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“Worth every penny, but traveler be aware” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sandals South Coast

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Sandals South Coast
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Certificate of Excellence
West Bloomfield, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Worth every penny, but traveler be aware”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2012

We were very nervous when we booked Sandals Whitehouse for our honeymoon and did not know what to expect. It was trip advisor that convinced us in the end and we were not disappointed. Though there are a few things (in the The Bad) that anyone booking at sandals whitehouse should know before going in.

First of all, Getting there and finding out that Hurricane Sandy was heading our way was an adventure for a midwestern couple...

However, this ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. Sandals staff took excellent excellent care of us. (With the caveat mentioned below).

I am a vegetarian and had previously told them this (If you are a vegetarian or have food allergies PLEASE let Sandals know) so someone came out in the rain with a vegetarian care package for me. Sandals called us and told us when it was safe to come out.

Also, please please please make sure to try all the restaurants. When we got there we thought we had found our favorite restaurants, but when we went out to explore we discovered a new favorite.

The good:

All-inclusive means all-inclusive. They get you and your bags from the airport. They have a great lounge. Additionally, no tipping and though some guests do choose to discretely compensate staff, I was told if you do it be very discrete because the staff would get in trouble if management found out.

If you are a drinker, there are bars located everywhere.

We booked a non-concierge room and still our fridge was stocked with water, juice, and sodas and replenished daily.

The watersports. Again, Sandals takes good care of you. We learned how to sail, and they actually had a rescue boat out there and helped coach us on how to come back in. One day some experienced sailors were going further than recommended and two rescue boats came out and said we advise that you not go any further.

The rooms are nice, spacious, all have a good view and are cleaned twice(!) a day.

GORGEOUS facilities.

Another thing i encourage you to do is ask the staff if you need something. As a vegetarian I would ask for substitutions to make meat dishes vegetarian and all but once the wait staff said no problem. (Once I even asked if they could combine the ingredients of two dishes to make it a bit more flavorful and the answer was no problem.)

The downside:

If you are going to Sandals Whitehouse add some money in your budget for a tour. It is far from things and though the property does have activities, we found we needed to get out. (Sandals partners with Island Routes, which has a booth on the property AND you can bill the cost to your room.)

The variety of the food is good, but only because of the occasional party or buffet. Otherwise, if you are there for more than 5 days you may find it gets a bit repetitive. Especially as the quality could be improved. (It also completely depends on the time, day, and chef. I went to the same restaurant two days in a road, ordered the same thing, and it was completely different.)

While most of the staff is awesome, Mr. G should spend some time with the front desk staff. Twice, when I called from my room, I got frustrating answers from them on basic questions that ended with me having to walk down to the lobby. One time, I was told that I was going to get a letter about storm preparations--which I never did---and had I not happened to go into Bayside where the letter was posted, I would have missed the very important 9 AM meeting about the storm. Second time, I asked about the time the shuttle would be picking us up for our flight and was told someone would contact me in the afternoon. Finally, I walked down to the lobby AGAIN.


The last is a minor adjustment quibble. The staff is very insistent upon getting into your room sometimes even at an inconvenient moment.

All in all, however, Sandals gave us a memorable honeymoon and we are looking forward to going back. The only thing I would do differently is maybe stay one less night and add to the external tour budget.

Room Tip: Each village has a different character depending on what you are traveling for. Also, be aware that...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Pri2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
30 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2012

My wife and I visited Sandals White House in Jamaica in the first week of October.

Overall, I was very impressed. This might be the best overall resort experience I've had, and this is after having been to many 5 star resorts. This is not to say it's perfect, but it was definitely a cut above.

I've heard that Sandal's are supposed to be better than other resorts. From what I can see, this appears to be true. However, if you've been to ultra all-inclusive's or exotic boutique hotels, you have probably see as good. However, if you are a standard 4.5 and 5 star resort visitor, this place is a step up. When we went, there was a sale, and given that it was slow season, it was around $1750 pp. I believe the high season price is at least twice that.

