• Lisa Marie

Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James: The Secrets resort with the most spice!

Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James are two luxury all-inclusive adult resorts adjacent to each other on one property. Their class and sophistication mirrors the other Secrets resorts, but the Jamaican culture, style, and uniqueness sets it apart. My husband and I have fallen in love with the Secrets brand and we were proud to embark on our fifth Secrets resort in the home country of our parents.

Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James has some similarities to the other resorts in Mexico and Dominican Republic. However, it is the most unique Secrets resort that we have visited. Although some of the restaurants bear the same name, the uniforms are the same, and the layout of the rooms are the same; the Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James resort possesses it's own identity. The Jamaican culture and its people tend to dance to the beat of their own drum and the Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James property have followed step in that practice.

Service: The staff members are extremely friendly at this resort. We were greeted by smiles and genuine conversations by the staff. We really felt like we were at home.

Check-in is prompt and efficient. Since we were in the preferred club, we were taken to the preferred lounge to check-in immediately. We were given a refreshing drink and a moist towel to freshen our hands. Our check-in process would of been faster. However, we were sent to another desk where a young lady tried to get us to sign up for an Unlimited Vacation Club meeting and our room wasn't ready yet. So, we toured the resort for an hour or two while we waited for our room.

The resort is set up very differently than many of the other Secrets resorts. This resort has all of the restaurants on one side (Wild Orchid) with the exception of the restaurants at the Wild Orchid and St. James pools. As you walk from The Wild Orchid to the St. James side of the property, you will see the beaches to the left and the pools and rooms to the right. The spa and gym is at the end of the resort, adjacent to the Secrets' family property, Breathless.

Room: We had the Oceanview Junior Suite in the Preferred room on the fourth floor.

The preferred rooms come with a higher fee, but you have access to a special lounge for checking in/out, snacks throughout the day, a quieter beach and pool section, grander service, and better views. Some of the preferred suites come with a butler and additional amenities. Many people debate if the preferred is worth it. In my personal opinion, I don't need a butler but I think that the preferred section made our trip better.

Our room, room 1417, was very spacious and our view was absolutely incredible! I felt like I was waking up to a dream every morning. I gained a new appreciation for the beauty of Jamaica. The room is modern, and has every amenity that you can think of on vacation. The shower is secluded, even though the bathroom area is open. The water pressure is great and the water gets nice and hot; just the way I like it. The vanity has two sinks and there is lots of space to house all of your personal belongings. There is an outdoor and indoor jacuzzi to allow you to soak on your balcony while looking at your captivating view. Surprisingly, we didn't go in either one of the jacuzzi mostly because it was so hot outside that the last thing that we wanted to do was sit in hot water!

I always share the good, bad, and in between. So, my one complaint of all the Secrets resorts is that I don't think that they have invested enough money into their mattresses. Similar to Secrets Cap Cana, the bed was very soft and hurt my back. I actually called the concierge and had the mattress changed, but it wasn't any better than the first mattress. I don't think that I'm alone with this complain because I have read about it in the Secrets' group chat.

Cleanliness: The hotel, like all Secrets resorts, is very clean! Our room was cleaned promptly each day and the staff does a great job of keeping the premises beautiful. Smiley and the lawn crew spend each day perfecting the landscape.

Beach: The beach at Secrets Wild Orchid or St. James is very nice. The preferred Wild Orchid side has a small area to swim, but it is a quiet and calm area to relax. The Wild Orchid Beach has a little more activity and a further area to roam. The St. James beach, in my opinion, is the best area for swimming. They also have snorkeling and water sports in the St. James area. Overall, the beach is very nice but you can't swim out too far because of seaweed. I liked the beach at Secrets Maroma and Secrets Cap Cana more than this one.

The beach is private, so we didn't have to worry about vendors or big crowds. There are plenty of chairs on the beach to enjoy, especially in the preferred area.

Entertainment: The entertainment and vibe at the Secrets resorts keeps us coming back. Like every other Secrets resorts they make sure that you never have a dull moment.

Daytime entertainment – Like all of the Secrets resorts, you really never need to leave the resort. The schedule is packed with so much to do! Every day we planned on leaving the resort, we changed our minds to play beach volleyball, pool volleyball, dominoes, pool games, yoga, do a bicycle tour, art activities, or go to the foam party at Breathless (the hotel next door). The daytime activities list goes on and on and Secrets always has a surprise up their sleeve. They even surprised us with the reggae legend, Beenie Man, at the Breathless foam party (video below). You can access the activity schedule on your phone, a daily paper, and throughout the resort. They have not adopted the electronic tablets with the schedules like other Secrets resorts.

