|Old Reviews - Beaches Sandy Bay Resort|
September 30 2009
Arrival: August 2009
Restaurants and Bars:
I would recommend this resort for small children and if money is not an object. Overall be wary of all the advertising they do - you are paying for that and many pictures are not like it really is.
We travelled to the Beaches Sandy Bay in January 2008, with our 2 year old son. We had an awesome week in Jamaica and we are definitely planning on returning to Sandy Bay next year. The 90 minute bus ride to Negril is worth it - Sandy Bay's beach is absolutely stunning and the staff were friendly and courteous.
We chose Beaches as they have a kids club for 2 yr olds - the staff were friendly and our son's favourite was Kerri Ann - she was awesome! The Sesame Kids activities were awesome - the character parade with marching band, the stage shows, baking cookies with Cookie Monster, birthday party with Elmo....it was all awesome and our son was in heaven and we had fun too!
The hotel is not fancy like the nearby Beaches Negril, but we were looking for a more relaxed and smaller resort, so this was a perfect place for our family. We hired a nanny in the evenings and took the shuttle to Negril (2 min ride), where they had more fancy restaurant choices.
The beachside cafe served delicious jerk chicken and Jamaican patties and the chef, Mr. Delroy, was super friendly. The buffet food was also better than we expected and they also served a 5pm kids meal which was a hit with our son.
The beach is gorgeous and not crowded. No problem to find shade if you wanted.
This is a great family resort for people looking for a slower-pace and relaxed location. This was our first trip to the Caribbean (usually we are go on overseas trips to Asia & Australia), but after visiting Jamaica, we have been converted....we are planning on going back to Sandy Bay next year!
Trust us we've traveled a lot. All-inclusives is our "specialty". Beaches/Sandals is the worst and most expensive resort club. I hate to make generalizations, but we've never met a single customer-oriented person in Jamaica. Beautiful island, but service is the worst in the world. You'll feel sorry if you ask for anything. Everybody is doing you a big favor for your 4000$ a week. The resort is quite different from what you see in their brochure - looks like it has not been renovated for years. This is the most miserable vacation in our life. Hidden charges are everywhere, the attitude is "you give me money, and I'll think about doing something for you".
These people don't even realize they are being rude, this is the normal way they talk.
Beaches/Sandals only spends money on advertising and pays commissions to travel agents, so they convince you to buy this fraud. If you decide to travel, you can never complain. Because this is useless to complain. This is the only resort in the third world where local people are put on higher management positions. So they just cover each other. They will convince you there is something wrong with you, not with resort or service.
We are a diverse and well-travelled group of six, ranging in age between 4 and 90 years. There are a few celiacs in the group, as well.
We arrived in Montego Bay after an uneventful Air Canada flight from Toronto. For the first time in 5 years of post-diagnosis travel, we actually got a gluten-free meal. (We were supposed to get 4 of them, but we celebrated getting one!)
There was some confusion with my parents’ wheelchairs in Montego Bay and it took quite awhile to get through customs, but when we were through, we were whisked off to an air-conditioned lounge where we enjoyed a cold drink. We boarded a shuttle bus specifically for Beaches and Sandals patrons only. The ride was about 1 ½ hours and it took us through small towns such as Lucea.
When we arrived at Sandy Bay, I walked through the lobby and stood looking at the view. Kenroy, one of the waiters, walked up and welcomed me and told me we were going to have a wonderful week. He was right!
Check-in was quick and efficient. My parents were given a main floor room and the rest of us were two floors above. Our rooms were small, especially for 4 of us, but they were always clean. The mini-bar is stocked with juice, milk, pop and water daily.
The food was excellent. Because of our dietary restrictions, we needed to know that we’d be safe. My son is especially sensitive to gluten and will react violently and quickly to its presence in food. We brought a suitcase full of food, as is our practice, but we hardly touched it. Before each meal, the chef, Sandy, brought us around the buffet and told us what we could and couldn’t have. He also made desserts especially for us, which was a real treat! We even ate at the two specialty restaurants (Italian and Jamaican) with no difficulty because of Sandy’s interventions.
The water sports are included in the cost of the vacation. My husband and I went snorkeling and had our own private tour. The captain, Oliver, swam with us and pointed out all sorts of crustaceans and fish. It was absolutely amazing! The second time out we brought our son and unfortunately the water was filled with jellyfish. Almost all of them were harmless, but it wasn’t as much fun having to watch out for them.
