Trip Report: Sandals Royal Bahamian – November 2022

Trip Report: Sandals Royal Bahamian – November 2022

A getaway doesn’t have to be a whole week to be great. Sometimes planning a four or five-day getaway can be refreshing and easier to fit into a busy schedule! That is, of course, if you’re heading to a location that allows for a direct flight and your resort is a short ride from the airport. Luckily, many options fit the bill. 

Back in November, I made such plans and visited Nassau, Bahamas, which was fantastic! I booked three nights at the recently renovated Sandals Royal Bahamian to check out the upgraded resort and offshore island. The quick flight from Toronto to Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau was three hours, gate-to-gate, to be exact. We essentially left Toronto at breakfast and arrived in the Bahamas for lunch!

I’ve never seen water so crystal clear as in the Bahamas – and when you’re flying in,  it’s an incredible sight.  The airport is lovely and easy to maneuver – once you clear customs, you head straight for the Sandals lounge,  where they’ll escort you to your complimentary transfer. A short 15-minute ride later, you’re at Royal Bahamian’s gates. It’s located along a commercial stretch, overlooking the ocean on the island’s north end. You’ll be in awe of the luxe feel when you pull up to the stunning Sandals namesake water feature.

The property had been renovated during the COVID-19 pandemic… What a time to do it! Sandals 2.0 is shining through with its modern amenities and elevated food options. 

What does that mean exactly? Food trucks, new upscale dining concepts and décor that features pastel tones of pink and turquoise. The property was very Instagramable (#IYKYK) and there were many “royal” touches.

Accommodations

The resort is sectioned into three areas: East Bay, West Bay and the Royal Village (a charming cluster of two-story stand-alone villas). With various suites – from swim-ups to penthouses – there is something for every preference. 

The rooms were very simple – probably the most simple of any Sandals that I’ve been to. For me, it didn’t bother me as we rarely spend time there. I did appreciate the layout of my particular room though, with a spacious bedroom area, bathroom and bar area.

Connect with Pink Palm Travel if you’re considering booking at this resort, as you’ll want insight on your room booking (Want a quiet spot? A lively area? An ocean view or oceanfront?). It’s not a large resort; it has a small footprint for Sandals but has many high-end dining options.

Food & Drink

My husband and I found the food spectacular – one of the best Sandals Resorts we’ve had the pleasure to dine at. The 10 dining options on the resort are always included. You can choose from French, Mediterranean, Italian, Pan-Caribbean, teppanyaki, seafood, sushi, pub fare, and food trucks – it’s all delicious.

Our favourite was Butch’s Island Chop House. We both agreed that our steaks were the best we’d had at a restaurant. Tesoro’s, the Italian restaurant, had the best antipasto bar we’ve ever tried.

We loved to stop by the Piano Bar every night before dinner. Philip, the bartender, was a highlight! His specialty was espresso and chocolate martinis…it was hard to stop at just one!

Entertainment

Sandals Royal Bahamian has a variety of day and night entertainment that caters to a younger audience. Music was primarily top 40; the all-new Coconut Grove beachfront area was incredible for nighttime entertainment, and the bar was divine! When you go – try the Dragon in a Coconut, a refreshing fruity drink with rum.

Be sure to check out the fantastic offshore island. Boat shuttles to the island (which features its own restaurant, pool, swim-up bar, multiple beaches and a spa) begin at 10 a.m. sharp—being the first on the shuttle pays off so you can grab a cabana (all included) for the day. The watersports team will also accommodate you on the island – so if you feel like jet skiing or any other water sports – it’s all included!

Back at the main resort, there are many lovely places to connect… think hot tubs, swim-up bars and intimate fireplaces. The resort’s Signature Red Lane Spa was small but private. For a Sandals Resort, you can expect a more active nightlife  – there’s even a mini dance club – Dancing Queen!

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.

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!

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!

Trip Report: Sandals South Coast, Jamaica – April 2022

Trip Report: Sandals South Coast, Jamaica – April 2022

An Rx for R&R

My husband and I took a quick, four-day, jaunt to Jamaica in late April. It’s nice to be able to get away – even if for a short time – to rest and relax. When you’re in the mood for some R&R, what better way to unwind than go to Jamaica? After much research, I decided that Sandals South Coast in White House would be the perfect place to escape to.

