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Is Royalton Blue Waters in Montego Bay, Jamaica Worth the Hype? A Complete Review

First things first. It's been well over a year since my last blog post. I know. To my day-ones, I have every intention of winning back your trust and smiles. If this is your first time here, thank you for choosing Madd About Jamaica as your source of truth!

Second things second. Am I the only Jamaican that gets confused when you search for a hotel in Jamaica and see that it's listed somewhere other than where it actually is? That was my first reaction when searching for Royalton Blue Waters. Google says it's in Montego Bay. The hotel is named Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay Resort...but the yaadies (locals) know it's really in Trelawny -- which, mind you, is close enough but not 100% accurate. Unless someone can show me the property line, you can't convince me otherwise. But I digress.


Location: Trelawny (near Montego Bay) Date Visited: September 2023

Type: All-Inclusive Resort (Family-Friendly) Cost: USD$425 per night



While this review is overdue (some aspects are no longer applicable - I'll indicate where), I still believe the content (my POV) at the time of visiting is still relevant and helpful if you plan to visit!

Before You Go

Ensure that your tyres are in good condition and/or you have a spare in tow. The road leading up to the hotel is not becoming of a 4-star resort. If you read my review on Secrets Wild Orchid - the sentiment is the same, so I won't belabour my point. My day ones may know that I'd visited Royalton Negril, which was quite the headache. Deciding to give the chain a second chance was years in the making. So let's get into it!


Style/Ambience - 6 out of 10

Providing that you arrive with your vehicle intact, the property itself is not bad at all. The lobby is very spacious with mid-century modern styled furnishings. The monochromatic, sandy colourway made my eyes hurt at times. I could only hope that my stay wouldn't be as beige as the decor style. Notwithstanding, the modern beach chic style did evoke a sense of luxury and the neutral tones, will a bit muted, were calming. Although it was densely furnished, the space is just that big, that it still felt sparse. I wouldn't say anything about the decor was particularly eye-catching. In fact, I did prefer how the Negril property was styled!


Room - 7 out of 10

The room can gwaan enuh! (translation: the room is alright!) Our room was on the third floor and had nice resort views. You enter the room to the iconic Royalton theme song playing on the TV (my husband hates it [cackles] but I think it's a bop!) and are met with a very spacious environment. Now, the majority of the points given here are for the space and the standalone soaking tub. There's very minimal decor, and what is there is quite abstract and a bit dated. It didn't feel like it tied into the overall theme of the hotel. There were varying textural elements from metal to leather to velvet. The accent pillows and pull out bed in the room are very reminiscent of the matching living room sets at Courts (local furniture store). Having an umbrella in the room was a nice touch!

The random unbranded toiletries were probably the biggest let down. It would've been nice to know what would be potentially interacting with my skin, and if the products are locally/ethically made. Just saying!


Food & Drinks - 5 out of 10

OOH. SIGH. YUCK. Those were my reactions in rotation throughout the entire stay. If I ate with my eyes then yes, it was amazing. Unfortunately, either the dishes or the ambience were a toss up. The buffet is probably one of the best I've seen. Options upon options. The fruit flies thought so too, cause they were also there in abundance. The tables were also poorly cleaned both on the surface and underneath. The room service menu, while good, was also a hit or miss. The food just suffered from being bland. Having eaten at the likes of Couples Tower Isle, my palette is very spoiled. On the other hand, the drinks and pastries are really good!


Customer Service - 6 out of 10

The staff at Royalton Blue Waters were pleasant...for the most part! Our visit happened while there was construction going on, but they didn't let that dampen their spirits nor the overall vybe. At times, they were gathered together just chatting away, so attentiveness could've been better, especially since the place was more or less empty. At times, some of them just looked bored and didn't attempt to flash a smile as you passed. I can appreciate the authenticity! I wouldn't say that they went above and beyond in their service, it was just okay.


Amenities & Entertainment - 7 out of 10

Any resort that doesn't give me a key card is already a partial winner in my book. The bracelets doubled as room keys and were waterproof. It's way too easy to forget a room key when you just wanna go have fun! There are more than enough things to do at this resort. However! I believe capacity would definitely impact how that feels. Since we went when not many families with children were around, we did feel as though we had the place to ourselves.

The pools, beach and water park were well kept. As I mentioned, we went during a construction period, so the Spa was displaced to the lobby, which was very weird and awkward. The spa staff shared the sentiment but their jobs went on regardless! The gym was small compared to the size of the resort, but it gets the job done for those who (for whatever strange reason) need to exercise on vacation. The evening shows are as you expect - yes, another hotel with a Michael Jackson tribute show. There was a nightclub / dance party one evening which was very loud, so don't expect to get any sleep before midnight if one is happening while you're there.


MADD Factor - The Lazy River and the Construction

A lazy river may not seem that exciting to you, but it is definitely an eye-catching feature of the property! It's not a popular element at most resorts in Jamaica, so it's always fun to see one!

Now about the construction bit. For anyone who had ever been to what was Royalton White Sands, or saw reviews, the construction should've excited you too (#IYKYK). Hideaway at the Negril property was one of my dream honeymoon destinations. So when I saw that they were doing away with the White Sands property and bringing in Hideaway as an adults-only option to Blue Waters, I was intrigued and may have a squealed a little internally.

As a point of information, Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters is now complete and open for booking! I have also since yielded to my excitement and visited. So, stay tuned for that review to see if it lived up to expectations [cue dramatic music].


Overall Rating: 6.2 out of 10

Verdict: Maybe for a quick getaway?

Royalton Blue Waters is a safe choice for a quick getaway with friends or family. It will neither wow you nor gravely disappoint. I'd definitely be quicker to go back there than some other resorts that I won't dignify with SEO content and keep unnamed. Although my overall score for Royalton Negril was higher, that was primarily due to the luxurious feel, which I'd not drive 4 hours for now. I'd recommend Blue Waters instead of Negril for sure!

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. This review is not sponsored.


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