The evening entertainment was always worthwhile. We were not subjected to the “cheesy” productions of many resorts. The musicians were all excellent and the shows, both kids’ and adults’ shows were very well done.
The beach is beautiful. From the resort, it isn’t barred from your sight from a line of trees as in many other places. It was not even remotely crowded. The water is clear and because it is shallow for quite a distance out, it is great for kids.
The kids’ camp was great for our kids. They only went a couple of times, but really enjoyed it. The staff was reliable, cheerful and when you dropped them off, you got the feeling that the kids were going to be well cared for. It is not like many resorts where they advertise a kids’ camp or supervised kids’ activities and then you get there and there isn’t adequate supervision or programming. This is by far the best kids’ program we’ve seen.
We visited Beaches Negril a few times and enjoyed their water sports. Even my 85-year-old mother went around the Lazy River twice! We also checked out Sandals, which was beautiful. However, we were always glad to be coming back to Sandy Bay at the end of the day.
We only had one real disappointment and that happened on our first full day. We had friends come to visit for the day. They were vacationing in Trelawny and drove to Negril (about 3 hours) to see Rick’s Café and to visit us. Unfortunately, Rick’s Café is now closed and so we ended up at our resort for a few hours. The resort charged us $305.USD for two adults and three children to enjoy the resort for the afternoon. It might not have been excessive if we’d known that we couldn’t utilize the water sports, which had to be booked the day before. We were given 20% back, but it was unpleasant and embarrassing.
Our Air Canada representative, O’Neill, looked after us well. He made sure we got four gluten-free meals on our return flight!
The staff at Sandy Bay is what really makes this resort. I cannot begin to tell you how polite, friendly, helpful and caring they are. Jamaica is the 48th country I have visited. I have stayed in many beautiful resorts in many countries, but I have never had the kind of service that was offered to us at Sandy Bay. The resort is small and does not have a fancy pool or a swim-up bar, but its biggest asset it its staff. From Veronica’s cheerful
In particular, I’d like to mention Maja. She is a student from Macedonia that is working in the resort until early December 2006. My children took to her and she to them. She went far and above the call of duty on a daily basis to make sure that everything was going well. When my daughter discovered that her stuffed cat, her constant companion, had been left at Sandy Bay, Maja made sure that it was returned to her. It was an act of kindness that we will never forget.
Would we go back? Absolutely! My parents enjoyed the week so much that they are thinking of going back very soon. If you go, please say hello to Veronica who makes wonderful omelettes and brightens up your morning, to Nigel who cleans around and always has a cheery “hello”, to Bigitte who is always checking on your day…….
We stayed at Beaches Sandy Bay in January 2006 and had a marvelous time. Our room was practically on the beach (Rm 4101, honeymoon suite). We had 2 sets of French doors which opened onto a wrap around veranda. The beach was just steps away. The beach is really the best part of Negril, but the staff at Sandy Bay was so friendly. Everyone was friendly, the bartenders, the child care providers, even the gardener. They knew our daughter’s name after meeting her just once. The food was good, we only ate at the buffet and snack shack. Sometimes the buffet food wasn’t all that warm, but it was always tasty. There were always plenty of choices to please any taste. The jerk chicken from the snack bar was the best. I loved the made to order omlettes and fresh pineapple every day. The kids camp/nursery was a nice option. My 2 year old enjoyed having a break from the heat and the sun. I cannot over stress how wonderful the staff was. We did have a problem in that our room type was overbooked, so we spent the first 3 nights in a smaller, 1 bedroom oceanview suite. It was fine, but not as nice as the honeymoon suite. Beaches gave us a free couples massage and a gift certificate to the gift shop. This could have upset us, but it didn’t. We were just happy to be in Jamaica and to enjoy the lovely beach. You cannot let little incidental imperfections ruin your trip. It was no problem! I definitely recommend this resort to people traveling with children. It was very child friendly, probably for the 12 and under crowd, but older kids seemed to have fun too. There is not much of a nightlife, I think things died down by 11:00pm or so, which was perfect for us. The resort is rather small, so it is easy enough to keep track of everyone.
I visited Beaches Sandy Bay in February 2005 for my best friends wedding. There were 20 people in our party, ranging from 8-65 years of age, with the majority of us around 25 years old.
The ride to SB took about 1 ½ hours (only b/c it was rush hour in MB and all of the schools were letting out, children were everywhere). The driving takes some getting used to, but the sites are unbelievable! Talk with your driver and ask questions, they are more than happy to answer all questions about the island.
