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“Best in Jamaica " Recommend"”

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Sandals South Coast
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Certificate of Excellence
Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Best in Jamaica " Recommend"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2011

Our stay at Sandal Whitehouse Dec 30-Jan 6th for our 35th wedding aniversary was Really great, lots of good stuff /kudos about it on every level to report to everyone at Sandals , as well as to friends and family. Sandals did a spectacular job on New Years Eve for every age group( this is an adults only resort).

There is only one BUT and this is a Very BIG BUT for me .There was no Jamaican Rum to be had at any of the bars at SANDALS Whitehouse, we even hired our own taxi Driver and went over to Negril Sandals (to check it out for our next trip to Jamaica)and there was no JAMAICAN Rum there either. By the way Sandals Whitehouse was Great and we would will go to Negril one day with our younger( 30 something) adult children if they should come along as they would love the Rest of Negril's night life.

We like the peace, quiet and Elegance of Sandals Whitehouse.

We have gone to Jamaica at least 25 times since our honey moon in 1975 (we love the Jamaican People, Jamaican food and the Jamaican Experience).

This was my first time with Sandals in all the years of going to Jamaica and I would most definately like to go with Sandals again. You far out shone any of the other Resorts/Hotels in Jamaica and many other parts of the Caribbean for us that we have stayed at. We live to travel and have over 180 places we have been to around the world and some of them multiple times, and we just love Jamaica, and Sandals you do a GREAT JOB for Jamaica.

BUT I don’t want to be drinking Rum from Guyana, if I did, I would expect to get it if I was visiting Guyana not Jamaica. If you have had a falling out with Jamaican Appleton Rum Factory, then how about Meyers Jamaican Rum, or Sangsters or any other Jamaican Rum, Appleton is mine and my wife's rum of choice anywhere I am in the world. When a person travels to Jamaica they expect to get Jamaican Rum, and by far it is TOTALLY Superior to the Guyanese Rum you served us, The Jamaican Bartender s were embarrassed each time he had to explain to a Guest at the bar. This became a topic of conversation with total strangers/guests whom had just arrived or had been there for a while,.. without my wife and I starting the conversation. There was no acceptable excuse.

We all assumed it was for no other reason but to get the Rum Cheaper, it most certainly is not a better rum. I can tell as I am a rum drinker, I won’t even go anywhere near Barcardi either as it is inferior to Appleton Rum in my opinion. We saw a lot of other TOP shelf liquor an wondered why all this other great choices but no Jamaican Rum, Hmm!

Now that we are older and have experienced a lot of travel and places we have decided that out of the
Whole Caribbean Experience there are two places that we go back to it is Jamaica of course and
Turks and Caicos Islands. How about putting a Sandals there, I’m sure it would be successful as well.
I know that you have a Beaches Resort there in PROVO TCI but Sandals for Adults is what we are now interested in, quieter. Please truly consider bringing back the Jamaican Rum.

This will decide our future decisions.

G and D Smith

PS: You introduce us to Taxi Driver Carrington of Stylish Tours (he was hired by Sandals to transport us to the Sandals Resort on the 30th )and he was great , we liked him so much that we added him to our other iphone contacts for Jamaica as we tend to stay with people that do a great job. We did hire him 2 more times on our own while in Jamaica, we devated our scheduled flight from returning on the 6th and went to another part of the island and returned on the 13th instead and therefore used him on our own., he is a great ambassador for Jamaica and Sandals and told the other persons so much about Jamaica and things to do and the must do's. We enjoyed him immensely so did the other persons we were with too. I hope you use him more in the future, some taxi drives just Drive and don’t add anything to the experience, Taxi Drives everywhere could learn how to do a great Job from Carrington.

By the way we and others tend to tip well for a great trip. He even stopped at a closed gas station( our plane was late by about 2 hours that incoming day) and he talked the station manager into opening up so one of our passengers could use the ladies room. He nor the Gas station manager would accept any tips for that service. Jamaican Hospitality once again.

Oh I could go on but by now you get the point.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Ottawa, Canada
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common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2011

Sandals is an expensive excursion; there is no question about that. But the locals make the trip worth it.

Want to travel around?
If you talk with Lisa and Rowhena, you'll be able visit any location off site you want. They are fantastic 'smooth' talking people!

