Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from twinklie12. Show twinklie12's posts

    Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    My FI and I are still debating on what to do for our honeymoon.  We're paying for it, and it's the same year as closing on a house and paying for a lot of the wedding, so it sll adds I know a lot of people who went to Sandals and loved it, but I've also heard some people say it's not worth it.  I really want it to feel like a honeymoon, so I thought a little pampering might make it feel special.  Has anyone gone on a Sandals without concierge or butler service and wished they had it?  Anyone had it and loved it or thought it wasn't worth the extra money?  (FYI, we;d be going in the middle of August.) Any Sandals experiences - please share!  Thanks all!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I can't say Sandals isn't worth the money because I have never been and am not sure of the level of pampering, but I will say there are a lot of less expensive options out there.
    When I was pricing all inclusive honeymoons, 7 nights at Sandals was $200 more than 7 nights AND airfare to Turks and Caicos.  We went with Turks and Caicos.  Our friends went to Sandals in St. Lucia and had a wonderful trip.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Elmgirl82. Show Elmgirl82's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Twinklie,

    To me it seems as though different Sandals may be different prices. Like Framerican, I have friends who went to Sandals St. Lucia and they don't feel like they broke the bank, and they absolutely loved it. On the other hand, my cousin honeymooned at a Sandals in the Bahamas and she said it was super expensive, but very luxurious, and they loved every minute of it.

    I would look at the different islands that has Sandals and price them out. My boyfriend and I are all about all-inclusive and I know that there are great ones out there. Have you been to Aruba or St. Maarten? We stayed at the Divi All-Inclusive in St. Maarten and LOVED it. I also know there is one on Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, and St. Croix. http://www.diviresorts.com/index.html

    Also, I jut had a friend that stayed at Secrets Capri in Mexico and didn't have one bad thing to say, and it's an "all adult" resort, like the Sandals. Her pictures are gorgeous. http://www.secretsresorts.com/capri/index.asp

    Hope this helps a little :)
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I haven't been to Sandals, but after my Aruba experience I'd say even in August a beach vacation would be worth it.  Just because it's hot here doesn't make it a tropical sun and surf filled vacation. :)
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I've heard it makes a huge difference re which Sandals you go to. I've never been to one, so it's just hearsay. What island are you going to visit? 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from twinklie12. Show twinklie12's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Hi all,

    I'm open to any island, really.  I have done a LOT of pricing out for Sandals, and although each island does have different pricing, a lot of it comes down to how much pampering you get.  A plain old regular room isn't bad, but once you add concierge service, it's a bit more.  Add room service, it's even more.  Add a butler, it's a lot more.  I know a friend that just booked a suite with all three pampering options, and she is so excited.  I have a married friend who went to Sandals and had fun, but wishes she got more pampering.  I have another married friend who went to Sandals and loved it, and reccommended getting the lowest level room like she did, saying that the pampering is not worth it since you're hardly ever in your room.  All the conflicting advice is making it hard for me to figure it all out!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I don't think you need either of those services to have a great time.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Investigate other resorts w/ AI plans too.  We spent a buttload of money on our honeymoon, but we got so much for it.  Had we gone to Sandals, we wouldn't have gotten as much, had the personalized service or the privacy that we did.  So don't overlook smaller resorts. 
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Summer2010. Show Summer2010's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I have been to two Sandals resorts in Jamaica.  I definitely don't think that you need the butler service but I thought having room service was nice.  We had breakfast on our balcony every morning. 

    Here is what a butler would do for you, they will reserve your beach chairs for you in the morning, bring you drinks on the beach and take you to the restaurants at night so that you never have to wait (if there is even a wait).  Totally not necessary in my opinion. 

    I think what is the most important is getting the room that you want.  We would not have been happy in the lowest room category at either place we went.  We like having a true oceanfront room with a balcony.  I don't need a suite or anything like that but oceanfront is very important.  We use our balcony at any beach hotel we have ever been to so it is important for us to have a balcony with a great view. 

