Both Sandals and Iberostar resorts are wonderful for honeymooners or any couple looking to escape and enjoy a luxurious romantic vacation. Iberostar and Sandals resorts have some similarities, and they also have differences. Let’s take a detailed look at them so you can decide whether Sandals or Iberostar is best for you.
One of the biggest differences between Sandals and Iberostar is that while all Sandals resorts are all-inclusive, this is not the case for Iberostar, which has a range of hotel and resort types. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the Iberostar all-inclusive resorts.
While many people are familiar with the adults-only all-inclusive Sandals resorts, fewer people know about Iberostar resorts. You may be wondering, are Iberostar resorts good? Most Iberostar reviews are positive, with guests mentioning excellent service, cleanliness, food, and amenities. They also appreciate that Iberostar resorts tend to be less expensive than Sandals resorts. However, this cost difference is less apparent when you compare Iberostar Grand resorts vs. Sandals resorts.
Are Sandals resorts for couples only?
Yes, Sandals resorts are for couples only. They are designed to deliver a romantic luxury experience for honeymooners and other couples in love.
Are Iberostar resorts for couples only?
No, Iberostar resorts are not for couples only. Most of them are open to families and singles as well as couples. However, there are some Iberostar adults-only resorts: Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Coral Level at Iberostar Selection, Cancun Mexico; Iberostar Grand Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico; Iberostar Selection Jardin del Sol Suites, Mallorca; Iberostar Selection Llaut Palma, Mallorca; Iberostar Bahia de Palma, Mallorca; Iberostar Selection Sabila, Tenerife, Canary Islands; Iberostar Selection Santa Eulalia, Ibiza; Iberostar Grand El Mirador, Tenerife, Canary Islands; Iberostar Grand Salome, Tenerife, Canary Islands; and Iberostar Cala Millor, Mallorca.
Iberostar vs. Sandals: Location
Iberostar has many more locations than Sandals, and these resorts are located in a variety of areas including the Caribbean, Mexico, the Mediterranean, Europe, and South America.
While both Iberostar and Sandals have resorts in the Caribbean, the only island they have in common is Jamaica. If you compare Sandals vs. Iberostar Jamaica, you’ll see that there are 3 Iberostar Jamaica resorts, all in Montego Bay, while there are 7 Sandals resorts in Jamaica, in Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and Whitehouse.
In total, Sandals has 17 resorts in the Caribbean: 7 in Jamaica, 3 in St. Lucia, 1 in Grenada, 2 in the Bahamas, 1 in Antigua, 2 in Barbados, and 1 in Curacao.
There are 20 all-inclusive Iberostar resorts in the Caribbean including 3 in Jamaica; 7 in the Dominican Republic; and 10 in Mexico.
Iberostar also has 70 all-inclusive resorts in Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Ibiza, Crete, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Montenegro, Tunisia, and Cape Verde.
One of the most unique Iberostar all-inclusive resorts is actually a ship, which they call a “floating 5-star luxury hotel.” This luxury ship, the Iberostar Heritage Grand Amazon, cruises three routes on the Amazon River in Brazil.
Iberostar vs. Sandals: Rooms and Suites
Sandals resorts offer an extremely wide range of room and suite types, including some truly stunning luxury suites. These include the Millionaire Butler Villa at Sandals Regency La Toc; Over-the-Water Bungalows (with and without private plunge pools, but all featuring outdoor soaking tubs for two); Skypool Suites with elevated infinity-edge plunge pools overlooking the ocean; Beachfront Rondoval Suites with private plunge pools; Oceanview Penthouses (some two-story); One-Bedroom Villas with Private Pool Sanctuaries; Swim-Up Suites; and Beachfront Walk-Out Suites.
Many suites at Sandals include oversized soaking tubs for two, either in the bathroom or on a private balcony or patio, as well as the services of a private butler for some serious indulgence. There are also plenty of less-pricey options, such as garden-view and ocean-view rooms.
Iberostar all-inclusive resorts also offer a variety of rooms and suites, although they don’t have as many unique types as Sandals resorts. The more luxurious resorts, which are called “Grand,” offer butler service in suites that feature panoramic ocean views, spacious private terraces, oversized whirlpool tubs, separate living rooms, minibars, and 24-hour room service.
Some Iberostar resorts feature swim-out rooms with private patios; ultra-luxe Presidential suites with whirlpool tubs for two on oversized private balconies; villas with private pools and gardens; beachfront suites; and garden-view suites.
Sandals vs. Iberostar: Food and Drink
Foodies will be happy at both Iberostar and Sandals resorts, as they all feature a range of gourmet dining options and types of cuisine. There are also plenty of bars at Sandals and Iberostar resorts. However, there tend to be fewer restaurant choices at Iberostar resorts than at Sandals resorts.
Bars at Sandals include swim-up bars, British pubs, piano bars, nightclubs, martini bars, beach bars, and restaurant bars. Sandals resorts offer some fun dining and bar options, such as Over-the-Water Bars, overwater restaurants, and poolside food trucks.
Cuisine at Sandals ranges from resort to resort but includes Jamaican, Italian, Japanese, steakhouse, international, sushi, Caribbean jerk, pizza, French coffee and pastries, fresh local seafood, local dishes, Thai, French haute cuisine, Indian, and Pan-Asian. There are open-air, beachfront, and waterfront restaurants, and in-room dining is available. You can also request private dinners on the beach for an extra fee.
