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Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean: Which Jamaica Sandals Is Best for You?

If you’re planning a couples’ vacation or honeymoon in Jamaica and are considering a Sandals all-inclusive adults-only resort, you’re probably having trouble choosing between Sandals Negril, Sandals Ochi, Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Plantation, Sandals Dunn’s River, Sandals South Coast or Royal Caribbean.

This can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help with our side-by-side comparisons of the Sandals resorts in Jamaica. In this article we will look at Sandals Royal Caribbean vs. South Coast.

There are differences and similarities between these two gorgeous, romantic resorts. Our comparison of Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean will help you choose which Sandals resort is best for your Jamaica honeymoon or romantic vacation.

(Want an overview of all of them? Check out our article “Which Sandals Resort in Jamaica Should You Go To?”)

Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean: Overview

If you’re looking for a magical honeymoon destination, you’ll find one at either Sandals South Coast or Royal Caribbean. These are two of the more peaceful Sandals resorts in Jamaica, and both feature the incredible overwater bungalows for the ultimate romantic hideaway.

Sandals South Coast was named “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort” in the 2019 World Travel Awards. It is quiet and serene, nestled along a 2-mile stretch of pristine white beach amid a 500-acre nature preserve. Is the beach at Sandals South Coast private? Yes, it is.

Sandals South Coast has 9 bars, 7 restaurants, 4 pools (including the largest pool in Jamaica), and 4 whirlpools. Its luxurious accommodations include 12 overwater bungalows.

Sandals Royal Caribbean has undergone renovation recently and is a luxurious resort with an intimate feel, nestled on a small but stunning private beach.

This resort showcases Jamaica’s British heritage with a Georgian-style Great House and activities such as afternoon tea and croquet. Something that truly sets Sandals Royal Caribbean apart is the private offshore island with its own beach and amenities. (This is also where the overwater bungalows are.)

Sandals Royal Caribbean

Sandals Royal Caribbean has 9 restaurants and 6 bars, including swim-up bars and a piano bar. When you stay here, you also get access to all the activities, restaurants, and bars at neighboring Sandals Montego Bay, so this is the best option if you are looking for a lot of variety.

These two adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica have similar ratings. Sandals South Coast has a rating of 4.5 on both Google and TripAdvisor, while Sandals Royal Caribbean has a 4.4 Google rating and 4.5 TripAdvisor rating.

Sandals Royal Caribbean vs. South Coast: Location

Sandals Royal Caribbean is located in Montego Bay and is close to the airport, so travel time is minimal. This should be your choice if you want to get your vacation started as quickly as possible.

Sandals South Coast is located in White House, along the unspoiled southern coast of Jamaica and further away from the airport. Which airport is Sandals South Coast closest to, and how far from the airport is Sandals South Coast?

Sandals South Coast is about 30 miles from Montego Bay airport. The drive to the resort is rough; you may want to take Dramamine beforehand due to potholes and sharp turns.

At both resorts, complimentary airport transfers are included in your stay.

Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean: Rooms and Suites

Both Sandals South Coast and Royal Caribbean are some of the best Sandals in Jamaica for honeymoons because they feature the uber-romantic Over-the-Water Bungalows.

At both resorts, these incredible overwater bungalows are set around a heart-shaped walkway and perched over the stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean. The difference is that the overwater bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean are on a private island, whereas the ones at Sandals South Coast are at the main resort area. Also, some of the overwater bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean offer private infinity pools.

Overwater bungalows give you direct access to the gorgeous water from a large private deck that features a Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for two, an overwater hammock, loungers, an outdoor shower, and a swim-up platform. The beautiful interior has a see-through glass floor insert, a custom king-size bed, and a spa-like bathroom with a rain shower.

When you stay at an overwater bungalow at Sandals South Coast or Royal Caribbean, it includes personalized butler service. Your butler will greet you with lemongrass-scented hand towels to refresh you from your flight, cocktails, and culinary treats before escorting you to your suite. Check-in is completed at your villa where the butler can even unpack your luggage for you.

