Sandals Negril: Negril, Jamaica
Hello to all of my travel friends! My husband and I adore our parents. They made the biggest sacrifices during our life to make sure that we had an amazing childhood. Even as adults, they continue to spoil us. So, as a birthday gift to our mothers, my husband and I took our parents to Sandals, Negril to celebrate. In the following review we share everything you could possibly want to know about going to Sandals Negril!
The first difference between going to Sandals Negril and the other Sandals resorts in Jamaica is its distance from the airport. The flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Jamaica is literally quicker than the time it takes to drive from Montego Bay to Negril. I wish I was joking, but I'm not! Imagine being in a van for an hour and forty-five minutes. There's only so much scenery you can see, small talk you can make, and time checks that you can ask for. I suggest that you enjoy the scenery for 20 minutes and try to take a nap for the rest of the ride because there is a lot of traffic if you arrive in the morning or late afternoon.
Arrival: When we arrived at the resort, I had to take a moment to take it all in. The resort is wide instead of long, so from the entrance you can see the pool, the main dining area, and the beach. The resort is very pretty. However, it doesn't have the jaw dropping appeal that Sandals Barbados and Sandals Grenada has because those are newer resorts. However, each day that we stayed at Sandals Negril, I began to like it more than I did initially.
The resort does not have elevators in all of the buildings, so make sure that you keep that in mind when choosing your floor. Our parents had a hard time walking to the third floor, so we had to change their room to the first floor.
The room (Caribbean Deluxe - Tropical Garden view): This room is in the Paradise building. The Paradise building is the central building on the property, so you are usually only a few steps away from everything. This room was slightly smaller than what we're used to but we wanted to stay on the lower end of our price range because we were occupying three rooms. The room was very modern and the bed was extremely comfortable. I wish there was more water pressure from the shower, but there was enough to do the job. Each room has a king-size bed, mahogany furniture, and a flat screen television.
Restaurants: The resort has seven restaurants and five bars. We tried to go to as many as we could to indulge ourselves and offer you a comprehensive review.
Bayside Restaurant - This restaurant is on the first floor of the Paradise building. It is completely outdoors but most of the restaurant is covered to protect the guests from the sun or rain. We ate buffet breakfast and lunch here, and at night the restaurant's buffet style is miraculously transformed into a French restaurant. The breakfast offers a lot of American and Jamaican choices. The servers are extremely polite and always offer a smile.
Be careful because the birds invite themselves to breakfast. The birds fly from empty table to empty table looking for leftover scraps. As many of you know, I have a fear of birds. So, breakfast was very eventful. Many of the other guests got a kick out of watching me scream, jump, and dodge the birds at all cost. The only calm bird that I liked to watch was a beautiful peacock that came by to say good morning each day. At lunch, the buffet theme changed each day to offer the guests some variety. The food was decent, but this was definitely not my favorite place to eat at on the property.
Cucina Romana - this Italian restaurant is along the beach and reservations are needed. This was our least favorite resort on the property. There were six of us and none of us were overly impressed with our food. Honestly, it's not even worth visiting this restaurant.
Sundowner - this restaurant represents the food and culture of Jamaica. The Sundowner offered the best dining experience that we had at the resort. From the service to the food, we were blown away! Both of our parents were born in Jamaica and they cleaned their plates!
Kimonos - is an Asian inspired restaurant that has hibachi tables for large groups to enjoy a meal like a family. This restaurant also requires a reservation. It is very similar to other hibachi experiences in the US. Our chef had a great sense of humor and made such a good meal for us. We were so full that we couldn't finish our meal. I love that the staff took us to another room for dessert. Our family was able to sit closer at an intimate table and reminisce on stories from our past. It was such a beautiful night.
The Beach Bistro - this oceanfront restaurant is a casual location that offers food like hamburgers, jerk chicken, french fries, etc. I didn't eat at The Beach Bistro. However, my family ate here and they stated that the food was okay, or as my dad says, "it can eat."