Nighttime entertainment - Night entertainment was actually a little disappointing for us. Most of the entertainment was singing, dancing, games, or a Bob Marley trivia night. The signing was nice, but I can only be entertained by singing for so long. I appreciated the cultural dances that were shared, but I am used to a creative planned out show at the other Secrets resorts. Also, the host for the night entertainment needs some help. At the other Secrets resorts, there is an entertainment team used to get the night started. It would of been nice to see a comedian, a piece of the culture, or even outside entertainers. We usually didn't stick around for long, and headed to our room to get some rest. We weren't alone, large groups of people headed back to their room as well.

Spa: The spa was incredible! The hydrotherapy (sauna, steam room, and water therapy), staff, and masseuse made us have a memorable experience. They provide an assortment of massages, manicures/pedicures, and hair services. Before your spa treatment, you will get the opportunity to enjoy the premises. My husband and I had the couples massage and we were not disappointed. My deep tissue massage was the deepest massage that I have ever had! I think that Faye, my masseuse, touched parts of my muscles that had never been touched before! You have to stop by the spa when you visit this resort!

Food: Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James has gourmet restaurants, a buffet, outdoor grill by the pool, the"jerk man" that comes around with his jerk chicken cart, a snack cart, and a cafe. Secrets is known for amazing dinners that are comparable to a five star fine dining experience. At Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James, some restaurants are better than others. Maybe because my parents are Jamaican, I could be a little more difficult to please. However, I thought that the food at the buffet and Blue Mountain Cafe was good, but it lacked the authentic taste of Jamaica. I thought that the Iberostar Suites hotel provided a better buffet for the Americans and an authentic section for the natives. All of the restaurants had their good entrees, but I wasn't really blown away by any restaurants like I have been at other Secrets resorts. I will say that the Jamaican beef patties at the snack cart were 100% authentic and were a yummy treat throughout the day.

The drinks at Secrets Wild Orchid and St. James were really good! I would order a new drink from the beverage menu every time I got a chance. I particularly enjoyed the Strawberry Daquiri, Pina Colada, Miami Vice, and Dirty Banana. Surprisingly, they didn't make Sangrias or Moscow Mules. The alcohol was usually pretty weak, which was good for me since I'm a light weight. However, if you go to certain bars, they had premium liquor and you could taste the difference.

Price: My husband and I bought a package deal on cheapcarribean.com and we were surprised by the affordability. We were able to get a preferred oceanview suite at a great price.

Experience: We had a great time at this resort! The Jamaican culture is one that cannot be duplicated anywhere and this resort will always have a special place in our heart. We had fun, romance, laughs, and relaxation. Everyone is so friendly, including the guests.

Tips: Everyone wants to know the difference between Wild Orchid and St. James. I personally like the Wild Orchid side better. We were right next to the restaurants, we had a quiet beach and pool area, and when we were ready to have a little more liveliness we would easily walk over to the other portions of the resort. Also, the Wild Orchid balconies, swim-outs, and pool looked more modern. The only downfall in my opinion of being at the Wild Orchid side was that we were very far from the gym and spa. This didn't bother us because if you're going to the gym, you shouldn't mind a walk and we only went to the spa once.

The drive from the airport to the resort is between 15-30 minutes. We booked our transportation as a package at cheapcarribean.com. However, there are many options.

The dress code is very relaxed at the resort. My husband wore shorts and a polo shirt at all of the restaurants and nobody said anything. The only time that we were stopped by anyone for the dress code was when we went to the restaurant by the pool, they asked me to put on my cover-up because they said that I couldn't enter with my swimsuit.

The wi-fi is so strong throughout the resort, so you can easily text or call your travel buddies or people back at home.

Would I recommend it: Absolutely! Secrets Cap Wild Orchid and St. James offers a great vacation. I do hope that they allow more authentic dishes in the buffet and Blue Mountain Cafe. Also, I really hope they invest in better mattresses.

Email me to receive more information about this resort or my experience at contactus@thefloridapalate.com

Secrets Wild Orchild website: http://www.secretsresorts.com/wild-orchid-montego-bay/unlimited-luxury?_ga=2.186265897.1635356614.1502594069-2041590653.1493736143

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