Historical Traveller Reviews of Beaches Sandy Bay Hotel
Great resort with some disrespect from yahoos
from A TripAdvisor Member
First off let me say that the bad reviews I see written about Sandy Bay are not only bad but badly mis-spelled. For the love of pete if you're going to take the time to write a review please run a spell check! Now on to the review. It's quiet, clean, beautiful, and with a ton of things to do. I'll admit that the food fare is not five star but we did not come to this resort to be pampered by waiters laying napkins on our lap. The restaurants located at BSB were very good. Not great but very good. The buffetts had a wide assortment of food for every pallett. And heck if you want 5 star make reservations at the Seville Restaurant in Beaches Negril. We did and we loved it. But man 'o man we couldn't wait to get back to BSB for some of that Jerk chicken. Good stuff! Now as for the staff. Not enough can be said about these fine folks. They not only went out of their way to entertain us but took the time to extol some local wisdom. Of which was brought right back here to Idaho. No problem mon! The water sports, daily activities, food, people.... you just can't beat it. For those who whine... lighten up. When you worry your problems do not go away. So why worry? WisdomBy the way. The reason for the vacation was to get re-married. We tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony held at Beaches, Negril. This was all put together in less than a day due to our Catholic wedding that fell through. Thank you Claudine for your quick work.Fidel
s Sandy all right
from A TripAdvisor Member
As a 7 year veteran of Jamaica and a 3 year veteran of all the Beaches reorts in that country allow me to pontificate on the premises. The check-in was disaterous . We booked the trip in June,2003 for New Year's Week and waited 3hours and 45 minutes for our room. So much for the new Negril highway giving us more beach time. The TV was on the blink and,as a player of odds on American Football,i wanted to see some games. We also lacked a rollaway for the first night which made sleeping too cozy given we have 2 teenage boys. The beach was great, the food decent and the staff courteous and helpful.
Theentertainmentlacked diversity but this Beaches lacks the budget of the other two. I missed the 20 piece steel band for the first time in 4 New Years trips but i knew the establishment was not as pricey as its richer brother. The Beaches Negril establishment is but a 20 minute relaxing, serene walk away down the Beach ; or, a 2 minute shuttle bus ride (runs every 2 hrs) This is handy for eating at the japanese Restaurant or just visiting the larger establishment for the entertainment at night. However the last bus leaves at 1000 pm so either walk home or cab it.These resorts are safe so only uneducated, Americans fall for all that violence threat.
Fab Fab Fab
from A TripAdvisor Member
I stayed at Sandy Bay Beaches and found I was instantly relaxed, the hotel was exceptionaly clean and the staff fell over if you asked them to, nothing was too much trouble!! Just staying off the Rum Cream was my down fall (goregous)Go and experience it yourself. Worth every penny and more. Fantastic and thinking of going back in 2004 with friends!!
re Already Saving to Go Back
from A TripAdvisor Member
Our family of four had a fabulous time at Beaches Sandy Bay. The resort is just the right size and as parents, we never worried about where our two boys (10 and 13) were. We did it all--scuba, snorkeling, sailing, wind surfing, water skiing, kayaking, water aerobics, etc. We rarely had to wait for a sailboat or kayak. Many of the guests are Europeans and they seem to just lay in the sun and not take advantage of the water activities. (Parental note: Some of the European ladies were topless. After the second day, our boys stopped staring.) Our travel agent arragned for our family and friends traveling with us to be upgraded to two-room suites with balconies overlooking the beach on one side and the pool on the other. Our suite was colorful, clean and comfortable, but we were only in it to shower off the sand and salt water--and sleep. The staff was incredibly friendly, the beach was gorgeous and the activities were lots of fun. Some of the food was good, some was great, and there was plenty of it all the time. If you have an active family and are looking for a place to enjoy the sunshine and water and relax in a friendly environment, Beaches Sandy Bay is a great value. Book your trip with a travel agent who specializes in all-inclusives. You'll be treated like royalty. In a way, we hope Sandy Bay stays a well-kept secret until we can go back. We hope it never loses its charm.
We Found Our Vacation Paradise
from A TripAdvisor Member
After reading a few negative comments, I had to respond. i am sorry some people had problems at Sandy Bay. We found this resort to be excellent. We loved the beach and our room had the most awesome view.
