Sometimes you just need to get away. Last November was one of those times, so my husband and I took an impromptu trip to the beautiful Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Sandals Resorts are consistently rated the number one all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. We had vacationed at this resort before we had our daughter, so we were excited to return.After arriving at the airport and collecting our bags, we headed to the Sandals Lounge. There we used the restrooms and helped ourselves to the self serve beverages, including ice cold Red Stripe beer on tap. We then boarded the free shuttle that brought us to our resort. The shuttle also stopped at another Sandals resort 10 minutes from ours.
Check-in at a Sandals resort is a bit more relaxed than at other hotels. First time guests and those staying in a regular hotel suite can sit in a comfortable sofa in the lobby while the check-in staff comes to YOU, complete with a refreshing Rum Punch. Guests staying in concierge and butler service rooms as well as repeat Sandals guests check-in at a private air conditioned lounge stocked with coffee, pastries, beer, wine and more. Our check-in process took much longer than expected, and we were eager to start our vacation. So when a staff member proceeded to gives us a detailed tour of the property, we politely asked him to cut the tour short so we could get to our room.
Sandals has 15 room levels to choose from. Even the least expensive ones come with a king size bed, refrigerator, flat screen tv, iPod docking station, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, a safe, coffee maker with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, continental breakfast in bed, and wonderful service. Because we have stayed at several Sandals and Beaches properties (Beaches is the sister resort for families), we were upgraded to a Royal Honeymoon Swim-Up River Suite. This concierge service room comes with preferred check-in, concierge lounge and service, 24 hour room service, fully stocked bar, plush robes, extended sitting area, a Jacuzzi tub, and a private swimming pool. The bed in our room was covered with beautiful flowers, a reminder that Sandals is for couples. Want a bottle of white wine, rum, or cheese and fruit platter delivered to your room? Just call concierge and they’ll deliver them.
Sandals resorts are adult only and ultra all-inclusive, so everything is included. Dining, cocktails, ground transfers, boat rides, scuba diving, a massive list of additional activities, and even gratuities. The phrase “leave your wallet at home” is true here. We spent our time swimming in the pools and beaches, snorkeling, riding a glass bottom boat, taking a wine tasting class (which ended up being of fairly average wines), and working off the many meals and drinks with water aerobics (me), working out in the fitness center (hubby), and taking walks through the lush grounds. Sandals personnel do not recommend that guests take a jog off of the gated property. You can also enjoy spa treatments, including ones in a cabana over the water, play golf, tennis, basketball and one of my favorites – shuffleboard. We also spent time relaxing with a book and checking in on our daughter with the free WiFi service.
There are 8 global restaurants at Sandals Royal Caribbean offering a wide range of cuisines – Caribbean, Thai, International, an English pub, Seafood, even pizza and burgers. You can also hop on the free shuttle and dine at the other nearby Sandals resorts. Some restaurants recommend reservations due to their popularity, especially Le Jardinière, which creates French specialties in an open -show kitchen, served in a romantic garden courtyard. We enjoyed our champagne (my favorite adult beverages) and elegant dinner, but I didn’t appreciate the mosquitoes dining on ME.
There are plenty of ways to be entertained at the resort. From the funny and risqué Lovers Game Show, to volleyball tournaments, painting classes, and musical performances. The highlight of entertainment for us was the energized steel drum performers who performed pop music in addition to reggae and calypso.
A unique feature of this resort is their private off shore island. Guests can take a short dragon boat ride there and enjoy the beach, including a clothing optional one, bar, Thai restaurant, and swimming pool.
Once you stay at a Sandals or Beaches resort, you become a member of Sandals Select Rewards, their loyalty program. You enjoy discounts, personalized service, and memorable gifts. You’ll also receive points for every paid stay at any Sandals or Beaches Resorts, which can then be used towards savings on future reservations. Our last Beaches trip was several years ago, but a quick phone call allowed us to apply those points to our Jamaica trip and save.
Because Sandals provides a premium experience and is truly all inclusive, a vacation there can be more expensive than a typical Caribbean resort. But you can make it affordable by traveling offseason or when there are last minute specials, including big discounts on rooms, airfare credit, and spa credit. You can also save by staying in a regular luxurious room rather than an oversized suite with butler service. Once you stay at Sandals or Beaches, you can save on a future vacation by booking a discounted offer for a future trip before you depart.
Sandals currently has offers for one free night, instant air credit, spa or tour credit, and savings up to 65%. Try a Sandals vacation for a luxurious, relaxing vacation, allowing you to be ready to handle whatever is waiting for you when you return back home!
For information on booking a Sandals or Beaches vacation, contact me at email@example.com or another Castle Dreams Travel agent.