My mission was to explore every Sandals property in Jamaica – no small feat (pun intended!) I went, I saw, I returned home to another foot of snow! Oh well!
This post will start my inspection report, with the question I heard from guests at every single property I visited – “Which is the best?” There is no “best”, I said. And truly there isn’t; each property has its distinct location and look, it’s very own personality, really.
What delights me might not be your “happy place”. Sandals Montego Bay is playful and energetic, situated on the beach in a large city; Royal Plantation is elegant and refined, located at the base of a hillside on the rockier northern coast. Sandals Grand Riviera is really two resorts in one – a quiet garden in the Villa section, more boisterous in the Seaside. Royal Caribbean has what I’ll call “nooks”; sections of coves, some with semi-secluded groupings of accommodations with their own lagoons or plunge pools. Sandals Whitehouse spans what seems like a mile of coastline, and has the area to itself.
All the properties have some version of a beach, whether it’s the famous Seven Mile beach in Negril where you can walk for miles checking out the scene, the mostly deserted stretch of powdery sand at Whitehouse where you can check out the scenery, or the golden sand of Ocho Rios smaller beaches.
Even the music is reflective of the personality of the property. I danced (sort of!) to Soca and Frank Sinatra (well, someone singing his songs) at Whitehouse, Beyonce’ at Grande Riviera and got my groove on with Bob Marley at the rest. Royal Plantation features Chamber Music trios in their drawing room, on a Steinway piano reported to be 140 years old.
Each area of the country has its own tours and activities. I really enjoyed the South Coast on this trip. But on others, I’ve had fun in Negril both on and off the water, and in Ocho Rios shopping and climbing Dunn’s River Falls. I haven’t made it bob-sledding as yet!
As soon as I get my gazillion pictures in order, I’ll post about each property I visited. First I have to sample some of the amazing Appleton 21 year old rum that I brought back, and get the sand out of my suitcase!