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“Incredible Experience! Unbeatable Value For What You Get!”

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Silver Sands Vacation Villas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 February 2011

Travellers: Two families with small kids (two 3-year olds, and two 5-9 month olds), and one auntie – total 5 adults and 4 kids.

Villa: Hang Time – 3 bedrooms at $2200 US (High Season), booked directly though the owner

Chef and Housekeeper: Ingrid and Lucille (respectively). The house staff is specific to each villa.

Date of Travel: 1-week stay from Jan. 5-Jan.12, 2011

Intro:
Believe all the great reviews! You’ve got to try it and you’ll see what all the hype is about! We’ve rented villas/houses before for vacation, but never have we had a personal cook and housekeeper available to us from 9-5! We were completely pampered by them, and with our large group with young children, we kind of felt like we were over-working our wonderful staff, but they never complained once!

Please read the mysilversands.com site for further information, particularly this one to see if this will be the type of vacation for you: http://www.mysilversands.com/content/dont_come.aspx

Silver Sands was perfect for us because we have young children, and are looking for a relaxing and fun time without the hassles of cooking and cleaning. An all-inclusive might seem like the logical choice, but we’ve tried it before with our friends in adjacent rooms, but after the kids were asleep, we were just stuck in our rooms or hanging out outside the doors, monitoring our sleeping kids. A runner would go to the bar for drinks and what-not, but it was inconvenient and a real pain. However, in the villa, once the kids were asleep, we were free to chat, play games, have drinks and desserts etc., all in the comfort of the villa.

Food and Housekeeping : (our son has food allergies, and we chose this type of vacation so we could readily control most of the food ingredients, unlike at an all-inclusive)
You will have to purchase all the food you want to eat, and the cook will prepare the meals for you. We spoke with a family who had been to Silver Sands before from last year, and based on their experience, they said that it’s best to show up ready with a daily food plan, then get one large delivery of food at the beginning of the week to last you for nearly the entire stay. Extras can probably be purchased at the Villa Mart on site, which has slightly elevated, but reasonable prices. You can also purchase fresh fruit and veggies from a truck that makes rounds through the villas. Our villa came with a “menu” of items that were mostly authentic Jamaican dishes and were specialties of the cook. However, you can always ask for common things like spaghetti, burgers, etc. Ingrid was amazing, and worked extremely hard for us to prepare 3 meals a day, including delicious desserts! She was also extremely accommodating, making separate versions of the meals for the kids when things got a bit too spicy for them. The food was incredible! Keep in mind however that the chef typically leaves at 5 PM, so the final supper is typically cooked ahead of time and will need to be reheated (we just microwaved everything). If you want your food hot and ready, you’ll likely either have to eat early or arrange something with the chef.

Lucille took care of most of the clean-up, dishes, laundry, and bed making. She also worked tirelessly to make sure we were very comfortable.

Villa:
We were extremely happy with Hang Time villa. One of its best features is its awesome layout, with each bedroom having doors from both the interior hallway, AND doors leading outside to the pool deck for easy access. The pool and outdoor dining area were great! We barely used the breezy room or upper deck at all. The bedrooms are very spacious, clean, and comfortable. However, nothing is ever 100% perfect. Hang Time is a bit farther from the beach than most villas, but we were provided with an electric golf cart that transported most of us with ease to and from the beach (not many villas provide this feature). The walk to the beach isn’t very far anyway though. The villa was built around ’94, so at around 15 years old or so, some things are starting to show some wear, and the bathrooms are a bit dull and lacking inspiration. However, this is really nothing to complain about as everything was still functional. (Pay close attention to #4 of Don’t come if… on the link above!)

