Sandals Royal Caribbean is a fantastic resort. Having previously traveled to Sandals in Ocho Rios and at Sandals Whitehouse, we wanted to try something new. We were not one bit disappointed in our decision to "go big" for this vacation (in celebration of our anniversary) as the swim up suites are divine! Our butlers (Orlando and JoShayne) made sure that we had everything we needed - chairs on the beach, a cooler with our favorite beverages, fresh drinks from the bar throughout the day, and reservations for any and all of the restaurants and activities we wished to experience. The playmakers were fantastic - especially David! Very fun entertainment EVERY NIGHT!
The "very very good" points: the staff - from bartenders and groundskeepers to the butlers and the big kahuna GM (Mr. Grant), the staff was visible, friendly, and at your service. The drinks - oh my! The main pool bar has a menu hanging overhead - try them all! Some were not for me, but then again, it was included, so why not given them all a try? The food - just amazing! We did travel to Sandals Montego Bay one night for a dinner at the Italian restaurant there, but other than that, the many options at SRC kept us full and wanting for nothing! We did the flight of the white witch zip line excursion, and that was TOTALLY worth the time and money (and fear factor) to get some of the most amazing views of the island and a kick butt experience to boot! The photo people seem annoying at first, but they are VERY good at what they do, and honsetly, I felt their prices were expensive (like others have mentioned) but worth it when I got to select 30 or so photos to take home on disk. That was awesome since our travel companions were with us only for part of the trip, so we had pics from the rest of the trip from the staff photo people. We even did the photo shoot bit and LOVED the pics that came from that! Don't miss Le Jardinier (but wear the bug spray, man; it is rich with foliage!). There is a "clothing optional" section of the private island, but if you don't go seeking it out, you won't "run into it accidentally." If you are looking for it, more power to 'ya! ;) Take the boat to the island, walk off, and to the bar to get some liquid courage, and head to your left...it isn't far and you'll see the signs! (Oh but stop by Diana's cage - the singing bird - and do what the sign says; she really will join in your song!)
The "could be better": we have never really experienced bug issues (except for one outside dining location at Whitehouse), but the foliage and shallow water around the swim up suites is just a haven for skeeters! Take OFF with DEET from home as (a) bug spray from the hotel gift store is very expensive and (b) it doesn't contain DEET...I don't actually know what DEET is, but I know that when we had our "from home" spray, it kept the bugs at bay better than what we purchased from the gift shop. (Our next vacation at Sandals is in two weeks, and I will definitely be packing the OFF for the trip, but this time we are headed to Negril and staying on the 2nd floor of the swim up suites - hoping that will make a bit of difference too!). Internet service (which costs extra but is worth it for those who need/want to skype little ones back home or keep up on business type things) was sketchy...it worked best from the patio and rarely worked from inside the room. The spa experience was a little odd as it seemed the only massage stations at this resort were the outdoor cabanas and massage rooms - that was definitely not explained when we booked our massage, and at previous locations, we had been inside for this type of treatment. We had a spa credit with our booking, so I am not complaining about the service or experience itself, but it might have been nice to have been told that we were headed into a hexagonal "hut with screens/shades" where we could hear any and all resort noise - as well as road traffic - rather than a quiet, air conditioned massage room. Another very minor thing is that in the year between our visit to Whitehouse and this trip, Sandals changed from Appleton Rum (which we LOVED) to El Dorado Rum which we wouldn't turn down, but didn't enjoy as much. It was a bit of a bummer when we found out they'd changed brands, but it surely didn't stop us from drinking it - and everything under the sun made with it!!! The only other thing I can think that detracted from the INSANELY WONDERFUL experience was the stagnanc of the air in the Almond Terrace... it is the main entertainment area in the evenings, and it gets stuffy and warm with a number of people congregating there and without fans to blow air through (it is a circular area surrounded by the Soon Come Back station, piano bar, tea room, and stage, so it isn't "open" for through traveling air as much as the amphitheater style entertainment areas at other resorts). There obviously isn't much that can be done about that, and it is only mildly irritating, but it did deter us on a couple of evenings from partaking in the nightlife there.
Overall, a FANTASTIC trip and experience. I can honestly say that I would go back in a heartbeat to this location.
You get what you pay for, but our travel companions were in a more standard room than we (we had a s...
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