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Reviewed 26 July 2007

My husband and I have been married for almost 11 years and have not taken a true "couples" vacation aside from business trips together. We looked for several months for the "perfect" place to go - a place that would relax us, rejuvenate us, and be fun, too. Well, we found it at Sandals Whitehouse -- and so much more! Sandals Whitehouse far exceeded our expecations. We booked concierge level, but upgraded to butler level when we arrived on site. Let me tell you, this upgrade was the best money that we have ever spent! Our butlers, Tashwayne, Ainsely and Deroney were so professional and attentive and greatly added to our experience at Sandals Whitehouse. I highly recommend butler level service if your budget allows. You will be very pleased.

The property is so beautiful! The themes (dutch, french, and italian) added to the resort's uniqueness. Everywhere we looked, I wanted to take a picture to preserve the beauty in my memory. The room (1st floor butler suite) was wonderful! The bed was comfortable, and the rooms large. We loved the fact that we could walk right off our patio to our chairs on the beach - only about 15 yards away -- that our butler had set up for us complete with towels formed in the shape of swans and hydrangia flowers sprinkled on the chairs. Even at 75% capacity, the resort did not feel overcrowed. However, we could sit on the beach and feel "away from it all" and only have people walking by occasionally on the beach.

This is a great place for couples looking to escape the stresses of everyday life for a little while. The night life is a lot of fun, but not a hard partying atmosphere. If you are looking for the toga party/party til you puke atmosphere, then this is not the place for you. This is an upper scale romantic resort that has activities most nights until around midnight. They had a midnight chocolate bar with a band and dancing one night. Another night the resort had a beach party complete with a dinner buffet on the large patio and entertainment on the beach that included various local entertainers, a steel drum band and another band later for dancing. The bands were very adept at getting the dancers to participate by teaching Jamaican dances, etc. We heard that the pirate party on Thursday night was much fun, but we left on Thursday. Bummer! It was VERY hard to leave. We encounter many persons who were booking return trips to this Sandals. One couple had recently been to Sandals Royal Carribean (Bahamas) and said that they enjoyed this Sandals much, much more than the Royal Carribean. I was glad to hear this as our choice between Sandals resorts for this trip was between the Whitehouse and the Royal Carribean.

The food was good to average depending on the restaurant. The breakfast buffet was good! We loved the food in Eleanors, but the service across the board was just ok. (In explanation, we ate there the first night that we arrived on the resort and were made to feel rather stupid that we could not remember our room number. A comment was made by the hostess seating us to the effect of "Are you sure that you can remember the way back to your room?") We enjoyed Guiseppes the most although the steaks were very good at Eleanors. Service at Guiseppes was excellent as well as the food. The drinks were great, too. Alcohol was top quality. We had large bottles of Jack Daniels, Absolute Vodka, Johnny Walker Blue, and Jamaican rum in our room as part of our in room bar. Pool and beach bars also contained a great selection of liquors.

Overall, I would recommend this resort to any of my friends. I read extensively on TripAdvisor before we booked at Sandals and saw some of the negative reviews. My husband and I kept wondering during our trip how anyone could find negative with the resort. I guess it is your mind frame going in. Some people will find negative even in the best experiences.

I think the highest complement that any visitor can pay a resort is to book a return trip. We booked our return trip for next year and can't wait to go back! Happy travels!

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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26  Thank lucylu702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2007

We just returned (7-25-07) from beautiful SWH. First, I would like to start out by saying that if you have never been to a Sandals Resort, DO NOT start with this one!! The Awesome and unique thing about Sandals is the stay at one and play at three (or something like that).

Their is nothing better than jumping in the free shuttle and traveling about 15 Mins. or so to another Sandals resort (ie St. Lucia Sandals) and spending the entire day there. It's like being on a separate vacation!!! Once you start to get stir crazy go to another location and enjoy all the same privileges and see new faces!!!!!

This was my third trip to Sandals and don't get me wrong, SWH is great and very laid back with a great beach to walk on day and night but I wanted a change of scenery. I spent only 5 days at SWH and wouldn't recommend any more unless you're planning some off-site trips, which entails long van rides and lots of money . And speaking of van rides, the trip from the airport to the hotel was great. Think of it as a "off-site Trip" and see the real Jamaican life. It's the only real Jamaica you will see once you enter into the resort. Please trust me on this and you can thank me later!

The food was very good. Don't go their expecting food like in NYC, SF, Miami ect. I would suggest eating at Giuseppe's and Eleanore for dinner, Bluefields for lunch and Eleanorer's for breakfast.

The water sports were nice. The Hobie Cat and the kayak is what I used the most. Unfortunately, the power boat for knee boarding and Skiing always seem to be down for repair.

