Savvy September 2019

Is Sandals realllllyyyyyy the gold standard (& worth the price) ?

Victoria, on January 12, 2019 at 12:03 PM Posted in Honeymoon
We are getting married in September and would like to do a weeklong honeymoon in the Caribbean beginning the Monday following the wedding.

Ideally, we would spend under 5 or 6k (after absolutely everything). We would like to stay somewhere with a nice beach and we really would like to feel special as honeymooners. We found a travel agent who is very "Sandals, Sandals, Sandals!!!!".

Their resorts are undeniably beautiful and all-inclusive sounds like the way to go but the price tag makes me ill. 6k for the crappiest room in a seemingly dated resort for 6 nights. I know that includes EVERYTHING but... is that realllllyyyyyy the best? Reviews online are always a mixed bag of course. I just find other resorts in beautiful locations (like Swept Away in Jamaica) that are all-inclusive, adults-only, beautiful beach.... etc. Literally almost HALF the price (of the room rate alone- not comparing it to the price with air included). My friends went to that resort which is the only reason I suggest this one in particular but I've seen plenty more in my research.

This travel agent won't pull any other all-inclusive resorts because Sandals is the luxury standard. I'm not a "luxury" type person so this price tage makes me uncomfortable if I know I can get more for my money elsewhere (for reference, my entire wedding is 10k).

So I guess my question is- is Sandals really the be all/end all?


  • Lauren
    Dedicated October 2019
    Lauren ·
    No way is it “the best.” At all.
  • Nemo
    VIP August 2018
    Nemo ·
    We’re going to Grand Palladium Riviera Maya this fall for $1,500 for 7 nights. Total. For both of us. It's an all-inclusive mega resort and we are so excited. H has been before and he loved it! Airfare will be free through our credit card points.
  • Sunshine
    Devoted January 2019
    Sunshine Online ·
    Nope, Sandals is not the gold standard. $6000 for 6 nights better be getting you some absolutely insane luxury somewhere super posh!
  • PurdyAikey
    Super January 2019
    PurdyAikey ·
    I am staying at excellence el carmen in the dominican for 10 days in a 2 story ocean view suite with our own rooftop punge pool for $6500. I booked direct with the resort and got a cheaper rate than their website was showing. I would look else where if you are getting the crappiest room for the same price at sandals!
  • PurdyAikey
    Super January 2019
    PurdyAikey ·
    ^ The price includes the Honeymoon pacakage and an upgrade to their "excellence club" which just means access to some extra restairants and pools and some upgraded amenities.
  • Officiallymrsj
    Super October 2018
    Officiallymrsj ·
    I went to sandals for mine and couldn’t have been happier if I’m being honest.. I’ve stayed at other all inclusives and found sandals much nicer .. but that being said I’m sure you can stay elsewhere and have an equally nice stay .. also keep in mind your looking to go to the carribean during hurricane season
  • S
    Just Said Yes February 2020
    Samantha ·

    Sandals is definitely not anyone's gold standard (especially for luxury). It sounds like your travel agent is getting a kick-back. If I were you I would find a new travel agent and check out some travel sites yourself - trip advisor has inspiration boards sorted by category, as well as the Best of 2018. The other way to think about it is what is actually most important to you -- if you want a hotel with a beautiful beach and pool, unlimited drinks, and ok food, but with a luxury suite, you may want to consider hotels that are overall a bit less luxurious (4 vs 5 star) but where you can afford a top their room (which usually come with extra perks). Good luck!

