Written by Tamara Corrie.
The most important thing to do is book with an informed Travel Agent. There is no cost to you when you book with Classic Travel, but our expertise can be priceless when it comes to making the right decision for a lifelong memory. Classic Travel’s Tamara Corrie recently visited the Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple properties in Jamaica. She is a Certified Sandals Specialist. We think her comprehensive review is an example of the experience and talent you’ll want when planning your precious memories. Call Tamara at 517-349-6200 to get started planning your dream vacation!
What experience are you looking for? Are you looking for a Luxury Included all-inclusive vacation? If you are, then a Sandals Resort or Beaches Resort could be the right choice for you!
Sandals Resorts are luxurious all-inclusive resorts for couples only. Beaches Resorts offer most of the same luxuries, but are very family-friendly with many extras for the kids.
You can choose from Butler categories which include the following –
Before you arrive, your Butler will ensure your preferences are in-suite. When you arrive they will provide you with all information regarding tours and spa services while they check you in – IN YOUR ROOM. No waiting in a long check-in line! They can unpack your luggage if you like so you can get right to the beach! The will provide you with a cell phone so you can keep in touch with your Butler during your stay. Your Butler can make all dinner reservations with preferential seating and escort you there, arrange a romantic dinner in the privacy of your suite or patio where you can order from ANY restaurant. They will serve you lunch while you lounge on the beach or at the pool along with serving you your favorite drinks.
Upon departure your Butler will help with packing if desired, ensure your bags are brought up to the departure area, escort you to the concierge/butler lounge and process your paperwork for check out, escort you to your transportation and bid you farewell. They will ensure you have a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation.
These are also some of the BEST rooms at the resorts! Some resorts have wonderful restaurants that are ONLY available to Butler category guests also.
The next level of room categories would be Club Sandals or Concierge Level for Beaches Resorts. This level has prime rooms in prime locations and you will have a private check-in/out location. You will be able to access the Club or Concierge room to make dinner, spa and tour reservations.
Butler and Club Sandals categories have free wi-fi AND free international calls. Just download the Sandals app to your smartphone or blackberry. While on site, “look for the birdhouses” for the reception hot spots.
Another part of the Sandals family is Grand Pineapple Resorts. They offer great beaches and rooms in a Caribbean feel resort for all guests. The pricing is lower most dates also.
Following are some pointers and tips on Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Resorts throughout the Caribbean.
There are military and firefighter discounts. A church or other nonprofit organization can do a Sandals/Beaches night and they will donate $200 for every room booked. We will be happy to help you get this set up.
Sandals Foundation – this is a way that Sandals is giving back to the Caribbean. They have school programs and others to help the local communities where they have resorts. Guests can bring up to 5lbs in school supplies to donate when they check in.
See the website for details – http://www.sandalsfoundation.org/
Sandals has specially designed dive boats – easier in and out and safer components
Reminder – be sure to pre-book tours and spa services. This will save valuable vacation time and you will be sure your desired spot is available! Also, what about a candle light dinner for two on the beach? Sound romantic? It is and you can pre-book this as well. If you will be celebrating an anniversary or birthday durin g your trip, you will want to make sure your date is available. Once you see someone else enjoying this very special service, you will likely wish you had done it too!
Red Lane Spas – at all resorts, including Grand Pineapple. They offer West Indian massage, unique to Red Lane. Perhaps a scrub followed by a massage will help you relax AND get a better tan!
Most properties offer cabana ½ or full day rental (rates vary). The ½ day can include (varies by resort) breakfast and lunch served to you at the cabana by a butler and have a cooler stocked with their choice of drinks. The full day has the same, and then dinner served to you on the beach.
You can book a group and get special amenities and inclusions with only 5 rooms!
What about getting married at the resort? A wonderful idea and we can help with all the details. Right now Sandals and Beaches are offering $1000 toward a wedding. Honeymooners and those getting married at Sandals/Beaches also get free nights for their anniversary trip (number based on nights for honeymoon booking).
Beaches Resorts provide the Ultimate Family Get-together Getaway!
There are kid’s camps for 5 different age levels. They will allow siblings to do the same camps, but will have to analyze the situation on site. They each have X-Box game rooms and get games earlier than the public to test them out. There is a Sesame Street Character parade twice a week with photo ops. For an extra fee your child can learn to be a DJ in the Scratch DJ class. Good for most ages and you get to take your record home!
