We just got back from Jamaica and celebrating our anniversary and I'll start out by saying pretty much everything you read here and in other reviews are accurate. Starting off with our arrival we did not pay the extra $$ to get through immigration. Maybe because it was a Thursday but we just lucked out with timing. I've heard horror stories and of people just flying through so I would suggest just looking at the airport arrivals before getting on your plane to Montego Bay and then deciding. If there are a lot of arrivals, do it as the immigration area is not fun and not modern. Once you get out of immigration you go to the Sandals lounge and maybe have a quick drink or two before hopping on the shuttle to the resort. I won't dance around it. The shuttle isn't fun, winding mountain roads with big potholes along the way. But we expected it and kept on going. We got to the resort and asked for an upgrade and were told that they were sold out but they did move us into a corner room. So for those in the lower level room categories, ask for the corner rooms especially on the higher floors. Our room was 3308 in the French Village. It was great as we were close enough to the water to leave our door open all night long to hear the waves. (Side note the resort has no screens on the door so you just take your chances with bugs, but we didn't have a problem). We spent most of our time in the French Village just because our room was right there. The pool was great and the bartenders were awesome. I don't want to say it was the party pool but with pool volleyball going on during the day it got a bit louder. The Dutch pool was like a quiet library. The Italian had activities and seemed to be the busiest as it was right next to most of the restaurants. We only hung out there once though. For the beaches...the Italian had the widest seating area and the big beach that you dream of with two swimming areas. The beach does get smaller the further you move away from the main pool area though. Don't get me wrong...down on the French side the chairs are practically right on top of the water so it's really what you want. Again we stayed at the French Beach and had no problem getting chairs etc. Plus the french part of the beach has a ton of natural shade. For the water itself it was warm and was turqouise with two problems and for me it was a bummer. One was the rocks that seemed to exist about 5-10 feet into the water. Now some folks say bring water shoes....honestly i never thought it was that bad. They dissapate after about 3-4 feet...so I just said it's just like walking out on seashells. The biggest thing for me was the water wasn't clear in the areas immediately around the resort even though it had this brilliant color. Now if you get away from the beach a bit it did clear up but where you would be swimming...not clear. Murky gives the impression of dirty but you couldn't see your feet or your knees and it's not a deep swimming area. Whenever you were in the water and walking the sand would be kicked up and kind of settle on top. This was at all three beaches. On top of this, in other reviews, people talk about seaweed/seagrass/sea urchins/jellyfish. We only had an issue with the last one. However we knew people had problems with sea urchins as well. We were both stung a few times and it hurt but no more then a slight burn for about 20 mins. Put some rum or vinegar on it and it will pretty much dissapate. The walk off the resort down the beach was pretty cool as you aren't dealing with vendors or homeowners, it's just nature so that was pretty cool. We paid for the extra snorkeling trip and I would say if you are expecting colorful reefs, don't go. It was disappointing and although we saw fish...nothing really stood out in my mind. Plus if you do go out and there is only one guy on the boat, becareful he'll want the $60 that should be charged to your room ($30 per person). No ATM on the resort so you have to pay a fee to get Jamaican money. The room was the Honeymoon Deluxe...again it was pretty much what we expected. Toilet and shower seperated from the sink. One sink. Bed was comfortable and the room was spacious. I guess I don't understand splurging on a room if you are there for a beach or a pool...that's what you are there for. But to each their own. The food was pretty good. As this is my second sandals visit but my first to Whitehouse, again, I would never say the food was to die for or the best meal I ever had. However I never had a bad meal and everything was tasty. Although I think they use a lot of salt in the cooking. Eleanor's and Neptune's were our best meals. The chicken at Neptunes and the steak at Eleanor's were both pretty good. Giuseppe's was ok....the pizza wasn't great but wasn't bad and the pasta was pretty good. We didn't eat Jasmine's so can't comment on the