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Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

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Peoria, Illinois
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Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

My fiance and I want to get married at one of these places ! Pros and cons ??? Weve been to Sandals in Jamaica and think it is great but the price of the others is appealing.

Advise ???? Will we be happy at Excellence DR ?

or the others ???

Rancho Santa...
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1. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

you can't go wrong with either couples swept away or sandals negril or whitehouse or royal plantation in ochi..those would be my four choices and the best service hads down would be at royal plantation

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Negril
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2. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

I have stayed at Excellence PM, Secrets Capri (2x), most of the Sandals resorts and Couples Swept Away, Couples Negril and Couples San Souci. What is best depends on your priorities. Ours are a great beach, fresh and tasty food reflecting the culture of the island we are visiting, friendly and efficient staff, comfortable rooms and a nice spa and gym.

Couples wins for us overall with Swept Away the favorite,followed by Negril. We find their resorts to be consistent and a good value for what we enjoy and with the many inclusions that Secrets and Excellence do not offer. We also like the couples only aspect of the resorts.

IMO, Secrets and Excellence in Mexico are more alike than different with Secrets having better food and Secrets Maroma having the best beach of any of the Secrets and Excellence resorts.

I have enjoyed my stays at most of the Sandals properties but find these days that Couples provides the experience I am looking for at a more affordable price when we are headed to Jamaica. And when we head to Jamaica, we choose Negril for the beaches and the vibe.

I have no interest in returning to the DR as the resorts are isolated and we like to get out and about and not stuck at a resort.. We also enjoy Jamaica more than Mexico for the natural beauty of the island, the food and the music, not to mention safe drinking water.

Orlando, Florida
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3. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

We have been to Excellence in the DR and I would not go back. It is ok, that is the best that I can say about it.

We really prefer the Couples resorts but as Caviargal said, it really depends on your priorties, if you want glitz and glam then I would say either Sandals or Secrets (we have to Capri, had a very good time and would go back there).

Congratulations.

Peoria, Illinois
8 posts
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4. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

But for the price ????

Peoria, Illinois
8 posts
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5. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

What do you mean by glitz and glam ?

Rancho Santa...
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6. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

at royal plantation you are spoiled beyond compare, spritzed with rose water while laying out on the beach while served a mangosa and coconut shrimp, while daily not just one night a week have the abillity to dine on local foods like escovitche and bammy, ackee and salt fish and many other island dishes plus you also have exchange privlidges at SGOR.. or a pillow freak like my wife they even have a pillow menu

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Negril
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7. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

"What do you mean by glitz and glam ?"

Fancy lobbies, large and modern bathrooms, restaurants with lots of flash and decor are what I call glitz and glam.

"But for the price ????"

Price is not the only consideration for us, rather the overall value. We like the many inclusions at Couples and we want a postcard perfect beach. It is hard to get that in Mexico IME. Also, we want to be able to get off property easily and without spending a fortune.

Mexico is quite Americanized and commercialized and this makes it appealing for some travelers where Jamaica in many areas still has an edginess about it.

Depends what you are looking for. If it all about price, then Mexico is the winner as there are so many resorts looking to fill rooms, you can always find a bargain.

Orlando, Florida
Destination Expert
for Jamaica
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8. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

I agree with everything that Caviargal said.

Here is my take on Excellence DR - first, the DR is truly one of the poorer country's that we have been to. The resort is an hour and half from the airport (yes I know that so is Couples Negril but at least the road in Jamaica is paved, I can not say that about the Dominican Republic.) Although we don't often really leave the resort other then to walk the beach, we know that we can go into Negril if we want, it is a 10 min cab ride. But at Excellence you are least an hour from ANYTHING. In addition, while the beach at Excellence is nice, the water is very, very rough there were days when you could not swim in the ocean because it was to rough. The pool is nice, but we really love the beach. The service was just ok. There were people looking for tips which is suppose to be included, we also noticed that if you spoke spanish you did get better service. I also think that they way over work their staff, we spoke with one girl who had been at work for 16 hours that day.

In reference to price - please keep in mind all of the things that are included in the Couples price that are not included in Excellence's price. The catamaran cruise alone, when we were at Excellence it was $100 a person due to the distance the shuttle had to come to pick us up. Scuba diving was an additional charge, as well as snorkeling, glass bottom boat, hobie cats (although the water would have been to rough for them anyway).

I could go on, but I guess it comes to this, we have been to Couples Negril 5 times,were married there and are headed there again for trip number 6 in 35 days. I will go to Couples anytime, any day. I will never go back to Excellence DR and to be honest I am not sure that I will try another Excellence property.

Edited: 23 June 2010, 11:36
little rock
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9. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

I have been to Secrets Capri and Maroma , Couples San Souci.

In my experience Secrets is substantially cheaper than Couples. We went to Maroma for ten days for 1000 less than what we are paying to go back to San Souci for eight days.

I would not go back to Maroma if you paid me to. The trip did not go well. The food was awful. The tub did not work. We were moved four times and the resort is just to large for us. We did go about two months after they opened and we did get a good deal. The rooms have all the marble and glitz. They are average size and there alot of places to eat. You have to tip there. Atleast I felt like you had to.

Secrets Capri is a completely different story, I went there for my thirty birthday. The rooms had a great view was close to the beach. The resort is very compact everything is easy to get to and it never felt crowded. I also thought the food was very good. My husband was disappointed in the Spa. It has been renovated since then. We are going back for my 40th birthday in 2016. We would go back sooner, but Mexico is not my husband's favorite place.

I went to Couples San Souci last year and am returning in August. We are going to Couples Negril next year. San Souci has the worst beach of all. It is small and private but you can't walk anywhere. It is my favorite resort of all I have been to. The room has glitz or glam, but was bigger than my first apartment out of law school. It had a huge balcony and had a wonderful ocean view. The staff are the best. The food was good. It is more expensive than Secrets but you won't be expected to tip and your transfer is included. We are going to Couples Negril next year so we can have a better beach.

If I was going to Mexico I would stay at Couples Capri. If I was going to Jamaica I would pick San Souci. I like Mexico better.. My husband likes Jamaica better. I like the people in Jamaica better. If you want Romance go to couples. If you want more of a social scene go to Capri.

Peoria, Illinois
8 posts
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10. Re: Sandals ? vs Secrets vs Couples vs Excellence

mexico is not my favorite place either......so is Couples similar to Sandals?

I think I am deciding between Couples and Sandals ....

.I have been to the Dominican 4 times and I love it there. The beaches I stayed at were the most beatifull I have seen and I have seen quite a few on many islands. Sounds like the Excellence is not what I am looking for though.

I want a beautiful beach great food and service and a little glitz. I make it a rule not to vaction anywhere that is not as nice as my own home....(unless it is for an adventure of some sort) I dont need to be pampered with rose spray etc.

but I do want decent service ! I am very visual and appreciate a beautiful surroundings.