Like many others this is a mixed review.
Lets start with the positive reviews.....
We had paid for for the Butler service at the Royal Village. We were picked up from the airport in a vintage Rolls Royce and the driver was extremely knowledgeable about the Island, especially James Bond!
When we arrived we were offered an upgrade to the Windsor Building with a terrace overlooking the entertainment pool. However, this was our 'WeddingMoon' and we wanted a quiet relaxing holiday and so declined and went along with our original choice in the royal village area. We were pleased we did as we had a small pool right outside our suite and were mostly alone everyday there.
Our Butler team, Reynard, Corey and Diana were fantastic unlike a previous reviewers opinion on theirs. Although it isnt a 'personal' service, whenever we wanted or needed anything it was brought for us. maybe not in seconds but as the 'Bahaminan' way within half an hour. Every morning not only were our seats reserved with towels and 'towel art' we had a cooler brought to us with beers, sodas and water which was topped up throughout the day, we were also bought snacks, nachos, cheese and crackers and fruit and a plate left in the room for the evening along with a bubble and rose bud bath (twice!!) and amazing towel art every night.
We had asked for several premium brands of spirits in our room which we got!
The Buitlers organised the entire 10 days reservations and we did change these around and asked for different times, all of this was done.
We did not use the Butlers for our every whim although we did see one chap being run ragged by a group of visitors on the beach fetching drinks every few minutes!
The food in all the restaurants was excellent with the exception of Gordons ( which had been reloated to the Royal Cafe due to Hurricane damage). We asked for a table at 9.30 and we were the only guests in there. Baccarat was definatly the best restuarant also for breakfast which was a welcome change from the mainly chaoitic service in Spices! The Crystal Room runs a close second and the Alaskan Spider Crab legs are just simply amazing!
We got married on our third day at the Resort and chose the Garden Gazebo which was more private ( and less windy) than the beach locations. We opted for the Beautiful Beginnings which was free and it was fantastic, there was no need to upgrade as everything was perfect. Our photograher, Kamone was brilliant and athough we did not purchase a pre-paid package and just chose a few of the hundreds she had taken we were not given any hard sell at all to buy more. Overall, we would not have changed a thing about that day.
The Firepits are a great place to be sociable in the evenings, we met lots of people and every evening was different. However there is not much to do at night, does everyone go to bed early? one evening we were alone in the Cricketers at 11pm!!
The gym is excellent with fantastic views from the treadmills to the island. The equipment is modern with lots of machines, free weights etc, it was never busy when we went there, this may have something to do with how early we got there!
The Cricketers pub does decent snacks and the service is really good even when busy. You should really consider putting on a Traditional English Sunday Roast there it would give the pub a more traditional English feel!
On our last day we asked the Butler to arrange a late checkout which we got for no extra cost. We had a private transfer to the airport in a new 4 x 4 and surprisingly got upgraded to the First Class Lounge on arrival (I dont think this had anything to do with Sandals as we flew Premier Economy both ways).
The not so positive reviews of the Resort......It was smaller than we thought it would be (however this could also be a positive thing too), the Piano Bar does smell strangely and there was a definate whiff of sewage on the beach depending on the wind direction! The Resort really does need an update to make you feel you are in a 5* resort and not one that was 5* years ago.
Spices for breakfast was always chaotic. The buffet was limited and pot luck! Somedays there were no glasses for the juice or spoons for cereals. When asking for tea be prepared not to get it even when asking several times and when it does arrive you get a large pot of hot water and one teabag! Baccarat is a better option and less busy. Lunchtime is better at Spices with more choice of food and more attentive waiters with drinks. We tried the Pizzaria and the Royal Cafe for burgers but neither were that great (unless you like to eat fast food).
The rooms in the Royal Village need some overhauling as they were dated.The accommodation (especially the bathrooms) could do with being a lot bigger, however, it would be difficult to do this without either losing some of the smaller rooms or adding onto the buildings. We have been to other resorts in the Caribbean (not Sandals) and these had better standard accommodation.
There is not enough attention to detail, the little things that we all appreciate. The mini bar was topped up every day but after the first bottle of bubby was drunk this was not replaced, neither was the wine. The toiletries in the bathroom were not topped up at all, I left a note for the maid on 2 days to ask for more which we got but we were left with no shampoo for the last 2 days of our holidat despite asking the evening maid who said she would have to go and get some. A few days we did not get enough towels and resorted in using the pool towels.
We did go to the 'Back Soon' desk as we were tempted by the 65% discount. We would have definatly booked another holiday with Sandals if we had been 'wowed' by this vacation. However, like other reviewers we have been to 5* hotels in the Middle and Far East and the service at Sandals is not up to what we would consider to be 5* especially for the prices that Sandals charge.
However, overall we had a lovely time but we are unlikely to return. :(