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Sandals Dunn’s River Review: Why You’ll Hate to Leave

The wait is over for the newest Sandals resort to open in Jamaica, one of the most popular vacation and honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean. Sandal’s Dunn’s River has been completely reimagined to “embrace the essence of Jamaica’s natural wonders” and now takes full advantage of its stunning location on the northern coast of the island.

We recently visited Sandals Dunn’s River and had an amazing time and this raises the bar for Sandals Resorts.

How to Book a Room at Sandals Dunn’s River

Right now you can get up to $605 Instant Credit when you book any qualifying Sandals Dunn’s River Resort vacation of 4 nights or longer as part of the Grand Opening Offer.

Sandals Dunn’s River Resort Highlights

When thinking about our time at Sandals Dunn’s River the highlights for us were the food, bars, pools, and the great service. So pretty much everything but the beach was amazing. The beach is still very nice, just not amazing.

We loved the Rum Bar and the unique cocktails at all the resort bars and lounges. There are two pools with different atmospheres. We loved the staff there and the overall vibes. It also helped that there are some really fun excursion options nearby.

Maybe the best thing overall was the food. Every meal had delicious options and each restaurant was unique. The Blum coffee bar served amazing coffee all day long with additional snacks as well.

With the opening of Sandals Dunn’s River, Sandals now has seven beachfront adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, with three in the Ocho Rios area (Sandals Ochi and Sandals Royal Plantation are the other two).

In this article, we’ll tell you all about the incredible features of this romantic resort in Jamaica, from the one-of-a-kind suites to the thoughtfully designed layout to the brand-new restaurant concepts.

And to make it even better, when you stay at Sandals Dunn’s River you get complete access to all the amenities and restaurants of the nearby Sandals Ochi (easily reached via a free shuttle service), which gives you a total of 28 restaurants, 20 bars, 13 pools, and 22 whirlpools between the two properties.

*They have not currently started allowing for visiting other Sandals resorts at this time.

Check Out Our Video Review

Getting to Sandals Dunn’s River Resort

To arrive at Sandals Dunn’s River you need to fly into the Montego Bay, Kingston or Ocho Rios airport. The closest airport is in Ocho Rios but the flights are very limited and seasonal.

Most people go through Montego Bay which is a 90-minute drive from the resort. Kingston is a little closer but fewer flights are going there and the road is much windier.

For a much shorter transfer time, you can fly into the Ocho Rios airport, which is served by flights from Miami.

Remember that your transfer to your resort is included in the cost of your room.

Sandals Dunn’s River Accommodations 

When it comes to your stay at Sandals Dunn’s River your accommodations could make a big difference in your stay.

Buildings at Sandals Dunn’s River

There are three buildings you will stay in and each will have a different feel. The Mammee Bay building has been around the longest and it has many rooms with an ocean view from the balcony.

Next is the Travertine building where the lobby is. It has been extensively remodeled and houses several room categories. Some of the rooms are not oceanview, but these are also some of the quietest rooms on the resort since they hear less of the evening entertainment.

Last are the Tufa buildings which are completely new and have swim up suites and rooms with infinity pools. The only con to this building is the pools are almost always in the shade.

New to Sandals Dunn’s River are the first-ever Coyaba Sky Rondovals. They have the Rondoval suites we have seen at other Sandals Resorts, but the Coyaba Sky Rondovals have a terrace that takes up the entire roof.

On the terrace, you’ll find plush seating, a bistro dining set, a telescope, and a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two. Inside, there’s a separate living area and a lavish bathroom that includes a second oversized soaking tub plus a walk-in shower. This romantic sanctuary also comes with butler service and in-room check-in.

Sandals Dunn’s River also features spacious swim-up suites that overlook the ocean; Swim-Up Rondoval Suites, beachfront suites; oceanview suites; and suites that overlook Jamaica’s lush mountains—all with oversized soaking tubs on private balconies.

Sandals Dunn’s River Restaurants and Bars

What really stands out at Sandals Dunn’s River is the food and drinks. After visiting every Sandals Resort, the food here is by far the best.

Breakfast at Sandals Dunn’s River

For breakfast, you have a few options to choose from. I usually start each day at Blum for coffee. Blue Mountain Coffee is ground fresh and made into the specialty coffee drink of your choice including lattes, cappuccinos, pour-overs, or cold brew.