food there. Bluefield's was pretty good for lunch and for dinner but they don't do breakfast. I would opt at least for one breakfast at Eleanor's even though I think they just grab everything from the buffet, it's a bit more relaxed. Bayside was standard buffett food and I was a bit disappointed. Variety is severely lacking and there weren't many fruit choices during lunch and or breakfast. Breakfast seemed to be the better of the two. Again didn't eat here for dinner but the menu didn't look bad. We never went to dinner before 8 so I think it helped with the fact that we never waited more then a few moments to be seated.The jerk pit i heard mixed reviews as some people raved about it others hated it. I guess it's a personal preference. Bayside does late night food too after 10. Also, Bluefields you can grab lunch at or a snack in between dinner and lunch services. The wine is pretty good unless you really want to buy a bottle I would stick with what they serve you. Again I guess I felt like this isn't the best meal I am ever going to have so why pay more for a bottle of wine. Some popcorn machines around neptune's and bluefield's for quick snacks. Don't miss the Steel Drum band at the Cabaret. I wish they put it outside but I would get there about a half-hour before they play to make sure you get a seat. They were really good. The people make this resort....it's kept immaculately clean on the outside. Sure the rooms are a bit dated but they aren't bad by any quality. I would think Hampton Inn/Hilton brand rooms when I think of the standard room they have. Again though....you are paying for the resort and the amenities and not the room necessarily. The ride back to the airport was quicker and wasn't as bad even though the roads were the same. Maybe the dramamine helped. On departure we opted for Club Mobay....again look at your departure date and time. We flew out on a Tuesday afternoon...so not much traffic and we could have saved $60 ($30 pp). Everything at Whitehouse was top notch...but for me I paid for the beach and wish some of the reviews were a bit clearer in the description of the water itself. If you are thinking crystal clear lagoon like....look elsewhere. If you want a view with an outstanding property, outstanding people, good food, good pools, and a pretty good beach go, you won't regret it. I won't return but not to the lack of the resort or the staff, for me it was the beach. One final note in regards to the villages...you can't go wrong but we enjoyed the walk to and from the french village from dinner every night and morning. You got out of the room talked with folks etc. It was nice to walk around the resort and have that every night. If you were on one of the resort and walked to the other it would probably take about 10 min on the beachfront but shorter if you went the back way.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the undiscovered. Journey to a forgotten Jamaica where the natural beauty is simply unforgettable. Within a 500-acre wilderness preserve, blue mountains, lush palm groves, pristine coastlines and shimmering turquoise waters create an unbelievable backdrop for a monumental resort. Sandals Whitehouse Europe Village & Spa perfectly blends the exotic allure of the Caribbean with the refined elegance of Europe. Charming Italian piazzas and fountains are surrounded by gardens resplendent with fragrant foliage, while three European-inspired villages – Italian, French and Dutch – are home to luxuriously-appointed, all oceanfront rooms and suites. Each one offers magnificent views overlooking the two-mile long beach, and top tier suites come with Sandals’ legendary Butler Service. Seven restaurants serve mouthwatering gourmet cuisine from around the world, and entertainment ranges from a sophisticated piano bar to bonfire beach parties and a chic nightclub. This resort is truly a world unto itself, where time is all but forgotten and the only moment is now. World Travel Awards: Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All – Inclusive Company,” 16 years in a row. Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand,” 18 years in a row. Sandals Whitehouse “Jamaica’s Leading Spa Resort” Five Star Diamond Award, American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. We’re so very pleased to announce that Sandals Whitehouse European Villages & Spa has been named in Condé Nast Traveler’s Voted 2012 Readers' Choice Awards “Top 15 Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 10 and “Top 30 Resorts in the Caribbean,” coming in at No. 4 as part of the annual “Best in the World” poll. Presented Certificate of Excellence for 2012 and Travelers' Choice Hotel for 2012. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Whitehouse European Village Hotel Whitehouse
- Whitehouse Sandals
- Sandals Whitehouse Jamaica