    We did not like our room that we booked at Sandals Negril so we asked to see what other rooms were available to upgrade to.  We were shown this amazing amazing suite and they wanted $500/night extra to upgrade.  We were like you are crazy and bargained them down to $500 extra for the entire 8 nights.  Well worth it and I highly recommend doing that whichever resort you end up at!!

    Sandals is a decent AI.  I think it all depends what you are looking for.  We probably won't ever go back unless the price is unbelievable and we need a cheap vacation.  The food is OK but I don't really like all of the food that is always around at an AI.  If you are used to nice restaurants in Boston you wont be impressed.

    Personally if I were you I would look at hotels like the Hyatt in Aruba.  You will have a much more luxiourious vacation and it probably won't cost you more $$ since you are going in August.  Those hotels have amazing deals for the summer time.  If you have any other questions I would be happy to help. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Summer, have you been to the Hyatt in Aruba? I have always wanted to go there for my future honeymoon, and would love to hear other peoples opinions. That hotel gets fabulous reviews on TripAdvisor.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Summer2010. Show Summer2010's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Peonie - I have never been to the Hyatt in Aruba.  My FI's parents got to Aruba at least twice a year for several weeks at a time so they are experts and they LOVE the Hyatt.  They used to stay at the Westin but then the Hyatt started having good deals so they switched to there.  They have nothing but great things to say about it which is why I suggested it. 
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Hi Twinklie!  You might find this review on the knot helpful.  It is a review of Sandals Grande, St. Lucia (I think).

    http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_massachusetts-boston_before-hit-nest-hm-review
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Peonie, I have not personally stayed at the Hyatt in Aruba, but I do know two things that might be helpful.  My lifelong friend from high school honeymooned there and HIGHLY (read, "Went on and on and on...") recommended it.  The other thing is why we didn't stay there despite that fabulous review.  Our travel agent let us in on a fact about Aruba - there are two major beaches, Palm and Eagle.   Palm Beach is packed, elbow to elbow.  The high rises share that whole beach; there are no privately owned spaces.  Eagle Beach, on the other hand, is all privately owned by the low rise (3 stories, max, I think) hotels in sections in front of their respective hotels.  They are demurely "policed" such that you can only have a shade hut in a particular area if you are a guest at that hotel.  SO, it's MUCH less crowded; you are far from elbow to elbow with other tourists.  It's quiet and peaceful whereas Palm Beach is bustling with activity.

    So, we stayed at the Bucuti on Eagle Beach and enjoyed the spacious peace and quiet.  We walked along the 3 miles of Eagle Beach every morning and didn't see tons of people.  (You are totally free to be in the water and/or walk along the beach owned by other hotels; you just can't park yourself anywhere other than your own hotel's oceanfront.)

    But, that's not to say that Palm Beach is bad.  It just depends on what you want for your beach honeymoon experience.  If we wanted the crowd and all that goes with it we definitely would have chosen the Hyatt based on my friend's recommendation.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Twinklie, if you want to do St. Lucia, don't go to Sandals.  Check out Anse Chastanet.  It is worth the money.  The photos don't do the resort justice, even though the photos are gorgeous. 

    It's not for the faint of heart, though.  The lack of AC isn't inconvenient at all [and I do not do well in heat/humidity].  Having the open wall is actually awesome [not at all like that commercial where they turn off the lights and there is a big whir and the couple in the bed w/ the mosquito netting turns on the light and there are bugs and crawlies all over the net - that is what I was expecting, but not what we got].  Seriously, it's like being in an old Bogart movie staying there.  It's very quiet, the service is very personalized and it's totally removed from the rest of the world.  We did the Total Romance package and it was totally worth it.  I think there were a total of 40 couples staying at the resort.  You practically had the beach to yourself and there is a reef right off the resort that you can swim to.  If price is a concern, there is another resort just down the way that is similar [but has AC] and costs much less called Ti Kaye or something like that. I loved our honeymoon location and we want to go back at the 10 year mark. 
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Kar, yes I have heard that about the beaches. I think we would do 5 nights in a low-rise and 5 nights in a high-rise, to get both experiences. I want a 10 night honeymoon one day!!

