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“Sandals White House...Great Resort”

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Sandals South Coast
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Certificate of Excellence
Cedar Rapids Iowa
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Sandals White House...Great Resort”
Reviewed February 1, 2010

My wife, Jill, two friends and I stayed from Jan. 23-30th. A little background...Jill and I have been traveling the Caribbean for over twenty years as well as Hawaii. We have been to many all-inclusives as well as regular hotels and condos. Thus, we have a lot of experience in terms of making comparisions.
SWH was a great experience. Here is a breakdown by category.
Location: 1.5 hours from Mo. Bay. Be prepared and just accept the fact if you go to SWH you will be in the bus a while. Enjoy the ride and see the countryside. The hotel itself is on a point so there is a lot of beach. There were no other hotels or businesses nearby.
Beach area: As mentioned, a beautiful white sand beach, gentle slope and plenty wide for walking, @2 miles in length. Three roped off areas for wading into the ocean. Appeared to be free of sea weed. The only roped area we walked in was all sand. No significant tides for bogey boards, etc. We walked the beach each day (saw no nudity for those who have inquired recently).
Rooms: There are three hotels. The Italian section has the largest rooms and balconies and is closest to resturants and other activities. The Dutch and French are the other sections. Total capacity is just over 700 and during the last week of January the hotel was either at or near capacity. Rooms were well kept. Every room is ocean view but you probably would not leave your sliding doors open if staying on the first floor.
Grounds: well manicured with the usual array of tropical flowers you would expect at a top hotel.
Pools: Three large ones, each with a whirlpool. The pool near the Italian section was the largest. Most organized activities were held there. The "Dutch" pool was the quietest and the "French" pool was the noisiest and had the busiest bar.
Food and beverages: One of the items that sets Sandals apart from some other ALs is the quality of food and brand label alcohol. There were four theme resturants. Resturant themes included, oriental, italian, mediterrainean(seafood) and french. There is a beautifully located daytime, Jamaican resturant called Bluefields for those who want a great view of the ocean while lunching. The food at all the establsihments was excellant. A word of caution, the dining experience is designed to last about 1.5 hours so plan accordingly. There is a buffet style resturant for those wanting to eat quickly. Two other spots deserve a mention. The maritini bar is a great place for a night cap, with a very good piano player on "sing along" nights. There is a small pastry shop with great coffee, wonderful finger pastries and excellant ice cream.
Entertainment and nightlife: The attractions were uneven in quality, some good, all typical of a caribbean resort. After 10:30, things quiet down very quickly. SWH does not offer any "wild and crazy" entertainment one might find elsewhere. The snorkling was very good if you take the free boat trip to the reef. We enjoyed the hobie sailboats. Other water sports were also offered as well as the typical pool games during the day.
Service:I have saved SWH strongest quality for last. I have read a few reviews where some had a bad experience. The four in our group were always happy with the service. From the waiters, bartenders and housekeepers, right down to the four new Indian interns, it was always "service with a smile". Sandals lets you know they appreciate your business and they make sure you know they want you to come back.
Overall impressions: Great service, excellant food and drink, above average rooms, grounds and beach and pools. Average entertainment. A stay at SWH will leave you with the desire for a return trip. While everyone seems to have a special "server" they feel warrants a special thank you, I want to mention four who made my stay particularly memorable; Earl at Eleanors, Cheryl at the Italian pool, Bala at Bluefields and especailly Joshini, who seemed to be everywhere. Feel free to contact me directly if you have questions....Larry

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank HerkytheHawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2010

This is our second time at Sandals Whitehouse and again it was perfect. The staff, the room, the dining, the grounds and yes the weather. I can not say enough good things about the resort. I returned on Saturday and Monday booked for next year. Taking friends this time.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RAMDAM1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario Canada
Level 6 Contributor
46 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 235 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2010

We’ve just returned from a 16 day stay at Sandals Royal Caribbean (review pending) and Sandals Whitehouse. It was our first time at SRC where we spent the first 6 days, and our second trip to SWH which we first visited in 2006. There had been much concern and a few negative reviews on the resort since it reopened in December, but I can assure you, we found it to be every bit as wonderful as our first visit! We stayed in the French Village, as we prefer the French pool over the quieter pool in the Dutch Village. However, this time we found ourselves using the large Riviera pool closest to the Italian Village which is where our travel companions stayed.