Restaurants at Iberostar all-inclusive resorts also differ depending on location, and range from buffet-style to French haute cuisine. There are options serving local and international dishes, including Caribbean, Mediterranean, seafood, steak, Asian, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, and more, at both elegant restaurants and casual beachfront grills. In-room dining including 24-hour room service is also available.
Bars at Iberostar Resorts include swim-up bars, wine cellars, replicas of ships, lobby bars, sports bars, beach bars, nightclubs, and theatre bars.
Sandals vs. Iberostar: Activities and Amenities
Sandals resorts are all located on beautiful beaches and have multiple pools and hot tubs to enjoy. Sandals puts 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.
Sandals resorts offer a wide range of activities and entertainment. Exact options vary depending on the location, but every Sandals offers a full range of complimentary water sports such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, and scuba diving. Some locations add activities like wakeboarding, tubing, and waterskiing. Instruction is complimentary for all watersports except scuba diving.
A wide variety of land sports is available at Sandals resorts as well, including beach volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, pool tables, and a state-of-the-art fitness center with exercise classes. Many Sandals locations offer complimentary golf plus day and night tennis. All Sandals resorts have full-service Red Lane Spas plus area excursions and adventure tours; these options are extra.
Many Iberostar all-inclusive hotels are also located on beautiful beaches and offer multiple outdoor pools and whirlpools, as well as watersports like snorkeling, water polo, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Some locations offer sailing lessons and scuba diving courses.
Iberostar’s Aliveness Program provides a range of activities like yoga, Pilates, and aerobics classes for guests who like to keep active. Resorts have game rooms, billiard halls, and fitness centers. Some have tennis courts, and many feature onsite golf courses or access to golf nearby. There are also spas which include extras like hot and cold plunge pools, Finnish saunas, and Turkish baths. Guests can choose to indulge in spa services at the spa, on the beach, or under the stars.
A unique amenity at Iberostar is their range of creative activities, such as DIY workshops, art classes, singing classes, dance classes, wine tastings, cooking courses, nature walks, and more.
Iberostar vs. Sandals: Nightlife
Entertainment at Sandals resorts includes live shows, theme nights, local music, beach parties, piano singalongs, karaoke, and talent nights where guests participate.
Entertainment at Iberostar resorts includes live shows, live music, dancing at nightclubs, and more. Many locations offer one or more theatres which host a variety of productions like stage shows, concerts, and magic shows.
Both Sandals and Iberostar resorts have multiple bars onsite as well.
Sandals vs. Iberostar: Inclusions
Both Sandals and Iberostar include a ton of complimentary items and services in their rates. Here are the details of what Sandal and Iberostar include:
What Is Included in a Stay at Sandals?
Sandals resorts claim to offer “more quality inclusions than any other resort in the world.” These include gourmet dining (all meals and snacks) at multiple restaurants and cafés; unlimited non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages including unlimited premium liquors and unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines; a minibar in your room that is refreshed daily, stocked with juice, water, soft drinks, wine and beer; a coffee maker with Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend coffee; water sports like snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, including equipment and professional instruction; scuba diving (including equipment); daily and nightly entertainment; WiFi; unlimited land sports including golf and tennis (at most resorts), beach volleyball, etc.; a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment; roundtrip airport transfers; private airport arrival lounges at some locations; roundtrip shuttles to other resorts and access to their facilities (at some locations); and all tips, taxes, and gratuities. Plus, stay a minimum of 3 nights at a Sandals resort and get a free wedding.
What is included in Iberostar all inclusives?
Iberostar inclusions vary a bit depending on the resort’s location. Iberostar all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean include a unlimited a la carte dining and snacks at a wide variety of restaurants; minibar with daily refills; drinks including top shelf liquor; an hour a day of nonmotorized watersports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and water skiiing; and daily and nightly entertainment.
All inclusive Iberostar resorts in other areas include breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks. All of the Iberostar all-inclusive resorts offer free WiFi, and some of them feature 24-hour room service and butler service.
Sandals vs. Iberostar Cost
In general, Iberostar resorts are less expensive than Sandals resorts, but this is less evident when you compare the Grand level of Iberostar resorts, which are more like Sandals resorts. For example, the adults-only Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica starts at $642 per night, while Sandals Montego Bay starts at $690 per night ($345 per person per night).
The other two Iberostar Montego Bay properties, while all-inclusive, allow families and so are less similar to Sandals resorts. They are also less upscale. Rates at Iberostar Selection Rose Hall Suites start at $486 per night; at Iberostar Rose Hall Beach rates start at $336 per night.
The least expensive Sandals resort in Jamaica (and in general) is Sandals Ochi in Ocho Rios, with rates starting at $486 a night ($243 per person per night).
However, the actual cost of your Sandals vacation may be much lower, since Sandals consistently offers a variety of deals and discounts like the Sandals 777 deal, seasonal discounts, up to $1000 instant credit on certain bookings, up to 65% of the standard rate for stays of 3+ nights, airfare credits, credits for booking online, service personnel discounts, and more.
Iberostar also runs sales and offers discounts and deals on their resorts throughout the year.
Now that you have read our comparison of Iberostar vs. Sandals, what do you think? Which luxury all-inclusive resort will you choose for your next romantic escape? Let us know in the comments!
Sunday 26th of March 2023
Sandals everyday all day!