Booking:
I’m sure most bookings are made using mysilversands.com or other similar websites where you can use your credit card with travel protection and what-not. However, we did not go this route because after scoping out the villas, Hang Time piqued our interest and as luck would have it, a quick Google search revealed that this villa has its own website at http://www.cozhtv.com/index.html
My wife contacted the owner of the villa directly (Cosma Earle), and he gave us the rundown of nearly everything we needed to know, and in the end we booked the villa directly through him. Cosma is a truly genuine, trustworthy, and friendly guy, and we were happy that we booked the place through him this way. Anyway, I don’t know how many other villas have their own website, but it could be good to talk with the owner of the villa and make good with him/her if it suits your needs. Tourism is likely their #1 industry so we found that most Jamaicans in this field of work definitely went out of their way to make sure we had a good time and stay. (see conclusion at end for why booking like this might be a good idea!)

Transportation:
We were picked up at the airport promptly by our driver Billy. What a hilarious guy! I don’t think he ever stops joking around. When he stopped for some gas on the way in, he got us all some complimentary drinks at the station, which was a very nice touch. We did one excursion during our stay and ended up hiring Billy again to take us to the historic city of Falmouth. At first we thought it would just be a drop off and pick up, but he parked his bus and essentially took us on a guided walking tour of the town! We got so much more out of it than if we just wondered around town like lost tourists.

Beach:
Breathtaking, picturesque, wonderful. White powdery sand, blue waters, not crowded, beautiful weather. You can’t ask for more than that. It’s pretty low key out there, but you can still do some activities like sea kayaking or windsurfing. There are also some coral in the swimming beach near the Jetty and also straight out from the Ebb Tide Villa where you can snorkel and see some fish.

Conclusion:
Just go! We would recommend Silver Sands to anyone looking to have a relaxing sun and beach vacation . I can’t stop thinking about when the next time will be when we come back. I find it extremely shocking and unfortunate that some negative reviews have popped up claiming “bait and switch tactics”, theft, shoddy accommodations, or rude staff. After staying at Hang Time and meeting the owner and its 2 fantastic staff Ingrid and Lucille, I wouldn’t think things like that were possible at Silver Sands, but who knows. Most villas are individually owned and perhaps some owners don’t background check their workers or management company very well, and unfortunate things can happen. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the legitimacy of these claims because everyone has different expectations, and some people are just downright difficult. All I know is that for us everything worked out as close to perfection as it could have. We recently finalized and split our bills and after factoring all expenses (food purchases, tip, flights, villa costs, etc.) this 1-week incredible vacation ran us $2600 US for a family of 4. NOT expensive at all for a vacation like this!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank tubby290
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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185 - 191 of 234 reviews

Reviewed 31 January 2011

We stayed at Queen's Cottage, which is the best located, 10m from the ocean. Rental cost was about $3000 for one week, which includes 3 bedrooms, water, gas, electricity, and the services of Nadine and Sharon (see below).

Weather was warm/hot and humid but with a cooling breeze (not to say pretty strong wind actually!). Occasionally overcast but odd heavy burst of rain.

Good bits:
Excellent housekeeper, Nadine, and maid, Sharon. They look after the cooking and cleaning and are dedicated to your villa (they stay there 9-5 every day). They also wash clothes without additional cost. Nadine is a star and will give good advice and take you shopping in the local markets if you want to (which I would recommend). She will buy all your food needs locally, mostly on an account in the Villa Mart. You need to set up and settle at the end of the stay). We spent about $250 on food, plus $70 on freshly-caught lobster from the man who comes round. Plus other bits and pieces, such as vegetables, etc.
Pleasant weather. Sea - typical Caribbean: tourquoise water; pale, soft sand; decent surf; not warm but pleasantly cool (i.e. cooler than summer Med, but warmer than UK). People who claimed to know, said Silver Sands is the best beach in Jamaica.
Gated enclosure: felt very safe, 24-hr guards, no 'riff-raff'.