    My boyfriend's friends went to the Bucuti for their honeymoon and loved it.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Gonzo130. Show Gonzo130's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I went to Sandals Royal Carribbean in Jamaica a couple of years ago - not for a honeymoon, just a trip.  It was fine for what we wanted (a no-stress beach trip) but I thought the food was mediocre and service just ok.  They close down the beach bar for dinner so you have to go to a formal dinner.  I like going to good dinners but when I go to the beach, sometimes I'd rather just chill and have a burger on the sand.  Plus, it's a bummer to dress for dinner for mediocre food.  The huge upside was that where our room was, we had essentially a private beach.  We were around the corner from the pool and main beach.  We did not get a butler or anything but our neighbors did.  I got room service for breakfast and that seemed good enough.  All taht said, I know a lot of people who loved Sandals (my cousin loved the Ochos Rios one) so maybe it's just me.  I just thought it was very expensive for what you got and felt a bit trapped.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    In Response to Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?:
    [QUOTE]Kar, yes I have heard that about the beaches. I think we would do 5 nights in a low-rise and 5 nights in a high-rise, to get both experiences. I want a 10 night honeymoon one day!! My boyfriend's friends went to the Bucuti for their honeymoon and loved it.
    Posted by Peonie[/QUOTE]

    What a GREAT idea for 10 days in Aruba!
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from twinklie12. Show twinklie12's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Hi Kar!

    How were the rooms at the Bucuti?  It has great reviews on trip advisor, but every once in a while you get someone saying the rooms aren't nice at all, and there are dehumidifiers beeping in the middle of the night when full in the Tara Suites, etc.   Which section did you stay in?  I wondered if all the great reviews are from honeymooners who have never been on a nice vacation before, haha.  I like the idea of the fancy rooms in the high rises, but I wouldn't be able to stand the crowded beaches.  Where did you go out to eat at night and how did you get there?  What did you do for lunch/dinner?  Were meals there good, expensive? 
    Sorry to ask so many questions!

    Thanks!
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from twinklie12. Show twinklie12's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    For those that went to Sandals and had breakfast room-service, did you book a room with just concierge, or with concierge and room service?  I've heard conflicting things.  Some say if you get just concierge, they will do breaskfast room-service.  Others say you have to book a room-service room to get breakfast in your room in the morning.  I don't really need 24 hour room service, but breakfast out on the balcony in the morning sounds fabulous!

    Kar - did the Bucuti have room service at all?
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?


    Great questions!

    The rooms at the Bucuti were OK, not luxurious.  The floors were bare, but that helped with the cleaning of the sand that inevitably gets everywhere.  Our bed was kind of hard; no pillowtop, but it was good for our backs and, uh, honeymooning. ;)  The space was good, and it was kept very clean.  We stayed in a Garden (patio on ground level) room.  You'll have a problem at the Bucuti unless you ask for a room that is in the middle of the hallway because on each end is a slamming and locking door for security.  It crashes all night long, and we had to move our room because of it to the middle where it was quiet.  The dehumidifier wasn't a problem.

    The staff is very attentive and responsive.

    The Happy Honeymoon package comes with a lovely basket of cheese, candy, crackers, champagne...can't remember what else.  Oh, yeah, coupons that were actually useful.  Also, it comes with either a sunset sail or afternoon of snorkling.  We did the snorkling and loved it.  DH was a pro, I a novice, and we both had a fabulous time.  I took a Dramamine first, by the way, and it saved my life.

    No room service.  The complimentory continental breakfast at the Tara was very good, and we ate there every morning before walking the beach.

