Sandals Royal Plantation Review

Sandals Royal Plantation is one of our top 3 favorite Sandals Resorts in Jamaica, and a fantastic choice for anyone who loves a smaller resort, laid back mature crowd, and top notch food and service. The beaches are calm with crystal clear water and plenty of space to enjoy watersports. This Sandals Royal Plantation review will break down everything you need to know to decide if this is the resort for you.

With the nearby Sandals Golf Course, all of the activities around Ocho Rios, and stay-and-play exchange privileges at 3 other nearby properties, it’s no surprise Sandals Royal Plantation is ranked #1 of all Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean.

SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION OVERVIEW

Sandals Royal Plantation is ranked #1 among Sandals Resorts for a reason, and it’s one of our favorites! It’s a laid back, quiet, and mature crowd looking to relax and unwind while enjoying one of the prettiest beaches and stretches of ocean of all the Sandals properties.

Sandals Royal Plantation is the only Sandals property that doesn’t allow guests from other resorts to visit, but Royal Plantation guests can visit the other properties. With Sandals Ochi next door, and Beaches Resort and Sandals Dunns River just a short drive away, you can check out several properties with Stay at 1, Play at All.  If you’re looking for a party or more dining options, take the short shuttle ride over to Ochi. But when you want to relax and get away from it all, Sandals Royal Plantation is ready to pamper you with it’s all butler suite service.

Ocho Rios is also home to several fun excursions like the World Famous Dunns River Falls and The Blue Hole. If you’re a golfer, the Sandals Country Club is just down the road as well.

The food, service, atmosphere, and gorgeous water are what keep people(including us) coming back here again and again. Be aware, that this property is built into a cliff, and there are a lot of stairs. This may not be ideal for people with mobility issues. But, there is an elevator located in the West Wing that will take you from the main dining level down to the beachfront level.

Sandals Royal Plantation Highlights

Check out our guide to the Best Sandals Resort in Jamaica HERE– hint, the best all depends on what you like!

Want to know why we love Sandals Royal Plantation?  It’s the perfect quiet and luxurious spot to relax with some of the best food we’ve eaten at Sandals Resorts, a more mature vibe, a beautiful beach.  It is the least crowded feeling of any of the resorts, meaning less competition for a beach chair, dinner reservation, and ring floats.  Ochi is just next door giving you easy access to a party vibe whenever you want it.  The service is also some of the best we’ve seen!  Can you tell we love it here! 

It’s nearly a tie for our favorite Sandals in Jamaica, and only loses out because Kristin prefers a resort closer to the airport(it’s an hour and a half to two hour shuttle ride).

And the negatives….  It’s small and quiet.  So if you’re looking for a lively party vibe, this isn’t the place for you.  You also won’t find watersports like waterskiing or tubing here, but you can always venture over to Ochi for that. The rooms are also a bit dated- especially the bathrooms.

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SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION MAP

Sandals Royal Plantation Building Map

Click Here for the Interactive Sandals Royal Plantation Resort Map.


SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION ROOMS

The rooms are our least favorite part of the property. For a higher end Sandals resort, they just felt a bit sparse and out dated. I actually enjoy the older Caribbean feel with the natural wood. But our room felt a bit like a hollow cave, and the bathroom definitely left something to be desired.

But, all in all, you don’t spend too much time in your room, and our room had all of the amenities we could need, a comfortable bed, and a wonderful view, so why complain!

Click HERE to check out all of the room options at Sandals Royal Plantation.

In Room Amenities

  • Red Lane Spa Shampoo, Conditioner, and Lotion(it’s good stuff!)
  • Hairdryer
  • In Room Safe
  • Coffee Maker with Blue Mountain Coffee
  • Minibar

West Wing

The West Wing of the property is the nicer of the two with many rooms offering balconies, and clear views of the ocean. There is also direct access from the elevator in the West Wing down to the beach and beach bar.


East Wing

The East Wing still offers ocean views, abut there is much more large foliage in front of this side of the property, so the ocean views aren’t as straight on. Very few rooms on this side offer a balcony, although all of the rooms do have the sliding doors to open up the room to the outside.


Villa Plantana

Villa Plantana is a separate small 3 bedroom villa with it’s own staff and pool. It is connected to the rest of the resort, but is quite private. Booking is a bit confusing on this, but you will book the whole villa for 2 and then call to add on your additional guests- for an additional charge.


SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION RESTAURANTS REVIEW

Sandals Royal Plantation, in our opinion, offers the best food and service of any Sandals Resort we’ve been to- and we’ve been to A LOT! The quality of nearly all of the food was a notch above most other resorts we’ve visited with lobster(my favorite) and seafood in abundance on the menus.

By looking at the limited number of restaurants, you would like you may get bored with the food, but that’s not the case. They keep it interesting by doing things like changing up the menu for theme nights, bringing in pizza from Ochi, and serving different menus at lunch and dinner. Plus, Ochi is just next door with MANY more food options.

Le Papillion was by far our favorite dinner restaurant at Sandals Royal Plantation. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was quiet and romantic.

Breakfast

The Terrace: Breakfast Buffet or A La Carte

This is the one and only option for breakfast.  You can choose items off the buffet or order from the a la carte menu.  The Buffett has a nice selection of items including an egg and omelet station.

Find The Terrace Breakfast Menu online HERE.


Lunch

The Terrace: Sandwiches & Salads

At lunch this turns into Brasserie 30 which has a menu similar to other Sandals resorts that feature this restaurant during lunch like Bayside as Sandals Montego Bay. There are sandwich and salad options for a casual light lunch.

Find The Terrace Lunch Menu online HERE.


Royal Grill: Upscale Beach Bar

Royal Grill at Sandals Royal Plantation;  Photo courtesy of Sandals Resorts
Photo courtesy of Sandals Resorts

This is the only beachside restaurant and a great spot for a casual lunch.  It offers Kristin’s favorite, coconut shrimp with a yummy island slaw. 

Find the Royal Grill Lunch Menu online HERE.

Since this resort is so small with only a couple of restaurants, they do a great job of offering specialty items on different days like Pizzas that the butlers bring over from Ochi.


Afternoon

The Wobbly Peacock: Bar & Snacks

The Wobbly Peacock is the main evening bar and also serves plenty of snacks and bar food like wings, mozzarella sticks, and fish and chips.

Find the Wobbly Peacock Menu online HERE.


Tea Terrace: English Afternoon Tea

The Tea Terrace is a relaxing spot to enjoy traditional English tea time with a wide selection of teas served along side a selection of sandwiches, cookies, and scones.

Find the Tea Terrace Menu online HERE.


Dinner

Le Papillon: French

This indoor restaurant offers a higher end French cuisine.  The food was delicious and some of the best food we’ve had at any Sandals Resort. The Scallop Appetizer and Grilled Lobster Entrée were two of Kristin’s favorite foods all week.

Find Le Papillon Menu online HERE.


The Terrace:  Caribbean Grill

Overlooking the ocean from the terrace, you can dine indoors or out, but we love the outdoor option!  The main course is a mix and match of protein, sauce, and side dish.

The Terrace outdoor dining in the evening at Sandals Royal Plantation

There are a couple nights a week that the Terrace mixes it up with a dining theme menu like Italian night and Jamaican night. 

Find The Terrace Menu online HERE.


Royal Cafe & Grill: Beachside Seafood Grill

This beachside casual spot turns into a fine dining restaurant in the evening offering many seafood options right on the water.


Late Night

The Wobbly Peacock: English Pub

If you’re looking for a late night treat, the Wobbly Peacock serves as both the main evening bar and the spot for late night snacks and pub food.

Find The Wobbly Peacock Menu online HERE.


Reservations

Dinner reservations are required at The Terrace and Le Papillion, but your butler can handle that for you. Make sure to talk to them on the first day of your stay to reserve prime time spots at these locations. But, if you don’t like to plan ahead, we found we were still able to squeeze in without much notice.


SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION BEACH AND OCEAN

Sandals Royal Plantation probably has our favorite beach experience of any of the Sandals Resorts in Jamaica. The beach is broken up into two smaller coves.  Although we normally like a nice long stretch of sand, the size of this property means that the beach never feels crowded, there’s always a place to sit, and the water is crystal clear and bright blue.  There are two sets of swings in the water and several swinging bed loungers.

The beach to the West is slightly busier as it’s adjacent to the beach bar. The beach to the East is located next to watersports, and is known as the smoking beach as you’re allowed to smoke at this beach, but not the other. This is also the only Sandals resort that we frequently find the yellow ring floats- our favorite lounging spot- unoccupied.