Want to have a good meal?
Latoya works at the restaurants on site and will guarantee a wonderful meal with some of the best service some of the best service ever! (Seriously; ask specifically for her)

Want to have fun on the resort?
They aren't bartenders; but they'll do just about anything to ensure you have a good time. Christian and Otto will smooth talk you into participating in some of the local fun and games. They participate themselves too!

Honestly; it's tough to right a review and try to give credit to some of the people who work so hard unnoticed. It's honestly the locals at Jamaica who will make your vacation an unforgeable experience.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank lead2gold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2011

My husband and I just returned from our 2nd trip to Jamiaca and we loved the Sandals Whitehouse Resort!
The food was great- I ate lobster 3 times and it was fresh and tasty every time. Lots of fresh seafood as well as tender steaks. Enjoyed many frozen rum drinks, my favorite was the dirty banana. The staff really aims to please!
The beach was long and beautiful for walking and swimming. No annoying vendors or jet ski's. We saw lots of marine life, including fish, sting rays, and huge starfish. Certain areas of the dutch and italian beach did have seaweed but there was plenty of clear sandy area to swim if you wished to (and I did, lots!)
Pools were huge and nice temperature. Just cool enough to be refreshing. Plenty of floating lounges whenever we wanted them.
Of note- the resort was full to capacity while we were there and you sure wouldn't have guessed it. It's large and well designed to actually handle the number of guests it can accommodate!
Great trip overall and we already booked for next year.
Special thank you's to Copeland and staff at the main pool bar and Richardson and the staff at watersports for all the great service. We really had exceptional service from almost all of the Whitehouse staff.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank sandalsbeachlover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, ID
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2011

We visited the Sandals Whitehouse January 15-22, 2011. Though the following review is long, we felt it was necessary to be as detailed as possible so you have reasonable expectations and can get the most out of your vacation.

THE INFAMOUS ROAD
I am probably the most carsick individual on the planet. I get nauseated every single time we head up to the ski hill, just 16 miles from our home. I was very apprehensive about the road from Montego Bay to Sandals Whitehouse. I stocked up on Dramamine, and planned for the worst. In all honesty, that road is NOT that bad. It’s two lanes, and they drive on the opposite side of the road. There are numerous potholes, but the drivers make every effort to avoid them or, at the very least, slow down so it’s less bumpy. I actually thought the road in was very interesting. There aren’t many opportunities to see “the real Jamaica” when you’re on the reservation, so I really appreciated getting a glimpse of Jamaican life.

Ask your driver questions about what you see. It’ll really enrich your trip and take your mind off of the bumps. You’ll see numerous cinder block and stone homes that are partially completed. They aren’t abandoned: interest rates are so high in Jamaica that most people just save their money and build what they can, then save more and build more as time goes on. Some of them even live in the partially-built structures as they’re being completed. Others live in colorful wooden shacks until they can buy land to build more permanent structures. Typically, they rent the land they put the shack on, and move it if they want to live someplace else.

Look for the school crossing signs. Though they’re yellow and black like ours our, they’re REALLY detailed (the little girl has a skirt and pony tail, and the little boy has a backpack—too cute!). If you’re lucky enough to be on the road on a school day, watch for the adorable kids. They all wear uniforms (little gingham tops for the boys and gingham jumpers for the girls), and they’re just cute to beat the band.

You will see a lot of poverty and trash, but remember this is a developing nation. The road is not in awesome condition, but again, this is a developing nation. They don’t do road work nine months out of the year like they do in the States. Further, it’s an island, so it’s more difficult to obtain the supplies to maintain the road. This isn’t the U.S., so if you’re coming to Jamaica expecting all the comforts of home, why would you even bother to go to a foreign country? Get over it, take your Dramamine, and don’t let it ruin your trip or prevent you from choosing the Whitehouse!

THE PROPERTY
The resort is truly as gorgeous as all the pictures. The grounds are immaculate, we saw people performing maintenance every day (patching plaster, painting ash trays, raking, etc.).

The beach is impressive: at about two miles in length, it is a private beach (which, if you go to Negril you will appreciate: the beach in Negril—even at Sandal Negril—is public, so people from other resorts walk by and locals hawk their wares and services). It is raked daily, and it never feels crowded (the resort was at full occupancy when we were there).

