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.
Thinking of a vacation at Sandals?
Be sure to make an informed decision:
Which Sandals in St. Lucia is right for you?
Paradise Found at Sandals Grand Exuma, Bahamas
I have never been to Jamaica and have always been intrigued by the Sandles resorts. I like that even the activities are included. I would love the kayaking and snorkeling. The beaches also look gorgeous!
Sandals always has everyone intrigued! The commercials are so good – they are definitely leaders in marketing. The activities definitely offer value to your stay, and who doesn’t love a daily paddle in the ocean? Let me know if you make to a Sandals as I would love to hear your take!
Carly LM says
I love the idea of the hotel being set inside a natural reserve – especially one with a coral reef right off the beach! It’s so important for hotels to take a strong stand for eco-friendly practices and it sounds like this Sandals is definitely taking steps in the right direction. Did you go out for some snorkeling or diving?
Agreed Carly! Recently I have been impressed with the move away from plastic straws among other things in an effort to minimize the ecological footprint. I do think that Sandals could improve in some areas but you’re right, they are good steps in the right direction. We went snorkeling at the reef a couple of times – they offer a unique location each day for an opportunity to see different things.
Wow wow wow! Those over-the-water bungalows have been on my bucket list for such a long time! But I need to save up A LOT more money to make that happen lol.
Thanks for reading Sarah. I also consider the Over-the-Water Bungalow to be a Bucket List stay, but it will probably only be once, and likely far into the future. I generally get more value out of other things, such as activities (experiences).
I have always wanted to stay in a bungalow over the waters. I love your honest review and hopefully, when I make a visit the roads will be redone. One thing I don’t enjoy is a long bumpy road after a long flight.
I agree Candy. I do hope to visit again for a little R&R after a long winter, but I will definitely wait until after the road is completed as well. Thanks for your kind words.
sam topping says
Ahhh looks amazing!! I’d be happy just going to one resort haha Glad to hear you had a great time.
Thanks Sam! There is a time for everything – time for exploration, time for experiences, and a time for relaxation. Your day for relaxation will probably be sooner than you think!
Oh my goodness! I would love to do an over-water stay. I would lie on the flow and watch the fishies through the glass floor all day! It must have been a wonderful experience.
I would say the deck or the overwater hammock was my favourite spot…but I can see how you could lie on the floor all day!
The beach looks incredible!!! And an overwater bungalow is the dream! I know just where my next trip will be now. What a fun and relaxing vacation.
Super fun and super relaxing! Jamaica is the first place we have returned to (as opposed to trying new places). Can’t beat the beach and the nice weather!
The travel agency I work with books many families/couples to Sandals and Beaches resorts just because the amenities are often unsurpassed. We haven’t booked this specific resort yet but it seems exquisite. Loving the appearance of the semi-over-the-water-bungalow rooms, though I wish you were more pleased with the interior.
The Over-the-Water Bungalow rooms are stunning, as they are new. We do find that the older rooms have not been updated, as Sandals gets more value from investing in main areas and other amenities. Does not usually bother us, but I do realize that if you are paying that kind of money you would expect a 5-star room.
I’ve never been to a Sandals before, but I’ve seen lots of their advertisements. It sounds like a great experience. I want to get to Jamaica soon as well, so I appreciate the insight into this option. I also love the extra info on the road to get there. I’ve been on some rough roads before too, so it’s nice to be warned ahead of time.
Sandals definitely knows how to advertise, but they do offer a great experience as well. Thanks for stopping by and having a read Eden!
Sandals Resorts are amazing! Would absolutely love to stay here. Beautiful pictures!
Thanks Gwen! We also think Sandals are pretty amazing.
We just returned from Sandals South Coast last week and a couple notes:
1. The drive is taking about an hour and a half. Can’t say its a smooth ride but no road construction.
2. Eleanor’s now does a sit down breakfast if you don’t want to do the buffet.
3. Bayside does not do the buffet after breakfast that we saw.
Hi Mary, thanks for the update! I will have to return and check out that new road!