Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts

Sandals has adults-only all-inclusive resorts in both Barbados and Jamaica. Although they share some similarities, they also have some differences.

In this article we’ll dive deep into Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica resorts to help you decide which is best for you.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Quick Take

There are two Sandals resorts in Barbados and 7 Sandals resorts in Jamaica. Both islands are beautiful and offer a lot to do. However, although every Sandals resort is luxurious and romantic, there are definite differences between them. The choice will come down to what type of atmosphere and amenities you’re looking for.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Overview

There are two Sandals resorts on the island of Barbados. Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados are located right next to each other on beautiful Dover Beach. Regardless of which one you stay at, you get access to both, so you’ll enjoy a total of 21 restaurants, 14 bars, 11 pools, and 6 whirlpools.

Since they are only separated by a path, it’s easy to walk back and forth between the two properties. Sandals Barbados has a quieter atmosphere than Sandals Royal Barbados, which is newer and livelier.

There are 7 Sandals resorts in Jamaica, located all over the island. In Montego Bay you’ll find Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean, which give guests at either resort access to both via a free shuttle for 15 pools, 9 whirlpools, 21 restaurants, and 11 bars. Sandals Negril is located on world-famous Seven Mile Beach in Negril and features 8 restaurants, 5 bars, 4 pools, and 3 whirlpools.

In the secluded area of Whitehouse you’ll find Sandals South Coast, a more intimate resort with 9 restaurants, 7 bars, 4 pools, and 4 whirlpools. The Ocho Rios area features one of the newest and best-rated locations, Sandals Dunn’s River, as well as the all-butler-suite Sandals Royal Plantation and the most affordable Sandals resort, Sandals Ochi.

Sandals Dunn’s River has 12 restaurants, 9 bars, 5 pools, and several whirlpools. Sandals Royal Plantation has 5 restaurants, 2 bars, 2 pools, and 1 whirlpool, plus you get access to everything at Sandals Ochi via a free shuttle. Sandals Ochi is the largest of all Sandals resorts, featuring 16 restaurants, 11 bars, multiple pools and whirlpools, and a golf course.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Location

The Sandals resorts in Barbados are located on Dover Beach in the St. Lawrence Gap area of Barbados. They are 25 minutes from the capital of Bridgetown and 15 minutes from Grantley Adams International Airport.

Sandals Montego Bay in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is just about 5 minutes from Sangster International Airport. Sandals Royal Caribbean is also in Montego Bay just a short distance from the airport, though it is a little further than Sandals Montego Bay.

Sandals South Coast is in Whitehouse and is about 30 minutes from Sangster International Airport—but it’s on rough and winding roads, so be aware if you’re prone to carsickness. Sandals Negril is in Negril, about 90 minutes from Sangster International Airport.

Sandals Ochi, Sandals Royal Plantation, and Sandals Dunn’s River are all located in Ocho Rios. They are about 90 minutes from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay or about 30 minutes from Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios.

As at every Sandals, airport transfers are complimentary.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Beaches

Both Barbados and Jamaica Sandals feature some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The beach at Sandals Barbados and Royal Barbados is one of the best on the island and features white sand and vivid blue water.

All of the Sandals resorts in Jamaica have lovely white-sand beaches and calm turquoise water, but they differ depending on the resort. Sandals Negril, for example, is on the famous and beautiful Seven Mile Beach but it is not private, while Sandals South Coast has two miles of pristine and private white sand. Sandals Dunn’s River has a lovely and pristine private beach as well.

Sandals Montego Bay has one of the largest stretches of private beach in the area; Sandals Royal Caribbean has two private beaches—one on an offshore island; Sandals Ochi has a very long beach that’s divided into three areas; and Sandals Royal Plantation has two beaches.

All the Sandals resort beaches have a wide range of complimentary watersports available. These vary a little depending on the resort, so you’ll want to check the Sandals website if a particular activity is important to you.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Rooms and Suites

The rooms and suites at Sandals Barbados include garden-view Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Suites, beachfront suites with Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for two, and beachfront penthouse suites with soaking tubs on the balcony.

At Sandals Barbados, you’ll find only suites, including beachfront suites with soaking tubs on the balcony, Prime Minister beachfront suites that have living rooms and a private pool on the patio, swim-up suites, and the unique round Rondoval suites with a private pool sanctuary.

The most luxurious accommodations in the Sandals portfolio can be found at Sandals South Coast and Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica: the amazing Over-the-Water Bungalows. These romantic suites have direct water access from large private decks that also feature hammocks, showers, and oversized soaking tubs; glass floor inserts so you can see into the water below; and 24-hour butler service.

More of the nicest rooms at Sandals resorts can be found at the new Sandals Dunn’s River, which is the only one in Jamaica to have the incredible Skypool Suites. These feature an elevated infinity pool that overlooks the beach. Sandals Dunn’s River also has the first-ever Coyaba Sky Rondovals, which are private, round villas with access to the river pool plus an oversized private swim-up pool plus a terrace that takes up the entire roof. On the terrace, you’ll find plush seating, a bistro dining set, a telescope, and a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two.

Sandals Royal Plantation has just 74 suites, which all come with butler service and beach views. Sandals Negril rooms and suites are also all beachfront, and include walkout suites, penthouse suites, and swim-up suites.

Sandals Montego Bay has a wide range of rooms and suites, many of which are beachfront or very close including Beachfront Swim-up Butler Suites; Crystal Lagoon Swim-up Rooms with a private patio and direct access to a swimming pool surrounded by lush gardens; and Beachfront Honeymoon Walkout Club Elite Junior Suites, located just steps from the beach and featuring Tranquility Soaking Tubs with ocean views.

Sandals Ochi has hillside villa suites with private pool sanctuaries as well as beachfront, poolside, and garden rooms and suites.