The night life was a little boring but it was still fun to watch some of the shows. I enjoyed just sitting on the beach at night w/ my wife and just looking at the stars and relaxing. BTW....I spent most of my time on the beach, day and night and had only three bug bites.

I read over a hundred of these reviews before I departed and I'm very thankful to everyone who wrote. I know everyone has different taste and needs.

I noticed nobody mentioned what they paid to stay. Price may play a role in some one's review. I paid $380 a night w/ a return customer discount of $375. So, basically one night was free. I purchased my airfare on my own and I would suggest that to everyone before they give in to a Travel agent or Sandals. I paid $236 R/T from Ft.Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines, which turned out to be a good "low fare airlines". Their planes are only three years old (new, safe and clean). The flight was only 1 hour and 20 minutes ( I was in the van longer).

Anyway, my last tip of the day is something I learned from our awesome bartender " Lareese" and "Delroy" at the Martini Bar. When a Jamaican ask you "How you are doing"
reply: "Every' ting Kriss Mon" They will love you for it!!! I even made the Customs person smile and that's not easy to do!

Remember, not for the first timer! Go to Dunn's or Royal Pacific instead if you're thinking Jamaica . My favorite so far is St.Lucia (Grand). Next year "Dunn's here I come" !!!!

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank surfratFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2007

Booked res thru sales dept. Hotel was beautiful. Staff were unbelieveably friendly and helpful. Rooms were beautiful. grounds were clean. Only recommendation i have is to make the transportation vehicles to hotel an little nicer. Vans seemed to be a little old and dirty and not very comfortable for the 1 1/2 hour drive from airport to the hotel. Would prefer to pay a little higher room rate for a little nicer transportation.

Rest of the stay was fabulous.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled on business
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12  Thank incentives
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2007

I think it is important to first point out that I believe it is unfair to punish the resort because of the bus ride there. To me those are completely different and should be treated as such.

After landing and getting our bags we were able to go the Sandals lounge in the airport. It was nice to have a place to sit, relax and enjoy a cold drink. We waited about ten minutes before we were called and went to the taxi. We actually lucked out because we were the only people in the car on the ride to Whitehouse. I will admit that I did not care for the ride, but that was mostly because the driver played the same gospel CD for the entire trip. After the 4th time through I was getting annoyed by it. There was also an accident that slowed our trip so it ended up being a two hour journey.

Check in was nice and the lobby is absolutely beautiful. We have been to Sandals Royal Bahamian and the there is no comparison in terms of the area where you check in. Of course we received our cold towels and champagne which are always a nice touch. Being SSG members we also received our upgrade without asking for it.

The grounds of Whitehouse are wonderful. There were peacocks and hummingbirds and it truly made it a magical experience. The beach was great and we actually saw a rather large starfish get swept up in the surf and brought ashore. To me there is nothing better than the sound of the surf coming in and there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the sounds.

We stayed in the Italian village. Depending on what you are looking for I think the Italian village is the way to go. If you are a beach person you can stay in any village and be happy. If you are more of a pool person the Italian village keeps you closer to the Piazza pool where most of the entertainment takes place, except for beach and pool volleyball (French Village).

As for food, we thought everything was good. We try to take into account that this is a resort and they are making meals for a large number of people. If you couldn't find something to eat that is on you. We felt that the best meals were at Eleanor's and Jasmines. The gnochi with gorgonzola at Guissepie's is good and we enjoyed the pasta bar at Bayside. Arizona's gives you a tex-mex lunch and is your average bar and grille type food. It is passable and the same would go for Bluefields. Cafe Paris is ok. We probably had too high expectations for this place but it still gave us good coffee and decent ice cream. As for the bars we really were only at the pool bar at the piazza pool (Stacey-Ann was very nice and helpful.) and Casablanca martini bar (This to me was the best bar because it had the best liquors, plus the sing along is there). The whole ambiance of Casablanca's made it worth while to go there for a few hours in the evening for a nightcap.

The entertainment is there if you want to participate and there are plenty of things you can do on your own. The basketball court is ok and the tennis courts are nice. The gym was not as good as the gym in the Bahamas and was pretty busy in the mornings. Plus they do not have a free weight bench, but that is a minor thing. One thing that I was actually pretty disappointed about was that there is not Xbox game lounge like they advertise. It is not like I went crazy because I didn't have video games to play, I was just disappointed because they advertise having it and they do not. When I asked the staff about it, it was like they had no idea what i was talking about so, I do not think the game lounge is on its way anytime soon. We also had problems with the TV in our room (again it isn't like we watched it a ton) that were never remedied. Some channels never came in and others were really poor quality and black and white. It isn't like these things really detracted from why we were there though.

