This gallery contains 29 photos.
Photos from a Trip to Sandals Royal Caribbean in May 2010 The Luxury Included experience at Sandals Resorts
This gallery contains 29 photos.
Photos from a Trip to Sandals Royal Caribbean in May 2010 The Luxury Included experience at Sandals Resorts
Sandals Royal Caribbean
After clearing customs at the Sangster airport after a potentially long day of travel, the Sandals airport lounge is a welcome site. You will have your bags tagged for the resort you are headed to in this case Royal Caribbaen, while you grab a drink and relax until your transportation to the resort is ready. Sometimes you may have to wait for others for a shuttle, but if you’re staying in a higher category room they should have a private car, likely a Mercedes to transport you to the hotel.
One of the benefits to staying at a property located in Montego Bay is the transfer to your resort isn’t near as long as some other destinations in Jamaica. Sandals Royal Caribbean (SRC) is less than 6 km from the airport so you will be there in less than 10 minutes. The downside to this is you will see and hear a number of airplanes departing each afternoon, which can wake you up from a nap on the beach.
The airport isn’t nearly as busy as those in major cities located in North America or Europe however, so it won’t be anything bad unless traffic gets extremely higher in the future. As you leave Jamaica you will notice once airborne the plane immediately banks left, if you look out the window on the right side of the plane you will see SRC below.
The Hotel Spa and Grounds
The resort is set on a beautiful beachfront property, and includes a private island set just offshore that houses a Thai restaurant for dinners, a beach grill for lunch, and a bar as well. There is also a pool and two beaches, one nude on the ocean side for privacy, and one for those that prefer to keep their bathing suits on facing the resort located on the private island as well.
Back on the main land, the resort offers a main pool with a swim up bar and a volleyball net, and various other pools located closer to the guest rooms, and in front of the swim up rooms. The main pool is where activities tended to occur, music playing and a more social atmosphere, quieter more romantic time could easily be spent around the other pools on property.
The beach is small but private, and typical for what is found in the Montego Bay area. Both the island, and the main beach have covered day beds available for rental at an additional charge.
The spa offers various treatments such as massage, body scrubs, facials, and hair styling at typical resort pricing, and offers treatments in spa, or in the privacy of your own room for some services. There is a couple of peacocks located on property and you will see them occasionally as you walk around during your stay.
The rooms and Butler service
Like other Sandals properties SRC has a number of room categories. Standard rooms are offered for the lowest price, while concierge and butler suites are available and include extras such as room service, and priority seating at dinners along with bigger and well appointed rooms. Some suites being lagoon pool waterfront, some lagoon pool swim up while others are beachfront suites. Rooms come with a mini bar and you can have juices, sodas, beers, water, and there are also a few bottles of hard liquor available in room.
If you have a suite with a butler they (you are assigned a team of two) are available to you via private cell phone, and can book meals, excursions, have drinks brought to you in a cooler during the day on the beach, or help you with any of your needs on property during your stay.
Food / Drinks / Restaurants
The bars at SRC offer all the standard face booze you will find all over the island, in addition however Sandals carries better wine, and a larger selection of top shelf liquor including imported vodkas, whiskeys, and other liquors then many other properties located on the island which only carry domestic brands.
Sandals Royal Caribbean offers 7 different dining options, however just one is open for breakfast, the buffet at The Regency Suite & Deck, breakfast is typical for a resort buffet, with made to order omelettes, pastry stations, breakfast meats, and eggs, cereal, and fresh fruit. However the room in which you get your food gets quite hot, and the same can be said for the lunch buffet served here. The dining area is nice, with an outdoor patio option that overlooks the sea.
Besides the buffet for lunch you can get made to order food at the Mariners grill, offering typical grill food, burgers, wraps, fries, the food here was quite good and was a regular lunch option, preferred over the buffet on many days. Over on the island they also have the bamboo shack grill. This lunch option serves the best Jerk chicken on the resort, made in the traditional fashion. They also have jerk porn, corn on the cob, as well as salads, buns and other choices.
Dinner is where SRC really has the most choices, with 5 options available depending on the evening. As with almost all all inclusive resorts each of the a la carte restaurants are closed one night per week. But SRC has plenty of options each night.
The regency offers traditional international cuisine; various meats or pasta dishes, prepared with various cooking influences depending on the day. The cricketers pub offers English pub food, Le Jardinier offers a fine French dining experience, The Pavilion Restaurant offers fine cuisine with a Jamaican flair, located under the stars Finally located on the offshore island Royal Thai offers Thai cuisine of course, but in an unforgettable setting over the beach with a great view of the resort and Montego Bay at night. The fine dining restaurants require gentleman to wear long pants, the rest shorts are fine.
