We travelled from the UK on 21st Feb and returned 6th March.
Would qualify the comments below by saying this is our 3rd visit in 5 years to Whitehouse and anything perceived as negative was really just a mild inconvenience. We would go back and recommend the resort.
The trip from Montego Bay to resort was 2 hours on our arrival due to the road having deteriorated again since last year and it being the evening. This wasn't great after a 9 hour flight and all the hanging about at the airport before hand. However, you can't blame Sandals for that. You can get a helicopter transfer for about 400 GBP per couple but only in the hours of day light. As we didn't arrive until 5.50pm not much point in doing that as not much to gain, as with the 5 hr time difference all you want to do is eat and go to bed. The return was better at 90 minutes but again a very bumpy ride. Both husband and I are seasoned travellers/not travel sick but would advise anyone who is to take their medication before hand and maybe pay no attention to the road ahead! Otherwise the driving style may prematurely age you...
Weather - again nothing Sandals can do... Unusually it was a bit "iffy" from previous years. During 2 weeks majority of time very warm 25-35 degrees C up until approx 2pm then a sand storm would blow up or rain. This all disappeared by dusk and a lovely warm evening to eat in or outside. So if you want to sun tan or do outside activities, make it the morning and leave the afternoon for a nap indoors or playing tennis / spa activities.
Room. No upgrade this time but did get our request of the Italian Village. The room 100% clean and tidy with the staff making a huge effort each to day to keep it so. On occassion not cleaned until about 3pm which was a little annoying if you wanted to go back and relax, have a coffee on the balcony etc. Unfortunately our room was 1st floor by a stairwell. OK 99% of the time apart from a few inconsiderate guests who thought it was OK to talk/shout their goodbye greetings very loudly right outside our door at 2am. Room we thought was starting to look a bit "tired" with slight chips in the wall, the towel holder falling off the wall during the stay (was fixed up again within 4 hours) furniture a bit scratched in places. However, room now has an ipod dock and wi fi computer access (at a cost of 40 dollars a week- really should be free for what you pay for the holiday in our case over 4600 pounds sterling) Bed extremely comfortable and air con worked very well. Room stocked with water/juice/fizzy drinks daily and coffee. Had no trouble getting any extra just call into guest services or reception. We were outside most of the time anyway and never really had to wait for more than 2 minutes before .being served at any of the bars. Fresh water also available from cafe de paris - just help yourself from the counter or the juice bar near the Gym.
Speaking of which... very impressed with the upgraded Gym. About 6 new treadmills plus other new equipment. Busy as you would expect at peak times eg early morning before breakfast. But just adjust your arrival to suit. We never had to wait for equipment during the 2 weeks at arrived between 7am to 8am or 4-5pm most days. Didn't make use of the yoga studio or squash courts/tennis courts this time but looked in good condition. Lots of planned activities free of charge should you wish to take them up but we just like to chill. We did however do the Garden tour with Oshoi, one of the fulltime gardeners on the property. Absolutely, fantastic info on all things garden/fruit trees/conservation etc Would highly recommend.
Pools - just about acceptably warm, sea was warmer we felt. Very clean from what we saw. Only used once as we like to be by or in the sea. Also agree with other guest comments that there were quite a few "loud" tipsy guests around the pool/bar so avoided. The hot tubs were un-usable as they were over 42 degrees C. if you had even a slight bit of "pink" flesh forget it. Feels like your a lobster about to meet its end! Dutch pool very quiet and relaxing, French don't go there unless you like loud company/drinking competitions or an Ibiza vibe.
