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Reviewed 4 November 2005

We honeymooned from 10/23 to 10/28. We absolutely loved it there. After reading reviews on this site we had mixed emotions. Boy were we surprised! We brought with us plenty of Off to keep the bugs away but we never used it! This is no lie we did not see a bug let alone get bitten! The only thing we saw were some harmless bees flying around the sweet stuff at the outside bars. We got there after Wilma so we had sunny days except one and we used it as a picture day. The hotel staff came by every room that day handing out ponchos. The property was beautiful. All in all we enjoyed the entire time.
Now a few comments about the place. If you like night life and partying this is not the place for you! We wanted a peaceful place to relax and enjoy the sun. Try and stay in the Italian village it is the closest to everything that is where we were. If you like to drink get a room with a mini bar otherwise you will have to walk to the farthest side of resort to get a drink after 6pm. Or sit at the Arizona bar. For the most part all the staff was very friendly (there are always those who aren't). The food was all good. If you like steak go to Bayside or Arizona. There is not alot to do when the sun goes down but we were there to spend time together. There are pool tables, a pingpong table and foosball table under a roof with a beautiful view of the water.
If your wanting peace and quiet this is the place! We felt like we had the place to ourselves. plenty of quiet places on the beach. Beach towels were plentiful!
We were very pleased with our stay!

  • Stayed: October 2005
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25  Thank Extraordinary955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2005

We had stayed at Sandals Dunn's River last year and absolutely loved it. We were treated like royalty and the signature guest members were treated even better so we signed up for it.

We decided to go back and try the new Whitehouse for our first anniversary. We flew Delta out of Atlanta. No problems except they have a new wing on the Montego Airport and Delta uses it. You have to walk forever to get to your luggage. The lines at immigration were not that bad.

Now for the bus ride. Yes it is about an hour and 1/2 long through winding roads. It is similar to the road between Cherokee N.C and Gatlinburg except it has numeorus potholes and the road is only about a lane and a half wide. The ride did not bother me or my wife at all but,we did have one guy that did get sick.

Once we got to the resort I figured since we were staying in the concierge level and we were returning signature guests we would have a very special welcome. That was not the case. We were told to sit in the lobby and someone would help us. I had to get up and go get the wet towel and champagne. We were then split up and lead to our rooms. We went to the concierge lodge and gave them our credit card for incidentals. They gave us the little goodie bag (shampoo, lotion, etc.) And took us to our room.

We were in the Dutch village top floor. It was very nice and clean. We then ate at Bluefields since nothing else was open and we had not received our luggage yet to change. The food was good and so was the service.

We went to the Red Lane Spa and it is wonderful. I was totally relaxed with the couples massage and the staff was great.

We went on the glass bottom boat ride and took sailing lessons. That was great. All of the boats scuba, snorkeling, windsurfing, etc. were in use every day. No problems here.

The Italian Restaurant was great. Bayside and Arizona were great also. We were going to try breakfast at Eleanor's one morning walked in and asked to see a menu. The guy did not budge and stated the menu is over there. Our first tatse of a rude person.

Every person we ran into groundskeepers, waiters, water sports, maids, bartenders etc. were just as nice as they could be except the concierge people. The conciegre people seemed to have cared less about anything.

Our room was not made up by 3:30 pm the first day and I went to the concierge to ask them to get it cleaned. They said OK. It got cleaned later, much later.

The next day we went to Negril on the shopping tour. It is another long bus ride. Did not bother me but it was worse than the bus ride from the airport. We ate lunch at Sandals Negril and we were treated like royalty. Surprise, we were treated like royalty at Sandals Dunn River and Sandals Negril but not Whitehouse.

When we got back to our room from Negril, it was not clean and it was 5 pm. We also had a bill stuck in our door for phone calls we had not made. The calls were from the concierge confirming our spa reservation and our Negril tour. We wanted to go to the Managers cocktail reception but did not get to go because our room was not cleaned for our use until after 5:30 pm.

I went to the concierge to complain and he stated that it was standard hotel procedures that rooms are cleaned between 8 and 5. I don't know what hotels he has stayed at but I have never had a room cleaned later than 1 pm. I also talked to him about the phone bills and he was not much help but did have them taken off the bill. Later that night we walked passed him and he completely ignored us. I think he knew we were not pleased with his attitude at all. He called our room and offered us breakfast in the room. Big deal, we were in concierge already. He also stated that we should have told him what time we wanted our room cleaned. Why didn't he tell us the first time we complained?