Arrival to the resort was smooth, and seeing how beautiful it was made up for our wait at the airport immediately!
Rooms were good. It seemed everyone in our group was in different areas and different room types, and all were clean and had great views, no matter where you were. Obviously the newer rooms were a bit nicer, but I liked the feel of the older rooms. They had more personality. I would recommend asking about a room change if you are not pleased with your room. If you are nice, and if something else is available, they are sure to have something to meet your needs!
The beach alone is worth the money! I have never seen anything so gorgeous in my life. Sunsets here are breathtaking! The beach stretches for miles and there are plenty of chairs for relaxing.
The wedding Planner, Demarley, was great. There is a short rehearsal the day before the wedding to answering any questions and get a general feel for what will go on. Demarley’s “No Problem, No Worries Mon” attitude really helped us feel at ease.
The rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding was on the beach. They set up a candlelit dinner for us, with wonderful food and great service. This dinner was one of my favorite times there!
I do not suggest the wedding party getting hair and makeup done at their salon. Our manicures and pedicures were “okay”, but hair and makeup was quite and experience! The pounds of hairspray and the dark lipstick made us all look ridiculous, but with a little touching up once we got back to the room we were decent again.
The ceremony was so surreal. Everyone on the beach stops what they are doing and watches. They are very respectful of the wedding in process. It was breathtaking and emotional.
After the wedding they have a reception tent set up for cake cutting, toasts, appetizers, and mingling. This was a great time to get pictures and talk about how beautiful the wedding was.
The only time we left Beaches property was when we did the glass bottom boat trip to Pirates Cove where we jumped off the cliff and snorkeled. Snorkeling was not ideal here b/c of all the people and boats, but the jump off the cliff was so much fun. If someone hassles you to pay $2 to jump of the cliff, just ignore them and walk right around them. Who brings $2 with them in the water?? Not me. Once they realized that we weren’t paying them, they just left us alone. They try to get money out of you whenever possible. Just be smart and ignore them.
I recommend the snorkeling trip from the resort. They have boats that go out every 2 hours, and you must sign up for this. It was incredible. Lots of fish and creatures to see!
I also recommend Parasailing. It cost $35 dollars extra, but it was amazing. Be sure and take your camera for that!
We never ate at any of their restaurants; we just ate the buffet for all our meals. It was decent. The food wasn’t anything to exciting, but a good choice especially for children. Plus, they have a grill that serves you up burgers, chicken, fries, pizza, and more all throughout the day. That is great for when you have had a few too many drinks on the beach at 3 pm and need something in your stomach!
Friday evening they had a big luau on the beach (basically all the same food as they have at the buffet, just on the beach), and that was fun. They also had a character parade with Elmo and other fun animals, and the kids really seemed to enjoy that.
There is not much for nightlife here. The evening entertainment is fun for all ages, and they encourage you to participate but you don’t have to. The bartenders are super friendly and make hanging out at the bar entertaining. There IS a bar upstairs that is open late, but aside from the TV’s and pool table, it is not very exciting.
You can also travel to Beaches Negril (a 10 minute free shuttle ride) and use their amenities, preferably their pool bar and Waterslides! Beaches Negril is a lot larger and busier; Beaches Sandy Bay is more intimate and relaxing.
I was definitely impressed with Beaches Sandy Bay, and when I have children, I would definitely go back! It was very family-oriented. OH, I almost forgot this: There are many topless women on the beach, some just laying out and others walking and playing with their children. Depending on what you are used to, this might make you uncomfortable and you might not want your small children viewing this. Unfortunately, you must be prepared to deal with this. I am not a prude, however, this took some getting used to. At first it is all you can do to not stare, but after a few days you hardly even notice. (I speak for myself, the guys in our group never got tired of seeing topless women).
Also, bring CASH!!! There is no ATM that gives you American money at this resort.
