A new Jamaican resort worthy of its storied past: Inside the new Sandals® Dunn’s River now accepting reservations

A new Jamaican resort worthy of its storied past: Inside the new Sandals® Dunn’s River now accepting reservations

The all-new 260-room Sandals Dunn’s River is open for bookings! The resort is undergoing a thoughtful, top-to-bottom restoration – designed to embrace the essence of Jamaica, its curving rivers, lush forests, and majestic banyan trees – with amenities, accommodations and culinary concepts brought forward by the brand’s uncompromising quest for innovation.

Accommodation Highlights: Taking Luxury to New Heights

A first look into the expanded suite concepts reveals the addition of brand new Tufa SkyPool Butler Suites, which will feature glass panels spanning the length of oceanfront balconies, for a cascading infinity effect clear to the Caribbean Sea. At the Coyaba Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suites with Private Pools, Sandals’ iconic, standalone villas are reimagined with vast open-air rooftops featuring private soaking tubs, sun-lounging areas and privileged views of the surrounding flora. Luxurious Mammee Bay Beachfront Butler Suites® will be equipped with spacious balconies directly overlooking the ocean waters, with gold fixtures and green accents speckled throughout the resort’s various unique accommodations for a nature-meets-luxury effect that immerses guests in the setting’s unequivocal beauty.

More on the Menu

Culinary offerings at Sandals Dunn’s River will now include 12 Global Gourmet™ restaurants – with ten concepts entirely new to Sandals. Infused with the classic cooking techniques found in the finest establishments in France, L’Amande will serve an exquisite mélange of French delicacy and Jamaican fare in a chic setting. A Greek concept, Edessa, is where the Caribbean and Aegean seas will meet, elegantly named for the ancient city of abundant waters. From Thailand to Japan, the Asian-fusion menu at Banyu will offer a blend of cultures all in a single dish. Beloved staples, old and new, will satisfy cravings and please palates – from the Central and South American flavors at Zuka, debuted first at Sandals Royal Curaçao, to the rustic yet soulful Jerk Shack and its traditional sweet and peppery delights.

High spirits will long live at nine bars, each with a distinct identity – including the hip and sophisticated Dunn’s Rum Club, where the island’s signature libation will be shaken and stirred into authentic Jamaican craft cocktails expertly mixed with locally-sourced ingredients like coconut and sorrel-smoked rum. A first-of-its-kind experience, guests will enjoy an expertly curated list of smooth rums while trying their hand at a game of Jamaican-rules dominoes, where the best out of six wins. The Laughing Waters beach bar will offer bed-style seating for a truly effervescent experience right on the sand, with a jovial name and sparkling champagne cocktails to match. A ‘Sandals First’ in Jamaica, the rooftop bar, Ocarina, will pair spirits with the gentle sea breeze, while the chic Lapidus Lounge pays homage to renowned architect Morris Lapidus who designed the resort when it was first built as the Arawak Hotel in the 1950s.

Inspired by Jamaica’s quintessential Blue Mountains, where the beans are harvested and roasted exclusively for the resort, guests can experience a fresh cup of pour-over coffee at BLŪM café, along with Japanese-style and nitro cold brew best enjoyed with island inspired treats.

Where the Fresh Water Flows

Cascading waters collected from the depths of the Dunn’s River Falls will greet guests upon arrival, with all water features sourced from the natural reserves of the rivers throughout the resort. Jamaica’s largest pool – designed to mimic the flow of the river – makes its way back into the Sandals Resorts fold. Featuring a glass panel edge, the pool will be brilliantly leveled to the sand for a water-meets-sand-meets-ocean effect, and is one of five refreshing pools from where to bask under the warm Jamaican sun.

The Red Lane® Spa at Sandals Dunn’s River will debut as one of the most luxurious for the brand, speaking to the heart of Jamaica, the land of wood and water, with the sound of flowing water from Dunn’s River and Roaring Waters River cascading into the spa’s pools against an ethereal backdrop that is ever present. 

Moments away, at one of Jamaica’s natural wonders – the honored Dunn’s River Falls – guests will absorb the natural abundance of the Earth and experience a place where love flows naturally, forming natural connections and bringing the Sandals Dunn’s River experience full circle.

For more information, visit https://www.sandals.com/dunns-river/.

About Sandals ® Resorts

Sandals® Resorts offers two people in love the most romantic, Luxury Included® vacation experience in the Caribbean. With 16 – and soon to be 17 – stunning beachfront settings in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, and Curaçao, Sandals Resorts offers more quality inclusions than any other resort company on the planet. Signature Love Nest Butler Suites® for the ultimate in privacy and service; butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers; the Red Lane Spa®; 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining, ensuring top-shelf liquor, premium wines, and gourmet specialty restaurants; Aqua Centers with expert PADI® certification and training; fast Wi-Fi from beach to bedroom; and Sandals Customizable Weddings are all Sandals Resorts exclusives. Sandals Resorts is part of family-owned Sandals Resorts International (SRI), founded by the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart, which includes Beaches Resorts and is the Caribbean’s leading all-inclusive resort company. For more information about the Sandals Resorts Luxury Included® difference, visit http://www.sandals.com.

Book with Pink Palm Travel

Connect with Pink Palm Travel to book your dream getaway to Sandals Dunn’s River!

Trip Report: Beaches Negril, Jamaica – October 2022

Trip Report: Beaches Negril, Jamaica – October 2022


Looking for a family vacation that satisfies mom, dad, grandparents and the kids?

A stay at Beaches Negril is sure to fulfill the “want list” that each family member has for an enjoyable, safe and relaxing vacation. 

The resort is about 90 minutes from Sangster International Airport (MBJ). Our family of six headed there in late September for a full week. Although it was a lengthy ride, the kids loved seeing the mountains, greenery and lively colours of Jamaica. It was a great way to build anticipation! We even stopped by for a quick photo opportunity as we entered Negril.

Just as everyone started getting a little restless, we saw the Beaches Negril sign and cheers erupted among the kids. We couldn’t wait for our driver (Blake from the amazing Thompson Tours and Transfers) to stop under the grand porte-cochère where staff were waiting for us with smiles and cold towels. Our check-in process was smooth and in no time at all, we were heading to our gorgeous room—a Tropical Beachfront One-Bedroom Walkout Grand Concierge Family Suite (W1BG). 

Perfect for larger, multi-generational families

The room was located on the ground floor of the Savannah building, just steps from the main pool, a playground and the waterpark. In fact, it was probably in the most central area of the resort (room 406/407 if you want to request it!).  

These ocean-view sanctuaries consist of one bedroom with two pull-out sofas, a trundle bed and two marble bathrooms with a bathtub/shower combination. The mahogany-furnished primary bedroom is complete with a flat-screen TV, a king-size bed and large closets. Each suite also includes a spacious living room with French doors leading out to a private walkout patio. What I loved is the mini kitchenette that was available in both the primary and living areas—it was so convenient to have a microwave in addition to a mini fridge stocked with complementary water, juices, wine and local beer.

This room category enjoys exclusive Concierge Lounge check-in and a dedicated concierge available to handle any special requests and reservations, such as spa appointments or dinner reservations. The room itself was beautiful, modern and spacious. For the six of us, it was perfect—especially because of the second bathroom. You don’t realize how much you appreciate it until you’re in the moment!

I’m confident that any room choice at Beaches Negril would be a satisfying choice as all 185 rooms at the resort have been recently renovated. There are also a number of enhancements taking place on the property which will make for a great guest experience when they’re all finished. 

Enhancements are coming to Beaches Negril

To start, the resort is working on oceanfront butler townhomes with private pools—talk about luxury! The beach in Negril is the best in Jamaica, and this new room category will be the most coveted when it’s available to book. In addition to the development of these new townhomes on either end of the resort, plans are in place for the construction of a brand new infinity pool, bowling alley, new Kids Club sections and food truck alley. Along with these new features in the next three years, the resort’s existing pools and common areas will see a refresh. How exciting!

Editors note: Check out my blog post on the construction and new accommodations. Connect with me to learn more. 

Great food options for kids and adults

Food options at Beaches Negril are varied with very few requiring reservations. My personal favourite? Stewfish. This barefoot-in-the-sand-style restaurant was incredible for both breakfast and dinner. And, it was the location to take in some of the most beautiful sunsets that I’ve ever seen. The Mill—the resort’s buffet option—offered great variety and was a daily staple for us. We just found it so easy to satisfy every member of the family. Another favourite—and you can find it at Sandals as well—Dino’s Pizzeria. Who knew the Caribbean would have some of the best pizza I’ve ever tasted? 

