My stay at Sunscape Splash Montego Bay was eventful to say the least. It was the first resort I stayed at on my trip to Jamaica. I was SO excited to visit after seeing beautiful pictures and reading wonderful reviews online. I’d been dreaming of the trip for a year, and couldn’t wait to go explore! With it being my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort, my plan was to over eat, drink, and play. In my mind, it was going to be the trip of a lifetime and I couldn’t wait to relax (and maybe get into a little trouble). Little did I know, the resort had other plans. But before I get into my experience, let me show you the resort.
I feel like I should tell you ahead of time that this post is longer than my usual posts. In order for me to properly explain to you what I liked/didn’t like about this resort, it’s written more as a tale of my experiences than my typical hotel review. While the post is entertaining for sure, these are real things that actually happened on my trip. The goal of this post is not to keep you from visiting Sunscape Splash, but more-so to give you a better understanding of what staying here is actually like (as the reviews online are mostly positive, but myself and other guests I spoke with on my stay disagree).
Sunscape Splash Montego Bay
Sunscape Splash Montego Bay is an all-inclusive resort located about 20 minutes from Sangster International Airport. It has six restaurants, four pools, and a waterpark. There is a fitness center, spa, casino, and night club on the property. For kids, they have a teen club that has activities throughout the day.
My favorite amenities were the water sports. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing are included with your stay, however, you do have to pay $20 to have an instructor teach you to sail if you are new to it. Kayaking was probably my favorite thing to do on the resort. The water in Jamaica is super clear, so I could see fish swimming below me while I was out in the ocean.
Another thing I liked about this resort was that it’s super close to the mountains. They made for a beautiful view from the beach, and from our second room (more to come on why we had 2 rooms later). While the beaches were beautiful, I didn’t love that the chairs were all dirty/moldy. Out of the 5 days that my mom and I were at the resort, I saw them clean the chairs once.
Sunscape Splash is relatively close to the port where the cruises come in, so it was fun to watch the ships sail off at night. It seemed like it took forever for them to disappear into the horizon, which is something I envied as the trip went on – leaving.
Room For Improvement
Now let me start by saying, that I’m not a difficult person to entertain. The smallest things make me laugh, and the tiniest gestures make me smile. When I arrived at the resort I was thrilled to see the beach in the background as soon as I stepped off the bus. It was beautiful. People walking left and right, a guy providing drinks for people that were waiting to check-in. It all looked like the start of a beautiful trip. I gave my bags to the bellman, and went to stand in the check-in line. This is where things started to make a turn for the worst.
The Check-in Process
Waiting to check-in should have been a sign that this wouldn’t be the relaxing trip I’d hoped for. To start, as we were waiting in line a guy brought us some drinks. They were in those old school cafeteria cups you’d fill with milk in high school. Sounds pretty normal, right? Well it didn’t have any alcohol! It was like guava juice or some crap. Not that it was gross, but I was kind of expecting champagne – whatever.
The process of checking-in took somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. Apparently, at the hotel, they have to call a representative to verify that you actually purchased your room. Despite the fact that we were there after their advertised check-in time, we had to wait even longer for a supervisor to check out our room and make sure it was in tip-top shape. We figured that was fine, because the receptionist told us there was a restaurant that was open and we were starving.
When we made it to the restaurant, we quickly realized that our only options were hamburgers, fries and nachos (with no chili). I was starving, so I went with the hamburger and fries. At the condiment bar, there were flies/bees all over the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. But, it was outside so IDK if this is preventable. I settle for just putting ketchup on my burger (because they were out of mayo), and so did my mom. As soon as we sat down and she tasted one of her fries she said, “This ketchup tastes funny.” I gave her a look, then went to bite into my hamburger, and surely enough the ketchup tasted funny. Whatever – still not a big deal and my @$$ was hungry, so I scarfed it down and went back to get our room key.
When my mom and I walked into the room we both gave each other a look. It was “nice”, but our “resort view” room was literally us looking at the top of some roofs that need to be replaced. On top of that, our minibar had no alcohol – what the?! Luckily, the place smelled like bleach so at least we knew it was clean. My mom also noticed that the patio had furniture, but none of it matched. One chair was dingy white, while the other was yellow. Oh, and it was plastic – like the kind Walmart used to carry before they started selling cute sh*t. The bathroom was pretty old-school. Lots of yellow tile. I was also annoyed that the room didn’t include lotion – but later learned that must be a common thing because even the other hotel we stayed at didn’t have it.
We complained about the view because it wasn’t what we expected, but they told us there was nothing they could do. Luckily – i guess – a few days later our room flooded and we got “upgraded” to a room with a better view. They also brought us cheese and crackers to say sorry. I thought that was a nice touch. The only thing that was negative about this room was the fact that the drying rack hung over my mom’s bed. We just chose not to use it.
Like I said earlier, the resort has 6 dining options. There’s a buffet, a Chinese restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a seafood restaurant, a fast food spot, and a bakery/cafe. There’s also a jerk chicken stand at the end of the beach that was my go-to spot for the best food on the resort. Other than that, my favorite thing to eat was their seafood chowder. I also fell in love with festival (it’s kind of like a fried biscuit) and I probably ate my weight in plantains. I enjoyed the hash browns for breakfast every morning, and the omelet bar was pretty decent too.
Outside of those things, I wasn’t really impressed. I don’t know if it was the food, or the service leading up to the food, but I didn’t have great experiences in any of the restaurants. After waiting to be seated, it took a good 10-15 minutes for someone to come up and ask what we wanted to drink. This was at every single restaurant, and some places we waited up to 30 minutes. The restaurants aren’t huge, so I don’t really get why it took so long. The only reason I can come up with is they must be understaffed. After you get your drinks, and they take your order, it takes a good 30 minutes to an hour for them to prepare your food. I will say that in some of the restaurants it seems like that’s because the food is made fresh. However, we went a couple nights where our food came out cold. The buffet was the safest bet when we wanted food in a rush, but it got to be pretty repetitive.
I would like to point out the good experiences I had in the restaurants. In the buffet, there is a girl that does the omelets that always seemed to be in a good mood! Also, the bartenders at each of the bars were super cool. They were all pretty funny and super helpful (of course anyone that feeds me tequila is helpful).
Everything about the seafood restaurant (pictured above) was great except the service. They actually had the worst service out of all the restaurants because the wait times (after being seated) were out of this world, and the waitress and hostess weren’t that nice.
One night, the restaurant was supposed to open at 6, but they put up a sign that said it would open at 6:30. We went at 6:30 and then the hostess told us it wouldn’t open until 7:30. Really? Luckily, the food there was amazing, and they had great views (pictured below) of the ocean and mountains. The Chinese and Italian restaurants were pretty tasty too, although I will say the Chinese restaurant had super tiny portions for some items.
In addition to all of the water sports, the hotel has quite a few other fun amenities. They have mini golf, dance classes, tennis courts and basketball courts. While I didn’t do any of those things, I did enjoy kayaking a few times!
Like I said before, the water in Jamaica is beautiful and crystal clear. I saw jelly fish and reefs almost every time I went out. There were even schools of little fish swimming around! It was a blast. There was one minor thing that happened, but I’m sure it’s not a big deal. My kayak sunk.
“My boat is sinking!”
It’s funny because I was asking my mom if my boat looked low – I’d noticed it was getting more water in it. She said it looked normal to her and then started looking at the fish again *insert eye roll*. I figured maybe I was pushing the water into the boat with my paddle. That was until it got really hard for me to stay balanced. I was waddling back and forth so I started paddling back towards land. As I was approaching, there was a photographer trying to take pictures of me. I kept yelling out, “My boat is sinking! MY BOAT IS SINKING.” But either he didn’t hear me or he didn’t believe me because he just stood on the beach snapping away with a big @$$ smile on his face! Well surely enough, as I got about 50 feet from the shore, that dang boat tipped me over like humpty friggin’ dumpty. I was so scared. I just KNEW I was gonna get stung by a jellyfish. Luckily, I made it to shore, dragging that dang boat with me. I looked at the photographer and the first thing he said was, “You ruined the picture.” MOTHAF. Y’all it took everything in me not to cuss. I just looked back at him and said, “THE BOAT HAS A HOLE IN IT” and walked off. Then, 10 minutes later, here comes my mom paddling up, asking if I’m coming back in (pictured below). I’m sure I rolled my eyes.
Oh, The Shows…
The entertainment at Sunscape Splash Montego Bay was another one of my favorite things about the resort! It was ridiculous, hilarious, and only slightly offensive. The things I saw come out on that stage will be etched into my memory for the rest of my life. It’s kind of hard to explain all that I saw. There was a man in drag (Really bad drag. It didn’t do drag justice if you ask me.), a man who balanced a table on his forehead, a really cool drum show, and a man who almost caught my hair on fire! Unfortunately, my mom didn’t know how to work my camera, so I didn’t get pictures of my fire incident, but here are some others that will give you a little insight to the shows.
Would I stay there again?
Sunscape Splash Montego Bay had its ups and downs. While the rooms aren’t that nice, and the wait times are ridiculous, I did have things I liked about the resort. The entertainment felt like amateur hour – but honestly it was hilarious. Oh, and despite my almost dying in the ocean, kayaking really was fun. I loved that it was included! So would I stay at Sunscape Splash again? Probably not. But if you’re looking for somewhere that is kid-friendly, and aren’t bothered by the things mentioned above, I’m sure you’ll have a jolly time at the resort. To each her own.
Shoutout to my mom for being my #1 travel buddy! Things I learned about her on this trip? She is even more adventurous that I thought, way more-so than I am. She is just as bad at and confident about dancing as her only daughter. Oh, and she will forever be a better dresser than me, and I’m okay with that. Love you, Ma!