Areas of concern:
Not many insects, but did get bitten quite a lot despite repellant, so be thorough with high-factor DEET.
On one occasion, I got a prickly rash when swimming - probably jelly fish or perhaps seaweed dermatitis. It went away after a few hours.
Sun can be strong.
Noise of ocean/insects/birds. This is the Tropics, I guess! It is noisy, but the the sea is actually quite soothing and you get used to the crickets, etc. I am a light sleeper but slept pretty well. It gets dark and light quickly (being relatively near the Equator).
Noise from bar in evening is a bit tedious though it doesn't go on too late (I think the latest was about 10pm, when we were there, but it was quiet - not many people around). Clients seemed mainly to be families with children or old couples. My teenagers were a bit bored at times.
Hire a car as taxis are expensive and you need to get around.
Avoid most tourist attractions as these are very expensive and it is unpleasant to get 'mugged' all the time by pushy vendors of souvenirs. Outameni was the best one. Dunn's River Falls (see separate contribution), was OK.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2011

We have stayed at many different types of hotels and resorts and rent a beach house in the US yearly. Renting a house at Silver Sands was an amazing experience. Jamahome is waterfront, which provided a gentle breeze in the screened-in sunroom and VERY short walk to the water! The staff, Claudette and Pauline were fantastic! There meals rival the best hotels! The area is a gated community which was nice and private. There is a fishing marina next door which provided an easy walk to the local life. Snorkeling was easily accomplished out of our front door (ray's there too!). One of the best vacations I ever took.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank mcclain2nd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2011

On the third day of my wife and I's honeymoon about $500 was stolen from our personal travel bags that were placed within our luggage bags. Mangement was horrible and disrespectful as well. No compensation was offered and the manager told me to follow up with "legal manuevers" if I strongly wanted reimbursment. Otherwise Jamaica was terrific it was too bad that this had to happen on such a very special trip for us. Overall Silver sands is a thumbs down. If you can't trust you housekeepers or receive the least amount of respect from managment without using legality it ain't worth it!!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank kaddy_shack42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 1 February 2011

I was saddened to read of this visitor's experience at Silver Sands. My company, Mysilversands, is a professional management and marketing agency for many of the privately-owned villas and cottages at Silver Sands. There are other agents representing properties there, and some home owners take their own bookings.

When I read this review, I tried to get information about it at Silver Sands. None of my staff have heard anything about this incident and we have not had any complaint of a theft. Our files do not show any record of a person with this email address. My conclusion is that this visitor did not book with us and we are not the Management referred to in the review.

Unfortunately, not naming the house in which he stayed and not naming the entity with whom he booked places everyone concerned with Silver Sands in a negative light. I don't think this is fair to Mysilversands and our hard-working staff whose livelihood depends on tourism.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 January 2011

We reserved a villa five months in advance for friends coming in from the States. A couple weeks before our guests arrived, Silver Sands told us the unit was in "disrepair" and they could not honor the booking. If ind it interesting that it only fell in disrepair a few weeks before we were scheduled to stay there. When asked about an alternate villa Silver Sands said "we did not contact them fast enough" even though it had been two days since they called (and the manager was out for one of these days when we called back) to secure a similar priced villa. Silver Sands said an alternative was available but only at $250 more per night. Book with someon who is more reliable.

Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
3  Thank Kingstontraveler_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mysilversands, Marketing Agent at Silver Sands Vacation Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 9 February 2011

My Company, Mysilversands, is very sorry that it is not able to provide this customer with the property booked for a stay of 3 nights, February 18 - 21, 2011. This was not any attempt at a "Bait and Switch Rip Off" but due to circumstances beyond our control. The property has fallen below our standards and we do not consider it fit for occupation. This property has been removed from our listing and our web site.

This customer did not stay at our property in January 2011. As early as January 12, before the balance was due to be paid, when we made a judgment that the owner's promises to repair and refurbish the property could not be accomplished before this customer's arrival, we tried to get in touch with him. We emailed again on January 15 and again on January 17 and again on January 18th. We did not get any replies to our emails. We made contact by telephone and I later received an email from another person, not the Party Leader, asking if I could remedy the situation.