We could always find a seat at the pool or beach. We spent the majority of our time at the main pool, and we had no trouble finding seats (word to the wise: a rolled towel means it’s vacant, a towel laid out means it’s taken). The one day we had trouble finding a seat at the pool we set up camp on the beach, which was quieter and more relaxing. Just a nit-picky detail: some of the lounge chairs were newer, metal, and looked nicer. The majority (especially on the beach) were white plastic with blue mesh with a faded “Sandals” logo. I thought the mix of the two looked a little sloppy, though you could pull the white plastic loungers in to the shallow end of the pool or into the ocean if you wanted.

We were in the French Village, which is the furthest village from the piazza where the main pool, lobby, and restaurants are. It’s truly not that far away from the piazza, and since you’ll be lounging by the beach or pool all day sipping fruity drinks and eating four-course meals, the five-minute walk is welcome exercise. If you’d like, you can walk along the beach.

There are three pools (one in the French Village, one in the Dutch, and the main pool), each with a different character. We spent most of our time at the main pool, which was pretty relaxed with the exception of group activities in the afternoons. The French pool is the party pool; it attracts a younger crowd and is louder. The action dies off around 5:00 p.m., so there were no disruptions staying in the French Village.

I think the noise in the French Village depends entirely upon the crowd that’s there when you are. Don’t blame the resort for its ebb and flow of rowdy clientele. I will admit that the walls are somewhat thin. Though it was mostly quiet in our room, you could hear the couple next to us argue from time to time. One thing I was surprised about is how LOUD it is there at night: there’s all sorts of bugs and birds that make loud sounds all through the night. It’s not like a traffic jam or anything (it’s actually a peaceful kind of white noise), but you can for sure hear it even with your doors and windows closed.

My biggest complaint was the SMOKING. It was like every smoker on the planet heard you could smoke there and set sail for Jamaica. Though the restaurants are all non-smoking, you can smoke at some restaurants outside, which is extremely unpleasant for the people around them. There were smokers in the pool, smokers on the beach, smokers at the swim-up bars, and smokers on the terrace. There was one guy who had a lit cigarette in his hands at all times (Really? You can’t go to the bathroom without taking a drag?). I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I wasn’t expecting things to be like they are in the States, but it was shocking to be constantly subjected to slow, unpleasant poisoning when I was trying to enjoy my week in paradise. If you MUST smoke and slowly kill yourself, be respectful of those of us who are health-conscious. Just because you CAN smoke in an outdoor restaurant doesn’t mean you should. Step away from the crowd so we don’t have to be polluted by your toxic, disgusting habit.

THE ROOM
We booked a standard room in the French Village, but were “upgraded” to a Honeymoon Grande Luxe (after talking to people who had stayed in the French, Dutch, and Italian Villages and repeat guests, they said all of the rooms are exactly the same except for concierge-level, which have a bigger bathroom, and the butler suites). All rooms face the ocean, though ours had an obstructed view (room 3433). The room had tile floors, a safe, a comfy king-size four-poster bed with a white duvet cover and coverlet (upon which our maid left a towel animal every day, typically with some sort of fresh tropical flower), a small sofa, coffee table, and a small balcony. There was a mini-fridge stocked with non-alcoholic beverages (juice, soda and water). If you want booze in your fridge, you have to book a concierge room. In the standard rooms, you cannot order room service (though you can in concierge-level rooms or higher), which really isn’t that big of a deal (at least not for us, though it would have been nice to order in the few nights we got in late from tours or to order breakfast in bed). If you book the cheapest room, just go into it realizing you won’t get all of the extra amenities.

The dead bolt on our door had been removed, as had the seal (so you could see light seeping in). We had occasional small bugs and we did notice some tiny sugar ants on the desk (we told our housekeeper and she sent someone up to spray for them), but it was right next to our beach bag and we didn’t see a colony or anything like that anywhere, so we assumed we probably imported them from the beach. Guys, you’re on a beach in the middle of a 500-acre wildlife preserve; this isn’t the Beverly Hilton, so you’re going to have bugs. In general, the room was very clean, but if you’re going to be playing in nature, you’re going to bring some travelers back with you, so just get over it.

