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“Sadly Understaffed”

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Sandals South Coast
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 February 2009

Stayed from Jan 21 to 28 2009. First couple of days were fine in regards to waiting to get into restaurants and at the bars. And then things went down hill from there.
First, let me say that the resort is very well kept in terms of the grounds, gardens and beach. The maintenance staff are exceptional!!! I saw a staff member actually in the main pool with a scrub brush, scrubbing the tile between where the water comes up to and the top of the pool. They are very hard workers indeed.
Our room was in the French Village....PARTY CENTRAL!!!!!! One morning the bar staff that was getting ready for the day was playing the music so loud that if you werent awake you sure would have been ....and this was only 7:30 A.M.!!!!!WTH!!!!
One day, the bar ran out of ice(yes,ice),beer,pina coladas,rum and vodka!!! Not only did they run out,but they had no intentions of replenishing it either!The pool bars are only open until 6 p.m. and this was 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon.
That was a major disappointment that the pool bars close at 6 p.m. What? Are we all 100 years old and go to bed at 6 p.m.? There isnt a drink to be found unless you want to make the trek over to the main pool.The hot tub wasnt hot at the French either.The staff said they were working on it....after day 5 we gave up!!!!
The food...Jasmines was really good.Ate there twice and two really good meals.
Arazonas was good too. Over cooked the steak but still had a few good meals there.
Bluefields was okay. Jerk chicken was good.FYI...ask for double portion as not too big.
Guiseppes was not great. It only serves pizza from 12-4.Very slow!!!How can this be? They only serve 5 to 6 different varities. They ONLY serve pizza during the time frame! You would think that they could pump it out at record speed when thats all they are serving. They got my husbands order wrong, he ordered Hawaiin pizza and got just cheese, dont even ask about the refill for his beer. We were done our meal and leaving the table before it came. So frustrated that we didnt care if it came or not.
A friend of mine went there for dinner in the evening and said that the meal was great ....until she found a hair in her pasta!
The Piano Bar is an absolute gem! Really cold...but a very nice retreat. I highly recommend it.
The buffet was really good...lots to choose from and always fresh. The staffing was again not sufficient as sometimes had to get our own water or coffee/tea and refills.Bring bottles from your room if you are a big H2O drinker like me.
The room was nice. We went one day with no service, again a staffing issue.This is Sandals, you expect your room cleaned daily....right? When it was done, it was done well.
The view was obscured by a huge palm tree on our balcony.Did not see much of the ocean from our balcony like all the brochoures state.
All in all, the resort is very well kept and very clean but they need to fix the staffing problem!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank NancieOntario_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,904 - 5,910 of 7,133 reviews

