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My fiance and I recently spent a fabulous week at Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We were delighted with its private location and understated elegance.   Sandals Royal Plantation is intimate all-butler resort of just 74 ocean view suites tucked into a magnificent coral bluff. It is the epitome of luxury and exactly the type of all-inclusive vacation spot we were looking for.

This historic resort, renowned for its unmatched attention to detail, is an enclave of retro-chic sophistication and has long been a favorite hideaway for the international jet set and literary elite, including Ian Fleming and Noel Coward. Today the exquisite original furnishings and new innovations are designed to impress. Royal Plantation is an island jewel with an ambiance all its own.

 A Sandals vacation is no ordinary vacation and there are myriad perks associated with being a Sandals guest, among these being smooth passage through the airport,  refreshments at the Sandals reception area, and transportation to and from the resort.. We recommend purchasing a Club Mobay card which allows a traveler to relax in the airport in the private Club Mobay lounge and enjoy complimentary food and drinks while awaiting the flight home.

Upon our arrival at Royal Plantation, we were greeted by our butler, given a tour of the property, and escorted to our lovely and spacious suite. All suites have double sliding glass doors that overlook the beach and provide an expansive  view of the ocean. WiFi is complimentary in all the suites.

At Royal Plantation every suite has a private butler.  All Sandals resorts have a number of butler rooms , but only Royal Plantation is an all-butler resort. When we were shown to our room we were given a phone, and we had only to  push a button to make our request. Our amiable  butlers attended to our every need and provided such services as stocking the bar and refrigerator daily with our favorite beverages, wine, and liquor; making appointments for dinner as well as for golfing or water sports; drawing a hot bubble bath in the Jacuzzi tub, turning down the bed, and creating delightful towel art that made us smile or even laugh out loud. We were charmed by our butlers: Chase and Donard.

A Royal Plantation vacation can be adventurous as well as  luxurious. I spent hours lazing under a tiki hut on the beach, taking short swims in the ocean,  and sipping an occasional cocktail while Randy swam or snorkeled. Randy and I brought our own snorkel equipment, but equipment is available for rental at the resort. Other more energetic activities include  SCUBA diving, kayaking, paddle boarding, or sailing a hobie cat .We are not golfers, but unlimited golf is available at Sandals Golf Club. For those who enjoy sightseeing, the famous Dunn's River falls is a favorite of visitors to the island. 

My friends call me their favorite hobbit as I am fond of first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses and afternoon tea, not to mention lunch and dinner. I could not have been more pleased with the dining options at the resort. At Royal Plantation scrumptious food is served somewhere on the resort from early morning until late night.

The food is awesome at each of the Royal Plantation restaurants. We lunched almost every day at the beach-side Royal Grill where we usually ordered seafood  or the Jamaican meat pie --similar to a very spicy empanada . In the evening we often dined at Papillon, the sumptuous French restaurant that featured delectable dishes of lobster, fresh fish, steak, veal, and lamb. 

Daily breakfast at The Terrace overlooking the ocean was a smorgasbord of multiple versions of every type of hot and cold breakfast food imaginable, as well as eggs and omelets cooked to order. The parade of peacocks was an added attraction. Mangosas (champagne with mango juice) and other exotic cocktails start flowing at breakfast and continue throughout the day with beach butlers bringing beverages to guests relaxing beside the pool or on the beach.

In the evening the Royal Grill is transformed into an upscale restaurant, and The Terrace serves a special dinner menu. Two nights a week The Terrace features a themed buffet dinner such as  Italian and Jamaican. The Jamaican buffet offered a variety of island specialties including jerk pork, jerk chicken, grilled lobster, and even goat curry of which I was particularly fond.  Music and special entertainment, including dancing, began on the patio at 8 nightly and continued after 10 in the Wobbly Peacock for the night owls. Food is also served daily in the Wobbly Peacock Gastro Pub

Many of the guests at Royal Plantation are return visitors . One of the highlights of our trip was getting to know two delightful couples from the south of England who had been meeting for holiday at Royal Plantation every year for the last six years. Randy and I also hope to return.

Penne J. Laubenthal and Randy Stone