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Sandals South Coast
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Reviewed 10 January 2013

My wife and I just returned from Whitehouse on Jan 6th, and were absolutely blown away. I’m going to write my review a little backwards only because I want to ensure that the most important part to me comes first and gets the notice it deserves. That is the people that worked so hard at the resort and truly made special efforts for us and made our trip wonderful.
Dai Dai (Daisha) – We met her at the martini bar and she was great to us the entire week. She even seeked us out on the night of the returning guest dinner to ensure we made it in on time as we were talking around the piazza not paying attention much. Thank you Dai Dai – Big Bang Mat.
Shamone worked at the French pool during our stay and she provided the perfect amount of sass and service. I know my friend Scott will never forget her dice joke.
Anthony at the martini bar. He put up with watching 4 silly Canadians dance till 2 in the morning 3 nights in a row and was great fun. If you ever find the rest of my belt Anthony, let me know.
Leeroy at front end. When we first arrived we were very anxious to get through the check in process and meet our friends. Leeroy recognized our anxiousness without me having to say anything and took care of us himself and had us out of the lobby and on our way to our room in under 5 minutes.
Tanu at the French pool. Tanu was pleasant and made so many towel animals in a contest with my friend that I will never forget it. He always tried to ensure our stay was great.
Gregg also at the French pool. Anything we needed Gregg was willing to get and would have places at the pool ready for us in the morning, making the start to the day relaxing.
Troy at Neptunes outside bar. Troy had either a very acute sense of hearing or had a sixth sense. The first night we were there I walked up to the bar, he looked at me and my pal and said “gin and tonic and Crown and coke” I still don’t know how he knew what we wanted but needless to say it impressed the hell out of us. The rest of the week with Troy was a pleasure.
Aldane at the French pool. Just starting on the job, he worked very hard to ensure we got what we wanted. On our last day he chased us down the beach a good distance with a drink in hand explaining he made the last one incorrectly and he wanted to replace it with the correct one. That’s impressive customer service.
Garcia . Garcia was sent to replace our clock and when he knocked on our door I was busy and asked for 5 minutes time. Unfortunately I forgot after the 5 minutes were up and didn’t open the door for a good 25 minutes. When I did Garcia was patiently waiting with a smile on his face. I still feel bad about making him wait outside but appreciate his patience very much.
Claudius and Aleesha at Baysides for midnight snacks. Both were extremely pleasant and offered great service and excellent conversation to us even though we were undoubtedly very loud and boisterous as such a late hour.
So those are the people I’d like to say thank you too. I know we were 4 very loud Canadians that had a lot of fun (maybe too much!) but we really appreciate the effort all of you gave us.