The trip to SWH will take approx 90 minutes from the airport, depending on construction in Mobay and traffic volume. The roads are hilly, bumpy and windy so if you are prone to motion sickness you might wish to take gravol. The shuttle driver is not an employee of Sandals, so please tip accordingly. Most drivers will give you a great commentary on the points of interest on the route and they will also make a rest stop along the way if all passengers agree. Personally, we prefer to get to the resort as quickly as possible so we always hope that no one wants to stop for a beer! For this visit, Sandals provided a private driver to take us from SRC to SWH.

Once arriving at SWH, you will be greeted with cold facecloths and champagne. Check-in is quick with minimal paperwork to fill out. If you have a concierge level room, you will be taken to the concierge lounge for check-in.

Food and service was terrific at almost all the restaurants. Service was slow at Eleanors but it may only have been on that particular evening. Also allow extra time if you go to Giuseppe's for lunch...pizza takes approx 45 minutes to arrive after ordering. For those planning a trip to SWH, you should be aware that though the website and resort info says reservations are not required at any of their restaurants, concierge or butler categories can and do make reservations. For those guests without reservations, you might need to wait for a table, but at no time did we see long line-ups. We usually ate dinner at 6:30 or 7:00pm.

There are plenty of umbrellas and tables at the pools, but we had to get up early each day in order to get 4 loungers together. As the days went by, it seemed to become busier and busier at the resort, and where at the start of our stay we could get our chairs by 7:00-7:15am, by the end of the stay we needed to be at the pool by 6:30am. We are not people who reserve chairs and don’t use them...we put out the towels and our books and hats by early morning, only leaving our chairs for breakfast and lunch. We sometimes saw people remove other's belongings (sunglasses, books etc) from chairs in order to take the loungers. I chalk this up to rudeness which is not a problem Sandals can resolve. The other issue at the pool was the fact that certain guests will hoard the water floats at their chairs. They will either stack them under their chairs or sit on them all day meaning that other guests do not have use of the floats for the pool. The pool staff was fairly good about going around and educating the guests that floats are to be left in the pool for ALL guests to use, and not kept at the chairs. Please folks...use consideration at the pool and allow all guests equal opportunity with the floats!

At no time did we have any problems with mosquitoes or sand fleas. I did use Deet the night of the Beach Party, but my hubby didn’t and there were no problems at all with bites.

The beach was beautiful and long and we loved walking it. There were several little rocky parts behind the Dutch Village but nothing of issue.

We used the gym almost daily...sometimes had to wait for a treadmill as there were only 3 at the start of our stay but a 4th treadmill was brought in within a few days. The literature advertises bikes at the fitness centre, but unfortunately there were none that I could find. There are 4 tennis courts and no wait period for folks to use them. Also took advantage of the spa which is lovely (tips are accepted in the spa). The spa staff will provide their card to you at the pool and will let you know of any specials. At no time were they bothersome.

Not all events happened when they were advertised...the Aqua-size class was hit and miss on some days, but was great fun when it did take place!

We took a day trip to Sandals Negril to tour the resort in anticipation of possibly booking our next trip. Beautiful resort and we were welcomed royally by the GM and the Sales Mgr. But in our minds it just doesn’t compare to the beauty and amenities of SWH.

The staff at SWH are terrific and many went over and above to ensure all guests had a wonderful time. I won’t mention names in this review, as we’ve already ensured that management knows of those special staff members and we will also be sure to provide our comments on the feedback form emailed from the resort, so that the staff members can be recognized formally.

Glad to answer any questions...we’ve now been to or stayed at all Sandals resorts (except Emerald Bay) and we will definitely return to SWH for a third visit, hopefully sooner than later!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank travelpair55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2010

Let me start off with a little background info. This was our first visit to an all-inclusive, so it was an experiment. We stayed for 7 nights in a butler suite that we got a REALLY good deal on; 3 nights free and 65% off the other 4 nights. We are both foodies and were hoping the food issues described in some of the hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews I read before we went were the exception rather than the rule. After all, this is supposed to be a 5 star resort. One of the things we like to do is snorkel and the water in Jamaica is warmer than Hawaii. So here goes...

If drinking all day is what you want and great food is not an expectation or necessity, then you should have a great time here and you can stop reading this review anytime. The grounds are beautiful, the beach is nice enough, the pools are warm and well maintained and the staff, with rare exception, is very, very friendly. Our butlers, Patrick and Tamon, were great. Even though people are drinking all day, we did not see anyone behaving badly. The drinks were good and the Beringer wine was not bad for inexpensive wine. We are from California and the Chairman's wine list was unimpressive, but the price markup was not nearly as bad as a lot of restaurants in our area. Our suite was clean (although the readily visible clump of sand I tracked in on the area rug on day 3 remained throughout our stay,) everything worked, the bed was comfortable and the view from the balcony was WONDERFUL. But the food and service..... :-(

Breakfast was breakfast both at Eleanor's and the buffet. Nothing special. The service was slow at Eleanor's.