Most Sandals and Beaches resorts have a culinary concierge that can help clients with any special food needs or allergies. These can be addressed on site or in advance. Overall there are 143 restaurants with 18 cuisines to choose from! Everyone is sure to find SOMETHING they like!
Beaches Turks and Caicos – 10 miles of beach, #1 snorkel destination, #2 dive destination in the world. French Village is more laid back. 19 restaurants. Train transfers between villages for the kids. New – Key West Village.
Beaches Negril – On famous Seven Mile Beach. All refurbished! 210 rooms Tennis courts are across the road. Has mini golf day and night. Nanny Service is $10 an hour until 11:00 pm, later is $15 an hour. 3 floors, 1 bedroom has a max of 6 guests (2 rooms with 2 entrances), has mini microwave, 2 bathrooms and extra seating on the patio. 2 bedroom rooms have 3 bathrooms. The resort has 2 swim up pool bars and a wonderful full sizewaterpark. Buffet restaurant has tables for the kids so they can sit with their friends/siblings.
Beaches Ocho Rios – recently completed a $30 million dollar renovation. They are offering very good pricing right now. They have the ENTIRE staff of Sesame Street on site. The nannys are American Nanny certified. Can care for “special needs” children, may have additional costs. Special arts and crafts center with projects like scrapbooking. Additional costs, but very reasonable most $10. If kids have a cold or rash they will tactfully tell parents they cannot participate in kids camps.
Book a FAMILY REUNION with 6 rooms or more for 6 nights or more and get a family photo, special party and more. There is a tennis pro on site. They have the largest waterpark in Jamaica with 11 slides. Lots of teen activities are offered. The have great food venues like BBQ park and a pizzeria – YUM and available for private parties after 5pm. No Butler service yet, concierge cabana service offered for $125 per day. Around 40% of rooms are Concierge (soon to be Club Beaches) with 4 persons max. The beach area is cove like, which is safer for wandering children. Bake cookies with Cookie Monster every Wednesday and Saturday. East Caribbean Village is closer to waterpark and the West Caribbean Village is closer to the front office. They have a Sesame Street character breakfast every Wednesday.
Sandals Resorts in Jamaica
Sandals Royal Plantation – This property has a lot of stairs to the beach, so not for the physically challenged. All rooms are Butler service. Guests have exchange privileges with Grande Riviera, but NOT the other way around. The major difference in all rooms is the location, bathroom configuration (bath and shower or rain forest shower with separate Jacuzzi tub). Very elegant, feels like an old Georgian Plantation.
Sandals Montego Bay – The 1st Sandals – Best Private Beach (longest in Montego Bay), most upbeat, 10 minutes from the airport, lots of interaction. Book Butler category for more seclusion. Has an onsite chapel for weddings, mostly used for Catholic ceremonies or backup due to bad weather. All restaurants are ocean front. More for “beach people” than “pool people”. Almonds building is in a quieter area and 3rd floor has larger balconies. The Italian restaurant serves a la carte breakfast Monday thru Friday. Monday night Beach Party 6-11pm near the Palms Building (avoid if you want quiet). Cabana rentals (cannot pre-book): $275 for 8am-10pm, $125 for 8am-5pm. Sea Grapes is where the budget categories are – near the party bar (11:00pm-2:00am).
Sandals Royal Caribbean and Private Island– has a British feel. Smaller, cove like beaches (no long walking beach), but feels more intimate and private. Private Island – new spa added and small clothing optional section. There is a great Thai restaurant on the island and the whole island can be booked for a wedding party! They have a lot of water suites, with direct or easy access to pools. Only 2 restaurants are indoors. Clarence Building is the only one with an elevator and 2 handicapped rooms. 1B – highest category has wonderful space and 2 TV’s, but one open room. No large air-conditioned spa, but separate treatment rooms, most outside with a few inside.