    For restaurants, we liked the Pirate's Nest, the Bucuti's restaurant on their beach, a very short walk from the rooms, but it was pricey.  There was inside, deck, and beach seating.  If you get the Happy Honeymoon package, you get a 5 course dinner in a private hut on the beach there with champagne.  We made the mistake of missing out on the restaurants that were recommended by friends who had gone before us so be sure to find out the best places to go.  We were kind of disappointed with the food in general.  Not like going to Paris, I'd imagine, from that perspective.

    We walked to meals.  However, we also took the bus downtown and went to the grocery store.  We had a few lunches we made on the beach.  Bananas, peanut butter, bread, etc.  Practically free.  The bus stop is nearby and very cheap.  If we return we'll take the bus to more Palm Beach restaurants for, I assume, better food.  It's all pricey if you go out.

    Does that help?

    In Response to Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?:
    [QUOTE]Hi Kar! How were the rooms at the Bucuti?  It has great reviews on trip advisor, but every once in a while you get someone saying the rooms aren't nice at all, and there are dehumidifiers beeping in the middle of the night when full in the Tara Suites, etc.   Which section did you stay in?  I wondered if all the great reviews are from honeymooners who have never been on a nice vacation before, haha.  I like the idea of the fancy rooms in the high rises, but I wouldn't be able to stand the crowded beaches.  Where did you go out to eat at night and how did you get there?  What did you do for lunch/dinner?  Were meals there good, expensive?  Sorry to ask so many questions! Thanks!
    Posted by twinklie12[/QUOTE]
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I've stayed in the Marriot in Aruba. I thought it was great. I didn't find the beaches that crowded, but it was several years ago in Feb or March and I wasn't on a honeymoon.  lol.  We didn't do an AI so I can't comment on their package, but the hotel was really nice. 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    Oh, I guess I should have mentioned we went in November.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Gonzo130. Show Gonzo130's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I didn't book anything.  We had an ocean room, which was an upgrade but I believe room service was free.  You do that instead of going to the full buffet.  It was like continental breakfast and cereal but I'd rather that and coffee on my balcony overlooking the beach in PJs way more than getting dressed and going to the buffet.  My cousin got the butler on her honeymoon and liked it but I wouldn't think it's at all necessary.  I saw a bunch of people book dinners on the beach and stuff too.  I think those things you can do a la carte.  One bit of advice if you do got to Sandals is to book with the hotel concierge reservations for the restaurants you really want to go to right when you get there.  The interesting ones book up and you don't want to get stuck going to the main buffet every night. 
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Summer2010. Show Summer2010's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    In Response to Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?:
    [QUOTE]For those that went to Sandals and had breakfast room-service, did you book a room with just concierge, or with concierge and room service?  I've heard conflicting things.  Some say if you get just concierge, they will do breaskfast room-service.  Others say you have to book a room-service room to get breakfast in your room in the morning.  I don't really need 24 hour room service, but breakfast out on the balcony in the morning sounds fabulous! Kar - did the Bucuti have room service at all?
    Posted by twinklie12[/QUOTE]

    I think that you need to book a room with room service.  If you go on their website each room category has a list of icons next to it.  Just make sure you see the room service icon there for the room category you are thinking of booking.  You may also get upgraded depending upon how full the resort is.  Each time we went it was late February/early March so peak winter travel season and the resorts were pretty much full so no automatic upgrades.  I think you said you are going in August....which is hurricane season in the Carribean....so I'm guessing the resorts will be much less full. 

    I would bet that you would get an upgrade.  You should probably book through a big Sandals travel agent who will know the best possible way for you to get an upgrade since you are on your honeymoon. 

    For what its worth, we never used the Concierge and I don't see the need for them unless you want to book shore excursions or other add ons at the resort.  We literally didn't spend $1 after we got there so we did none of that.  At Sandals Negril we only needed reservations for one restaurant and I took care of that myself with no problems.  All other restaurants we just walked up to and were seated almost immediately. 
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peonie. Show Peonie's posts

    Re: Sandals? Conciegre? Butler Service?

    I've heard fabulous things about Cuisinart in Anguilla? And The Caves in Jamaica.
     
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