Fun fact: Victoria has been reading wedding magazines since she was 12 years old. She would always stop and marvel at the joyous couples in the Sandals Resorts advertisements and gaze at the crystal blue water and alleged all-inclusive fun these couples would be having. The wedding magazines would also constantly acclaim Sandals Resorts as one of the best for destination weddings or honeymoons or all-inclusive resorts [or all three!]. We knew family friends who would travel to Sandals every year for two whole weeks.
Basically, we had never heard a bad thing about Sandals so when we had the opportunity to visit Sandals Montego Bay Resort in Jamaica, we were thrilled and didn’t know what to expect. Now, we LOVE cruising, which is a bit all-inclusive in nature, so we weren’t sure how we would feel about going to a resort and staying there the whole time. [News flash: we actually like it better!]
So if you are considering Sandals Resorts or Sandals Montego Bay for your luxury couples getaway, here are our unedited thoughts about the experience from someone who has had an eye on Sandals for 13 years.
Sandals Montego Bay Resort Jamaica Airport Pick Up
Arriving into the Montego Airport was quick and easy and immigration was surprisingly fast. Actually, the Jamaicans ran the most efficient immigration we have ever come across and had every single window open which made for a quick experience.
After we left baggage claim we were greeted by an airport employee who asked which resort we were staying at and we said Sandals Montego Bay and were immediately handed to a Sandals Resort employee and brought just steps away to the stunning Sandals Airport lounge.
The lounge at the Montego Bay airport was stocked with beer on tap, water, and other types of alcohol for couples to indulge in as they waited for an airport transfer. We were booked in a butler suite so if you book a room at the butler level, you will receive a private airport transfer.
We waited less than 10 minutes for our private transfer to arrive and the car was stocked with waters and sun shades to keep you cool in the Jamaican heat.
Now Sandals Montego Bay is literally located 5 minutes by car from the Montego Bay Airport making the transfer so fast and painless. We really loved how quick it was to get to Sandals Montego Bay from the airport. If this was our real honeymoon instead of a romantic couples trip, we would have been even more excited that we didn’t have far to go!
Sandals Montego Bay Check-In:
There are two areas for check-in at Sandals Montego Bay. One of them is for regular visitors and the other is for return visitors who have reached priority status and for those who booked a room with butler service. We had booked a room with butler service so we went to the priority check-in area where we were immediately greeted with a yummy tropical mixed drink.
A lady came in and explained the Sandals “footprints” brochure of events to those of us in the room and then our butler arrived and took us away to our room. Our butler was so friendly and funny and we loved her! She showed us to our room, explained how everything worked and showed us that we had our own personal Sandals cell phone that we could call her on at any time.
Butler Service at Sandals Montego Bay:
We were booked into a super luxe balcony suite with butler service. During our three nights at Sandals Montego Bay we had two different female butlers because our original gal had her day off during our stay. Both of our butlers were so friendly, funny, and kind.
When you book a room with a butler, you can pretty much request anything from your butler. Both of our butlers drew amazingly epic baths for us, booked our reservations, answered all of our questions, and more. We could have had our butler unpack our clothes and then repack them for departure. Since we were only at Sandals Montego Bay for 3 days we opted to keep our clothes in the suitcase, but this is a nice touch for couples who are staying longer and who don’t want to see their clothes lying around.
We could have also requested that our butler put together a dinner in our room or balcony and were so tempted to choose this option but decided to save it for an entire trip. A butler is a luxury service at Sandals Montego Bay that is perfect for when you want to hang out with just your sweetheart and not exactly interact with other people staying at the resort.
The food at Sandals Montego Bay:
We have so much to say about the food at Sandals Montego Bay that we couldn’t possibly fit it all in this post! Sandals Montego Bay has so many food options and 9 restaurants that you will pretty much never get bored!
On our first night, there was a Jamaican BBQ on the beach complete with live entertainment and twinkling lights! We also ate dinner at La Cucina Romana, the Italian restaurant, and The Oleander Room which featured Caribbean inspired food during our time at Sandals Montego Bay. We ate lunch at the Mariner’s beachside bar and also at lunch and breakfast at the Bayside Buffet.
Our favorite? Cafe De Paris, the Parisian inspired sweet shop! Since Paris is our favorite city in the world, we are a hard crowd to please when it comes to Parisian sweets, and Cafe De Paris at Sandals Montego Bay was exactly like the sweet shops we know and love on the streets of Paris! We went in there every day for ice cream, pastries, and frappuccinos or milkshakes.
The pools at Sandals Montego Bay:
Sandals Montego Bay has two main pools for all resort guests. That being said, if you book a room in a building that has swim-up suites, you also get access to that private pool. Even if you aren’t booked in a swim-up suite and are in a balcony suite, you get access to that pool.
As a couple, we like to keep to ourselves and enjoy time alone so hanging out at a swim-up bar isn’t our thing. [If it is your thing that is great!] We LOVED the semi-private pool for just our building and it is a signature feature at Sandals resorts. If you like the idea of a private pool, be sure to book a room in a building that includes one. Even better? Our building included a semi-private pool AND a view of the ocean.
