Friday, September 3, 2010

"Ya Mon!" - Our Jamaican Honeymoon (The Details)

So I'm going a teensy bit crazy waiting on our wedding pro photos. I mean, it's been over a month already! But you can't rush greatness, and I want to give Kelli alllll the time she needs to make our pictures pretty. But still. I want pictures! Sigh.

While we're waiting... here's the post I promised with honeymoon details. I looked super hard for a website with this sort of info before we went to Jamaica, and I never found one. So I figured I ought to create it, and hopefully other Sandals visitors will find it and think it's useful. So basically the purpose of this is to help people who Google search "Sandals information" looking for something like this, and you might find it pretty boring if you're not actually about to go to an all-inclusive resort. Sorry!

I've divided it into categories for your blog-reading pleasure, so feel free to scroll to a certain section if you're interested! (The Room, The Food, The Butlers, The Activities, The "Not Included" Things, and The Complaints)

Sandals Negril - The Details

The Room:
Our room was a "Honeymoon Beachfront one Bedroom Loft Suite," part of the Sunset Lofts. It came with butler service + 24-hour room service, which I thought was a MUST if you're going to Sandals Negril. It was really close to the beach with a great view.

The bottom floor (there's a TV and bar area across from the couch)

Cute little staircase!

View from the balcony.

Upstairs! Beautiful high ceilings!

Looking the other way...

The bathroom had a nice little bench thing and one of those great makeup mirrors. I loved it. 

View from the outside. We had the top two floors of a 3-story building.

The Food:
Sandals has many yummy places to eat. Here's the list:

Bayside - This is the centrally located buffet place. They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast ends at like 10:00am, and lunch doesn't start until 12:30. The breakfast was pretty good the one time we got up early enough to go, but lunch and dinner were eh. Most days we were still stuffed from breakfast at lunch time, so we ate here a lot so we could just get a little something.

At the Bayside for dinner...

Sometimes they had weird things like octopi.

The 4 C's - Italian! Loved this place. There's an appetizer buffet, and then you basically build you own pasta dish (picking from their big list of pastas, veggies, meats, and sauces). And they have yummmyyy desserts. :)

See... it's right on the beach!

Sundowner - Jamaican/Caribbean food! We went here for breakfast like every day. Get the pineapple pancakes. They're great. We went for dinner once too and it was lovely. This is one of two restaurants that require "resort evening attire," which I'm pretty sure just means the guys have to have collared shirts and the girls can't wear flip flops. We always sat in the outside section, but I think they had an air conditioned inside area. Great sunset views if you sit outside! Also they have a little waterfall/pond thing stocked with fish and big crabs and it's kind of fun to throw your bread at the fish and watch them go crazy. :)

At Sundowner!

Kimonos - This is the other "resort evening attire" restaurant, and the only restaurant that requires reservations, and also the only restaurant with air conditioning! It's a hibachi grill place, and it was SO, SO good. Mmmm. This was our favorite place to eat, and the hibachi chefs were so entertaining! Dinner reservations go fast (especially if you don't have a butler), so get a reservation as soon as you get there!

Barefoot by the Sea - Seafood! I really liked this one. Jeff got a conch soup that he loved. It's got a beautiful view of the sunset.







Sandals Cafe - A beach grill with burgers, grilled cheese, quesadillas, jerk chicken, etc. We ate lunch here a lot.



The Butlers:
I would not go to Sandals Negril without a butler. In the morning, all the butlers reserve beach chairs for their guests, and if you don't have a butler, you can't find beach chairs, or you get stuck with the beach chairs without a cabana thing and you get sunburn. The butlers give you a cell phone, which you can use to call them anytime 8am to 8pm.


For the restaurant that requires reservations, you only get a good reservation with a butler. People without butlers who asked for a reservation on Monday got one for like Friday at 9:00pm. We asked on Tuesday, and got one for Wednesday at 7:00pm. For the restaurants that don't require reservations, the butlers can still reserve you a table. If you don't have a butler, you have to wait in the dinner line to get a table (30minutes-ish). If you do have a butler, they walk you right past the waiting people and straight to your table.  And your table has flowers and candles on it.