The star of this resort? The beach! 

The natural beauty of the area is one of the strongest assets of this resort. In fact, the beach is one of the most gorgeous I’ve been to in Jamaica and one of the best maintained on Seven Mile Beach. We saw so much wildlife and sea life within the week—from starfish to turtles, geckos to cranes—it was incredible. 

We booked a cabana on our last day—complete with a butler—and it was a great way to enjoy the resort in a whole new way! 

Does the beach look like it does in ads? YES! That was one of the resort’s biggest assets in my opinion—aside from the incredible staff. My husband and I actually walked up the beach to Sandals Negril (adults have exchange privileges here). It’s about 2.5 kilometres each way. 

The staff shine at Beaches Resorts

The kids (ages 8, 12 and 14) absolutely loved the resort and are already asking to go back. Entertainment staff (like Kevaughn and Shynnae) went over and above their roles to engage all of my kids. With the Kids Club, Xbox Play lounge, unlimited watersports and a YoYo’s frozen yogurt shop, there was enough to keep my always-active kids busy for a full seven days. Not only that, but the staff memorized all of our names within moments of meeting us. They made so many of the week’s scheduled events a great time—like the Beach Party, Silent Disco, Returning Guests Cocktail Party and Sesame Street Parade! Further to that, nightly themed shows provided entertainment for the whole family. 

Little did we know that our kids would make friends with the other kids there! It was so wonderful to feel secure and comfortable with the kids at a resort of this size.

Other amenities included a lovely full-service spa. I had a CBD massage with hot salt stones… It was the best I have ever had. Ask for Paula! 

There’s only one resort gift shop, but it’s full of necessities like Benadryl, band-aids and sunscreen and also has a great variety of sundresses, beach balls and souvenirs.

In addition to the beautiful beach is a fabulous Pirates Island Waterpark. With two slides, a lazy river and some great areas for wee ones. Beyond that, you have access to unlimited watersports like snorkelling, scuba, kayaking and paddle boarding—and it’s all included! 

If you’re a fitness buff, the gym will not disappoint. The amenities are definitely part of the allure of this resort for adults and kids alike. 

Final thoughts on our trip

Would we return again? YES! When I asked my three girls if we should try out Beaches Turks and Caicos next, they said, “Mom, why change a good thing?!”

Enough said.

Connect with Pink Palm Travel to book now. For a limited time, service fees are waived for all Sandals and Beaches bookings.

Learn more by contacting Pink Palm Travel for a free consultation. Sign up for the #TravelTuesday newsletter to get more articles like this straight to your inbox.

Connect with me at Pink Palm Travel to book your Beaches Negril trip!

Travel is back: Here’s how to make your next getaway a breeze

Travel is back: Here’s how to make your next getaway a breeze

Want to extend that carefree summer feeling but worried about the current travel landscape?

 

The travel industry has seen a booking boom this year, with demand quickly outpacing inventory. It’s no secret that these days even a quick getaway requires a fair bit of planning and a lot of patience. The good news? You can travel and have a great time doing it—here are some tips and tricks to help you make your next getaway a breeze.

 

Check your passport before you book

 

You’ve likely heard on the news that there are significant delays with passport processing. Even I’ve been affected by this, so I know how stressful it can be!

When planning a trip—before you even start looking at destinations, you should check your passport’s expiry date. This will not only relieve anxiety leading up to your getaway, but you can rest knowing your passport is in a safe place and you’re not searching for it the night before you depart for paradise.

Travel tip: You should always ensure that your passport expires long after your planned return date—ideally, no shorter than six months of your planned travel.

 

Pack light like a pro with a carry-on

 

Save on checked baggage fees, skip the baggage carousel line and no stress about lost luggage!

I’ve challenged myself to pack only carry-on for all trips since travel picked up again. Packing light will save you time in the airport (just think—no baggage drop-off or pick-up!) and give you peace of mind, knowing you have everything physically with you.

Travel tip: Wear your bulkiest clothing on the flight (running shoes, a light sweater, etc.) and pack a solid-coloured clothing capsule to make the most of your wardrobe in destination.