We got close to a couple who booked a butler suite, and they said it was spectacular. Their room had a separate bedroom and living area, a larger balcony, their butler had champagne and hors d’oeuvres in their room every night, they always had the best table reserved in the restaurant of their choice (no wait!), their butler reserved chairs at the pool, and gave them a cell phone to call if they needed anything. Sounds AWESOME, right? The standard room will run you $176 per person per night, the concierge will run you $277 per person per night, and the butler will run you $490 per person per night. For two people for a week, I’m not sure the butler service is worth an extra $4396 (especially since you have the same access to the same restaurants, facilities, and activities), but we did think it would be worth the extra $1414 to book a concierge room and have a mini-bar with booze, room service, and have someone bring your up a bottle of wine or champagne if you want. Keep in mind, the room service and a bigger bathtub is really what you’re paying for when you book a concierge room.

SERVICE
When we arrived, we were greeted with cold towels and champagne. Check-in was a bit googly: they ask you to stand by the bus and make sure your luggage makes it off, then you’re escorted into the lobby along with the other guests. A hostess comes around and asks for your voucher, then returns with your key and a few forms to sign. Then, you wait as one by one, couples are escorted to their room. When our time to be escorted came, we identified our bags (they were brought up later. We went to get some lunch when we arrived at our room, and about two hours later, it still hadn’t arrived. We called the front desk and about five minutes after that, it was brought up), and an escort showed us to our room with an umbrella (it was drizzling…every morning was gorgeous and clear, but the clouds start rolling in around 2:30. It rains for about an hour or so around 4:30 and then clears up in time for dinner).

We found the staff to be uniformly pleasant and welcoming. Anywhere you went, the staff stopped to smile and ask you how you were doing, pull out your chair, or hold a door open for you. The exception was the wait staff, which seemed rushed and somewhat frazzled/grumpy (one day at Bluefield’s we counted four staff people serving about 30 tables. If you’ve ever waited tables, you can appreciate how much work that is), though there were a few exceptions. One of the managers was visiting guests around the pool one day, and the couple next to us started complaining about the service in the restaurants. The manager spent about 20 minutes really listening to them, and tried to explain the situation, which I will explain to you now so you know what to expect.

Remember that road you took to get from the airport to the resort? That was in Montego Bay, a decent-sized city. If you venture into Negril (another decent-sized city), it’s about the same distance. Whitehouse is a rural area, and their staff is from rural communities. People are not willing to drive from Montego Bay or Negril to work at the Whitehouse, so they have to hire local people who aren’t used to catering to the whims of tourists. The manager said it takes a considerable amount of time and training to get the staff up to par, and they’re often understaffed because it’s hard to find good people who are willing to work at Sandals’ standard. Also, keep in mind they’re on “island time:” things move a bit slower and they’re generally more relaxed than North Americans. Just expect that if a tour or activity is scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m., things will get rolling about 10-15 minutes later. Just expect that and roll with it.

Standout service included all the bar tenders, Rowena at the tour desk, and Hamish, the Activities Director.

SPA
We booked a couples massage and a facial at the Red Lane spa. There’s an AWESOME hot/cold plunge pool and sauna/steam room you can use—complimentary—even if you don’t have an appointment booked. The facility is gorgeous: the lobby opens out to a courtyard with a fountain and an arbor with loungers underneath. The treatment rooms are arranged in a u-shape around the courtyard. The prices were slightly higher than in the States, but I didn’t feel they were outrageous. If you book the couples massage, know going into it that it’s just a relaxation massage, so the pressure will only be light to medium. Spring the extra $20 for a sports massage or a hot stone massage. I liked my masseuse (Sandra), but my husband felt his rushed through his. We booked the massage the second to last day we were there, but in hindsight, I wish I booked it for the first day I was there for two reasons: 1) I had also sorts of kinks and knots in my neck and back from attempting to sleep on the plane, and 2) a massage would have felt even better if my skin wasn’t slightly burned. After the massage, they escort you to the courtyard, where you relax on the loungers and they serve you champagne.

The facial was absolute bliss. They use only Dermologica products, and I booked this at 5:00 p.m. the last day we were there. It felt GREAT to get some exfoliation and she did some treatments to soothe my sunburn. I tend to be somewhat sensitive to the sun after a facial, so it was a good idea I booked this for the last night.

The gals at the spa can be somewhat aggressive. At the end of our massage, they recommended products and said they’d just add them to the room bill. Though I felt bad about it, I lied and told my esthetician I used Dermologica at home so I didn’t need to buy any products. You’ll also see the spa gals roaming about asking if you’ve booked your treatments yet. We just smiled and told them we already had (which was the truth). We probably got hit up by the spa gals on the beach and around the pool about 3-4 times in the week we were there.