Also, one benefit with Sandals was that you are allowed to visit other sandals and use their facilities. I don't think many do this in Jamaica, however it was a nice perk. We visited the Sandals in Ocho Rios. We even managed to get ourselves to the Negril Sandals for a one night stay at no additional cost (note, this is low season, and we got to know the manager a little, your mileage may vary).

Here's the breakdown.

Service: I'd hate to say it, as it sounds like a commercial, but the real difference with this resort was the level of service. They really went above and beyond in making sure you were happy.

Rooms: For all the great things about this resort, the rooms were just okay.... now note we were in a fairly basic room (second lowest). I suspect the suites were a different story. Our room was a reasonable size, tiny balcony (every room in the resort is ocean view, and within 50 of the water), average bathroom. The bed was a poster bed, the TV was ~37 inch LCD, fully stocked bar fridge, safe, etc. Nice, clean, but pretty basic. It's too bad, because if I had been blown away by an amazing room I would truly raved about this resort. If I were to go back, I would find a way to afford a higher class of room.

Activities: Scuba, Water-skiing, glass bottom boat, hobby cats, kayaks, paddle boards, squash courts, tennis courts, spa, exercise room, etc. Pretty much anything you want to do, and all of the equipment was in good to excellent condition. I'm a scuba diver, and did two dives at White Sands and one in Negril. I brought my own equipment, but after the first dive I did not bother to use anything other than my mask and fins. The equipment was fine. The White House dive shop itself was pretty standard and seemed to be fairly well run. Not perfect, but good enough. The scuba shack had the prerequisite crusty shop woman who seemed to be looking for a reason to make your dives more difficult. They take your certifications very seriously. If you are open water certified (PADI), they will only take you to 60 feet (well, maybe 70 at most). It does not matter to them if you have 100 dives. Also, when I was setting up my gear I noticed that there were no O-rings on some of the tanks. The guys on the boat were pretty good, but really let you set your own gear up (only helping with weights).

The dives themselves were okay. Unfortunately, there had been rain the few days before my dives and visibilities were poor. That said, had it been clear, it would have been a "nice" dive. Nothing special, but not overly boring. The corals had some nice formations, some fans, and a little sea life. I've done far worse dives. If you are a diver, don't expect anything that will change your understanding of the world, but it's worth checking out.

Also a note about Negril. I found the dive shop was a little better there. A little more life, more professionalism, better pre-dive brief, etc. The dives were very similar to the White house ones, however I had heard from some folks who dove earlier that the diving had been very nice (better visibility). I've also heard that there are some interesting wreck dives (a small plane, a boat).

In both locations, you are going no more than 10 - 15 minutes from the resort.

Beach: White sand, clean, wide, and nice for walking. At one end of the resort, there is an undeveloped beach you can walk for a km or two. Very nice. The swimming itself was not as impressive. It seems the area is prone to a short sea grass (not slimy, just a grass). They clear it out in pre-designated swimming areas. In the areas where they clear it out, the water was only around 4 ft deep. What this means is if you don't like sea weed, you just stick to one of the cleaned areas. Also note they had nice large rafts you could hang out on.

I snorkeled around the area and really did not see much (although this may be luck. At one time, a school of flying fish broke out of the water near the shore, and one evening I found a massive fiddler crab in a conch shell). I did notice when snorkeling I saw quite a few sea urchins in the grasses. I never saw any one having any problems with them, but I would have to imagine, once and a while someone might step on one.

It was low season, and there was almost no one on the beach. Given the amount of beach front territory, I would think that even in higher season, there should not be a problem with finding a lounger.

Also note that there are some really nice areas to lounge. They have wicker furniture, hammocks, etc. Most of these are closer to the main pool, but it was nice to see some nicer areas to meet friends etc. Also note, some of these areas near the buffet also had outdoor natural gas fireplaces. Very nice at night.

Grounds: The resort itself is what I would consider a medium size resort (compared to the large Playa Del Carmen resorts). I found it a very comfortable size. The main focus is the main plaza. Once you come out of the main entrance, the whole area is finished off reminiscent of European plaza. Nice spots of gardens and flowers, with one side shops, and the other side restaurants and bars. In the middle is the main pool. All very pretty. In particular, beautiful at night. The resort is divided into three clusters of buildings (French, Italian and Dutch I think). Generally, each have their own pools, and nice gardens. I've seen nicer gardens elsewhere, but still, very nice.

