Written By: Geoff Millar, Ultimate All Inclusive Vacations
We Are going to look at the Sandals and Beaches Resorts over the next two months. First, we will look at the Beaches Resorts.
Beaches Resorts is owned by Sandals Resorts and is their Family All-Inclusive Resort chain. At the current time the Beaches Resorts are located in Jamaica and their Flagship property in Turks & Caicos. In my opinion, Beaches are, if not at the top, certainly very close to the top Family All Inclusive Resorts out there. They do offer a little more than other Family All Inclusive resorts. They are one of the few chains that have children’s clubs for all ages including infants and teens. They also have an agreement with Sesame Street and their resorts have activities that children can do with the Sesame Street characters. Remember that, some of Sesame Street actives are at an extra charge. Beaches also provides Scuba Diving, in the price, if you are a certified diver. Clients can do the resort course scuba diving at a cost of $100 per person. This would allow them to do shallow dives, 40 ft. or less once a day. Dining is good at Beaches resorts, It is not 5 star gourmet but it is far from institution quality. If I have a concern with their dining it is that they tend to focus on the number of dining venues a little more than the quality of the dining venues. This is just my opinion and we have found that clients will embrace fewer dining options if the focus is on the quality of the dining. A big thing I like about Beaches is their consistency in their service, activities, and quality across all 3 of their Beaches Resorts. Beaches Resorts are great Family all inclusive resorts. The only complaints we get or have read state that Beaches are very nice resorts but are a little over priced for what you get compared to what else is out there. Beaches tends to take, what I call the Disney approach. They feel that they are not selling you a room or a meal, but they are selling you an experience.
Beaches does have 3 different price points due to a number of issues. The first Beaches Resort we will look at is their flagship resort, Beaches Turks & Caicos.
Beaches Turks & Caicos is the largest of the Beaches resorts with the resort divided into 5 different areas or villages. This is done to try and provide 5 different price points within the same resort. You have the French Village at the lowest price point. It sits farther from the beach than the other villages, and it has the basic room categories. It is still nice but provides accommodations that offer the Beaches Turks & Caicos experience at the lowest price point. The accommodations in this area are more high-rise style.
Next you have the Caribbean and Seaside Villages which is close to the beach and offers a wider range of accommodations including family suites. This village also provides an environment where adults can experience a little quieter area with the surrounding gardens that are also close to the beach and close to the activities for the whole family. These villages each have their own pool and there are 2 restaurants in these areas. The accommodations in these areas are more low-level villa style.
The next village is the Italian village. This is a great upscale family area and it contains suites that really cater to families with things like the children’s room having bunk beds, an Xbox, and amenities for children all designed in an upscale Italian décor with its own piazza and restaurants. The resorts dive, and water-sports center is located in this area. Accommodations in this area are more of a high-rise style.
The last village is the newer Key West Village. This used to be a different resort that Beaches acquired and totally remodeled. This area is made up of large suites and standalone multi-bedroom villas in a Key West style. It has its own restaurants. This village sits directly on the beach.
This resort sits on one of the best beaches in the Turks & Caicos. Beaches Turks & Caicos has one of the best watersports offerings of all the family all inclusive resort chains. They even have a children’s scuba diving program. It begins at 15 yrs. old. There is an extra charge for this and some of the other activities. This resort does have 2 water parks for both little ones and teens. It has a surfing machine as well as water slides. This is Beaches flagship resort, so it is at the highest price point. As far as off-site tours on the Turks & Caicos islands, they are limited and most have to do with water sports. The Turks & Caicos tourist board even have a saying “The best parts of our islands are under water”.
The next Beaches Resort we will look at is the Beaches Negril. This is an excellent resort and sits on the best beach in Jamaica, 7 mile beach in Negril. 7 mile beach faces West so you can view the fantastic sunsets every night. It also sits on one of the best stretches of beach that is both wide and deep. This is Beaches second resort in price. It is spread out along the beach. The resort has a number of wings and reminds me a lot of a Disney resort. The resort has a water park for all ages and as all the Beaches resorts offers kid’s clubs for all ages from infants through teens. It also has the Sesame Street character activities. This resort has a very Jamaican laid back feel.
Dining offers one of the largest selections of restaurants on any all inclusive resorts with 9 specialty restaurants as well as the Beaches Buffet. The children’s pool even has its own swim-up bar where they can order juice and sodas.
Activities include all the watersports such as sailing, both hobie cat sailboats and small Laser Bug sailboats that are great for the younger set, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaks, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, and waterskiing, or relaxing on one of the best beaches. Land sports include, tennis, basketball, volleyball, miniature golf, and even cards and board games for those rainy days.
Rooms range from Deluxe Garden view rooms to Ocean Front 3 bedroom butler suites. Rooms are decorated in that great Jamaican way with a lot of wood. All rooms contain marble bathrooms with tubs. None of the rooms have a bad view, even the Garden View Rooms overlook a lush Jamaican garden and even if you can’t see the ocean you can hear the ocean from virtually every room.
This Beaches Negril Resort is, in my opinion, the best value for what you get, a comfortable spread out resort sitting on one of the best beaches and a variety of great accommodations, dining, and activities. It is not the most expensive, but it is also not the least expensive.
The last Beaches Resort we will look at is the Beaches Ocho Rios. This is the most affordable of the 3 Beaches Resorts. It sits just outside of the town of Ocho Rios. It is a very nice Beaches Resort, but it does sit on a hillside, so the resort has multiple levels. Navigation can be accomplished by walkways and stairs or by elevator. The beach is nice but is smaller than the other 2 Beaches Resorts. Beaches in Ocho Rios tend to be smaller than other parts of Jamaica. The resort does have a water park, but it is more for smaller children. An interesting fact is this resort started out years ago as the Playboy Club in Jamaica, it was then a Super Clubs Breeze resort before it was taken over by Beaches and totally remodeled.
Accommodations range from deluxe Garden View rooms, Family Rooms and up to 1 bedroom Ocean Front Suites. The rooms and suites are located on different levels of the resort with most of the suites located on the lower levels with views of the beach and the ocean. This resort has a family room that is one of the few categories that will allow 5 per room. The lower room categories tend to be on the higher resort levels further from the beach area.
As far as activities the resort has the same compliment of activities that the other Beaches resort has but the beach area is much smaller. It has the water park, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing, banana boat, paddle boarding, kid’s pool, on land the big attraction is golf. The resort sits only 10 minutes away from the Sandals Golf Club and golf is included, even for the youngsters. Transportation to the golf club is also included. There is also tennis, basketball, pool tables. All the Beaches resorts have the relationship with Sesame Street so activities with the Sesame Street characters abound at the resort. Some of these activities like breakfast with the characters do incur an additional charge.
Beaches Ocho Rios is ideal for your more budget minded clients that still want to participate in the Beaches Resort’s experience.
Beaches, in my opinion is still one of the top family resort chains. Only complaints we here is some people feel the price point is a little high for what you get. The best way to sell it is to sell the experience and maybe the bragging rights that go with taking your family to a Beaches Resort.
Next month we will take a look at the Sandals Resorts