Reviewed 12 February 2009

From the moment we stepped off the plane we understood what our travel agent meant when she said “You won’t get the “Sandals” experience anywhere else but at Sandals”. As soon as we passed through customs at the MB airport, we were guided to the gorgeous Sandals lounge where they immediately took our luggage, welcomed us and invited us in for a drink and relaxation while waiting for our shuttle. The wait was short, however, and five minutes later we were on the shuttle heading to our destination.
After reading many scary reviews about the “road to Whitehouse”, we were a little nervous about what may be ahead of us. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the road was not bad and we are still wondering why there were so many complaints about it. In fact, the comments about the 1-1/2 hour trip to the resort almost stopped us from choosing Sandals Whitehouse as our destination, but I’m very glad we didn’t let those negative comments deter us in the end.
Upon arriving at the resort, we were instantly greeted outside the lobby by multiple staff, all with a friendly, welcoming smile and handshake. Cold towels were handed out and we were escorted into the lobby where a Sandals rep personally checked us in while we sat and enjoyed a glass of champagne. We were surprised with a complimentary upgrade on our room…Grand Luxe, Dutch village. We were then escorted to our room and were settled in to enjoy our holiday. Our room was really pretty, very clean, great view of the pool and ocean, always lots of towels and other bathroom necessities and our fridge was continuously stocked with water, pop and juice. At this point, we were very impressed with the service which started a long-awaited holiday off to a very good start and continued throughout our stay.
It was evening when we arrived, just in time for dinner. Figuring out where to go for dinner, in the dark, was a little difficult, but we were soon seated at Bayside and enjoying our first, of many, delicious dinners. We were very pleased with all of our meals at Sandals. We enjoyed the breakfast-buffet at Bayside most mornings. They offered a huge assortment of items from cooked-to-order eggs, breakfast meats, fruits, a juice bar, cereals, yogurts, vegetables, breads and pastries (which were amazing), pancakes and waffles with a bunch of different toppings to choose from, etc. We also ate at the Bayside lunch-buffet 6/7 days because the variety of tasty food was so great. We have no complaints about our dinners…Surf and Turf at Eleanor’s was fantastic, Italian at Guiseppe’s, casual dinner one night at Arizona’s, supper at the Beach Party Buffet on Monday was very impressive and a lot of fun too. The Café de Paris was a highlight everyday…choosing which pastry to try was a challenge…everything we did try was very good.
After dinner, most nights we enjoyed the nightly entertainment in the Cabaret…it was a lot of fun. Christian did an excellent job of trying to get guests involved and making sure that everyone was having a good time. We also loved walking in the Piazza taking in the beautiful, romantic setting…just couldn’t get enough. The sunsets and night sky were beautiful too.
Our days were spent sitting by the pool in the Dutch Village since it was very quiet and peaceful. There was a nice shady section with comfortable lounge chairs that we saved (get out early) each morning by laying out our towels and leaving a book to mark our spot. Once marked, it was ours for the day. The pool in the French Village seemed to have a lot of activities…we called it the “party pool” and was a bit noisier. There was a bar at our pool that served basic drinks…if we wanted something more elaborate, we walked down the beach to the bar at the main pool where they made all the fancy drinks. We walked the beach 2 or 3 times everyday which was always well maintained, however, we didn’t do any swimming in the ocean. The only people that we saw on the beach were Sandals’ guests…no begging or locals trying to sell something. Everyday, there was a variety of organized activities offered for those who chose to participate.
The laid-back, never-in-a-hurry attitude of the Sandals staff was very different from what we were used to at home. After a couple of days, we found it to be contagious and really appreciated the atmosphere created by the relaxed attitude of the staff…one of the things we missed as soon as we landed in the Toronto Airport. At no time during our stay did we need to use cash. We were given a “membership card” which was used for any purchases made at the resort and there was also a “no tipping” policy.
Looking back on the trip, we can’t think of a single thing that we would complain about. On a couple of nights, we had a bit of a wait for dinner (there were no reservations) but this only added to the fun we had. We filled the time playing billiards or ping pong or sitting outside at the Martini bar enjoying the sights. The whole trip, from beginning to end, was nothing less than fantastic.

Stayed: February 2009
9  Thank Silver2584
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2009

After hearing all the good things about Sandals Resorts, such as
once you stay at Sandals you will not want to stay anywhere else!!
I have never been so disappointed. You could tell when we booked in the staff were not really trained well. We were in the French Rooms and our A/C did not work, it took 3 days to have it fixed. The Service at the pool was very slow and they did not pick up the empty glasses or dishes all day from pool area. They do not come around and take drink orders like other resorts. The condition of the lounge chairs at French pool and the beach were pathetic. Wheel broken off, foam stuffing coming out and very dirty and covered in bird poop. On our last day the ladies washroom was not cleaned and one toilet was backed up all day.
The glass bottom boat tour was a joke. It lasted maybe 20 min. and guide said maybe 30 words the whole time.
The buffets had no varity and the waits for dinners in evening where up to 2 hours long.
TV did not work properly.
Entertainment was poor (a magician one night) this is an adult resort.
NO hot water in our rooms for 2 days.
No snacks 24 hours a day.
No maid service on day before leaving.
No ocean view as promised.
Staff very unfriendly and never smile.
The sandy beach was very nice.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank spike1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2009

My husband and I stayed in Sandals Whitehouse for half of our visit to Jamaica in January 2009. See Couples Swept Away for the other half and the Jamaica forum for a comparison of the two.