Food: Always my favorite subject. The resort has a good selection of restaurants. Italian, Asian, Island, Seafood, Buffet and fine dining. There was also a Patisserie. All of the restaurants were very nice, on par with the best resort restaurants I've been to. Our favorite was the fine dining restaurant. The tenderloin was actually succulent and tender. Maybe not 5 star steak house good, but was probably 4 star. To give you a flavor of a meal in the restaurants, here are some examples of what we ate: "Fine Dinning" Tenderloin + lobster tail, Mashed potatoes in canapé, amuse-bouche (shrimp/crab), Tuna Carpaccio, Crème Brule, Creole chicken, deep fried banana with ice cream. Breakfast was eggs ranchero burrito w/ choice of meat (bacon, sausage, etc), flavoured pancakes, fresh backed pastries, fresh fruit, eggs Benedict w/salmon.

The Italian restaurant was probably our least favorite restaurant, but still good. The salads were not properly tossed in dressing, but the pasta was nice. We have Beef and cheese gnocchi, caprese salad, antipasto bar, Chicken parmigiana, Bruschcetta.

The Asian restaurant was also very good. There was a real assortment of great appetisers. From Thai, to Chinese, to Sushi. Fresh rolls, seared tuna, chicken wings/duck, etc.

The island restaurant was a smaller "on the beach" open air restaurant which was good for lunch. Jamaican patties, burgers, jerk chicken, quesadillas, etc.

Finally, the French bakery. It opens very early, and is open late. So at pretty much any time, you can visit and select a bag of goodies. They also do fresh crepes and latte/etc. Very nice touch.

Finally, they also have a small BBQ area where they serve up jerk chicken on the beach. The smell drifting across the beach was awesome.

Bars: They have a second floor martini bar, which was our favorite haunt. Nice selection. There are also the usual bar's by the beach, and at the pools. All bars have top shelf alcohol. The bar tenders are friendly and helpful. One evening, during a brief thunderstorm I asked for a certain drink, for which he did not have the correct spirits for. He ran out in the rain to get what he needed.

Entertainment: I'm not a big resort "entertainment" guy. After watching one too many poorly choreographed music numbers showing a cheesy retelling of the history of what-ever island I was on, I stopped caring. However, I did find that at White House they seemed to do it really really well.

A few nights, we were on a patio somewhere, either having a dinner or drink, and a guitar/ vocal combo would setup and do a great mix of classic songs. Very good, and perfect. Not in your face, but very talented. One night they set up a stage for a bit of a rock show. Again, it was not cheesy, but good competent music. One other night, they had brought in some steel drummers. I did not see them, but the buzz was that they were very good.

There were the usual tours to coffee plantations, catamaran tours, etc. We did not look into them.

Also, as I noted, we rented a car and toured around the island a little bit. It seems that leaving resort on your own is almost frowned upon, but if you do it, you almost become a celebrity. We did find it strange, but there are NO car rental places at the resort, nor are there any in the town of White House. It just seems it is not done. We had to arrange at the airport to have a car delivered to the resort ($$). For those considering driving in Jamaica, the rumors are true. It is hyper-aggressive, the roads are tight, potholed and very hilly. Personally, I loved it! But, you have to be an aggressive drive with good reflexes. If you play GTA4, you can drive in this country. And yeah, it's left hand drive.

Overall: While I have been to all-inclusive resorts which had certain attributes which were nicer (e.g. rooms, grounds, spa, beach, etc), I had not been to a resort which overall tried as hard to make you happy. If you add up all of the positives, and subtract the negatives, this place is probably close to the best resort I have been to. If you have decided that it is Jamaica you want to see, I would have no problem recommending this place. As I mentioned, when we toured around the island, we dropped in at two other Sandals (including Negril). This was the nicest in our opinion (although Negril was very nice as well).

