My travel reviews aren’t as frequent as I’d like but hey we can’t all travel the world every month now can we? My most recent trip took me on a 4 night 5 day trip to Jamaica. Living in South Florida, this was a hop, skip and we were there. First time flying on Caribbean Airlines and have to say it wasn’t too shabby, it was way better than Spirit but a cardboard box with wings has a shot to be better than Spirit. The one great thing about Sandals is that they had a really nice room/area in the airport where people could wait for the shuttle to take them to the resorts with free drinks and snacks.
This was a special trip for myself and family, so we opted for skipping the regular shuttle and got a limo van for a few of us. This was a blessing and a curse. We got there in record time, I didn’t know VW vans could take corners that fast. We were trying to surprise someone so this was good, the curse though was that the trip from the Montego Bay airport is at least an hour and a half with someone that has a lead foot and filled with sharp turns. You travel up and down two mountain ranges to get to the Sandals Whitehouse resort. So we arrived feeling like we just got tossed around inside a can and spit out.
Once we were finally here we were treated incredibly well. The staff at this resort really went above and beyond for us. We were surprising my mom for her 60th birthday by showing up to surprise her (as she had flown in the day before). I would have to say that at least half the resort knew about our plan and arrival, they made sure we were able to complete the surprise through multiple efforts. Some of the wait staff at the restaurants weren’t enthusiastic but they also weren’t mean or rude. I also felt that they should have had just one more bartender at the swim up pool bar in the main pool, the bartenders got swamped on some of the busier days. Even though you’re relaxing on a pool float in Jamaica people can get a little antsy waiting on their frozen drink. Speaking of drinks, they really could use some bendy, flexible straws haha. It’s not easy to drink laying down with the straight straws.
Now, not being one to just lay by a pool all day I did run into an issue I was unaware of, we had come to visit during a national holiday, I believe it was Hero’s day in Jamaica. I felt bad for the people who were working at the resort because it seemed like the whole island shut down for more than just one day. It also put a damper on my plans to do any activities off the property. This was another issue to figure out, it seemed like the tours desk at the resort didn’t really explain why I couldn’t sign up for like 4 different excursions until I specifically asked “Why are there no tours available?”. The distance that the Sandals Whitehouse is from most of the activities also plays a part in this. For example, it is 3 hours each way from the most popular activity, Dunns River Falls, and at least an hour to most of the other tours. So basically you spend a whole day doing some of the activities.
Once we realized we weren’t going anywhere, it did help us to just chill out and relax a little bit more. We took advantage of the free snorkeling/glass bottom boat one day, which was a quick easy snorkel trip. Lots of small fish and some great coral were all easily spotted. There was also free dive trips and free wake boarding or water skiing. We were able to take out the free hobie cat sailboats, use the kayaks and the paddle boards. The hobie cats and kayaks were ok but the paddle boards were beat up. I mean there was only one board that had a fin on it, and the paddles they had wouldn’t extend. I didn’t notice this at other Sandals I’ve been to, so unfortunately I just think sometimes the watersport equipment is hit or miss. One unfortunate thing is that the beach appears to have been eroding away. Currently they are trying to build some jetties to cut down on the erosion. The beach is quite rocky and as we dubbed it “wild”. It looks like a jungle beach with tress growing on the beach which actually provides some shade.
All this relaxing and being out side can really build up an appetite! The food here was amazing! For lunches we ate at Neptunes (beach side) a few times and Bluefield’s (beach side but at the opposite end of the resort). If you stay in the Dutch or Italian areas try and make a trip over to Bluefield’s for lunch, the view and breeze are worth it alone! But those Jamaican beef patties they serve are to die for! The portion sizes here aren’t that large so keep that in mind. For some reason Giuseppe’s Italian at night was sweltering inside, it was actually cooler outside! The food of course amazing. However for a solid dinner, the Filet Mignon at Eleanor’s was the best! Do not miss Jasmine’s though! Incredible asian cuisine! Oh and stop by Cafe de Paris for desserts!
After all is said and done, you retire back to a very nice room with A/C! The best part about this resort is every single room has an ocean/beach view! Great king sized beds, jacuzzi bath tubs, spacious balconies were all nice features. The wi-fi was really weird at this resort, once you went inside it was sort of spotty so keep that in mind. The resort is huge! Not in a “Omg this is too far to walk” way like Disney, but in a spread out roomy sort of way. I was thoroughly impressed with the grounds, the fitness facilities ( I mean a separate building just for squash?), and the main plaza surrounding the main pool.
At the end of the stay, we loaded up for the drive back in a regular shuttle. Only 6 people in a big van so we grabbed the front seats to avoid as much motion sickness as possible. Arrived at the airport with plenty of time and came home more relaxed than before. All in all this was another hit for a trip.
Some tips from me, if you really spend a lot of time in your room and love room service pay the extra for concierge level. Otherwise save the money and go with the basic room. If you’re going peak times would be the only time you might need the exclusive butler service for reservations and so forth. If you don’t plan on leaving the resort then this is a great resort, but next time I’m going to stay closer to other activities. Hope some of this info helps any of those planning to go! Leave a comment if you’ve been here before with your tips.