Winter is coming, and the thought of vacationing at an all-inclusive resort only grows stronger for many Canadians. But, let’s be honest, what isn’t there to like about all-inclusive resorts? Great food, accommodations and amenities are all at your disposal.
Not to mention, you don’t have to put too much effort into planning your day as you would if you were, say, backpacking across Europe. Instead, the only question you should ask is where you should go. Caribbean islands? Turks and Caicos islands? Other?
Well, this depends on who is going.
Whether it is the whole family or just you and your partner, there are designated locations for you to make the most of your trip.
Enter Sandals & Beaches Resorts.
If you have ever thought about going to the Caribbean for vacation, this article will give you a breakdown of the two resorts so that you can make an informed decision on your next beach getaway.
Paradise is closer than you think!
What Are Sandals & Beaches Resorts?
Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts are two all-inclusive resorts owned by its parent company, Sandals Resorts International (SRI). Sandals Resorts was founded in 1981 by Jamaican businessman Butch Stewart and later complemented by Beaches Resorts in 1997.
- Sandals & Beaches operate solely in the Caribbean as a luxury resort brand. While they can often be conflated as the same, they are differentiated primarily by who they target. Sandals Resorts primarily target couples looking for a luxurious and romantic setting. This would be ideal for anniversaries, honeymoons, weddings, and other intimate events that you couldn’t find at Beaches Resorts.
- Beaches Resorts are targeted toward groups and families with children under 18. Below is our Milesopedia breakdown of each resort in detail.
Milesopedia Breakdown: Sandals Resort All-Inclusive
As we mentioned, Sandals Resorts is excellent as a romantic getaway. However, it is important to note that it is exclusively for couples to cultivate a relaxing experience. The company recommends singles, friends and families to their Beaches Resorts.
Sandals Resorts operates in 17 locations across the beautiful Caribbean beaches, with more locations in the works. These locations include:
Sandals Resorts boasts some impressive amenities for their guests to enjoy a luxurious experience. While Sandals & Beaches Resorts share many common amenities, including all-inclusive dining experiences, pools, and free airport transfers, here are some amenities that can only be found at Sandals Resorts:
1 - Sandals Over-The-Water Wedding Chapel
Take the traditional wedding concept and add a stunning backdrop surrounded by your family and loved ones. Over-The-Water wedding chapels offer a unique experience for couples to exchange wedding vows right by the ocean. Currently, 4 Sandals Resorts offer this amenity, including Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Sandals South Coast and Sandals Ochi.
In addition, If you stay three nights or longer, your wedding is free! This includes everything from planning services to the wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon.
2 - Sandals Over-The-Water Bungalows
If you thought a couple’s experience couldn’t be more intimate, the Over-The-Water Bungalows put it over the edge. Additional features include their signature Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for two, an over-the-water hammock, an outdoor shower, a suspended patio with a swim-up platform and an Elite Butler for that extra bit of luxury. This amenity can be found exclusively at the following Sandals Resorts locations:
- Sandals Royal Caribbean,
- Sandals South Coast,
- and Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
3 - Bowling at Lovers Lanes
Last but not least, you can have a romantic date night at the Sandals Royal Barbados. Their four-lane bowling alley is free for all guests and is the first bowling alley at any Sandals across the Caribbean. Before you write it off, this could be a great opportunity to bond with your partner.
Milesopedia Breakdown: Beaches Resort All-Inclusive
Also known as “Sandals for families“, Beaches Resorts is the ultimate all-inclusive resort, perfect for families. Let’s see how it compares to Sandals Resorts.
There are currently 3 Beaches Resorts locations operating in the Caribbean. Two in Jamaica (Beaches Negril and Beaches Ocho Rios) and one in Turks and Caicos. In addition to these locations, a new Beaches Resort is currently in the works in Saint Vincent!
Unlimited gourmet dining? Check. Day and night entertainment? Check. State-of-the-art fitness center? Check. While there is no shortage of inclusions at Beaches Resorts, they try to provide something for everybody. Here are a few more amenities that you can only see at a Beaches Resort:
1 - Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street®
For the parents out there – why not make some fond memories with your children during this vacation? Beaches Resorts has partnered with Sesame Street® to develop several activities to keep children engaged with some of their favourite Sesame Street® characters!