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean. Lower grade rooms have small balconies. Each "village" has it...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Larrabee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2012

We just returned from a week at Whitehouse and are slightly disappointed with a few things. However, it was not all bad and we don't regret having gone. So here goes...

We were greeted well at the check-in desk at the airport. Though there was a bit of confusion about how long we had before the bus was taking off, it wasn't entirely unexpected. We've stayed at other similar all-inclusives and it was about average. NOTE: first timers, the company which is responsible for your transfer is not Sandals. It is contracted. These drivers/luggage handlers DO expect tips so please have a few bucks cash. I know it's in the fine print of the resort, so it is there, albeit easily overlooked with the wealth of information available particularly if this is your first stay at a Jamaican all inclusive. This seems to be standard practice for all inclusive transfers and definitely goes for Couples and probably other resorts as well. For "virgins" however, it can be a bit intimidating and not exactly a great first impression for honeymooners. After that, most all-inclusives have a no tipping policy and actual resort employees can be terminated for accepting tips. That is not to say you will never see someone give/accept a tip, but mostly it's rare and not expected.

Our arrival at the resort was perfectly fine and we were at the concierge level so we were immediately served drinks and checked-in. All in all it took maybe 30 min total from arrival on the bus to being in our room waiting for our luggage which arrived a few moments later.

The room: the view was absolutely perfect. Never had better, hands down. There were a few minor flaws in the room as it was showing a bit of age in the tiling in the bathroom and personally, I was fine taking a shower, but really didn't want to sit in the bath as the bottom of it was a tad dingy with age and didn't look like a nice luxurious bath. The curtains were clean and both the shower and sink faucets were a bit drippy, but nothing so bad as it was pretty easily tolerable to us and overlooked. Other than that, the room was very clean and I can tell the housekeeping service is well on the ball with day to day cleanliness and the mini-bar was stocked everyday.

We also had the unfortunate experience to have Hurricane Sandy hit in the very middle of our stay. Obviously Sandals is not responsible and can't control the weather. Somehow I think if they could have, they would have. My husband and I both give the highest kudos to the resort for how this was handled. There was never a sense of panic, and appropriate precautions were taken, and as many services that could safely be kept in place were running through the duration. Our housekeeper came by in a hurricane for crying out loud! Hair blowing in the rain and wind and all. Out of concern and courtesy we simply asked she toss us a couple of coffee refills to last the duration of the storm and please get home to her family safe and sound- I reckon we'll be fine with an unmade bed for the day. (It was a hurricane after all, the bed would be unmade shortly anyway ;-) After the worst had passed, they already had crews removing any boarded picture windows and buffet was ready at 6:30pm after being provided box lunches for the afternoon. So it was almost kind of fun in a strange way. I mean you are stranded in a nice hotel room with your honey and plenty of booze, so who's complaining? As for lunch that day we were provided with box lunches of some tuna sandwiches, apples and package of cookies for after the lunch buffet closed.

That said, and again, not Sandals fault was that all diving was cancelled the remainder of the week. As this was the main purpose of our visit, it was very disappointing personally, but to keep things in perspective- I realize this is very much a first world problem and well out of Sandals control. Prior to that we were able to get our technical certification dives in so all was not lost. We did not like however, that the dive boats were very crowded and it was chaotic and seemed not enough room for all on board. Everyone was fighting for space and being moved around so anything you brought on the boat was probably being tripped or stepped on by others. However, it does say something about the diving we might have had weather permitting, that so many people who were obviously avid pro divers were diving there. I would suspect it's worth seeing if that many people who know what they are doing want to participate at this location. Unfortunately we only got technical dives in which focus on skills rather than fun and are not taken to the same spot as the recreational dive group.

The grounds of the resort: BEAUTIFUL. Nothing less. It is obviously well manicured even in the event of a hurricane. Well done, Sandals.

