We were at Sandals Royal Caribbean, March 5th-13th 2009. The Royal is a smaller, older quieter resort, which we love. This was our 3rd stay and it will not be our last. Maintenance workers can be seen all around the resort, sprucing up, mowing, raking, planting and painting. As you can imagine, keeping a resort in good shape is an ongoing project. At this time, no major construction was going on.
We were blessed with a fantastic upgrade to a River Suite. All I can say is WOW!! This new block of rooms was being built when we were there last Feb. but we never thought we would be staying in one. Thanks to Leighton Josephs and Jason Halloway, and the other Powers that be, our WeddingMoon week was spent in pure luxury.
I have never stayed at a resort that the bed was as comfortable as this one. They spared no expense on the bedding; duvet, sheets, and pillows. The bathroom was a tub users dream. The whirlpool tub was perfect as was the double head stand alone shower. Having two sinks is also a plus as was having a separate room for the toilet. The room also has a mini-fridge and stocked bar, glasses, cork screw and ice bucket. They have thought of everything. There is also a small coffee pot and coffee if you want to make your own and not call room service. Another great feature is a desk and chair, couch, coffee table and a small table with 2 chairs. Walk out the glass sliding doors and you are on a huge balcony! They thought of everything! The balcony has a very comfortable big couch and 2 ottomans, as well as a large table and 2 chairs. All of this over looking one of the Lazy Rivers and if you look through the trees, you see the ocean. The second floor rooms in this block have a staircase down to the lazy river, or if you don’t want to walk in the water, there is a stairway in the back. They also thought this block out well by having an elevator for those that don’t want to walk the stairs, or for workers caring suitcases and supplies to the second and third floors. When on vacation, we don’t usually spend a lot of time in our room, but I think we spent more time in this one. From having coffee on the balcony in the morning and then cocktails after a day in the sun to relaxing and reading a book when we needed a break from the sun and of course, the time spent getting ready for our wedding. Don’t forget, you can call room service and have a pre-dinner snack delivered.
This is the first year I have used the spa. I had a manicure/pedicure for the wedding and was impressed. I had this done the day before the wedding which was a mistake on my part, I screwed up the polish on a couple of nails! I stopped in the spa the next morning to see if they could fit me in to get them redone…they could and didn’t charge me a thing! Now that is service. It is okay to leave a gratuity for spa services and can even have it added to your room bill.
The wedding was perfect. As soon as we got to our room, we had a folder with our names on it and our wedding time. Inside there was a print out of when our appointment was with our wedding planner and as many updates as you could imagine. We had decided to go with the basic free ceremony, flowers and cake. Our first day there we met with our planner. She had the 3 different types of cake for us to try, chocolate, vanilla and fruit cake …we picked the chocolate since we are choc-o-holics. We also had a glass of champagne while going over the details. Sandals does charge $15.00 for each person attending the reception, even though they are already paying guests of the resort. Sandals Royal’s minister is Reverend Brown, he is amazing!! We were told he is the only one they use and he is also the only one that does premarital counseling. He really hit the nail on the head with his advice, to the point we all thought he must have cameras in our houses!! He mixes just the right amount of seriousness with the comical.
The day of the wedding, the groom leaves the room first and waits in the planner’s office while the bride finishes up getting ready. About 15 minutes before the ceremony, she will come and get the bride and escort her to the pre-determined wedding destination. We choice the wedding gazebo out on the pier and are glad we did. It was windy, but the perfect setting for the ceremony. We were blessed in having the Two sisters join us as my Matron's of Honor, as well as Jason Halloway as Brian's Bestman. Oakly Cunningham(Night Manager) was able to join us for our reception. Oakly is an asset to the Royal as well as a great friend. Thank you again Oakly for helping make our special day more special, and for the lovely floral arraignment you sent us.
After the, “I Do’s” you head over to where you have decided you want your reception. A table is set up just for the signing of the marriage certificate. Pictures are taken while all sign on the dotted line. Then you move over to the tables that are set up for the reception itself. Here you will cut the cake, drink your first Champagne as man and wife, your first dance, and speeches if anyone wants to make any. Hors d'oeuvres and champagne are served, more pictures taken…and then you are official. It probably takes a little over an hour. I highly recommend anyone thinking of a destination wedding to choose the Royal. They take all the worry and stress out of what should be a stress free day. All you have to do is show up and enjoy!
I am not going to discuss food in any detail that is such a personal preference. I will say we did not ever go hungry, and the alcohol is plentiful. The Returning Guest dinner was, as always, superb. I even got my silver sandals …well, they ran out of them, so they are sending them to me. I do think they could use more wait staff at the Regency, some mornings we were almost done with breakfast before we got coffee or water. I would also like to see a few more bar staff hired, there just doesn’t seem to be enough to wait on people in a timely manner a good part of the time.
A reminder to guests, remember your voices carry! The three rooms below us were occupied by a set of parents, and their two married adult children with spouses. These 6 people were so obnoxious, talking way too loud and about subjects that other people do not care to hear. Do not stand down in the pool and carry on conversations with the people that are on the third floor. It is disruptive to all the other guests. We would have made a complaint if we were not leaving the next day, and I am sure management would have had a quiet conversation with the offending group. So, just a reminder about how loud you are talking and do a check on if it is appropriate language and topics.