Barefoot by the Sea - this restaurant is along the ocean and it's completely open, with the exception of the covering right above the restaurant. It has great views in the day and it is quite romantic at night. We ate here two mornings in a row because my husband loves their Jamaican traditional breakfast, ackee and saltfish. This was my family's favorite breakfast spot. The food isn't mass produced like the breakfast buffet at the Bayside Restaurant and the service was intimate and personal. On our first night the hotel had a huge dinner buffet on the beach and we sat at Barefoot by the Sea. The food was really good. My husband and I are pescatarian and we barely ever get tempted to eat meat. However, when we saw the curry goat and oxtail, we didn't know if we were going to make it through the trip as pescatarians. My only complaint about the beach buffet was the the food was cold.
Bella Napoli - this Italian beach eatery sits right beside Barefoot by the Sea. Each Sandals resort has a pizza eatery, and Sandals Negril and Sandal Grenada are my favorite. This was my husband's favorite afternoon snack. If you saw a man walking in the distance with a pizza box in one hand and a rum punch in the other hand....it was definitely my husband.
Overall, the best place for breakfast is Barefoot by the Sea, the best place for lunch is at Beaches Negril (you can have a taxi bring you there for $10/couple), and the best place for dinner is definitely the Sundowner and Kimonos.
Daytime Activities: There is a newsletter with daily and nightly activities. Make sure you look at the agenda to know what is happening throughout the day. In the day, we spent most of our time in the pool, jacuzzi, and the beach. What can I say?! We're a water family. We really enjoyed all of the free water sports that Sandals had to offer. I got on a non-motorized bicycle with my father-in-law and tried paddle boarding for the first time. I was really impressed that kayaks, water skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, sailboats, hobie cats, scuba diving, wake boarding, and knee boarding were included for free!
Beach - We had fun in the beach. However, I was surprised by how much seaweed was in the water. When we took a taxi to Beaches Negril (5 minute drive), the beach was a lot better. It didn't have any seaweed and the drink and chair attendants were extremely attentive.
Spa - Sandals renowned Red Lane Spa has proven itself time and time again. My entire experience at Sandals Negril's Red Lane Spa was absolute perfection. Sandals Negril has the deep tissue massage perfected and my husband and I really enjoyed being pampered. You definitely have to stop by a get a massage. The spa also has a fitness center, beauty salon, steam room, and plunge pools.
Excursions: Since we were with our parents, who are from Jamaica, we decided to spend our time relaxing at the resort. The only time we left the resort was for our daily flee to Beaches Negril. However, we have been to Jamaica many times and I have included all of the places that you can go to have a great time in Jamaica.
Nighttime Activities: We usually didn't make it to the night shows due to us chatting at dinner and enjoying each other's company. However, we went to the night show at the beach buffet and the cultural dance show on the stage at the Bayside restaurant. Some nights we danced the night away by the Piano Bar. I really enjoyed the night show at the beach buffet. They offered a fire eater, a sword juggler, and a dance class. We shared lots of laughs! I was a little confused by the cultural night because Sandals hired dancers from Central America to dance for the guests, and I didn't understand why they didn't provide jobs to the locals.Each night, the piano bar offered a place to listen to music, sing your favorite songs, and dance off all of the calories eaten on that particular day.
Gratuity included - Sandals is supposed to be a gratuity free property. However, we still left tips after our meals, for people that went out of their way for us, staff that handled our bags, and the housekeeping service.
Loyalty and Travel Rewards Program - We are a part of the loyalty program. Which basically means that you get points every time you stay at a Sandals property. As you accrue points, you get gifts, rewards, special cocktail parties, and perks. Also, you get to book your next trip while you're on the property for a lot less than the regular public.
Departure: Upon leaving, I don't know if I was sadder about getting back to reality or thinking about the hour and forty-five minute bus ride ahead of me. Luckily, we sat beside a couple that we met earlier in the week and our conversation was so interesting that the time seemed to fly by.
Would I recommend it: Yes, I would. The Negril area is beautiful, the staff is very friendly, and I had a great vacation. However, I like Sandals Barbados, Sandals Grenada, Sandals St. Lucia, and Royal Plantation more than this resort.
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