Overall, we both loved Sandals Whitehouse and it lived up to our expectations. The best things about the resorts were the following:
-The long, quiet and unspoilt beach that runs the length of the resort and further. Because there are no other resorts in the area, you have so much beach to yourself
-All rooms have an ocean view and are spacious and well kitted out.
-Beds are very comfortable
-The friendliest staff I have ever come across. They never passed you by without a smile at the least, and they couldn't have been more helpful
-The pool guys in the Dutch village were wonderful. Fabien in particular - who made beautiful towel art every morning on our loungers.
-The three pools were absolutely incredible. They were huge, clean and had great shallow ends you could sunbathe in
-There was so much space at the pools and the beach that you never felt crowded.
-Having the choice of villages and busy or quiet pools was great. We did a little bit of each which was perfect.
-Every village has a pool and is close to the beach so you're never far
-Good choice of restaurants
-The whole resort is brand new, very clean, and in pristine condition.

The things we liked less about the resort were:
-Its quite isolated so you can't really leave the resort unless its organised or you rent a car.
-Its quite far from Negril (30-40 mins) so the evenings are mostly all spent in the resort
-The food didn't live up to our expectations as some things appeared to be bought in and not fresh
-We often had to wait at least 45 minutes to have dinner...especially at the fine dining restaurant
-Although staff in the martini bar were friendly, it seemed to be hidden away and lacked atmoshpere (espeically compared to Couples)
-Entertainment in le cabaret wasn't great and the club didn't seem to be very busy
-The resort was very quiet at night and lacked atmosphere after about 10pm.
-A jamaican theme instead of European would have been more fitting, to give you more of a feel of Jamaica.

Overall, we loved the resort and would visit again for a very quiet and relaxing holiday where we wanted to feel no pressure to explore and just stay in the resort. The staff deserve a lot of praise.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank OScanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2009

We're back from Sandals Whitehouse which turned out to be a good choice. We had sun all week and others who we met on the plane and stayed at other resorts had about 2 days of sun and were cold the rest of the week.

About the resort:
Food: 2 restaurants Eleanors and Jasmines had pretty good food. You won't get a steak there like home but surf and turf made up for it. Jasmines had a nice blend of dishes. Other restaurants were just ok. Nothing bad, nothing great.

Service can be slow if you don't have concierge to book dinner reservations. We waited over an hour a couple of times but it didn't bother us too much as we sat in the bar. If you see empty tables while you are waiting they are probably reserved. Don't think you are being shunned by the staff like some reviewers suggest.

Layout is pretty good and you get a decent walk going from the French village. Not too long but lets you stretch your legs. If you think the resort if too expansive to walk you need to stay home or goto a resort that accomodates 100 people. French village is by far the most active but I wouldn't call it busy by any means. We had alot of fun there. Resort never felt crowded at anytime and it was at full capacity.

Drinks were good but sometimes a bit on the strong side. Ok once in awhile but I like a good drink and don't need 4 shots in each one. I hoped they would have had more premium liquors.

Beach is beautiful.

Pools were warm the first day or so but the wind came up the rest of the week and it really cooled off. Took about 5 minutes to get used to it. You just have to suck it up and jump in. Better than the snow drifts at home.

Rooms were ok. Nothing fancy but clean. Needed a towel on the floor to catch water from shower due to it's poor design. No big deal. Tipped the cleaning crew a few bucks a couple of times and my room was always cleaned and stocked.

Tipping is appreciated and I even had one bartender refuse my tip. If you can afford to go on vacation you can afford to give a local $10 or so and it certainly will enhance your vacation. $10 at the start of your trip will keep your glass full and your room clean.

