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Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
13 posts
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Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

We will be staying at Sandals Mo Bay the lat week in June for our honeymoon. We opted for the butler service since we don't travel much and wanted a great experience. After reading reviews there are good and bad ones and I am nervous that We just spent a lot of money and we will be disappointed. Does anyone have personal experience? What do we expect from our butler? Is the arrival and departure lounge worth the extra money? With Butler service do you get a private car to the resort or do you have to take the shuttle like everyone else? Anything anyone would recommend we do excursions, spa ect? Thanks in advance!!!

Portland, Maine...
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1,325 posts
79 reviews
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1. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

I have my first Sandals Montego Bay staying coming next month so I can't speak from personal experience about the specific property but I can speak about the Sandals brand butler service. First off, don't worry, you will not be disappointed and you did not waste your money! If your stays go anything like mine have you'll be rearranging your life just to be lucky enough to get back! I have stayed at Sandals Whitehouse 4x and Sandals Negril 1x. Twice at SWH we had butler service and it's an amazing experience. They just enhance every aspect of your vacation. You won't be own your own you will have a person guide (well, guides, you will have two butlers that spilt the time) to take care of your every wish and need. Maybe you need to have your favorite drink brought to you at 5 minutes to the hour, every hour? No problem. Maybe you really enjoyed the restaurant you had a reservation at the night before so you have your butler bring the food to your room and setup a private dinner. Relax on the beach all day at a preferred reserved spot provided and prepared by your butlers complete with a cooler of your favorite beverages to keep you cool. Have them bring you lunch from any restaurant so you can melt away on the beach. You can use the butlers as much or as little as you want. They will even unpack your suitcases if you wish. I wish I could say there is no going back from butler service once you've had it but for us it's just not affordable to book butler service every trip, especially when we want to come back as much as possible.

As far as I know butler service does not get a private car (at least not at SWH) and you take the shuttle. Alternatively you could arrange private transportation at a cost through Sandals or much cheaper by using one of the many recommended drivers here on Trip Advisor in a thread known as "The List". You can find a like to that on the right hand side of this page under "Top Questions about Montego Bay". I'm a Kingsley James fanatic so naturally I will throw a recommendation his way if you need a driver or any private transportation while in Jamaica for tours.

Hopefully there is something that helps you in all that rambling! I have started a thread called "Sandals Montego Bay (pre & post) On Site Report & More!" in the Montego Bay forum where we are talking about the property, sharing tips, and I plan to post live while on site. Best wishes and good luck!

Calgary
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4,148 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

We have experienced butler service twice (soon to be third). At first, we had zero idea what exactly to do with them. Hubby and I are not demanding people, so we do what Jay suggested and not run them ragged! I will emphasize that they won't be hanging around and bugging you 24/7. You will be given a cell phone to keep in contact with them. They won't phone you unless they are in the middle of something and you have left them a voice message. The butlers usually have between 5-7 couples at one time. Don't forget to fill out the butler form and submit it approx 2 weeks out from your arrival. On it, you fill out all your drink and other requests so they will be ready when you arrive. It's on the bottom of the main Sandals webpage.

Cheers and early congratulations!

Rochester, New York
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2,405 posts
107 reviews
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3. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

shariothrt: You do not get a private car transfer as part of the standard butler package. You are expected to take the bus along with every other guest. Now, having said this, every once in awhile, our Butlers do arrange for a private car transfer. It just depends...to summarize, Butlers do two things;

1. They are your 'go to' person for any and all issues or problems. Big or small. They are your point of contact and let them do all the heavy lifting to resolve your problem. Over the years with us they have handled everything from a backed up sink and flooded out room to minor things like a lost room key. One mention to our Butler and all was taken care of.

2. Once they get to know your likes/dislikes/preferences they will do little extra special things to enhance your stay and make it more special. For example, they know MrsSRCFan loves flowers and floral arrangements so they are always making little floral arrangements or just decorating her sun lounger with flowers that match her bikini color scheme for the day.

