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AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

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Fallston, Maryland
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231 posts
38 reviews
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AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

Can someone shed light on their experiences with the AI's which offer the upgraded and tiered customer levels? I have yet to become a fan to wish to experience with such a capacity, solely because my heart feels that we are all contributing our resources to have a nice holiday and -- aside from the diverse room categories-- we are there with the same purpose.

I know there are many whom prefer the butler services and upgraded concierge perks, but I just wanted to gain a wholesome perspective from both ends.

Rochester, New York
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1. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

For us the perspective is analogous to buying a car. Do you want a car with more options, bells, whistles, and features? Or do you want basic transportation. Both vehicles perform some very basic functions that are generally accepted as a minimum...it's the options or other models that differentiate one car from another. And those options, rightfully so, cost more.

I think some folks equate the phrase all inclusive with egalitarian. Here is where some get confused. Strictly speaking 'all inclusive' is a list of features, services, benefits, etc. for a given price point. I think if people viewed the concept of all inclusive from that price point perspective then confusion, unaligned expectations, etc. would be reduced. Doesn't sound sexy, 'all inclusive at a given price point'...but that's the reality.

Branch over to preferences and then it's purely a matter of that, personal preferences. For us, having gone the deluxe, Club, and Butler Elite levels at Sandals over the years...it's Butler elite every time from here on out. Others' mileage no doubt varies.

Edited: 18 July 2014, 11:16
Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Negril
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2. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

I have experienced both, on multiple occasions. And resorts implement these types of options differently IME.

In terms of Jamaican resorts, I have personally felt like a 2nd class citizen at Sandals resorts since they implemented the butler program and much preferred their resorts prior to those changes.

I compare it to buying a home. We will choose a smaller home in a better neighborhood over the biggest home in an average neighborhood.

We very much enjoy luxury resorts with butler service in other destinations. It is the overall experience that makes it a great stay for us.

Some of my favorite resorts in MX feature butler service for all guests. For us, having a gltizy room and a butler at a resort that is otherwise not a true luxury resort is not something we are willing to pay for. We would rather spend our time and money on a true luxury resort (when that is the goal of a particular vacation) and book a less expensive room there.

Northampton
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447 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

For what it's worth, we prefer to go all inclusive because for us one week in Jamaica self catering just isn't worth it due to the longer flight time for us to get there. By the time you get on Jamaican time it's nearly time to come home!

We only go away once a year and when we do we choose carefully and try to get the best for what the budget will allow. Going to the Caribbean to us folks in the UK isn't just 'a short break down south' it's quite an expedition.

We enjoy the 'trappings' of all inclusive but we do go out and about and don't sit on the beach for two weeks. Although I have to say, we have stayed at Sandals but didn't have a butler and it was still wonderful!!

Just my two penneth worth ...

St. Charles, MO
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4. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

I am not a fan of the resorts with tiered service levels. I have been in resorts where the color of a wristband determined where you could go and where you couldn't. Even though we had the 'best' color band, it just made me uncomfortable. I tend to avoid those resorts now.

Like Caviargal, we became disenchanted with Sandals when their butler level became more prevalent. It seems to be harder to get a nice spot on the beach, or a good time for dinner because the butler level guests are able to get to them first. It feels like we are at a disadvantage. It's a subtle thing, not overt. But it's there.

We also like Couples now because all guests are equal in opportunity for restaurant seating, beverage service, etc. Some may have a nicer view from their room, or have a nice big suite to enjoy, but when you get to the beach, we're all the same.

Calgary
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5. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

Star: Our experience is a bit different from the others who have posted thus far. Because of our preference for Sandals and the butler category, hubs and I have been labeled 'elitist' and 'snobs' by some posters on ta. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have both worked hard all of our lives and, fortunately, I was able to retire a few years ago. Our first AI experience was Sandals Halcyon back in 2012. I do all the planning for our vacations, so I chose Halcyon and the suite. I chose the 'Romeo and Juliet' suite based on the room and it just happened to come with butler service. I was embarrassed because we had zero clue what to do with the butlers. 2013 we went to Sandals Negril (recommended by a couple we met at Halcyon) and, once again, I chose the room (based on access to pools, restaurants and beach) and butlers came with it. This time, we used the butlers more but still not all the time. 2014 same room category, same butlers. I am so glad we did. I have a chronic physical condition and we never know when I will have a flare up. I'll spare the details, but I did have one before/during our SN trip last April and thank goodness for the butlers. I had a mishap on the beach, couldn't walk and all hubs had to do was use the butler phone and they were there within 3 minutes with a wheelchair and the resort nurse. This is why we prefer using the butler category. As I said earlier, our story is a bit different because it is more necessity than being 'elitist'.

Ontario Canada
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for White House
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6. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

Our experience in being able to compare standard level, club level (formerly concierge) and butler level rests solely with Sandals resorts, so I can only speak to our experiences with the Sandals brand. We've been to all Sandals (exception Grenada and Barbados which we've booked for future stays) and have stayed at some Sandals resorts numerous times, have experienced all levels of room categories...some at the same resorts.

I love that Sandals offers these options...something for everyone! I don't at all look at the various categories as a negative...I look at it as a terrific positive. Just as some folks prefer to fly first class...and are willing to pay the price...so is your choice at Sandals. Butler level is a higher level of more personalized service. It does not at all mean that those who chose a lower category room will be treated differently...all are treated with respect and friendly top notch service. A butler category room generally means you are in a bigger room (yes, likely more money at any resort, with or without butler service) and you are getting one-on-one personal service. I don't begrudge those who book butler service, just as I don't begrudge those who fly first class or those who pay more money to have a larger room or a better view. We all make choices as to how we spend our hard-earned dollars and just as some don't care to drive a fancy car, others will go in nothing less.

In 2012 I had the opportunity to address the so called second class citizen scenario based on my own experiences. If you are interested in reading it, here is the link: tripadvisor.com/…39644335

We have been treated outstandingly at Sandals no matter which category of room we are in. My summation of the three categories is this:

Standard Level = great service

Club Level = great service

Butler Level = great service with dedicated one-on-one attention

7. Re: AI's in Negril/ Caribbean

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