Overall I have nothing bad to say about my stay there. It was worth $2000 since we had great weather on the south coast. It defintely is not worth the $3000 it went up to after we booked. I wouldn't go back but I would recommend it at a decent price. I feel we had equivalent bang for our buck for $1600 in Mexico.

  • Stayed: February 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
10  Thank Rottypiper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2009

We are 50 something professionals and veteran travellers who have travelled extensively for recreation and business through North America, Europe, and the Middle East. We have stayed at a variety of lodgings including the best of hotels (Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, etc.), better hotels (Intercontinental, Marriott, Radisson, etc.) fairly pedestrian middle America roadside motor inns, and hostels. Individually and together, we have previously travelled to Jamaica eight times but never before to the Savanna La Mar area and never to a Sandals. We are relative newcomers to the all inclusive concept, having visited our first AI resort in 2004. We have been guests of Las Briasas, Ixtapa (a semi-inclusive plan), Eldorado Seaside Suites on the Mayan, Ritz Carton Rose Hall, Montego Bay (Key to Paradise Plan), Grand Lido Negril (twice), and Dreams, Puerto Vallarta. Our reviews of these AI resorts are posted on Trip Advisor. Although most of these are rated 5 star properties, in our view only the Ritz Carlton is one. We loved our stay at Sandals Whitehouse, but we do not believe that it is a 5 star resort. We are not water sports enthusiasts nor are we fans of organized activities. We stay away from pools and even further away from pools with swim up bars. We enjoy lying on the beach and reading. Evening entertainment is appreciated but not a requisite. We treat staff with courtesy and respect but making friends with staff and other guests is not part of our agenda. We do not travel with our children and prefer to avoid those of others. We enjoy and understand good food and so seek resorts that offer superior dining opportunities, drinkable wine, and good mixed drinks. Other musts are a great beach, fine service, and a clean and well appointed room.

Sandals Lounge, Transfer, and Civil Insurrection
We travelled Skyservice from Winnipeg to Montego Bay and were delayed approximately 19 hours. We arrived in the middle of the night and were on the only plane disembarking at that hour. The Sandals lounge was open, however, and a pleasant young woman tagged our baggage and invited us to make ourselves comfortable for a ten minute wait before our departure. Coffee, juices, and beer were available along with some dried out pastries. The lounge is well appointed and the ladies’ room was spotless. We waited about ½ hour to 45 minutes before we left.
Much has been written about the road to Sandals and its poor condition. It is hyperbole. Unless your experience of roads is limited to four lane American super highways or you routinely suffer from motion sickness, our view is that you will be fine with the road. We did, however, experience quite the nightmare on an alternative road and one which I would strongly recommend be avoided, particularly at night. We began our shuttle transfer on the regular road to Whitehouse. In the village of Haddo, we encountered what some of us thought might be a landslide. The area was very, very dark and there were no street or road lights to illuminate what was going on. Boulders, tree limbs, logs, and other debris were blocking the road. Our driver slowed the van and then we observed probably a hundred people coming from seemingly nowhere and approaching us. Many started laying down more stones and trees to obstruct the road. Others swarmed around the van and looked in. After a while, we learned from our driver that these people had been without potable water for months and had decided to protest. They were non-violent but refused to open the road to allow us to pass. They did clear some debris away so that our driver could turn the van around and go back towards Montego Bay. Our driver, obviously agitated, opined that such a protest by the local residents was a dangerous thing to do in total darkness. We agree!
Our driver then took us on an alternate route, one on which he said he had never before travelled. That road was extremely dangerous and not the one used by Sandals drivers. It was barely wider than the width of the vehicle. It was unpaved. In some areas, it ran beside a precipice with a huge drop. Our progress was slow: it would have taken very little to send us over the edge. Had our flight arrived on time or even during daylight hours, we would not have been in this extremely dangerous situation The return transfer on the regular road was easy and uneventful.