In addition there are more standard things they will offer to do for you. Have you looked at the Sandals web page that describes the standard things Butlers also do?

www.sandals.com/difference/butler-service/

Lastly, if you would like to receive a PowerPoint presentation that we share with all that describes the Sandals experience please send me a Trip Advisor private message with an appropriate email address to send it to. Trip Advisor private messaging does not allow for attachments. The presentation focuses on Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island, but many of the slides are relevant to any Sandals resort.

Calgary
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4,148 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

Oh and don't forget about tipping the butlers. They are the only staff allowed to accept tips. Hubby and I tip at the end of the vacation. The amount is up to you...we usually give them $20 per butler per day as others have also said they do as well. The tip is not mandatory but most of these butlers work their tushes off to make sure you have a great vacation! I have read some reviews where people thought their butlers were slackers or lazy, but we haven't had a problem yet. In fact, we have requested the same butlers we had last year at SN for our upcoming trip in April. Keeping our fingers crossed that we get them!!

Middletown, Ohio
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608 posts
19 reviews
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5. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

We'll be enjoying our seventh stay at Sandals Montego Bay in April, and with the exception of one stay, have always reserved a butler suite. Good communication is always important. Go to the Sandals website and complete the online "butler preferences" before your stay. Upon arrival, let the butlers know what your expectations are, what you want to do, what you need. I can only remember one butler who was not very attentive, but his partner (you will have two butlers) more than made up for it. We have had butlers from previous stays ask if we needed anything (love you, Omar, Michael, and Nasha!). The Sandals website lists the services butlers provide, and I would suggest you read it so you will know what to expect. Be polite and respectful, but let them know what you need.

Ontario Canada
Destination Expert
for White House
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8,684 posts
46 reviews
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6. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

...and don't go swiming with your butler cell phone. haha...just thought I'd throw that in as I know someone (know him very well!) who forgot the phone was in the pocket of his swimsuit. Cost him a bit of money. :)

As mentioned above, your butlers aren't at all intrusive. We've had butlers at 5 different Sandals resorts and while some provided better service than others, we were well taken care of each time. We are very low maintenance and if our butlers hadn't heard from us in awhile, they would give us a call on the cell or stop by our loungers to see if everything was ok. At one resort I was not feeling well for most of the week...our butler brought me tea every morning to the pool and a plate of peanut butter cookies fresh from the oven. Definite white glove service (yes he wore his white gloves), carried a fancy silver teapot on a silver tray, and insisted on pouring my tea for me. It was just lovely!

Calgary
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4,148 posts
7 reviews
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7. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

Gee tp...could that have been Mr tp?? LOL!!! Mine put the room key next to the butler cell phone in his pocket and we all know what happens then..

Ontario Canada
Destination Expert
for White House
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8,684 posts
46 reviews
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8. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

lol, not Mr. tp....though almost him a few times except that he spent more time running back to the room for the phone which he continually forgot to carry....but rather a tp offspring. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
13 posts
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9. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

Thank you everyone for the advice! We are really excited to go.

Tully, New York
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
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765 posts
21 reviews
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10. Re: Sandals Virgins! Would love some advice!

We have had butlers in the past and will again in April at SRC. I think I would say that there are good butlers and some not as good. If I had a “bad” butler I would be talk to someone to have it corrected. It just seems that one does things better than the other or a bit differently.

As far as the transport, SMB is only about a 10 minute drive from the airport. You can get a “private transport” for about $30 US. But using the shuttle you can chat make friends and get more questions answered.

Whether Club-Mobay is worth it is subjective because of the cost. When you arrive such as day of the week and time of day makes a big difference. We arrive mid week and it is much more quiet. One of our first trips to MBJ was a weekend and it took over an hour to clear immigration, but seemed like 2 hours. Last April on a Tuesday we were about 5th in line and we zipped right through but I think we just got very lucky. We did use the departure lounge and I will again as I know that we will have one to two hours at the airport before we depart and the lounge is very comfortable. I think the $30 per person is well worth it.