2 - Pirates Island Waterpark
A perfect way to cool off and enjoy the water is by checking out the Pirates Island Waterpark. Great for kids of all ages, you can spend quality family time on their gigantic waterslides, whirlpools and lazy river.
3 - Club liquid
If you have some older teens, they can make use of the under 21 dance club, Club Liquid. The younger crowd will get to dance during the early evening and then make room for the adults once the club transitions into an adult-only bar.
Sandals vs Beaches: Which All-Inclusive Resort Has the Better Price?
It is hard to say which resort has a better price when considering the various packages available. According to Sandals Resorts, the average vacation can be between $4,000 and $6,500 for a 7-night stay per couple.
With both options, what you pay for in price shows in value. It is hard to match the many inclusions that either a Sandals Resort or a Beaches Resort offers. You will also likely pay extra considering that you may be travelling for a special occasion. For example, you don’t often have a honeymoon, anniversary or family vacation.
We understand, however, that there could be some strains on your budget. So below is a travel tip to help you save some coins.
Maximizing Your Vacation: The Best Credit Cards for All-Inclusive Travel
We talk about leveraging credit cards on this platform ad nauseam, but we do this to equip you with the knowledge to enjoy an all-inclusive trip for free (yes, you read that correctly). Here are two options to maximize your vacation using travel credit card rewards points:
1. Have a large volume of annual expenses: You’ve got to spend money to make some reward points. If you already have a large volume of annual costs, you can travel hack by strategically purchasing at locations that will help you gain more rewards points.
2. Make use of credit card application bonuses: Alternatively, if you are not a big spender, credit cards provide very generous bonuses to applicants that can be used towards your next trip.
All this and more can be found in our article, All-inclusive travel: the best credit cards for a vacation in the South.
So, which credit cards can help you save for your stay with Sandals & Beaches Resort? Here it is our selection.
American Express cards
With seven American Express Membership Rewards credit cards, you can earn between 1 to 5 points per dollar and there is no minimum income requirement. To obtain a 100$ credit on your stay, you’ll need 10,000 points.
The best of all is undoubtedly the American Express Cobalt® Card. It’s a versatile card offering points for travel or cashback. You can transfer points to Aeroplan, Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.
The HSBC rewards program offers three credit cards whose points can be applied to your Beaches & Sandals stay. For example, with 20,000 points, you’ll obtain a 100$ credit on your stay.
The best of all is the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®. Why that? No foreign transaction fees, especially for travel purchases (you save 2,5% for each transaction). Plus, you’ll earn:
- 6 points per dollar for travel purchases (flight, hotels, all-inclusive, etc.) and
- 3 points per dollar for all other purchases, including Costco
Your points can be transferred to airline loyalty programs: British Airways Executive Club, Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer. Check out the last offer we have on this card.
We recommend two specific Scotiabank cards for the Scène+ program, a perfect program to enroll for everyday purchases as you earn points when dining, travelling, shopping online or for groceries. For example, for 10,000 points, you’ll get a $100 value you can apply directly on your purchase stay.
Here are two cards with no foreign currency conversions fees and great advantages:
Finally, you can apply NBC points on your stay with the NBC Rewards program. To have a $100 value, you’ll need 11,000 points. The best of them is the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®.
Milesopedia readers can expect a fantastic welcome offer if they apply with us: get up to 70,000 points, and the first year’s annual fee is waived for the primary cardholder. Check out the description here!
Sandals & Beaches: Which All-Inclusive Resort Is Best for You?
At the end of the day, this decision will largely depend on your preferences. Because Sandals Resorts is for couples only, you will have to factor that into your decision-making process. However, it is ideal for a romantic getaway between you and your partner to make some fantastic memories.
On the flip side, Beaches Resorts is best for you and your family or group. You won’t miss out on any of their luxury inclusions and can ensure that your children are also immersed in the experience.
Once again, it’s all about who is going. But at the end of it all, you will be relaxing on the beautiful Caribbean beaches. Did this article help you? Where will you be going for your next vacation getaway? Come to our Facebook group to share your experience or questions!