WHICH SANDALS BEACH RESORT IS BEST? (2022 GUIDE)

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Sandals is a popular choice for an all-inclusive luxury romantic holiday for couples or for a honeymoon in the caribbean. They get some of the best reviews you’ll find and have a good choice of 17 resorts on 7 caribbean islands including jamaica, barbados, saint lucia, bahamas, grenada and antigua. There’s also a resort opening in 2023 called sandals dunn’s river.

But which is the best sandals beach resort?

We’ve picked out our top five by looking at customer reviews, value for money, travel from the the uk and activities on offer.

Which Sandals Resort gets the best reviews?

All of the sandals resort get very positive reviews, so i wouldn’t say there is a ‘bad’ choice. However, there are small differences in their review scores.

We added together the scores they achieved from customers on tripadvisor, google reviews and expedia to come up with a total score. We then ranked them in order. We carried out our searches in 2022:

  • Sandals royal plantation, jamaica – 13.7/15 (4.6 on google reviews, 4.5 on tripadvisor, 4.6 on expedia)
  • Sandals grenada, grenada – 13.6/15 (4.6, 4.5, 4.5)
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian, saint lucia – 13.4/15 (4.5, 4.5, 4.4)\
  • Sandals montego bay, jamaica – 13.3/15 (4.5, 4.5, 4.3)​
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – 13.3/15 (4.5, 4.5, 4.3)
  • Sandals halcyon beach, saint lucia – 13.2/15 (4.4, 4.5, 4.3)
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – 13.1/15 (4.5, 4.5, 4.1)
  • Sandals emerald bay, bahamas – 13/15 (4.3, 4.5, 4.2)
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – 12.9/15 (4.4, 4.5, 4.0)
  • Sandals regency la toc, saint lucia – 12.9/15 (4.2, 4.5, 4.2)
  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – 12.9/15 (4.4, 4.5, 4)
  • Sandals barbabos, barbados – 12.8/15 (4.3, 4.5, 4.0)
  • Sandals grande antigua, antigua – 12.5/15 (4.3, 4.0, 4.2)
  • Sandals royal bahamian, bahamas – 12.1/15 (4.1, 4, 4)​
  • Sandals royal barbados, barbados 11.8/15 (4.4, 4.0, 3.4)
  • Sandals royal curaçao, curaçao –10.9 (3.9, 4, 3)

I’d say that the range of review scores is quite small, meaning that there’s a reassuringly good level of consistency across the resorts. Sandals royal plantation in jamaica gets the best reviews, but several others aren’t far behind so let’s look at some other factors.

Meanwhile, according to a 2019 blog by sandals the three ‘best rated’ resorts are sandals royal plantation, sandals grenada and sandals south coast. They were ranked 1st, joint 2nd and 6th in our rankings, so that’s a similar finding.

Also worth mentioning is that sandals royal bahamian in bahamas has recently been renovated and significantly upgraded, so its score may well improve. Sandals royal curaçao is a new resort so there aren’t many reviews to go on.

Which Sandals Resort is the cheapest?

To figure out which is the cheapest or best value sandals resort in the caribbean we looked at three different sets of dates for a week long holiday for a couple:
A week in early april 2023
A week in early august 2023
A week in early december 2023

The cost is for the cheapest accommodation available at the time of searching for two people and includes flights, transfers, all meals and nearly all activities. We searched in october 2022 and ranked them from cheapest to most expensive. We looked for holidays departing on a friday, saturday, sunday or monday. You can get sometimes get a bargain sandals holiday with a midweek departure.

A week for two people in early April 2023:

  • Sandals regency la toc, saint lucia – £4610
  • Sandals halcyon beach, saint lucia – £4872
  • Sandals grenada, grenada – £5221
  • Sandals grande antigua, antigua – £5318
  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – £5361
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – £5711
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian, saint lucia – £5841
  • Sandals royal plantation, jamaica – £5864
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – £6472
  • Sandals emerald bay, bahamas – £6550
  • Sandals barbabos, barbados – £6642
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – £6700
  • Sandals royal bahamian, bahamas – £6778
  • Sandals royal barbados, barbados – £6949
  • Sandals royal curaçao, curaçao – £7093
  • ​sandals montego bay, jamaica – £8829

A week for two people in early late November/December 2023:

  • Sandals regency la toc, saint lucia – £4278
  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – £4295
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – £4494
  • Sandals barbabos, barbados – £4692
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – £4808
  • Sandals halcyon beach, saint lucia – £4898
  • Sandals royal barbados, barbados – £4912*
  • Sandals montego bay, jamaica – £5085
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian, saint lucia – £5093
  • Sandals royal bahamian, bahamas – £5154*
  • Sandals emerald bay, bahamas – £5156*
  • Sandals grande antigua, antigua – £5234
  • Sandals royal curaçao – £5406*
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – £5632
  • Sandals grenada, grenada – £5688
  • Sandals royal plantation, jamaica – £5991
  • ​sandals dunn’s river, jamaica – £6069

