When planning a tropical vacation, many people look at all-inclusive resorts to give them the best value and experience. But there are so many to choose from! How do you pick the best all-inclusive resort? One way is to start with well-known and trusted brands, such as Sandals or Beaches.
Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts are both all-inclusive resorts that are owned by Sandals Resorts International, which has been named the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company for the past two decades.
Each Sandals and Beaches resort is located on a beautiful beach, and each provides a luxurious, comprehensive all-inclusive vacation that gives you a lot of value for your investment. This article will help you decide whether a Sandals or Beaches all-inclusive resort is best for you.
Adult Only or Kid Friendly
So how do you choose whether to stay at a Sandals or a Beaches resort? The first question to ask yourself is who you’re traveling with—is it friends, a romantic partner, or your family? If it’s your family or a group, is everyone an adult or are there children under 18?
If there are children under 18 in the party, the choice is easy. You’ll want to choose a Beaches location because all Sandals resorts are adults-only. But you can still choose to stay at a Beaches resort even if you’re only traveling with adults—it just depends on what you’re looking for.
Sandals vs Beaches: Locations
All of the Beaches and Sandals resorts are located in the Caribbean on a gorgeous beach, and all are easy flights from the United States.
There are three Beaches Resorts. They are often called “Sandals for families” since they provide a lot of fun family-oriented amenities. You can find two Beaches Resorts in Jamaica (Negril and Ocho Rios) and one in Turks & Caicos. A third location will be opening in Saint Vincent.
Sandals Resorts offers 15 locations to choose from in the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Barbados, and Jamaica (6 locations, in Negril, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Whitehouse, with several more in the works).
Sandals vs Beaches: Activities
All Beaches and Sandals resorts are located directly waterfront on stunning Caribbean beaches, and they all provide incredible inclusions such as a huge variety of dining options, unlimited premium liquors (at the onsite bars as well as your room’s minibar), land activities (even free championship golf in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and St. Lucia), water sports, and daily and nightly entertainment, as well as free airport transfers.
Professional instruction and equipment for water sports are complimentary. Resorts also have free facilities such as tennis courts and a fitness center. All tips and taxes are included in your rate, as is free wi-fi.
You can also choose from an assortment of excursions to add on during your stay if you want to explore the area around your resort. Another extra option is indulging at the onsite, full-service Red Lane Spa.
Features of Beaches Resorts
Family fun is the theme at Beaches Resorts, and they offer all sorts of activities and inclusions that make this a great choice if you’re traveling with children. All age groups are catered to here.
Some of the amenities at Beaches that families love are the Kids Camps, Pirates Island Waterparks, Xbox Play Lounges, and teen nightclubs. Beaches resorts also offer certified nannies to give parents some help. (All nannies, as well as all Kids Camp staffers, are members of the International Nanny Association.)
There are some amenities you will only find at Beaches Resorts. These include the water parks, which feature fun extras for kids like swim-up soda bars, lazy rivers, giant waterslides, and water cannons. Kids Camps provide activities for children of all ages—even teens. There are also Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street™ characters, which include daily parades and other activities. Kids can even get tucked in by their favorite character.
Those who enjoy electronic entertainment can hang out in a Trench Town, which has arcade games plus movies on huge flat-screen TVs, or Xbox Play Lounge.
Club Liquid is a teen nightclub in the early evening, and then becomes an adult nightclub later on.
Beaches Turks & Caicos has adults-only restaurants, which is a special plus for parents wanting a break or for couples looking to enjoy a more peaceful mealtime. This resort is popular with couples as well as families for this reason, and also because it’s located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Grace Bay. Additionally, it’s a very large resort so there is plenty of space to find a secluded corner for two. Or, drift along the lazy river in the waterpark with a drink in hand!
Sandals Resorts Features
Aimed at creating a luxurious lovers’ paradise for couples, Sandals Resorts are perfect for honeymoons, destination weddings, anniversary celebrations, or any other type of romantic escape. Whether you want intimate seclusion or a fun social experience, Sandals has what you’re looking for.
