Why We Recommend It:
Sandals Royal Plantation, Jamaica is a very elegant, colonial-era estate near Ocho Rios’ resort zone, which is now a Sandals adults-only, 5-star all-inclusive, one which differs somewhat from most Sandals in its relatively low-key, refined atmosphere.
With just 74 suites in total (plus one private villa), it is intimate and personable too, and it is Sandals’ only All Butler Resort, i.e. all accommodation options come with private butler service.
The food at the restaurants is entirely a la carte too, another rarity in all-inclusive resorts. With it being much smaller it doesn’t have the same breadth of choice in restaurants and bars of course but guests at Royal Plantation are granted access to all the facilities at the much larger Sandals Ochi next door.
Rooms & Suites:
The suites at Sandals Plantation look and feel as elegant and as stately as the property in general. All have four-poster king-size beds, comfy seating areas, grand-looking wood furniture pieces, and spacious bathrooms with double sinks and bathtubs or jacuzzis.
They also all have ocean views and come with either a terrace, balcony, or Juliet balcony.
There isn’t a huge divide between entry-level suites and the rest at Royal Plantation though the top choice, the Governor General Oceanfront is a stunning space with the best views in the place.
They have a private villa here too that’s definitely worth a look if you’re traveling with a small group or you and your partner just want to hit the highest level of VIP.
Villa Plantana sits by itself over the calmer East Beach. It has three bedrooms in total, lots of space inside and out, its own pool, and a team of private staff.
Food, Facilities & Things to Do:
Sandals Royal Plantation has five eateries, and guests here have also full access to sixteen further restaurants at the much larger Sandals Ochi next door.
All of Plantation’s restaurants are a la carte (though there is also a buffet selection at breakfast) and are, in general, reported to be a cut above those of Sandal’s Ochi.
You can choose between Jamaican and Caribbean fare, French, Italian, and English pub grub at the Wobbly Peacock, their British-themed gastropub.
The Old-English theme continues at the Tea Terrace where you can enjoy traditional afternoon teas, along with all the trimmings, on a cozy little terrace.
There is nightly entertainment at the resort and nights can be great fun though the relatively mature crowd means it never gets too raucous.
Again though if guests want to explore more all-inclusive nightlife they have full access to the much larger Sandals Ochi next door where the party goes on longer.
The swimming pool here is rather small, but sits in a very scenic spot overlooking the ocean and has a swim-up bar. The resort also has two large hot tubs.
Sandals Royal Plantation has a well-stocked 24-hour gym and of course, there is the Red Lane Spa which offers a variety of health and beauty treatments.
It occupies a peaceful secluded spot and includes outdoor treatment areas, a steam room, sauna, and plunge pool.
Sandals have their own golf course in Ocho Rios, the 18-hole, par 71 Sandals Golf and Country Club, considered one of Jamaica’s best.
There’s a driving range and a putting course on-site too. Guests have free unlimited golfing, though a caddy is required and costs extra. Golf lessons are available too for a fee.
Guests can also play some tennis, basketball, and rock-wall climbing plus water sports such as kayaking, paddle-boarding, Hobie Cat sailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving all-inclusive.
Royal Plantation sits above a small but beautiful stretch of beach just east of Ocho Rios and next door to Sandals Ochi.
Downtown Ocho Rios and its busy tourist zone are less than five minutes away by car, and a few minutes beyond that are popular sights such as Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin Cove.
Transfers, tours, excursions, taxis, etc. can be organized by the resort. Sangster/Montego Bay International Airport is about an hour and a half away and Sandals provides a free roundtrip shuttle.
Some Guest Reviews:
“It has a friendly team of staff and due to its small size, the staff can sometimes recognize you. It has the added benefit of using all the amenities at Ocho Rios of Sandals literally next door which is much bigger, but less friendly. This resort is all butler service. There is a shuttle to go between two resorts and I have come to know that you can actually ask for shuttle outside the scheduled time which is not frequent…..”
“I immediately felt at home on the plantation. It was intimate and we all felt like family. And yet, there were many things to do and enjoy so we were not bored. The advantage of being able to go to the Ochi property for added dining and entertainment was certainly a plus. Relax as much as you want or book an excursion to stay really active. Everyone is so attentive and ready to assist you for all that you need on your stay at Royal Plantation….”