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“Great place to relax - beautiful setting, room disappointing”

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Sandals South Coast
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Certificate of Excellence
Moutain Lakes, NJ
Level Contributor
19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Great place to relax - beautiful setting, room disappointing”
Reviewed 27 February 2012

We traveled to Sandals Whitehouse the week of Feb 12th
First of all upon arrival (on a Saturday) at the Montego Bay airport expect to wait at least an hour to get through customs (last year waited over 2 hours). To avoid this I was told to travel during the week.
The Sandals waiting area is run down with soda (undrinkable) and water but our bus to the resort arrived within 15 min. so no biggie.
The ride to the resort was 11/2 hours with some bumps and curves but nothing to complain about.
Upon arrival (and we are Sandals Select customers - a joke) we did not for the second year in a row get the room we requested. The Sandals employees who take your reservations make NO attempt to help you receive the room you want. They yes you to death but believe me if they are at or near capacity they make no effort to accomodate requests. We stayed in the Dutch Village (nice and quiet pool) in a concierge deluxe beachfront room. The rooms at Sandals are NEVER as they appear on their website. We paid $750 per night and had a couch and chair in the room that had no support so we couldn't use either. The rooms are in need of major updating. I wish I could get the photographer who took the picture of the rooms to take my picture - I would look like Angelina Joulie!
The grounds and beach are absolutely gorgeous. The weather could not have been more perfect. The food was good not great (but who goes to an all-inclusive expecting gourmet food?). The service was very uneven. The staff was friendly and did try their best but the restaurants in particular are in desperate need of good management. There was no organizational skills exhibited in any of the restaurants although I can't say anything bad about the waitstaff - they were friendly and did try their best.
The crowd there, as has been said in other reviews, were either 20s (just married) or in the 50s but everyone got along.
Aside from being disappointed in our room (given the price) we very much enjoyed ourselves. The beach was perfect for long walks and the pool and grounds were maticulously maintained (I wish I could say the same about the room).
If you are looking for a great place to lay in the sun, take long walks, swim, and just relax this is the resort for you. It's just important to arrive with the proper expectations.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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4 Thank cathyMoutainLakes_NJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
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English first
Roanoke, Virginia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2012

We had problems deciding where to go for a winter break. Our agent suggested several places in Jamaica and we finally decided on Sandals Whitehouse because we had (1) been to a Sandals before in St. Lucia and had a great experience and (2) because we like places out of the way and more quiet. This fit our bill. We also like all-inclusive so we can skip all the decisions of where to go and what to do. The 1 1/2 hour ride to the resort was as we expected. The roads in the country are poor but the driver was good and avoided potholes. We got to experience the country which I always appreciate. The grounds of the resort are beautiful. We were in the French section. The pool was too noisy for us but we were a short walk to the Dutch pool. We also were a modest walk to the water sports area and to the main dining area. But we needed some exercise! We thought the food was fine. Loved the fish sandwiches at Bluefield's. Having mimosa's for breakfast was a treat. I had a yummy veggie pasta dish at the Italian Restaurant and my husband had a super fish stew at Neptune's. No complaints from us on food or drinks. We snorkeled many times and I was able to water ski as much as I wanted. Other than that and 2 excursions we relaxed.
The beach was calm and clear and we would move our lounge chair around under the shade to enjoy reading and taking in the scenery. The issue of saving chairs both at the pools and on the beaches was a bit much. Do they need more seats? Everyone seemed to have a place. One morning someone had taken our table when we got back from a walk. An employee seeing our search brought us one.
We signed for the Catamaran trip to Pelican Bar. It was a 9 to 2 excursion down the south coast. We stopped to snorkel or swim on the way, had snacks and drinks till we got to the bar which was quite different. The trip back was a little long it seemed but probably a lot of sun, fresh air, and not being in the water.
The other excursion was the Rum, River, Falls. Great trip! My husband was not really interested in any of this but went along as I wanted to see some of Jamaica. He loved it! We had an excellent guide for the entire trip and then for the Black River tour we had a young man who grew up on the river and we could tell his love for the area. Saw crocodiles but beautiful scenery also. The YS Falls were gorgeous...there is a zipline there also. We swam and had pictures taken by native for a tip. They were very nice. Beautiful and relaxing visit. The Appleton Rum Factory was also enjoyable as our guide was very enthusiastic about his product. We had a nice lunch, tour, tasting. Plus as we travelled we saw and heard alot about the country.
We are an older couple but loved the fact that both young and old enjoyed the resort. We could do or not do what we wanted. Singers, bands, etc. at night. I guess my one wish would be for more Jamaican music and less American.
Would go again but we will be looking for a new place for our next vacation. Another Sandals?

Room Tip: We were on the 4th floor which made for a great view of the ocean. Balcony perfect for reading and...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank brubec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Concord, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
20 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2012

My wife and I recently vacationed at Sandals Whitehouse for seven nights (02/13/12 - 02/20/12). This was our first Sandals experience. While we had a good time we certainly have stayed at much nicer (all-inclusive) properties for far less. The exterior of the properties appeared to be in need of some renovation. However, the landscaping and flowers on the premises were quite nice.