RESTAURANTS
The food ranges from good to excellent. We ate at every restaurant, and even arranged for a private candlelight dinner on the beach for two (highly recommended!). Beringer wines (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet) and premium liquor are included. The Manager’s Wine List includes additional selections you may purchase, but there was nothing stand-out, and I know for a fact the prices of the vintages (which are available at any supermarket) on the list were inflated threefold.

Meals are a la carte and portions are much smaller than you get back in the States. However, since you have four courses, you’re in no danger of leaving hungry, and if you’re still hungry after your meal, you can always order more (after dinner on the last night, we ended up ordering steak and lobster to go from Neptune’s and eating it on the pier).

The worst meal we had all week was at Giuseppe’s, the Italian restaurant. Though they have a nice antipasto bar with great cheeses, my salmon (farmed) lacked flavor and my husband’s chicken parmigiana was dry. You can order pizzas to go (about dinner-plate size), which we did several times and those were quite good, especially the seafood pizza (I know it sounds weird, but it was tasty!).

Jasmine’s, the Asian restaurant, was quite good. Order the appetizer sampler (about five bite-sized appetizers per person…just right). I had the vegetable soup and my husband had the coconut soup, and we both agreed the coconut soup was pretty flavorless. I had the seafood entrée (light and tasty) and my husband had the beef stir-fry. Both were tasty and memorable.

Our favorite restaurant was Eleanor’s, which is allegedly Caribbean, though we didn’t get that impression. To date, the best steak I’ve ever eaten was an ostrich steak at El Gaucho in Portland, Oregon. Their filet mignon with blue cheese crumbles was on par with that. It was perfectly marinated, seasoned, and so tender. I had it the first night and we both had it the last night, and it was consistently excellent. My husband ordered the red snapper and polenta the first night, which he also said was good. We had breakfast there twice, and truth be told, it didn’t offer much different from the buffet at the Bayside, and you had to wait longer for your food.

The close runner-up was Neptune’s, which is allegedly Mediterranean food, but which we thought was more of a seafood place. Their calamari was crispy, they had a nice antipasto plate with some of the best prosciutto I’ve ever had, a seafood stew that was incredibly flavorful, an excellent lobster tail and a tasty strip steak (though it was no filet from Eleanor’s, it was still a good cut of meat).

Though we didn’t have dinner at the Bayside, we frequented it for breakfast and lunch. They have an awesome buffet with many made-to-order items, like two-egg omelets, eggs any way and waffles. There’s a nice selection of tropical fruits and your usual assortment of Continental breakfast items, with the addition of fresh fruit smoothies and Mimosas (you can drink a lot more during the day if you start before 10 a.m.). Their lunch spread is similarly satisfying, with made-to order stir fry and Panini, and a revolving assortment of various pre-cooked dishes.

Check out the jerk chicken and pork stand immediately behind the main pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. We thought it was much fresher and tastier than the jerk chicken at Bluefield’s, and it took less time to get it. The jerk pork was somewhat tough, so stick with the chicken.

Bluefield’s is a casual beachside eatery near the French pool. This place probably had the worst service, but it was consistently crowded and understaffed. The food was fine (we had jerk chicken there one day and jerk chicken wraps another), but it wasn’t outstanding. Again, if you’re craving jerk chicken, you’re better off going to the jerk chicken stand.

One night, they had a beach party with a buffet. The food was par, and basically what Americans have come to expect from buffet food (it may not be the best, but there’s plenty of it!).

Perhaps the most unexpectedly delightful venue was Le Café de Paris, the little patisserie. We had crepes there one morning for a quick pre-tour breakfast, and they have a revolving assortment of decadent bite-sized desserts. After dinner, we’d head there and get about 4 or 5 different desserts and a decaf coffee (they also serve espresso drinks there).

As far as dress code, things are pretty casual during the day, but swimsuits have to be covered up when going to any eatery. In the evening, Eleanor’s and Jasmine’s were formal (no shorts, women were nicely dressed though not necessarily IN a dress). Neptune’s and Giuseppe’s were more casual.

Unless you have a butler, be prepared to wait about an hour for dinner (though you can kill time at the martini bar or the bar near Neptune’s). We got back late two nights and had to wait for a table. Two words of advice: 1) eat early! The restaurants open at 6 p.m., and the nights we went down to dinner around six, we got right in, no wait, and were finished eating in about an hour. 2) On the nights we got in late from our tours, one of us went to the restaurant of our choice and put our name on the list, and the other went to the room to get cleaned up. When the clean person got back, they placed the order, and when we were both clean, the appetizers just showed up.

