Sandals Vs. Couples

Jul 23rd, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Sandals Vs. Couples

Planning a honeymoon for next June, and need some help. All we are sure of is that the resort is all-inclusive (meals, drinks, most activities). Sandals and Couples are the companies that keep coming up in such discussions - especially in Jamaica. While we aren't particular in our destination (I mean, we want it to be pretty and fun, but don't care if it's Bahamas, Jamaica, Aruba, etc.), we would like to know what the "best" resort is. Quality of food and activities is the biggest factor to us, and adults only is a must.

If neither Sandals or Couples is the best, what is? We're mid twenties, enjoy all sorts of activities (snorkeling, billiards, watersports, both partying and relaxing).

Any help is appreciated,
TheSlink is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 04:44 AM
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You are going ot get mixes responses as people that frequent either are pretty loyal to their resort.

We have not been to Couples, but to many Sandals. All the Sndals do vary somehwat from each other so really dependson what you are looking for. Some are more active, some better beaches or pools, some known for its beauty of the gardens, etc.... Also, price is a factor as the sandals in Jamaica tend to be alot more affordable and if youwant to get your fullmonies worth, you can pick a resort that has other Sndals near by so you can use those as well.
Food is the same at all the sandals.

You mentioned fun and pretty and off hand, I would suggest Sandals NEgril. It is the better part of Jamaica, has one of the best beachaes, and is a great mix of being so lush and tropical but also gret fun, active and tons to do. Negril is so great.

Agaidn, both Couples and Sndals tend to cater to the same crowd - people are very brand loyal. I have heard good things about Couples - The one in Negril tends to favor the one in Ocho Rios.

Which ever you choose, be sure to check prices on teh web - far better deals then booking through a traditional travel agaen. I can give you referrals if you want.

Good luck!

Penpen825 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 05:58 AM
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You're right about pricing, I've gotten probably 20 quotes - the top 15 or so are straight from the web. The web prices for Sandals were much cheaper than calling Sandals itself - weird.

Anyway, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Negril, and Couples Swept Away seem to be the front runners right now. Unable to get many straight answers out of agents and message boards on which ones are great, bad, or in-between have no doubt made us wary, though. I think the biggest issue is food - it seems like many hate it, and others think it's just ok. It's rare when I hear someone say that it's great. That's kind of why SRC is on the top right now for us - that way, we'll have SRC as well as two other Sandals to dine at. I figure more choices means a better chance of finding a good meal. Who knows, though?

7-nights, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Honeymoon Grand Luxe Concierge, with air, for $3,699. Good? Bad? Terrible? Par for the course?

Any help is appreciated.
TheSlink is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 04:02 AM
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Matt -

What time of year is that price quote for?
Who did you get the quote from?
Penpen825 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 09:11 AM
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I should think that, unless your price quote includes first class air from Timbuktu, that you could do just as well at another resort where you're not having to settle for mediocre food and service. There are other AIs that will offer a better value for the money you're prepared to spend. (And for comparison costs and ease, I will round the dollar amount up to $4000 from your $3699.)

For $4000, you could get a week at a resort with good food, service, and what's more, a place with a truly individual feel to it. If you want an AI, why not consider La Source or Le Sport, where the food is highlighted and spa treatments are available? It's not totally beyond the fiscal realm of possibilites that you could get a week at Palm Island in the Grenadines for a similar price range. All of these places offer a unique experience, as opposed to chain AIs that give you a slightly different version of the same thing at each location.

If you think you can't afford them, try looking at, which routinely offers packages at these resorts. You might also want to look at Peter Island, which though not an AI per se, does offer abundant activities and 3 meals a day as part of its rates. Same thing for Guana Island, both of which are in the BVI.

It's your honeymoon, and chances are you're going to have a fun, fabulous, and relaxing time no matter where you choose, but for a special time like a honeymoon, I would urge you to investigate other AI opportunities.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 06:13 PM
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Well, I ended up getting a better deal - $2528, land only, for June 21-27 at Sandals' Royal Caribbean Honeymoon Grand Luxe Beachfront. Looks like I'll be able to get air for close to $700 for the two of us. So, for $3228 I'll have a really nice room, airfare, all I can drink drinks, and all I can eat food, entertainment, watersports, etc.

I've never been outside of the Continental U.S. (except for Hawaii when I was 13), but my goal on this trip isn't to have a unique experience exactly. I want to be able to relax, have fun, spend some romantic time with my new wife, and not have to worry about money the whole time I'm there. AI seems to do that for me, but I guess we'll see.

What's with all the negativity towards Sandals, by the way? Is there something I'm missing?
TheSlink is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 06:21 PM
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There are plenty of folks who love Sandals and would vacation nowhere else. Don't worry....