Because Sandals has the stay at 1 play at all policy, in Montego Bay this means you can use the facilities and dine at the other two properties nearby, Sandals Montego Bay, and Sandals Carlyle. This feature adds in 10 more dining options; however in reality some restaurants are similar. While you might go to Sandals Montego Bay for Cucina Romano and the Italian fare, there is no point to go there to eat at their version of the Cricketers pub.
If you’re staying in a suite there is also room service available, with a midsized menu offering fare from the various restaurants around the resort, sometimes prepared slightly different, and a couple of more common hotel room service items, such as a club sandwich.
Overall the food is good, but could be a bit better in certain areas, more variety in flavours at some of the fine dining would have been nicer, and breakfast could have more variety, a few items which changed flavours during the week for example.
Activities / Inclusions
Two tennis courts, one basketball court, beach and pool volleyball, bocce ball, are available, as well as games such as table tennis, billiards table, and board games. The two volleyball games were played often around mid day, as there were lots of couples that were looking for extra to do besides enjoy the good weather, food, drinks and water.
There are water sports and scuba available depending on the weather.
The resort has an entertainment staff that organizes games and activities during the day, some sporting, such as volleyball, and some recreational, such as trivia, bingo, or fishing for rum.
There are various nightly activities that range from beach parties, gala parties, and quieter evenings with shows after dinner. The pub had sports on TV nightly as well.
The resort doesn’t offer an internet cafe; internet is available in room, but only for an additional charge. This is one of the only real downsides to this resort. For an all inclusive they had a few options that while it may be nice that they are available, almost feel like you are getting nickled and dimed after spending quite a bit of money for your holiday. The rentable day beds on the beach are understandable due to supply and demand, but free wifi, or an internet station or three would be nice.
Great rooms, a gorgeous properties with great views, a good beach, close to the airport which is good and bad, good food, great variety of food, great drinks, and a good staff make this a good vacation and hopefully it will provide many wonderful experiences and memories for you.
Couples Tower Isle
Featuring a south beach inspired design, this property formerly known as Couples Ocho Rios underwent a massive renovation and was rebranded as Couples Tower Isle in 2009. The resort is set upon the Caribbean Sea just east of the town of Ocho Rios in Jamaica. The property features a number of hotel buildings spread across the property such that more than half of the rooms have a sea view.
With its small island which is reserved for use as a nude beach and pool area located a short boat ride off shore, the colors in the water are quite fantastic, so if you can afford it this property more than others I’ve been to it is worth the upgrade for the sea view. Both sides of the resort rise up from the sea and are set on a short cliff, while in the middle of the resort the grounds are built with a short flight of stairs walk down to the beach.
There are two hot tubs and a sports pool on one side of the resort, and a pool with a swim up bar, and attached deeper diving training pool, on the other. Both pool decks feature green padded loungers that are very comfortable and quite chic. The somewhat smaller beach separates both pool areas if you walk the lower part of the resort.
The interiors of the buildings are set with a classy elegant feel that has a 50’s era Hollywood glam touch to it, ever so pronounced in the piano bar which features many pictures of the original resort from that era complete with celebrity guests of the day.
If you’re the type of traveler that enjoys activates and excursions you’ll be glad to know the resort offers the world famous Dunns river falls excursion as part of your package among many of its inclusions, and the hotel has three lit tennis courts, a gym, and a beach volleyball court if you’re looking for fitness activities.
The food and dining at this resort are excellent. Bayside restaurant is a romantic experience built right on the cliffs over the sea, with its Asian fusion menu, and the upscale Eight Rivers offers gourmet food, with steaks and seafood in a large ballroom. The Verandah restaurant is yet another option for dinner, as well as the patio buffet. There is also a vegetarian bar open during the day, and a grill offering burgers and other light fare, that also provides late night snacks.
There is a buffet as well for lunch and breakfast that changes over the course of your stay, which served great foods including wood fired pizzas each day for lunch.
The resort also offers room service if you don’t want to leave your room for a meal, and all rooms have been upgraded to have mini bars.
The spa is nestled in the garden section of the resort which provides a nice serene environment for treatments, for some it might be the only time you are on that side of the resort, of course one of the two gift shops is also back in the garden area, and the tennis courts are across the road.
