Continuing my report of the recent trip to Jamaica, apologies for the delay in posting this final account but wedding season is always busy. If you missed the previous reports you can read via part 1 and part 2
Day 4 – 30th June
As usual I woke up early so decided to have one last run on the beach at Sandals Whitehouse as we were checking out that morning. Today was an intensive day of visiting additional Sandals properties on the island, albeit just some of them.
Our tour started with the Grand Pineapple Negril resort
The Grand Pineapple resorts are more economical then the Sandals resorts, thus can be ideal for friends and family who perhaps want to witness the wedding ceremony but cannot afford the prices of Sandals. The huge selling point for this resort is the beach, 7 miles of soft enticing sand. Like all resorts it is inclusive of food, drink and watersports. It is also just a stone’s throw from Beaches Negril and Sandals Negril making it very convenient for wedding guests!
BEACHES NEGRIL RESORT AND SPA –
The second resort to visit was the Beaches Resort and Spa which is aimed at families. And wow did I want to travel with my children to this resort, it was just wonderful. The size is immense and frankly it looked so much fun! I had to keep snapping out of my awe and remember to focus on the weddings. The bedrooms were styled in a modern Caribbean décor and like the Whitehouse exuded luxury. Again there are several unique room and suite categories to accommodate families of every size, plus of course the butler rooms. Some of the rooms can be inter-joining (on request) which is perfect for larger families.
The resort at this resort was rather intensive as frankly there was so much to see. Some highlights include:
- 7 mile lush sandy beach
- Fantastic water sports
- The fun pirates island water park
- 7 restaurants + patisserie
- Sesame street characters parades, shows and activities such as cooking with Cookie Monster! For a special treat you can upgrade and book a character breakfast, birthday party or a special tuck-in service with your child’s favourite character!
- Kids clubs if you or friends and family are bringing children along to the wedding plus various other kids enticements (DJ Academy, X-Box lounge, chill out area)
- Land sport
- You can even book a nanny to look after your children if you want a candlelight dinner by the beach one night
Like all the Sandals properties the location for your ceremony is chosen when you arrive. I think my favourite was the gazebo that has the beach as a backdrop. That said the gardens are so lush and offer many possibilities for the ceremony or reception.
By the time our tour was over we were melting in the heat thus were very thankful the management at Beaches Negril hosted a sesame lunch under the beach hut on the beach for us all. Wedding or family groups can organise special lunch-time plated dinners with their guests if they so desire. Using this beach hut offering shade and the casual setting with sand underfoot makes for a delightful location!
We were treated to a sesame street stage performance and took the opportunity to pose for some photos.
SANDALS NEGRIL RESORT AND SPA
Our third and final location for the day was Sandals Negril: a couples only luxury resort. This resort had a different feel to the Whitehouse which is also a couple only resort so it was incredibly helpful in comparison, ensuring I can match the right couple with the right resort. By the time we finished our tour, I think our feet were ready to quit on us.
We checked into our rooms which were the Paradise Honeymoon Beachfront Grande Luxe Club Level Room:
The rooms were incredibly modern the opposite to the traditional Caribbean décor at the Whitehouse. When on our tour we were amazed at some of the rooms, I think my favourite was the Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Beachfront Penthouse One Bedroom Butler Suite or the paradise honeymoon beachfront walkout room.
Although who am I kidding I love all the rooms.
Some highlights include:
- Situated on the famous seven mile Negril beach and every room is just a few steps away
- 5 full service bars
- 3 swimming pools and Jacuzzis
- 24 hour room service
- Scuba diving, water sports and land sports
- Private candlelit dinner available
- 7 restaurants to choose from, all inclusive don’t forget
Like many sandals properties there are a choice of wedding locations from a secluded garden gazebo to beachside gazebo. Or they can create your own specialised ceremony set up on the beach for you (there is the option to purchase a variety of ceremony structures to suit your taste and colour scheme). All resorts cater well to couples alone or larger wedding groups.
By now it’s the end of the tour, we should be resting but our unofficial tour guide Andre Wade (The Director of Industry Relations at Unique Vacations Inc.) and Kerrie-Anne (Wedding Supervisor at Unique Vacations UK, WeddingMoons®) said we must experience Ricks Café. I must admit I was expecting a small hut somewhere, wasn’t sure what the fuss was about but I’ll go along even though I’m dead on my feet. Ok turns out Ricks Café is world famous – oops. So what is all the fuss? Well number one is the sunset, you get an unrivalled view of the sunset from their cliff top . Secondly is the crazy people that jump or dive off the cliff into the crystalline cove below. I’m not a great swimmer so I declined the dive and concentrated on my cocktail instead whilst listening to a great reggae band and hanging out with my fellow colleagues.
That night we had dinner at Kimonos at Beaches Negril with our unofficial guide Andre #ItWasAndre , this was a vibrant restaurant with an amazing atmosphere. And of course the food, cooked for you with a Teppanyaki style was delicious. Big mention to the chef for coping with such an awkward table of guests such as ours, can you imagine cooking for a mix of guest dietary requirements: no cheese, no fish, vegetarian, no chicken? It was always done with a smile though, everyone was delighted.
Day 5 – 1st July
The day was a day of relaxation so the UK group and Andre decided to spend the day at Beaches Negril. We all took part in some watersports which was a lot of fun and spent time at the waterpark. During lunch we witnessed a thunder storm and torrential rain. Being British we couldn’t stay put for long and decided a bit of rain wouldn’t hurt us so we headed back into the sea. As suspected the sun soon came back out. Andre kindly commandeered a boat to take us back to Sandals Negril so we could get ready for our farewell dinner.
The dinner on the beach was reminiscent of a wedding breakfast and again highlighted how personal you can make your wedding reception. The food was again delicious, the company delightful (especially Andre) and we felt very privileged to be part of this select fam trip. Photos were taken, farewell speeches given, cocktails drunk and exhilarating show performed by a local fire performer dancer/eater.
Big thank you to the following people:
Kerrie-Anne – Unique Vacations UK Ltd, Sandals WeddingMoons® Supervisor in the UK. For looking after the British agents so well.
Andre Wade – for becoming our unofficial tour guide and creating much humour with #ItWasAndre. We really appreciate you looking after us and ensuring we experienced the best of Sandals.
Marsha-Ann Brown – Director of Romance for Sandals for providing such an informative fam trip and inspirational seminar
Management and Staff from all the resorts we visited, thank you for your time. Especially the wedding team at Sandals Negril who gave up some time for the UK team to understand more about the systems Sandals have in place.
Virgin Atlantic for looking after us on the flights
My fellow UK agents and planners for providing much laughter amongst the learning, it was fabulous girls.