Bugs: We took the spray because of the other reviews. We never used it and did not get one bite. No problems with bugs.

The pools were cleaned every day and there were plenty of towels and floats.

Because we are signature members we get t-shirts and a bottle of rum. We asked the concierge about this and he told us to go get them ourselves from the front desk. Attitude again.

Overall we had a great trip and other than the attitude of the concierge we had had a great experience.

I would go back to Sandals proprty just because of the treatment received at Dunn's River and Negril. My complaints are picky but I paid for the concierge level and joined the signature club for the perks. I did not feel that I received them at Whitehouse.

Go to Whitehouse and you will have a great time but make sure you tell the concierge you want your room cleaned by a certain time. Also make sure you check your bill for unexplained phone calls.

  • Stayed: October 2005
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21  Thank Excursion19738
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2005

What a vacation!

Well, my wife and I were a little nervous after reading certain reviews of SWH. But we decided to give it a try for her 40th birthday trip and we have no regrets!

USAirways direct from Charlotte with no problems, mon. Passports will speed your trip. Quickly through Customs at Montego Bay and then on to the Sandals Lounge for staging for the vans and buses. As noted by others, open tap of Red Stripe in the lounge and a short wait for your van. Follow your bags to the van with Red Stripe in hand and off you go.

The 90 minute ride is curvy, slow and somewhat scary as cars pass you. Rest stop half way with bathrooms and more Red Stripes, if you wish.

Arrive at Sandals and have a seat, towell off and enjoy a glass of champagne. They take your bags (and you) to your room and your vacation begins!

Quick thoughts:

The food is actually very good. Not gourmet but good. Service is pretty fast. Make sure you try the lobster tails at Arizonas. Men bring long pants and closed shoes for most places. No reservations required and this is a nice feature. Short waits with plenty to do, see and sip while you wait. Cafe de Paris has unbelievable coffee and sweets. 11pm seafood buffet a major disappointment. Best lunch? Walk up to the "kitchen" at the French Pool and order jerk chicken to go and take it to the beach or pool!

Daytime activities are great. All day fun at the Piazza pool. Volleyball at the French pool. Ping pong, pool and phoosball. Waterski, sail, waterbike. Make sure you do the 1 hour snorkel trip several times (included in your stay). Look for starfish.. they are there! And pay $65 for the "booze cuise", a 3 hour snorkel tour on a sailboat to a local reef with dancing on the way home. Did I mention Red Stripe?

The resort is big so you can find private spots to relax, as well. The longest walk is about 10 mins from the far end of the French Village to the main pool, piazza and restaurants.

Nightlife? It's there but we were too tired most nights to keep up. Some interesting local flavor (steel band, limbo) and some cheesy cruise ship stuff (musical chairs, talent show, karioke) but something for everyone.

They have a nice gym, squash courts, decent tennis courts and water aerobics everyday so you can work off the food and drinks, if you wish.

The people are GREAT! Odayne and Inoki at the French Pool. Sarge on the sailboat. Odayne rules! Ask him to make you a "Bloody Brain", if you dare! We found everyone to be friendly and helpful, even the grounds crews and gardeners. 600+ employees! No problem!

We spent 6 days in the pools and on the beaches and never had a bug bite!?!?! They must have a problem as noted by other reviews and we also saw them fogging the beach one day. Maybe its a seasonal thing.

The grounds are beautiful! They do need to hide some of the watertowers and maintenence buildings behind the French Village but it really is not a problem. A beautiful place! Listen for frogs at night!

Leaving was sad but they handle eveything for you. The night before departure you get instructions in your room with check-out, bag pick-up and departure times. They even call the airline for you to ensure that your plane is not cancelled (a real bonus for Air Jamaica customers).

Final thoughts... Jamaican Smiles, Dirty Bananas, Appletons, 3 beaches, Sun, White sand, 4 pools, Reggae, One Love, No Problem!

What are you waiting for?

  • Stayed: October 2005
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39  Thank OnAir29873
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2005

This Sandals Property is simply over-rated. If you are the Descriminating Traveler, you DON'T want to stay at the Whitehouse.

Spent 6 days 10/24-10/29. The opposite direction of Negril, this 1 1/2 hour ride on extremely poorly paved roads through nothing but farmland is a nightmare.