There are a few snacks as well and plenty of comfortable seating options. The staff here always seem to be happy and willing to help.

Your next stop will either be the buffet or the a la carte restaurant. Saltaire has a buffet with an omelet station, a smoothie station, and everything else you would expect for breakfast like pancakes, french toast, fruit, bacon, eggs, and sausage. As you enjoy your meal you will feel the light ocean breeze and hear the morning entertainment of jazz, violin, or steal drums.

For an a la carte full-service breakfast go to Edessa which has a menu of signature dishes like Caribbean shrimp omelets, Island style egg and ham sandwiches as well as classics like eddgs benedict or an all American classic breakfast.

During your stay feel free to take it easy and enjoy breakfast in your room in the morning.

Lunch at Sandals Dunn’s River

For lunch, there are once again a few different choices. You can make your way back to Saltaire for a lunch buffet with a rotating menu.

If you want to stay on the beach the Galene grill features a variety of food like salads, sandwiches, or hamburgers, my personal favorite is the jerk shack, or you can have brick oven pizza cooked fresh at Isola. There is even a case of pizza by the slice you can always grab from and soft serve ice cream, all in the same area.

Dinner at Sandals Dunns’s River

There are so many choices when it comes to dinner time.

One benefit of Sandals Dunn’s River is only two restaurants require reservations and only one requires resort evening attire. So if you, like me, are okay with missing out on French cuisine you can leave your pants, collared shirt, and nicer shoes at home.

The Jerk Shack has the most limited amount of dinner reservations, so if that is of interest to you get that marked down as soon as you have checked in.

My favorite meal was at Hanami, the sushi bar. Most other Sandals Resorts have a Soy Sushi restaurant, but this restaurant is much better due to the variety, quality and even the friendliness of the sushi chefs made a difference.

Zuka was also a crowd-pleaser with a unique interior reflecting its South American vibe. The surf and turf which included steak, lobster, and snapper was an amazing entree and the tuna appetizer was amazing.

This is the only restaurant I recognized from another resort, but it was still different from the one at Sandals Royal Curacao.

Together in one area of the resort are three restaurants, L’Amande serving French, Banyu serving Asian fusion, and Cascata serving Italian food.

On the far end of the resort is Edessa, serving amazing Greek cuisine. I recommend the baked feta and the lamb chops.

Bars at Sandals Dunn’s River

You’ll also have plenty of choice for that tropical cocktail; there are 9 bars at Sandals Dunn’s River, including a swim-up bar, a beach bar with beds to lounge on, a rooftop bar, a rum club, and the upscale Lapidus Lounge, named for the famous architect of the original hotel on the site.

What I found different at Sandals Dunn’s River was the amount of unique cocktails and cocktail menus at the different bars.

The Lapidus Lounge, Rum Club, Ocarina, and Laughing Waters had their cocktail menu.

At night, the Rum Club has flights of rum to try and a full menu of cocktails and small bites to try. It is open until 2 am and has a DJ on some nights of the week.

There’s also in-room dining if you can’t bear to leave your luxury suite. If you book a room at Sandals Dunn’s River that includes butler service, room service is available 24 hours a day. For Club Sandals accommodations, room service is available between 7 am-10 pm. You can also book private dining on the beach at Sandals Dunn’s River for an extra fee.

At every Sandals resort, you can enjoy unlimited fine dining, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and dinner at Sandals Dunn’s River. 

Sandals Dunn’s River Activities and Amenities

There is a lot you can do at Sandals Dunn’s River or you can choose to relax during your stay.

The Pools!

There are a total of five pools and several rooms with private pools. Most people enjoy the two main pools throughout the day. The pool with the swim-up bar tends to be quieter and the other pool with the volleyball net is more lively with daily entertainment and games.

The pools most people do not go to unless they have a room located on the pool are the pools located around the Rondavals and the swim-up suites.

At the spa, there is an additional pool but I never saw anyone using it. Anyone can use it, with or without a spa appointment and there is a hot and cold plunge pool available as well. It is a great place if you want to spend an entire day at the spa.

Sandals Dunn’s River Spa

Beyond the pool at the Spa, the Red Lane Spa is one of the best spas I have seen at a resort. The pool is beautiful and the area is very relaxing. The massage rooms are perfect for you to indulge in a couples’ massage or other therapeutic spa treatment.