Each Sandals Resort includes a vast array of water sports and land-based activities in your stay, so you can be as active as you like. There are also some amenities that are unique to particular locations, such as the bowling alley in Barbados.
For a real wow factor if you’re planning a destination wedding, check out the Over-the-Water Wedding Chapels at Sandals resorts in Jamaica. There are also Over-the-Water Bungalows you can stay in at several of the Sandals locations, which give you the ultimate private paradise feeling! (See more details below.)
Sandals resorts put a lot of thought into their swimming pools, and each location offers several different types including free-form lagoon pools, elegant zero-entry pools, and infinity pools. Swim-up bars are included at every Sandals Resort. Some suites offer private plunge pools.
In Ocho Rios and Negril, Jamaica, there are Sandals and Beaches resorts located just a short taxi trip apart from each other. If you are staying at the Sandals location, you also have access to all the facilities at the nearby Beaches location, so that’s something to consider if you want an adults-only vacation but extra options for activities and dining.
And in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Nassau, Bahamas, the Sandals package includes excursions to exclusive private islands!
Sandals vs Beaches: Accommodations
When planning your trip to Beaches or Sandals there are a few key differences with the rooms. The rooms and suites at Beaches allow for 4-5 people per room where Sandals only allows for 2 people. Also at Beaches Resorts is the choice of a king-sized bed or two double beds while Sandals only has king-sized beds. You can request a rollaway bed from Sandals, but since it is very couple oriented they are not requested much.
Sandals resorts go out of their way to give couples the ultimate romantic accommodations. How about a SkyPool Suite, which offers a private infinity-edge plunge pool? Or try one of these unique options.
Over-the-Water Bungalows at Sandals
Indulge your tropical paradise fantasies in these bungalows perched over stunning seas that are available at the Sandals locations in Jamaica and St. Lucia. The overwater bungalows at Sandals come with incredible views over the Caribbean, huge sun decks with comfy loungers, direct water access with a swim-up platform and ladder, “sea-through” glass floors, and amazing Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for two on the deck. For true luxury, Elite Butler Service is included.
Swim-Up Suites at Sandals
Ever wish you could swim in the pool at a resort without having to walk a long way from your room? Now you can, by staying in a swim-up suite that opens directly onto a sparkling pool! These are available at Sandals locations in Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, and Barbados.
Rondoval Suites at Sandals
You can find these unique suites at Sandals in St. Lucia, Jamaica, and Antigua. The Beachfront Rondoval at Sandals Grande St. Lucian is directly on the ocean and also features a private plunge pool and whirlpool! Or check out the Swim-up Rondoval Suites at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica.
Suites at Beaches Resorts
At Beaches Resorts, families will appreciate world-class accommodations that give them plenty of room to stretch out. From comfortable rooms to garden cottages to expansive family suites with separate kids’ rooms, Beaches provides the perfect place to stay for groups. Some offer personal butler service for that extra touch!
Together Nest Suites™ are elegant retreats for couples or families or groups with up to 14 members. Set in suites or villas, they include top-notch amenities and butler or concierge service.
Sandals vs Beaches: Dining
Both resorts offer unlimited dining in a variety of gourmet and casual spots, with some cuisines in common such as Indian, Asian, British pub-style, Jamaican, and Italian.
At Beaches, you will also find casual family-friendly dining options such as Bar B.Q. Park, Bobby Dees (a fun diner-style restaurant located inside the Jolly Roger pirate ship in the water park!), and Yoyo’s Frozen Yogurt. The Turks & Caicos Beaches also has food trucks at the water park.
For more elegant dining, Beaches offers the Venetian which serves Italian as well as fresh seafood and grilled meats, and the French bistro Le Petit Chateau at the Turks & Caicos location.
Sandals Resorts have a variety of dining options including an award-winning steakhouse that also serves fresh seafood, an Italian restaurant by the sea, a French fine-dining restaurant, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant by the water, and the over-the-sea restaurant Gordon’s on the Pier.
Now that you know all the differences between Sandals and Beaches, which of these all-inclusive resorts will you choose for your next vacation?