Sandals Whitehouse


Intro
It was our great pleasure to stay last week at the luxurious five-star “Ultra All-Inclusive” European-style Sandals Whitehouse (SWH) located 90 minutes (not 75 as the brochure will say) from the recently expanded airport in MoBay and the new Sandals reception area in the Arrivals Lobby.  This was our second visit to SWH.  The last time we were there was for a site inspection just after it opened two years ago.

Although we hoped for an improvement in the roads to this resort area, the many potholes and impoverished conditions along the way made the transfer to the resort somewhat depressing.  If this is your first trip to this island, expect to be taken back by the living conditions you will see on the way out of Montego Bay. However, we were very impressed by this clean, elegant resort.  We loved the friendly, attentive service (characteristic of this resort chain) and the magnificent landscaping on Jamaica’s south coast, the newest in the Sandals/Beaches chain. 

NOTE:  Caution – the resort is in the tropics and does get its share of brief showers along with the sunshine on its brilliant beach.  Be prepared with good insect repellant, some Benadryl as well as SPF 30 lotion for your comfort and protection.

Accommodations
We arrived at the spacious, air-conditioned, high ceiling reception area with a magnificent view of the garden and enormous pool and were greeted by a smiling staffer with a cold drink, a cool towel.  At check-in the bellmen and friendly reception staffers said, “Welcome home!”   Then we were escorted to the Concierge Lounge, the communication center for guests booking the higher level categories.  

Our ground level accommodation with a beachfront patio was huge and well-appointed.  It came with a great amenity kit, plush linen, bathrobes, and very comfortable bedding.  The A/C was easy to control and worked perfectly.  The cable system worked well but new flat-screen TV’s should be installed soon we were told.  Butler-serviced suites have full 24-hour Room Service whereas we had room service with continental breakfast and a fixed menu for lunch and dinner until 10:00pm. 

NOTE: all rooms in this resort are ocean view (you don’t have to upgrade to get ocean view) and have mahogany furniture, a king-size four-poster bed, hair dryer, safe, clock radio, iron & ironing board with a coffee/tea maker. 

Housekeeping service was exceptional and we appreciated the nightly turn-down service.  Laptops may be rented and internet access was available both in the room and in the Business Center. 

Facilities
The Italian Village building is closest to the main The picturesque, mile long beach and the three pool areas have plentiful, comfortable lounges in shaded places and there were a few small groves of palm trees all along the beach.  Prime spots are always to be found so there was no need to wake up at sunrise and throw towels down to reserve chairs for the day as necessary at most island resorts as big as this.  There were some rocks, starfish, and “turtle grass” at the clear, gentle water’s edge – no surf – perhaps due to the barrier reef that runs across the bay. 

SWH’s quality of sports equipment and activities is top shelf.  The Red Lane Spa is centrally located with fantastic services – at a hefty extra cost of course.  However, there are steam rooms, saunas, and hi-tech showers available to all guests with or without the hands-on service at the spa.  There is a retail shopping area with duty-free jewelry, gift, clothing, photo shops and a tour desk. 

Food & Beverage
The quality and variety of the food was outstanding.  Bayside is an elaborate international buffet for all three meals.  Arizona (Tex-Mex) and Bluefield’s are two beachside grills.  There are three air-conditioned ala carte venues – Jasmin’s is Asian,  Guiseppe’s is Italian, and Eleanor’s is Caribbean elegant dining for breakfast and dinner.  No reservations are required at any of them but do expect to wait if you eat ala carte between 7-8:00pm.  The European patisserie, Café de Paris, was the best coffee shop/dessert haven we have ever seen anywhere in the Caribbean – open daily from 6:30am to 11:00pm. 

There is no strict dress code.  Men are expected to wear slacks and collared shirts and women should dress country club casual in the ala carte venues.  Many women wore cocktail dresses.  “Resort Casual” is how SWH likes to call it.

There are six bars on property, and the service is excellent, especially at the two swim-up bars with blended drinks, and premium brand liquor available everywhere.   However, you might want to develop a taste for Red Stripe ‘cause it’s the only beer available.  On the plus-side was Sandals recent decision to switch to Beringer wines throughout the chain.  They are a big upgrade from the mediocre “house” wines that they used to offer and those served at other chains of all-inclusive resorts.

Activities & Nightlife
As you probably know, Sandals offers the widest array of land and water sport activities of any all-inclusive chain.  The list is available at the back of their brochure or online.  We recommend that guests stick with the resort’s offerings and not go off the resort in motorized vehicles for recreation.  Although you may pay a bit more with the Sandals tours, theirs are safer and more reliable.

There were nightly shows with local groups of musicians & dancers the best of which, believe it or not, was the staff production in the Cabaret – the song & dance production done by the SWH staffers from the various resort departments.  It was by far the most entertaining, delightful, polished staff show we’ve ever seen at any Caribbean resort anywhere.  There is a violinist on the Cafe patio as well as bands and singers playing at the pool.   Every week there is a beach party, a Pirates of the Caribbean Dinner (limited seating), and a cooking seminar.  Finally, there is a piano bar, karaoke nights and a nightly disco.

US dollars are readily accepted.  Every attempt is made to satisfy guests’ needs.  The management staff is visible and accessible. Their attitude is “What can we do to make you as happy as possible?”  We really enjoyed our stay tremendously and think that your clients will too.