10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Come with an "open-mind" and you will have a fantastic vaction.
"We returned last week from a 6 day vacation at SWO and had a wonderful time. Like everyone else, we were hesitant to go to SWO after reading all the negative comments on facebook. You must realize that with a brand new hotel, there will be problems. We stayed in the PC on the 4th floor with a terrific view of the ocean and a spectacular sunset each evening. When you first arrive at SWO, mention that you are booked at the PC if that's the case and a porter will immediately take you to the PC lobby check-in -- no problem with check-in and no lines. Our room had no problems. Everything worked just fine except for one evening when there was low water pressure. It was super clean and the mini bar was always stocked daily. The staff could not do enough for you starting with Courtney, who registered us, Concierge Devon who is always very busy and PC lounge attendant Wellesley who was very accommodating. Let him pour you a rum cream liquer. The liquor is top of the shelf and flows freely. The beach is very clean with plenty of lounges at the beach and at the pool. The food at the Oceana at the beach was fair. The fish and chicken were very good, however the hot dogs and hamburg need improvement. We had no problem in getting seated at the restaurants. If you find a line at one restaurant, go to another one with no line. Met Chef Wayne at the French resaurant and Chef Hingo at the Japanese restaurant who were both super and very accommodating. The entertainment was good especially the Reggae evening and the Steel Drums performance. Checkout was easy with no problem. We can hardly wait to return. We have been to other all-inclusive resorts and feel that SWO in a very short time will be the best of them all."
- Travel date: Wed 14th of April 2010
Pros and Cons not all related to growing pains.
Â· Everything is new, clean and fresh.
Â· Architecture and design very appealing
Â· Evening entertainment was good.
Â· Quality of the food
Â· Staff are friendly but their conduct reflects guest comfort is not top priority.
Â· 10pm turndown service let doors slam behind â 5am collection of room service dishes also performed in an extremely noisy and inconsiderate manner.
Â· Preferred unlimited luxury meant only 2 bath towels per day, which get removed around noon by the cleaning maid and replaced about 6PM by another person. Need to bring in beach towels just to shower for dinner.
Â· Inside construction sloppy. Example: shower leaked into bath because of inadequate caulking job.
Â· Internet access cumbersome and restricted access.
Â· Photos and marketing indicate swim out suites, pools and bars are connected. They are not. They are walled off under the bridges preventing passage.
Â· Resort ran out of a variety of staples such as bananas and top shelf liquors but provided excuses instead of going out and purchasing what was needed.
Overall this resort met 85% of the experience we had at other Secrets and in certain areas exceeded expectations. We were also lucky enough to book the portion of the hotel that was complete. Many people arrived only to find out their reservation could not be honored, the resort was overbooked and rooms were downgraded or unavailable.
I suspect Secrets management will adjust pricing in the future to recover from sub-par reviews."
- Travel date: Tue 13th of April 2010
Sectrets Wild Orchid - Follow-up
"Secrets Wild Orchid/St James in Moâ Bay will likely be one of the best values if not the best value on Jamaica. Sure I believe the resort made a terrible decision to open prematurely and there is on-going construction and an inexperienced staff that was given limited resources to help the initial guests truly enjoy a five star experience.
The biggest flaw in the current system is lack of communication with guests and between the staff (i.e. concierge to the room service for special amenities.) We arrived 2:30 p.m. and we were told it would be 15-20 minutes until our room was ready. Every hour for the next 5 hours we were told it would be 15 minutes more. Of course not all guests had this problem. The rum was flowing, so we did not really notice the wait until six hours later when the staff told us the room we reserved (and had two Secrets confirmations for) was not available and they would need to move us from The Preferred Cub to the main hotel. Obviously, we sobered up quickly and realized our first day of vacation was consumed trying to negotiate our room at the resort.
Not getting our room in Preferred Club was not as bad as we thought when we finally got a room and soon realized all rooms are the same in quality and comfort. The dÃ©cor was lavish and the bed was comfortable. All rooms have a wonderful view of the resort, ocean, and/or the lagoon. Soon after a rain shower, shower, my wonderful wife and I set out to enjoy a fantastic meal at the Blue Mountain CafÃ©.
