We all know that Sandals is a marketing genius. We see their commercials, their ads, their perfect honeymoon claims…and we are often left wondering: is a trip to Sandals worth it? And then…but what Sandals is the BEST one?
Chances are, you’ve looked at Jamaica as an option for your vacation. Decently affordable and close to both Canada and the US, Jamaica is a popular island for both destination weddings and honeymoons. And with 7 resorts for couples, Sandals is at the top of the list.
So back to the original questions:
IS SANDALS WORTH YOUR MONEY?
If you’re away on a holiday, I’m assuming that you do not want to worry about anything. And the number one thing that Sandals has that the other resorts don’t is the fact that it is all-inclusive. When they say all-inclusive, they mean ALL IN: food, drinks, beach, tipping, transfers, snorkeling, scuba-diving, sailing, kayaking, shuttles between resorts…we’ll stop there for a minute.
I am a big believer in getting your money’s worth. If you offer me a free shuttle bus to Montego Bay, where there is a new beach, new pools, new entertainment and all-included food and drinks and EVEN A SHOWER….I’ll take it. Sign me up 6 days out of 7.
Now do that, times two.
So our first trip, that’s what we did. We stayed at Sandals Royal Caribbean, which, by the way, has a private island and sweet over-the-water bungalows, and then took the shuttle to visit the other two Sandals resorts included in the package, which were Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Carlyle (now Sandals Inn).
Jamaica has 6 Sandals and 1 Beaches resort, so you know that the brand means business here.
SO WHICH IS THE BEST SANDALS TO VISIT?
Sandals Royal Caribbean
Highlights of this resort:
- private island for exploration and dining (including boat transfers)
- over the water bungalows for that French Polynesia experience
- calm, white sand beach that is good for water activities such as sailing, kayaking and paddle-boarding (all included)
This resort is smaller with and has more of a family feel to it. Many people at this resort were returning guests, and we saw many Sandals ambassadors staying at this location.
Sandals Montego Bay
- big, happening beach with lots of activity
- lots of restaurant and dining options (10 to be exact)
- beautiful resort…Sandals takes great pride in their flagship location
This resort was also the closest to the airport and you could hear the planes leaving every so often. We found the staff at this resort to be exceptionally well trained – they even waved goodbye to the planes overhead (saying it was their guests leaving.) We met our favourite Sandals waiter Robert at Montego Bay, and returned 3 more times to be served especially in his section.
UPDATE: Sandals Inn, originally Sandals Carlyle, is no longer part of the Sandals experience
This resort offered a more authentic Jamaican experience, as the beach was public and the markets are nearby.
Sandals Inn also offered a good value for your dollar as it was less expensive than staying at a nearby resort and you could still use their amenities.
While it was close to town for shopping and tour transfers, Sandals Inn was more like a hotel. This in inconsistent with the direction in which Sandals wants to go, so they sold this location.
I also visited the Sandals Cuba location years ago before that became defunct as well! You gotta admire a company that is constantly re-evaluating its brand strategy and resorts.
BUT THERE’S MORE
Jamaica is awesome y’all. The white sand and lush green mountains (not to mention the coffee) have you wondering when you can make your next trip.
If touristy Montego Bay doesn’t float your boat, there is another option waiting down the line.
Sandals South Coast
- gorgeous setting on a 500-acre nature reserve
- stunning overwater bungalows are the ultimate in luxury
- offshore reef enables lots of water activities on location, such as snorkeling, paddle boarding, and tubing
This resort is gigantic. Even with 3 large “villages” and a long beach for romantic walks, you are never short on space or service. Cute touches, such as an overwater bar with hammocks, make it picture-perfect.
If you’re seriously considering a trip to Sandals South Coast, you can read my full review here.
So which one is right for you?
I can honestly say that all were good choices. I was reluctant to visit Jamaica at first, as at the time of our vacations, the security warnings were increased to a higher level of caution. Sandals went above and beyond in providing increased security presence on their resorts and in the surrounding bay.
I traveled here most recently in 2019. As always, be sure to check your country’s travel advisories before booking any trips or excursions. You can check out the Canadian opinion here.
Not sure you want to go to Jamaica? Check out some other Sandals Resorts: