After a VERY relaxing and fulfilling night of sleep, the next stop on our Jamaican adventure was Sandals Whitehouse, the only resort located in the southern part of Jamaica. We had a VERY early wake-up call, which is why I can’t call this trip a “vacation”…I sleep in on vacation. Thank goodness that Cafe de Paris was open @ Beaches, because I needed a pick-me-up before we boarded the bus to Whitehouse.
Sandals Whitehouse is known as the brand’s “Jewel of the South Coast”, as it is the only Sandals resort on this portion of the island. It’s ideal for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and are looking for a true retreat. Since we were coming from Negril, the ride to Whitehouse was approximately 90 minutes. If you were to transfer directly to Whitehouse from Montego Bay, it would take a little over an hour. I was impressed by the resort upon arrival,with its long winding driveway and impressive entryway.
We were first treated to a Sandals Certified Specialist class led by the warm and knowledgeable Iesha Hibbert. It was a form of torture being in a room for 4 hours when there was all sorts of resort beauty to be seen, but the class was informative and went quickly. And now I’m Sandals Certified! (Still waiting on my certificate to prove it…).
During our class break, a bunch of us ventured out to look at the main resort grounds. We first encountered a peacock in full bloom, showing of his feathers for all of us. I later learned that peacocks are complete show-offs, which should’ve been obvious in the way he was slowly turning to pose for our pictures. Quite funny actually.
We also had a chance to get some great photos of the main pool, which was large, expansive and relatively empty (it was approximately 10 am). Beyond the pool, you can see beach and Caribbean Sea, so it’s quite a remarkable view. I was VERY impressed and had someone take my pic to prove I was actually there!
As we were standing around, one of my colleagues walked up with an impressive looking ice cream sundae. I made a beeline for the Cafe de Paris, and sure enough, I was able to get a chocolate/vanilla sundae with sprinkles and cookie crumbles. So what if it was 10 am? This is why I love all-inclusive resorts! 🙂
Upon completion of the class, we were given the opportunity to tour the resort. Unfortunately, the heavens also decided to open up and drenched the place, so our tour was quite abbreviated. Here were my thoughts of the resort…
Accommodations: We were shown a One Bedroom Penthouse Honeymoon Beachfront Suite (which comes with Butler Service) and a Honeymoon Grande Luxe Beachfront Room. One of Sandals’ signature features is their four poster beds, which all of these rooms have as a standard. Suites with Butler Service are eligible for 24 hour room service, which is unique to that level of room. Butler and Concierge Suites also come with free wi-fi, which is a MUST for people like me! The other standard amenities (in-room wet bar with stocked liquor, bathrobes, etc) come with Concierge and Butler suites.
All of the rooms and suites are housed in the same vicinity, in the French, Italian and Dutch Villages. These buildings are multi-story and come equipped with an elevator, making it easily accessible for those with mobility issues. However, the buildings are a distance away from the main resort/restaurants, so that is something to consider if you don’t like to walk.
Dining: We were provided lunch, buffet-style, at Bayside Restaurant. The food was quite delicious! I think I had jerk something every day of the trip, and this day was no exception. They had an impressive salad bar set up, as well as a dessert table with bite size samples of some delicious desserts (the strawberry cheesecake stood out). Since we were at Sandals Whitehouse on a tour and didn’t stay at the resort overnight, we did not have the opportunity to sample any of the other restaurants at the resort. They are conveniently located close together: in fact, Giuseppe’s (Italian), Jasmine’s (Asian), Eleanor’s (Caribbean), Cafe de Paris, and Bayside are next to one another. Yet another nice feature? None of the restaurants require reservations.
Pools/Beach: I previously mentioned the impressive main pool at this resort, which was quite large. When our official tour began, the resort guests had made their way to the pool and a water aerobics class was underway. There seemed to be plenty of deck chairs available (one of my biggest cruise pet peeves is the lack of chairs!) and umbrellas. As with all Sandals properties, both non-motorized AND motorized water sports are included in your stay, so you can challenge yourself by going kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling, water-skiing, or take a relaxing ride on the glass bottom boat. PADI certified divers are able to go scuba diving for FREE, while non-certified divers can take a class for a nominal fee. For those not interested in venturing too far from land, there are two swim-up pool bars where you can relax and forget all of your worries.
Atmosphere: Sandals Whitehouse felt like a true retreat to me, partially because of its distance from the busyness of the larger cities, and partially due to the resort itself. The fact that we toured in the first part of the day, or the rain, may have played a role that as well. However, this would be a place I would stay if I was looking for a romantic getaway for two. The vibe is distinctly European, hence the name of the various villages. But it’s not pretentious. You still have access to the fun activities available through the resort which is a plus, as there isn’t much else to do in the Whitehouse area (from what we saw). If you are looking to sample/explore local culture, this may not be the resort for you.