TOURS
We booked three tours when we booked our vacation. Word of advice: wait until you arrive to book your tours. We booked the Let’s Go Native tour, the Ultimate Kayaking Adventure, and the Zip line Canopy tour. When we arrived to confirm our tours at the tour desk, the gal at the desk, Rowena, said they were not in the system. She had to call the main office to confirm we’d pre-paid, and the days we actually did the tours were different from what we had originally planned. I was worried that we’d have to re-book and get charged again and then haggle to get the charges removed, but Rowena took care of everything (she’s fabulous, by the way). Do yourself a favor and just wait to book your tours when you get there.

The Let’s Go Native tour was disappointing, and a bit of a misnomer. We were expecting to interact with the locals and see culturally significant places. Instead, we hopped on a bus with two other couples, hit two “craft” shops (read: tourist crap stores with EXACTLY the same stuff you can find in the gift shops on the resort plus some more cheap tchotchkes), Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, an outdoor mall consisting of “craft” shops, Sandals Negril (which was actually pretty cool…it was nice to get a feel for another property), and the piece de la resistance: Rick’s Café, which was inarguable the coolest part about the trip. There was live music, incredible cliff divers, a 35-foot cliff to jump off (which my husband did) and few more sensible leaps (which I jumped off of). We watched the sunset from there, which was incredible. The only downside is the divers were roaming around asking for money the whole time. Allegedly, it costs about $190 to take a cab from the Whitehouse to Negril, which might be worth it just to go to Rick’s. We saw a boat we saw at Sandals Negril at Rick’s; it was a sunset booze cruise, and the passengers just swam up to the café. Rick’s is SO cool, you may consider dividing your time between the Whitehouse and Sandals Negril just so you have easier (and more entertaining) access to it.

The Ultimate Kayaking Adventure was fun, but if you’re looking for whitewater, you won’t find it here (the kayaks take the same route as the river tubers). The Great River is a narrow, tame body of water which runs into the ocean. The hour-long trip was split by a quick (3 platform) zip lining break, which was REALLY fun. The guides were hilarious, very friendly and safety-conscious. Along the way, they pointed out various birds, plants, and trees, and told us about their culture. The tour concluded with a bumpy bus ride back to the adventure center and lunch consisting of punch, jerk chicken and hush puppies (yum!).

The zip line tour was a blast, and consisted of nine platforms, the longest of which is about 300 feet off the ground and about 1,000 feet long. The day we went, it was pouring rain. We didn’t bring a change of clothes (so make sure you do) or a towel (which you can check out for the day at the tour desk), so we ended up buying t-shirts at the gift shop for the ride home.

The zip line tour takes off from the same place as the kayaking/tubing (Chukka Adventures). They have a drink and jerk chicken stand, changing rooms, and a gift shop. There are some lockers available (you’re not allowed to leave your belongings on the bus) which are $9 (you get $5 back when you return the key). We got a locker when we went kayaking, but if you have a waterproof camera case and put on insect repellant and sunscreen beforehand, there’s no need to spring for a locker.

Keep in mind, the Whitehouse is about an hour’s drive from any of the tours we did, so you’ll spend a considerable amount of time on the bus. The kayaking tour left at 9 a.m. and we returned around 2:30 p.m. Let’s Go Native lasted literally all day, and the zip line tour didn’t leave until 1 so we didn’t get back until after 7 (we got stuck in a traffic jam on the way home). The first full day we were at the resort we just lounged around, which I highly recommend. The next three days we did tours, tours, tours, and then we had the last two days to just relax. We booked a lot of tours because we were afraid we’d get bored just hanging around the resort for a week, but in hindsight, the one must-do tour is the zip line tour, and we wish we’d have spent more time on the reservation. If you’re planning on going tour loco, book them early in your stay so you can unwind and appreciate paradise.

ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
So we booked a lot of tours because we thought we’d get bored doing nothing for seven days (we’re pretty active). Nothing could be further from the truth! We went waterskiing, snorkeling (lots of fish, but the reef isn’t really colorful), and our favorite, the Hobie Cat. We must have spent about 40 minutes every day sailing around on it. They’re REALLY fun, surprisingly easy to operate, and a great way to get a view of the resort a la distance. The water near the resort isn’t really that clear and there IS a good amount of seaweed close to shore, but just know that going into it. The Water Sports guys are happy to hook you up with any type of water sport, and it’s a great way to kill a few hours. There may be a wait for some activities (mainly the Hobie Cat), so just plant yourself on a beach chair and watch the world go by.

We went to the Cabaret a few nights. We LOVED the local group who performed traditional song and dance, and Hamish the Activities Director was a fabulous host for The Perfect Couple game. There was live music on the beach on reggae night, and a fire eater and a limbo guy on the beach party night. It was high energy and entertaining. The low point was the fashion show on Talent Night (which we left before the talent portion and from what we heard, we didn’t miss anything).

There were daily activities by the pool (Name That Tune, dance lessons, Bingo, a scavenger hunt, water aerobics, etc). To encourage participation, you can earn “points,” 300 of which buys you a bottle of rum.

In summary, the food was good to excellent, the facilities were beautiful, the service acceptable and an all-around relaxing and enjoyable holiday. My biggest piece of advice is to realize you’re in a developing nation. Though the resort is glossy and impressive, don’t expect everything to be just like it is in Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Slow down, roll with it, and enjoy the gorgeous weather, food, and surroundings as long as you can!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank mg179119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, OH
Level Contributor
106 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2011

First, we had a wonderful time and the area is beautiful.

The service is the worst we have seen at a resort. We went to Sandals Grand St. Lucia last year and it set the bar very high. Here, we had to ask for and wait for everything. The food was good, but we were almost ignored once seated. We had to hunt down the servers to get refills of the water and wine.

We were given an upgraded room since the resort was not filled. The walls had chunks out of them. The grout in the bathroom was dirty beyond description. The bed was so hard, we did not get one good night's sleep.

The mosquitos were everywhere, including inside the room. Some type of sand flea bit everyone we saw and left strange round red marks on the skin. We heard couple after couple talk about the bugs.

The used breakfast and lunch room service plates were left in the hallway all day long. Twice, they came to do the final bed turndown AFTER we were in bed.

We talked to people who complained to management. We were told time and again that the management just smiled or actually laughed at the complaints. I asked to speak to the manager at Elenors restaurant and nobody came out.

Contrast this with the Sandals Grand St. Lucia, where we had one of the best vacations. I absolutely hate to complain, but this was clearly the worst value for the money, and we wish to save others the bad experience.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank drdeger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2011

This resort is beautiful! My husband and I chose this resort because it had a European feel to it. We were going to go to Europe for our honeymoon, but since I couldn't get enough time off we chose Jamacia.
This is one of the largest resorts I've been on. There are 3 different quests quarters, the French, Italian, and Dutch. We stayed at the Dutch and our room was really nice and quiet. The view from the balcony was incredible as well as the view from the terrence. The landscaping was remarkable with breath taking views of the mountains surrounding the resort. The resort was very quiet and romantic which made it a perfect spot for honeymooners or couples get away! The French and Dutch Quarters had thier own swimming pool with a hot tub attached, as well as a sand bar. The French Quarters had a swim up bar, restuarant also along side the beach. All ocean view. The Italian was closest to the main pool so the guest had to use that pool.
The main pool was huge. Lots of space for a lot of guests! The swim up bar was great and the bartenders were friendly and fun to be around. The activity staff kept the guests involved and entertained. There wasn't many dull moments away from the main pool.
Every night the entertainment was great! There was a managers meet and greet with drinks and ar'dourves, dinner on the beach, etc...
One thing I didn't like was that the main restuarants were far away from the Dutch and French Quarters. Breakfast stopped at 10am most places and it was only served in certain restuarants. The seafood restuarant had the best surf and turf! This restuarant was the futhest from the main part of the resort, but it was worth the walk and views. The restuarant by the French Quarters served Jamacian food that was said to be very authentic. The jerk chicken was very spicy yet tasty.
The Spa was "AHHHHH!" We had the best experience during our spa treatments! The spa is away from the main pool, very quiet, tranquil, and romantic. The staff were excellent and the rooms were privat. We did a couples massage and rub-a-dub two in a tub! The best treament that you could ask for on your honeymoon! I highly recommend this and any other spa treatments!
This resort gave us an opportunity to enjoy our honeymoon in a nice romantic atmosphere. We had the privacy and the amenities to keep us comfortable and happy. We told all our friends and family about this resort and are currently talking our friends that are engaged to go here!!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tiffleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2011