The restaurants were not fully manned so the resort only opened three at a time and staggered the days they were opened. This allowed for better service and during our stay we were able to try them all. We were not disappointed with the culinary delights we ordered. The food was great. Each restaurant provide a four course meal the truly excited the senses. We could not say enough positive comments about the food. And the wait staff was eager to please (as much as the management would allow.)
The staff was amazing. With all of the frustrated customers (us included), the staff managed to keep smiles up and attitude positive. I do not know how they did it. (I joked it must be the weed.) Joking aside my gratitude and respect goes to the staff for all they endured to do their best to make the newest guest to the Secretâs chain happy. Ultimately they made the difference for us and several went over and above to make our stay as wonderful as it was. Our concierge extraordinaire was Devon; our favorite waiter and maitreâd were Jerome and Vernon; the hostess who rose above the trial by fire was Francine. Of course, all the service employees were fantastic.
P.S. I just read a post on Facebook from the resorts front man and he was showing disappointment that guests were expecting compensation for all the inconveniences due to opening prematurely. I think they should express shame in their decision to open. But thatâs me. (I did not want to end on a bad note so my P.S. was misplaced intentionally.)
Ultimately there were many challenges, but this was the best worst, and most exciting vacation we had ever been on. We had to negotiate for nearly every amenity, but ultimately were very satisfied with the outcome. My bride and I look forward to going back to this resort once it has matured and work out the small details that make a resort of this stature desirable."
- Travel date: Tue 13th of April 2010
HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE!! NEVER STAY HERE!
"We traveled March 25-31 2010 to Secrets Wild Orchid. Our trip was so horriffic we will never go back to Jamaica! My husband has just gotten back from deployment and instead of having a relaxing vacation ours was full of drama and aggrivation! Including the resort claimed to have 4 star dining but was more like a 1. Including several nights I asked the resort to get me a phone book to order take out, which they SURPRISE SURPRISE could not find!! The sad part about this is I am not a picky eater AT ALL! Uncooked rice, bird they called chicken, straight soy sauce with carrots for soup and the lack of salt as the cooks do not season just wasnt appetizing to me! Then when you do get the food its a VERY small portion of muck! The staff acts like they are going to help you but then casually forget whatever you have asked for! Took 4 days to get pillow cases, took a harsh talking to with the manager to get the mini bar stocked on day 3 then it never got restocked, no hair dryer, no iron or ironboard, no alarm clock, no towels, the room was not cleaned each day. Trash was left in the room and the one morning we had breakfast in...the food was gross and was left in our room all day to spoil! At 7pm when we got back to our room I had to go down to the front desk of the resort after repeated phone calls to remove the food and demand that the plates be taken up! By 10 pm I was over it and put the dishes into the drop box!! NEVER STAY AT THIS RESORT!! We had a TERRIBLE time and it definately was NOT worth the time or money to go there! To think we spent our only kid free week of the year at this HORRIBLE place! The rooms were nice but you dont go to paradise to stay in the room all day!! The spa was not even open the entire time we were there! The resort was too terrible to go back! Did we really just pay almost $3000 to have a miserable time????"
- Travel date: Tue 13th of April 2010
We Will Return - Fantastic
"We visit Jamaica every year and decided to try an Adults Only resort this year. I've never written a review, but want to share my experience. It was Fantastic!! I was very hesitant after reading all the negative comments on Facebook but decided to check it out first hand. There were no problems with check in, no hammering outside my door, food was GREAT; however, the lines do get long after 7PM. Hopefully, that will improve. I can't say enough about the staff. Entertainment is #1. You won't find better anywhere. My favorite was the turndown service and fresh towels each evening. I met the hotel manager, Delwin Rochester, Maria, Devon, Shane, Billy Love and a number of other members of Secrets Staff. They are truly intersted in making your stay a great experience. They agreed there were some problems at "opening" but they are addressing them. My suggestion was putting cushions on the beach lounges. The bamboo is not very comfortable. Mr. Rochester promised to look into making it happen...at some point. There will be a "Wait" if there's a large group checking in as the check in staff is very limited. I'm sure this will be one of those areas looked at by management as well. We plan to return next year."