The Property
The resort is large but certainly human in scale and easy to navigate. There are numerous pathways to walk and benches on which to sit to enjoy the scenic countryside and grounds. There is extensive landscaping and hardscape, all beautifully maintained. Considerable money has been invested in floral plantings and trees. The remoteness of the resort and minimal light pollution afford a wonderful opportunity to view the beautiful night skies.
The centrepiece of the resort is the piazza. With the exception of Bluefields (which is at the western end of the property near the French beach) and Arizonas (at the eastern end near the beach), the lobby, shops (tour office, jewellery store, two clothing shops, photographery shop, and art gallery), theatre, and restaurants are clustered together on the piazza or proximate to it. The architectural theme is said to be European, but this is an overstatement. While the references are certainly Mediterranean or California mission style, they are ersatz and a bit cheesy. Nevertheless, the overall picture is quite charming.
Additional buildings scattered throughout the property include the gym, an aerobics studio, the concierge office, the spa, a departure lounge, and water sports services.
Rooms are located in three sections, the French, the Dutch, and the Italian, each with their own beach and pool. The buildings are painted in a palate of pink, orange, salmon, yellow, mustard, and blue. They are identified as French, etc. by the use of shutters, roofing materials, etc. but otherwise are very similar in appearance. There are no concierge or butler suites in the French section and the balconies are noticeably smaller.

The Beach
The beach is, in a word, spectacular! It is said to be two miles long, is very deep, and consists of floury off-white coloured sand. We walked it daily in bare feet and it felt delicious. There are no other hotels or properties on the beach and no vendors shilling their wares. Spa staff and photographers will approach some guests but are not persistent. The water is warm, although we found it to be cooler than in Negril, and, for the most part, clear. (There is some seaweed in the vicinity of the Dutch beach.) Swimming areas are marked off and the water staff (which has a clear presence, at least on the French beach) made a point of calling in swimmers who had gone beyond the roped swimming areas. We spent our time on the French beach because we found it to be the most visually pleasing and the shadiest of the beaches, having more trees growing on it. Towels and cots were abundant, but umbrellas were in short supply. We noted that there were better quality cots with upholstered cushions on the Italian and Dutch beaches. Unfortunately, there are no sun beds or palapas anywhere. We also missed drink service on the beach, though the walk to the bar was not long. When we first arrived on the French beach, we met one of the staff who led us to cots that were already covered with towels, flowers, and towel creations. Thereafter, our towel covered loungers and table were waiting for us together with a newspaper (which my husband had requested and which was not available in the gift shop). On one day when the staff member had a day off and the furniture was uncovered, we observed that the cots and plastic table were filthy.

The Room
We had booked an entry level room in the French section, which has a patio at grade. I had written the resort and requested an upgrade to a higher floor room so that we might keep the balcony door open to hear the sound of the waves. We were pleased to have that request honoured: we were upgraded to the third lowest category, a luxury room in the French section. This courtesy upgrade was very much appreciated by us and, if anyone from Sandals is reading this, it also raised the status of the resort significantly in our eyes. This is the kind of service that we look for and earns our brand loyalty.
The room itself was well appointed. There was a conventional TV (no flat screen), CD player and clock, coffeemaker, and fridge stocked with soft drinks, juice, and water. No alcohol is provided at this level. The balconies in the French section are small but contain two chairs and a small table. They are adequate for a read or drinking a coffee. There were lots of good quality towels. Bedding was just OK and was not changed during our seven day stay. Larger bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, aloe, and shower gel were provided but there was no shower cap. There is a hair dryer, in room safe, umbrella, iron and ironing board, and make-up mirror with light. Housekeeping quality depended on who did the keeping. We observed, for example, that a plastic clothing tag remained on the floor for several days, but with a change in staff, it disappeared. There was a small amount of mould growing on the bathtub caulking, but this is not surprising given the climactic challenges and many guests who fail to use the fan. Turn down service, consisting of refreshing of the room, replenishing towels, and removing the bedspread and plumping pillows, is offered nightly. Typically, this was when we were getting ready for dinner, so we had this service only a few nights. On the whole, we thought the room was kept quite clean and we were well satisfied.

