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Best Sandals Resort – Part Two

Best Sandals Resort: go here to see the overall rating of the Best Sandals Resort and the first 3 detailed reviews.

While I was doing my research of the best Sandals resorts,  few trends emerged. If you look at my overall rating of the Sandals resorts, you’ll see that the first five spots are occupied by the Sandals resorts in Jamaica. Sandals have 7 properties in Jamaica, and they all rank pretty high on my list. Now, remember, this list

is based on your Trip Advisor votes, and not my personal preferences. Some people may not agree with my ranking, and it’s totally understandable – opinions differ, and what is good for one couple may not necessarily be OK for another. That’s why I wanted this rating to be based on cumulative votes of people who traveled to Sandals resorts, some to almost all of them, and many to more than 3 different Sandals properties. Jamaica takes 5 first spots for a reason: what makes Sandals resorts stand out among their competition is the friendliness and professionalism of their staff. The Jamaican staff seems to be the best and most appreciated by the majority of guests.

Even, where the property itself, or the beach, or other amenities have been slightly (and sometimes very) disappointing, the Sandals resorts in Jamaica still got better reviews because people really appreciated the warm attitude of the staff and their willingness to go out of the way to serve the guests better, and deliver that unique Sandals experience. Where the staff is not up to par, or sometimes below Sandals standards, those resorts tend to get more negative reviews. Remember, Sandals is expensive, therefore, we all expect a certain level of satisfaction for the money we paid. I can deal with a dated room -  as long as I have a shower, a comfy bed, and a balcony with a great view (not necessarily ocean view, I actually prefer mountain side view), I am fine. I don’t even remember watching a TV during any of my Caribbean or European  trips. Bottom line – the room needs to be comfy and clean. But, if you are into upscale accommodations, just make sure you book a room in the mid range, but not the basic. Anyway.

Apart from the accommodation, we are all looking for that unique entertaining experience, and that’s what Sandals resorts in Jamaica seem to be able to deliver, starting from the exceptional customer service and finishing with tasty foods, numerous water sports, and fabulous nightly entertainment. Many people suggested that if you are willing to try that unique Sandals experience for the first time, start with Sandals in Jamaica, you won’t be disappointed.

Best Sandals Resort (continued):

Here’s another way of deciding which Sandals resort is best for you. Personally, when I look for a great vacation spot, I check resorts with the best beaches first. Then, I check out if the resort has its own golf course or, at least, offer access to a good golf facility.  Last, but not least, I make sure there are lots of places for entertainment. Unlike me, you might be looking for a quiet resort, may be even secluded, but one with a great beach and casual laid back atmosphere. The table below ranks Sandals resorts according to eight features or moods, giving you four best Sandals resorts for each. If we were to pick up the best Sandals resort according to the below table, then Sandals Negril and Sandals Grande St. Lucian would be the winners, as each ranks for five different features/moods. Choose the features that are most important to you, and pick your best Sandals resort for further, more detailed consideration.

Best Sandals Resorts by Features

Feature/Mood

Best Beach

Best Nightlife

Best Golf

Most Secluded

Best Adventures

Best for Socializing

Most Laid Back

Most Sophisticated

Sandals Resorts
Sandals Montego Bay

+

+

+

Sandals Royal Caribbean

+

Sandals Carlyle Inn

+

Sandals Negril

+

+

+

+

+

Sandals Grande Riviera

+

Sandals Royal Plantation

+

+

Sandals Whitehouse

+

+

Sandals La Toc

+

+

+

Sandals Halcyon Beach

+

+

+

+

Sandals Grande St. Lucian

+

+

+

+

+

Sandals Grande Antigua

+

+

Sandals Royal Bahamian

+

Sandals Emerald Bay

+

+

 Last Minute Deals are still available at Sandals Resorts! Book Now!

The Perfect Caribbean Honeymoon is at Sandals Resorts

One more feature that we didn’t have space for is “scuba diving.” If you are looking for the best Sandals resort for scuba diving, the resorts in St. Lucia are ranked the highest, followed by the Bahamas, with Antigua and Jamaica far behind.