The experience of staying at Couples Tower Isle was wonderful, the great staff working there makes sure your every need is met, and the food and drinks are high quality. The only negatives are the beach is smaller than at the other couples resorts, and the sun goes down early behind the hotel leaving lots of areas in the shade. There is a long pier however where one can go to enjoy the early evening sun and it’s a very relaxing environment.
This gallery contains 13 photos.
Here are some more pictures of Couples Negril from a few trips over the years. Book Early and Save! Find special deals in hot destinations only at Expedia.com!
Over the years I’ve found you can save quite a bit of money, and often get a bunch of perks if you plan and book your trip ahead of time. I’ve used travel agents and booked online, and in the last 5 years I’ve found great deals myself online and exclusively book that way now.
Now if you are booking online there are two standard ways to purchase a vacation, as a package where you are getting the flight and hotel together, or paying for each on its own. Generally if you book as a package you would save money on the cost of booking each item at that time individually, but there are many reasons for not booking a package, like redeeming frequent flyer miles for a free flight, or booking your hotel farther in advance than airlines sell tickets for flights.
Why book a hotel farther out than flights are sold?
Well some hotels especially in the Carribean offer their best rates well in advance, and a few chains will give you the current years rates if you book a return trip before the next years rates are published. Seeing as rates almost always increase from year to year, this is one way to lock in a lower rate if you are a frequent traveller.
Now even if your not planning return trips already, booking well in advance for places that have good reviews and generally sell out is recommended for the following reasons.
1. You get a room at a place you desire. I’ve waited too long before and had to settle for my second or third hotel and even destination choice before, don’t let this happen to you.
2. Get the best rates, as these popular hotels book up the rates rise as they get closer to their maximum capacity.
3. Special offers, such as spa packages, gift shop or casino credits are offered as incentives to early bookers at the lowest rates for the year when you book early. This is your best chance to get hundreds of dollars worth of perks. For a week stay in Jamaica I’ve seen a $500 dollar spa/gift shop perk added in. I know only a few wise travelers got that deal.
4. New years, or other special holidays. If you are planning that new years eve Vegas getaway, or a nice romantic escape and want to do it over new years, book early as possible, hotels do and will sell out.
Now with that said, if your looking for something to do this weekend and don’t want to pay high last minute rates at hotels, check out hotwire, or priceline where you can pay lower rates on hotels that have a certain rating, but you don’t know which hotel you are getting until after you pay. The perfect way to save a lot of money when you don’t book ahead as long as you don’t mind staying at a hotel in a certain radius of a city, with a minimum star rating.
Now airfare is a similar situation, avoid booking at the last minute, it only assures you will be paying high ticket prices, airlines can do this because business travellers have to get around and often can’t plan ahead of time and can bear the cost of the highest rates. I recommend checking out ITA Matrix and using their calendar of lowest fares to view your trip and get the lowest rates possible. Then check prices on expedia and compare around, often they have the best prices.
So have fun and enjoy your trip.
The Dominican Republic is one of two countries located on the island of Hispaniola. A large country with many popular tourist destinations, they are broken down into four main areas, the north coast, the south coast, the east coast, and the Samana Peninsula.
The east coast is well known and very busy with the ever popular all inclusive beach resort of Punta Cana located here with many huge resorts. The rest of the area is mostly farming villages and that is the biggest draw back of the area, aside from the gorgeous beaches most other activities are quite a drive inland.
The south coast with its many resorts and diverse landscapes starts on one end near the east coast and is made up of small towns with bigger resorts in the area, and leading back to the capital city of Santo Domingo it becomes more urban and less rural between resort areas.
The large north coast is well known for such tourist areas as, Playa Dorada and nearby Peurto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete , Rio San Juan , Cabrera/Playa Grande and its landscape varies from arid dessert, to more familiar tropical vegetation with beaches and cities along the coast.
If your looking for a beach vacation there are lots of choices, but Punta Cana has been a popular one for the last decade, and continues to lead the pack in terms of number of visitors headed to one area.
Known for their white sandy beaches and lush tall palm trees, the resorts found on the shores of the Dominican are an incredible place to unwind and relax to recharge your batteries. On my visits to the Dominican Republic I have had the pleasure of staying at Riu resorts in both Puerto Plata and Punta Cana. Both the Riu Merengue in Puerto Plata and the Riu Bambu in Punta Cana are club hotels that are all inclusive 24hr resorts.
Both feature very short drives from airports and have wonderful open air lobbies that make you feel welcome from the time you arrive until the sad day of your departure. Full breakfast lunch and dinner courses are served in the main buffet style restaurant with snacks available any time of the day. Reservations can be made in advance for the a-lacarte restaurants on the property featuring an Italian restaurant, a steak house grill, and an asian inspired restaurant.