Throughout your stay, your butler can make all the reservations you need for dinner, activities, or spa treatments. They can bring you drinks or food on the beach or at the pool, or serve you a romantic candlelit dinner on your private deck.  

Sandals South Coast also has the unique Rondoval Suites, which are round thatched-roof structures that feature a private patio with zero-entry access to the river pool plus a private plunge pool, spa-style bathrooms, and a Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for two. These romantic hideaways also come with butler service.

Does Sandals South Coast have swim up rooms? Yes, there are wonderful swim-up rooms at Sandals South Coast. These include the South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Suites described above, as well as Dutch Village Beachfront Swim-up Butler Suites that have private patios with Tranquility Soaking Tubs for Two and fabulous views of the ocean.

There are also swim-up club level suites, Beachfront Walkout Suites, and beachfront deluxe, luxury, and club suites.

Sandals Royal Caribbean features plenty of romantic room options in addition to the overwater bungalows as well. Most of the rooms here have oversized tranquility soaking tubs on the patio or balcony.

You can choose from Beachfront Walkout Butler Suites, which are set right on the beach and have a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two on the private patio; Royal Beachfront Butler Corner Suites with private balconies overlooking the ocean; and Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Penthouse Oceanview Butler Suites.

There are also Crystal Lagoon Swim-up Butler Suites, where you can walk right out and slip into the pool. Some of these feature oversized patios that are set into the pool, where you can relax on private loungers or even have dinner served on a bistro set.

Sandals Royal Caribbean also features room options that don’t include a butler but do include incredible views and amenities, such as the Beachfront Club Elite Suite with a private balcony and Tranquility Soaking Tub or Crystal Lagoon Hideaway Swim-Up Club Level Junior Suite that offers a private patio with direct access to a beautiful pool plus a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two.

FYI, if you want to be able to have room service at either Sandals Royal Caribbean or Sandals South Coast, you will need to book a club or butler level room.

Sandals Royal Caribbean vs. South Coast: Food and Drink

Of these two resorts, Sandals Royal Caribbean offers the most options.

Sandals Royal Caribbean has 9 restaurants and 6 bars, including swim-up bars and a piano bar. The 9 restaurants offer a range of world-class dining, including authentic Thai, French haute cuisine, Indian, Italian, and the Caribbean. A casual pizzeria, Caribbean jerk shack, seaside bar and grill, and British pub round out the culinary offerings here.

When you stay at Sandals Royal Caribbean, you also get access to all the restaurants at nearby Sandals Montego Bay (and easy transportation back and forth via the free shuttle).

This includes 6 bars (including swim-up bars and a piano bar) and 12 restaurants, many of which overlook the beautiful beach. These include an elegant Old Jamaican restaurant, a seaside bar, and grill, Italian, Japanese, a steakhouse, a waterfront restaurant serving international dishes, a sushi bar, a Caribbean jerk shack, a British pub, a casual pizzeria, a Parisian café, and a toes-in-the-sand open-air restaurant serving fresh seafood and local dishes.

Sandals South Coast has 7 bars (including swim-up bars) and 9 global gourmet restaurants, many of which overlook the beautiful beach. These include Italian, Asian, and Caribbean cuisines; the beachside Mediterranean and Jamaican seafood restaurants; Sushi on the Sand; the Jerk Shack; and a Parisian café.

There’s also in-room dining at both Sandals resorts if you can’t bear to leave your luxury suite. If you book a room 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 for an extra fee.

Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean: Activities

There are plenty of complimentary activities at both Sandals South Coast and Sandals Royal Caribbean, including water and land sports. Even scuba diving is included; certified divers can dive up to twice a day at either resort.