The best food we had all trip was pizza for lunch at Giuseppe's. The lunch buffet had a nice selection, but everything we tried was unremarkable at best.

We like fine dining for dinner and look forward to creative, tasty food when we eat out. Having looked at the sample menus on the web site, I was hopeful that the dinners would be great, given this is a 5-star resort. They weren't even close. Disregard the sample menus, except for Eleanor's. The number of choices available doesn't even come close to what the samples would lead you to expect and the imagination in the dishes did not approach the samples either. Jasmine's had 3 entrees to choose from. Our first dinner, at the Bayside, which also 3 entree choices, was just plain bad. I had a meat sampler with BBQ sauce. The thin piece of beef was not quite as chewy as a rubber band, the sauce tasted like something out of a can (not a bottle, a can) and the mashed potatoes tasted like instant with a little too much water added. The one rib off a rack of lamb was quite nice without the sauce. Too bad rack of lamb was not on the menu. My wife got the seafood sampler and she spit out the shrimp it was so mealy. Fortunately, the remaining dinners were not as bad (we didn't try the Bayside again,) but not one of them was any better than average food we could make at home.

The service was amazing. If you ordered a drink, alcoholic or not, it took forever to arrive, if it arrived at all. This was consistant for all meals all week. One night we ordered a second glass of wine during our dinner which was delivered after about 10 minutes..to the people who had just been seated at the table next to ours!! To her credit, when our server came to their table to take their order, she spotted the mistake and we got our wine quickly after that. If you had any questions about the food, forget it, the servers had no clue about what they were serving or how it was prepared.

The snorkeling here...do not come for the snorkeling. You can't just go in the water like many places in Hawaii and see interesting things. You have to make a reservation on their boat, which takes you out to the reef, which is not in good condition

What was interesting about this trip was that in spite of the complaints I have written, we did have a good time. It started at the airport where we breezed through customs and immigration before heading the the Sandals lounge. We were greated by a nice young man wearing a Sandals' shirt who started putting tags on our bags for the trip to Whitehouse while informing us he was a Sandals employee, but he did take tips and to give it to him in a handshake!! Then there are the non-Sandals baggage guys who take you to the bus who make no bones about "I don't work for Sandals, you take care of me I take care of you." Driving in Jamaica seemed like organized chaos to me. You have to experience it to understand. The road is quite bumpy much of the way, but interesting if done during daylight. One thing that struck me is that even though Jamaica's official language is English, my wife and I both struggled to understand the Jamaicans at time and they clearly were struggling to understand us at times, too. Most notable was when we asked for olive oil to dip our bread in at the Italian restaurant. It took about 5 tries for olive oil to be understood. (We had to ask for the bread after seeing that every other table had some.)

To sum it up, while we had a good time and got it at a steal, if we had it to do over, we would not have taken this trip. I also think staying at a Sandals that has other Sandals' nearby would be more fun. Whitehouse is isolated for variety and the day trips noted on their website. Whether I would recommend this to a friend would depend on the friend, but unless they could book the vacation at a very steeply discounted rate, I would say go somewhere else. It really boils down to...what are you looking for?

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JimboTheWary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2010

Please do not waste your money on this trip! We are married with 4 kids, so for us to get away for a week is a huge deal. We were so excited to come here and were extremely disappointed already the first few hours after we got here. Yes, there is a 90 minute drive from the airport, which we were prepared for. It is scary, but the drivers do know what they are doing and are experienced. Once here after a long day of traveling, we were escorted to our room. We had a premium honeymoon room, which I will never know why they say "honeymoon", it was far from it. There was a small sink, small tub/showera(no different than a Holiday Inn) the room had water leak marks going down the walls, there was dust everywhere, bugs in our bathroom, and rips in our curtains, no seal on the door so you have to put a towel under it so more bugs cannot get in.... definitely NOT romantic!! I have the bug bites all over my legs to prove it.
Pool Service: A complete joke! No one serves you drinks, you get them at your own risk because you might be stung by one of the millions of bees at the bar and pool!
Restaurants: Food was "okay", not even near as good as a cruise ship would offer. we heard from several others that they closed the best restaurant "Arizonas". The service was miserable. We sat at one restaurant for 3 hours!!!
We complained to the front desk for 2 days and they said they could do nothing for us. Finally the 3rd day we received a "courtesy" call from the manager asking how our trip was, apparently they were never told of our visits to the desk. They finally switched us to a room without bugs, BUT still was not very clean, trim pulled off the walls and lots of dust!
We are not people that like to complain and are trying to make the best of this place b/c we are still here, but I would NEVER RETURN! Please find another place to go other than Sandals, there are so many other great places out there and they cost less. This is not a vacation to feel pampered, it needs major help!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank madieshopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2010

