When you think of all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean what comes to mind? Luxury accommodations? Your pick of fabulous restaurants to dine at? Swim up pool bars? All water sports included? Kid’s clubs to keep the children busy? A fitness center with great views? A spa to get pampered in?
Well today’s guest is here to tell you that the properties he represents have all that and more! That’s right – I recently sat down with Joe Vanderhoff who is my local Sandals and Beaches rep here in the Austin and San Antonio area to get the scoop on these two fabulous all-inclusive brands. Grab a tropical drink, put your feet up and read on for a virtual overview that will have you ready to book your next getaway!
Brands: So, the parent company – Sandals Resorts International – is home to several different brands – but today we are focusing on Sandals 5-Star Luxury Included® Resorts and Beaches Resort by Sandals. Both of course are all-inclusive, but each caters to a different type of traveler. Sandals is an adult only, couples only resort with a romantic vibe – while Beaches is geared toward family and group travel.
Both Sandals and Beaches are luxury five (5) star all-inclusive resorts and are considered high end. And they are the only one of their kind. Here you can decide how pampered you want to be – even opting for a butler or concierge service!
Destinations: Between both brands they cover seven different Caribbean destinations – each unique and beautiful in its own way. It is important to note that some of these properties are on islands that are not as populated or busy as other destinations – making it even more attractive for social distancing – they include St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada and Barbados. Another bonus with these four destinations is that they are situated lower in the Caribbean and typically see less hurricane activity.
Beaches boasts three properties located on two different islands:
- Jamaica: Beaches Ocho Rios and Beaches Negril
- Turks and Caicos: Beaches Turks and Caicos
Sandals has an impressive fifteen resorts in its portfolio – across six different islands:
- Jamaica: Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Negril, Sandals South Coast, Sandals Ochi and Sandals Royal Plantation
- Bahamas: Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Emerald Bay
- Saint Lucia: Sandals Regency La Toc, Sandals Grande St. Lucian and Sandals Halcyon Beach
- Antigua: Sandals Grande Antigua
- Grenada: Sandals Grenada (This one both Joe and I are excited about as Grenada is an up and coming destination. And Jet Blue offers some great direct flights from the New York area! Per Joe the food is amazing here and you can literally smell the spices when you disembark the plane in Grenada – hmmm – guess that’s why it’s known as the Spice Isle of the Caribbean! And – get this – they offer what they call a sky pool at the Grenada property which is a balcony option that is actually an infinity pool! Needless to say, this property has a very modern vibe!)
- Barbados: Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados
Note: Both Beaches resorts in Jamaica are next to or very near the Sandal’s resorts. This is convenient if your family is there for a destination wedding – you can stay at Beaches and attend the weddings at Sandals with the children – then return back to Beaches after the reception. Another plus? If you are staying at Sandals you can utilize all the amenities at Beaches – including the water park!
Activities: Both brands include all water sports in the price – think snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, kayaking and more. And yes – when they say all water sports – they mean ALL water sports – both motorized and non-motorized! And if you stay at a Beaches property you can also frequent their on-property waterpark! Yup they have their own waterpark – Pirate Island Waterpark to be exact. Some feature a fun lazy river, others a surf simulator (they vary by property) but all have waterslides, kid friendly pools and swim up soda bars!
Not a fan of the water? They have land sports too – all included in the cost as well. From golf to tennis to volleyball to shuffleboard and much more – you are sure to find a sport you enjoy!
And Beaches resorts ensures that no one in your family or group will be bored as there is something for the everyone. If you are there with your kiddos and need some adult time – there are kid’s clubs to keep them busy. An added touch is that all staff members that are with the children are certified in autism. And Beaches has partnered with Sesame Street so your always sure to bump into one of well-known characters for photo ops!
Gastronomy: All of the Sandals and Beaches properties have great culinary options with world class dining in abundance. In addition to employing chefs from the destination you are in they also have a lot of chefs from the country of origin – meaning if you are eating in an Italian restaurant – chances are the chef is from Italy and you are have a truly authentic meal!
As Joe shared – these all-inclusives give you the option of making your rounds for each course of the meal. For instance – you can start at one restaurant for appetizer of sushi, then head to the steak house or seafood restaurant for dinner! And you can have as much as you want with no surcharges!
All of the restaurants within each resort are included in the price with the only caveat that at one or two resorts you may have to make a reservations for your specified dining time at certain restaurants – but – they are still included in the price.
The resorts are all also very accommodating diet wise and will take care of your dietary needs as you wish. You simply fill out your preferences prior to travel and let them know ahead of time if you are a vegetarian, require a gluten free diet or whatever the case may be – and that information sheet will go to the culinary team at the resort – ensuring which ever restaurant you choose to eat at will be prepared to handle your special dietary needs.
Wellness: Wellness has become a big part of both Sandals and Beaches resorts over the years. Most days you’ll find a scheduled fitness event that you can sign up for – such as – yoga, power walks or stretching. And of course, each property has a state-of-the-art fitness center on site. Some with fabulous views – as per Joe the Sandals Royal Bahamian has their treadmill set up overlooking the Caribbean Sea – how’s that for a workout with a view??? And should you want some one on one instruction there are always fitness instructors on hand for personalized training sessions if you would like.
You can also find the uber fabulous, award winning Red Lane Spas at each property – offering high end massages and facials – with some of the treatments included in the price and others not. I will be more than happy to assist you if you would like to pre-plan any treatments you desire or – for destination weddings – any pre-ceremony services needed for you and your bridal party.
Updated COVID-19 Information: As each property resides in a different destination please check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health in the destination you are interested in visiting for up-to-date entry requirements.
So that is the proverbial sticking your toe in the water overview of these amazing all-inclusive properties. If you’re already hooked – and are ready to book – Joe and I are thrilled to announce that there are some great opportunities for savings on 2021 bookings! Each week they are offering what they call the 7-7-7 Program – which is seven different resorts and seven different room categories on sale! For more details on the 7-7-7 program and the fabulous Sandals and Beaches properties, their price points and more – contact your Travel Guru! Oh, and if you need a payment plan to fund your travel adventure – we got those too!