Sandals Whitehouse – located on the southern side of the island with a 2 mile beach that you can see both sunset and sunrise from this is the only Sandals built from the ground up. The resort has a European flair with 3 “villages”, the French, the Dutch and the Italian. The perfect place for 2 people to “melt into each other”. Elegant and quiet with lots of space between buildings. Six of the seven restaurants are near each other. Attentive and pampering staff. Signature cocktails and meals each night at each location (all Sandals). 3 room configurations – regular rooms, club level suites, and 1 bedroom suites. Difference in categories would be location (walk out or penthouse or midlevel floor). Buildings are four stories and have elevators. The Dutch pool is the quiet area. French Village is all entry level rooms (no Club or Butler categories). But has the largest pool with a swim-up bar and pool volleyball. They have a departure lounge (most Sandals) where they have lockers and showers and hair dryers for those guests with later flights. It is close to where the shuttles will pick you up also.
Sandals Negril – located on the longest and best part of Seven Mile Beach with a private feel since it is at the “end”. The lowest and next category rooms are very small and the only difference is the location of the bathroom door. There are 7 restaurants, 4 of which are directly on the beach. A laid back island feel to this resort.
Sandals Grande Riviera – Ocho Rios 559 rooms 15 restaurants, 105 pools – 3 sections (Ochi Beach Club, Seaside and Riviera) Ochi Beach Club does not have rooms, but restaurants and pool and beach area. The Riviera section is on the mountain side with private pools for each villa. The Seaside section is across the road next to the Ochi Beach Club. There are shuttle buses and jitneys to take guests from each side of the road. There are 2 spas, 2 Island Routes desks and many restaurants due to the size of the resort. Lots of meeting space for groups. A rock climbing wall and 6 wedding locations. In the lower level of the main house (Riviera section) is a menu board for all restaurants. The Romeo and Juliet Honeymoon Sanctuary One Bedroom Butler Suite with private pool has been redone and is absolutely gorgeous and you may never want to leave your suite!
Sandals Carlyle – this resort may have better price than other Sandals with a smaller and more personalized atmosphere. Guests get to know each other and staff easily. Across the street from a public beach. Full exchange AND free scheduled shuttle to Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean. Breakfast is served ala carte rather than buffet since it is smaller. No elevator. Butler categories are the new “Sandals colors”, more tans and lighter hues, the other rooms are more bright Caribbean colors. All have large balconies.
Grand Pineapple Negril– Very colorful Caribbean authentic feel. Lots of European guests. Can purchase a day pass to Sandals/Beaches resorts for $100 per person including transfers. Located on both sides of the street (one the beach side). Spa on the non-beach side, along with the fresh water pool. Can call for bar service to the pool. Affordable and laid back. 2nd floor rooms have larger balcony. Ground floor has patios – but not all rooms.
Country Club and Golf Course – if staying in Ocho Rios properties – greens fees are included, but must pay for caddy (required) for about $20. Carts, shoe and club rental is extra. No outside food or beverage and it costs extra. Dress code required for course. It is a public course. Ladies have either collar or sleeve or both. Men must have collar AND sleeves. Golf shoes or tennis shoes, no flip flops, strapped sandals ok. Tee time reservations encouraged, but not required. Busiest in the winter and busiest time is 700am-10:30am. Can be started on any hole and be paired up if busy. Tee times can be booked prior to arrival.
Sandals Antigua – great for watersports, has the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea access. Is a cruise ship stop, has casinos. For beach lovers (365 on the island), Sandals has a 2 mile white sand beach.
Sandals Emerald Bay – located on Great Exuma island in the Bahamas – wonderful water clarity, only 3500 island locals, golf is extra, a two mile jogging track
Nassau Royal Bahamian – located in Nassau, Bahamas this is the most luxurious resort in the Caribbean. The resort is on Cable Beach which Sandals widened. Now more fire pits and the Red Lane Spa was renovated.
Sandals La Toc Golf Resort and Spa – Located closer to the Caribbean Sea side of the island with a 9-hole golf course on property. Stay at one, play at all three Sandals with transfers included. This resort is a favorite hideaway for European jet setters and elite royalty.
Sandals Grande St Lucian – Gordon’s on the Pier is a restaurant for Butler guests only (no extra), but if available, other guests can pay $195 + per couple.
Sandals Halcyon – More lush – a better choice for anyone with physical challenges – 2 new restaurants.
Grand Pineapple Antigua – From what others were saying – VERY NICE. Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of details on this property, but we can certainly get them from our Sandals rep.
Call Tamara at 517-349-6200 or submit your information below to get started planning your dream vacation!