The spa at Sandals also has a private plunge pool and a private hot tub. We loved the hot tub and used it often because it was located in the shade and is surrounded by koi fish, a waterfall, and lush green landscaping.
Drinking at Sandals Montego Bay:
Yes, all alcohol, even premium spirits, are included when you visit Sandals Montego Bay. Want a boozy milkshake from Cafe De Paris? Done! Want the beer of your choice? Done! Want to sip a Pina Colada in the pool? Extra done! Sandals Montego Bay has 4 bars and you can order drinks with any meal you want!
What if you aren’t a huge drinker? Victoria doesn’t drink at all and the Sandals Montego Bay staff were more than happy to make virgin versions of any drink on the menu. Plus, you can never go wrong with a milkshake!
Watersports and activities at Sandals Montego Bay:
All watersports, even scuba diving, are included in your stay at Sandals. That means whether you want to try windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, tubing, or water skiing, you can at no additional cost.
One thing we didn’t love? Guests are NOT provided with snorkels or masks unless they go on a snorkeling trip. The water around Sandals Montego Bay is crystal clear and we assumed since we were going to an all-inclusive resort literally everything would be included. As a result, we left our snorkels and masks at home to use the ones provided by the resort. Turns out, masks are NOT provided to guests unless you go on a tour so if you want to snorkel alone make sure to bring your own from home.
We were so busy enjoying the resort that we didn’t partake in any watersports, even though we really wanted to. If we were staying for longer than 3 days we certainly would have taken advantage!
That being said, we did partake in land-based activities such as pool, ping pong, and basketball. We really loved that the staff got involved in volleyball and basketball games and really got everyone to have a good time and relax together.
The sound of planes at Sandals Montego Bay:
Sandals Montego Bay is located literally ON the Montego Bay airport runway. There is Sandals, a road, and then the airport property and runway begins. As a result, many people choose to forgo staying at Sandals Montego Bay because they are afraid of the noise the airplanes make while taking off and landing. We think this is a shame!
It was actually quite a unique experience to see the planes landing and taking off so close and while the sound was loud, it only happened a few times per day. Planes mainly took off from 11-5pm and there were only about 10 takeoffs per day. The resort and proximity to the airport were well worth it in our opinion and this was a small sacrifice to make.
Again, as we said above, we actually thought it was pretty cool to see! Sandals Montego Bay has been in this location for 30+ years and the staff told us the planes are a part of the resort culture and they embrace it!
Sandals Montego Bay Resort grounds:
The Sandals Montego Bay resort grounds were stunningly landscaped. There wasn’t a single leaf out of place and if there was someone was fixing it immediately. The laid back and tropical vibes were the perfect settings for a getaway.
The resort was small enough that it didn’t take forever to walk everywhere yet large enough that every couple could find privacy for themselves. Whether it was floating in the pool, relaxing in a cabana, swinging on a double swing, or sitting on the beach, there was something for every couple and it was easy to escape to be alone if you wanted to be.
Sandals Montego Bay and visiting Sandals Royal Caribbean:
When you stay at Sandals Montego Bay you have access to two nearby Sandals resorts for free! There is a free shuttle that runs on the hour to all of the resorts. During our stay, we went to check out Sandals Royal Caribbean because they have a private island and overwater bungalows.
We were able to eat at all of the restaurants at Sandals Royal Caribbean and we ate at the Jamaican BBQ place located on the private island. The vibe of Sandals Montego Bay is very tropical and laid back luxury whereas the vibe at Sandals Royal Caribbean was more southern glamour with plantation style accents.
We did not vibe with the decor and design of Sandals Royal Caribbean as much as we did with the design and layout of Sandals Montego Bay so even though the Montego Bay location is closer to the airport, we much preferred the overall ambiance and vibe as opposed to Royal Caribbean.
All-Inclusive Resorts Vs A Cruise:
Sandals Montego Bay was our first all-inclusive resort experience and we are SOLD! The rooms at Sandals Montego Bay were huge and spacious, the view was always of the evergreen water, watersports were included, and we had a ton of dining options.
We have done some luxury cruises that included everything, but the pace of an all-inclusive was just so much more relaxing and we truly loved the experience.
With a Caribbean cruise, you do visit islands and pretty green water, but at Sandals Montego Bay the water is just steps away the entire stay! While we still love cruises, we have decided that we love Sandals All-inclusives better!
Closing thoughts on Sandals Montego Bay:
We would recommend Sandals Montego Bay to anyone! During our time at the resort and through posting on Instagram, many followers have actually messaged us saying we have convinced them to choose Sandals or specifically Sandals Montego Bay for their honeymoon or anniversary getaway. We couldn’t be more excited because we truly loved this experience and think it is the perfect blend of romance and fun for couples.
We are sold on all-inclusive and Sandals Resorts in particular and truly think Sandals Montego Bay is the perfect place for a wedding, honeymoon, or couples getaway of any kind!
Have you ever stayed at a Sandals resort or at Sandals Montego Bay in particular? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Special thanks to Sandals Montego Bay for hosting us for 3 days for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own and we were not paid for this content.