 

Use an airport fast-track service

 

Save time and feel like a VIP with airport fast-track services. For example, if you’re heading to Jamaica, consider a service like Club Mobay. With their arrival and departure service bundle at a price point of about $100 per person, you can be personally escorted through private lines at security and customs and end up in an exclusive lounge sipping on a rum punch before you know it.

I’ll be honest—before using Club Mobay, I wasn’t sold on it…and then I tried it. I loved bypassing the massive line at immigration upon arrival, and I appreciated being able to make the most of every moment before returning to Canada in their all-inclusive departure lounge, complete with Red Stripe and beef patties.

Travel tip: Book this service early—it often sells out months in advance.

 

Pre-arrange private transportation from the airport

 

Another great way to save some time and get to your destination faster? Booking private transportation to and from your accommodations. While many travel operators will include transfers as part of your package, the thought of being crammed on a bus full of people is not always appealing. By booking a private transfer, you can say buh-bye! to waiting around and get to your resort faster—and often beat the rush at the check-in desk.

Travel tip: The best way to find reputable private transportation is through referrals—ask family, friends or a travel advisor.

 

Use tech to your advantage

 

While it’s great to disconnect from our smartphones, they provide some valuable tools while travelling. Aside from staying connected to our family and friends back home, it’s helpful to store boarding passes in our Apple Wallets or check-in online via the resort app we just downloaded.

You don’t have to let technology interrupt your need for downtime—use it to make the most of your plans.

Travel tip: Before you leave for your vacation, download your airline and resort app and, of course, the ArriveCAN app.

 

Give yourself extra time—and patience

 

There’s no doubt that we see more delays and cancellations than ever. That’s why planning and building buffer time into your schedule is essential.

For example—when clients are heading out on a cruise, I always advise them to fly out earlier than needed—an extra day or two can be a trip-saver when it comes to flight delays. And, if you’re relying on connecting flights, schedule longer transition times—a couple of hours at least.

Travel tip: Where possible, you should book the first scheduled flight in the morning.

 

Protect your trip

 

Travel is an investment. It’s always wise to purchase trip insurance if you have a lot of money invested in your getaway.

In addition to trip cancellation and interruption, most travel insurance plans include coverage for trip delay, missed connection, lost or delayed baggage, medical expenses, and more. Not only that, but 24-hour assistance services can be included to help the traveller with emergency medical assistance, lost baggage tracking, emergency cash transfer, emergency or last-minute travel arrangements, and assistance with replacing lost travel documents.

Travel tip: If you’re a frequent traveller, consider multi-trip insurance plans for the best value.

 

Now…go plan that getaway

 

Travel is still very much a go—with the proper planning, you can enjoy your getaway (and start planning your next one!). Connect with Pink Palm Travel for a free consultation about your next trip.

Bon voyage!

Jamaica 2022 Playa FAM Trip Report – August 2022

Jamaica 2022 Playa FAM Trip Report – August 2022

To sum up my last trip to Jamaica in one word—WOW! The Playa Hotels & Resorts Jamaica FAM trip was truly a memorable one. 

If you’re wondering what a FAM trip is, you’re not alone. A FAM trip – or familiarization trip – is an opportunity for travel advisors to learn more about destinations, experiences and properties, so that we can share this information with you and provide first-hand recommendations from our own experience. Plus,  it’s a great way for those in the travel industry to build relationships with brands and staff on-site at resorts. 

My trip by the numbers

  • I met 10 amazing travel advisors from across Canada
  • Toured five Playa all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica over the course of four days
  • And, got one killer tan 😉

Travel in style

First things first, the trip started out right with Club Mobay’s expedited airport arrival service, a stop at the Hyatt Lounge and private transfers to the resort courtesy of Thompson Tours & Transfers

When it comes to my clients, I will always suggest you secure Club Mobay arrival and departure airport service upon booking your Jamaica vacation. It’s truly the best way to begin—and end—your vacation. Besides the expedited service, you have access to incredible airport lounges offering complimentary food and drink (and even showers or spa services – at a cost – if you so please!). 

Getting from the airport to the resort was a breeze with my trusted driver from Thompson Tours & Transfers. Renford always welcomes me with a smile and remembers all the little details about me from my last visit—making me feel like a real VIP. Service is always punctual and professional.