So, what can we summarise from this big list of numbers?
The range from the cheapest to the most expensive sandals resort is about £4000 to £9000 depending on the time of year.
Sandals regency la toc in saint lucia was the cheapest sandals resort in all of our price comparisons.
Sandals halcyon beach in saint lucia and sandals grenada, in grenada were also amongst the cheapest sandals resorts.
Sandals south coast, ​sandals dunn’s river and sandals montego bay all in jamaica were usually amongst the most expensive sandals resorts.
Consistently mid-priced sandals resorts included sandals grande st. Lucian, sandals emerald bay in the bahamas and sandals royal plantation in jamaica.
Several resorts were expensive for one date and relatively cheap for other dates. For example, sandals grenada in grenada was one of the more expensive resorts in november 2023 but one of the cheaper resorts in april and august 2023.
As a general rule, it’s cheaper to visit from june to november.

According to a blog by sandals, the cheapest of their resorts is usually sandals ochi, which matches with our findings for november but we found them to be middle of the table for april and august. They also reckon that (relatively) low price resorts are sandals regency la toc, sandals negril, sandals south coast and sandals royal caribbean.

Which are the biggest and smallest Sandals Resorts?

There’s a big range in the size and scale of the sandals resorts.

The smallest – sandals royal plantation in jamaica – has just 74 rooms and suites, whilst the largest – sandals ochi in jamaica has 519 suites. Unsurprisingly, the big resorts have more facilities, so you need to choose whether you want a quiet and small-scale resort or a larger sandals resort with more to do. Personally, i would go for a smaller or mid-sized resort if you are staying for one week or if you’re on honeymoon, or a larger resort if you are staying for two weeks. Even the smallest resort has five restaurants so there is plenty of choice for a week’s holiday.

You can roughly split the resorts up like this:

  • Small sandals resorts (less than 200 rooms)
  • Sandals halcyon beach in saint lucia ​
  • Sandals royal plantation in jamaica

Which Sandals Resort has the most facilities and activities?

Every sandals resort has a decent choice of activities, including several watersports such as paddleboarding and snorkelling but there is a big range in the number of swimming pools, restaurants and bars.

We’ve crunched the numbers to give a very rough idea of how well equipped each resort is:

  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – 7 swimming pools, 16 restaurants, 11 bars (total of 34)​
  • ​sandals dunn’s river, jamaica – 7 swimming pools, 12 restaurants, 9 bars (total of 28)
  • Sandals royal curaçao, curaçao – 2 swimming pools, 11 restaurants, 13 bars (total of 26)
  • ​sandals montego bay, jamaica – 7 swimming pools, 12 restaurants, 6 bars (total of 25)
  • Sandals royal bahamian, bahamas – 7 swimming pools, 10 restaurants, 8 bars (total of 25)
  • Sandals grande antigua, antigua – 6 swimming pools, 11 restaurants, 7 bars (total of 24)
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian, saint lucia – 4 swimming pools, 12 restaurants, 8 bars (total of 24)
  • Sandals barbabos, barbados – 3 swimming pools, 11 restaurants, 7 bars (total of 21)
  • Sandals emerald bay, bahamas – 3 swimming pools, 12 restaurants, 6 bars (total of 21)
  • Sandals regency la toc, saint lucia – 3 swimming pools, 9 restaurants, 8 bars (total of 20)
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – 3 swimming pools, 9 restaurants, 7 bars (total of 19)
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – 6 swimming pools, 8 restaurants, 5 bars (total of 19)
  • Sandals grenada, grenada – 3 swimming pools, 10 restaurants, 6 bars (total of 19)
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – 3 swimming pools, 7 restaurants, 5 bars (total of 15)
  • Sandals halcyon beach, saint lucia – 2 swimming pools, 6 restaurants, 7 bars (total of 15)
  • Sandals royal barbados, barbados – 3 swimming pools, 7 restaurants, 4 bars (total of 14)
  • Sandals royal plantation, jamaica – 2 swimming pools, 5 restaurants, 2 bars (total of 9)​​

  • Sandals royal plantation, jamaica – best for golf
  • Sandals montego bay, jamaica – ​best for waterskiing, tubing, nightlife
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – best for swimming pools, waterskiing, tubing
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – has an offshore private island
  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – best for swimming pools, golf, nightlife,
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – best for waterskiing, tubing
  • Sandals dunn’s river, jamaica – best for golf and it has beachfront suites

Sandals Grenada, Antigua and Curaçao

  • Sandals grenada, grenada – best for swimming pools, scuba diving​
  • Sandals grande antigua, antigua – best for nightlife
  • Sandals royal curaçao, curaçao – sandals only two-level infinity swimming pool​

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the activities available at each resort, just recommendations from Sandals about which resorts are particularly good for certain activities. The newer resorts weren’t included in the original ‘highlights’ guide from Sandals, so we added our own highlights!

Which is the nearest Sandals Resort to the UK?

​Travelling as a couple isn’t quite as tortuous as travelling a long way with children, but it’s still worth noting which of the Sandals Resorts are quickest to reach from a London airport.

We added together the typical flight time to the transfer time to the resort and ranked them from shortest to longest journey:

  • Sandals grande antigua, antigua – 9 hours 5 minutes
  • Sandals royal barbados, barbados – 9 hours 5 minutes
  • Sandals barbabos, barbados – 9 hours 5 minutes​
  • Sandals royal bahamian, bahamas – 9 hours, 55 minutes
  • Sandals regency la toc, saint lucia – 10 hours
  • Sandals emerald bay, bahamas – 10 hours
  • Sandals montego bay, jamaica – 10 hours, 5 minutes
  • ​sandals dunn’s river, jamaica – 10 hours, 10 minutes
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – 10 hours, 10 minutes
  • Sandals
  • beach, saint lucia – 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian, saint lucia – 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Sandals grenada, grenada – 10 hours 55 minutes (via saint lucia)
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – 11 hours, 15 minutes
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – 11 hours, 15 minutes
  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – 11 hours 30 minutes
  • ​sandals royal plantation, jamaica – 11 hours, 30 minutes
  • Sandals royal curaçao, curaçao – 13 hours

The clear winners in this comparison are the Sandals Resorts on Antigua and Barbados which require nearly eight hours less travelling for a return journey than Sandals Royal Curaçao. The Jamaican resorts generally have the longest journeys. As far as I can tell, Sandals Grenada stops in Saint Lucia.

Which Sandals Resort has the best weather?

Generally speaking, caribbean islands are hot and humid during the uk summer months and warm and dry during the uk winter months. There’s some variation across the sandals resorts, as they are spread across the caribbean.

According to the rather useful website climates to travel, the best time to visit the caribbean islands is as follows:

  • Bahamas – november to mid-april
  • Grenada – february to april
  • Saint lucia – december to april
  • Barbados – february to april
  • Antigua – december to april
  • Jamaica – january to april
  • Curaçao – mid-february to may

So, if you wanted to visit in november then the bahamas might be your best bet. From december to april there are several resorts which are getting their best weather of the year. For a holiday in may, sandals royal curaçao is a good option.

There’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t visit at other times of year, this is just the optimum time according to one website.

If you struggle with heat, i would consider the bahamas which is a little bit cooler than the other locations. Very roughly speaking, the bahamas resorts have average temperatures in their low to mid 20s in winter and high twenties in summer. The other sandals resorts usually get temperatures in the mid to high twenties in winter and temperatures in the high twenties or low thirties in summer. There is some variation, but that’s the gist of it.

How can I save money on a Sandals Resort?

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up during my research. I’ll add other ones when I find them:​

  • Visiting from June to November is cheaper than at other times of year. The weather is generally hotter and more humid and there’s a greater risk of rain, so prices are much lower.
  • Being flexible around arrival dates can save you a lot of money. For example, a seven-day holiday at Sandals Grande Antigua starting on Sunday 2nd April 2023 was from £6719 whilst arriving on Sunday 30th April was £9660 – a difference of about £2900.
  • Two weeks can be slightly better value than one. For example, one week in mid-April 2023 at Sandals Grande Antigua was £6719 for two people (£479 per person, per night) whilst two weeks was £11,082 (£395 per person, per night). Ten days was also a good value option at £9076 (£453 per person, per night). Presumably this is due to the availability of the cheaper accommodation or increased flight prices on certain days.
  • Discounts and offers are regularly posted on the Sandals website ‘Special offers’ page.

Other notable differences between the Sandals Resorts?

  • The three saint lucia resorts (sandals grande st. Lucian, sandals halcyon beach and sandals regency la toc) have free transport between each one, so you can stay at one and use the facilities at the others.
  • According to sandals there are three resorts which tend to be popular with older visitors – sandals grande antigua, ​sandals royal plantation in jamaica and sandals halcyon beach in saint lucia.
  • Similarly, according to sandals there are three resorts which are more popular with younger visitors – sandals grande st. Lucian in saint lucia, sandals ochi in jamaica and sandals royal bahamian in the bahamas
  • Three resorts have some ultra-posh bungalows over the water, so your accommodation is sat on stilts in the sea – sandals south coast and sandals royal caribbean in jamaica and sandals grande st. Lucian in saint lucia.
  • Ten resorts have either opened or had big refurbishments in the last 10 years – sandals ochi, sandals south coast, sandals royal barbados, sandals barbabos, sandals montego bay, sandals royal caribbean, sandals grenada, sandals emerald bay and sandals royal curaçao. ​sandals dunn’s river is the newest resort, whilst sandals royal bahamian is the resort which was most recently renovated.