The pools: Gorgeous. We preferred the pool and hot tub outside the Dutch village the most. Albeit smaller, it had the best view and was generally quieter and didn't have all the activities like bad music and Aquasize going on. On that note: Sandals, please improve your music choices. Some of the "romantic" music you are playing throughout the day is beyond expired. The general age group to which you are usually catering doesn't care for it. At times, it felt as though we were in some sort of bad late-night infomercial wanting to sell you a Time Life series of bad cd's featuring sappy, one-hit wonders of the 70's. I seriously heard the theme from Tootsie during dinner one evening. Not cool.

About the music: we were in the first block so we were closest to all the restaurants, main pool, etc. but this is not without a terrible drawback. The evening music/activities which one night featured a full marching band, was usually blaring in our room. The only reprieve is that it at least quit by 10 or 10:30, so it didn't interfere with sleeping, but was an annoyance nonetheless. However, the rooms are so spread out along the beach, those at the far end had a long hike to virtually everything.

The beach: Beautiful, but deadly. I was grossly disappointed with the facade it held. It is beautiful when you look at it, but don't touch. Evidently there was previous demolition on that site prior to Sandals building this resort and the beach is a virtual minefield of large chunks of concrete rock. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT walk out to the water without shoes on. My husband is currently nursing a very cut foot injured in the last few hours of our stay, so it really wasn't worth seeing the resort doc and wasn't deep enough to require stitches by any means, but is very hazardous and I saw no signs warning people of that. Second, it appears a lot of the white soft sand you see is actually placed there and not by mother nature. Much of the rest of the beach just beneath the surface is a grey gross clay and also feels rather disgusting on bare feet in just knee deep water. So if you are expecting a flawless beach I would definitely suggest Negril over here. If all you want to do is lounge on it with a great view and not walk in the water or swim much, this might be for you.

Also please note: that the cabanas with straw umbrellas on the beach are beautiful, but the pictures are rather misleading. There is far more traffic on it than your photos would seem to infer and the chairs also used in the photo are not normally placed on the beach, but outside on the pathways in the main area and appear much nicer and plush than those really used. Also, the reservation of beach and lounge spots kind of stinks. The butler rooms were clearly given preference and you do not stick to your policy of asking those who reserve an area to either use it or lose it in 2 hours. There were many mornings - and we were out good and early too - when it was hard to find a good spot and several of the reserved areas were still untouched by lunchtime or even later. Or the people had already used and vacated the area, but the reserved sign remained the rest of the day preventing others from using it.

A similar note: there is a ghastly lack of bathrooms available by the beach and public pool areas. The resort boasts that there are several nice pools and hot tubs, which is true, but there is a chilling effect to use any away from your room as if you have to go, it may be a long walk to a restroom. The main pool has 2, both rather hidden and it was days before we even found them. Bad, bad, Sandals. This only kind of gives some less hygienic people incentive to urinate in a pool or hot tub. Should you have a patron with bladder control issues, I could foresee a very embarrassing moment of losing control on the hike back to your room. There is beer and other drinks available at every turn, so people are going to have to pee. A lot. I'd suggest using the ocean in an emergency, but I already covered why walking into the water can be a bad idea. This personally was a major annoyance to us during our stay. As was the fact that there weren't a lot of places to just walk up to and grab a few bites while lounging in the pool. At other all inclusives, there was usually some sort of grill that one could walk up to soaking wet in swimsuit (with or without cover ups) and grab a quick sammie or some fries and snack pool / beach side.

The food: Excellent. In spite of the fact that the "Jamaican" cuisine was hardly authentic. My husband joked that by naming the dish "Jamaican" was usually code for blander versions to suit tourists. There was no real jerk sauce available. My husband had his mouth watering weeks in advance looking forward to some true jerk chicken and beef patties only to find obviously watered down versions intended to cater to american blandness. It's a little like calling Taco Bell authentic mexican cuisine. On that note, our first evening we had a late lunch after arriving and my husband asked for Tabasco and was told they were out, only to see an employee using it personally on their food. That said, everything else was delicious and I probably ate more in each meal than I would normally eat in a day. The fish sandwich at Neptunes - the best fish sandwich I ever had. Period. I will miss that sandwich. We only had a couple of items that we would consider pretty ho-hum. The desserts were INCREDIBLE. And in abundance. Calling all those with a sweet tooth. You seriously won't be able to eat everything offered and if you did you'd be in a diabetic coma before you left. And I mean that affectionately.