Prepare for Takeoff

We left at 5:45 a.m. from Whitby, Ontario, Canada, and were so excited to get away that we missed our highway exit for Toronto Pearson Airport. Oops! As we drove down the 407 listening to music and chatting about our imminent trip, we ended up on the border of Oakville… and that’s how we started our vacation. 

I already completed our online check in with WestJet and received our boarding passes electronically, which I saved to my Apple Wallet. That was a huge time saver along with our new packing approach – bringing a carry-on only. It truly saves so much time at the airport. When we arrived, we simply parked and headed straight to security. 

Packing a carry-on only means you are limited in how much liquids you can bring with you on the plane, but there are multiple places after the security checkpoint to grab extras like mouthwash, toothpaste and even sunscreen.

After a breakfast mimosa at our gate, we were ready for our flight. After a smooth, enjoyable ride we were in Montego Bay in no more than four hours.

Club Mobay

Arriving in Jamaica was a seamless experience. We booked a Club Mobay bundle that included arrival and departure service – and we both agreed that this was absolutely priceless.

We walked off the plane and down the ramp directly to Club Mobay where representatives were waiting for us. Our dedicated Club Mobay rep guided us through the airport’s express lanes for immigrations and customs. We also saved time since we didn’t have to pick up luggage at the baggage carousel.

Within 30 minutes, we arrived at the Sandals Resorts and Club Mobay VIP lounges. After a rum punch, we made our way out of Sangster International Airport. Sandals staff were attentive and ensured that our private transfer was ready before we even departed the airport. All in all, we made it through the airport in 40 minutes. We both agreed that we will never go to Jamaica without Club Mobay again! 

Thompson Tours & Transfers

The ride to Sandals South Coast is about 90 minutes from the airport. I wanted to start the vacation as soon as possible, so I booked a private transfer to the resort. That said, Sandals Resorts always provides transportation to and from the resort, and it’s always reliable. We booked private transportation because our trip was on the shorter side, and this helped us to make the most of our time. 

We used Thompson Tours & Transfers after receiving a referral online. Our driver, Renford Thompson, took us from Montego Bay to White House through some windy rural and mountainous roads. It was beautiful to see the island – and we learned a lot about it as we made our way to the resort. We even had an impromptu stop at Border Jerk (a delicious roadside diner) where we were treated to jerk chicken and some delicious Red Stripe lemon and sorrel flavoured beers – yum!

All in all, we had incredible service from TT&T and we will definitely book them again when we head back to Jamaica in the fall with our kids.

Sandals State of Mind

The staff at Sandals South Coast, formerly known as Sandals White House, welcomed us warmly with a hot towel and big smiles. 

COVID-19 protocols are still being followed at the resort but are slowly being let up. Masks are no longer required to be worn in indoor areas.

We stayed in the Dutch Village, which was a quieter spot. It was lovely with a mix of entry, club and butler level rooms, including swim up suites.

Our room was Dutch Beachfront Luxury Room (DGB). With a four poster king bed,  modern bathroom with walk-in shower and balcony tranquility soaking tub on the veranda, we were impressed and agreed it was one of the most beautiful rooms that we’ve stayed at in a Sandals Resort. The Dutch Village is centrally located and offers sweeping views of the ocean and Latitudes Over-the-Water Bar. The resort is very spread out and there’s a lot of walking, although it’s all very flat and easy to navigate. I definitely got in my steps – up to 10,000 per day! 

The food was consistently good. Eleanor’s and Schooners were the highlights for dinner; and Giuseppe’s antipasto bar was to die for! Cafe de Paris had some of the best coffee I’ve ever had (maybe it was the half cream milk?!) and delectable crepes. The Jerk Shack was perfectly located on the beach – central within the resort – and offered jerk chicken, pork, sausage and fish options. Most restaurants were located in the main piazza, with the exception of Schooner’s which was in the French Village, located near the Over-the-Water Bungalows. If you can believe it, those rooms book up a year or two in advance!

