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Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Buffalo, NY
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Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

For the heck of it I decided to look up what Sandals was going for these days. I was shocked at how expensive it was. I looked for a basic room at Sandals in Antigua. They touted all sorts of discounts- 30% off plus 550 credit per person for an airfare allowance.

At the end it came to 2800 bucks for a standard basic room. I go to look and realize this doesn't include air. So I look at air costs...2400 MORE $$$ to add air. Sooo....a 7 night Sandals vacation comes to 5200! The rack rate for the room alone was over 5K for a standard room- this 2800 is with all the discounts applied.

Now, I really have no interest in Sandals resorts as I've heard they offer the world and under deliver but I wonder how they make any $$$? Who pays such crazy prices for a week? We could stay for 10 nights at the IB Grand with $$$ left over on 5200. We could do 14 nights at the Royal PDC for that!

Why is Sandals so much $$??? Is it really THAT much better than 5 star AI places in Mexico??? Mexico sure is a value!!

boston, ma
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1. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

One my girlfriends honeymooned at Sandals St Lucia.

She & her hubby vacationed with us later @ Iberostar Bavaro in PC and said that was better than Sandals - the Royal Playa Del Carmen is better than the IB was. I think Sandals is highly over rated.

St. Louis, Missouri
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2. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

Asmit-----AMEN!

I'm going through that right now, but with Couples resorts in Jamaica.

I've always wanted to visit Jamaica, but not at these prices. My niece is getting married in June of 2010 at Couples Swept Away in Negril. I used June of 09 as an example of prices and for my husband and I for a 7 night stay is roughly $4800. Really?????

I am having a hard time justifying this cost. We like to take a vaca every year but can have a fabulous time in Mexico spending $2500 total. This Oct we're going to the IB Quetzal with our 2 kids for $3100.

Do you think it would be rude to tell my niece that we'll come but will have to stay in a different resort and buy a day pass for her wedding? OMG, I do NOT want to have that discussion.

I looked at other resorts there as an alternative (that are actually in our vacation budget) and I found 1 AI that gets decent reviews but it is literally only basic ammenities....1 restaurant, no day activities, water sports, etc.

I can spend the same amount in Mexico and get WAY more bang for my buck!

So yes, you are right. Mexico is a value, and I didn't realize just how much until now!

Buffalo, NY
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3. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

I think that's exactly what you should tell your niece. She'll understand.

Another option would be to just spend 2 nights at the Couples resort and do the rest of your trip at a lower end place. The 5 star places in Mexico have everything you could want and more. I think the prices for these caribbean AIs is crazy, especially since most of the Sandals resort are coming up on 10 years old-the new resorts in Mexico blow them out of the water.

Hemet, California
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4. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

"Who pays such crazy prices for a week?"

I have and many more than I know. We took our kids to Beaches the family resort to Sandals, yes it is crazy expensive. My sister went to the Sandals in Antigua. There are people who really like the island and know that is price you pay. Even though we could easily vacation in Mexico for a lot less, we have chosen Jamaica, not because it's "yawd" but because we enjoy the food, waterfalls and vibe. This year we tried Mexico because of price and enjoyed it.

No, I don't think it's better, just what some people seek. Mexico is VALUE. After paying Jamaica's vacation prices, I am stunned when posters on the this forum complain about resorts and amenities. I am always thinking wth, you expect top shelf liquor. ala-carte dining and turn down service for how much per night?

Keep in mind many would think going to any A/I is a rip-off. While they are cheaper in Mexico many are paying for food they will never eat and liquor they will never drink.

I agree, it's expensive and Mexico is great value.

It's not always about price pay. Sandals have some devoted guests. Some defend it as if it was a child or spouse :-).

Pauline

Hemet, California
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5. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

"Do you think it would be rude to tell my niece that we'll come but will have to stay in a different resort and buy a day pass for her wedding?"

