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Susan's Blog: Sandals Negril, Jamaica

I am not normally one for sitting still and not doing too much of anything on holiday but from time to time, one of these breaks is just what’s needed.

I had been to Jamaica before so had already experienced the main tourist spots of Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Dunns River Falls, so my trip last summer was simply about the beach and chilling. Sandals Negril was the resort of choice to help accomplish our mission.

Negril is on the west coast, around 90 mins from Montego Bay Airport and the resort sits on the longest and best stretch of its Seven Mile Beach.

Having been lucky enough to have visited many beaches, I can assure that this one is up there amongst the very best. The water was amazingly clear - enough to see starfishes and stingrays on my morning walk.

Sandals claims to provide 'The Luxury Included Holiday' and I am delighted to verify this is the case!

This resort offers a huge selection of accommodation to suit all preferences whether you are after an appealing swim-up room or even one that includes your own private butler.

It has seven restaurants and five bars and even with the hotel nigh on full, it never felt crowded and there was no rush for beach chairs.

Breakfast was served either in the main buffet with live cooking stations or at the Barefoot by the Sea restaurant for a slower more relaxing table service. Either option provided plenty of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee to accompany it.

Numerous lunch options were available, whether you wanted something from the buffet, a slice of pizza from the Pizzeria or some jerk chicken and fries from the Beachfront Grill. We quickly realised it was far too easy to eat too much at the buffet and barely have room for dinner!

Dinner options were plentiful and with Sandals having a popular no evening buffet policy, the hardest decision is what restaurant to choose. As keen foodies we obviously tried them all.

My highlights were Kimonos which offers an Emperors Feast Tasting Menu prepared and served by a Teppanyaki Chef directly in front of you and the relaxing Sundowner Restaurant which served delicious authentic West Indian meals.

All beverages, including premium drinks and cocktails, are included in the Sandals package and there are comfortable bars at which to relax at any time of day and always a drinks service at hand whilst unwinding on the beach.

Sandals resorts may have occasionally been portrayed as lively and busy, but this is certainly not the case. There is a pool where optional activities are provided but you can comfortably do as little or as much as you like and with the resort being well spread out, there are many peaceful spots to be found.

The wonderfully clear water should be experienced, and the hotel includes lots of water sports such as glass bottom boat tours, sailboats, paddleboard, kayaks and diving twice a day for certified divers.

The Jamaicans are renowned for being laid back and the staff here offer a relaxed but attentive service and they somehow manage to remember your name.

Sandals Negril does encourage getting out to see the island and they have teamed up with Island Adventures which offer a variety of tours.

A local visit to Rick's Cafe for a cocktail and to watch locals diving from the cliffs into the water is recommended with some visitors also trying it for themselves. I was never going to be one of them!

This is an adults-only resort, but Sandals also have two family orientated properties, one in Turks & Caicos and the other a stunning property also in Negril, which I was able to visit.

I was particularly impressed by the attention to detail that had gone into providing mini sun beds and small dressing gowns for the children. In addition to catering for families, the resort is also popular for weddings and larger groups.

This holiday was solely about winding down, recharging and listening to Bob Marley whilst sitting on the beach, and it comprehensively delivered, with us thoroughly enjoying every aspect of the resort.


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