Some of my other observations:

  • The resort is perfect for honeymooners and those who want a quieter getaway.
  • The entertainment was not to be missed! There were special themes every night at Le Cabaret (an indoor theatre space) and in the main courtyard.
  • The beachfront area was great for late night impromptu dance parties.
  • There are three great pools and various hot tubs on the property.
  • Sandals has added a new Rondoval Village with a swim-up pool that weaves through – it’s absolutely beautiful!  
  • All other rooms are all beachfront and absolutely glorious.
  • The stretch of beach was quiet, walkable and didn’t have any unsolicited vendors.
  • Being in a protected nature reserve/ocean protected area, there was lots of wildlife from peacocks to starfish. This meant that the water was not always the crystal clear blue you see in the Caribbean, but was perfect for water sports such as sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling and paddle boarding.
  • Great drink choices! The bars were well stocked and bartenders knew how to make a variety of yummy drinks.
  • The martini bar was popular every night, especially when late night entertainment was lined up.
  • Fabulous food options – not just the buffets, but a la carte selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Beautiful grounds – there was always someone very busy keeping everything looking pristine. 
  • The spa was lovely and tranquil – a touch smaller than other Sandals but very private and quiet.
  • A stunning on-the-water chapel with glass floors is perfect for destination weddings.
  • Lots of little spots in and around the resort to sit and relax.
  • Sunsets are divine!
  • It rained everyday from about 2 to 4 p.m. but that was perfect for nap time.
  • On that note… the mattresses were SUPER comfortable. 

The staff at the resort were a real highlight. Oshane at the main bar was incredible;  Marton in entertainment was a blast; Garnet at Schooner’s was so attentive;  Tanesha in housekeeping was on top of everything.

Speaking of – housekeeping was excellent! Our room was tied and replenished  daily before noon and we always had turn down service before returning to our room at night. 

Overall, our experience was exactly what we needed and I’d highly recommend this resort to anyone who is looking for a truly relaxing beach vacation.

Departing in Style

As noted, we booked Club Mobay for our departure as well. It was the perfect way to end our trip! Not only did we get through the airport check-in and dedicated security line in no time, but we were able to wait for our flight (after a 90-minute shuttle ride to the airport) with a drink and lunch (aka rum punch and Jamaican beef patties). Leaving is never fun, but it was great to extend the vacation as long as possible.

Club Mobay also offers family-friendly areas in their lounge, and they are perfect for those travelling with children of all ages. It’s conveniently located near the gate for your departure, so you don’t have to worry about hustling your way to board when called.

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.

Romance, Discovery & Exploration Await: Sandals Resorts Opens Bookings for Its Newest Getaway in Curaçao

Romance, Discovery & Exploration Await: Sandals Resorts Opens Bookings for Its Newest Getaway in Curaçao

Resort debuts as Sandals Royal Curaçao, offers limited-time savings and unveils plans for several Sandals “firsts”

Sandals Resorts has unveiled new details for its flagship brand’s highly anticipated 16th resort and the company’s first venture into Curaçao, the newly named Sandals Royal Curaçao. Now open for bookings, the brand is offering guests a special Grand Opening Offer with savings of up to $1,000.

Connect with us to book today.

Explore Paradise

Situated on 44 acres within the Santa Barbara private estate, an exclusive 3,000-acre protected preserve, Sandals Royal Curaçao will authentically intertwine natural world wonders – desert, ocean, mountains, and shoreline – with the resort experience.  Here, couples will discover the beauty and geographic diversity of Curaçao, known for its adventurous terrain, pristine beaches, limestone caves and vibrant capital city Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while still indulging in the Luxury Included® Vacation experience Sandals Resorts is renowned for.

Slated to open April 14, 2022, Sandals Royal Curaçao is conveniently located just 15 miles from the airport. Its admirable west-facing position captures the allure of one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular sunsets, offering guests a visual treat.  With 351-luxurious rooms and suites in 24 room categories, Sandals Royal Curaçao will have more all-inclusive luxury options than ever before, including two new signature suite categories, the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows and Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalows, complete with Tranquility Soaking Tubs, private pools, butler service, and sporty and stylish convertible MINI Coopers complimentary for guests to drive while exploring the island.