Ok, on to the rest of the review. We had visited this location 3 years ago and I cannot believe how much they’ve added considering last time we thought our stay was perfect.
The grounds are immaculate. Everything is just a piece of paradise. We stayed at the French village and spent most of our time there, but we did visit everywhere and it is the same throughout the entire resort. The pools are sparkling, the beach is clean and smooth and the grass and plant life are cut and maintained wonderfully. The new path along the beach really makes a huge difference as it was our main path to get to and from the piazza and back.
Our room was wonderful, and this is something I want to get out there. We had the most basic room. 3rd floor French village. I read complaints about the rooms and I have a very difficult time understanding them. First of all it was clean. I mean very clean. The bathroom is small I suppose but I do not require a large bathroom in fact I would consider that a waste of space. It was comfortable, bed was wonderful. It is not a pile of feathers, nor should it be, it had the perfect level of firmness to allow a great sleep. AC worked no problem. The bar fridge was a little loud but once I shifted it around in its cabinet a bit it was better. As I said before our clock didn’t work but that was replaced instantly so no complaints there.
The food at the resort was excellent. I am a huge food person and tried MANY items, most often getting 2 entrées. The one disappointing meal experience I did had was the buffet lunch at bayside. It may simply be that the items offered did not suit my preferences, but we really didn’t enjoy it and in fact ate at Neptune’s immediately after and had a much better meal. The jerk pit outside the Italian village had amazing jerk pork and chicken, and Bluefield’s at the French village has amazing jerk patties that you can get on a walk up basis that we snacked on a lot. Another note, the clubhouse at midnight from Bayside is great.
We were there for the New Year’s celebration and were absolutely blown away. The night starts off with cocktails served along the path by the Dutch and Italian villages with white tables set up everywhere. After cocktails we were ushered to the main piazza where the true party was set to take place. The opulence and extravagance is hard to explain. The main pool had “HAPPY NEW YEARS” set up in Ice sculptures. These matched the ice sculptures set up around the rest of the Piazza. There were tall pedestals with people standing on them painted in body paint acting as living statues for most of the evening. The buffet supper was enormous and consisted of everything imaginable, grilled lobster tails, sirloin steak, honey duck, pork medallions, salad stations, pasta stations, sushi stations, dessert, the list goes on and on. If you are there for new years just don’t forget to go to both sides of the main pool as the items offered on each side are different. The main fountain was emptied and filled with ice and hundreds of bottles of champagne. There were also numerous bars set up, some for martinis, mojitos, cigars, and anything in between. A steel drum band, The Silver Birds, performed on the stage first and they were amazing. We loved them and were thrilled when they gave impromptu dance lessons and a conga line after their show. As Midnight approached another band took the stage and led a countdown to new years. We danced and danced, and this is coming from a long legged Canadian who does his best dancing when trying to run away from a bumble bee. To say we were blown away by new years would be an understatement.
I’ll quickly talk about the activities available at the resort, they are varied and plentiful. Snorkelling was great fun, we didn’t go scuba diving. I enjoyed the Hobie cats tremendously and being an avid windsurfer was very pleased I was able to get out on the water a few times. Tennis courts are in great shape and the path side shuffleboard is great fun as well. Pool volleyball in the French pool is very fun as long as you are relaxed and content that the score remains 2-1 no matter how many points are scored.
I’m going to wrap up this overly long review soon, but I will put out my few criticisms that I feel could be dealt with to lift the resort into the stratosphere. First is the internet access. Plain and simple Sandals, include this for free. This is an expensive all inclusive resort, having to pay 44 dollars for 7 days of internet is ridiculous. It was even difficult to connect to many times. I spoke with Mr G. Directly about this and he graciously took it off our bill, but I really do think it should be included. Second is the system for the hobie cats. They can be in high demand and getting one can be frustrating. You will be told that you are in line to get one by the staff working the beach yet also be told there is “no list” first come first serve. This is very confusing and after waiting an hour we discovered that ourselves along with 2 other couples were just assured that we were all getting the very next boat. This causes two problems. One nobody is sure if/when they are getting a turn and you feel as though you are wasting precious vacation time. Second it creates confrontation between guests because if everyone has been told they are next they are rightfully upset when someone else is given a boat over them for no apparent reason. The system should be to put your name on a list. When the boat comes in they call your name. If you don’t arrive in 1 minute, they move you down the list and on the next. Easy, confrontation free, and transparent.
That’s it. Our vacation was amazing. To all the people we met, we appreciate you putting up with us. Being 4 loud 30 something Canadians we were very happy to meet some wonderful people. Abby, Andy, Jenny, Kane, Nicole, Jon, and many others who I know I am forgetting right now, thank you, it was a real treat to get to know you. I’m missing Jenny and Kane’s face book names so if by chance you happen to read this review, please message me.

Room Tip: French Village is the louder party area, Dutch and Italian definetly quieter. If you are the type of person who needs room service and an in room bar I suppose you'd want concierge level otherwise the base rooms were very very nice.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with friends
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8  Thank mat h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2013

this was our first trip to jamaica and we were not diappointed.sandals white house was un believeable and the service was second to none.the food was excellent the staff friendly and the drinks were great.we stayed in the french village honeymoon beach front walkout literally steps from the ocean.the weather was perfect the water was beautiful and warm and the sand felt like baby powder.snorkeling was fun and the entertainment was good.who would of thought november could be so fun other than thanksgiving.i highly reccomend this resort to anyone and we will be back.our favorite restaurant was bayside and renaldo was our favorite bar tender.

Room Tip: the french village was quiet and peaceful but a good walk to the restuarants .beach walkout is nice easy in and easy out.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank robert p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2013

My fiancé and I went from 12/28 until 1/4. I have read almost every review on this site, and SWH lives up to its high expectations! I can't wait to make it back in the future.

Arrival / Departure
We arrived at the airport and followed the clearly marked signs to get through Customs. Once through, a Sandals Representative kindly greets you and asks where you are staying. After that he takes your bags and you relax with a Red Stripe! Shuttles are leaving constantly, so I had to hurry to finish my beer (15 minutes) before our bus left. Granted, I saw one group get a full tray of beer for their ride, but I didn't want drink on the ride. The ride was pretty bumpy, and they do a nice job of telling you when it will be getting worse. It takes 90 minutes and you will be welcomed to paradise with a cold, moist towel and some champagne.
For departure we just left our bags out in front of our room in the morning and they handle the rest. Show up for the 9am bus and they take us back on the 90 minute ride back to the Montego Bay airport. Since I knew what to expect this time, it wasn't as bad. If possible, ride in the larger buses. The roads had construction going on, so they should be improving in the future.

Food / Service
Bayside was our favorite restaurant. They have lobster tails almost every night and their coconut shrimp are amazing! Tean was our server and he made sure to let us know that we were taken care of, so genuinely friendly. We ate here three times... it is that good!

Jerk Pit was our favorite lunch spot. We are not big on breakfast so we usually just waited until the early afternoon and picked up some Jerk chicken and ate on the beach. This was the best Jerk chicken I have ever had. I stayed at Sandals Dunn's River several years back, and this was 10x better. Make sure to get extra sauce on the bread, can be a bit spicy and I loved it. Makes you realize how tasteless BBQ chicken is back home.