Before you go, you fill out a butler preference sheet. On ours, we put that we wanted to make sure our in-room bar had SoCo, and we wanted champagne every night. Good choices. :) All day, the butlers bring drinks to their guests at the beach. Even if you don't ask for them. It's great. Most nights they come put flower petals and the bed and leave you extra dessert.


The Activities:
Sandals has lots of activities. There's watersports (snorkeling, kayaking, sailboats, hydrobikes, etc.), all free. Every night there's some sort of entertainment. One night we had a "Memories of Africa" production by the entertainment staff. One night there was a beach party thing. One night there was a couples' game show. One night was the Jamaican Independence party and show. They have a fitness center and tennis courts and stuff too, but we didn't use those much. 

The "Not Included" Things:
So Sandals calls itself an "all-inclusive" resort, and it is (mostly). There are some exceptions though. First of all, any excursions you book are an extra charge (leaving the resort to go to waterfalls, etc.). We just stayed at the resort the whole time and LOVED it. If you do plan on leaving the resort, we heard its cheaper to book your activities through someone other than Sandals.

Romance Packages - Sandals constantly tries to get you to buy assorted "romance" packages. There's one with a firepit and s'mores. There's one with a private sunset dinner on the beach. There's on with champagne and stuff in your suite (although if you have a butler, that's free!). The fancy upholstered cabana things on the beach with the curtains and all are rentable by the day.

Photos and Spa - People are constantly taking pictures of you. Then they want you to go to the photo office and buy them. We figured out pretty quick to just tell the guys that we already took pictures, and then they stop asking. The spa people continually find you and ask you if you want to book spa treatments. It's kind of annoying.

Food and Drink - Most of the food and drinks are included, but there's a small tray of stuff in your suite that you pay for if you eat it. You get a whole fridge and in-room bar full of free stuff though, so it's okay. Just don't eat the peanuts unless you want to pay $15 for them. Also, beware of the wine. Beringer    wines are free, but they'll try to get you to order other wines at some of the restaurants, and you'll have to pay for those.

Tips - They say that Sandals employees aren't allowed to accept tips. It works really well... the bartenders/waitstaff/housekeeping/etc. tips are already included in your room price. BUT... the people that take your luggage at the Sandals lounge at the airport and the people who do the bus transfers aren't directly employed by the resort, and they will expect tips (and ask for them if you don't give them one). Also the butlers have to be tipped separately.

The Complaints:
SOOO few complaints. We loved it really. There were really only two things that bothered me. One was the people walking up and down the beach. I guess Sandals can't legally stop people from walking onto the beach, so there were CONSTANTLY people trying to get us to buy conch shells/cigars/parasail rides/hair braids and playing music for tips. They never came up onto the beach, so we started just sitting in the second row of beach chairs so they'd bother the people in front of us.

The only other thing is that we had to leave INSANELY early to get to the airport when we left. Sandals tries to send as few buses as possible to the airport, and we apparently got grouped with a bunch of people whose flights left way before ours. Our flight was at like 1pm, and we left Sandals at 7am. So we made it to the airport around 8am, and the Continental desk didn't even open for another 2 hours. So we had to sit on the floor and wait for two hours, and then sit inside the terminal and wait some more. It was disappointing because we thought we'd have time to eat breakfast and sit on the beach a little before we left, but instead we had to leave before any of the restaurants even opened.

THE END.


Phew. Sorry for the huge novel of a post. 

2 comments:

  1. OMG Katie, that sounds like such an awesome honeymoon. But I have to wonder, how much did you pay for the awesomeness?

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  2. I've been cooking peppers and onions in the skillet on the grill a lot lately. I'll have to add jalapenos next time. Yum. I like cooking bacon that way too, although hot fat + open flame adds a nice element of danger. I used to get flank steak, but my husband got me to try the carne asada cut from our local market, and I prefer it. Not sure if it's thin-cut flank or skirt (I'll have to ask), but it looks like this 

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