We all need a real vacation every so often. Lounging, pampering, disconnecting… whatever it takes to hit that refresh button and declutter your mind. True relaxation.
I’m guilty of not taking the time to slow down from the hustle of every day living, but there’s something about spending time on an island with a “don’t worry” vibe that makes slowing down a whole lot easier.
Brandon and I went on all-inclusive trip to Jamaica, hosted by Sandals Resorts, and visited three different resorts on the island. No matter which one you choose, know that Sandals is very conscious about taking measures to decrease their carbon footprint. They need to be if they want to prevent the beaches from disappearing. They established the Sandals Foundation to support the Caribbean community and environment with projects like beach cleanups that even guests can participate in if they wish.
When deciding which Sandals Resort to stay at in Jamaica, take your pick from any one of these dreamy all-inclusive resorts for your next getaway!
Sandals South Coast
Summary: Hotter on this side of the island, better for pools, very quiet, overwater villa options, unreliable wifi.
We spent the first night down on the south coast of Jamaica, about an hour and a half drive from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Sandals South Coast was the quietest of all the resorts, so it was the most relaxed if you’re looking for an escape to lounge in peace.
For dining, I recommend skipping Elenor’s and instead opting for Sushi on the Sand. Make sure you also enjoy the nightly entertainment and Latitudes over water bar for a drink and a view.
Sandals Royal Caribbean
Summary: More condensed resort, better for pools, overwater villa options, close to the airport.
We stopped by Sandals Royal Caribbean and toured around, and we even made our way out to their overwater bungalows and villas. These beauties do book up very quickly, but if you check back frequently there are sometimes cancellations that you can snatch up.
If you’re more of a pool person, this is a good fit for you since there is not as much beach space here. They do have coves of beaches, but there’s not one big stretch of beach.
Sandals Montego Bay
Summary: More breezy on this side of the island, better for beaches, no overwater villa options, more lively, close to the airport.
Last but not least, we stayed right next to the airport at Sandals Montego Bay for our last two nights, my personal favorite of each of the resorts we visited. It had the best combination of prime pool and beach hangout spots, and it was the most lively, though still relaxing.
In fact, Sandals Montego Bay was the very first Sandals Resort! But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s dated. It actually has a very modern island feel. The rooms are newly renovated with a tranquility soaking tub and privacy curtains on every patio to bring the theme of the spas into the rooms. They also pay close attention to the little things in every room, with details like easily accessible plugs, USB ports, double sinks, and LED lights built into the bathroom mirror for great visibility. There are eco-friendly perks as well, like closet lights that turn on and off when you walk in and out as well as an air conditioner with an automatic shut off when the balcony door is open.
On the north side of the island, the weather is cooler and breezier, which is always refreshing in the hot and humid Caribbean. The water is clearer on this side too, making the beachfront an even better place to hang out.
There are typically 6-8 restaurants at each Sandals Resort. No matter what your tastes or dietary restrictions are, they can typically accommodate you if you let them know. They have plenty of gluten free, lactose free, and vegetarian options as well as those focused on a balanced lifestyle. If you let them know your allergies or dietary restrictions in advance the culinary concierge can always make something custom for you for the duration of your stay. Even if you just don’t like something, they can still accommodate you. For example, if you don’t eat seafood it doesn’t mean that that people you are traveling with can’t eat at the seafood restaurant.
So what are you waiting for? You worked hard for this trip. Each of these resorts have so many different room options and all of them are desirable. My personal preference is Sandals Montego Bay, but think about which features are most important to you when considering your options. If you have the flexibility, play around with the time of year you plan your visit to get the best rates.
Treat yourself! Book your Sandals stay today. Note that Sandals never discounts their rooms. So you don’t have to bother checking on other websites since the best deal will always be on the Sandals website. The flight is where you can save money — try Skyscanner or Google Flights to get the best deal.
Sandals Resorts are adult only. If you’re traveling with kids, check out Beaches Resorts for family-friendly options.
Special thanks to Sandals Resorts for facilitating this trip! Note that this did not affect my views and all opinions are my own.
CatherineOctober 15, 2019 at 6:03 am
What about Sandals Ochi and Royal Plantation? I would love to see how those compare to the other resorts.
Marissa SuteraOctober 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm
Hi Catherine! I have not stayed at Ochi or Royal Plantation, so I can’t personally vouch for either. I did meet a couple while in Montego Bay that had been to Sandals Ochi a few times before and said Ochi is their favorite. Sandals also has a comparison tool on their website that you can try if that’s helpful! https://www.sandals.com/compare/
Alison AdlerOctober 8, 2019 at 9:38 am
That Sandal Montego Bay sounds amazing! It’s been a while since I have gone to Jamaica, I would love to go again, I didn’t have idea that such a great resort it’s in this city!
Marissa SuteraOctober 9, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Hi Alison! I loved that resort, I hope to visit again someday and I hope you have the chance to visit as well!
PeterApril 4, 2019 at 10:37 am
I travelled to rural Jamaica with a host family last year. It was a special experience, we showered and drank from a cold spring, ate home cooked jamaican food every night, and had no AC! I never stayed at a resort but I can imagine it must be a dramatically different experience!
Marissa SuteraApril 7, 2019 at 2:30 pm
That sounds incredible Peter! I would love to return to Jamaica for a more rural experience. One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting the locals. Staying at a resort was indeed very different, and I certainly don’t feel like I’ve experienced the true Jamaica from this trip. But I still enjoy a resort vacation when I’m seeking a nice relaxing getaway!