May I ask you a few questions since you are an experienced Sandals traveler? My husband and I visited Grand Riviera Jamaica earlier this year and are returning to Jamaica this fall. We are undecided to return to the same resort that we liked, but are leaning towards trying a different one (as long as it’s comparable or better). We are in our early 40’s and love water sports & night time activities/shows.
Thank you in advance! Jon and Lisa S
My two questions would be:
1. What is the difference between Grand Riviera and Whitehouse?
2. How are the trip/roads from the airport to the resort in comparison?
3. Do you have a different recommendation for a Sandals resort (we want a 'newer feel' to the resort, fun atmosphere at the same time an elegant surrounding. Watersports are important to us (we don't scuba dive....we Hobie Cat, swim and so on).
Hi! I have only visited Ocho Rios, and so have a limited impression of the resort. But I do know Whitehouse. It is much quieter, with a long sandy beach and not much sea traffic apart from the fishermen in their old wooden boats. There are large buoyed areas for swimming, kayaks, trikes, hobie cats, paddle boards and water skiing (as of April 2014). You can see the sea from the pools. The clarity of the water is related to the time of year and the weather. There s often a short burst of 'liquid sunshine' around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, but it clears up quickly. And is just enough to cool you off a bit. There are shows in the evenings. parties on the beach and a martini bar for piano sing-a-long, karaoke and dancing. The restaurants all serve delicious food.You will get excellent service, no matter what room level you book. The drive is definitely worth it! It is about 90 minutes. You do get to see a lot of the real Jamaica, driving through the mountains. There is a variety of tours close to Whitehouse that are well worth trying. I am sure you will have fun, wherever you decide to go!
We've only been to the one Sandals resort. I thought it was amazing. the water sports were great, the food was awesome. The roads aren't any worse than the drive to Negril.
We have never stayed at the Grand Riviera but have been through it when we stayed at the Royal Plantation, for my wife and I the Whitehouse is far nicer than the Grand Riviera. The watersports at the Whitehouse are great, 3 KM private beach, great snorkeling, hydro bikes, wind surfing etc. The road to Ocho was better the last time we were there but we have been told the road to the Whitehouse is being improved as we speak. We are very biased towards the Whitehouse as the people there are fantastic and the feel we get there really does feel like our home away from home.
I will just add a few points I haven't seen in the previous responses re. Whitehouse:
- the beach is long, sure, but at the resort, the beach has been eroding for several years and is quite narrow in some spots;
- yes, bring watersocks, there are rocks and sea urchins in the water off-shore (hiding among the seagrass);
- the reefs off the shore of the resort are quite degraded and do not offer a lot of fish species to observe;
- we stayed at the Dutch Village, which was quiet, the French Village was the party place (but also the farthest from the restaurants);
- the rest is as was described above - great place to visit, immaculate resort conditions, great food, great entertainment, etc.
Markus and Leanne
Hi there, although we have stayed at quite a few of the Sandals resorts we only visited Grande Riviera on a day trip 10 years ago so our memories of that resort are limited. We loved the Whitehouse but it is quite remote and about 90 minutes from Mobay and the drive can be uncomfortable as when we visited in March some of the roads were being improved. The resort itself was lovely and you can hire hobie cats. Also the beach is great for walking along as some of the Sandals are sited on a small stretch of beach. Evening entertainment was quite good with something for everybody. It is a large resort and there is a definite mix of ages. Some of the accommodation can be quite a walk to the restaurants etc but we quite enjoyed this. Hope this helps you.
The Whitehouse resort is beautiful and large. The water sports are very good and the beach is huge.
The trip from the airport and from the resort to Negril are not for the easily scared. The roads are narrow and the drivers are good but ther is an element of danger.
We went to Sandals Emerald Bay 2 years ago and were very impressed. The beach is unlike any other. All the sealife is at the points so there are no rocks or weeds anywhere you are swimming. It is like a giant wave pool. At Whitehouse you will need shoes since it is very rocky in most places at Exuma there are all the water sports plus a golf course on site .
Thinking of a return trip there next.
I hope this helps
We have been to 5 sandals, 3 in Jamaica ( Dunns before it closed, the Royal and Whitehouse ) 1 in St Lucia and 1 in Antigua. The Whitehouse is our favorite, we love the beach 1 mile long and it's private. The resort offers Water Skiing, Hobie Cats, Water Bikes, Padel Boards, and Scuba. there are 3 Pools, 6 or 7 great restaraunts and even a French pastry parlor. There are tennis courts, spa, gym. We are returning to the Whitehouse in Novemeber for our 11th stay at a Sandals this will be our third to the Whitehouse... The road there isnt so bad, we have been on worse, but it may seem horrible to you. We are from AZ and some of the roads here are on the sides of mountains. but we were just informed that the goverment is redoing the road and it should be done by the time we get there. The trip time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic Not that bad and totally worth it, we are 48. & 50 and just love everything about the Whitehouse.... There returning dinner is awesome too! Huge banquet room with Great food! Hope this helps you with your decision, and maybe we will see you we will be there Nov 23rd - Dec 2nd. Have fun at whichever Resort you chose, they are all wonderful!!
Thank you all for your answers....very helpful! I was unaware of the waters being a little murky -seaweed, sea urchin (what is that? do they bite?) and rocks-yikes. We stayed at Grand Riviera last year and we liked it....always something FUN to do, but wanted to perhaps try something new. With Grand Riviera, it is a large spread out resort....but the strange thing is that the pools and restaurants don't necessarily look out over the water so most of time you spent your day by the beautiful pool OR the beach....would be nice to have them both. They added a small area called the Ochi Beach Club, but not a big beach area/swim spot as it got filled up fast. Loved the employees, returning guest dinner and so on.
I was afraid with how remote Whitehouse seems to be that it might be a little 'too peaceful' for us after a nice dinner (love the Caribbean shows at night!). It sounds fabulous though! Maybe that bumpy ride is worth it?!
We went to Beaches Turks in February and that definately set the bar high-wow...that place is fabulous and the 'whole package'!
If you think of anything else or have any suggestions....please share as we have to make a decision by 9/3/14. thank you VERY MUCH!!
The ride is nicer to SGO. It's a modern road comfortable and quicker. The SGO resort is HUGE. You need to take a bus between the 2 sides - the beach side and the pool side. TO be clear I am a travel agent and I will answer any questions that you have. Tel me if you have facebook and I can direct you to a large number of my clients that you can ask even more questions and get more comments. The people that love SGO really love SGO. The people that don't like it really don't like it. I have been to many Sandals resorts and have stayed more than 500 nights. I like SGO but its not my favorite. You need a butler since you will get inferior service without one. More questions? just ask me. I will actually be there September 7th.
Get an answer from Sandals South Coast staff and past guests.