We ate at the Italian restaurant once, called Giuseppe’s. I ordered the chicken carbonara and chicken parmesan. Both were amazing, as well as the appetizers. The server noticed that we were drinking wine and left the bottle on the table for us, it was much appreciated! This was my second favorite restaurant, and would have loved to eat there again.

Every morning, afternoon and some evenings included visits to Café de Paris. It is like a free Starbucks with extras. The espressos, lattes, iced cappuccinos and crepes were top notch. I miss this place already.

Eleanors is the fancy restaurant, the one that requires you to wear pants and shoes. The wait for this place was about 30 minutes each time we ate there. Food was very good, especially the crab cakes. I am from the Midwest, so I am used to a better cut of beef, but others enjoyed the steak. We came back a second time just for the crab cakes alone.

Neptune’s is the restaurant right next to the main bar (non-pool). The food was good, but the service left a lot to be desired. In Jamaica, it is expected that there is no rush. Just have a drink and relax. But our server here seemed like she didn’t want to be there and it showed. Food took a very long time, close to an hour. Drinks were non-existent, so I just got up myself for a refill from the bar. We heard later that they have good burgers and fries for lunch, but we had enough of this place. This was the one disappointment of the restaurants.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to make it to Jasmines or Bluefields Beach Club.

Overall we had first class food service with small portions. I typically ordered one or two appetizers with two entrees for myself. They don’t mind at all if you order that much, plus it gives you the opportunity to try out more of the food.

Drinks / Bars
Typically each day we hung out around the giant main pool. They had activities going on each day and we participated once. The entertainment staff had very energetic, fun people. The pool bar served all the good stuff, with my favorites being the Dirty Banana and Mojito.

At night we would hit up the Martini Bar and let me tell you… they know how to keep you happy. We would chat up the bartender and other guests and the martinis would keep flowing all night long. Once properly “hydrated” we moved over to the piano and started singing songs with a group. It was fun, hilarious and a great atmosphere. The place turns into a night club around 11pm and that’s usually when most people clear out. We stayed a few nights and partied until 1:30am. It brought back some good college memories, haha.

The other big bar next to Neptune’s the BEST BARTENDER EVER with Copeland. Take some time to get to know him and he will call you by name and know your drink order the rest of the trip. He is such a friendly person and it was nice to get to know about him. They always had plenty of Crown Royal and Jack Daniels, so I was quite happy.

The one disappointment was that they didn’t seem to offer poolside or beach drink service. Would have been nice to have someone walking around taking drink orders, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to walk over and order the drink myself.

Activities
This is where Sandals really shines over the rest. We went scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, water-skiing and kneeboarding. They didn’t have any hydro-bikes, but that wasn’t too big of a deal for us. The scuba diving workers are knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Whitehouse was sold out for half the time we were there, but it never felt crowded. It looks like they built the place to hold 3x as many people. It was refreshing; because I was worried the place was going to be packed with people.

This review is getting too long, so let me wrap it up with the Red Lane Spa. This place is expensive, but sooooooooo worth it! We had a couples massage (meaning same room so we could be close) each getting the signature West Indies massage. It was the greatest 80 minutes of my life!!!

This place is great, but it’s good to come in with expectations. If you are nice to the workers, they will go out of their way to make sure you are happy. Simple enough, don’t be rude… it doesn’t help. The food service can be slow, but you are on vacation so just sit back and relax. Sometimes the restaurants would get busy and the server had difficulty keeping up with drinks (I admit, I drink more than the average person) so I had no problem getting up and getting a drink from a nearby bar and walking back. We read about the sand fleas and brought bug spray, but never had to use it. Never got any bites, but I would bring some just in case. I would rate this place a solid 4.5 out of 5.0, and would not hesitate to come back or recommend to others. It was incredible.

Room Tip: Order more than one appetizer and entree, they have small portions.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Eric P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2013

This was our 4th trip to a Sandals - I have to agree with okgoldustwmn that we too were disappointed. We did not feel our room was worth the money we paid - our room, in the French Village needs to be renovated - new paint, upgrade heating system (no hot water at prime time) Service at bar was more like a "show" then service. Bartenders would not even look at you if they were busy doing something else. Food was ok, Eleanors was a huge disappointed, terrible service - again the server was putting on a show, food was not up to pare and why do we have to "dress" for this restaurant? I can understand no wet bathing suits but decent shorts and top should be enough, after all, we have paid for this service. breakfast was ok, fruit was really disappointing, but the service and condition of the resort was really disappointing. the best thing about this Sandals is the beach, by far.

Room Tip: not sure how to do this - everytime you speak to a Sandals rep you get a different answer.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Lucia O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2013

I have been to this resort many times and each time I go back it gets better & better ! The staff are wonderful, the food and accommodation are luxury! I recommend the Butler suites which give you more pampering! I am going back this spring to my 2nd Home! Once you go you know!!!! My clients say they are in Shangrala "paradise"!!!! I agree with them!

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank NCPREFERREDAGENT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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