The food and service was very good. All I can say is if you are a snob and expecting the Ritz Carlton- then go to the Ritz in Mobay.Negril is a laid back village. Although the rooms could use a little touch up paint job, i was not there to stay in my room except to sleep. All of the staff and managers were extremely helpful. What ever we needed or wanted was provided to us. But when in Jamaica, and no matter where you stay, you have to remember you are on Jamaica time and things do move slowly. I went to get away and this resort sure took us there.
Vacations are relaxtion time-forget hurrying. we will never stay anywhere but at Beaches Sandy Bay and are all ready planning our next trip for 2004.
Beautiful Beaches, Lovely Hotel
from A TripAdvisor Member
We have just returned from two weeks at Beaches Sandy Bay and have thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. Our room could have done with a lick of paint but was cleaned every day and had a massive, comfortable bed, huge TV and was ten yards from the beach. The grounds of the Hotel are immaculate and the staff helpful and friendly. The beach really made our stay - it was never crowded with plenty of clean white sand to laze on. A popular pasttime is to take some bread from breakfast and feed the fish at the edge of the sea. There are only two "proper" restaurants at Sandy Bay, with the Italian being the best, but the shuttle bus runs to Beaches Negril where there is more choice, or adults can walk two minutes down the beach to Sandals Negril (check if you need to book first). We had a fantastic time and will be back as soon as we can!
Always Check Avalaiblity
from A TripAdvisor Member
If you have to pay for vacation stay 45 days in advance, wouldn't you like to have what you paid for? Especially if you were getting MARRIED and HONEYMOON on the resort? I asked for a honeymoon suite at Beaches Sandy Bay resort, plus my family had 2-2 bedroom suites. I waited in the heated lobby for 2 hours after traveling 7 hours, before I received a room. I had to take a downgrade of a corner room. A room that everyone that came by could enjoy it as much as me. Anyone could look inside because there were no pull drapes. Only sheer curtains. My cake was wrong, I received a Chocolate top instead of a FRUIT CAKE, and a STALE BANANA CAKE to replace my WHITE CAKE. I complained through out the trip. I also asked to speak with the GENERAL MANAGER, NO GENERAL OR ASST. MANAGER TO BE REACHED. I wrote letters over and over again. I received nothing but total dispute from the GENERAL MANAGER. But remember, she was not there. I received my refund on a downgrade, which was mine in the beginning. They also after several letters to Unique Travels management and the General Manager, I was offered a firm "1 night complimentary stay" at Beaches. 1 night stay offered from a 5 stare resort. That was an insult. This has been going on for months now. I refused the 1 night stay, because it would cost us more to get there and we would have to save for another stay either with them or with someone else. We would have to use it within the next 12 months. Anyway, I'm sure the stay would not be pleasent. Always go through you Travel Agent, this would not have happen. They will do all the fighting. This was to be the happiest memories for me to hold on too, instead this will be the nightmare that I will share.
Perfect, relaxing get-a-way
from A TripAdvisor Member
I arrived in Jamaica on September 18, 2003, and I was very pleased with the resort as a whole. I was reading the reviews before I went on my trip, and was very skeptical of what we might endure when we would arrive. I really thought that we would not have a good time. I was mistaken. My brother had his wedding there and it was absoulutely beautiful! The only problem that I had was the wait that we had for check in. They kept the drinks coming, but I was tired from the flight and wanted to get comfortable for a little while. The food and drinks were wonderful and plentiful. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. It was not grand and extravagant like the Beaches down futher, but it was so romantic and intimate, that i preferred Sandy Bay. The grounds were kept spotless. The wedding and reception was so beautiful, that my fiance' and i plan on visiting there in Feb. 04, and wedding there next year. I would suggest this resort to anyone who wants to relax and get away. I want to also give a big thanks to Howard for making my stay extra nice! I will be returning next year for my wedding day!
to Sandy Bay
from A TripAdvisor Member
Let me start by saying this was the best vacation we ever had. We spent six nights at Sandy Bay in September 2003 for our 25th wedding anniversary. I was horrified by the reviews on this web site that I read before we went but found them to be greatly exaggerated and not true. This isn't the biggest or grandest place, but it is probably the warmest and most intimate. The outside is attractive and looks freshly painted. Our room was bright and colorful and clean. We had a view of the grounds, gazebo and beach. The beach is immaculate. We preferred our beach to even Beaches Negril. The best thing about this place is the staff and service. Everybody treated you like an old friend. The service at the restaurants is impeccable. You don't get better service in the states even when they get tipped. At Beaches, nobody gets tipped but the service seems like they are. The food was good and I thought there was something for every taste at the buffet. You can also go to Beaches Negril which has a larger pool and beach and more restaurants. It is fun to go there and eat and hang out for a while. Beaches Negril was much bigger, but we found we couldn't wait to get back "home" to Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay had all the same watersports ast Beaches Negril and the Watersport Staff is also very nice. We made many friends on the staff as well as the guests. All the guests we spoke to were enjoying their stay as much as we were and were planning to return. Many guests were returning guests. They all agreed that you couldn't match the service anywhere else. If you want a clean, warm and intimate place with great service, Sandy Bay is the place for you. I am already homesick and wish I can go back.
Good, Bad, Ugly
Profile of Me:31, first time out of country, first all-inclusive. Lengthy review.....August 27, 2003-Since I live in Milwaukee, WI and do not have the luxury of owning a car. I decided to utilize the United Limo bus service to go to Chicago airport. However, there was not a bus leaving early enough for my 8/28/03 6:15am, so I decided to stay in Chicago at the Days Inn, O Hare International on Mannheim Rd. The room was 44 dollars plus tax and they offered free complimentary shuttle every half hour to the airport.Arriving at Days Inn, I was so impressed that they had room service, pool, lounge, and restaurant. It was a very clean hotel and very impressive service. The wake up call service on the answering machine did not work, but my alarm clock did, and the front desk called like I requested. I left the hotel at 3:30am and arrived at OHare Air Jamaica terminal at 3:45am. Check-in went very quickly. I was offered an upgrade to first-class for $130.00, but I lost my job the day after I paid the final balance on my Negril, Jamaica trip and I had about $150.00 for spending money. ***Helpful hints: 2 hours early is more than enough time for this Air Jamaica flight, but I left on Thursday, but get any snacks before going to security check if you are traveling alone. ****Another note about Saturday US3000 charter: (I had friends on this flight) They have many flights leaving around the same time, so their flight was delayed, due to check-in being extremely long**** So I will suggest the extra dollars, if able, to go Air Jamaica.8/28/03 Air Jamaica: Left on time, arrived 30 minutes early. Leg room is needed. Had a choice of apple pancakes and ham or omelets. Hated the weird tasting apple, loved the pancake. Champagne, soda, juice, water, or Red Stripe (Jamaican beer) was also offered. Jamaican music playing prior to the flight and offered on the in-flight radio, as well as a movie-Anger Management served as good distractions. They sell items on the plane like perfume, watches, liquor, etc. They also hand out Immigration and Customs forms that will be needed ***Hint: Make sure you have an ink pen in your purse or carryon, get a blanket and pillow right away, they did not have enough. It was a smooth flight. Buy any purchases on way back. Some airport prices are less expensiveUpon arriving at the Sangster airport in Montego Bay and had to find baggage. There were Jamaican singers to greet you at Immigration. Then I found the Sandals/Beaches shuttle bus to travel to Negril. Porters will grab your luggage (and expect a tip) so take it back from them if you are too cheap or too strong to let them handle them. (2-3 US dollars is cool.) The Bus driver will then proceed down streets with no traffic lights, people and/or animals darting or walking leisurely in the street, most of the roads to Negril are now complete, but this is a nervous ride for some. In Jamaica, you drive on the left side of the road. Single women get a lot of attention from passers by on the road. Most shuttle drivers stop for a rest stop and drinks. Our driver asked us and no one wanted to stop so we arrived at the hotel by 12:30. (about 1 hr and 25 minutes later) And he expects a tip.Upon arriving at Beaches Sandy Bay, I felt like I was in paradise. There was a beautiful lobby, I was given a cold towel and champagne, and I was beginning to love this place. I had some forms to fill out. I was able to check in about 20 minutes. (Saturday arrivals took a little longer, according to a friend, they will keep your bag and allow you to eat or play at Sandy Bay) I was given an upgrade to an Oceanview room 5209. A representative walked me to my room, I opened the door, and she left. I went straight to my balcony and had a beautiful view of the gazebo area (where weddings are held) and the ocean. There was a mildew smell, but I was armed with scented candles and air freshener. It was an old room and a lot of wear and tear showed. I turned around and there was a puddle of water coming from the closet. The bathroom was located on the opposite of the closet. I noticed a lot of water damage to the closet. I was there as part of the bridal party and I was not putting my dress in there. I called front desk. They offered to send maintenance. I knew of the laid back attitude and I wanted to get started on my vacation, I called back and asked for a second room. They said No problem, mon. They arranged room 6107. I decided too make a call with my prepaid calling card.**** Beaches does not accept prepaid calling cards. Either rent a cell phone there or pay expensive fees. Do not follow directions on the phone, have the hotel operator call the telephone number, you will automatically save a $4.00 access fee for using a cell phone. The first minute was 5.00, 1.00 afterward. Local calls were 0.50 and a dollar. If there is a problem with connection or waiting for the phone to ring, do not hold for over 3 minutes. (They will not refund anything over.) I took my heavy carry on to room 6107 after I got the key, because the bell staff was taking too long to get my bags. I get there and the key doesnt work. I go back to the lobby and they ask that I try again, still locked. I go back to the lobby and now the staff member goes and tries different keys and it works. Another person at the front desk was complaining about this too. I enter room 6107, and again there was a view of the ocean, a little blocked by a beautiful garden area. There was a mildew smell. But with the ceiling fan, air conditioner, and doors open it isnt that bad. (I will suggest if going the budget route, ask for a 3rd floor room, high ceilings, I had a friend that stayed in 7205, and it was nice.) I look to see what time it was and my room didnt have an alarm clock. I asked for one, none was available. (This was a blessing in a way, but uncomfortable at times.) I arranged wake up calls, when necessary with the staff, and will call them to see what time it was. I go over to Bayside (buffet) for lunch, and was not that thrilled with the buffet. The food was warm, not hot. I was debating whether I made the right decision to stay here, until I looked at the beautiful beach area. The Sandy Bay side of the beach was well maintained, not rocky or crowded, compared to others. The water is a transparent blue green. Just beautifulI ate dinner at Bayside, again lukewarm food, but ok. Before guest relations closed, I tried to book Teppanyaki (Japanese restaurant) at Beaches Negril but it was not available for Thursday, Friday or Saturday. I attended an orientation that night, but after my day, so far was not impressed. (I do suggest the orientation; there are a lot of things that you can do.) I went back to my room, my bags were there, and a complimentary bottle of Appleton rum (by this time I was addicted to the daiquiris and I am not a rum drinker) and a fruit plate. I called front desk so I could find out who sent it. They said that they didnt know; they just had instructions to send it, and that I could find out from guest relations the next day. I spent some time on the beautiful beach and went to sleep.8/29/03: The next day, I woke up. I found out the hotel gave everyone a bottle of rum and a fruit plate (so why did the front desk not know?) Had breakfast, actually good breakfast. They are willing to make fresh omelets. There was a market set up on the resort. If you buy anything here, never go with their discount price. They take US dollars, Jamaican Dollars, and travelers checks. Its also good to take things that will be hard to come by in Jamaica. I had some closed toe canvas mule sandals that a woman was willing to make a trade. I paid $3 for the shoes and she was willing to trade a $25 dollar item. At another market, a man wanted my Burberry visor. I also rode an aqua bike that morning and signed up for snorkeling. Many different sports were available and not full, like I have heard.One good thing about Sandy Bay is location. There is a shuttle bus that runs every couple of hours to Beaches Negril. It is less than 2 city blocks away from Sandals, and as long as you are an adult, you can visit. Some people, places, and things will say you must go in there as a couple. Not true. No children are allowed (leave them in the Kids Club at Sandy Bay). Security checks you in and out. On the beach walk to Sandals, you will encounter merchants selling ganja and souvenirs but a polite no is required. If you look, they will sell. They will give you merchandise and tell you to come back and pay later. (Very good salespeople) Again, negotiate!Sandals is beautiful and they have and awesome buffet selection. One night there was lobster, gumbo, steak, crayfish, crawdads, chicken, ham, etc. (That is only what I sampled.) There is a hot tub that keeps a temperature of 100 degrees. There is also a swim up bar there. The Honeymoon suite there was not much different from my room at Sandy Bay, but the property looked newer. But they did have room service with that room and open bar. (Not available at Sandy Bay) They also had night entertainment, but I personally preferred Sandy Bays entertainment. Mardsen and his entertainment staff were a lot of fun. Friday night, the buffet was placed out on the beach. It was a nice touch.08/30/03Breakfast at Bayside. Spent a lot of time on the beach. I was the maid of honor for my friends wedding, so I went back to Sandals to meet with the couple and the wedding coordinator, Michelle. We had a wonderful buffet lunch and I visited Beaches Negril. Its layout was beautiful, rooms beautiful, huge pool (largest of all properties) There were a lot more kids around and it felt to busy. As much as I wasnt impressed with Sandy Bay, I like the fact that it was smaller. I didnt go back to Beaches Negril, I saw no reason, since Sandals was close by. I had dinner at Sandals. On the beach walk between Sandals and Sandy Bay, there is not much light, so dont let the sand crabs scare you. They move very fast. Had a fun night at Sandals. Ended the evening at Hedonism. Note about Hedo: If you want to go, stay there. The night pass was not worth it. I honestly believe that the experience would have been enjoyable if you stay there. They have a hype disco and option of baring it all. (Which I did, but put my clothes back on after a dirty old man keep feeling himself while talking to me) The drinks and food werent all that. It was a beautiful place.8/31/03I have not had much sleep since I got here. Today was no exception. Today was wedding day. The wedding was beautiful. My friend forgot her music, but they had the traditional Here comes the bride. But if you want different music played before..or during, bring your CD. There was some confusion about the sit down dinner. We had cake and horsdervs (spelling?) and were being bitten by red ants, but the wedding was beautiful. The rain held off until afterwards. Lunch at the Grill. Night dinner at Bayside (too late once arrived at Sandals, and I didnt stay for the Jamaican Elvis Impersonatorlol) Entertainment at Sandy Bay was hot! Hot! HOT! Stayed in the pool until 1:00am. I slept a lot in the afternoon due to the rain. I woke up 4 times by housekeeping bringing towels. Do you know why? Your guess is as good as mine. Departing info was placed under my door, the hotel had a deal with Air Jamaica to offer early check-in. I had to request a wake up call at 6:00am, because my checked bag had to be placed outside the room at 7:00.9/1/03Packed my bags. I met with the rep in the lobby to receive my ticket between 7:30am-8:30am. I had to check out by 11:00. I did not request a late checkout because I was happy to stay until 3:00pm, which is when my shuttle left. I had no problem using the shower in the public restroom, because I did not want to leave. I had the blues. I took the glass bottom boat tour. I say starfish, stingrays, fish, and a sea turtle. I spent some time alone in the sports bar area. I had a lunch that wasnt too bad at Bayside. Was the lukewarm food growing on me? I spent a final dip in the water. At 2:15, I showered and waited in the lobby for my bus. I sadly knew that this was the beginning of the end of my Jamaica adventure. Being single and all the couples on the shuttle bus, the driver offered me a front seat. I prayed and sat down. Amazingly I was able to go to sleep on the ride. Our driver had a TV/VCR on the bus. Very cool! Arriving at the airport, I praised God that they offered early check-in for the airport, because there were at least 100 people waiting in line. I was able to go right to the gate. After the first security check, I went right there. I was chosen for random search, all smooth. The flight we encountered turbulence over Cuba and Florida, for at least 2 hours. So dinner was served a little late and no movie. Choice of chicken or fish. The dinner was delicious. Airline food? It was surprisingly good. Arrive in Chicago at 10:05. Was done collecting baggage and customs check by 10:30. Much faster than I expected.Overall Jamaica: 5 stars Hotel: 2 stars