The detailed overview of the Sandals resorts continues below:

(The first three sandals resorts are reviewed here)

4. Sandals Royal Caribbean*****

Location Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay 167, Jamaica; just minutes from the airport; this resort also has its own private offshore island allowing you to enjoy the British colonial style onshore and the seclusion of a private island offshore.
Rooms 197 rooms; elegant British-style resort;

Royal Honeymoon Walkout Crystal Lagoon Swimup Suite

Royal Honeymoon Walkout Crystal Lagoon Swimup Suite

Sandals Royal Caribbean resort - Beach View

Sandals Royal Caribbean resort – beach view

Price from $189 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 1,815
Good: 1,501
Average: 119
Bad: 195
Pros: -the nearby private island seems to be the main attraction; all staff is exceptionally friendly; many water sports to choose from; spectacular entertainment; nice beach; food is always different at the buffet restaurants; perfect for couples;
Cons: -noisy airport nearby; cold pools in winter; pools are very busy – makes it difficult to relax; beach is too small for some; the resort is not good for those who want to party all night; not good for golfers as the nearest golf course is too far away;

 

5. Sandals Negril *****

Location Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril 167, Jamaica; on the famous and best 7-mile beach in Negril; close to shops and night life; near Margaritaville and Rick’s cafe;
Rooms 223 rooms; beachfront and garden views rooms;

Best Sandals Resort - Sandals Negril - Sunset Loft Suite

Sandals Negril – Sunset Loft Suite

Sandals Negril Resort - Beach View

Sandals Negril Resort – Beach View

Price from $192 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 1,787
Good: 1,475
Average: 166
Bad: 146
Pros: -the best beach in Jamaica (and the longest); great for scuba diving and snorkeling; very helpful and friendly staff; absolutely outstanding facilities – exercise room, gardens, pools;  best for people who want to party all night; fantastic food; rooms clean and comfortable;
Cons: -long drive from the airport; loud pools; some gusts did not like the nightly entertainment; drug peddling on the beach; some rooms don’t meets guests’ expectations – a bit outdated;  too expensive spa and constantly pitched to you; lots of mosquitoes and sand fleas;  pools can be a bit cold; the resort is narrow and long – difficult to move around; some people say butler service is not worth at Negril (however, some people totally praise it);

 

6. Sandals Emerald Bay*****

Location Queen’s Highway, Emerald Bay, EX29142, Great Exuma, Bahamas; on a mile-long white sand beach; just 40 min. by plane from Florida; ideal for people looking for sophistication and exclusion;
Rooms 183 rooms in a Bahamian-style architecture; all-suite resort with accommodations ranging from bay house settings to beachfront villas; the resort also features Sandals first Emerald Bay Marina and a spectacular 18-hole championship golf course (one of the best in the Caribbean); high quality food;
Sandals Emerald Bay - Walkout Junior SuiteSandals Emerald Bay – Walkout Junior Suite Greg Norman 18 hole championship golf courseGreg Norman 18 hole championship golf course
Price from $257 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 506
Good: 412
Average: 64
Bad: 30
Pros: -incredibly beautiful grounds; many rooms offer ocean views and are very elegant; striking beach and crystal clear waters; no venders on the beach – great plus!; ideal for golfers; two large, clean pools; very friendly and helpful staff; quiet and relaxing ambiance; this is a more upscale resort than other Sandals’;
Cons: -resort is too secluded for some with limited activities after 10 pm; butler service may not really worth it; some say 4 restaurants are not enough; too difficult to reserve a chair by the pool; often very windy at the beach; some complained about slow service; sand fleas on the beach;

 

7. Sandals Montego Bay *****

Location Montego Bay, Kent Avenue, Montego Bay 100, Jamaica; located on Jamaica’s longest private beach;
Rooms 250 rooms; in 19 categories, from beachfront to garden view to the famous cottages at “Bay Roc Estate”;
Sandals Montego Bay - Honeymoon Concierge Beachfront Walk-out RoomSandals Montego Bay – Honeymoon Concierge Beachfront Walk-out Room Sandals Montego Bay - Beach ViewSandals Montego Bay – Beach View
Price from $196 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 2,060
Good: 1,166
Average: 165
Bad: 229
Pros: -stunning white-sand pristine beach (no seaweed) ; great for party-goers; very accommodating staff; fabulous nightly entertainment;  multi-resort privileges; very tasty food;
Cons: -the proximity to the airport is not appreciated by many guests; resort often runs out of alcohol due to all night partying; drug peddlers on the beach; many rooms knew better days (indeed, the resort is old, but still in good shape); small and chilly pools;

Sandals Montego Bay video – Best Sandals Resort:

8. Sandals Grande Riviera *****

Location Maine Street, P.O. Box 771, Ocho Rios, Jamaica; set in Jamaica’s North coast; amid green mountains and white sand beach; approximately 90  min from airport;
Rooms 529 rooms; includes 244 hillside suites and 100 intimate pools (Riviera Villas and Great House suites) and a beachfront Riviera Seaside and Beach Club); many rooms have stunning ocean views; recently renovated (all butler villas);
Sandals Grande Riviera - Honeymoon Penthouse Beachfront Concierge RoomSandals Grande Riviera – Honeymoon Penthouse Beachfront Concierge Room Sandals Ocho Rios Golf and Country ClubSandals Ocho Rios Golf and Country Club
Price from $173 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 2,323
Good: 1,870
Average: 218
Bad: 235
Pros: -people like the well-maintained landscaping; great food selection at 15 restaurants and bars; very friendly staff; wide choice of pools;  lots of water and land sports, and other daily activities; good golf course but not exceptional (and pricey if you consider the caddies and other fees); great activities at night; mostly younger crowd (lots of honeymooners);
Cons: -too far from the airport; room quality is hit or miss for some gusts; can be difficult to get around without a shuttle service as the resort is quite large and split into two parts; getting a reservation at a restaurant might be a challenge without a butler service; the beach is small and inconvenient ;

 

9. Sandals Grande St. Lucian *****

Location Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, St. Lucia; set on a mile-long beach and its own peninsular; about two hours from airport;
Rooms 280 rooms; every single suite has a captivating see view;
Sandals Grande St. Lucian - The Rondovals SuitesSandals Grande St. Lucian – The Rondovals Suites Sandals Grande St. Lucian - Beach ViewSandals Grande St. Lucian – Beach View
Price from $242 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 2,041
Good: 1,673
Average: 169
Bad: 199
Pros: -the location is simply stunning and very picturesque; wide choice of water sports; very beautiful beach (however, some says – too small) with clear waters and no waves; very nice pools; excellent spa facility but pricey; the Simon Says tour – mud springs, waterfall, and volcano – all in one; fantastic dining experience; very friendly staff and the service is not great;
Cons: -long and tough ride from the airport (many people recommend taking a helicopter instead of a shuttle ride (only 15 min)) ; a lot of peddlers on the beach; the hotel is not new (but, refurbished); with the hotels conference facilities, there are too many conference guests; the beach is not just soft sand but also has rocks; the resort feels overcrowded when fully booked; expensive extras (spa; wine bottles in room); nightly entertainment is not always great;

Sandals Grande St. Lucian video – Best Sandals Resort:

10. Sandals La Toc *****

Location La Toc, Castries, St. Lucia;
Rooms 327 rooms; all luxurious suites with a wide variety of views: ocean, hillside, garden or pool;
Sandals La Toc - Sunset Bluff Oceanfront 2 story Villa with Private PoolSandals La Toc – Sunset Bluff Oceanfront 2 story Villa with Private Pool The Golf Club at Sandals La TocThe Golf Club at Sandals La Toc
Price from $184 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 2,315
Good: 1,806
Average: 218
Bad: 161
Pros: -friendly staff; great room views; great on-site entertainment; can take advantage of the exchange program with the other two Sandals; golf course (not the best or the most challenging, but adequate); the resort is very clean; the grounds of the resort are very beautiful; the beach is nice and picturesque;
Cons: -long and bumpy drive from airport; not the best Sandals beach; the crowd is not particularly young (may be looked upon as an advantage by others); the property knew better days; too many mosquitoes and stray cats; very rude reception desk; the beach is not private (as all beaches in St. Lucia),  with dogs and drug dealers running around;

 

11. Sandals Halcyon Beach*****

Location Castries GM910, St. Lucia;
Rooms 170 rooms; classic Caribbean-style architecture set in lush gardens;
Sandals Halcoyn Beach - Honeymoon Grande Luxury Walkout Ocean view RoomSandals Halcoyn Beach – Honeymoon Grande Luxury Walkout Ocean view Room Lush Gardens of Sandals Halcyon BeachLush Gardens of Sandals Halcyon Beach
Price from $194 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 2,315
Good: 968
Average: 105
Bad: 129
Pros: -great resort location with exceptional views; very peaceful and quiet (a minus for some); absolutely gorgeous gardening and landscaping; impeccably clean; perfect place for romantic, quiet, relaxing time; nice food selection;
Cons: -the rooms and buildings knew better days; older crowd; limited entertainment; some rooms near the road may be noisy; lots of stray cats on the premises; very small beach; staff is not particularly friendly; limited water sports options; lots of mosquitoes; rude reception desk;

 