The check-in and Check-out process is so chaotic Sandals acts like they just opened yesterday. The Jamaicans were not friendly at all. They had a constant you 're disturbing me attitude. Not once did I hear "NO PROBLEM MAN"

The facility itself is 8 months old; however it shows aging as if it were 3-5 years old. The service is absolutley Horrible. Dinner at every restaurant is a 1 1/2 to 2 hour dining experience. The service is sooo poor you just want to leave. I found dirty glasses, flatware and linen too often than I'd like to admit.

This property is poorly ran and understaffed. Our room was so hot at night we could hardly sleep. They only placed bottled water in the room refrigerator once a day. If you needed water more frequently, you were in trouble. They didn't have bottled water in the restaurants or at any of the bars. The beach didn't even have bottled water or a waiter to bring drink orders.

The Disco played regaee music most of the night. Instead of taking drink orders or clearing the tables, the staff danced until everybody just got tired of them and left. The piano bar didn't even have waiters to take orders. They had empty glasses lying all around too.

This property has so much potential with 440 ocean view rooms, right now the locals are more concerned about their good time and not yours.

  • Stayed: October 2005
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9  Thank Cruiser1201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2005

We just came back from Whitehouse (Oct 22-29) and had a great time! This is our 4th trip to a Sandals and we prefer the more quiet resorts (Antigua & Halcyon, St Lucia). Yes, the lines for immigration and customs and the 90 minute ride from the airport are long, but once you get to Whitehouse you realize it was all worth the wait.

Private - the private beach is the reason I even chose a vacation in Jamaica. Though there are hagglers on all the islands I've been to, and they've never been a problem, it was very relaxing to be left alone on the beach. We flew into MoBay and I was thrilled to be staying on the other side of the island. No problems with bugs - just a few bites when we went to dinner at Arizona's, but considering that I use bug spray in the summer in New England, I was surprised by the lack of bugs in a tropical, wooded area.

Weather - Wilma had just passed by and left some seaweed on all but the French beach, which was quite beautiful. The water was a little silty, but certainly not "dirty", and the swells made it perfect for body surfing.We had beautiful weather the whole week. Sunny except the last two days, which were just a bit cloudy and a welcome break. Housekeeping did leave rain ponchos in our room the day before we left since it looked like they were going to get a little weather.

Accomodations - I had booked the lowest room since this was a bday present for my husband. As Signature Guests we did get a free upgrade which moved us from the 1st floor in the French Village to the 3rd floor. Loved the little balcony and glorious views - sunset was spectacular! The rooms are very clean and well decorated. It was about 10 minutes from the piazza, restaurants, etc, but we only went to the main area for breakfast & dinner since we loved the swim-up pool bar/whirlpool and Bluefields Grill.

Food - though I am a big fan of Sandals, I was a little disappointed with Giuseppe's, but I think it was my own fault for ordering the veal. And I do have to agree with a previous reviewer that the returning guests dinner was inedible! With these two exceptions aside, I loved Bayside, Eleanor's, Arizona's & Bluefields. Cafe de Paris was a regular stop to bring pastries back to the room after dinner. They do enforce the dress code, so make sure men bring pants.

Activities - we go on vacation to relax, so the pool bar was our favorite place (except for our room). We were very content to just hang out on the property the whole time. We did go on the sunset cruise which was fabulous - drinks, complimentary foot massages, music, dolphins, flying fish. We also had a wonderful couples massage at the spa. Though we were considering some of the tours, we decided we didn't want to be away from the property that long.

People - the staff was wonderful and friendly. Just like back home, if you're nice to someone, chances are they'll be nice to you. A big smile and great attitude make all the difference in Jamaica and everywhere else. We also met some great other guests and there was a wide variety of ages, backgrounds, etc.

Nightlife - did I mention that the rooms are nice? My husband and I had just celebrated our 9th anniversary and have very young attitudes, but went on vacation to recharge our relationship as well as relax. No interest in sing-alongs or the disco.

I would definitely recommend Whitehouse to couples looking for a relaxing vacation in paradise. If you're looking for constant activity or a party scene, I would suggest MoBay, Ochos Rios, Negril. We're already planning our 3rd trip to Sandals Halcyon for next year to renew our vows, but will return to Whitehouse after we've checked out some more Sandals properties. Have fun wherever you travel!

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
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21  Thank amy_t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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