  • Cheyenne
    Just Said Yes October 2019
    Cheyenne ·
    As a flight attendant who travels constantly I can assure you there are better places than sandals. We are celebrating our either in Costa Rica or Punta Cana.
  • Jenna
    Just Said Yes September 2019
    Jenna ·
    We’ve stayed st excellence el Carmen in the Dominican for a friends wedding before and it was incredible! We booked our honeymoon for the excellence resort in Jamaica bc we love it so much! And we are getting a private beach house all inclusive with incredible views and service for a great deal.
  • Gabrielle
    Just Said Yes October 2019
    Gabrielle ·

    Born and raised in Jamaica and definitely, don't think I'd say Sandals is the golden standard. There are tons of other places that will offer a great experience. I would just recommend that you stay somewhere that isn't secluded and far away from the other resorts. The Grand Palladium is one of the nicer resorts. I would also keep in mind that you'll be honeymooning in the hurricane season.

  • K
    Just Said Yes February 2019
    Kirsten ·

    My suggestion would be looking into the island of Grenada, southern Caribbean - they do have Sandals resort, but it is very affordable destination and an option could be to splurge on the resort for a few days and then make your way around the island, guaranteed great weather and the locals are phenomenal. That way a bit of luxury is had but then also the island vibe form the eyes of the locals as well.

  • Jennifer
    Savvy May 2019
    Jennifer ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Oh wow! Sounds like you found a hell of a deal!
  • Kristin
    Dedicated August 2020
    Kristin ·
    If you're interested in Dominican Republic check out Majestic Mirage. Best vacation I've ever been! I personally don't think Sandals is all that- you can absolutely do half that price for much better quality
  • B11
    Super May 2019
    B11 ·
    Definitely not the gold standard. Most travel agents have deals with Sandals, which is why the majority of travel agents recommend those resorts. I would do some research on your own.
  • Kelvita
    Just Said Yes October 2019
    Kelvita ·

    Hey Victoria

    I'm a travel agent and having a hard time narrowing down a good resort myself. I have not personally stayed at Sandals however my clients do have nothing but good things to say. I have been looking at Excellence resorts myself. Advice her of what you want to spend so that the travel agent will know what resort to look at as opposed to pushing sandals down your throat..

  • Courtney
    Expert September 2019
    Courtney Online ·
    I love sandals but I think there is a limited range of luxury you would expect. I’ve always stayed in basic rooms but they do have private villas with pools and butlers. Maybe that’s what your agent is selling you on? It’s not the fanciest place I’ve stayed, more on the family friendly side, but I do like that they have a bigger choice in restaurants and bars compared to other all inclusives. For reference, I’ve stayed at Beaches in Turks and Caicos (owned by Sandals) a few times. We’re not looking there for our honeymoon - we’d like something more private.
  • A
    Super September 2019
    Anna Online ·
    I would find a different travel agent. I think Sandal resorts are hit and miss. My FMIL and her husband are members and go all the time, they love it but I think it depends on the resort. If your travel agent refuses to look at any other resorts I’d find a different one. If either of you have AAA use them.
  • futurmrslowe
    Super December 2018
    futurmrslowe ·

    I just got back from my honemoony in Exuma, Bahamas. There is a big sandals resort there. We drove by one day, and honestly we thought it looked a bit run down. And they're always shorthanded on staff (according to a couple of the employees who worked at our resort that had previously worked there).

    We stayed at a small boutique resort called Lumina point and it was FABULOUS. It was not all inclusive, so you have to consider that when budgeting. We ended up spending about $5000 for four nights in a beach front bungalow, all our meals, airfare, boat tour excursion, + massages. You can do better -- just do your research.

  • Allie
    Devoted March 2019
    Allie Online ·

    I would be leery that Sandals is the best option for you. My mom is a travel agent and her commission varies based on the company so your travel agent may get way more commission off Sandals and that may be why they are pushing it. She just booked a trip in Hawaii for flights and everything for around $5000. I would definitely look at other resorts.

  • SDsquared323
    Super March 2019
    SDsquared323 Online ·

    Can't comment on if Sandals is the luxury gold standard/ end all be all. But I will say, go direct to their website and see if the price is the same as your travel agent. We're doing Sandals but went direct and it was cheaper. Also got a bunch of deals they were offering.

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