Couples vs. Sandals Resorts: Which Is Best for You?

Are you looking for a luxurious adults-only all-inclusive getaway? Two of the best-known brands for this are Couples Resorts and Sandals Resorts.

Both Couples and Sandals resorts are adults only, all inclusive, located in the Caribbean, and geared toward couples. They have many other things in common but also some key differences. In this article we’ll take an in-depth look at Couples vs. Sandals resorts so you can decide which one is best for you.

Couples vs. Sandals: Overview

There are 4 Couples resorts and 18 Sandals resorts, each set on a stunning Caribbean beach and offering a luxurious romantic getaway. Overall, Couples resorts tend to feel more intimate and laidback, while the atmosphere at Sandals varies a bit from resort to resort.

Both of these brands offer a lot of inclusions, excellent food, great service, and plenty to do.

Couples vs. Sandals: Locations

Although both Couples and Sandals resorts are located in the Caribbean, Couples has fewer locations than Sandals. The four Couples Resorts are all located in Jamaica—two in Negril and two in Ocho Rios.

There are currently 18 Sandals resorts throughout the Caribbean: 2 in The Bahamas, 7 in Jamaica, 1 in Grenada, 3 in St. Lucia, 1 in Antigua, 2 in Barbados, 1 in Curacao, and 1 in St. Vincent.

Couples vs. Sandals: Activities and Amenities

Every Couples and Sandals resort is set on a beautiful beach and offers complimentary watersports. They also have multiple pools and whirlpools. Sandals resorts tend to have more spectacular pools; each location has a variety including free-form lagoon pools, zero-entry pools, and infinity pools. In fact, Sandals Royal Curacao features an amazing bi-level glass-fronted infinity pool.

Sandals resorts offer a wide range of activities and entertainment. Exact options vary depending on the location, but every Sandals has complimentary watersports such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, and scuba diving (for certified divers). Some locations also have extra activities like glass bottom boat rides, wakeboarding, tubing, waterskiing, and even SNUBA.

A large variety of land sports is available at Sandals resorts as well, including beach volleyball, day and night tennis, basketball, bocce ball, pool tables, and a state-of-the-art fitness center with exercise classes. Many Sandals locations offer complimentary golf, and some also offer pickleball. All Sandals resorts have full-service Red Lane Spas plus area excursions (both for an extra fee).

Entertainment at Sandals Resorts includes live shows, theme nights, local music, beach parties, piano singalongs, karaoke, and talent nights.

Couples resorts also offer a variety of complimentary watersports including snorkeling and scuba diving. Also, some area tours and excursions are included in the price, as well as complimentary catamaran cruises and glass-bottom boat rides. You’ll also find land sports as well as activities like dance classes. You can enjoy complimentary golf and tennis at Couples resorts as well, and they also feature full-service spas (which cost extra).

Couples Swept Away is wellness-focused and has a 10-acre fitness complex including 9 tennis courts, pickleball courts, racquetball and squash courts, a basketball court, aerobics, yoga, saunas, steam rooms, a lap pool, a jogging track, and a fully equipped gym. Couples San Souci has a mineral grotto and mineral springs pool on the property.

Something that really sets Couples resorts apart is that three of them have nude beaches; Couples Tower Isle has a private island for this.

Nightly entertainment at Couples includes live bands, DJs, local music, piano singalongs, and special events like the Manager’s Cocktail Party, Honeymooner’s Party, Shipwreck Beach Party, and beach bonfires.

Sandals vs. Couples: Food and Drink

Both Sandals and Couples resorts are known to have good food and offer multiple restaurants serving a variety of flavors, as well as plenty of fun bars.

Sandals resorts tend to have quite a few bars of varying types. These include swim-up bars, beach bars, pool bars, piano bars, nightclubs, British pubs, martini bars, rooftop bars, and even Over-the-Water Bars.