As this was our 5th time to Whitehouse, you can surmise that we really like this resort !
We had smooth transportation by van to the resort. It rained on the way, and the roads are detiorated, but the driver was great and gave great commentary about the sites and culture. We enjoy the ride, it's like a mini tour of Jamaica.
Were greated on arrival with rum punch and cool towels and taken to concierge building for check in. The room wasn't ready yet as it was before 3pm check-in and it was a Saturday (big turn over day) during high season. We walked over to Bluefields in the French Village for our favorite arrival foods, jerk pork, beef patties, Red Stripe and a Dirty Banana.
We were taken to our room by Lancelot (concierge Manager). He and his staff are top notch, seeing to your every need. We were in a one bedroom suite in the Italian Village, which was a wonderful upgrade. The room was very clean, the bed was very comfortable, the fridge and bar were stocked daily, room was cleaned every day by 3pm by the great Taquise! The large balcony and view were great. We watched the sunsets and sunrises from our balcony.
We were there for the Packers-Falcons playoff game which was not available on tv there (did not get Fox on Saturday night, only Sundays). With the help of Sheldon from concierge and a great guest a group of Packer Fans watched the game in the conference room through a computer hooked to the conference tv skyped to the guest's daughters home and aimed at her tv. It was a once in a lifetime experience to watch our Packers! Sheldon brought us pizzas and ice chests of Red Stripe also.
We had great weather, mostly sunny, only a few drops of evening rain, one overcast day. The pools were clean and a good temperature; were able to sit at the swim-up bars, float, and swim.
We spent most mornings on the Dutch beach soaking in the sun. The beach is very well maintained, raked every morning by the watersports staff. There were always plenty of loungers and clean beach towels. We spent several afternoons at the French Pool swim up bar and also spent time at the main pool (Riviera) swim up bar. We did notice that there seemed to be less pool floats than on past visits.
We walked the beach to breakfast each morning and walked the beach past the French Village, it's beautiful. We love the location of Whitehouse with no other resorts near and no vendors. Just guests and staff.
We liked the food, really enjoy the breakfast buffet at Bayside, lots of choices, and enjoy the Jamaican dishes (greens & cabbage, boiled bananas, ackee, saltfish, fried plantains, bammy) yes, for breakfast! And of course, the Mimosas! The lunch buffet at Bayside is also good, with sandwhich stations, salads, hot dishes etc. The pizza from Giuseppes for lunch is so good. We usually order it to go, as it takes about 45minutes to an hour. Just place your order, hang out at the pool bar and then get your pizza and take it your chair or poolside. Bluefields in the French Village for lunch has great caribbean fare and great views of the sea.
Dinners were good with the filet at Eleanor's our favorite. We also enjoy the anti pasti bar at Giusseppes and the pastas. Neptunes has a pot a feu dish that is great (mussels, scallops, shrimp, clams, fish, potatoes, carrots). The menu selections had a good variety with about 5-6 entree selections at each restaurant . The appetizer and salad selections are plenty and varied as well.
We really enjoyed the Beach Party Monday night. It is buffet style and you are seated at tables for ten on the beach. It's a really fun way to meet other guests, the food is delicious (jerk chicken & pork, ham, rice and peas, salads, side dishes, desserts) and abundant.
The entertainment was fun, limbo, fire eater, steel drums, opera, aquasize . They had several nights of dancing under the stars to the house band and a reggae night on the beach Friday.
Husband got a reflexogy massage at the Spa from Doreen and really enjoyed it. He has problems with his feet and said he thinks Doreen has fixed his feet!
The grounds were beautiful as always. Very well maintained; kudos to John Hunter and his staff.
The staff was wonderful. We really enjoy the watersports staff, Geaton, Fabian, Ricky (Ricardo), Ian and consider them friends. The bartenders are great, especially Anthony, Copeland, Avril, Caveta, Aseaney, Ornick, D-Wayne and their manager Julian. The wait staff at the restaurants are overall efficient and friendly.
Special thanks to our travel agent Amy McHugh of Dream Makers Vacation Service for all her help in making this a great trip, as always!
We have already booked to go back next January!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DJPackerFans
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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