The Big Ones....Worth the Money?

Feb 23rd, 2002, 08:43 PM
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The Big Ones....Worth the Money?

Okay, dare to be opinionated here. We're looking to do a honeymoon in Jamaica or DR all-inclusive. We've been looking at Sandals, but wondering if the chain resorts are worth the extra chunk of money. Should we spend the 3500+, or can we enjoy an AI for less money just as much (and, if so, which ones?)
Feb 24th, 2002, 04:26 AM
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Hey, Jereme:

Have not been to DR, so cannot comment there. But I can comment on Sandals. We have never been ripped off more than on our Sandals vacation. I have stayed at many all-inclusives in Jamaica and elsewhere and Sandals offered the least value for the money (terrible food, awful service, hard-drinking clientele). I think you could pick any all-inclusive at random (more or less expensive than Sandals) and get better bang for your buck.
Feb 24th, 2002, 04:31 AM
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We have visited many Sandals and do think they are worth the money - they literally cover everything so you do not have a care in the worold once thee. Nice perk too is that if you stay at one near another, you have the advantage of useing other facilities as well so you do get more options.

As far as getting the same for less, I have been to other all-inclusives in Jamaica and we have found a difference in level of service, food, rooms and atmosphere but not in what they offer in the all-inclusive package. I think it depends on what resorts you are looking at, their rating, etc...

Either way, Jamaica is a great island!
Feb 24th, 2002, 04:51 AM
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It's your honeymoon -- why spend it at a 'chain anything'? In Jamaica, you'll find your dollar buys more privacy, more style, more services -- just plain more -- when you rent a private villa, staff, drivers and guides. You might have to forgo those 'Just Married at Sandals' t-shirts,however...
Feb 24th, 2002, 09:58 AM
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The fact is that it is my honeymoon. We'd love to see the caribbean on our own someday, but after dealing with the hubbub of a wedding we'd like a vacation where everything is taken care of and we can just enjoy for a week.
Feb 24th, 2002, 10:31 AM
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Don't listen to them! Sandals is
absolutely wonderful! Each one does
have if own personality. The newest
most deluxe on all the Beaches/Sandals
is Beaches Royal Plantation in Ocho
Rios area. It has won numerous awards
including the AAA five-diamond award
and Best All-Inclusive in the Caribbean.
I have a brochure if you are interested.
I am an all-inclusive resort specialist
with American Express.
Feb 24th, 2002, 11:27 AM
CArib Fan
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WE stayed at a Sandals a few years ago and loved it. Unfortunately they have out priced themselves as far as we're concerned. I'd rather go to the Caribbean 2 or 3 times a year and stay at a cheaper property than go once a year and stay at Sandals. (Sorry Sandals!)

If I were going to Jamaica or the DR, which are the 2 islands you have opted for, I definitely would go AI. When we went to Jamaica we were advised to go AI so leaving the resort alone at night wouldn't be necessary.
Feb 24th, 2002, 04:13 PM
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As I stated in another reply, myhusband and I are great fans of the Iberstar AL resorts. Check them out! Can't beat the price for this top quality!
Feb 25th, 2002, 06:18 AM
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Look at an all-inclusive package at one of the great house villas at Tryall (Montego Bay), or look at an American Plan package at Jamaica Inn (Ocho Rios).
For a honeymoon, these are great options.
And if you have $3500 to spend, use Air Jamiaca vacations to put the Jamaica Inn package together, including air, and you'll be happy with the result -- you'll have money left over.
Feb 27th, 2002, 07:21 PM
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I would never consider an all-inclusive hotel for ANY vacation. Especially not for honeymoon memories.
Feb 27th, 2002, 09:30 PM
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So you don't want to go to an AI? Thanks for sharing.
Feb 28th, 2002, 08:31 AM
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Having done both, I absolutely love AI's and wouldn't consider doing it any other way. AI resorts can range from being a 1 star hotel to an ultra 5 star resort. AI's can be as relaxing or as active as you want them to be. You can still venture out and go sightseeing or check out some local restaurants / bars and STILL feel like you got your money's worth. That's been my experience anyway.
Feb 28th, 2002, 10:30 AM
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I second the recommendation for the Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios. You can get an American plan package that includes all of your meals (not drinks though). We spent our honeymoon there in one of the "premier" rooms with a HUGE veranda (actually more like an outdoor living room) perched right over the water. The Jamaica Inn is an intimate (50+ room) resort on a gorgeous private cove beach. The food and service were excellent and they will send a driver to pick you up at the airport. We enjoyed the privacy and barely left the property the whole week. Snorkeling equipment, sail boats, kayaks are free of charge. We kayaked over to the nearly Sandals one day and found it loud and obnoxious. This is just my opinion, but I really couldn't imagine why anyone would want to spend their honeymoon there. If you absolutely must go AI, I thought the Superclubs San Souci Lido property next door had a much more elegant atmosphere than the Sandals property. BTW our package at the Jamaica Inn cost about a $1000 less than Sandals at the time which more than made up for anything that wasn't included in the price (mainly drinks and excursions). Hope this helps.
Feb 28th, 2002, 10:52 AM
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We have done several all inclusives, both in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. It is so nice to get to your room, put your wallet in the safe and not take it out for the duration of the trip if you do not want to.

Sandals is pricey, but we feel it is worth it for those little exras - they guys who carry your plates from the buffet line to your table and refill the water and wine glasses. If it rains or is windy - the leaves and debris are cleaned up practically before you knew that they hit the ground. Sandals does however have a rather busy activity staff - there is always some game or race or conest going on. You do NOT need to participate if you do not want to - but things are fun to watch. They can be a little bit noisier as a result.

The Dominican Republic is extremly reasonable - they are tryng to attract US tourism right now - having catered to mostly Europeans in the past. Yo can stay at a fice star resort here for much less money than the cheapest Sandals. However, the food and service is not quite the same quality. The beaches are beautiful as are the resorts. We have stayed in La Romana and Punta Cana.

I agree that an all inclusive is great - you do not need to worry about anything once you are booked - just my opinion. (FYI- we have also stayed at AIs in Mexico and the Bahamas as well as the ones in Jamaica and the DR I mentioned.) We are planning our 25th anniversary trip next year and I am leaning towards a Sandals resort - I know it will live up to expectations.
Mar 1st, 2002, 04:49 AM
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I love Sandals. Anyone that bad mouths Sandals is full of poopoo. So there.

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