The service: Good to very good, but room for improvement. First, my husband and I are not fans of posed pictures nor of hassling of photographers every time we were canoodling in the pool. At one point we were having a very private and somewhat serious conversation when we were interrupted by a photographer that wouldn't take a subtle hint of a brush off. And the prices are pretty astronomical. Most people do have their own cameras in hand and probably don't want to pay $15 bucks a pop for someone else to take the picture. And when someone says "No Thanks" it means no. There seemed enough willing participants that goading those who neither want the picture nor to be rude should not be pushed into it anyway so that the easier thing to do is just smile and go back to whatever you were doing.

Next, the morning staff was clearly not comprised of "morning" people. We were up and adam pretty early, but I noticed right off the bat we were not greeted as often and in one instance in the cafe, one employee was sort of scowling at the fact we came in to get something and had an air of "get your crap and get out". Fortunately, this was the exception rather than the rule. In the afternoon to evening hours people were usually smiling, greeting and making jokes. Overall, very friendly, kind and thoughtful and ready to interact.

All in all, it was ok and just ok. We had a great time lounging in the sun by the pools but it wasn't exactly how we had hoped to spend the majority of our time. It had it's ups and downs. We don't regret having gone but will probably not return to this particular property. We would however be willing to return to other Sandals properties since I felt as an overall, the company showed they are willing to go above and beyond and do right even when things out of their control go catastrophically wrong. As compensation for the hurricane, we were given a free night on a future stay (within one year). We aren't certain we will use it as our trips to Jamaica tend to be further spread out than that due to cost, but I would hardly write off Sandals as a whole. All week we were batting back and forth with a comparison to Couples resorts and it will be a harder choice where to visit next time.

Room Tip: 1st block is a bit noisy some evenings.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank kmleffert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erie, PA
Level Contributor
64 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2012

This was going to be a 3 star review until Hurricane Sandy blew across Jamaica.

First, I can't say enough about the staff at Whitehouse! They make the place amazing! They work hard all the time and are so friendly and accomodating in everything. We were so impressed with how they kept us informed about the storm, and what they were doing to prepare. Also, what they expected from all of us (which was to either stay in our rooms during the worst of it, or be in a single central location during that period). They held meetings to give us updates and the staff was always available to answer any questions or provide anything you needed.

The Good: THE VIEW IS AMAZING! This is truly one of the reasons i selected this resort, because all of the rooms have an ocean view. i didn't realize that you have an ocean view from all of the pools and many other places as well! Spending the day floating around in the pool, or at the swim up bar looking at the ocean was terrific! the grounds are beautiful. the photographers do a terrific job. My husband hates having his picture taken but humored me and we are so glad that we did the "complimentary photo shoot" because we ended up buying pictures because they were amazing!

The staff is the other huge plus here. From the bartenders: Copeland (he never forgets a name! There was a couple back celebrating their 7th anniversary and he remembered their names from their honeymoon!!!), Jermain (who had only been on the job for 2 weeks) Drew and Troy! Our phototgrapher, Trevon! Norma at neptunes, jillian at Bayside. All the staff at Guiseppe's! Joe the manager is wonderful and loves to engage in conversation, Davidie (sp?) the chef, Darren and all the wait staff! Errol in motorsports! And my hat is off to Mr G, the new general manager. I give him a lot of credit for giving credit to his staff for the hurricane preparations! He had only been there for 2 weeks when this started, and he was quite humble about it!

OK, now for the bad....If you are a beer drinker you better try Red Stripe somewhere before deciding on ANY Sandals in Jamaica, as that is the ONLY option. I never even thought to check, as there has always been an american beer option at the other 5 star resorts that we have been to. This was a big downer for my husband, as he only drinks beer and he just couldn't drink the Red Stripe! (I loved the Berringer wines though! thought that was a huge plus!) The food options for a typical american wing, burger, steak lover were difficult. He is also a picky eater and had a terrible time trying to figure out what to eat! Guiseppe's (Italian) was the one place where he found 3 dishes that he liked. I had a major problem keeping my hair clean as it is really thick and the water pressure is terrible! I had to wash it first in the tub under the faucet and then shower afterwards, also the lighting in the bath is not the best for shaving!

