My wife and I travelled to Sandals Whitehouse from July 2-12 to celebrate our 21st anniversary.
We are both in our mid forties, and have travelled quite extensively in the Caribbean. We are Platinum Sandals members and received our 70 night free week trip while at SWH. We have been to Sandals Grand Riviera, Sandals Negril (twice), Sandals Grande St Lucian, and Beaches Turks & Caicos (twice). As well as these Sandals / Beaches vacations, we have travelled to Mexico, Dominican Republic (three times), Cuba (four times), as well as several cruises.
We flew Air Canada Rouge for the first time, out of Toronto with a direct flight into Montego Bay. The flight was quite comfortable and I will post a separate review on AC Rouge. Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted by our Club Mobay rep who hurried us through a 90 minute lineup in about 15 minutes. She then brought us to the Sandals Lounge but went across to the Mobay Lounge to get us a couple of rum punch as they only have beer in the Sandals Lounge (very nice touch on her part). I had booked the helicopter transfer but unfortunately the weather was terrible in Mobay when we landed so they were not flying. They did however refund our money on the spot (a brown envelope with cash in it lol) and gave us a private transfer to the resort. I found the ride to be ok but if we had been prepared my wife would have taken some Gravol as she ended up getting pretty queasy towards the end of the ride.
We were greeted in the lobby by one of our butlers, David who gave us a quick tour of the resort on our way to the room. We were in room 1425 in the Italian Village with a large corner balcony that was perfect for us. Once he offered to unpack (which we refused lol), he quickly finished off the registration for us, handed us the phone to call him with, and we slipped into our swim gear to head to the beach for a drink before supper. Very smooth check in process and our room location could not be beat.
We were in a penthouse butler suite and it was just as I had imagined, maybe even better. One of the reasons we booked the butler service was for the room category that comes with it. Many say that they don’t spend a lot of time in the room, so it doesn’t matter but for us we spend an hour before dinner getting ready, and enjoy a bit of time before breakfast sitting on the patio. We really enjoyed the separate bedroom as my wife goes to bed earlier than I do so I can read or watch television without bothering her. I also like the stocked bar with selections we made on our butler preference form, as well as the Jacuzzi tub and walk in shower.
I do not spend a lot of time reviewing the food at the resorts, quite simply because what I like as far as food goes may not be what others like. However, my wife and I both agreed that the meals we had at this resort were fantastic and we did not once taste something we didn’t like. All the food is top quality and some of the best we have eaten anywhere. I particularly enjoyed the breakfast at Bayside (my favourite being the oatmeal), the seafood pizza at Guisseppes for lunch, and the steak at Eleanor’s for supper (with the lobster/shrimp combo at Bluefield’s being a close second). The drinks at all the bars were top quality and you could have them as strong or as weak as you want.
The resort is very well laid out and there is a place for everyone. We spent each morning walking on the private beach – there were a couple of mornings where we were the only ones there. When the tide is out you can walk very far by just wading through the water around a few trees. We spent most of our time at the Dutch pool as we are very low key people and don’t really enjoy the loud games and partying. We would have our butler set us up on the beach each day with a cooler of drinks and we would walk over to the pool to get in the cool water. The beach is eroding very fast in the Dutch area, but the whole 10 days we were there they were bringing in sand to remedy the situation and it looks like it will be a good fix
I was very reluctant at the beginning to book the butler service, as I feel that my wife and I are so low key that we would not take advantage of it. We did only call our butlers three or four times but I found the experience to be very enjoyable. Our butlers were David and Camille and right off the bat we fell in love with both of them and formed some very strong friendships. They are two very honest and hard working individuals and love what they do. As I mentioned earlier, the main reason I booked the butler level was for the room, but we also had the opportunity to have our chairs reserved at the beach, a full cooler of beer and water, snacks brought to us as we lounged, escorted to our reserved and nicely decorated table at dinner, a bath drawn for us with flowers and candles around the room, and a daily drink brought to the beach at 12:00 noon each day. I really loved the experience and so did my wife. We’re not so sure we will do it again but it will depend on which resort and what the advantage will be (reserved restaurants, room categories, etc).
Some of the things not mentioned above that we did or did not like:
-We were not too fond of the returning guest dinner. Though we did meet some nice people at our table, we found the staff to be cold and uninterested. There was no mention of future projects as we usually hear and the staff rep that they placed at our table seemed like she didn’t want to be there. The food was excellent however.
-We really enjoyed the helicopter ride back and would recommend it to anyone. We left about 90 minutes after the shuttle did and were able to stay in our room with our luggage until our 11:00 check out. Others had to have their bags outside by 8:30 and take the shuttle at 10:00 (our ride left at 11:30)
-We loved the local craft people that visited the resort and brought home some nice wood carvings, sandals, and some jewelry
-We did not swim in the water much as we found it to be quite rocky as you enter. It was also quite murky as there were doing a lot of dredging to fix the eroded beach
-The evening entertainment was so-so but the highlight was the Silver Birds steel drum band. Do not miss this show, it is phenomenal! The club / butler cocktail party, on the other hand was very lame and we didn’t really enjoy it.
All in all, Sandals Whitehouse has quickly become one of our favourite spots (a close tie with St Lucia) and we hope to go back some day. We were considering that for our free week but feel that we would like to try a different location such as Antigua.
- 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