Did I get a good deal with Sandals?

Feb 25th, 2003, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
I'd share the soapbox with you ejcrowe, I agree 100%. One town I have visited for years has been changing due to the number of large chain AIs that are locating there, and not for the better. The small businesses are hurting, they lose a lot when someone chooses to spend every single dollar with one large company instead of spreading it around to the smaller businesses in the community.

Some areas are waking up to this reality and resisting that kind of development and teaming up...I'm looking forward to a stay in such an area next month.

I totally understand the desire to not carry $$ around but alas, there are things our family wants that we have to pay for no matter where we stay...leaving the property to go out to eat/play, taking a tour or trip, etc. So we have to bring money anyway
liza is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,870
Liza: I'd be curious to know the places you were referring to: one that you've been going to for years but has now been overdeveloped, and the other that you're about to go to for the first time...

Kingking5: Don't let our ranting and raving make you secondguess your honeymoon choice if you've already booked Sandals. After all, your vacation will be what you make of it. And barring any natural disasters, you're sure to have a wonderful time no matter where you go. After all, Sandals doesn't have a loyal following for nothing.

Let us know what you decided to do. And above all, enjoy yourselves!
ejcrowe is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 33
Congratulations on getting married!!

It's a great deal for 10 days...i too would recommend the Grand Lido in Negril...16 and over only and it was top notch all the way around, food, service, spa and the resort in general, and i found it to be very romantic.

A lot of folks here don't like all inclusives and that's ok but for many of us, it's just what we are looking for!

Don't sweat it!!

basilwat is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2003, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
"I'd be curious to know the places you were referring to: one that you've been going to for years but has now been overdeveloped, and the other that you're about to go to for the first time..."

In the first case, Negril. It used to be an alternative to the big resort towns of MoBay and Ocho Rios. Visitors stayed at little cottages or guesthouses or small hotels or with local families. Since the 80's it has seen a huge increase in development, mainly from a handful of big AIs: Beaches (2), Sandals (2), Couples, Grand Lido, Hedonism, Riu and now another Riu on the way. The new Riu has even inpsired Butch Stewart, the owner of the Sandals chain and Air Jamaica, to complain about how that hotel is hurting the "small hotels of Negril" (odd how he doesn't see his own hotels the same way). The opinion piece was in the Jamaica Gleaner last week, it's online.

The place we are looking forward to staying in this time is Treasure Beach. Places to stay in TB still consist of villas, guesthouses and small hotels and the people in that area have taken the bull by the horns and are making an effort to devlop tourism there that is community friendly - that doesn't destroy the environment or put small businesses out of business.

We are also going to Port Antonio and the Blue Mountains this trip....the first WAS a big tourist area until the cruise ships got too big for the harbor and the airport in MoBay was built...the Blues are, I hope, pretty much tourist free
liza is offline  
Mar 25th, 2003, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1
I find myself in agreement with both those for and against AI, specifically those in the Sandals family. I think the key to a good experience is where you choose to stay.

I was lucky enough to stay at the Royal Plantation a little over a year and a half ago and can only say good things about the experience. As soon as you get to the hotel the tone is set...you are greeted and your bags are wisked away, you are given a cool towel to place on your eyes after the ride from the airport, you are brought champagne and fresh fruit, and checked in. The resort is small (only about 80 couples in total) and the staff is attentive and a pleasure. The food is exceptional and they have a large variety of options on the menu at the main dining room. After eating every meal for over a week there, I can safely say that I could have spent another week there and not have had the opportuntiy to try all the menu items (nor gotten tired of the fare for that matter). The beaches were small, but I do not recall one day that there were more that 6 couples on either side. The water was crystal blue and the staff would rake the sand at least twice a day to make sure it was picture perfect at all time. My room was beautiful and the view was breathtaking.
Watersports are never a problem to take part in since there are so few couples. The spa is as good as those in New York City and there offerings are quite good for such a small resort. The night life is not too exciting, but on your honeymoon I am sure that you can come up with your own entertainment in your romm. If you do need outside excitement, you can go to the noisy neighboring Sandals resorts or there is a quaint piano bar with a fun drink menu and a talented pianist. I am a very picky traveler who is used to deluxe accomidations and I can not wait to return to this property.

