For veterans of the Caribbean all-inclusive circuit, the Sandals name should be well-known. It’s one of the largest operators of luxury accommodations in the region, with resorts peppering the island coastlines from Jamaica’s Montego Bay, right the way down to Grenada. In the last ten years, few companies have expanded so successfully throughout the region, opening hotels aimed at all types of traveller: adventure-seekers, families, honeymooners and the single and looking.
With so many Sandals resorts on offer across the region, each varying in character and style, we at Hopper thought a classic list of our top ten might help.
Amidst the English gardens and baroque fountains of the Royal Plantation resort, guests are transported to a secluded land of high luxury. This relatively small complex of just 74 suites pops up almost naturally from between the palm trees and jungles that pepper the the coastal lands of Jamaica’s Ocho Rios, quietly oozing with an opulence and elegance that makes it a steadfast contender for the spot of best Caribbean resort. One thing’s for sure, it’s dauntingly exclusive, with private beaches, an on-site spa, and a past list of big name patrons to boot.
For those with a taste for that refined British traditionalism, or a penchant for the lingering architectural styles of old colonialism, then the Sandals Royal Caribbean is the perfect option in Jamaica. The large central structure is awash with classic Georgian styles, while the butlers serve afternoon tea in the gardens like clockwork every day. But it’s not all English decorum here either, because the Royal also boasts a secluded offshore island of white sands and leaning palms, while all-inclusive guests gain access to three other resorts in the Montego Bay area.
Laying claim to Jamaica’s largest swimming pool and a rolling two-mile stretch of sand on the island’s south-western shore, the Sandals Whitehouse resort takes guests on a journey through Europe, from the enchanting Flemish Low Countries, to the romantic streets of Parisian France. It’s achieved by the resort’s curious intermingling of continental architectural styles, along with the wide offering of international cuisine. Elsewhere, qualified divers also enjoy unlimited daytime scuba trips, while there are endless other activities to pursue, from sea kayaking to spa treatments and wellness sessions.
More than 200 individual suites at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort in the Bahamas enjoy panoramic ocean views of the archipelago’s majestic Exumas shoreline. What’s more, the spot is a haven for scuba divers and snorkelers, who are invited to join regular daily excursions into the teeming reefs nearby, not to mention a favorite among the boating crowd for its on-site, 150-slip marina. Naturally the resort also comes complete with a host of international eateries, a smattering of luxurious swimming pools and a range of full service bars.
Once the exclusive stomping ground of English royalty and worldly stardom, the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau is now hailed for its luxurious offering of accommodation and service. Accordingly it’s continually accumulating accolades for quality and character, receiving the prestigious World Travel Award for best all-inclusive resort in 2013. On-site, guests stroll amidst elaborate neo-classical colonnades and exquisite seaside gardens, while top-quality restaurants and stylish clubs bubble with energy late into the evening.
Elected as the leading resort in all of St Lucia in 2013, this full-frills Caribbean getaway inspires awe from the get go with its dramatic location between the verdant Pigeon Island peninsula and the sands of Rodney Bay. Many guests come to simply kick back and relax on the mile-long stretch of beach that graces the front of the resort, while some opt for a spot of scuba diving around the island, or lazy days in one of its many swimming pools. Others come for cocktails in the sun, or perhaps some ale tasting in the on-site English Pub.
Nestled beneath an emerald canopy of palm leaves just behind the beautiful Choc Beach of north-western Saint Lucia, this Sandals resort combines several threads of all-inclusive luxury to create an enchanting experience for all. For one, it’s relatively small compared to a number of the other resorts on the island, giving it an air of exclusivity and quietude that’s not possible elsewhere. It also encompasses 13 bars and restaurants combined and unparalleled access to the beachfront, while all-inclusive guests can still enjoy the facilities of Sandals resorts nearby with the Stay-and-Play exchange scheme.
Repeatedly hailed by industry experts as the most romantic getaway on the planet, Antigua’s Grande Resort by Sandals does well to cater for the honeymoon crowd. From the ocean view penthouses and the hillside private holiday villas, the island’s majestic Dickenson Bay dominates the view, while lovers can be seen lazing all day long on the sands and in the shady palm clusters of the paradisal Caribbean Grove nearby. The resort also plays host to the largest swimming pool in the Eastern Caribbean, along with countless fine dining spots for that romantic evening meal.
Photo via their official FB page.
Standing watch over the postcard-perfect Pink Gin beach on the southern tip of Grenada Island, this hi-tech and innovative resort defies expectations with its sky pools, winding lazy rivers and authentic Euro-Carib flavor. In 2013 the whole site underwent a major renovation, which saw LaSource’s swimming facilities bolstered and a number of other luxurious amenities added for the first time. What’s more, the hotel sits just minutes from the airport, so guests can be out of the plane and onto the sands in no time!
Photo via their official FB page.
Granted, we’re jumping the gun a little here, because Barbados Island’s only Sandals resort is currently in the process of a major renovation project. But, it’s expected to reopen in early 2015 with some of the most cutting-edge and luxurious facilities in the whole of the Caribbean region. Plans for the site currently include 11 fine dining restaurants, a series of blazing fire pits, a beachfront whirlpool, a dedicated wedding garden and a series of swim-in, swim-out cocktail bars. Tantalizingly, bookings are already being accepted!