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Sandals Whitehouse, Jamaica – July 2014 – Alex Smith

Alex Smith, along with her husband, traveled to one of our favorite resorts, Sandals Whitehouse, at the end of July. Here is a little about their trip in her own words:

Where did you travel?

We traveled to Sandals Whitehouse, a couples-only resort on the south coast of Jamaica.

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What dates where you there?

We arrived on July 27th and came back on August 1st.

How long did it take you to get there?

We flew from Atlanta and it was an easy, non-stop, 2 hour flight. Once we got to Jamaica, we took Sandals transportation to the resort. It took us an hour and a half, but the whole way we got to see Jamaican life (restaurants, fruit stands, churches, houses, the beautiful mountains, and of course, the amazing water.) 

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Have you been there before?

I had not been to this resort, but was really looking forward to it since I have sent several clients and they always come back with great reviews.

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Tell a little about the resort.

I can’t rave about the property enough. It sits on a 2 mile private beach that is in a u-shape, so you always feel like one of the only people out there. Also, there are 3 really good size pools so, none of the pools ever feels crowded. 

All of the Club level rooms and higher have free wifi and room service and of the concierge staff was always happy to help you.

There are 3 villages at this resort, French, Dutch, and Italian, and all of them are beachfront (every room has a spectacular view). They have actually updated the interior of the French village with grays and blues (and it looks awesome!) and are hoping to have the other 2 villages updated by the end of 2014.

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What was your favorite part?

My favorite part was the serine, private beach that made it so easy to lounge the day away. But if you were to ask my husband his favorite part, it would be the scuba diving (which is free if you are already certified, or you could get certified for around $80 and scuba for free the rest of your trip (and for up to 18 months after), which they go out twice a day.) We also got to kayak, paddle board, and snorkel, and it was all included!! Water skiing, wake boarding, knee-boarding, the hobie-cats, glass-bottom boat, and catamaran is part of the all-inclusive resort! That means you can do all of this for free!!! 

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Anything else you want to add?

The entertainment staff is so awesome at Sandals Whitehouse! They are there from bright and early, until everything closes down around 2AM. They really made everything so fun!

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Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – June 2014 – Alice Johnson

Alice Johnson visited Punta Cana earlier this month on a FAM with Delta Vacations, to get familiar with several Jamaican properties. Here is a little about her trip, in her own words:

Where did you travel?

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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What dates where you there?

June 9-12, 2014

 How long did it take you to get there?

6 hours

Have you been there before?

 No

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 Tell a little about your trip.

I had the opportunity to visit 7 resorts while I was in Punta Cana.  Many of the resorts are very large and spread out-lot of walking is required but most resorts have tram service to take people to the beach/pools (Gran Bahia Principe, Hard Rock Punta Cana).  Overall, my favorite resort was the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe for families and Iberostar Grand Bavaro for adults only.

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What was your favorite part?

The palm trees throughout the resort and beach are beautiful. 

Anything else you want to add?

It was very hot and humid in June.  Best time to visit Punta Cana is January-April.

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Montego Bay, Jamaica – May 2014 – Gina Baumgardner

Gina Baumgardner visited Jamaica last month on a FAM, to get familiar with several Jamaican properties. Here is a little about her trip, in her own words:

Where did you travel?

Montego Bay, Jamaica

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What dates where you there?

May 15 to May 19, 2014. Thursday to Monday.

How long did it take you to get there?

We took a Charter flight from Nashville so the flight took approximately 3 hours .

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Have you been there before? If so, when?

Yes, In October for a family vacation and two years ago visiting Sandals resorts.

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Tell a little about your trip.

The charter flight on Miami Air was probably one of the best flights I have been on. Staff was fun, complementary drinks, movie each way and it was on time! The flight times were perfect also if driving from Memphis. There was plenty of time to get to Nashville for the 12:00 pm flight on Thursday and we arrived back around 5:30 pm on Monday which allowed time to get home without it being very late.

