A New Baby, Inflatable Pools, and Daydreaming of Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort
These past few weeks, I’ve been impatiently trying to determine our newborn daughter’s sleeping pattern. All the while, I sit daydreaming about our honeymoon at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Initially, she insisted upon greeting the world a week sooner than expected. She threw a beautiful monkey wrench into my plans of getting a new post up for you. Even so, I am exceedingly happy to finally meet our little sweetheart. I’m constantly stealing all the cuddles from her. It’s been amazing!
However, tonight while I’m sitting here sleep deprived and writing in my husband’s favorite chair, I’m daydreaming about simpler times. In particular, I fantasize about when I could still get cold during the summer in the American South. Oh, how I miss those days. I seriously expected my internal temperature regulator to have returned me back to my normally cold self by now. So far, that has yet to happen.
You know what else I miss? Being able to get in and out of a ten-foot inflatable pool without much of a problem. C-sections are no joke when it comes to recovery and maneuverability. All I’m saying is inflatable pools in the backyard just can’t really compare to extra large legitimate ones with swim-up bars in them.
Amber – hold up. What does this even have to do with the topic at hand? One minute you’re announcing that you’ve finally had your baby and the next you’re confessing how much you miss day drinking in kid-free kiddie pools. Where are you even going with this?
Friend, those are great questions! Allow me to explain myself.
Making Time for Yourself as a Couple
The point is, whether you’re a parent or not, you really need to take the time to be you – without the pain of “adulting.” Allow yourself luxuries like enjoying child-free kiddie pools that will save your sanity. Yes, they can be a luxury as a parent.
Personally, my favorite part of the kiddie pool events Nick and I would have, would be where we just got to joke and chat with one another without interruption. More importantly, we were making an effort for each other without having to divide our attention. We were able to reconnect as a couple in love, not just a team of parents giving each other a daily
damage status report of what our kid did and what was happening at work.
I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when he proposed during the summer of 2014. I mean, obviously, we weren’t in the dreaded relationship routine rut – we had a kid-free kiddie pool! As we spent the better part of a year planning a 1920s style wedding, we were equally focused on the best honeymoon option we could afford on our salaries.
Finally, we decided what we wanted, as well as needed, was an experience that we didn’t have to worry about budgeting for food and alcoholic beverages, or just dealing with other people’s kids. Basically, we wanted to have a kid-free kiddie pool experience on a much grander scale.
Is Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort Right for You?
Once we realized what we both wanted out of our honeymoon, the Sandals Resorts became the top contender. Having more than 16 different Sandals Resorts to choose from made our final choice difficult. Luckily for us, the Sandals website offers a Vacation Planner tool helping people determine the best experience for their desires.
For us, we wanted several pools to choose from (preferably with at least one swim-up bar built in), a beachfront walkout room, and a social yet kind of mellow atmosphere. Essentially, we didn’t want a full-blown party scene, nor did we want to be entirely surrounded by the retirement club either.
The vacation planner tool really helped us determine our best options. We whittled our choices down to two resorts, with Sandals Royal Caribbean winning us over. Seriously, can you pass over that enchanting offshore island featuring a delicious Thai restaurant?
Before we finalized our decision of choosing a Sandals resort, we did comb through many guest reviews via Yelp and several other sources. Most were happy reviews.
However, consistent echoes of bringing a physical copy of the room type you reserved were interesting. Some reviewers speculated that sometimes they didn’t get the room they wanted due to overbooking. Since I don’t know that to be the absolute truth with Sandals booking procedures, I’m just going to repeat that it’s merely speculation.
That being said, I’ve never been one to chance it with things like that. I straight up printed out our confirmation number with our room code and description, final payment confirmation, and any online chats with customer service before our arrival. I wanted to make it as smooth as possible once we arrived.
First Impressions of Sandals Royal Caribbean Start at the Airport
Our first actual impression happened before we even walked outside of the airport to our shuttle. We made our way through the normal hustle and immediately found the Sandals Lounge. The airport lounge concierges promptly welcomed and verified us. This allowed for easily boarding their company shuttle when it arrived.