12. Sandals Grande Antigua *****

Location Dickenson Bay, St. John’s, Antigua; on the island’s best and most famous beach;
Rooms 373 rooms; experience two resorts in one: oceanfront Mediterranean Village and Caribbean Grove, featuring true island architecture;
Sandals Grande Antigua - Honeymoon Garden Rondoval with Private Plunge PoolSandals Grande Antigua – Honeymoon Garden Rondoval with Private Plunge Pool Sandals Grande Antigua - Beach ViewSandals Grande Antigua – Beach View
Price from $220 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 2,208
Good: 1,670
Average: 176
Bad: 334
Pros: -voted “World’s Most Romantic Resort” for many years in a row (some honeymooners don’t agree, though); the Mediterranean Village is newer and gets much better room reviews; guests who stayed on the other side are somewhat disappointed; great nightly entertainment; beautiful resort grounds and landscaping;  great scuba diving experience;  very beautiful beach;
Cons: -need to wake up early to reserve a spot on the beach; too many cruise ship guests on the resort; the internet service is often down;  the beach is public, not private; spa treatments are pricey; some staff is not very friendly; booking a popular restaurant can be challenging; room service is not really 24/7 and extremely slow;

Sandals Grande Antigua video – Best Sandals Resort:

13. Sandals Royal Bahamian *****

Location West Bay Street, Cable Beach, Nassau | PO Box 39, Nassau 13005, New Providence Island; set on Nassau’s famous Cable Beach;
Rooms 403 rooms; experience European sophistication and Caribbean passion in authentic Bahamian architecture;
Sandals Royal Bahamian - Honeymoon Oceanview Concierge RoomSandals Royal Bahamian – Honeymoon Oceanview Concierge Room Sandals Royal Bahamian - Private Offshore IslandSandals Royal Bahamian – Private Offshore Island
Price from $236 per night/pp
Trip Advisor Rating:
Total # of reviews 3,107
Good: 2,368
Average: 308
Bad: 431
Pros: -private offshore island; very nice pools; small but lovely beach; a lot of water sports to choose from; accommodating staff; newer buildings have better room reviews;
Cons: -pools tend to be cold in winter; the resort feels overcrowded when full; reservations at the best restaurants should be made in advance; bothersome sand fleas; guests who stayed at older buildings often feel disappointed; some gusts were lacking activities; food is not great;   lack of chairs and umbrellas on the beach; the pool closes at 7:00 pm;

If you are looking for last minute vacations or those sweet last minute vacation deals, pick up one of the Sandals resorts. Last Minute Deals are still available at Sandals Resorts! Book Now!, and remember, Exciting entertainment and parties await you at Sandals Resorts!

If you are still undecided which Sandals resort to choose, I would suggest that you first ask yourself what kind of vacation experience you are looking for. From the hundreds reviews I have read, it appears that older couples and honeymooners prefer secluded, quiet places where they could be left alone and enjoy the nature and each other. Smaller Sandals resorts seem to appeal to this category of vacationers. If, on the other hand, you are planning a wedding party, then you should consider a Sandals resort that offers a lot of entertainment, water and land sports options. Are you into partying all night? Then go to Sandals Negril – you’ll never stop partying. Are you looking for a perfect beach, or, are you more a pool person? Should it be a private beach, or, are you OK if locals come there too? How about drug peddlers on the beach? Do you want to avoid those?  Are you into scuba diving (Sandals Grande Antigua)? Or, are you all about great golf experience (Sandals Emerald Bay)? These are all important questions. Don’t expect to buy an upscale resort, and then complain that the crowd is mostly in their late 40s and 5os. Once you know for sure what type of last minute vacation you are looking for, then pick your Best Sandals resort by clicking the link above and then check out the reviews for this particular resort at Trip Advisor.

A few more words about the Trip Advisor rating. I combined “excellent” and “good” ratings into one “Good” category, which makes it easier to see how many people actually liked the resort. I left “average” ranking as is, as  it gives me an idea how many people can’t decide whether their experience was actually good or bad. And finally, “poor” and “terrible” categories were combined into one “Bad” category. This way I know how many people didn’t like the resort, it does not matter to me if it’s a poor or terrible rating – they did not like it. I then compare the number of good and bad reviews to the total number of reviews to decide which resort/hotel gets more good reviews. For instance, number one on my list is Sandals Royal Plantation. It has more than 91% of good reviews, and only 3% of bad reviews.  I would consider any resort that gets at least 85% of good reviews. If any resort gets more than 10% of bad reviews – it’s a red flag to me.

My advice – don’t read all the reviews, it’s exhausting and simply doesn’t make sense. Many bad or good things mentioned there have been either corrected or no longer apply. Plus, you should understand that every resort/hotel in the world would get its share of bad reviews. It doesn’t mean this will be your experience. Even when a hotel gets mostly positive reviews, it doesn’t mean this would be your personal experience. It could be awful. Read only the latest reviews, and use my system to figure out the resort’s overall rating. I promise you this system works – I never made a mistake with a resort or a hotel using this approach.

Good luck to you in picking up your best Sandals resort! Last Minute Deals are still available at Sandals Resorts! Book Now!