I emailed this person and explained that Mysilversands has standards and that we could not put our guests in a property that failed to meet those standards. I pointed out that the Party Leader had asked us to refund his deposit.

A couple days later this person telephoned me and I explained in detail again what had transpired. At no time did I try to convince this person to book another property with us. I tried to point out that if we took their money and put them in sub-standard accommodation, then she would have just cause to complain. She felt that we should have told her before. I tried my best to point out that before then, there was still time for the owner of the accommodation to do the necessary to bring the property back up to standard. It would be premature to cancel bookings before that time.

I can understand that this customer was upset, but I don't understand how this sequence of events can be termed a "bait and switch rip off". No one was ripped off. The customer's money was refunded in full without hesitation.

I am sorry that the customer was inconvenienced, but I am not sorry that we have standards and that we inspect the properties we market and strike off those that fail to meet those standards. This is clearly stated on our web site, as are our Terms & Conditions related to matters like this. This is one of the main reasons that we have so many loyal repeat customers.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2011

Silver Sands is the place if you want a great holiday.If you want to stay by your own private pool and be pampered by the villas staff or head to the great sandy beach and lovely warm clean water the choice is yours.For a relaxing care free hoilday this is the place.Also you can head to the many attractions Jamaica has to offer and return to a lovely meal freshly prepared just for you and not 300 other guests!We stayed at TuMac villa and cannot praise highly enough both Constance and Cynthia who have a great pride in their job and keep their guests well fed and watered.If you wanted you could spend all of your holiday at Silver Sands without leaving as there is a fine shop for all your food and drinks as well as gifts ie blue mountain coffee,t shitrs etc at very fair prices,but it would be a shame if you did not get out and about and meet the wonderful Jamaican people,and see their beautiful country.It was our 4th visit to Jamaica and our first to Silver Sands.We will return to Silver Sands hopefully this year.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank macker59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2011

Wanted to stay in Silver Sands, Jamaica,because of prior pleasant reviews. However,we did not realize that the individual villas could differ so dramatically. We also did not realize that some villas are off the preferred listing and will be given to various other sources to be rented. When we arrived after a three hour trip , the refrigerator was not working. There was no ice for a cold drink, and there was nowhere to place our freshly purchased food items. Even though we had confirmed lunch requests prior to arrival, no lunch was provided. The promised WIFI connection was non-functional. Later that evening while trying to prepare some food, a large cockroach was found in the utensils, and later another on the kitchen floor .To make matters worse, there was no way to contact management for 2 days. The housekeepers tried in vain to contact management at Jamaican Villa Vacations. There was no emergency contact either. The same refrigerator would leak brown water everyday. The villa has a pool, but the filtration mechanism is so loud it can be disturbing while trying to sleep. When management finally showed up to get their credit card forms signed, they fixed the internet connection via telephone not WIFI. The refrigerator was fixed by the local staff, but management never addressed the leakage of brown liquid. The house staff leaves at 5pm. Therefore, if you want to warm your dinner that they prepare after 5pm, you must do so by sticking your face into the oven, light the pilot, and pray that it stays lit. The stovetop also had no pilot lighting mechanism. When asked if we could be compensated in some way Jamaican Villa Vacations outrightly refused any compensation. The fire inspection hung in the living room had expired in December of 2009. Again the complex of silver sands can be pleasant if you know the villa and its owner. If you do not know the villa or its owner, ensure that you have an out in writing! We had to leave and we were never compensated. The house staff was pleasant, but Jamaican Villa Vacations almost ruined our vacation.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Renee044
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Silver Sands Vacation Villas

Address: Duncans, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Trelawny Parish > Duncans
Amenities:
Beach
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Duncans
Price Range: £105 - £1,127 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 150
Also Known As:
Silver Sands Vacation Villas Hotel Jamaica
Silver Sands Vacation Villas Jamaica/Duncans

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