That being said...while in Ocho Rios I mistakingly made dinner reservations at the other Sandals properties. I can say without a doubt that I would not be posting such a glowing review if I had booked any of the other resorts I visited. They were outdated, amusement park quality, dirty, spring break-like hotels. I (and seveeral other couple from Royal Plantation) made reservations against the suggestion of our driver and wish I had listened to him. Unlike the intimate, beautiful resort I had been staying at I found myself in a sad excuse for a "luxury" property. I can see why Sandals has the policy that while Royal Plantation guests can go to other Sandals resorts, those staying elsewhere cannot visit RP...they would never leave.

So my advice, as someone who has been there is book Royal Plantation for your honeymoon and cut the days elsewhere! Even if you have to cut your trip a little short due to the higher price of Royal Plantation you'll be glad you did.
pickytraveler is offline  
Mar 25th, 2003, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,285
I would recommend Romora Bay on Harbour Island as a good choice. It is on the small side and no children. The accomodations are villas overlooking the ocean, nice pool there and GREAT food.

They also offer honeymoon packages and for what you are looking spend you can do better.

Try this website. www.romorabay.com.

You can fly directly into Nassau and take the ferry or fly from there.

You may have to stay overnight on Nassau on your way over, and there are some nice places on Nassau as well, like Compas Point.

Also as someone earlier mentioned Pink Sands is also wonderful, and on the other side of the island from Romora Bay. But I think for the money Romora Bay is a better choice.

Have a wonderful time, and bring tons of sun screen. July is hot in the carribean and you can burn quickly.

Have a GREAT time.
wantsomesun is offline  
Mar 26th, 2003, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 466
I have been to pretty much all the Sandals Resorts and loved them all. I have found the prices to be cheeper during the hot summer. We usually go in Feb and have paid as much as $5000 for 8 days flying out of Chicago. We just returned a few weeks ago from Negril and paid around $3800 for 10 days in a Honeymoon/beachfront ground level suite upgraded to Conierge level when we got there. The last 3 yrs we have gotten really great deals. Any ?'s feel free to email me.
Kimberly is offline  
Mar 26th, 2003, 07:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4
Thanks pickytraveler! I could have used your advice earlier when I had booked the trip, but now I'm glad that I mixed it up after all. I think that spending time at SOR will be great because we've never been out of the country before. Although I know that Royal Plantation will be a better place to stay, I am looking forward to the look on Andrea's face when we move from SOR (she loves gardens and nature) to the luxury of BRP.
We'll be there starting July 22, so I hope the weather will be nice. Thanks so much for your kind advice, I really appreciate it! Is there anything to do at either SOR or BRP that we should not miss doing?
kingkong5 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2003, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4
Included with your stay at either SOR or BRP is a visit to Dunns River Falls. This is a lot of fun, and you should definitely do it. You hike up the falls, and it's pretty fun. Bring a waterproof camera if you have one. The Jamaican guides will take your picture with your camera for you -- and then you can avoid having to pay a fortune for a picture taken by the professional. The only negative of Dunns River Falls is that after you hike up the falls, you have to walk through a market area on your way back tot he bus where people are pretty pushy trying to sell you things.

The other thing that I would recommend is having a couples massage during your stay. However, make sure to do this at BRP and not SOR. The spa at BRP is outstanding (not the case at SOR). BRP has a couples massage that you can get on the beach together during sunset. Romantic!
Allison0926 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2003, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 335
Having spent probably too much money in the Caribbean at various places I would consider what you will be getting for your money is an excellent value! Alot of people will criticize Sandals ( I have in the past!), but the locations, days, and the fact your on your HONEYMOON will make for a great vacation IMO. Both properties are beautiful and lush. The layouts you can get lost in and find some secluded spots! Sure would be nice if they would upgrade you to the Honeymoon Plantaton Oceanfront Suite @ Royal Plantation! Remember to book all your reservations for activities and restaurants early. Join in all the games and competitions they have. (although you might not have time it being your honeymoon!) At Ocho Rios they have one night a week with dinner right on the beach. Very romantic! If you or your husband plays golf BOTH of you should play a round. Great view from the 10th green I believe. Definitely go to Dunns River Falls. Yes it can be a hassle at the end with the vendors but you have a choice whether to go through the "village" or not. If you have the time go and visit Sandals Dunns River Falls and Beaches Grande Sport. (if anything just to "see" them). In all, yes Sandals/Beaches is critiqued quite a bit but you know what there are ALOT of them and that just stands to reason. Whereever you go, this is your HONEYMOON and NOTHING can stand in the way of love! Good luck to the both of you!
Smokyboy is offline  
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