Sandals resorts have between 6 and 16 restaurants available. Many restaurants have water views or are beachfront or even over the water. The cuisine generally includes international, Jamaican, Italian, Japanese, steakhouse, sushi, Caribbean jerk, pizza, French coffee and pastries, fresh local seafood, local dishes, Thai, French haute cuisine, Mediterranean, Latin fusion, Indian, and Pan-Asian. The new resorts tend to introduce new concepts, including local specialties. In-room dining is available at every resort for certain room categories.

There are between 5 and 6 restaurants at each Couples resort offering a variety of cuisines including fresh local seafood, Caribbean/Jamaican, Mediterranean, Latin, Asian, Italian fine dining, continental, and casual American. Each Couples resort also has a Veggie Bar, which serves healthy salads, sandwiches, veggie dips, and fruit juices and smoothies. There are open-air, waterfront, and beachfront restaurants, and in-room dining is available.

Both Sandals and Couples offer private candlelight dinners on the beach for an extra fee.

Bars at Couples resorts include swim-up bars, pool bars, beach bars, restaurant bars, martini bars, terrace bars, and piano bars. Guests at Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away can take a complimentary shuttle to the Sunset Bar, a clifftop restaurant/bar in Negril’s West End with beautiful sunset views. There is also a nightclub at Couples Swept Away.

Sandals Jamaica Overwater Bungalow

Couples vs. Sandals: Rooms and Suites

Sandals resorts constantly raise the bar when it comes to amazing and luxurious accommodations. They have three levels of rooms: Luxury, Club, and Butler. While even the least expensive rooms are quite nice and have luxe amenities, the suites can get really incredible. Butler level suites come with 24-hour private butler service for a truly indulgent vacation.

Top Sandals suites include the truly spectacular Over-the-Water Bungalows (with and without private plunge pools, but all featuring outdoor soaking tubs for two); Millionaire Butler Villas; Skypool Suites with elevated infinity-edge plunge pools overlooking the ocean; the unique round Rondoval Suites with private plunge pools; Oceanview Penthouses (some two-story); One-Bedroom Villas with Private Pool Sanctuaries; Swim-Up Suites; and Beachfront Walk-Out Suites.

Many rooms and suites at Sandals include the oversized Tranquility Soaking Tubs for Two (either in the bathroom or outdoors), and all have a private outdoor balcony or terrace as well as a minibar that is refreshed daily.

Rooms and suites at Couples resorts are also quite nice, but they are not as jaw-dropping as those on offer at Sandals. The room types available are different depending on the location. However, a new luxury offering has been added at Couples Tower Isle: the Oasis Spa Villas, which come with unlimited spa services in addition to a plunge pool and private terrace. (You need to stay for a minimum of 5 nights in these).

The other accommodations at Couples Tower Isle are recently renovated and have a retro design. All have a private balcony. Choices include Deluxe Rooms that have garden or ocean views; Superior and Premier Oceanview rooms; Junior Suites with garden or ocean views, separate sitting areas, and walk-in showers plus Jacuzzi tubs; and One Bedroom Ocean Suites with separate living rooms and walk-in showers plus Jacuzzi tubs.

Couples Negril features an upscale island design and private balconies in Deluxe Garden or Ocean rooms, Deluxe Beachfront rooms, and Garden or Beachfront suites with separate seating areas, soaking tubs, and nightly hors d’oeuvres.

Suites at Couples Swept Away have a sophisticated tropical look and private balconies or patios, and include Ocean or Garden Verandah Suites, Beachfront Suites, Beachfront Verandah Suites, Atrium Suites, Great House Ocean Suites, and Premier Beachfront Suites with large outdoor living areas that are just steps from the sand.

Couples Sans Souci accommodations are sleek and include Deluxe Ocean Suites, one Bedroom Ocean Suites, and One Bedroom Beachfront Suites. The swankiest option is the 1200-square-foot Prime Minister’s Penthouse, which features a living room, large furnished balcony with ocean views, powder room, and a walk-in shower and Jacuzzi tub for two. You can also choose the private Hibiscus Cottage, which has a private balcony with ocean views, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and a walk-in shower plus Jacuzzi tub for two.

