I’ve vacationed at many all-inclusive resorts and have taken into consideration the star rating and cost when comparing them with Sandals. With the exception of one, and it was only a three star, this has been the only other that has not met or exceeded my expectations. In my opinion, Sandals is very overrated and overpriced. For those young inexperienced travelers with nothing to compare it too, it may seem like paradise, but once they have something to compare it to they will change their minds quickly. As for the travel agents, Sandals does give them the premium rooms and royal treatment so their ratings are most likely appropriate.
I booked and paid for an oceanfront room with concierge service and was placed in a room with a view of the trees. At other resorts I have been given an upgraded room without asking for it but never have I been assigned to a downgraded room. There is no door on the bathroom or shower so if you want to shower or change your cloths, don’t forget to put the security bar across the door. Upon entering the room you look directly into a double opening to the bathroom with no means of privacy. We didn’t even have a “do not disturb” sign.
Be aware of the spa products in your room, if you use them you get charged for them. We had a half full lip balm in our room when we booked in and had to bring it to their attention so we wouldn’t be charged for it. They said the prices for the products are in the room, we never saw any prices and never used any of the products.
Although they say you have room service 24/7, if you’re an early riser they don’t answer the phone. If you wait until after 7:00 am, they answer the phone but it takes 45 minutes to get a cold breakfast delivered. Another guest said they had breakfast menus in their room and could make selections and leave it on the door the evening before. We didn’t have any of these but were told they got the same late delivery and cold food so we didn’t bother asking for them.
Some of the food was excellent; however we did have some very bad (most likely spoiled) food that was not what you would expect from a five star resort. They do offer some top shelf liquor if you pay for it. The Regency restaurant has bottles of Appleton Rum and fine wine starting at $45.00 per bottle but other five star resorts offer this at no extra charge. Although the resort was only about 50% booked, it was difficult to get a dinner reservation. One of the two dinner reservations that we did have got “lost” by concierge so be sure to ask for a reservation card when making one.
Our package included a $100 spa credit but the spa prices were so extravagant that we didn’t use it. When you arrive, you have to give them an imprint of your credit card. When you check out you realize everything that they charged you for, including local calls to other Sandals resorts and “service charges” on everything you’ve purchased on the resort.
The bar and fridge in our room was stocked but most of the products were nothing we drink. We did have two bottles of soda water and although leaving a note asking for more, we never received them.
Our room was cooler than outside, but too warm to be comfortable, even with the ceiling fan and air conditioner running 24/7. Sandals does have air conditioning in two of the restaurants but for some reason they choose to shut it off most of the time. This makes eating dinner very unpleasant because you have to continually use your napkin to wipe the sweat off your face. They should consider serving a cool damp towel with dinner and offer a little ice to put in it.
The pools were much smaller and shallower than any resort we have stayed at. They are not for swimming in, but you can get cooled off in them if you scoot down. The ocean swimming area is also very shallow and small. They have ropes up to keep you safe from the speeding jet skis that fly by. The beach has no sand, just hard crushed shells and is very small. As far as the noise from planes, it’s exactly what you should expect when located near a busy airport.
For those getting married, you’re just another number. Sandals told us they have done as many as eleven weddings in one day. If you are there for the purpose of a wedding, the prices for your spa, hair, pictures, beach dinner, etc. are all above the regular prices for the same services that other guests pay. Beware of buying anything off a Sandals wedding registry. They charge an additional 10%, even for gift cards for resort credit, and then don’t let the bride and groom use it while there. When the bride and groom check out, they get a nice surprise; Sandals charges their credit card for everything that had been bought for them on the wedding registry. You have to dispute the charges with your credit card company! This is a scam!
The staff that you see every day are exactly what we expect from the Caribbean; the courteous, friendly, accommodating, tip deserving, locals. The front desk and management, are rude, unhappy, people that let you know they already have your money and don’t care about your problems, you can just leave it you don’t like it. Bottom line, if we were at a three star resort with an entry level room and paid half of what we paid, it would have been closer to what we expected. This was our first and last Sandals experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.