Different folks like different atmospheres.
atticus is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 07:44 PM
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If one of your major concerns is food quality (as per your initial note) then you aren't going to be thrilled with any of the places you've mentioned.
I also agree with ejcrowe that the value factor is poor at the types of AI's you mentioned. You pay for convenience (which can be a big factor for some) but you don't get high quality food or accommodations compared with similarly priced non-AI places.
But to each his/her own.
TedTurner is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 07:54 PM
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If you were to compare Sandals' food to a restaurant we're all familiar with - what kind of quality level are we talking about? Denny's? Applebee's? Outback? McDonalds? I mean, by low quality food, what are you saying?
TheSlink is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 09:01 PM
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Sorry, but I disagree with TedTurner. I have experienced the quality of food at both COuples resorts in Negril and have ZERO complaints, nor have I really ever heard any. At worst, it is a Ruby Tuesdays/Applebees fare and the I'd like to know what TT's complaint is with Feathers (Swept Away) or Otaheite (Couples Negril), the fine dining restaurants. Where else can you get unlimited Bananas flambe'.

TT-I would presume by your comment that you have experienced thefood at these Couples resorts....please give details....

The service-excellent. No request was un-met and rather quickly. While we were there, never heard any other guest do anything but rave over the service. Far better service attitude than what you are used to in the states...I'll guarantee that. Again, TT. You post as if it were from experience...I'd like to hear what, where and when that was...
atticus is offline  
Jul 26th, 2003, 04:24 AM
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Hi, we stayed at couples negril for 9 days in May and absolutely loved it. Food and service were the best I've experienced in the Caribbean.

Also, you might want to try the Grand Lido's. Braco is a favorite of mine, although the beach is lacking (rocky).

We paid about 3200 for two (incl air) for Couples Negril in May (9 days). Many things are included in your stay too, catamaran cruise, shopping trips, Rick's, diving, snorkeling. Those things can add up when you purchase them separately.

There is a very active message board for couples with a lot of reviews:

From my research, especially for Jamaica AI, Couples and Grand Lido beat Sandals hands down!

Have a great trip.
greenie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2003, 12:14 PM
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I was glad to read this thread because we were quoted a price of around $6,000 for 7 and 10-day vacations at Sandals (Antigue and St. Lucia) through a local travel agent... FOR THE SAME WEEK AS YOURS! Did you find your rate through the internet?
carmengia2 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2003, 01:13 PM
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Food, drinks and service at Couples are far superior to Sandals. We've been to Couples Ocho Rios three times and the food as always been excellent. If you're looking for a party-hearty atmosphere, on the other hand, Sandals is a better choice.
riverraj is offline  
Jul 31st, 2003, 01:55 PM
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I was married at Sandals last October, and loved the place. (I fact, we are going back next month, hubby does not know yet!) I found the food to be quite tasty. Definately not the best, world-class stuff, but way better than Denny's or Applebees.

In my opinion, I enjoy the AI resorts. I like to not have to think about the price of everything I touch/drink.

Carmengia2, I think that Antigua and St. Lucia are generally more expensive, but I could be wrong. A co-worker of mine got married at Sandals Antigua and loved it!

I think that people have to be realistic. Don't expect everything to looked like the airbrushed catalogs, and you will be fine. Don't get me wrong, the resort was BEAUTIFUL! Face the facts, you can't get the Ritz for a week for $3500 (including food and airfare) for a week.

Have fun, no matter where you choose!
babyblue78 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2003, 01:57 PM
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Sorry, meant to mention that I was married at Sandals Negril.

However, did take a peak at Couples Swept Away, and it looked very nice also, at least from the beach.

(Negril Beach is the best in the world! Can not beat the sunsets!)
babyblue78 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2003, 10:45 AM
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The slink: Would you mind emailing me the site wher you got that great quote from? I just returned from Sandals Grande St Lucian and loved it, but paid just about double that for 7 nights incl airfare!
Thanks, [email protected].
JLBRN is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 01:37 PM
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Slink - have been to sandals antigua, beaches royal plantation, although the food and drinks were very good, i believe they are over rated - before you make your final decision look into the Royal Hideaway in Playa del Carmen, Mexico - it is one of our favorite spots and we travel extensively - just returned on july 12 and it still remains on the top of my list of destinations - happy planning
powamom is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 07:20 AM
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Matt: My husband and I have been to Sandals Royal Carribean, Dunns River, Ocho Rios (twice) and Beaches Grande Sport. Grande Sport was the worst vacation we ever had.
Food at all is mediocre to good. Better than an Applebees by far, mainly because of the variety of restaurants and menus. I've never had GREAT food in any resort outside of Half Moon Bay (a lot pricier than Sandals). If you are golfers, Ocho Rios is the place to go - less than 10 min. to the first tee. The beach there isn't the best, but as a devoted sun worshipper, I'll say it's adequate. Whichever you choose, I hope you guys have a wonderful time!
LS is offline  

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