I wasn't sure what to think after reading the reviews here but now that I am back I wanted to share my honest opinion.
We stayed there 8/17 - 8/22. We had stayed at the Grand Riviera in Ocho Rios back in 2008 and loved Jamaica so much we thought we'd try a different part of the island.
When we got to Jamaica we were greeted at the airport Sandal's lounge and given refreshments and pastries. They tagged our bags and told us a third party car service would be taking us to the resort. It was about and hour and a half drive and that included a restroom pit stop and we got to the resort at 6:00pm after traveling 15 hours so we were pretty tired.
In true Sandals style we were welcomed with a fruity drink and cool towels. We filled out some forms and gave our credit card for any extra charges.
We were told we were upgraded from a deluxe to a premium room. The room being in the newer coconut grove building. The bad part was that it was on the second floor room 2201 and was in the back of the building. The room had nice furnishings. But was extremely small and had no natural light coming into it. There were two windows. One facing the stairwell and the other facing the walkway. There are huge banana trees and foliage that cover the outside of these rooms and passages. There isn't any natural light that comes into the room. We could not keep our shutters open without people looking in or coming down the stairs.
Needless to say I asked to change my room the next morning and downgraded to my original booked room. We were put in the Paradise building in another room #5215 that faced the back of the building, except the room was huge. There were two chairs and a table if we wanted to eat in and there was a huge window where the sun could beam in and no one could walk by and stare.
We were fine with change as I understand I did not pay for an ocean facing room but I did not expect to spend my 5 nights in a dark sardine can.
We took a good look at the property and here is what I can honestly say. It's not the biggest resort I have been to. The main pool is small. My town pool is bigger. There is another pool along the resort but it is tiny and next to the piano bar.
The gym was nice. There was really good equipment there. We were up at 6am everyday using this room.
The swim up suites are lined up in front of the barefoot by the sea restaurant. I cannot possibly see anyone thinking they could have some privacy or romantic time in that part of the swim up area when you have a restaurant on the beach with people eating directly in front of you. In the advertisement of these rooms at the airport lounge this restaurant is totally missing.
The architecture of the newer buildings is questionable. There are parking lot facing rooms. I am not sure who would travel so far to stay in a room like that.
The beach is beautiful. The sand isn't exactly powdery white and you will not find any seashells. Although there is a guy who sells conch shells at the end of the beach if you go towards the Hedo resort.
At the beach in the water there are two areas roped off portions of ocean where you are allowed to swim. The floor of the beach is full of seaweed (sea ganga as they call it) and wherever there wasn't any just felt really slimy. I brought a noodle with me in the water to completely float over this.The depth of the water that is roped off is about 5 1/2 feet at its deepest point. So if you like to swim like me in deeper water you will find this completely limiting.
There is glass bottom, snorkeling, water ski and scuba tours offered throughout the day and they keep the waters clear so the boats can go back and forth. They dont take you very far. If it rains they cancel all trips. Excursions off the site are offered but are very expensive.
There are rangers on the beach that control vendors that walk along the beach selling items. I wouldn't leave any valuables on my beach chair. They are safer by the pool. There are plenty of beach chairs on the beach. The main pool area is small so you have to claim a chair early in the morning as there are not many in that area.
The best part of this resort I would say is the restaurants and entertainment. We did find all the meals were excellent and the playmakers do their best to entertain and motivate the guests.
We are sandal select members and were asked to a special cocktail and dinner. We were given a bottle of Guyanese rum. The resort does not serve any Jamaican rum which I found strange. Also I thought that since they advertised they were now serving Beringer wines I could occasionally have a glass. But it turned out this was on the "Manager's List" and if you wanted wine you had to buy a bottle for $25 or a glass at $10. I believe the going price here in NY for a bottle is about $12 so I thought that was ridiculous.
It was a relaxing vacation after we were moved from our dark room. We will come back to Jamaica but not to this particular Sandals. I expected more for the amount of money we paid. I would say it is a boutique resort. If you dont care about the size or view from your room then this may be for you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Located on Negril's pristine 7-mile white sand beach•Phenomenal bedroom oceanfront suites set upon a relaxing crystal lagoon•Ultra luxurious one-bedroom millionaire honeymoon suites with private plunge pool•Seven exquisite dining options•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Voted Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa “Jamaica's Leading Hotel” (2nd consecutive year)•Five Star Diamond Resort, American Academy of Hospitality Science ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Negril Beach Resort And Spa
- Sandals Negril Beach Hotel Negril
- Sandals Jamaica
- Sandals Negril Jamaica
- Sandals Resort