Our room was categorized as the "Honeymoon Grande Luxe Beachfront Room" in the French Village. Our room number was 3408 (top floor/corner). The room was nice; however some areas of the inner walls appeared to contain some food stains, which obviously was less than attractive. A little elbow grease by attentive staff could have easily remedied this matter. We had a nice view of the ocean; however the balcony was extremely small.

We also experienced noisy construction vehicles and tractors going up and down the beach on a continual basis. This became an annoyance.

The food was average at best. I would only echo, in its entirety, the comments of a previous reviewer (Sarah). During our stay, the Whitehouse experienced a very high occupancy rate. This resulted in long lines and wait times for dining, irrespective of the particular restaurant.

We also experienced problems locating available lounge chairs on the beach or poolside. Guests would "reserve" chairs the night before, which we thought was a poor practice. Sandals personnel did nothing to remedy this situation. Many days we would walk up and down the beach for hours only to find no available chairs. Many "reserved" chairs were unoccupied for hours or for the entire day.

We found the Jamaican people that we encountered to be extremely nice and accomodating.

From a macro perspective we had a very nice time; however to reiterate, we have stayed at far nicer properties for less moeny.

Room Tip: We have been informed that the following rooms in the French Village are quite nice: 3301, 3401, 330...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank James1117428
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
81 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2012

My husband and I just returned from a one week vacation to Sandals Whitehouse. This was our first trip to a Sandals property and we had heard nothing but good things. We have not travelled to many all inclusive resorts before and so we were quite nervous about this vacation (we generally stick to high-end resorts that are not all inclusive). Overall, we had a very relaxing vacation, with great weather on a beautiful property. However, there were certain things that distinguished this resort from a true first class, five star resort.

Room - We had requested a room in the Dutch village but when we arrived, we were placed in the Italian village. Despite the fact that we booked a "Romeo and Juliet beachfront walkout room", when we opened our sliding door in the room leading to the patio, there was construction immediately in front of us. We ended up changing to a room in the Dutch village on the fourth (top) floor. The view was much better. Although these beachfront walkout rooms cost extra, the rooms on the higher floors are nicer in reality. Don't pay extra for the walkout room. The room itself was clean and basic with a comfortable bed. Don't expect anything fancy, but it does the trick. We had a concierge room, but other than making dinner reservations, there isn't really much the concierge does for you.

Villages/Pools - From what we understood from other people we met at the resort, the Dutch and Italian rooms are fairly similar and the rooms in the French village are more basic. The Italian village is closest to the restaurants/main area/main pool. It does not have its own pool, but it does have a very large hot tub and nice lounge chairs. Very quiet and conveniently located village. The Dutch village is in between the French and Italian villages. It has its own large pool and hot tub, both of which were very clean. If you are looking for a quiet/relaxing vacation, this is the village to stay in. There is no music by the pool, less noise, etc. The French village, by contrast, has a swim up bar, volleyball net in the pool and a generally rowdy crowd of people. If you are looking for more of a party, the French village is the place to be.

Food - This was the biggest problem for us. The food was average at best. It didn't really matter which restaurant we went to, all of the food tasted like it was prepared in the same kitchen. There was not much selection, and what they did have was not great by any standard. It seemed that they had a basic list of ingredients for the entire resort, and every restaurant would make different items with the same ingredients (i.e. one restaurant made pumpkin salad, another pumkin soup, another grilled pumpkin, etc.) Because they used such limited ingredients, if you didn't like something at one restaurant (i.e. a particular type of fish), you were out of luck in the other restaurants as well. If food isn't important to you on your vacation, then this will not bother you. But if you are looking for good quality food, variety, etc. you will not be happy here. Just make sure you have realistic expectations about the food.

Property - The property was beautiful, tons of room to sit on the beach. If you are looking to get pool chairs, make sure to drop your things (books etc) on them the night before! My husband and I were waking up at 5:30am every day to save chairs by the Dutch pool, and every day we would find that chairs were already taken at that time. It turned out that people were dropping their things on the chairs before going to bed at night. Don't make the same mistake we did!

Overall - If you are looking for a relaxing vacation on a beautiful resort property, you might enjoy Sandals Whitehouse. However, make sure that you are actually looking for the all inclusive experience. If you aren't a big drinker, and quality of food is important to you, this is likely not for you. If alcohol isn't something that you focus on during your vacation, then there is better value elsewhere. My husband and I do not drink that much (especially during the day) and we figured we could have gone to a much higher end (non all inclusive resort) for a similar price.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Sarah_L830
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leesport
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2012

We recently vacationed at Sandals Whitehouse, and it was a fantastic experience! Very comfortable accommodations; great food; beautiful beach, pools and grounds and the service was exceptional. To name a few who went out of their way to make our vacation memorable: Shamone, bartender at Neptunes's; Milaine, housekeeping in French Village; Kevin at the French pool bar; Rohan, also at the French pool; Oshoi, who showed us the grounds and explained the many beautiful trees and plants. These awesome people enjoy their work and always aimed to please. We will definitely return.