No, I have done that. I would also tell my child that. Child mama loves you but not paying to stay there because you want me to. That is common protocol for wedding guests in Jamaica. It's unreasonable to have someone pay those prices for a resort that may not be of their liking or choice. Most day pass are about $65 for 10am-6am.

If it's Negril, you will have many places to choose from which is far more reasonable.

Pauline

Texas
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6. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

I think it really depends on a lot of things -

We just went to Sandals in Jamaica in July and we paid $3200 (including air) for 6 nights. We had a villa suite w/semi private pool and concierge service. We booked that 6 months ago. Prices now would be about $800 more for the same resort/room category we booked. And air has gone up by about $100pp as well - so $4200 total. So its really changed in just the last few months. We could still go to Couples for about $3200 though because of their current promotion. The new Sandals promotion isn't as good as the one they had going last year.

We were considering doing Mexico next summer, but looking at the all-inclusives I am getting prices of $2200-2800 (or more) for 6 nights (no air). Air from Houston to Cancun is $100 more pp than from Houston to Montego Bay - so from $3400-4000. So for us, an AI in Mexico is a bit more than what we paid for Jamaica this summer, and just a tad less than Jamaica would for next year.

I'm also very disappointed in looking that AI's in Mexico. Dh and I don't like the "look" of the big, modern, "new" resorts - we saw a Rui in Jamaica and thought it was just hideous - looked more like hospital to us than a tropical resort. We also don't like a lot of the rules about wristbands (I will NOT walk around for days with a wristband!), limited nights at a la carte restaurants, making dinner reservations in the morning, transfers to/from airport not included, tipping not included, etc. that I have seen mentioned at a lot of MX AI's. Sandlas has no reservation rules, you can eat at al a cartes for 3 meals a day if you want This was huge for us because we hate buffet food. I've had to rule out a lot of AI's in Mexico due to the restaurant policies.

So we've decided that if we go to Mexico next year we probably won't do an AI, even though we loved Sandals and if we went back to Jamaica (which we also want to do soon!) we would definitely do an AI again there.

Just personal preference and everyone is different - that is why I am glad there is a variety of options so that with the right research, a person can plan the vacation that is right for them!

Buffalo, NY
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7. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

The pricing firebird found is much more in line with what I would envision for Mexico prices. I think 4K and under with air is doable- at least for us. I was just shocked to find pricing at over 5K for a week for a standard basic room.

All the AIs we've been to require wristbands- we actually like them- they make us feel like we are on vacation LOL!, some require reservations for dinner, but all have al a carte meals for all 3 meal times. I also LOVE 'the hospital look' and don't like some of the tropical looking resorts. I guess it's all what you are looking for.

St. Louis, Missouri
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8. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

Kool---

Have you heard of Merrils Resorts in Negril? Thats the one I was referring to. As long as the food is decent, it's clean, friendly staff and a great beach, I'm good to go. I guess that's why I don't want to pay the price at Couples...don't care about all of the bells and whistles and don't want to get used to that either! LOL

Also, Merrils is about 2 miles or so away from Couples (according to a map), are you allowed to just walk the beach down to CSA? I think it would be a beautiful walk, but don't know if the areas are passable and if it's safe.

Also, if we wanted to take a taxi, what are the average prices?

Thanks,

Dana

boston, ma
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9. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

Everyone is different & to be honest I really don't want my favorite resort to be everybody else's.

There are AIs in Mexico with unlimited a la carte/no reservation dining, and some without wristbands - the Valentin is one of them, which is our next trip.

Hemet, California
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10. Re: Sandals vs. Mexico AI- what a rip off

Dana

That's the one I was going to suggest. I will PM with information and share my online album of Negril with you. Wipe Mexico's prices out of your mind. We went camping for $125 and couldn't help thinking we had A/I with swim-out in Mexico for $200 per night. I LMAO when I read a reviews where someone is complaining about a Mexico resorts, then I check the price. If you are into vacations, Mexico does make it affordable. More so if you are into the modern, mega, pools to die, more marble than the Vatican, resorts.