only restaurant requiring reservations is the Japanese, due to timed interval seatings. This was the weakest restaureant in our opinion, 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 has any training before he stepped into this position. He kept screeching throughout the entire dinner, making obnoxious noises much like the peacocks that roam around Secrets. The chicken and veggies were OK, but the steak was too rtough to chew. Here is my short YouTube video. Am I being too harsh? Judge it here. 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 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 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 addition of 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.) Wednesday is seafood nightm 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 evening!

One evening we had dinner at Breathless Resort (just up the hill) on the open air rooftop overlooking Montego Bay. It was one of the best meaks we had at the Secrets. We also enjoyed chatting with the bartender at 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! Wer loved it!

Tipping is allowed although no one ever asked us for a tip. 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 impresseed us about SWO was how every employee greeted us or even stopped to ask how our vacation was going. Even people working on the beautiful grounds would greet us without fail. Well done, SWO!

VALENTINE'S DAY - We planned our vacation dates to include Valentine's Day, and we were 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 theme, and our Butlers...well you'll see what they did for us in my photos. (BTW, our Butler told us the non-included "Valentine Dinners on the Beach" were selling for $600. for that one night - whew! Believe it or not, we saw a lot of them!

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, 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, dancing, and interacting with a great group of verey happy people. What a fun night out.

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 disappopinted 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 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 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 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 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 my two typed pages to the rep. saying we are not interested in spending time with a sales representation and we were hoping not be bulldozed into a presentation 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 headalights, probably wishing another staff member would come to her aid.

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 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. 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 start to doze off. Then suddenly there were two big guys, right in my 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.

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 he 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. (We have been spoiled at Sandals Resorts.)

BREATHLESS is a new all-inclusive resort which I believe opened just this past March, 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 float slowly over Breathless, Secrets and St. James. You can view our 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 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. There are way too mny things that should have been included, 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 te 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. After 10 Sandals vacations where we are Diamond Level members, plus a few other all inclusive resorts, we waqnted 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!

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 advantge of Secrets is being next to the Breathless Resort, located next door within walking distance. It is extremely impressive. We also enjoyed Secrets Mardi Grs night...a combination of chocolate night, live music and an unbelievable Mardi Gras theme, conplete with beautiful Mardi Gras masks. (see my photos.)

Feturing 50+ great photos

Feel free to contact me with questions. Patricia Blackstock

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