All the butler suites at Sandals resorts come with the 24-hour services of a private butler, while all club-level rooms and suites give you access to dedicated concierge service, a 24-hour private lounge, and special activities.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Activities and Amenities

All Sandals Barbados and Jamaica resorts have plenty of complimentary unlimited activities including water and land sports. Even scuba diving is included; certified divers can dive up to twice a day.

Complimentary watersports at Sandals range depending on the specific resort, but most offer snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and Hobie Cat sailing. Some also offer glass-bottom boat rides, aquatrikes, tubing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, and waterskiing. If a particular sport is important to you, be sure to check the Sandals website to see where it’s offered.

Each resort has multiple pools that can include river pools, lagoon pools, infinity pools, and more, as well as multiple whirlpools. They also have state-of-the-art fitness centers and luxurious spas (although spa services cost extra).

Land activities also vary but can include day and night tennis, beach volleyball, bocce ball, cricket, croquet, basketball, lawn chess, table tennis, pool, and more. Sandals Royal Barbados has a bowling alley, while Sandals Ochi and Royal Plantation offer access to a golf course.

Each resort also offers daily and nightly entertainment as well as a wide variety of optional excursions, which cost extra. Some resorts have more entertainment options than others. For example, Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Ochi in Jamaica and Sandals Royal Barbados are known for their more lively atmosphere, while Sandals Royal Plantation and Sandals Barbados are more quiet.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Food and Drink

Each Sandals resort features a variety of gourmet restaurants and fun bars. Unlimited meals, snacks, and drinks are included in your rate, including premium liquors and Robert Mondavi wines.

The restaurants range depending on the particular resort, but can include beachfront grills, French, Italian, Caribbean, Asian, Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Southern, international, jerk, seafood, steak, sushi, pizza, and more. There are coffee cafes and dessert shops as well.

Sandals Dunn’s River in Jamaica features almost all new restaurants for the Sandals brand, including Edessa, a Greek restaurant; the Asian fusion Banyu; L’Amande, serving Jamaican and French cuisines; Cascata, with Italian food; and Zuka, which features South and Central American dishes. The food here is the best of any Sandals resort in Jamaica.

Bars include swim-up bars, piano bars, beach bars, British pubs, lounge bars, and more. Sandals Ochi has the Caribbean’s first speakeasy, Sandals Royal Plantation has a champagne and caviar bar, Sandals Dunn’s River has a rum club and an upscale lounge, and Sandals Royal Barbados has a rooftop bar with an infinity pool.

At Sandals Barbados and Jamaica resorts, you can also get room service or request private dining options like a candlelight dinner on the beach (for an extra fee). If you are in a club level room, you can get room service between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.; butler suites get 24/7 room service.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Nightlife

Sandals Barbados has 8 bars including a swim-up bar and a tiki bar. Sandals Royal Barbados has a more active nightlife scene with nightly entertainment such as theme nights, beach parties, chocolate buffets, Barbados Day, and live music, plus 6 bars including a hip rooftop bar with a glass-edged infinity pool, a piano bar, and a craft beer bar. There’s also a bowling alley.

The liveliest Sandals resorts in Jamaica for nightlife are Sandals Ochi and Sandals Montego Bay, but all resorts have bars and some sort of nightly entertainment.

Sandals Ochi has 11 bars, including the Caribbean’s first speakeasy as well as 3 swim-up bars and a piano bar. It also offers nightly entertainment including shows in an amphitheater, live music, a piano bar, a chocolate buffet, talent night, karaoke, and beach parties with fire dancers.

Sandals Montego Bay has 6 bars including swim-up bars and a piano bar as well as plenty of nightly entertainment options, including live shows, music, beach parties, and theme nights. Sandals Montego Bay is also close to the active nightlife scene in Montego Bay, if you want to go out to local clubs. And you can also go to the bars at Sandals Royal Caribbean via a free shuttle.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Cost

The least expensive Sandals is in Jamaica, but Sandals Barbados is pretty affordable as well with rates currently starting at $285 per person per night. Sandals Barbados is less expensive than Sandals Royal Barbados, which currently ranges from $317 to $849 per person per night.

In Jamaica, you’ll find a huge range of prices. Sandals Ochi is the cheapest of all the Sandals resorts (currently starting at less than $200 per person per night), while the most expensive suites are the overwater villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean (which start at more than $2000 per person per night).

Stays at all Sandals resorts include all meals and snacks at all restaurants; 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; unlimited nonmotorized watersports such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, including equipment and professional instruction; scuba diving (including equipment) for certified divers; unlimited land sports including golf and tennis (at most resorts), beach volleyball, etc.; a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment; daily and nightly entertainment; WiFi; roundtrip airport transfers; private airport arrival lounges at some locations; and roundtrip shuttles to other resorts and access to their facilities (at some locations).

You won’t have to worry about tips and taxes because they are all included as well. Plus, stay a minimum of 7 nights in a club or butler room and get a free wedding! The Sweetheart Package, which usually costs $1000, is good for up to 10 people and also gives you a 15% discount at the spa as well as credits toward photography and videography packages. Free ceremonies are limited to Monday through Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

And if you honeymoon here within 30 days of your wedding, you get a free honeymoon package.

Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica Resorts Conclusion

You really can’t go wrong at any Sandals resort, and both Barbados and Jamaica are wonderful destinations with beautiful beaches and plenty to do. However, Barbados is currently a somewhat safer destination than Jamaica, due to a recent increase in crime there.

For more help making up your mind, check out our article on Barbados vs. Jamaica.

After reading our comparison of Sandals Barbados vs. Jamaica resorts, which would you choose? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re ready to plan your trip, feel free to reach out to one of our expert travel advisors!

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