Guests ranged from honeymooners in their twenties to a couple in their nineties. The overwhelming majority of guests were middle aged. The typical guests seems to be fairly well behaved but there were some trashy ones who drank too much, were loud and disorderly, took off clothing in the pool, or were visibly ill in front of us. The French pool seemed to be a magnet for that type of guest.

There are a number of restaurants at which to dine. Our preference is to eat at a la cartes, but in the case of SWH, we preferred the breakfast buffet and lunch to them. The restaurants including the buffet are all nicely decorated and comfortable.

Breakfast: Eggs are king here: there are scrambled and 5 and 10 minute eggs in chafing dishes and omelette and eggs to order at stations. Sausages, bacon, bread, bagels, muffins, pastries, mimosas, a variety of juices, fresh fruit, pancakes, French toast, waffles, cold and hot cereals, cheeses, yogurt, and vegetables are all on offer. A few Jamaican specialties like callaloo, ackee and salt fish, etc. also appeared from time to time and were quite delicious. My husband missed the smoked fish that we have typically found at AIs. Coffee is free flowing. The food was generally quite good but service lacked grace. A woman in a green polo shirt is in charge of the room and in the interests of efficiency her practice is to herd guests in groups to their tables caravan style. We felt like cattle.
Lunch: Lunch here was also good. Again, there was a lot of variety including a pasta station, a hamburger station, sandwiches, salads, chicken, Jamaican specialties like festivals, stamp and go, a sautéed banana and ice cream station, pastries, and cakes. The desserts were, without exception, disappointing.
Dinner: Dinner is served on the patio a la carte and the menu is allegedly international in selection. What that means is that it is not Italian, Caribbean, or Asian (see below). The setting is lovely at night. We ate here only once. My steak was well seasoned and properly cooked but a tad sinewy and grisly. My husband’s salmon was OK. My pumpkin soup tasted heavily of evaporated milk and I could not eat it. My husband’s salad Nicoise was missing ingredients essential to the integrity of the salad - no potatoes, no beans. Baba ganoosh was in name only, a lump of mashed eggplant devoid of seasoning, garlic, and olive oil accompanied by stale pita bread. Service that night, however, was lovely, perhaps the best we had in the resort.

Breakfast: We had breakfast here once. Once we were seated, the wait was a little long. We thought that the famed French custard toast was vastly overrated. The Caribbean toast was similar. Service was distracted.
Dinner: We dined her twice. Avoid sitting near the kitchen door at the rear. You will be privy to the kitchen and wait staffs’ shrill conversations and the clanking of pots and pans. On both occasions one of us ordered lamb cooked medium rare. On both occasions it was just seared and raw. On both occasions it was sent back and then prepared well done. The food was otherwise unmemorable and not worth the two hour and more wait to be seated. Note that we presented ourselves on both occasions before 7:00 and on one night closer to 6:00.

Dinner: We ate here once. We were seated immediately. Service was quick but uninformed and again distracted. The waiter forgot to bring our salads and did not recognise the name of some food we ordered. The antipasto bar is quite delicious and the penne puntanesca was well flavoured. The rest was forgettable
At lunch, pizza served outdoors, is on offer. We did not try it but heard that it was good.

Dinner: We ate here once and were seated immediately. Service was good. We found that although there were a large number of menu items to choose from, many were deep fried. The poached snapper was delicate and terrific.
Lunch: We ate here twice. We loved the ability to eat outdoors and look at the ocean. Service is swift and efficient. We ate the jerk calamari (breading is a little mushy), cocoa bread (very good), the jerk pork, and some other forgettable items. We thought the buffet’s Jamaican offerings were better.