- Travel date: Tue 13th of April 2010
Beautiful hotel, beautiful location
"The hotel is only open a few weeks and it is obvious in some areas that improvement is needed. The hotel rooms are beautiful. The grounds are nice but they are still working on them daily. The view is awesome; right on the ocean. We stay in the preferred club but not really sure if it was worth the extra money. The preferred club has its own beach and pool but no nicer than the main beach and pool; except pool chairs have cushions. In the preferred club you get free internet service; not sure how much it costs otherwise. Each day there is a lounge area in the preferred section where you can get some bites of food or pastries and drinks.
Overall, the food was average. I have definitely tasted better food and more bountiful servings in other all-inclusives. There was little seafood offered which I found disappointing. They don't even have a toaster for toast at breakfast! Lunch by the main pool leaves much to be desired. They essentially serve barbecued hot dogs, burgers, and chicken. The burgers and hot dogs were not very good. However, one night they had a beach buffet party which was very nice. It does not compare to the Iberostar in Jamaica in terms of food. The service is good. I had no complaints. They try to please.
There is some nightly entertainment but nothing to write home about. I think in time the place will have more to offer. The only really area that I believe needs improvement is the food."
- Travel date: Tue 13th of April 2010
Future beautiful resort ,Go to couples resorts instead. AVOID !! not operational !
"OK Here is the actual Step by Step account for our stay at SWO .
We arrived at the front gate and entered a very modest reception area where there was complete chaos. People were irate (not ire !!) We were asked to remain in a small area where there was a piano with no one playing. We sat in this area for 4 1/2 hours and at this point i was on the phone to Couples Resorts asking for a transfer. The staff overheard our request to leave and assured us there was just a glitch and our room was all set. Upon entering a crisp new room with a beautiful view we settled in. Well after I used the sink i looked back to find a flood on the floor !! (the pipe to the drain was not connected and all the water went on the floor !) We threw our towels over the flood and cleaned it up. We requested more towels but no luck. A little later We used the shower and after stepping out now laughing there was an EXTREME flood I have no idea how that much water got out of the shower so back to sopping up water with the already soaked towels...Remember we have no towels except face towels to dry off !! We requested to be moved, The hotel complied. We were moved to a functioning room with another beautiful view (this was the preferred area) There was NO internet for our entire stay. The "room service "was non existing. My wife wanted to use the spa but it was not open so two rooms were "converted" to a spa in the middle of her massage the phone kept ringing... Oh well We are still on vacation in jamaica. Time to eat only three restaurants were open but one had no air conditioning it was SO hot inside we left (feel sorry for the staff they were soaked in sweat) The food was like eating at a local Dennies ! The french restaurant was the best with a good experience over all. The food at the patio was poor at best (few choices of hamburgers,hot dogs and some overcooked fish and chicken) THIS IS NOT FIVE STAR cuisine !!! THEY PLAYED SOME VERY ANNOYING INDIAN-MIDDLE EAST PRAYER MUSIC! ALL DAY!! ! it was so bad we burred the speaker with sand !!!
No cushions on the lounges and it was as comfortable as concrete!
The shopping was a small 10 by 10 closet and that was it Oh and be careful There is streaming porn on tv And i mean HARD CORE !! so if you are clicking through the channels you may get a surprise !!
On the bright side : the beach,water, sand was beautiful !! The drinks were top shelf (they ran out of liquor often and we just had to change drinks accordingly.
Free use of Hobies (small sail boats) snorkeling was fantastic.
THE STAFF WAS ATTENTIVE AND OBVIOUSLY OVERWORKED.
Bottom line: this resort should have NOT opened .They oversold it and its capabilities thus leaving guests searching for what they were expecting.
Most people (like us) were quite calm about the disappointments but some were out of control. foul language,attitudes,and threats were common place.
At times we thought there was going to be trouble in the LONG lines for dinner.
We made the best of what there was to offer and we enjoyed each others company .
