Couples vs. Sandals

Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 07:38 AM
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Couples vs. Sandals

New on these boards and loving the information. Other than price, what are the differences between Couples and Sandals? We are celebrating our 25th, in our 40s and are looking for an all-inclusive in the caribbean. We are traveling with another couple that are also celebrating their 25th.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 07:47 AM
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If you're thinking AIs like Couples and
Sandals, the individual property will be more important, in fact key, than
the style difference between the two chains, since properties can run the gamut.
Sandals Royal Plantation and Whitehouse
properties in Jamaica and Sandals Antigua are arguably their best properties.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Looking at Couples Swept away and Sandals Whitehouse
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 10:29 AM
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The difference btw. Couples in Negril and Sandals in Whitehouse is more one of location. Couples is Negril, a resort town, with restaurants, nightlife, beach scenes, some 90+ places along a 7-mile beach, 1 hour from MoBay. Whitehouse is out in the country, totally self-contained (no other resorts/hotels/etc. around it for miles), brand new and strangely centred on Dutch/French/Italian themes. You can't walk anywhere from it -- but some of Jamaica's best diversions (Black River, YS Falls, Pelican Bar, etc.) are within about 30 min. Whitehouse is about 75 min.from MoBay.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:38 AM
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Thank you for your reply. In my research, I'm reading boards that state Couples has more for you money and I just wonder what the "more" is. Proximity to a town, better alcohol, more to do?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 12:43 PM
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Couples offers off-site excursions as part of their all-inclusive package (varies per resort). They also still offer free scuba diving which, I believe, Sandals now charges $70 for. Go to www.couples.com and select the link for Swept Away to see the excursions included at that particular resort.

I have not been to Swept Away, but have been to the other three Couples resorts and they are all great values when you consider the off-site excursions. I have not been to any Sandals properties, but do know that they don't offer free off-site excursions.

Hope this helps!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:38 PM
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I'm going to "piggyback" onto this thread and ask about Couples Swept Away vs Sandals Royal Bahamian? We've been to Jamaica 3 times at different Sandals properties(Royal Caribbean, Dunn's River, and Beaches Boscobel) and although the properties are beautiful the ride from the airport takes you past some very real 3rd world scenery/people.(No insult intended but a number of locals live in very impoverished conditions) So my questions are is Couples Swept Away in a "better" location in Negril?, and since I've never been to the Bahamas how does Nassau compare to Jamaica? I too am looking at different 25th anniversary destinations and although we want to go somewhere besides Jamaica for a change, we certainly wouldn't rule it out if the price is right.(Sorry, Bob Barker) Great info on these boards!!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 05:12 PM
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'Poverty' is fairly hidden on the coast highway from MoBay to Negril and in Negril in general. If that fact of Jamaica life bothers you, then the encapsulation of a Sandals, more expensive than a Couples, is the right
choice for you, tho either will shield you from the reality. A pity, since neither AI has much of anything to do with Jamaica, nor any other island these chains are on...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 05:22 PM
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Bottom line: would recommend JAMAICA INN
over either chain for an important
anniversary.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 06:08 PM
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With regard to Tiverton's last two posts..

Ditto

Ditto

Mation

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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 06:11 PM
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umm..that would be Marion. That's what I get for typing in the dark !
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 06:27 PM
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I think I would describe my feelings as sorrow for how the locals live/survive. It serves as a reminder as to how much we take for granted and I feel guilty inside knowing that I'm going to a luxurious resort while many citizens of this country(Jamaica) live in homes that seem strucurally unsafe. I truly wish that conditions were better for them as I can honestly say that I've been treated like a VIP on all 3 vacations to Jamaica. Always first class service !!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 06:55 PM
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I'm hoping that Tiverton will respond to your observations. He will do so in a far more eloquent and passionate manner than I can.

I will only say that words like "sorrow" and "guilt", tell me that you have never experienced the soul of Jamaica !

The "locals" who inspire your conflicted feelings have much to teach you, and much to give to you. It has very little to do with dollars...it has MUCH to so with finding a heart..perhaps it might be yours.

Marion
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 09:11 PM
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iluvtrips, littledarlin was right about Sandals not offering any free excursions, however scuba diving charge of $70 is only to do the Sandals certification course, in case you are not a certified diver already.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 03:39 AM
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BadgerRedd, a better idea than insulating yourself from the "real" Jamaica when you go there might be to travel outside the walls of the resort in order to spread some of the wealth you are bringing to the island to those who live there. (As opposed to a foreign corporation.)

In doing so, you may find - as I did - that the Caribbean people have riches far beyond those of most tourists.

They value family, friends and God much more than material possessions. Why do you think the people of the region are so laid back and happy for the most part, despite owning very little of tangible cost?

One of the things I learned that I appreciate the most after travel to the Caribbean, was how "little" many tourists actually have when compared to the locals.

I'm not trying to lecture you or disparage you BR, but there is more than meets the eye (pretty beaches, sun and fruity drinks)to be found in the islands.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:41 AM
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tivertonhouse, are you a resident of Jamaica? I looked at the Jamaica Inn. It looks like a lovely resort but might be a little too much for our budget. I am playing the New York Lottery weekly so you never know.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:57 AM
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Current travel magazine (Conde Nast Traveler and others) ads for Jamaica put it succinctly. "You will question
every decision you've ever made. Except the one that got you here. Jamaica. It's more than a beautiful island of sand, sun and sea. It's a culture, an experience, a state of mind and an emotional connection you carry with you. Once you go, you know."
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 04:58 AM
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iluvtrips -- check out luxurylink.com
and similar auction sites that can yield very good deals on upmarket
properties like Jamaica Inn.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 05:18 AM
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I got my stay at Jamaica Inn through luxurylink.com

It was one of our favorite trips, and we will no doubt go back when we can spend more time both at JI and on JA.

"Once you go, you know..." So true. I'd love to be there right now. Blue Mountain coffee, ackee and jerk sausage on the verandah. Sigh...

Amazing destination...
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 03:50 PM
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Wow, I'm very sorry for "taking over" the original question asked by iluvtrips about the differences between Couples & Sandals resorts. I'm also sorry if I offended anyone by my expressing my feelings concerning the "real" Jamaica. I agree that wealth isn't as important as CHARACTER, HONESTY, & FRIENDLINESS and is the reason why we have ONLY visited Jamaica for our Caribbean vacations. Simply put, the Jamaican people I've met on our trips have been fantastic. As far as "insulating" myself from the "real Jamaica" I have been off the resort property and it seems that wherever we went people were asking us if we wanted drugs constantly... that aspect, I want to stay away from. The local shops/markets people though were extremely friendly & helpful and we have purchased virtually ALL of our souvenirs from them. For what it's worth, I think the Jamaican people have given me something to take back from my trips, and hopefully, that friendly, sincere attitude the "locals" have, I carry with me back home. Now, let's get back to iluvtrips original post.
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