Most of you that have been there probably won't agree with my review, however it is MY opinion of this resort and I'm intitled to it.
As far as having aything good to say about this place, what I will say is that the food is good and the booze is premium as stated on their website.Most of everything else is a lie in my eyes.

First off , the trip from the airport is brutal at best, 90 minutes of potholes and bush .If that what your looking for then great.However as far as seeing the countryside is concerned.....there isn't any.It's all bush.We seriously considered hiring the chopper to take us to the airport to avoid the road again.If you are thinking about it than account for $680.00 U.S. for a 20 minute ride.

As far as anything else is concerned, and I won't go into to much detail, but I will tell you about the CONS of this place.
If your staying at the Whitehouse and you want to go to any of the other sandals on the island, prepare to PAY an ADDITIONAL & $190.00 U.S. for a cab ride because sandals does not shuttle their guest free of charge to the other resorts.They will take you their but it will cost EXTRA no matter what.

If your staying in the french village, you WON"T get room service, its to "FAR" away (actually its about a minute and a half from the Dutch village but that's the excuse the use).

Don't expect to have any kind of alcohol in your room either especially if your in the french village.That is an EXTRA that you have to "BUY" and get upgraded to the Dutch village in order to obtain.

If you want to use the resort internet service prepare to pay an EXTRA $15.00 US for 15 minutes of time.Most resorts we have been to offer free internet use, not here.
If your going there with the thought of golfing, that is also EXTRA. ALLsandals guests DO NOT golf for free.Only the ones in and around Ocho Rio do.They quit doing it from the whitehouse a couple of years ago.Nice of them to tell you that on their website (they don't).However if you do decide to go it will cost you roughly $400.00 U.S., for two including your cab ride.I ended up having to raise a stink with the General Manager in order to get Sandals to pay for this and the did.

Take bug spray and make sure you stuff toilet paper around the door frames at night.We're still scratching bug bites and we've been home for a week now.
The rooms are nothing fancy.If you've travelled before to and all inclusive, the rooms are average at best.In order for the safe to work we had to give it a good bang with a fist, what a joke.All the money they put into this place recently went into the high end rooms.......nice.I gues us average people aren't worth the money.

Prepare to be constantly harassed by the spa personel at least 3-5 time s a day about using spa services.I figure if sandals is that great, the staff shouldn't have to solicite business from patrons.It does get annoying when your trying to relax.

The beach is a dissapointment as well especially if you've been to Punta Cana.It's not what it looks like on the website so dont be fooled.

They're are other things that I could say, but I think you get the point.We have been to 3 - 3rd world countries and I am not making this stuff up.If this hotel is an example of what Sandals is all about, then I will never go to another one.We spoke with allot of other people and they pretty much had the same opinion of this place...They/ we expected better. Even in other countries like St Lucia people said that the service was bad and that the rooms need upgrading.

All the staff can do that is really well is say" I'm sorry".The guest service manager (Heather) met with us prior to leaving to get feed back from us as well as obtain my email address so that she might send me a voucher for $125.00 U.S. for our next visit to a sandals ( ya right).Like I said , we have been home a week and I have't recieved anything yet.Maybe I should call them and ask about it just so I can hear them say I'M SORRY ........AGAIN. I'm the one that 's sorry we went there. The sun was hot the food was good and the music wasn't.Jamica / Sandals again????, never.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank letrbuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Dakota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2010

We were at the Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica for an 11 night stay with some friends of ours. We have never experienced such a beautiful place with such gracious people who were more than accomodating to us. The staff was excellent whether it was the housekeepers, the resturant servers and hosts, the gift shop staff, the photo takers, the desk clerks, the tour guides, we cannot say enough good about everyone who worked there. They made it the most memorable trip of our lives. We met some very special young people from India also who were so wonderful to us. Bala and Joshini were their names and they were always trying to make our stay special. We are from South Dakota and we will be recommending this location to all of our friends here. Thank you for everything. We are really hoping we can return some day in the future!!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SatisfiedSouthDakota
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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