All in all, it is beautiful and the rooms are nice. We did miss having room service as we had just booked a Honeymoon grande luxe room (the website is very confusing as to what is included at the various levels, so be sure you know what you're getting, as it's difficult to change it after it's booked-I tried twice before we went but they wanted to charge me soooo much more that I decided against it). It would have been OK, if I could have gotten a glass of wine at the Dutch pool bar while getting ready for dinner, but on both the nights I went for one they were out of wine. I finally asked for a bottle at the main bar one night and they gave me one to take back to the room.

My other main complaint is internet service should be included, or at the least the business center should be open all the time to all guests! (They did open it during the hurricane so that we could all communicate with home and the airlines, etc. Which i was very pleased that they did this).

Room Tip: All the rooms are pretty much the same. BE CAREFUL when you are selecting, as the website is confu...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank atyger7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

Awesome place. Great beach and pools are amazing. People are so friendly. We loved the Whitehouse. The drive to the Whitehouse is an experience itself! Would return to Whitehouse for sure! The room service was a little slow but a nice option to have after a long day at the beach. We absolutely love Eleanors restaurant. We ate the lobster there almost nightly and the service was great. The pools were always very clean and inviting. The views are to die for and all the boat rides and things to do are great.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
20 Thank Mandy3013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palmm Beach
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

Since my Centurian Card Travel Concierge suggested this resort, I agreed to give it a try. We had stayed at one other Sandals Resort in th e Bahamas and had a less than stellar time-and vowed NEVER to go back to a Sandals.
I read quite a few reviews bfore we went, and they were pretty much in agreement that it was one of thebest places they have ever visited. After returning-my question of them is-where else h ave you been????? This is NOT a 5 Star experience.
FIrst-the90minute trip through abject poverty on shoulderless, pot hole filled, bumpy roads twisting and turning up and down mountains was not the best way to start off.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were pleasantly surprised at the manicured grounds set in the middle of a jungle. It is supposed to be evocative of European VIllages-Italian, French and Dutch, and I suppose in some way it might have been. Even though I checked in on line, we still had to wait in the lobby where we were treated to tepid champagne. Still it was a nice gesture. Tepid might well be the word of choice for nearly all the food and beverages here. But more about that later.
I do want to say, the staff are wonderful. I had read someone say they were rehearsed, but I found them polite and warm and genuine.
Our suite was large, with a nice size living room and bedroom. We had requested a suite on the beach, and were probably only 50-60 feet from our chaise lounges. The furnishiings were getting a bit tired, and the rug needed a good cleaning, as it was stained. The property is only 7 years old, but is in need of a face lift. Our butlers were attentive and prompt.
The water pressure in the shower was like a rainfall-I nearly had to run around the giant shower to get wet and rinse thesoap from my hair-but I could live with that.
Now let me address the quality of the food. FIrst off, the portions were smaller than American- which we like. They were more European sized. I think we waste so much food, that the smaller amount was welcome.But I think I am in the minority on this one.
The food itself was school cafeteria at best. I never once had a hot meal, no matter what I ordered-always room temperature or less. On the occassions that we ate at the buffet, the offereings were terrible. Many times the chafing dished had to be filled, and I personally dislike having to stand with my plate in my hands holding it out for some mysterious offering to be placed on it. I won't go into details on every meal, but suffice it to say, I've had far better in the hospital.
As for the other guests-I'm not a fan of backwards baseball caps and tattoos. This crowd was replete with both. It is a typical couples only all inclusive that I have now come to realize attracts a certain clientele. My tastes run more to Portofino and Positano or Venice.
A positive was the flight on Caribbean AIrlines. It harkened back to the day when there reallyy was FIrst Class service. We actually wereserveda meal and beverages on an hour and twenty minute flight. I'll make the effort to find out where else they fly!
Lest my fellow readewrs think I am a total snob, with the hurricane (Sandy) approaching, I have to give credit to everyoone for making what could have been a bad situation actually pleasant.
WOuld I go back to any Sandals again-definitely not. WOuld I recommend it? Probably not, unless it was to beer chugging, all you can eat CArnival Cruise types. Count me out