POOLS AND HOT TUBS

If you’re a pool and hot tub person, this may not be the resort for you. There are technically 3 pools and a hot tub, but I say there’s really only 1 pool. The second pool is for Villa Plantana and courtesy dictates that it’s for those guests only. The third pool is a natural spring fed plunge pool that we never saw anyone use, and it was COLD!

The main pool is small and perched up on the cliff overlooking the ocean. It was a favorite spot to sit and read and relax in peace. There are no pool swim up bars here, so it’s more of a place for relaxation than a party.


SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION JAMAICA EXCURSIONS

Sandals Royal Plantation, is in Ocho Rios, and a short trip from the world famous Dunns River Falls.  .  They do get very crowded by mid morning, so plan to go right when they open.  

Top Local Excursions:

  • Dunns River Catamaran Cruise
  • Blue Hole Ocho Rios
  • ATV & Horseback Riding Trip
  • Luminous Lagoon
  • Martha Brae River Rafting

The Blue Hole is another great waterfall spot to check out.  We’ve been to both and would choose Dunns River Falls.  The Blue Hole is no longer undiscovered and is just as packed as Dunns River Falls.  It’s still a fun excursion, if you’re looking for a different type of waterfall experience with cliff jumping and rope swings.

Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae River is one of those quintessential Jamaican things to do.  Yes, it’s touristy and crowded, but it’s a cool experience.  There are also horseback riding and atv excursions in the area that look like fun for a day.


ROYAL PLANTATION SANDALS ENTERTAINMENT

The entertainment schedule can be found on the app or by asking your butler. 

You won’t find playmakers starting wild games or music thumping at the beach bar here.  During the day there’s usually a low key activity like making tie dye shirts on the beach or some soft music.

Evening Entertainment at Sandals Royal Plantation

In the evening, there’s always a singer or performer to entertain the crowd.  If you’re looking for a lively party vibe, head over to Ochi where there’s always something going on


SERVICE AT SANDALS ROYAL PLANTATION REVIEWS

The service at Sandals Royal Plantation is a notch above most other resorts we’ve visited. It’s an all butler resort, and it’s very small, so there’s always someone around to help or grab you anything you need. They really do make everything easy and relaxing here!

Who do I Tip?

Most people who’ve gotten this far already know that Sandals is a NO TIPPING resort, but what does that really mean???  It means that no one on Sandals Staff can accept tips except Butlers and Spa Staff.  But, there are some other people who may need tipped along the way like the shuttle driver or excursion staff. 

Royal Plantation is unique in that it has separate beach butlers serving food and drinks from the beach bar to guests while at the beach.  Make sure to bring cash for tips for these butlers as well, as they can be tipped, which is different from the other resorts. 

If you’re looking for something from another area of the resort, you will want to contact your regular butler for that.  Regular butlers can bring things to you on the beach as well, but won’t be around all day to bring regular drinks like the beach butlers do.

Check out our full breakdown of Who to Tip at Sandals Resorts HERE.

What do Butlers do?

This property is unique in the fact that it’s an all butler property.  Your butler will take care of everything a butler does at any Sandals property, except for setting up coolers on the beach.  The beach service is done by the beach butler, who is the only person besides your regular butler or spa attendants that can be tipped.

New to the Sandals Butler experience?  We’ve covered all of the details on what to expect from your butler and how to make the most of the experience in this Sandals Butler Guide– including how much to tip them!


OUR OPINION

Sandals Royal Plantation is one of our favorite Sandals Resorts in Jamaica because of it’s small size, laid back vibe, beautiful beaches, and top notch food and service.

One of our favorite aspects of Sandals Royal Plantation is that it enjoys Stay-and-Play privileges with Beaches Ocho Rios and two other Sandals Properties in Ocho Rios- Sandals Ochi and Sandals Dunns River. It’s at the center of them all, so you can explore all you want, but return to the relaxing tranquility of Royal Plantation.

Make sure to Check Out all of our Sandals Posts Here to help plan your trip!

About the author
Kristin Young
Kristin is a hiker, triathlete, and avid snorkeler who spends her free time traveling around the Caribbean in search of all of the best snorkeling, hiking, and unique adventures.