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Valentine’s Day was yesterday and I’m still feeling all mushy inside. With love in the air, let’s talk a bit about romantic vacations, shall we?
A few weeks ago, we had the chance to visit the über romantic Sandals All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I have to admit, it was freakin’ fantastic.
If you don’t know about Sandals, it’s an adults-only resort specializing in romantic vacations for couples. In fact, this particular Sandals is the flagship property and was the original resort under the Sandals/Beaches brand. With exceptional service and the all-inclusive style we’ve come to love, Sandals is a great place to go for a wedding, honeymoon, or romantic vacation with the one you love. Seriously, they’ve got the whole thing down to a “T” and we couldn’t have had more fun.
Preparing Your Budget for the Trip
Here’s the thing: This place isn’t exactly a “budget” resort. I’ve been to plenty of those, and Sandals doesn’t fit the bill. Of course, they’re not trying to. While it is more expensive than some other all-inclusives, it isn’t outrageous either. You get what you pay for… and what you get here is definitely worth the cost.
With rooms starting at $235 per person/per night, going to Sandals takes a little planning. Heck, a few years ago, we never would have been able to afford a vacation like this. But getting our money straight has opened up so many different options for us, including travel.
While you may not want to travel as much as we do, an annual vacation like this is possible for you too! By cutting a few expenses and managing your money wisely, you’ll be able to afford things you never dreamed of.
That’s why it’s so important to become debt-free. When you’re out of debt, you get to keep the money you already make. You can use it for savings. Use it for stuff. Or, use it on experiences and travel like we do. That’s the awesome thing about taking care of your money – you have more options and you decide how to spend it.
Sandals Montego Bay Review
So, let’s talk a little bit about the resort, shall we?
Sandals is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway. You’ll find couples of all ages here – including honeymooners, couples celebrating their 40-year anniversaries, and middle-aged parents (like us) just looking to get away. The entire resort is “adults only,” so you don’t have to worry about any rugrats running around. While there’s plenty of partying going on, it doesn’t get too out of hand. Besides, the resort is large enough that you can always find quiet places for rest and romance.
Rooms at Sandals Montego Bay
The resort has a variety of different rooms, all at different price points. Holly and I checked out a several different room levels, and they all seemed extremely nice. Honestly, I’m not sure there is a “bad” room in the place.
As for us, we stayed in one of the “Butler Level” rooms. It was on the second floor, just a minute or two from the main lobby. You can get your steps in by taking the stairs, or ride the elevator up if you wish.
The room itself was pretty freakin’ swank. Our king bed was super comfortable, and the shower was huge. Of course, housekeeping kept our mini fridge and bar stocked daily, which was also a nice bonus.
The Butler Level rooms on the second floor all have an awesome walk-out balcony which provides an amazing view of the ocean. Butler Level rooms on the first floor actually have a walk-out patio into a narrow wading pool. If you’re looking for some extra romance, the balconies have a huge bathtub with room for two. Just be sure to pull the drapes before getting in.
As I mentioned, rooms at Sandals Montego Bay start at about $235 per person, per night. Of course, all of your food and drinks are included, so you’re getting a pretty good value. Tips are also included and are not allowed on the resort. Plus, when you book using their website you can get some pretty great deals including steep discounts and airfare credits. Check them out using the link below.
Food and Drink
Speaking of food and drink, Sandals has 9 restaurants included in your nightly room rate. Like most all-inclusives, you’ll find a buffet, a beachside restaurant serving seafood and sandwiches, and a couple of nicer sit down places during the evening. I’d love to give you a full report on the food, but it was honestly all delicious. Every time I sat down to eat, I was impressed.
Keep in mind, not all of the restaurants are open at all hours, so you’ll have to plan accordingly. Additionally, two of the “fine dining” spots (the Oleander Room and the Cocina Romana) require reservations. I always suggest making your reservations immediately upon check-in. That way, the restaurant doesn’t fill up for the night you plan to visit. Also note that these two places have a dress code, which means men should bring a pair of pants and close toed shoes.
Hot Tip: Men, don’t forget to bring a pair of pants and closed-toed shoes for dinner!
The bars at Sandals were some of my favorites at an all-inclusive yet. The bartenders are friendly, fast, and quick to whip up a BBC whenever you ask. There are plenty of name-brand liquors to choose from and enough Red Stripe to keep your beer glass filled all day.
Speaking of which, I actually loved the glasses here. That probably seems silly, but lemme ‘splain. Unlike several other all-inclusives, Sandals actually served drinks in large reusable plastic cups. Personally, I loved it. This meant fewer trips to refill at the bar AND less waste. It’s a small thing, but I think it shows the level of detail and service you can expect here. Heck, I didn’t even bust out my Bubba Mug until the last day!
The one thing I didn’t love was that the bars seemed to close a little early at night. We made the journey with our good friends the Greutmans (LaurenGreutman.com) and the Bells (from Debt Roundup) which made the trip even more special. Our group spent a lot of time by the fire pits adjacent to the lobby bar each evenings. Unfortunately, the lobby bar closed after the entertainment each night (usually about 11 P.M.). Never a group to give up, we went inside for dancing and karaoke at the Cricketers Pint a few nights. It was definitely fun, but the noise pretty much squashed any conversation.
What’s Great About Sandals Montego Bay
We had an amazing time at Sandals in Montego Bay. Here are some of my favorite things about it:
- It’s all-inclusive so I didn’t feel nickeled and dimed every time I ordered a snack or drink.
- The beach is stunning.
- The staff is extremely well-trained and make you feel incredibly welcomed the moment you get there.
- Everything I ate was delicious.
- There are plenty of free activities included with your stay – like snorkeling, scuba diving, water skiing, and more.
- It’s located less than 10 minutes from the airport, which is super convenient.
If I’m searching for things I didn’t like, I guess it’s the lobby bar closing early. Also, you have to deal with some airplane noise a few times a day. For me, it’s kinda fun to watch the planes, but I can see where others may not like it.
Tips for Traveling to Sandals Montego Bay
If you’re planning a trip to Sandals, here are a couple of tips for you:
- Purchase Club Mobay for Arrival – We’ve never had an issue leaving Jamaica, but getting through customs on arrival can be a pain; like standing in line for a couple of hours “pain.” While not always the case, who wants to start their vacation like that? Purchase the Club Mobay fast pass to get through customs quickly. (Be sure to get the “Fast Pass,” not just lounge access.) You’ll be greeted by an escort as soon as you get off the plane, and they’ll help you walk right by the lines. Then, grab a drink either in their lounge or the Sandals lounge while you wait for your transportation. We purchase this every time we go to Jamaica. (It will be our 6th time in April 2017!)
- Look For Cheap Flights – If you can cut down on the cost of your flights, you can save a ton of money on your vacation as a whole. AirfareWatchdog.com is a great place to compare current rates. Additionally, consider using a “discount” airline like Southwest. Even better is flying there for free. Some co-branded airline cards, including the Southwest credit card, offer huge bonuses when you sign up.
- Buy Travel Insurance – When you book a big vacation like this, it never hurts to get some travel insurance. Travel insurance can help you cover costs due to trip cancellation, trip delay, medical evacuations, and more. Costs are affordable and based on the number of travelers and price of your trip. All things considered, it’s always good to have.
Review of Sandals Montego Bay – The Verdict
Honestly, we had an incredible time at Sandals. In fact, it’s one of my favorite all-inclusive resorts ever. If you’re looking for a wonderful place to enjoy with a special someone, this place is it. I can’t wait to go back!