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Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

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Apopka, Florida
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16 posts
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Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Just curious to know if anyone that has gone to Sandals resorts and then visited Couples resorts has returned to Sandals. Would love to hear about your experience.

Orlando, Florida
Destination Expert
for Jamaica
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25 reviews
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1. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Sunny,

What a great question, I hope someone can answer that.

Ottawa
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319 posts
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2. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

I went to SDR in 07, SWH in 08, SDR in 09, CSA in 10, BRB in 11 and SRC in 2012..

My preference: SWH for the rooms and pools. CSA for everything else.

I wanted CSA in 12 but the only room category left was GVS. You cant beat the beach location for CSA.

Illinois
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31 reviews
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3. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Went to Sandal Negril and Sandals Montego Bay before visiting Couples. Going on my 6th Couples trip in September. I may someday go to a Sandals in another country, but I will not return to Sandals in Jamaica.

Anyone know what ever happened to TrueRev? This is a question he would LOVE to answer ( I am thinking they found out he was a Sandals employee).

Burlington, Canada
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1,678 posts
18 reviews
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4. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Hi Mama;

TR was ceremoniously booted a long time ago! (major woo hoo)

To answer Sunny's question, we are in the same boat as Mama, did the Sandals thing the first time to Jamaica and loved it. Then, on the plane going home talked to a couple that were returning from Couples. Well, they were so happy and so convincing that we tried CSA the next year. Since then we have spent 3, 2 week vacations at the various Couples properties.

In Jamaica, you stay at Couples. I would consider Sandals on another island but would do so knowing the pitfalls, bogus sales and unincluded extras to expect. Its nice to be an educated consumer now, we were the quintessential newbies the first time we stayed there.

Orlando, Florida
Destination Expert
for Jamaica
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5. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Marnie,

I am with you, I might consider Sandals on another island but I really don't care for their marketing and their tiered system. I like the fact that I can book the most basic room, spend extra days because of it and still not feel left out.

We were at Excellence Punta Cana a few years ago, booked a basic room. The room was nice, the location not great but we didn't really care. What drove us crazy was on the beach. Several days we couldn't find anything on the beach and yet there were rows of chairs that went empty all day because they were for the Excellence Club. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge the swim up rooms or the extras in your room, but in public spaces it just makes me crazy.

nova scotia
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1,849 posts
81 reviews
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6. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Ah the continuing saga of Sandals/Couples... I don't know why it has to be one OR the other....they are just different and we always manage to enjoy our stays.

After staying at Couples Ocho Rios a few years ago (before it was renamed Couples Tower Isle) we vowed to stay away from Couples... the last straw for me was the bathroom above ours leaking god only knows what on me while I was doing my toidy thing. Now after my complaint they did slap some silicon up there to stop the leak temporarily (no couldnot be moved).

Our first visit to Sandals Whitehouse was shortly after it opened and we managed to get through that week and its hiccups - we returned a couple years later and are heading back for our 3rd trip soon.

We loved Sandals Dunns River but sadly it closed and reopened under Jewel. Maybe we will try it, who knows.

While we enjoyed our stay at Couples Sans Souci, they ran out of Grand Marnier early during our week and guess what? Never got replaced! Staff were too busy ensuring their co-workers got the premium stuff. Sandals has never run out of anything during our stays. CSS also does not have an alternate dinner option on its gala nights and we are not fans of these galas. Yes, we could have ordered room service but would have had to do so by 2pm on that day so I would have to know what to order then - and could have, but did not. Our mini fridge was also in a hutch unit located on our balcony - we managed. We persevered and wated Couples Swept Away last fall but it was booked up so we went to Couples Negril which we thoroughly enjoyed. We read of sporadic beach waiter service, but this was not a concern for us...we had our Bubbas which staff were not allowed to fill, but no biggie... we ordered two each and dumped them into our little kegs ourselves. Of our couples experiences, we definitely would return to CN and someday have hopes of trying CSA for more than the day we spent during the Trading Spaces offer.