Couples Negril

Couples vs. Sandals: Inclusions

Both Couples and Sandals are known for their generous inclusions. Here is an overview of what each resort offers:

What Is Included at Couples Resorts?

Couples’ rates cover unlimited gourmet dining at multiple restaurants; unlimited beverages and premium wine and cocktails; a personalized minibar with limited amounts of wine, liquor, and beer; WiFi; nightly entertainment; watersports including snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, glass-bottom boat rides, sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, and waterskiing; scuba diving; a full fitness center and classes; unlimited golf and tennis; roundtrip airport transfers; tips and taxes; and some area excursions including shopping tours, visits to Dunn’s River Falls, and a catamaran cruise (depending on which location you’re at).

You can get a free wedding with a 3-night minimum stay, and a free honeymoon package if you visit within one year of your wedding. If you stay in an Oasis Spa Villa at Couples Tower Isle, you’ll also get unlimited spa services.

What Is Included at Sandals Resorts?

Sandals Resorts say that they offer “more quality inclusions than any other resort in the world.” These include gourmet dining (all meals and snacks) at multiple restaurants and cafés; unlimited non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages including unlimited premium liquors and unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines; a minibar in your room that is refreshed daily, stocked with juice, water, soft drinks, wine, and beer; a coffee maker with Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend coffee; nonmotorized watersports like snorkeling, paddleboarding, sailing, and kayaking, including equipment and professional instruction; scuba diving (including equipment) for certified divers; daily and nightly entertainment; WiFi; unlimited land sports including golf and tennis (at most resorts), beach volleyball, etc.; a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment; roundtrip airport transfers; private airport arrival lounges at some locations; roundtrip shuttles to other resorts and access to their facilities (at some locations); and all tips and taxes.

If you stay in a butler-level suite, you’ll also get 24-hour private butler service. You can get a free wedding if you stay a minimum of 3 nights, and a free honeymoon package if you vacation here within 30 days of your wedding.

Couples vs. Sandals Cost

In general, Couples resorts are less expensive than Sandals resorts. However, there are plenty of deals and discounts you can get to lower the cost of a Sandals stay.

Couples vs. Sandals Reviews

Reviews for both Couples and Sandals resorts are all mostly positive. Ratings for the four Couples properties are similar—either 4.5 or 4.6 on Google—while ratings for the Sandals properties vary between 4.7 (Sandals Royal Plantation and Sandals Dunns River) and 4.1 (Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Royal Barbados).

Couples vs. Sandals FAQ

Are Couples and Sandals the same company?

Couples and Sandals are not the same company. Couples is a separate company that was established in 1978.

Are Sandals resorts for couples only?

Yes and no. Although Sandals resorts are geared toward couples, it’s actually not required to be part of a couple to stay there. You will often see families with adult children and groups of friends there, especially if attending a wedding. However, note that all the beds are king beds, and rates are for two people in a room.

Couples Resorts are also primarily for couples. Both are meant to provide the perfect atmosphere for honeymoons and other romantic trips.

Is Sandals only for older couples?

Sandals resorts are great for all ages of couples, not just for older couples. You will generally find a mix of age ranges at each resort, although there are some Sandals resorts that are more popular with a younger or older crowd. Guest age can also vary depending on the time of year.

Younger couples tend to prefer Sandals Ochi in Jamaica, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, and Sandals Royal Bahamian, while older couples like Sandals Royal Plantation in Jamaica, Sandals Halcyon Beach in St. Lucia, and Sandals Grande Antigua.

You will also find a mix of age ranges at Couples resorts. Both Couples and Sandals have a minimum guest age of 18. After reading our comparison of Couples vs. Sandals resorts, which one sounds like the best fit for you? Let us know in the comments! And if you’d like help planning your getaway, feel free to reach out to one of our trusted travel advisors.

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