Room Tip: Third floor room was really quiet. All rooms have sunset/ocean view.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank OllieLeesport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, Canada
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2012

We just returned from an 8 day stay at Sandals Whitehouse. This was our second Sandals stay (the first being the Grande St Lucian a year ago) and we had hgh expectation based on our first Sandals experience, We were not disappointed. This resort is amazing and the staff very friendly. Although the resort was at capacity during our stay the resort is so spacious one would not know they were at capacity.

The drive to the resort, although long and lots of pot holes for part of the trip, was as we anticipated from reading other reviews. It was great to sit back and see Jamaica.

We stayed in the Dutch Village 2nd flloor - the view from our room overlooking the pool and the Carribean was spectacular and the sunsets stunning, The beach itself was amazing and I could walk out in the water for quite some way and feel only the ripples of the sand beneath my feet.

We had read lots about issues with bug bites but resort staff were out spraying each morning. Although we did not sit on the beach during the day we did walk the beach at various times of the day and niether my husband or I had any bites at all. There were a couple of mornings at the main pool where there were alot of bugs that appeared to be like tiny wasps. These bugs hovered around for about an hour but never landed and disappeared by about 9 am.

None of the restaurants required reservations which was a big plus. We had very short waits for dinner a couple of evenings but only long enough for us to have a drink at the bar! We had no issues with the speed of service at the various restaurants - after all we were on vacation and it was wonderful to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing dinner. The food was very good - our favourite restaurant was Neptunes - the seafood pot was fabulous! We really enjoyed our early morning coffee, evening Irish coffees and the pastries at Cafe le Paris. All of the treats at the Cafe were wonderful. Breakfast at Eleanors is also a must do.

The entertainment of the Steel Drum Band on Sraturday night is a must see!
The resort grounds were beautifully maintained. We enjoyed the garden tour with Oshi and learned a great deal about the vegetation on the resort.
We also did the south coast combo tour - Black River, YS Falls and the Appleton Rum Factory. This was a great tour with all of the stops being very quiet compared to our experience at Dunn's River Falls a year ago.

Overall a truly memorable vacation. We will be back and would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a laid back, relaxing vacation.

Room Tip: The Dutch Village rooms have an amazing view of the sunsets.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank dswood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chica
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2012

Overall we had a lot of fun in sandals !!! The staff really went out of there way to make our experience wonderful !! We were vegetarians and they were very accommodating and always tried to make us special meals !! Sharmaine ( bartender ) at the martini bar is wonderful !!! We still keep in touch with her !!! Very sweet lady and definitely a big asset to Sandals!!!!
We had the walk out room, and definitely was not what we expected. It was almost a walk out to bushes room.. Just a lil tip.. Don't pay extra.. stay in the ocean front room.. walk out room to the beach is not worth it at all !!!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank World T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals South Coast

Property: Sandals South Coast
Address: White House, Jamaica (Formerly Sandals Whitehouse)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > White House
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals South Coast 5*
Number of rooms: 360
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the undiscovered. Journey to a forgotten Jamaica where the natural beauty is simply unforgettable. Within a 500-acre wilderness preserve, blue mountains, lush palm groves, pristine coastlines and shimmering turquoise waters create an unbelievable backdrop for a monumental resort. Sandals Whitehouse Europe Village & Spa perfectly blends the exotic allure of the Caribbean with the refined elegance of Europe. Charming Italian piazzas and fountains are surrounded by gardens resplendent with fragrant foliage, while three European-inspired villages – Italian, French and Dutch – are home to luxuriously-appointed, all oceanfront rooms and suites. Each one offers magnificent views overlooking the two-mile long beach, and top tier suites come with Sandals’ legendary Butler Service. Seven restaurants serve mouthwatering gourmet cuisine from around the world, and entertainment ranges from a sophisticated piano bar to bonfire beach parties and a chic nightclub. This resort is truly a world unto itself, where time is all but forgotten and the only moment is now. World Travel Awards: Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All – Inclusive Company,” 16 years in a row. Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand,” 18 years in a row. Sandals Whitehouse “Jamaica’s Leading Spa Resort” Five Star Diamond Award, American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. We’re so very pleased to announce that Sandals Whitehouse European Villages & Spa has been named in Condé Nast Traveler’s Voted 2012 Readers' Choice Awards “Top 15 Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 10 and “Top 30 Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 4 as part of the annual “Best in the World” poll. Presented Certificate of Excellence for 2012 and Travelers' Choice Hotel for 2012. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Whitehouse European Village Hotel Whitehouse
Whitehouse Sandals
Sandals Whitehouse Jamaica

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