The pool and beach areas are always kept immaculate and thankfully there is plenty of sunny and shady spots available around the pool and on the beach under one of many palm trees. Whether you are looking for a quick getaway or are planning on an extended stay, you won’t be disappointed with your choice to spend your vacation dollars in the Dominican Republic.
One of two Couples resorts properties found in Negril, Couples Negril is located on Bloody Bay Beach.
Like all the Couples resorts, Couples Negril specifically caters to adult couples (18+), this is a resort policy and all rooms must be double booked, perhaps with exclusions for weddings. The resort promises a romantic all inclusive vacation and it delivers what it promises with quality food, drink, and inclusions. The terrific staff however certainly put this resort above many others in this price range; handling almost all questions and requests with a smile and a typical Jamaican ‘no problem’ response and attitude.
Upon arrival at Sangster airport in Montego bay after you grab your bags and clear customs you will be directed to the Couples lounge where guests arriving in Jamaica to all four of the Couples resorts are welcomed and provided an opportunity to grab a water or red stripe beer while you wait for your shuttle transfer to the resort which is included by the hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel you will be directed to check in, and get your first view of the property, the pool, and the beach all from the great views from the lobby which is on the upper floor of the main building. The resort offers pools, a spa, tennis courts, and a perfect beach all on bloody bay in Negril Jamaica.
Food and Drink
Quality food, great variety and great taste were common themes to the food at couples Negril. You can see that thought goes into each meal here and no meal was overlooked. Some of the portions were smaller at the a la carte restaurants, but you can always have more of any menu item you want and it seemed to be aimed at keeping waste down more than anything.
The resort offers a standard breakfast buffet at first glance, with cooked to order stations for omelettes, waffles and other items, but one big difference that makes this place stand out is that some of items for breakfast change daily; side potatoes or precooked eggs, breakfast meats and others vary through the week. If breakfast buffet isn’t to your liking there is a continental breakfast option that you can have delivered to your room each morning, offering such selections as cereal, pastries, and fruits.
For lunch there is a rotating themed buffet. It can be Mexican, Italian, or Jamaican day among others with most of the buffet items fitting the theme. Of course there were always options if the themed food isn’t to your liking and each lunch offered a couple standard fare items as well. In addition lunch is offered at the beach grill with burgers, jerk chicken, onion rings, salads, fruit and more. If you choose to dine at the grill for lunch you are given an electric coaster which buzzes when your food is ready.
Dinner is offered at one of four restaurants with each restaurant being closed one night a week. Lychee is their Asian fusion restaurant with offerings such as stir fry’s, pad thai, spareribs, and sushi. The main dining restaurant cassava features buffet two nights a week and a la carte dining the rest of the week. Otaheite is the traditional steak house and requires more formal attire, with pants and closed shoes needed for the gentleman, and if you want a nice romantic evening it’s a great place to spend time with someone special. Heliconia is the Italian restaurant here and of course features pasta, along with a selection of meat and fish dishes with a salad and antipasto bar to start.
The resort has four bar areas and offers a wide selection, from your typical Caribbean rum based drinks, to premium imported brands of vodkas, whiskeys, and other spirits. Besides red stripe, the resort also carried miller light, and the piano bar having Guinness and Heineken in limited quantities as well. If that isn’t enough there is a mini bar in each room and spirits and beers are included along with soda and juices.
Entertainment, Activities, and Inclusions
The resort has an entertainment staff that schedule events during the day from volleyball, to bingo, and plenty of fun mini games thought the day. Each night there is an entertainment event coordinated by the same staff, featuring additional outside bands, dancers, and other performers. It’s not a Vegas show by any means but for the size of the resort the nightly shows are decent on average, with a couple nights standing out as excellent. They have a beach party, movie night and casino night offering something to do on most nights.
The resort also has a piano bar, which turns into the late night disco, and will stay open as long as people are there enjoying it.
Another area that this resort seems to stand out on is the amount of inclusions. Many all inclusive resorts are offering free, or should I say included food and drink and tips with your room. But when you arrive you find there are many small charges that can add up for other items. Its not like that at couples Negril however.
Motorized and non motorized water sports, including waterskiing, scuba, and snorkelling are all included. Of course if you are not certified in scuba that is not included, but available at a cost, although a beginner lesson is offered for free.
Golf is included, although not club or cart rentals, and there is a mandatory caddie fee.
Wi-Fi and Internet computer rooms are available and are again included for free.
Sunset or booze catamaran cruise, included.
