Here we are in Sunny Jamaica Mon….No worries mon….all is good mon….. Well,,,,,we wish it had started out that way! When my husband presented this wonderful gift to me at Christmas, it had all the makings of luxury written all over it—-Sandals Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Penthouse suite, beachfront…etc…but after flying all night (and me getting like maybe 1-2 hrs sleep tops) we arrive at our destination exhausted, only to stand for an hour and one half in line to go through customs. We are then escorted into a lovely holding room by the Sandals company until our bus arrives. About 1/2 hour later, we are taken to a small bus..(first event) The guy who took our bags 50 ft-wants a tip and wants my husband’s attention. As he is talking, I nudge him, and so my husband hands him a twoonie, which is all he has on him. The guy refuses. My husband explains that that is all he has on him right now, Canadian coins. He then says NO COINS-ONLY PAPER MONEY. so my husband walks away as he says to me the lowest Canadian paper is a $5.00 which the guy probably knew and he was not getting that for walking 50 ft with the bags. We drive for less than 10 min as it turns out our hotel is on the other side of the runway from the airport–(second heads up!)
We are checked into a room where we fill out papers and are told that our room is not ready..as we have arrived in the morning and we can’t have the room till 3 pm…(it is about 10:30 am). Problem #3!!! We are very tired and just want to shower and have a sleep!!! So we go out and lay around in some chairs in the lobby-then we attend orientation, which we could hardly hear as she had no microphone and all the while JETS/airplanes kept flying overhead which drowned her out!!!!! ( #4) After this poor attempt at an orientation that was more of a selling job of the tours available, we went and grabbed a bite to eat. The buffet food selection was limited but tasty! As we were finished and were hanging around, my husband made a few attempts to get us into out room. They finally came up and said they got us our room. They tell us the phone in our room is not working, so they provide us with a mobile phone (#5) Great!!!off we go…. BUT…we were taken to not "705" but "621" instead (Problem#6). So not the penthouse suite, but one floor down. Oh my GOD!!!! Ok..now we are getting pissed off. My husband goes and checks out the difference between the rooms with a maid, and there is no difference only that you can HEAR the planes even more up there! So we decide to stay where we are ..later my husband tries the TV , well, the remote does not go to the TV, so it does not work! (#7)
And the planes keep on flying over head!!! Loud noise every 1/2 -1hr!!! Lovely!! Cuz we are RIGHT NEXT TO THE RUNWAY!!!! Did I mention this already? He is furious and very disappointed and so am I. We are also making a comparison to our last stay in the Bahai Principe in the Mayan Rivera, which was awesome!!! My husband will have to have a chat with the travel agent when he gets back-as she was not our regular one unfortunately. Next item that came up-no internet service -which he specifically requested and was told there would be in the room. (#8) OH boy! We decide to go for a walk and we find that the beach is small and to be less than adequate. Very narrow beach (#9), with old and decrepit cement docks. On top of that, there are lots of panhandlers on the beach, selling stuff. Annoying! We-especially my husband-are not happy. As now that I have looked through a book in our room, and noticed the different Sandals resorts on the island, I suggest we switch to another one, like Nigril or Whitehouse, so he goes down to the manager and he finds a room available at Whithouse to which we will go to tomorrow. We leave the next morning for the airport at 10:30 am to await the next bus to Whitehouse on the southwest coast, only to be informed that the next bus won’t be till late afternoon???or if there will be anyone arriving for whitehouse that day AND we could not even wait in the airport!!!! We could have paid a $125 cab fair to get there if we wanted to, we were explained..(PROBLEM #10.) As we were not allowed inside, we had to sit outside in a cafe. Finally the lovely lady representing Sandals felt bad for us and after 1/2 hour arranged for a bus to take us to Whitehouse- which is a 90 min drive, and they PAID. We had a fabulous driver by the name of Reynolds. We chatted, or I should be more precise and say, my husband and he did the whole way! Very entertaining though.
Whithouse Sandals Resort was definitely more what we were expecting. Beautiful pristine wide long unspoiled beaches!!! NO PLANES!!! No panhandlers and we had a much larger, newer room on the top floor with a spectacular view of the ocean and daily sunsets! This resort is only 3 yrs old where as Montego Bay was the original Sandals over 20 years ago and it sure showed!
Now it has not been with out trouble though,,,,the first thing was that first night as we were going to bed, I said to my husband the room was freezing. So he tried to up the tempurature but nothing changed over the course of 1 hour. Now we try to shut it off…no such luck! (Problem #11) OK-time to call housekeeping!!! The guy comes in 10 min!!! Ends up they have to replace the whole thermostat as it was kaput! We finally get a fabulous night sleep. The next morning I go to make my coffee and the coffee maker won’t work. DAM!!!!! I need my coffee!!! I call housekeeping and they come immediately and take it away—don’t leave me another-to fix it. (Problem #12) So we go out for breakfast. The buffet place has closed (10:30) so we had to go to the restaurant next door, which was fine. Food is not available all day here. You have to eat at specific times more or less.
We have compared this resort to the experience we had this same time last year in Mexico at the Bahai Principe in the Mayan Rivera. It does not come close. We spent double the money to come here and it is half of what the Bahai is! Sandals fall short in so many ways. The only thing that I have found outstanding is the staff courtesy. They are very polite and come when needed. We have said we will never come to a Sandals resort again. We would definitely recommend somewhere else or try the Bahai principe in Jamaica if Jamaica is the place you want to go . ( check debbie’s reviews & tripadvisor too.)