SERVICE FROM THE HEART

My host hotel was Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, a luxurious resort that’s situated 15 minutes from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The sister resort, Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall (adults only), sits adjacent to the resort. 

There is no real divide between the two resorts, with the exception that the Ziva side allows all ages. That being said, if you’re with your family at Ziva for a vacation, you can drop your kids at the Kidz Club and head over to the Zilara side for some fun. That goes for adults heading over to the Ziva side as well. Win-win!

This stunning resort was previously a Ritz-Carlton—and it shows! It’s opulent, but with a non-pretentious feel. The resort layout is well-planned and never quite feels at capacity. Dense foliage makes the landscaping very attractive. Swim up suites on both sides of the resort make it feel very tropical. 

“Service from the heart” is the motto of all Playa Hotels & Resorts, and that customer-oriented approach is felt as soon as you step foot on the property!

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

Great for: All ages, beach lovers, pool lovers

What can you expect at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall? Clean, spacious rooms with great views. Incredible pools with high-end lounge chairs. A beach that’s clear and swimmable, with sand that is powder soft. Entertainment on the Ziva side included a silent disco, a Moroccan-themed rooftop bar, live music and dancing. Restaurants were also plentiful, with great options to choose from including Italian, Asian and international cuisines. Who is the perfect client for Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall? I hesitate to call this a family resort. It’s more of an all-ages resort—perfect for multigenerational families, groups and more. 

Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall

Great for: Adults, beach lovers, pool lovers, gym lovers

This adults-only resort is paradise found. With one of the best gyms I’ve seen at an all-inclusive resort, an innovative spa concept with hydrotherapy and massages on the beach, and entertainment every night—Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is a great getaway for a weekend or a week. Jamaican, French and fusion restaurants are among the culinary offerings, in addition to those restaurants available at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall. Stunning suites with perfect sunset-viewing vistas are abundant. There is truly not a room that isn’t clean, modern and in a good location.

Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa

Great for: Adults, beach lovers, those looking for a lower price point

This adults-only all-inclusive resort is located in Runaway Bay, about an hour and a half from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. With tidy rooms, colourful buildings and a great beach, Jewel Paradise Cove exudes pure Jamaican vibes. It also boasts repeat visitors who come back for more—time and time again. 

Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa

Great for: Large families, beach lovers, those looking for more space

With villa-style all-inclusive accommodations, Jewel Grande is an Insta-worthy resort with awe-inspiring views. You can book hotel-style accommodations or three-bedroom butler suites. Some suites even include in-room laundry, which is a huge bonus for families with small children. The entire property offers gorgeous ocean views and breathtaking suites.

Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa

Great for: Families, waterpark lovers

Modern and sleek, Hilton Rose Hall is a hidden gem in the Montego Bay area. It is all about simplicity. The rooms are great for families of four and are functional, but the common areas and waterpark is where this resort really shines. With a lazy river, waterslides and swim up bars, it caters to both the young and young at heart. To be honest… I could spend a whole week in that waterpark!

That’s a wrap!

With such an incredible FAM trip in the books for me, it’s probably easy to believe that I am already planning my next one. As you can tell, it’s so valuable to book with a travel advisor with on-the-ground experience as we have so much first-hand experience with various travel suppliers and can give you authentic recommendations.

Book with Pink Palm Travel

If you’re booking directly with me, you can do so with $0 down when booking your a la carte all-inclusive resort stay at Playa Hotels & Resorts. Final payment is due 30 days prior to travelling and you can cancel up to 14 days prior to your trip start date. I also can access pricing with tour operators such as Air Canada Vacations and WestJet Vacations which includes airfare.

Let’s chat! Connect with me today for a free travel consultation.

Sandals Royal Curaçao grand opening

Sandals Royal Curaçao grand opening

For 40 years, Sandals Resorts has continually re-imagined the luxury Caribbean experience. And, now, there is another jewel to add to the crown of the all-inclusive resorts in the portfolio—Sandals Royal Curaçao

The 16th and newest property in the Sandals family features eight signature restaurants, three food trucks, free PADI scuba diving, a spa, and much more. 

You know I’m your Sandals girl, so connect with me if you have any questions about it!