The resort WILL be a first rate facility but in the future. We would return in a year or so."
- Travel date: Mon 12th of April 2010
Will be an Amazing Resort when 100 Percent Complete
"Just arrived back from Secrets Wild Orchid. We had a wonderful time! We originally booked St . James but was relocated to WO due to the delay in opening. The resort was not ready for opening but is improving each day. When we first arrived we waited about forty minutes for our room. The first room we were placed in had an awesome view but no hot water and wasn't completely finished (missing amenities, caulking ...still on bathroom walls, and a leaking shower). After waiting two hours, we were placed in another ocean view suite. The rooms and decor are beautiful. Many of the restaurants did not have many of the items on the menu. The staff works very hard to please you and deserves to be tipped (although gratuity is included). When the resort is fully functioning, there is no doubt that the resort will live up to Secrets standards but management should have definitely waited to open the resort to guests. I would still return or recommend the resort to others when the resort is a 100% percent complete."
- Travel date: Sat 10th of April 2010
Just got back April 5
"We had a great time at the Wild Orchid, we stayed 8 nights and yes there was opening glitches but they worked hard and endless to fix whatever they could and each day we were there you could see improvements they made and by the time we left it was excellent, 100% more efficient then the first day we were there.
I cant say enough about the staff how hard they worked and how friendly they were and did what they could under the conditions of opening a brand new hotel.
I would certainly recommend the hotel and we are already planning our trip back next year."
- Travel date: Sat 10th of April 2010
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly....
"My lovely partner and I have been at Wild Orchid for five days now and here is the short version of my thoughts:
* Front end staff: I would like to start with a tribute to the front line staff that they have here. Most staff that you meet are very friendly, well-educated and helpful to the best of their abilities. Kudos to Moya and Lisa at the check in desk!
* No Yelling â Chill Out Mon: For people arriving at the resort within the next month or so you will likely have problems every day. With that in mind you need to take into consideration what you paid for this vacation experience. The front-end people do not deserve to get treated like dogs as it IS NOT their fault.
* Owners/Management: The owners and top management of this resort should be ashamed of themselves. They put the front-end people into very uncomfortable situations (like having no rooms for questions who booked months ago) and give them little back up or ability to offer perks to keep people happy. ZERO stars for those folks!
â¢ Swim out â Schwimmm out: I am staying in a swim-out suite. We didnât have this room the first nice as they overbooked as is being posted repeatedly online. I am not that thrilled with the room as chairs and umbrellas obstruct the view. People walking by have a direct look into your room â so much for privacy. I preferred the view and privacy of the third floor room.
* Preferred Club (PC) Wild Orchid: It is a little less dense compared to the regular Wild Orchid. They do have little treats in the main lobby most of the time along with some beverages. However, there is no bar by the PC pool and servers can be few and far between. There also is no music and therefore it is quieter which is nice if you prefer that environment. The bad news about the quiet is that most nights a band plays near the PC until 1 a.m. So unless you are really tired or really drunk it can be hard to get to sleep.
* Rooms, Facility & Restaurants: Although not all completed (in little ways) everything is BEAUTIFUL. Yes, when you take a shower water flows into the bathroom in most/all the rooms (advice: use the ârainâ shower and less water gets out). Some restaurants are not opened certain nights (I advise getting there early to make sure that you get to sit where you want). There are plenty of chairs to lay out in â despite those inconsiderate people who stake out chairs from dawn to dusk. The beach is wonderful and the sunsets are lovely. The spa opened last Friday and is not quite done yet â but it is beautiful too!
* Food: Well, there is some good and some yuck. The burgers, hot dogs and misc. lunch fare at the Oceana restaurant are not very edible. And it is likely that each restaurant will not have certain things available even though it is on the evening menu. The food quality and taste ranges from average to great â but you never know what you are in for when you order.
*Bottom Line: Based on the price that we paid (about 50% off) I think that our stay here was a wonderful experience despite some fairly stressful moments. However, if you paid anywhere near the full rate â I suggest that you cancel (if you can) and donât come and visit until at least Fall of 2010."
- Travel date: Thu 8th of April 2010