Simply book a stay at any of Sandals’ 16 all-inclusive resorts guarantees a first-class luxury experience. You could have a great vacation by just showing up, but a little preparation may yield great rewards.
We’ve compiled some of our best insider tips to help you get the best value from your trip.
Book a Resort Next to Another Resort
The Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Sandals know and capitalize on this by placing numerous resorts in close proximity to one another. At several resorts, Sandals guests can enjoy the amenities of adjacent Sandals or Beaches resorts.
Keep in mind Sandals is an adults-only resort, so all guests of Sandals are welcome at Beaches but not vice versa. But keep in mind this needs to be coordinated with the sales managers of each resort.
Montego Bay and Royal Caribbean
Guests of the Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean are a mere (and complimentary) 10-minute ride from one another. This provides guests access to over 20 restaurants for decadent dining and a private offshore island for a secluded escape with a special someone.
Sandals Royal Plantation & Ochi
Guests of the Sandals Royal Plantation only have 5 restaurants, but can visit Sandals Ochi, the largest Sandals Resort. They are a 10-minute walk or a 2-minute drive away from each other.
This is a one-way valve – guests at Royal Plantation can enjoy a complimentary shuttle ride to Ochi, but guests at Ochi cannot do a shuttle to Royal. The resort is too small to handle the mass flow of guests that would want to take advantage of it.
Guests of Sandals Negril can visit Beaches Negril when coordinated with the sales managers of each resort. They are conveniently located approximately 5 minutes apart by taxi, and guests may access either resort to enjoy Negril’s stunning Seven Mile Beach.
Sandals Barbados and Royal Barbados
With a total of 18 different restaurants, the two resorts in Barbados are often seen as one massive property rather than two distinct places.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Regency La Toc, and Halcyon Beach
St. Lucia hosts three separate Sandals resorts that are between 15 and 30 minutes apart. Booking at one of these equally lavish resorts provides guests access to 27 different restaurants.
Round-trip transportation is included between resorts.
Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril
The Dos and Don’ts or Dining at Sandals
Make Sure to Make Reservations
Some restaurants on the resort don’t require reservations, but some do and will fill up during peak dining hours. Make your reservations immediately upon your arrival to ensure you can take advantage of all the options during your trip.
Sandals does not allow guests to make reservations prior to the start of their stay, but researching ahead of time will give you a general idea of where you might be most interested in dining. When you arrive, you can already make dining reservations for your entire stay.
If you happened to splurge for a butler, let them handle the reservations, and don’t worry about a thing.
Be sure to let the resort know of any dietary restrictions or allergies you may have. They are very happy to accommodate you.
At Sandals Resorts you will find two dress codes for dining, Resort Casual and Resort Elegant. Resort casual pretty much means you can’t go barefoot or in only your swimsuit. You need a shirt, footwear, and shorts or jeans.
For Resort Elegant, pack pants for men, dress shirts, and dress shoes or sandals. No flip flops here.
Order as Much as You Want
Portions at Sandals are not what you would expect from a typical restaurant in the US. I actually love this since it allows you space to try more things without wasting food.
Don’t be shy to order multiple entrees or second dishes if you’d like. You can even eat at two different restaurants in one day.
Save Time and Hassle By Booking Ahead
Be sure to inquire with the front desk staff regarding any excursions or activities that require advance reservations. Nothing is more of a buzzkill than showing up for fun only to find out you needed to have booked ahead of time.
The only thing that beats being in paradise is getting a professional massage in paradise! Be sure to book in advance to ensure you can receive the treatments you’d like, and it is recommended that you get massages and skin treatments early in your stay to reduce the possibility of being sunburned before the appointment.
While the spa is designed to offer a relaxing environment, guests are welcome to ask for their massage outside on the beach among various other special locations.
Dives and Scuba Classes
The marine life in the Caribbean can be breathtaking, and PADI-certified divers can enjoy free dives upon arrival subject to availability. Ensure you can get your dives in by booking immediately upon arrival as spots fill up fast during the peak season.
You can’t book dinner before you arrive at the resort, but you can book island excursions ahead of time. Tours have limited availability and fill up fast, so save yourself the hassle by getting it locked in well in advance. Ride a luxury catamaran, snorkel, or experience the island wildlife on one of many guided tours to add that extra adventure to your experience.
A Tip About Tipping
Remember that Sandals has a no-tipping policy outside of the butlers, spa staff, and excursion staff. For those that provide you with a luxurious spa experience or lead an unforgettable tour, carrying something to give as a gratuity is always appreciated. USD is accepted in these select scenarios.
Raid the Mini Fridge
Sandals keeps the mini-fridge stocked with drinks so you can snack and drink to your heart’s content. Club and Butler-level rooms also include free room service 24 hours a day!
Take in a Show or Attend a Party
Each resort offers a multitude of nightlife and entertainment options, from themed parties to performances that showcase some authentic island culture. Be dazzled by acrobats and fire-eaters on the beach, take in the sounds of the steel drum, or limbo your way to the open bar stocked with premium spirits.
Take a Yeti
While enjoying the sun, having a Yeti full of ice water is a small touch that makes a big difference. Better yet– personalize your Yeti to commemorate the getaway and immortalize it so you may reminisce every time you use it back home.
Use the Sandals & Beaches Resorts App
Download the app in advance of your stay to receive updates and news in one convenient place. Guests may also utilize the “Loop” to make quick requests, such as being brought fresh towels or having the mini-fridge replenished.
Dealing With Hurricanes
Ideally, you want sunshine from start to finish so you can get that coveted tan and take full advantage of all the activities and excursions during your stay. The official hurricane season goes from June 1st to November 30th, which is a substantial stretch of time. However, data shows that hurricanes, in general, are quite rare.
You’ll likely get the best weather early in the season or at the very end, namely in June, July, and November. If you plan to visit at all during the hurricane season, it is recommended to get travel insurance that offers hurricane coverage. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
Check Airport Transfer Times
Some Sandals Resorts are a short drive to the airport, but others require more time to get to. Find this out beforehand so you are not surprised by a long drive when you arrive.
Book With A Travel Agent
We may be a little biased, but all of these tips (and more) should be covered by your travel agent. You can contact us if you have any questions or need additional help booking your trip at no additional cost.
Get Fast Free Wifi
The free wifi in your room is good for checking emails and social media. The premium wifi isn’t much better than that. If you need fast wifi, go to the lobby. There is free wifi, which is probably meant for people as they arrive at the resort before they have a room assignment. So far at Sandals Ochi, Sandals Royal Caribbean, and Sandals Montego Bay, we have gotten speeds 10-20 times faster than the in-room wifi. We will keep updating this as we visit more resorts.
Need more help booking your Sandals Trip?
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He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central American, South America and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.