For the ultimate pampering on your honeymoon or romantic retreat at Sandals Dunn’s River, the posh Red Lane Spa offers Caribbean-inspired treatments with regional products and services including massages, facials, and body treatments. Your cares will melt away with the soothing backdrop of waters cascading into plunge pools, evoking the nearby Dunn’s River Falls.

Water Activities

Sandals Dunn’s River offers a full range of complimentary water activities including equipment and instruction, such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and Hobie Cat sailing. You also get complimentary scuba diving.

Unlike many Sandals Resort, Sandals Dunn’s River has motorized water sports like water skis, knee boarding, and wakeboarding.

Sandals Dunn’s River has a wide variety of land sports available as well, plus a full fitness center.

Sandals Dunn’s River Excursions

Sandals Dunn’s River is located just down the coast from the amazing natural attraction of Dunn’s River Falls, which inspired many of the design features of the new resort. You can easily visit Dunn’s River Falls and go rafting down the river, explore the waterfalls, and laze on the beautiful beach where the river meets the sea.

You can do a quick 2-hour trip to Dunn’s River, but the best way to experience it is with a Catamaran ride.

My favorite excursions are going to the Blue Hole and river tubing so make sure to check that out.

Sandals Dunn’s River Beach

This Sandals location in Jamaica was chosen by the company’s founder (who grew up in the area) partly for its pristine beach, where soft white sand lines a vivid turquoise and blue sea. You can lounge here all day under shade umbrellas, sipping a refreshing tropical drink.

Overall, I think the beach is very good and the water is a perfect temperature.

All of the beach gets drink service!

Sandals Dunn’s River Nightlife

Sandals Dunn’s River has nightly entertainment, including live shows, music, beach parties, and theme nights.

Sandals Dunn’s River Destination Weddings

If you’re planning a destination wedding in Jamaica, you can get a free wedding at Sandals Dunn’s River! For a minimum stay of 3 nights, you’ll receive a Free Tropical Wedding that includes a personal wedding planning team, preparation of marriage documents, a 15% discount on spa services, a beautiful ceremony location, a bouquet and boutonniere, prerecorded music for the ceremony, a 5×7 wedding photo, a 2-tiered white fondant wedding cake, and cocktail reception with sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres (for a limited number of guests).

If you stay 7 nights or more, you can add Premium Perks to your free wedding, and if you book 5 or more guest rooms you can add Bells and Whistles.

You can also create your own perfect destination wedding at Sandals Dunn’s River with their customizable wedding packages.

s Sandals Dunn’s River only for couples?

Yes, Sandals Dunn’s River is only for couples; like all Sandals properties, it is an adults-only all-inclusive resort designed specifically to provide a romantic atmosphere for couples.

How far is Sandals Dunn’s River from the airport?

Jamaica has three airports, Montego Bay, Kingston, and Ocho Rios. The main airport (and the one served by most flights from the U.S.) is Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, but your complimentary transfer from here will take about 2 hours.

Sandals Dunn’s River Honeymoons 

If you get married and then honeymoon at Sandals Dunn’s River, or if you come here within 30 days of your wedding date, you’ll get Sandals’ complimentary honeymoon package. This includes a bottle of chilled sparkling wine, a special turndown service with flower petals on your bed the first evening of your honeymoon, fresh flowers, and a decadent breakfast in bed one morning of your choice.

Sandals Dunn’s River Inclusions 

Sandals offer more inclusions than any other resort. When you stay at Sandals Dunn’s River you’ll receive complimentary airport transfers; all dining and beverages including unlimited premium liquors and unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines; a stocked minibar in your room that is refreshed daily; a coffee maker with Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend coffee; water sports and equipment plus professional instruction; roundtrip shuttles to the Sandals Ochi; WiFi; daily and nightly entertainment; unlimited land sports; state-of-the-art fitness center; and all tips, taxes, and gratuities.

Now that you know more about the amazing Sandals Dunn’s River, the newest adults-only all-inclusive Sandals resort in Jamaica, do you think you’ll be booking your honeymoon, romantic retreat, or destination wedding here? Let us know what you think!

Recent Sandals Dunn’s River Reviews

Ready To Book?

If you are ready to book you have two options, book directly with Sandals here.

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What you get when working with a Sandals Travel Agent is expertise without bias. We have visited every Sandals Resort and are experts at matching clients with the best Sandals Resort for them. We know tips and tricks to get you the best value and prepare you for the perfect Sandals vacation.

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