Everything at Sandals South Coast is designed for relaxation and romance, including the pools. How many pools does Sandals South Coast have? There are 4 pools here, which range from a 17,000-square-foot river pool with a swim-up bar (the Caribbean’s longest) to Jamaica’s largest zero-entry pool to two Renaissance-style pools. One of the pools is directly beachfront for the best of both worlds.

Sandals South Coast

The pristine white sand beach at Sandals South Coast stretches for two miles along crystal clear water. There are shade trees and lounge chairs, or you can book a private cabana. Complimentary watersports include kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing, tubing, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving.

Land activities at Sandals South Coast include day and night tennis in addition to basketball, beach volleyball, pool tables, table tennis, squash, bocce ball, and a fitness center with exercise classes.

Sandals South Coast should be your choice if you’re planning a destination wedding in Jamaica. It features an incredible over-the-water chapel, where you can walk down a glass floor aisle and say your vows with views of the stunning Caribbean on all sides.

Caribbean destination wedding Sandals South Coast

If you’re not getting married on this trip, you can still enjoy an overwater experience at Sandals South Coast by visiting the Over-the-Water Bar for a refreshing drink surrounded by the Caribbean. You can even laze the day away with your sweetie in one of the overwater hammocks for two!

Something that sets Sandals Royal Caribbean apart is its private offshore island. This is a unique amenity that is available for all guests, even if you’re not staying in one of the overwater bungalows.

Just a few minutes by boat from the main resort, the island features a beautiful beach lined with thatch-roofed cabanas, a pool with a swim-up bar, a Jacuzzi, and two dining experiences including an authentic Thai restaurant. At night you can enjoy bonfires, “island-style extravaganzas,” and dancing on the sand.

Sandals Royal Caribbean also offers watersports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and Hobie Cat sailing, as well as land sports including beach volleyball, bocce ball, pool tables, and a fitness center with exercise classes. If you want to go waterskiing, tubing, or wakeboarding, or play tennis, you can do so at Sandals Montego Bay, as you will have access to all the amenities and activities at that resort as well.

Both Sandals South Coast and Royal Caribbean offer the full-service Red Lane Spa for a wide range of restorative spa services (at an extra cost). You can also book area excursions from both locations (also at an extra cost).

Honeymoon couples massage Sandals resort

Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean: Nightlife

Sandals South Coast takes on an even more romantic ambiance at night when beach bonfires and fire pits glow around the grounds. In addition to sipping your favorite cocktail at the overwater bar or singing along in the piano bar, you’ll enjoy nightly entertainment including live music, talent nights, and theme nights like Carnival Party, Caribbean Night, and White Night.

Sandals Royal Caribbean tends to be fairly quiet, although there is a variety of daily and nightly entertainment including live shows. The nighttime beach bonfires and entertainment on the private island are pretty spectacular. The main pool is the most lively if you are looking to play games, dance and make new friends.

It is close to the active nightlife scene in Montego Bay, if you want to go out to local clubs. You can also head over to Sandals Montego Bay for additional options.

Sandals South Coast vs. Sandals Royal Caribbean: Cost

While neither Sandals South Coast or Royal Caribbean is the least expensive Sandals resort in Jamaica, they aren’t the most expensive either. Sandals South Coast has rates starting at $308 per person per night, while Sandals Royal Caribbean has rooms starting at $315.  

Both resorts have deals and specials regularly; you can look for these on the Sandals website. Another way to get the best price at a Sandals resort is to work with a Certified Sandals Travel Agent.

As at every Sandals, your all-inclusive rate covers complimentary airport transfers; all dining and beverages including unlimited premium liquors and unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines; a stocked minibar in your room; a coffee maker with Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend coffee; water sports and equipment plus professional instruction; WiFi; daily and nightly entertainment; unlimited land sports; state-of-the-art fitness center; and all tips, taxes, and gratuities.

Now that you’ve read our comparison of Sandals Royal Caribbean vs. South Coast, what do you think? For your Jamaican honeymoon or romantic trip, would you choose Sandals South Coast or Royal Caribbean? Let us know in the comments!