We stayed at the RIU Montego Bay which was very nice! Great lay out of the property, very well kept, food was good, the entertainment was very good, the beach was nice and large with lots of palm trees. Beautiful large pool area. This resort is very close to the airport, it took us only 10 minutes to get to the resort. Note: Since so close to the airport Be aware that there are planes that fly over this resort occasionally.

I toured several All inclusive properties in Jamaica. Royalton White Sands, Iberostar Resorts, Secrets Wild Orchid, Secrets St James, Sunset Beach, Hilton Rose Hall, Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton and Jewel Runaway Bay.

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What was your favorite part?

As always The Beach and the Jamaican Hospitality are my favorite part of being in Jamaica.

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Anything else you want to add?

Would recommend RIU Montego Bay for a fun weekend getaway . It’s a great resort for singles, couples and families. Going Thursday to Monday was perfect. Of course I always want to stay longer.

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Riviera Maya, Mexico – May 2014 – Debora Forsythe

Debora traveled to the Riviera Maya last month for a FAM (to familiarize herself with multiple properties). Here is more about her trip, in her own words:

Where did you travel?

Riviera Maya….approx. 30 miles south of Cancun (approx. 45 minute ride)

What dates where you there?

May 15th – 18th

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How long did it take you to get there? 

2 ½ hours each way on the Vacation Express Charter flight!

Have you been there before? 

Yes, several times over the past 4 years

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 Tell a little about your trip and the resorts.

We stayed at the 1.  Grand Riviera Princess – (NOT adults only…but should be) 😉 Very nice large resort as far as the grounds and rooms with lots of walking….food & service was ok…..definitely a party atmosphere and they are not very good at cleaning up the trash on the beach or pool areas during the day.  Would only recommend this resort as a “singles” type of vacation or very budget conscious request.  Adults Only part of this resort opening Sept. 1, 2014.

2.  Riu Palace Mexico – Typical Riu with purple/gold/orange contemporary styles; nice beach located near Playa del Carmen!

3.  Playacar PalaceAdults Only – LOVED this resort…..great beach!

4.  Royal Playa del CarmenAdults Only – LOVED this resort and is very active and great beach too!

5.  Sandos Caracol (not Adults Only) – Very eco-friendly large resort; if they love animals and nature and like to walk a lot then this is their resort. 

6. Sandos Select (Adults Only) portion of the resort listed above.

7.  El Dorado MaromaAWESOME Adults Only resort; perfect for Honeymooners or Anniversary couple looking to chill and relax; not crazy active; very laid back – beautiful resort and beach.

8.  Iberostar Paraiso Grand – Adults Only – huge resort, very opulent, lots of walking to get to beach unless you stay in beachfront resorts located on the beach past main pool. 

9.  Valentin Imperial Maya – Adults Only – large resort – Mangroves between resort and beach so very limited view of beach, but LOVED this resort; very authentic Mexican Hacienda style of resort.

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 Anything else you want to add?

Highly recommend El Dorado Maroma; Royal Playa del Carmen; Playar Palace and Valentin Imperial Maya for sure!

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St. Lucia – January 2014 – Debora Forsythe

Debora Forsythe, along with her husband and a couple friends, went to St. Lucia in January! Here is a little about their trip, in Debora’s own words:

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What dates where you there?

Jan. 26th – Feb. 1st

 

 

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How long did it take you to get there?

5 ½ hours each way

 

 

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Tell a little about your trip.

Arrived at the St. Lucia airport and was whisked away via Helicopter Transfer to the resort, which is the BEST way to travel in St. Lucia to avoid the 1 ½ hour ride to the resort!  My husband and I, along with friends of ours, stayed at the Adults Only/ All-Inclusive beautiful Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Resort!  Can’t say enough about the beautiful Caribbean Sea view and the calm ocean waves!  The main pool was very active for those that like that sort of thing or if you prefer quiet you can go to the other quieter pools.  Food was awesome and especially Gordon’s on the Pier…..wow fantastic meal!  We sailed on the Hobie Cats, rode the Jet skis, and took in an island speedboat tour that was phenomenal, which included sailing almost the entire island west coast, shopping, snorkeling, volcano mud bath, warm mineral springs bath, lunch and drinks!