Sandals Royal Curaçao will also be home to the brand’s first Dos Awa infinity pool with views overlooking the sea and the rugged mountain landscape, and The Duchess, Sandals’ first-ever floating restaurant and bar, constructed from a 92-foot authentic Dutch ship. With nine on-site 5-Star Global Gourmet™ restaurants (eight of which are new and exclusive to Sandals Royal Curaçao), guests will indulge in international flavors from a melting pot of global cuisine, including an authentic wine and Dutch cheese bar. Couples can also dine on-the-go at three new beachside gourmet food trucks offering traditional Curaçao fare, Spanish tapas, and Asian fusion, or grab a drink at any of the resort’s 10 unique bars.

Sandals Royal Curaçao will carry on the brand’s reputation as an authority in romance with three oceanfront wedding venues. The resort will also feature a luxurious Red Lane® Spa with six outdoor spa cabanas and treatment rooms; expansive pools; access to the neighboring 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course; 38,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, the largest on the island; two on-site marinas and 70 dive sites, ideally suited for guests looking to join the more than 100,000 divers who have earned PADI®-certification through the resort company already.

Grand Opening Offer

Guests who book a stay at Sandals Royal Curaçao now through November 2, 2021, will receive a special Grand Opening Offer with savings of up to $1,000.

Introductory rates at Sandals Royal Curaçao start at $341 per person, per night, and butler category rates start at $538 per person, per night, based on double occupancy and a seven-night stay.

Book your romantic getaway today!

Sandals Royal Barbados Announces Impressive Expansion, Just In Time For Summer

Sandals Royal Barbados Announces Impressive Expansion, Just In Time For Summer

66 dreamy suites will join the South Seas Village, two new wellness-inspired eateries, two new tranquil pools, and more.

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) continues its development in the Caribbean as Sandals Royal Barbados breaks ground on an exciting new expansion, just in time for the summer season.  Set to premiere July 1, 2021, the South Seas Village at Sandals Royal Barbados will be home to 66 new suites, bringing the total room count to 338, which include the brand’s signature Rondoval™ suites, Skypool and Crystal Lagoon Swim-Up suites and Millionaire Butler suite concepts; two new wellness-inspired eateries, The Greenhouse Restaurant and Heart & Sol café, bringing the resort’s impressive restaurant count to nine; and two new relaxing pools.

Flanked between lush gardens and the pristine, white sand beach of Maxwell Beach, the exceedingly romantic additions will be characterized by spacious and bright rooms, high-pitched ceilings and chic furnished light-wood finishes with quartz inlay – designed for seclusion, relaxation and serenity. The South Seas Village will include hallmark offerings such as the Sandals Tranquility Blissful Bed™, with a premium king-size bed, complemented by fine linens and a pillow menu, marble baths adorned, his and her sinks, bath amenities by the Red Lane® Spa, a private outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for two and a full in-room bar complete with a selection of liquors including Robert Mondaviwine. These accommodations will also showcase blackout shades, soothing lights, and an in-room aromatherapy system with relaxing essential oils to personalize scent experiences and promote a great night’s rest.  Guests staying in the new butler suites category will also enjoy a personal butler, 24-hour room service, and VIP check-in.   

Two new culinary concepts will also be introduced at Sandals Royal Barbados, bringing the resort’s total restaurant count to nine. The Greenhouse, a rustic farm-to-table eatery, will offer guests elegant cuisine prepared with locally sourced meats and seafood and straight-from-the-garden fruits and vegetables. Heart and Sol, the resort’s café, combines the variety, speed and service of a New York-style deli with locally sourced culinary offerings for a fresh and clean alternative to sandwiches, soups, salads, energy-boosting smoothie bowls, and nutrient-packed fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices.

Two new freshwater swimming pools will be tucked away in a tranquil section of the South Seas Village. One swimming pool will have a full-service pool bar offering newly curated low-calorie cocktails. With various flavors to choose from like the Ginger Mule, Brûléed Lemon Sour, Green Gin and Cucumber Slush, guests can enjoy the taste of the Caribbeanwithout the guilt.

When staying at Sandals Royal Barbados, guests also have full exchange privileges with the neighboring Sandals Barbados, creating a mega-vacation that includes two all-inclusive resorts for the price of one – 20 total restaurants, 14 bars, 11 pools and five whirlpools. 

Sandals Royal Barbados is now accepting reservations for these accommodations for arrivals beginning July 1, 2021.

Sandals Royal Barbados infinity pool
Sandals Crystal Lagoon Swim Up Suite
Sandals suite with Tranquility Soaking Tub