Which Sandals Resorts has the best beach?

All of the beaches at sandals caribbean resorts are beautiful. However, it’s worth noting that in a blog post, sandals said that five resorts ‘stand out’ for their beaches so you might want to prioritise these if the beach is particularly important to you:

  • Sandals emerald bay in bahamas
  • Sandals south coast and sandals negril in jamaica
  • Sandals grande antigua in antigua
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian in st lucia

Conclusion – which is the best Sandals Resort

If you’ve read the whole of this guide, may i offer congratulations on your perseverance. By now you may have realised that the ‘best sandals resort’ depends partly on what you are looking for.

  • Sandals royal plantation in jamaica if you’re an older couple looking for a quiet holiday
  • Sandals ochi in jamaica if you’re a younger couple looking for a great value sandals resort and want plenty to do
  • Sandals grande antigua in antigua if you’re an older couple looking for a lively resort and a shorter travel time
  • Sandals grande st. Lucian in saint lucia if you’re a younger couple who can afford to blow the budget
  • Sandals south coast in jamaica if you’re recently married and want a sandals honeymoon

Book Resorts At Sandals.Com

Jamaica resorts – long journey from the uk, best from january to april:

  • Sandals royal plantation, jamaica – smallest resort, mid-priced, best reviews, furthest away from uk, good for golf, popular with older people
  • Sandals montego bay, jamaica – ​great reviews, expensive, mid-sized, very good range of facilities, recently updated, quite quick from the uk, good for waterskiing, plenty of nightlife
  • Sandals south coast, jamaica – large resort with good reviews, mid-to-low priced, great beach, recently updated, has some bungalows over the water, one of the furthest from the uk, great swimming pools though not as many as others, good for waterskiing, recommended for honeymoons by sandals
  • Sandals royal caribbean, jamaica – good reviews, low-to-mid priced, mid-sized resort, access to private island, bungalows over the water, recent upgrades, quite quick from the uk
  • Sandals ochi, jamaica – largest and cheapest resort, good reviews but not as high as others, great swimming pools, golf and nightclubs, lots of restaurants, popular with younger visitors, furthest from the uk
  • Sandals negril, jamaica – good reviews, one of the cheapest, mid-sized, not as many swimming pools as some, great beach, one of the furthest from the uk
  • Sandals dunn’s river, jamaica – looks good on paper but not yet open and therefore no reviews to go on.

Grenada Resort – one of the furthest from the UK, best from February to April

  • Sandals grenada, grenada – outstanding reviews, mid-sized and mid-priced, good for scuba diving, great swimming pools though not as many as some, recently updated.

Saint Lucia Resorts – quite easy to reach from the UK, best from December to April

  • Sandals grande st. Lucian, saint lucia – large resort with outstanding reviews, mid-priced, good for scuba diving and golf, plenty of nightlife and restaurants, great beach, bungalows over the water, popular with younger visitors, shares facilities with other two in saint lucia.
  • Sandals halcyon beach, saint lucia – small resort with very good reviews, mid-priced, good for scuba diving, golf and waterskiing, great swimming pools but not as many as some.
  • ​sandals regency la toc, saint lucia – large resort with plenty of nightlife. Good reviews and low prices. Not as many pools as some but good for waterskiing, scuba diving and golf.

Antigua Resort – joint quickest to reach from the UK, best from December to April

Sandals grande antigua, antigua – large resort with good reviews and nightlife. Mid-priced, lots of swimming pools and restaurants, great beach, popular with older visitors

Barbados resorts – joint quickest to reach from the uk, best from february to april

  • Sandals barbabos, barbados – mid-sized resort with good reviews and plenty of restaurants. Not as many pools as some, but modern facilities. Mid to high priced.
  • Sandals royal barbados, barbados ​- expensive, modern mid-sized resort with good reviews, great swimming pools and great scuba diving.

Bahamas Resorts – quite easy to reach from UK, slightly cooler weather than the rest, best from November to mid-April

  • Sandals emerald bay, bahamas – reviews a little lower than the others, expensive, great beach and golf, modern, lots of restaurants, great swimming pools but not as many as some.
  • Sandals royal bahamian, bahamas – large resort with lots of swimming pools. Good for scuba diving and nightlife and it has an offshore private island but reviews are lower than others and it’s expensive

Curaçao – longest journey from the uk, best from mid-february to may

  • Sandals royal curaçao, curaçao – a new resort which looks good on paper. It’s a large site and it has a golf course and plenty of diving. However, it’s expensive and we don’t yet have much information to go on.


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