I thought twice after I booked my vacation to this resort after reading excerpts from your website. After going to Beaches Sandy Bay in November of this year, 2003, i must say that i will never go to any resort but there. My husband and I loved Sandy Bay. We had no problems at the airport or upon checkin at the resort, but then again i am an anal person and contacted the resort myself before we left. The only thing that screwed up on us was the renewal of our wedding vows but that was corrected immediately and i even got a partial refund because of Beaches goof. We loved the food and the people. No one we met became sick like i read on other posts. But then again, we began to eat PeptoBismol before we left and while there because sometimes just the change of water is what makes people sick. The resort and our room where very nice. We loved the smaller resort. we did spend some time at Beaches Negril and we were not impressed. The people there seemed unhappy and not as friendly as at Sandy Bay. I read that some people get frustrated over waiting for service, be it food, drinks, room service, maids..etc...well all i can say is get over it!!! You are in a foreign country so learn how to go along with the flow there...what do you people think tourists think of our country and all the hustle and bustle...you are on vacation..take the time to stop and smell the flowers, to swim in the ocean, to just relax and chill. we don't have to do all and see all in one visit. life is too short. we loved the beach at sandy bay and everything about that resort. we are planning our next vacation there and plan to make it a yearly thing if we can swing it. to us-this is the ultimate vacation spot. My husband has lived all over the world, including the Carribbean and he even won't go back to Aruba since being in Jamaica at Sandy Bay. I could on and on about the awesome time we had there but you only have limited space.
This letter is regarding our recent trip/wedding at Sandy Bay Beaches in Negril, Jamaica, both good and bad
We will never go back to a Beaches or Sandals Resort
and will not recommend it to anyone interested.
Nothing but the wedding went well, I’m sorry to say.
Not what we expected considering it is the quote “best-all-inclusive resort” 4 years in a row.” I’d like to have some input on the voting!!!
Couples Negril is a beautiful property and is for couples of all ages (no singles allowed). The rooms are very nice, except they lack drawer space and the food and entertainment are wonderful. If you are looking for a nightlife after 10pm you won't find it here but that was fine with us. They had an air-conditioned piano bar that was open till 2am and was alot of fun. This is a very relaxing resort.
Beaches Turks & Caicos is, how do I put this, HUGE. You walk forever to get between pools, rooms and restaurants and most of the year there are many, many kids. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this resort for families as they had plenty for kids to do,the rooms are spacious and the food was great. I would not recommend this for singles or couples that don't particularly enjoy the company of children. I love kids but it was even a bit much for me since even though they were not allowed in the hot tub they were in there anyway and some of the parents were less than observant of their children and their whereabouts.
Sandals Negril was okay. We were put in a beach front room which was small but nice. The food was tolerable but the beach is very eroded and there were sand bags in the water to keep the beach from slipping away which made it less than desirable to swim in. The beach is also very narrow and, although they look big in the photos, the pools are very small as is the swim up bar.
The Iberostar Dominicana was nice. The beach was pretty and the pool was enormous. The food is definitely different, not quite Spanish and not quite American or Caribbean. The Spanish restaurant was our favorite but the one thing that we were very displeased with is that they require reservations for every restaurant except the buffet. But worst of all is that, depending on the number of nights you are there, you are limited in the # of reservations you can make. For example, we were there for 4 nights and were only allowed to make 1 reservation so we had to eat at the buffet the other 3 nights. This was the first vacation were I didn't gain weight from eating.
The Breezes Bahamas was very run down. This was formerly another resort and it appeared that, other than changing the name, they hadn't done any renovations. The food was okay and the resort was very noisy. I'd recommend this as a cheap getaway for college students.
I can honestly say that there was nothing I liked about the Beaches Grande Sport. The rooms are VERY FAR from the main house which is where the bars and restaurants are. If you like to be secluded and aren't concerned with getting your money's worth in food and drinks, this might be good for you. The beach is across the street, this means down a mountain and across a road. You can take a shuttle that takes 3-5 minutes to get you there or you can walk for 10 minutes down hill and then back up hill on the way back. The beach is very, very small and during our stay we were only there one day since it rained so badly on the second day (and every day after that) that the beach was closed for the duration of the trip. Since it rained so heavily we were basically trapped in our rooms since the shuttles never showed up when you called them. We asked if we could have some Alcohol delivered to the room since we were unable to make it to the Main House and were charged $50 per case of Red Stripe. But what else could we do, they didn't have pitchers we could fill and take back with us. They were not very accommodating and the front desk staff was just plain rude.
Beaches Sandy Bay
We picked a photo package of 24 pictures (you also get 2 more free) and a video. My only disappointment was that the pictures we had taken on the beach either didn't take or weren't developed as they were not part of the 36 pictures that we had to choose from. Fortunately a friend took some that turned out very well. The photographer was funny and professional and took some very good pictures.
The staff was very friendly and it appeared that they were well informed of who my husband and I were as we were approached and addressed by name by several staff members that we had never met before. They seems genuinely concerned about any issues I had and when my parents missed their flight and we had no idea where they were, the front staff made several calls to the airport to try to get what little information they could.