Room Tip: Suite 1128. Ground floor, fairly close to resturants and lobby. Right on the beach.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank elizabeth119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellevue, Ohio
Level Contributor
65 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2012

The 1.5 hour bus ride is long, goes through total poverty and it is as bad as others have said, even though I tried to tell myself it would not be. After flying however many hours you have to travel to get there, an hour and a half bus ride on bumpy roads, crazy drivers through total poverty, is not an enjoyable way to get to what you anticipate as paradise. The check in process was a chaotic, the concierge desk took forever to get checked in and then another hour before we got our luggage and we had to call about it. So we had traveled all day, wanted to get changed and had no luggage. Then the news came about a tropical storm and while they have no control over the weather, it just sucked. No excursions, all beach activities halted our entire stay. They did do a great job keeping us informed of the storm, (which became a hurricane) and did not hit that end of the island just wind and rain. But they prepped for it. I give them an A+ for the storm information but that weather had nothing to do with service. We only got the activity sheet the first day we were there. The restaurant service was pitiful. They barely came back to check on you and forget it if you wanted another drink. No sense of urgency at all. The food was mediocre at best, the pizza and calzone being the best thing I ate all week and that was for lunch. We had one great day of sunshine and I imagine if there were other activities it would have been a little better, but I would not go back, nor would I recommend this resort to anyone. I talked to many others staying at the resort and some loved it, said it's the best Sandals ever, if that is the best, I would not go to another Sandals, they accepted the no sense of hurry as just "the way they are" and I don't accept that. The TV's are old, not that I go there to watch TV but during the storm, would have liked a weather channel and maybe a sports update in the evening, no Weather Channel or ESPN. I work in customer service and I know that customers have choices. And they did nothing to make me feel special or like I should return. I did another all inclusive trip to Cancun a few years ago, I would go back there way before I'd go back to Sandals Whitehouse.

Room Tip: I believe all rooms are ocean view. We had concierge service, although I'm not sure how much th...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Kellie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals South Coast

Property: Sandals South Coast
Address: White House, Jamaica (Formerly Sandals Whitehouse)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > White House
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals South Coast 5*
Number of rooms: 360
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the undiscovered. Journey to a forgotten Jamaica where the natural beauty is simply unforgettable. Within a 500-acre wilderness preserve, blue mountains, lush palm groves, pristine coastlines and shimmering turquoise waters create an unbelievable backdrop for a monumental resort. Sandals Whitehouse Europe Village & Spa perfectly blends the exotic allure of the Caribbean with the refined elegance of Europe. Charming Italian piazzas and fountains are surrounded by gardens resplendent with fragrant foliage, while three European-inspired villages – Italian, French and Dutch – are home to luxuriously-appointed, all oceanfront rooms and suites. Each one offers magnificent views overlooking the two-mile long beach, and top tier suites come with Sandals’ legendary Butler Service. Seven restaurants serve mouthwatering gourmet cuisine from around the world, and entertainment ranges from a sophisticated piano bar to bonfire beach parties and a chic nightclub. This resort is truly a world unto itself, where time is all but forgotten and the only moment is now. World Travel Awards: Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All – Inclusive Company,” 16 years in a row. Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand,” 18 years in a row. Sandals Whitehouse “Jamaica’s Leading Spa Resort” Five Star Diamond Award, American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. We’re so very pleased to announce that Sandals Whitehouse European Villages & Spa has been named in Condé Nast Traveler’s Voted 2012 Readers' Choice Awards “Top 15 Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 10 and “Top 30 Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 4 as part of the annual “Best in the World” poll. Presented Certificate of Excellence for 2012 and Travelers' Choice Hotel for 2012. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Whitehouse European Village Hotel Whitehouse
Whitehouse Sandals
Sandals Whitehouse Jamaica

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