There you have it, great food and drinks, great activities, a great location, and a great resort that offers inclusions without having to nickel and dime you for each little thing, oh and a few big things as well.
Sunset at the Palms is located in Negril Jamaica. Located on Norman Manley Blvd. on bloody bay beach it’s an all inclusive resort that caters to couples and adults. While children sometimes accompany their parents its more the exception than the norm. Your all inclusive vacation at this resort includes all meals, drinks and tips.
The resort is split in two by the road which can be quite busy at times, thankfully the resort provides a crossing guard who will help ensure you cross safely. On the beach side there is of course the sandy beach and sea, but also lounge chairs, a bar and grill, and the water sports facilities. The bar opens each morning at 10 am, quite a while after the beach officially opens at 7 am so if you want some water in the early morning be sure to bring it with you from the other side of the resort.
The grill features standard fare, burgers, fries, and sandwiches amongst other things and is open for lunch daily. Being on bloody bay beach the water and sand are magnificent and if your a beach person this stretch is more than big enough for the resort.
The rest of the resort is located on the other side of the road away from the sea. This means that none of the rooms have ocean / beach views if that is a consideration for your trip. The rooms however are beautiful. Built as tree houses each building holds two rooms, and each room offers a private balcony. The washrooms are nice and modern, and the room has a cabin feel to it.
The resort offers 3 restaurants including the beach grill. The buffet is open for all three meals, and the Al a carte restaurant is open 4 nights a week on a first come first served basis.
The food selection is decent on a nightly basis, but tends to get repetitive after a few days, the breakfast selection doesn’t change at all. For its price level the resort offers good food, but needs to improve selection, and little issues such as having more than 2 bottles of ketchup on hand for the entire breakfast servings.
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The pool area offers a good amount of loungers, as a lot of guests spend the days at the beach, there is a swim up bar and a big jacuzzi as well.
The resort has one tennis court, a spa with massage and nail service, nightly entertainment, and a visiting fitness instructor, but other than that there are few activities to partake in at the resort. During the day there isn’t much to do besides drink, swim and relax.
Its a good resort, the location is beautiful and the price is fair. They could offer more for guests to do especially in the daytime. If you are looking for a romantic spot, and like to relax this could be the place for you.
If you prefer to be more social, and enjoy more activities you may want to look for a larger resort.
The first question you should be asking is why you want a suite, is it for a Jacuzzi Tub, a bar in the room, pool table, or even yet a bowling alley? Seem like much, how about a swimming pool, inside or outside. Las Vegas has more suite options and perks associated with suites then any other destination. If you can imagine an amenity chances are there is a Vegas suite out there that will satisfy it.
The second thing to consider is how much time you will be spending in your room, these upgrades don’t come cheap, and if your not using them why pay for them?
Now if your planning on having clients or friends down for a big party, and either plan on spending most of the night in, or a good pre-party in the room and heading out, then a suite might be a good idea. If you want a romantic time with your wife or girlfriend, and a hot tub, or jacuzzi tub is a must, then maybe.
But most folks will find the hundreds if not thousands of dollars they spent could have been put to better use. Lots of people end up being in their room in Vegas enough to shower, and pass out for the night. If that is you then a standard room is more then enough.
I’ve found that prices for suites in Vegas can very wildly, even more so than standard rooms. If your not a comped player at a casino good luck getting a deal on a suite from the casino, your better off looking on Expedia and comparing prices. If you do gamble a lot, contact your host, suite upgrades are an easy comp for them to issue depending on availability. Even for some lower level player you can luck out sometimes you know.
Good luck getting great suite deals in Vegas!
Located in Negril Jamaica and part of the seven mile beach is Long Bay. Located on this vast stretch of beach are many hotels, ranging from the all inclusive resorts to the smaller owned family hotels and bed and breakfast places.
On the north end of Long bay there are located many of the larger resorts in Negril. Starting from Hedonism II, Sandals Negril and working miles down the beach are other resorts such as Beaches and after Couples Swept Away the resorts start to get smaller in size, and non all inclusive hotels, restaurants, and bars are also located on the Beach, including Margaritaville Negril.
This long stretch of beach offers much in the way of leisure activities and sightseeing up and down the beach. In the early morning before many people are awake its common to see people jogging down the beach getting their morning exercise, and after breakfast people start to tan and swim. As the day goes on there are many activities at the bars, and plenty of shopping to be found along the beaches of seven mile beach in Negril. Vendors offer fishing, para sailing, jet ski rentals, and glass bottom boats among other fun things to do.