Couples does include more in their pricing, but for us, we don't really avail ourselves of most of them, but that is our choosing.

I was quite ill for a full day at Sandals MoBay, but put that behind us to try it again and we enjoyed its improvements and no, the airplanes really were not that bothersome - in fact, got some great photos as souvenirs! Great pub here!

I could drone on... both resort chains have great options suitable to a variety of folks and I guess if you find your niche you stay with it... we try to make the best of wherever we go, - whatever we pay. Beach, rum, my love, good food (doesn't have to be stellar), decent wine, clean, good service...we're there!

We have also stayed at several Superclubs/Breezes/Grand Lido/Hedo spots too and enjoyed them for what its worth!

Clear as mud, eh??? lol

Edited: 23 March 2012, 07:01
Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Negril
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7. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

I used to be a Sandals devotee in the early days of the resorts, prior to butlers, concierges, a bewildering number of room categories and very high prices.

For a while I went back and forth between CSA and Sandals Dunns in JA.

Then I just lost interest in Sandals - the Playmakers become irksome instead of fun and other things that I used to enjoy about the chain changed.

Now it is pretty much Couples when we go AI in JA. Though I will end up trying WH one day I think, just to see if it lives up to the hype.

Kitchener Ontario
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676 posts
51 reviews
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8. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Been to both - 2 Couples and 5 Sandals. Both great products but prefer Sandals for reward program and most, not all, have much nicer pool areas.

Sandals rooms are more luxurious although that doesn't matter for the little time you spend in them. We find food comparable at both but at Sandals they do tend to have repeat restaurants at most resorts so limited variety if you like to have different variety.

Either way you can't go wrong but they are really 2 different types of experience and can not just make an all or nothing comparison.

Rehoboth Beach...
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4,595 posts
11 reviews
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9. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

I had one less then impressive experience at a Sandals which was enough for me. Luckily it was on an employers dime as an incentive trip for sales increases. If I would have had to pay for it then I would have been even less impressed.

Everyone has their preferences as to what they like. I happen to love Couples and am proud of it....hehehehehehe

Some people love Sandals and that is WONDERFUL!

Personally I happen to think Sandals is a well oiled marketing machine. What used to be a very nice AI is now nothing more then an overpriced resort for the masses. They have figured out how to pull you in and are seriously working on ways to get you to then part with what little bit of disposable income you may have left.

They have the cabana rentals, WI-FI charge, over priced tours where ONLY their vehicles may pick you up from the resort, CONSTANT pestering from the photographers, SPA people, book your next vacation, buy the more expensive wine and so on....... until you feel like you want to run and hide in your room. YES that is how we felt!

I have stayed at so many different resort chains both big and small, B&B's, locally owned hotels and everything in between. Never before have I felt so completely exasperated by the end of my stay then I did at Sandals!

SWH is the ONLY one I have even considered in years. I just cannot get past the name of the "villages". I mean really, they could have at least named them closer to the heritage of the Island. Then the cost is just prohibitive IMO. I have no problem paying $400.00 - $500.00 a night for a room but it is not going to be a lowest room category on the property.

Wherever one chooses to vacation is their choice. It is not right or wrong.....it is only up to that individual (couple) to decide. I am just happy as can be that we have the CHOICE and the ability to make that choice!

Apopka, Florida
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16 posts
11 reviews
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10. Re: Has anyone gone back to sandals after visiting couples

Thank you all for your responses. My father loves Sandals. My best friend had a horrible honeymoon at Sandals SRB, We have stayed at Couples CSS and CTI and had the best time ever. We have close friends going to Sandals MB in a few weeks. I hope that they will have a great time. Since I went to couples first and had such an amazing time, I am not sure if I would ever pay more money to try Sandals and risk being disappointed.This is the reason I was asking this question.