Beach - kept very clean but still a problem for me with bites from critters lurking around. I was well prepared this year with anti-histamine tablets and cream with hydrocortisone. If you react badly to mozzy bites etc make sure you take them with you. In addition used the anti bug spray (tropical formula) on exposed skin. They do still spray manually around trees etc but I still had about 8 bites which must have occured late afternoon when all the stuff was wearing off! My husband had about 20 bites but no skin re-action - lucky him. I ran out of meds as had to use them every day unfortunately. The on site nurse will supply free of charge a dose of anti-histamine medicine. However, as a fellow health professional wasn't very impressed as she didnt ask any medical history, my name or any drug allergies etc before dispensing. We tok our own snorkel gear and snorkelled off the beach. Probably saw as much wildlife underwater as when they take you out on the boat. Would recommend both to do again in the mornign as clearer visability. Good idea also to wear rubber sole "water shoes" if going off the beach as the sea bed a bit rocky/stony in places. Only had to go about 20 meters off the beach to see the fish/rays/starfish etc
Restuarants. Food was generally quite good but service except in Neptunes or if helping yourself from Bayside buffet very slow. If you go at "peak times" (about 7.30pm to 8.30pm) we had to wait for about half an hour. We were prepared and didn't mind as we were on holiday - what's the rush have a cocktail? You can eat 24/7 if you wish somewhere or other so no one should be that starving, Had 2 bad meals in Guiseppes (re-heated pasta dish and gloopy risotto), no fresh shaved Parmesan/ Italian Ham/ sundried tomatoes etc on the anti-pasti area. Jasmines has improved dramatically and had 2 good meals there.The rest of the food on the whole I would classify as "good" not great. Small portion sizes and the vegetables served where really only a garnish size. However, you can ask for "double" if you wish or go somewhere else afterwards. We found with 3 meals a day plus snacks from the cafe de paris coffee shop what was served was actually adequate. House Wine was very drinkable but seems to be served up very infrequently. You get half a glass when you arrive and a cocktail should you wish and usually have to ask to have your glass re-filled. It would have been more acceptable to leave you with the bottle so you could serve yourself. Only other gripe that was staying 2 weeks the menu isn't changed so a bit repetitive. We ended up mix and matching eg can I have the salmon with the angel hair pasta instead of the risotto. On the whole we felt the whole resort is aimed at the american market still with "sweet tasting bread" "frizzled up" streaky bacon and desserts that look wonderful but just don't taste of anything other than vanilla. If your going to serve pastries put "real" cream inside and lemon gateaux should taste of lemon.
Generally facilities - all communal areas kept very clean staff work very hard and very friendly. Nothing was too much of a problem if you ask. Sandals have put in lots of new seating areas and fire pits plus straw sun shades on the beach were a welcome addition. The "bagging" of the best loungers is a problem and you do need to stake your claim by 6.30am at the latest if you want a specific spot. Not a problem for us as with the jet lag etc we were awake by 6am most mornings. If you did lie in there was plenty of bed's/shades but maybe not quite where you would want to be. The "Games" area eg pool tables etc could do with new equipment as again looking tired now.There is also a small amount of "construction" going on in resort. There seems to be a large hole being dug at the back of the italian village ? what was wrong. Didn't interfere with us at all. In addition a walkway is being completed along the edge of the beach. It was almost finished as we left and was being completed by hand with only a small bob cat running back and forth with concrete. Again it didn't bother us in the slightest.
None of the above would stop us returning and other British guests said in their opinion the only resort better especially for food was Sandals St Lucia Grande. We may give that a whirl and would appreciate comments on such.
Hope the above assists.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the undiscovered. Journey to a forgotten Jamaica where the natural beauty is simply unforgettable. Within a 500-acre wilderness preserve, blue mountains, lush palm groves, pristine coastlines and shimmering turquoise waters create an unbelievable backdrop for a monumental resort. Sandals Whitehouse Europe Village & Spa perfectly blends the exotic allure of the Caribbean with the refined elegance of Europe. Charming Italian piazzas and fountains are surrounded by gardens resplendent with fragrant foliage, while three European-inspired villages – Italian, French and Dutch – are home to luxuriously-appointed, all oceanfront rooms and suites. Each one offers magnificent views overlooking the two-mile long beach, and top tier suites come with Sandals’ legendary Butler Service. Seven restaurants serve mouthwatering gourmet cuisine from around the world, and entertainment ranges from a sophisticated piano bar to bonfire beach parties and a chic nightclub. This resort is truly a world unto itself, where time is all but forgotten and the only moment is now. World Travel Awards: Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All – Inclusive Company,” 16 years in a row. Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand,” 18 years in a row. Sandals Whitehouse “Jamaica’s Leading Spa Resort” Five Star Diamond Award, American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. We’re so very pleased to announce that Sandals Whitehouse European Villages & Spa has been named in Condé Nast Traveler’s Voted 2012 Readers' Choice Awards “Top 15 Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 10 and “Top 30 Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 4 as part of the annual “Best in the World” poll. Presented Certificate of Excellence for 2012 and Travelers' Choice Hotel for 2012. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Whitehouse European Village Hotel Whitehouse
- Whitehouse Sandals
- Sandals Whitehouse Jamaica