Featuring Reviews of Sandals Whitehouse,
Sandals Grand Riviera, Couples Sans Souci,
Couples Swept Away, Sandals Royal Caribbean,
Sandals Montego Bay
Jamaica All Inclusive Reviews
Photos and copy by Patricia Blackstock
My husband, Wally Snider, and I have been taking yearly all-inclusive vacations sine 1997. We prefer Jamaica to other locations, and we recommend both Couples and Sandals Resorts in Jamaica. Both offer multiple locations, and in Jamaica they are the most popular resorts offering couples an all-inclusive, adults-only vacation. I often receive e-mail from couples who have come across my vacation page, asking for information to help them choose between Couples and Sandals.
If you have decided that your destination vacation should be in Jamaica, but you can't decide between Couples and Sandals, then hopefully this information will be helpful to you. If this is your first all inclusive vacation, put away your billfold and get ready to experience a laid back vacation with lots of good food, drinks and entertainment. All without tipping!
But which is best for you...Couples or Sandals?
First, do some research. Read reviews for both Sandals and Couples. I know how frustrating it can be to find something you like, only to discover horribal reviews. But generally, if you read enough, you'll discover the good outweighs the bad. Or vice versa. Some of the bad reviews you come across may have been written by people who failed to do the proper research. I'll never forget one I read a few years ago. Someone wrote a scathing review of the entire resort based on the fact (and it is indeed, a fact) that there were birds around the outdoor dining area, and some would even try to land on their table.
What are your expectations?
Ask yourselves what you expect from your all inclusive couples only vacation. You might even write your own list, then compare it with your traveling companion. For instance, we live 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, so a beautiful beach is not as important to us as other amenities. Are you a foodie? How important is a sports complex? Have you always wanted your own personal Butler? Do you scuba or snorkel? Do you dream of a wide sandy beach or are you basically a pool person? What about the size of the resort? Some are comfortably small. A smaller all inclusive may offer fewer pools and restaurants, but it doesn't take you long to become familiar with the property. You meet more people at a smaller resort. We met people at Sandals Royal Caribbean in 2003, and we remain friends with them today. Larger resorts offer more amenities, pools and restaurants. If you give serious thought to what you want, you will be able to find the resort that suits your wants and needs.
Get a Grip on Your Budget
As you begin your comparison of Sandals vs Couples, establish a budget and stick to it. This is not as easy as it sounds when you get caught up in searching resorts. We've made this same mistake ourselves. And don't forget the cost of airfare becomes a part of your vacation budget.
In Jamaica, Sandals offers more locations and room levels than Couples
You may want only the basic all-inclusive experience, or you may opt for concierge or butler rooms. Note that some Sandals accommodations are available only with concierge and/or butlers. As a case in point, the room/building we wanted to book at Sandals Grande Ochio Rios in 2013 came with concierge service. The resort is so large and offers so many eating options and activities that we didn't need this level of service. But we booked it anyhow, just for the awesome balcony views, and other amenities. There are other Sandals where we were very happpy to have the concierge service which we utililzed quite often. What does a Concierge at Sandals actually do? Currently, wi-fi internet access is free for guests staying in a Concierge or Butler room category in any of Sandals Jamaica locations.
Couples offers less complicated options. It is what it is...and what it is, is all good
What keeps us returning to Sandals?
The Sandals returning guest program keeps many couples going back to Sandals. It simply can't be beat! When you have accumulated 35 paid nights, you earn a lovely pair of small silver sandals to wear around your neck. After 56 paid nights, you earn your gold sandals. And 70 paid nights earn you a free 7-night stay at any Sandals location. We know several people who have earned their free week several times over.
Another reason people return to Sandals is the variety of the resort chain's locations. Couples offers only 4 Jamaica resorts, but there are 7 in the Sandals Jamaica chain, plus more at other beaches and islands. So if you want to be in Jamaica, and you like to experience a variety of resorts, Sandals gives you more options.
In truth, we have been equally happy with both Sandals and Couples in Jamaica. Both resorts excel in service and good food. We have outstanding memories of both these all inclusive resorts.
Below, you will find links to all our beach and island vacations including Couples and Sandals. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (Patricia Blackstock) and I'll try to help you.
Our Sandals and Couples Reviews and photos are here along with other vacation reviews and photos.
|Our Favorite All Inclusive Links
Dream Makers Amy McHugh is by far the best travel agent we've ever known. If you're planning an all-inclusive resort vacation, tell Amy Patrish sent you. There is no charge for her service, and she is very familiar with both Sandals and Couples.