My husband and I booked a 3 night trip to the Bahamas a week before departure so were very limited in which resorts had availability . . . therefore ended up here. I find it extremely unlikely we will return.
To be kind I will start with the pros:
Our room in the Tower was decent – ocean view from balcony, no cheesy statues in our room or Sandals logos on our bed spread which was a welcome relief from the grounds - everything in the room worked.
The tennis courts – we didn’t have to fight to use them and while we played mornings we did notice light switches, so assume they are good for night play as well.
The beach – it is not big, but it is lovely and much quieter than the pool areas.
There is a hot tub off the boardwalk (at the opposite end from the boat deck) that has a view of the ocean and not very many people seem to know about it . . . great for a relaxing moment at the end of the day. There is another whirlpool hidden in the back of the grounds – look for #36 on the map – we didn’t try it but it seems like another nice quiet escape.
The billiard room across from the piano lounge can be a nice diversion after an early dinner.
The fire pits by the sea are cozy for a night-cap.
Now for the cons:
The food was atrocious – think Applebee’s meets high school cafeteria. Baccarat had a nice atmosphere, and the food was the least awful, but still no dice.
The wine – the only way I could stomach it was in a white wine spritzer to mask the awfulness.
The service – too many of the staff were unpleasant and acted like you were annoying them when you made simple requests for things like water at a meal.
The island – if the wind blows it closes, plus it seemed like too much of a hassle to get there (people lined up on the docks, not able to fit on the boat and having to wait longer for the next boat, boats are timed only every hour so you have to watch the clock on your holiday).
The drinks – super inconsistent in their amount of alcohol, so be careful.
The photographers – couples milling about having their photo shoots, couples getting married in the middle of the beach where everyone is trying to enjoy themselves – not so classy or relaxing of an experience.
The pools – too crowded and noisy – loud terrible music, chairs too close together and too many of them. The “activities” were super cheesy eg name that tune, bingo. At least in other resorts there are palatable activities like water aerobics, or water volleyball. Pools and hot tubs at pools are to be avoided.
No room service beyond breakfast, no breakfast room service before 8a.
The check-in – if you arrive before 3p like we did you get corralled into a group check-in situation and then taken to the worst restaurant on the resort and told to eat there. If you want to arrive here early take a change of clothes and sneak off to the beach if you can, they won’t know the difference. We couldn’t because we had bad weather on our first day so were stuck. We endured that grim excuse for lunch at the restaurant by the pool and then played pool until our room was ready.
The restaurant reservations – we called to make reservations first thing and were told they were booked all week. So we had to go down to the front desk and present ourselves, and low and behold we were able to get reservations. What an unnecessary pain.
The last thing I’ll say is that Sandals is a marketing hyped pre-packaged experience that attracts the kind of clientele who like marketing hyped pre-packaged experiences. I went with an open mind, and was able to make the best of it, but if you are on the fence like I was and are wondering about the Sandals experience hopefully this review can point you elsewhere.