As frequent Sandals guests, we make it our mission to try a new location and test out the amenities when we can. We recently revisited Jamaica and had the opportunity to stay at Sandals South Coast, formerly Sandals Whitehouse.
This location is, so far, our FAVOURITE. As young travelers who have been married for 7 years, we think that this resort is ideal for both honeymooners and older couples alike. Let me tell you why South Coast is the best Sandals Resort!
The Food is Top-Notch
One of the top two reasons why we continue to choose Sandals is the consistency in the quality of the food. Regardless of what Sandals you decide to visit, you are guaranteed top tasting, delicious food.
Two of my favourite restaurants at South Coast? Café de Paris for the Italian coffees and the crepes, and Schooner’s for lunch – the quesadillas were to die for.
In all, there were 9 restaurants to choose from, including 6 for dinner. The options are endless and you can pick a new restaurant every night.
Bayside – Buffet
The Jerk Shack – Jerk Chicken, and my husband’s favourite Sandals restaurant.
Schooner’s – classic lunch options, such as salads, burgers, and fries.
Neptune’s – similar to Schooner’s, serving salads, sandwiches and fries.
Giuseppe’s – pizza available to go for lunch
Giuseppe’s – Italian
Sushi on the Sand – Sushi bar
Jasmine’s – Asian cuisine
Eleanor’s – Caribbean flavours, and a must-try restaurant. Something for everyone: steak, curry, and vegan options.
Schooner’s – Seafood grill right on the beach.
Neptune’s – serving up the classics at dinnertime with salads, nachos, and wraps.
Bayside – Buffet
Always open: Cafe de Paris. Everyone seems to stop here in the morning for a coffee. With crepes, liqueurs and baked goods, this will be a daily stop.
Neptune’s is also open for late night snacks…until 5:30 am! Maybe I am past my prime but there is no way that I could make it to 5:30 am on vacation.
The Activities are All Included
Sandals South Coast and Sandals Ochi are the only two stand-alone resorts on the island, which means that they do not connect with other Sandals or Beaches properties.
As a result, they tend to offer ALL of the activities in one location. WIN!
The activities are what made Sandals South Coast the right resort for us. They have their own dive boat, glass-bottom boat for tours and snorkeling, and my personal favourite: a Mastercraft direct-drive ski boat.
This bad boy was powerful enough to pull even heavy ol’ me out of the water and I may have gone waterskiing EVERY DAY I was so thrilled.
One of the reasons we continue to return to Sandals Resorts is the quality of the activities. You can go kayaking, paddle boarding, wake boarding, water skiing and snorkeling. We went tubing and sailing DAILY, sometimes multiple times a day.
Everyone enjoys something to do sometimes, which is one of the reasons that Sandals is so successful. Offering activities free of charge makes a world of a difference in keeping guests happy.
The Rooms are Hot or Not
One of the things that we continue to be the least impressed with is the rooms at Sandals. Generally, we opt for the least expensive room on our travels as we tend to spend limited time there.
As a result, the rooms are often outdated and unappealing, sometimes with a peach tile and a green tub. We would recommend a room at the Club Level (next level up) if this is something that would affect your experience.
On the flip side, Sandals works hard to be innovators in the industry, which includes building Over-the-Water bungalows in the Caribbean. If you can bear the steep price tag, they promise to deliver an experience to remember.
Thankfully, at Sandals South Coast, all of the rooms are beachfront, which means that you will have a gorgeous ocean view no matter what.
This is a feature that we think makes it the best Sandals resort. All rooms at Sandals Emerald Bay, in Exuma, Bahamas have a view of the ocean as well.
The Service is Over the Top
As always, the service at Sandals is unmatched. Compared to other resorts, it is obvious that the staff is extensively trained and everyone is pleasant and professional.
Never to be outdone in the all-inclusive department, Sandals includes ALL TIPS, so you can leave your singles at home. No change necessary to ensure good service from the bartender, server or maid…Sandals is all in.
We like visiting Sandals because there is no tipping. After paying for your vacation, we find it more stressful to continue to pay in order to have a good experience.
Don’t believe that you can get good service without tips?
After placing a drink order, it was our turn to go tubing. We went for a boat ride, and, as we returned, the beach server waded into the water to deliver our drinks. THAT is above and beyond service!
The Beach is Exquisite
Set on a 500-acre nature reserve, the beach at Sandals is two miles of unspoiled greatness. White sand and private, you can walk the whole thing without being bothered by a single vendor. South Coast is a big resort and you can definitely get a workout in walking from one end of the beach to the other.
We also walked past the security at the end of the beach and continued on for a solid 20 minutes. Sandals owns a portion of this property, although it is not yet developed, and both my husband and I thought that it was the most beautiful section of the beach. But alas, they do not serve drinks there, so you will have to head back eventually ;).
The Water is Calm, but not always Clear
“Butch” Stewart, the CEO of Sandals, sure knows how to pick his locations. Many of his resorts are protected by offshore reefs, which allow for calm waters to swim in.
South Coast is no exception, with a reef located about 800 metres offshore. Conveniently enough, this is also a snorkeling and dive site for the resort, and as mentioned, Sandals will take you out there in their boats for a guided tour.
This also means that the weeds are not always washed out and the sea grass flourishes without the waves to keep the sand moving. If you are searching for that perfect wade-in, I would suggest Sandals Grande St. Lucian instead.
The Pools are Happening
It wouldn’t be the best Sandals resort without the biggest zero-entry pool in Jamaica! We found not only the main pool to be full of activities, but the other pool in front of the Dutch Village as well, so be sure to stake a chair at your fave or try them all!
We routinely saw people participating in water aerobics, volleyball, laying on floaties or heading to the swim-up bar. The Dutch pool and the Main pool were definitely two of the nicest that we have seen in Jamaica.
The Entertainment Happened Nightly
The evening entertainment seems to vary greatly across different Sandals resorts, but at Sandals South Coast, they offered a nightly show.
Some resorts are quieter and offer shows only occasionally, but there was something to see here every night. There were also things like the chocolate buffet, international night and other traditions that are popular across the Sandals brand.
South Coast is heaven on earth, so what do you need to prepare for?
There was a shirt on sale at the resort. It said, “I survived the drive to Whitehouse.”
This is unfortunately true. They are in the process of redoing the road from Montego Bay to the Southwest side of the island – putting a new highway in. It will be a beautiful road when it’s done.
But for now, it’s like you’re on safari in Africa, bumping alongside huge cement mixers and slamming against other passengers in your vehicle.
It is supposed to be an hour and a half trek from MBJ airport to Sandals South Coast, but the way there took us just over two hours. We were lucky, as the van behind us took almost 4.
The estimated completion date is December 2019, so if you have visited after that, let me know in the comments so we can get an update on the drive!
I traveled here in March 2019. As always, be sure to check out your country’s travel advisories before booking any trips or excursions. You can check out the Canadian opinion here.