[trip style = all-inclusive]
Recently, I wrote about the upcoming Redo Trip I was about to embark upon. I had a voucher from a stay at the Sandals Royal Bahamian, which I used toward the Sandals WhiteHouse. A week later, I'm back from Jamaica with lots to share! But first, here's how the Sandals collection of resorts compares...
Sandals Resort Collection As of this writing, the Caribbean-focused, Sandals all-inclusive Resorts have the following brands:
- Sandals: Adults-only/Couples. Sandals Resorts, Sandals flagship brand, features 15 resorts (including the unpublicized Sandals Cuba) focusing on a romantic, all-inclusive experience in the warm Caribbean sun. Like a high-end camp for adults, Sandals resorts offer multiple restaurants, motorized water sports, games and activities, premium drinks and much more.
- Beaches: Family-oriented. Similar to the Sandals offering, Beaches also has children's Sesame Street and teenage DJ'ing programs so parents can relax and sip margaritas while their kids are occupied. With 4 locations, around the Caribbean, the Turks & Caicos location is literally a super resort with 16 restaurants, 12 miles of beach and a 45,000 square foot water park.
- Grand Pineapple: The most affordable getaway option of the 4 brands. Both the Jamaica and Antigua value-driven resorts are less about "Luxury Included" and more about relaxing in the Sun. Sure, you might not be able to water ski or drink premium brand drinks, but the Caribbean's natural beauty should make up for it.
- Royal Plantation Collection: According to Sandals, Royal Plantation is for those of you who "insist only upon the very best", in other words, it is the most luxurious offering within the entire Sandals brand. Currently featuring 3 properties in Jamaican and the Bahamas, each resort in the collection is very different. One is in Jamaica at "Butch," the Sandals Chairman's private Villas. The second is also in Jamaica featuring a beach-front locale, colonial-style architecture and distinction as part of the "Leading Small Hotels of the World." The final property is on a 50-acre private island in the Bahamas (this one has my vote).
Sandals WhiteHouse Set in a Jamaican nature reserve, the six-year-old Sandals WhiteHouse offers water views from every room and a far-reaching, spacious beach. As one of Sandals' bigger resorts, couples can either find a private spot on the beach, or sit poolside and get involved in 'battle of sexes' activities or water aerobics. I liked having the choice between quiet and rowdy; I chose quiet. See my full Trip Advisor review here.
Sandals shines in the way they treat return guests, adorning them with receptions, t-shirts, a bottle of rum, etc... to show their appreciation..and hopefully get a return booking.
My only hesitation is suggesting Sandals to others is their phone and email service prior to leaving for our trip. I dealt with multiple people via phone at Sandals head office and none of them was overly helpful, to put it politely. Similarly, I submitted an email inquiry after I tried to check-in online and never got a response.
Overall, Sandals does a good job (in certain areas of their business) and appeals primarily to boomers and secondarily to honeymooners. There are not many gen-x couples mulling around their resorts. Either way, if you want a getaway where you don't have to lift a finger, want to eat at nice, varied restaurants and have a few sips of premium brand alcohol, Sandals may be a good option for you.
Some Additional Pictures of the Sandals WhiteHouse