Things that I would suggest are the wine tasting class. It was fun, plus they gave us a free bottle of wine when we were done. I would also suggest going to some of the art showings and information sessions. They are short and informative. The art auction was also fun but I would say that people should beware. The comany that does the art auction is Park West and upon doing some research many people expressed displeasure with their services. We did not purchase anything and I am not saying what I read is true, but I would caution people to not buy impulsively and make sure the work is what you truly want.

We loved our time at Sandals Whitehouse. The grounds were beautiful, the pool was great and the food was good. When we compare it to Royal Bahamian we think that the service in the Bahamas was much better. We felt like the people in the Bahamas were nicer.

Our only complaint didnt really have to do with the resort, but the people at the resort. There was a group of people passing a joint in the hot tub in the piazza area. I thought it was classless and if they wanted to smoke weed they should do so in the privacy of their room or at least in a less conspicuous place out of respect for the other guests at the resort.

Like I said it was great there, and we were able to get what we wanted out of our vacation. We probably would not go back, but that is only because there are so many other places in the world to go. I hope this helps you and enjoy your time there.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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23  Thank WilkesBarreSouthpaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2007

Sandals Whitehouse is truly a beautiful beach resort set within the unspoiled south coast of Jamaica. The resort is near perfect with only a few areas for improvement.

Upon landing we were ushered into the Sandals lounge at the airport. We were told that we would have to wait about twenty minutes for our shuttle to leave. I had barely got my Red Stripe into my hands when they called for us to board the shuttle. The ride was 1 1/2 hours through windy and hilly terrain. The ride was not as bad as I had read in the reviews.

One negative about the resort was our arrival. We were not greeted with the most welcoming attitude. I expected that the first person we encountered at the Sandals Whitehouse to exemplify all that makes the people of Jamaica so great. She could have definitely used a smile and attitude adjustment. It took her almost 5 minutes to bring us a cool towel and 10 minutes for our welcome glass of champagne. ( I observed on other days this happening in mere moments after arrival.) The bellhop was rather quick and didnt provide us with alot of details about the resort. We were beginning to worry if we had made the wrong choice. That is were the unfriendly and unhappy attitude of the people ended. Everyone from that point forward were models for the hospitality that Jamaica is known for.

The room was well appointed and had beautiful views of the sunset every night. They could have used better pillows which would have made for a more relaxing experience. The air conditioning in the room worked fantastic. The room was always cleaned and never ceased to have a supply of clean towels. The bar in the room was always fully stocked with soda, water, etc.

The pool area was a great place to relax. The beach is one of the drawbacks to the resort. The water is not crystal clear and the beach itself in places was not the widest stretch of beach I have ever been on. For this reason, we spent most of our time at the pool. When I go anywhere in the Carribbean, I expect to spend more time in the ocean and not the pool. If you love the ocean and the beach, this is not the resort for you.

The restaurants on the property ran the gamut from extraordinary to average. Eleanor's was our favorite spot for dinner and breakfast. We enjoyed dinner here 3 nights and breakfast every day except the first day, where we ate at the Bayside buffet and was a complete let down in terms of quality of food and service. Eleanors had fantastic food and service whenever we ate there, especially Alison at night. Guiseppes had good food, though not on the level of Eleanors. We didnt get the chance to eat at Jasmines while we were there. For lunch, Arizona's had good food, but I dont go to Jamaica to eat southwest food. Bluefields had fantastic Jamaican fare served almost in the ocean. This is one of the most beautiful setting to eat in a meal in!

The nightlife was OK. The piano bar was a nice addition to complete the evening off with. The fiddle player who played several nights was fantastic. The service in the pastry shop was always delightful, especially Samuel.

We had planned two excursions while we were there. The first was the Black River Safari/Appleton Rum Tour. We only wanted to go on the rum tour, but you need a minimum of 4 people and we were the only ones signed up for that tour. So we had to go on the safari. The safari is great way to see Jamaica in a natural, undisturbed setting. I got to touch a 12 ft crocodile and see some beautiful mangroves. The rum tour begins with the best (and strongest) rum punch that I have ever tasted. We also had a lunch of some of the best jerk chicken I have ever had. The tour itself is interesting and our guide was humorous and informing. One bit of advice is to pass up on buying any rum at the Appleton gift shop, it is cheaper to purchase at the airport. We were scheduled to go on the river tubing excursion, but I was stung by a sting ray the night before and was unable to participate. But make sure you bring water shoes with you if you plan to go.

All in all, I had a fantastic time at Sandals Whitehouse and I would return in the future.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank lisdan26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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