While on vacation at Sandals White House in Jamaica, my wife and I arranged to stay one night and one day at Sandals Negril. This is a mini-review / comparison of the two resorts.
We arrived after dusk, to a beautifully lit entrance. Perhaps it was a day of driving, but the resort was a site for sore eyes. As usual, we were offered a rum-punch and wet towel. The foyer itself was quite small, but nicely finished. Because our room level at White House equated to concierge, we were taken upstairs to a smaller office where they again tempted us with drinks, and quickly processed us. One small, but nice thing was the need for a credit card imprint. Because we were only staying one night/day, they waived this. It's nice to see that in a corporate rule driven environment, they passed on this.
They did make a small mistake, and sent us to the wrong room, but that was sorted out quickly.
They had been nice enough to book us for the teppanyaki restaurant, so after we settled in we walked over for dinner. There was a delay in getting in, but they did what they could by bringing us drinks and seating us at a temporary table. There is not a lot to say about the food itself. It was very good, choice of meat (tenderloin), and a good time. The waitress was humorous and the cook was entertaining.
The resort itself sits on a fairly thin stretch of land, and as a result, it is quite close to the beach (good) and the road (not so good). After dark, there was very little noise from the road, so it was not an issue.
During the day, we could see that the resort itself was a little on the older side. Not offensively so, but clearly it had been around a while. We swam at the beach, which was a little nicer than that of White Sands, but very minor differences. One thing to note about the beach, because it's shared, there are a lot of locals walking up the beach looking to get you to rent a jet ski, or so sell you some "smoke". There are guards watching the beach, but it seems they do not overly concern themselves with these guys. We haggled a guy down to $40 for an hour on the jetski which seemed a good deal.
I also dove with the dive shop here, as I had heard that the diving was better than at White House. I have to agree, it was a little better (more interesting coral formations). But as I note in my White House review, the differences were not that large. Because of the rain that had been moving through the area, it was fairly murky. The boat and equipment were very good, and the staff ran things as well as any non-resort dive shop. I will also note, that they are very "by the book". My PADI card was poorly printed and as a result, my name was a little cut off/smudged. This gave them a little hesitation in letting me go (even although my picture was on the card).
We ate lunch at the waterside open air restaurant (might have been called barefoots). They were really really slow, disappointingly so. This frustrated us as we were on a tight time line, and were trapped waiting for a simple sandwich to come out. The food itself was just average.
So, in the end, I would have to give White House the gold star between the two. But note, we were only there a short time, and did not get to experience everything that the resort had to offer. Sandals Negril was a very nice place, and it did have a different feel to it. Negril felt more like Jamaica, and had a little more life to it. White House felt more European (by design), and more "sip a martini by the fire pit". White house is isolated, where as the Negril resort is located on a strip of beach with all sorts of resorts. In Negril, you can rent scooters, or go duty free shopping. None of this is available at White House (there is duty free shopping on the resort, but it's not as large of course). Negril had a full bar in the room, where as White house just had the mini-fridge. Negril's rooms were smaller/older, but somehow had a little more charm (but were also a little rough around the edges).
So, if you are considering which one to go to, I don't think it would make a lot of difference. Both are very nice. If you can make it work, go to both!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Negril's pristine 7-mile white sand beach•Phenomenal bedroom oceanfront suites set upon a relaxing crystal lagoon•Ultra luxurious one-bedroom millionaire honeymoon suites with private plunge pool•Seven exquisite dining options•Voted Sandals “World's Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted “Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row•Voted Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa “Jamaica's Leading Hotel” (2nd consecutive year)•Five Star Diamond Resort, American Academy of Hospitality Science ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Negril Beach Hotel Negril
- Sandals Negril Beach Resort And Spa
- Sandals Jamaica
- Sandals Negril Jamaica
- Sandals Resort