 

 

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What was your favorite part?  

The resort and ocean! It is an awesome view!!

 

 

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Anything else you want to add?

Visited Sandals LaToc and is perfect for NON-beach people as the surf is very rough most of the time, so you can’t do the Sandals included beach activities all the time.  This resort is beautiful and is quieter with slightly older crowd than Sandals Grande St. Lucian.  I also visited Sandals Halcyon Bay, which is a MUCH smaller but very nice resort with a better beach than Sandals LaToc and would be perfect for honeymooners, couples and older couples who prefer a much more laid back, quiet environment in a smaller resort type of atmosphere.

 

 

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Emerald Bay – December 2013 – Alex Smith

 

Alex Smith and Heather Scobey went to Great Exuma, Bahamas in December for the STAR awards hosted by Sandals! Here is a little about their trip, in Alex’s own words:

Where did you travel?

Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas

What dates where you there?

December 4, 2013

How long did it take you to get there?

We were already in Turks and Caicos, so our flight was a mere 45 minute hop over to the island.

Tell a little about your trip.

The resort was to die for. The neutral colors throughout the resort give off such a serene feeling. Sandals Emerald Bay is full of a quiet, relaxing, peaceful vibe that made you want to lay on the beach with a good book and the neon water as your background.

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 I loved that there was so much to do, all within easy walking distance. 

The beach was full of watersports equipment. A few steps away is a restaurant on the beach that has the best conch fritters. There were also some beautiful tennis courts, that could be lit up at night.  For dinner, La Parisienne would definitely be my choice. It is full of beautiful decor and their scallops are the best I have ever had.

And of course, if you want to do nothing at all, the pool and beach are always available for lounging.

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St. Croix – October 2013 – Sandy Brewer

Sandy Brewer, her husband, David, and her son, Reese went to St. Croix in October and had a great time! Here is a little about their trip, in her own words:

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Where did you travel?

St Croix, USVirgin Islands

What dates where you there?

October 6-11, 2013

How long did it take you to get there?

We had to drive to Nashville and spend the night to fly out at 630am and we arrived in St Croix at 130pm

Coming home we left at 3pm and arrived Nashville at 930pm and stayed in Nashville that night as well.

Have you been there before? If so, when?

Yes, October 2012

Tell a little about your trip.

It is an adventure driving on the left hand side of the road. October is off season so some of the restaurants are not open full time during this time of the year.

 

What was your favorite part?

The highlight of the trip was taking the nighttime Bioluminescence tour and visiting the Buccaneer Resort.

The highlight of the 2012 trip was snorkeling at BuckIsland – the largest US underwater National Park

The Sunsets and Rainbows are GEORGOUS and are different every day!!

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Anything else you want to add?

It is nice having phone and internet service since it is a US Virgin Islands.

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Beaches Negril – October 2013 – Gina Baumgardner

Gina is one of our agents in our Arlington office and this October she went with her husband and son to Beaches Negril.

Here is a little about her trip, in her own words:

Where did you go?

I went to Beaches Negril, Jamaica with my husband and son. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my son’s 16th birthday, so it was the perfect place to celebrate.

What dates were you there?

October 6-12, 2013

Have you been before?

I have not been to Beaches Negril before, but I was in Jamaica last year.

Tell us a little about the resort.

Very nice resort! I like the size because it is not too large. Beautiful gardens and the room was nice. 

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What was your favorite part?

The beautiful, wide beach. The water was clear and warm and the sand was white and soft. They do a great job at maintaining the beach. We had a cabana for the day with an awesome gal who waited on us. The Jamaican people really made our stay enjoyable. They are so fun and helpful.

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Anything else you want to add?

I would love to go back and have a family reunion because it is such a great place for every age!

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