Lunch: We ate here once. The food was not good. I ordered barbecued chicken, which was pinkish. I thought it might be as a result of smoking and ate it. A mistake: That night, I was unwell.
Dinner: This is on offer some but not all nights.

Cafe de Paris:
Open almost all day. In light of the many very effusive reviews of this cafe, we are sure that our opinion will be viewed as blasphemy and we as heretics. The coffee was OK and SWH is the only resort outside of the Middle East where we found coffee upside down (kaffei hafukh ), but we thought the pastries and cakes were dreadful. They bear no resemblance to French pastry and little resemblance to good pastry. We did not try the crepes, but they did smell good. The strawberry ice-cream we tried was the colour of pink bubble gum and tasted highly artificial. It was also full of ice crystals. Our experience here and elsewhere in Jamaica is that the Jamaicans don’t do cakes and pastry well. A piece of Jamaican rum cake or banana bread is more satisfying for us. The wait at the cafe is often long in the evenings.

The Pirates’ Dinner: We had read favourable reviews of the Pirate’s dinner on Trip Advisor and so made reservations. What a waste of a meal. Guests are served at long tables and wait endlessly for the food to be served. First came a potato. Then after 10 minutes, a piece of undercooked pumpkin was deposited. Then another lengthy wait for a ¼ of a cob of corn. It seems to us that those who compare the meal to Brazilian churrasquerias have never been to one. (We’ve eaten at authentic and great churrasquerias: Fogo de Chao in the US, and Chiado in Prague.) In any event, we were told that our meal was the last Pirates' Dinner: Our view: A wise decision. If it is reinstated, we suggest you avoid it.

Alcohol and Bars:
There are stationary and portable bars throughout the resort but not all are open in the evenings. We visited the French pool bar, the martini bar, the bar near Arizona and the portable bar in front of Eleanor’s. All of our drinks were fine. We were disappointed that despite repeated requests over our entire seven day visit, we were not able to enjoy a mojito at the French bar and were repeatedly told there was no mint. Why? Mint grows wild all over the island. Moreover, we later found mint and mojitos at the Arizona bar. Beringer cab, merlot, chardonnay, and pinot grigios are on offer at the restaurants. They were far more palatable than a lot of wines that we have encountered at AIs, particularly those in Mexico.

We attended the preview for the auction, which we understand takes place at least once a week. Nothing remarkable here - the usual Dalis, Picassos, Disney cells, Kincaids, etc. We also listened to a violinist (accompanied by a pre-recorded soundtrack) in front of Eleanor’s while we waited for our table. His bowing was poor, but his finger work was quite good. We also went on the glass bottom boat tour. It takes about 40 minutes and we saw some interesting marine life. Reservations can be made at the end of the resort at the water sports building.

It is, of course, possible to pick apart any resort, including SWH. We, however, consider the resort, when viewed in its entirety, as much more than the sum of its parts. We likely won’t return to SWH as the world is a big place and we have not seen nearly enough of it, but we would recommend the resort to others. Based on the assumption that our experience at SWH is reflective of the Sandals experience, we are considering a visit to Sandals in St. Lucia and/or in Antigua.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
16  Thank Fearful
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2009

We stayed at the Whitehouse 1/24 to 1/31. It seemed obvious from the moment we stepped foot on the property that the resort was very understaffed. Check in was chaotic with 2 staffers trying to accomodate 30 people. The restauants had long waits unless you like to eat dinner at 6 pm every night. Many tables remained empty although there were people waiting which points to another sign of understaffing. I though the staff tried their best to accomodate the guests.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank kerman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals South Coast

Address: White House, Jamaica (Formerly Sandals Whitehouse)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > White House
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in White House
Price Range: £397 - £1,251 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals South Coast 5*
Number of rooms: 360
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 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Sandals Whitehouse European Village Hotel Whitehouse
Whitehouse Sandals
Sandals Whitehouse Jamaica

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