The bar attendant instantly offered complimentary alcoholic beverages of our choice while we relaxed in plush chairs. Starting the relaxation process while being surrounded by beautiful wooden crown molding and friendly people was delightful. If you ask me, that’s a fantastic first impression!
What felt like mere moments at the airport lounge, we were accompanied to the resort shuttle. After a quick fifteen-minute drive, we departed the bus at the second stop. We made it to Sandals Royal Caribbean!
Guests arriving at the resort quickly encounter beautiful greenery. Numerous contrasting flying flags where most guests hail from are also on full display.
Once we hopped off the shuttle, we entered the open air lobby. Warm, dark wooden furniture and crown molding created an air of comfortable but extravagant living. It was a lovely feeling of soft, mild sea breezes rustling through the lobby.
The Sandals Royal Caribbean Check In Process
Since we opted for a Club Level room, we checked in at the concierge lounge, bypassing the front desk altogether. Once there, we received refreshing flutes of bubbly. Another couple arrived at the same time as us, also club level. The four of us sat back in the air conditioned room, sipped champagne, and thumbed through the resort newsletter. While we lounged lazily, the concierges handled all the hard work.
Without a doubt, I believe we saved valuable honeymoon time by heeding the warnings of past guests. Our concierge got us in our room. Once there, she explained how to find out the daily activities. She also described what we could expect to do on the property while honeymooning, such as spa treatments.
As we made way for our room, I overheard the couple informing their concierge of a room mix up. Before I continued in my eavesdropping, our escort led us to our room without trouble. Thankfully, I had printed our room confirmation.
Nonetheless, after reading several reviews about the paperwork process, my nosiness may have perked up a tiny bit. As it turned out, the other couple did not have any of their reservations paperwork with them. Normally, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to this. I just really wanted to know more!
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Honeymoon Charm at Sandals Royal Caribbean
When we initially booked our stay, we made sure Sandals knew we were there to honeymoon. When you do, you get fun little perks. Upon entering our room, we found a delicious bottle of sparkling wine chilling in ice and decorated with large tropical flowers. Rose petals adorned our bed, another luscious touch to our honeymoon experience.
We spotted a handwritten note wishing us a wonderful honeymoon experience. It was a simple gesture, creating fondness within us for the resort already. After scoping out our surroundings, I took a few quick, necessary photos of our room. Shortly thereafter, we drank our sparkling wine on our patio as we looked out towards the offshore island and nearby gazebo. What a gorgeous way to start our honeymoon!
Time to Explore!
After enjoying a second glass of sparkling wine, our beachfront view beckoned us to explore the resort. It really didn’t take any prodding to find out what’s in store for us over the course of a week.
Following a quick self-guided tour of the resort, we popped by the beachside bar and grill. We couldn’t resist the urge to order a beer while there. Enjoying it at a nearby picnic table as warm ocean breezes lapped through our hair seemed a worthy endeavor.
Before long, the need for a change into swimwear was in order. As we lazily walked hand in hand back to our building on the property, I spotted the other couple from earlier. They were finally being escorted to their own room. Again, please bring a copy of your reservation details! Save yourself a potential headache!
Deciding between the sea and one of the several pools was our biggest struggle of the first day. We went back and forth over which water setting! I can’t believe how fickle we were! It’s almost too many choices! But we managed it just fine. 😉
As you see from the photo above, this pool is so very inviting with the palm trees and tropical flower bushes embellishing the edges. How can you not slip into it for desperately needed relaxation with your partner? This particular pool is for the Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon One Bedroom Butler Suites but any Sandals guest can take a dip here.
Nick and I still talk about this pool because we enjoyed it so much. If we get the opportunity to return in a couple of years for an anniversary, we’re hoping to book one of these rooms. While we enjoyed our beachfront walk out, we definitely found ourselves jealous of guests with the swim up pool suites.
While we totally adore the swim up pool, we love the main pool even more! It’s fairly large, so you’re not bumping into everybody. The staff will set up a volleyball net for guests who wish to partake in a little friendly competition. Of course, I just really like having the ability to get a sweet rummy drink without leaving the pool.
I swear, I’m not a total lush! When you have a three-year-old, it’s hard to allow yourself too many beverages while your baby is around. However, when you’re at an Adults Only resort, you must seize your opportunities while you still can! Truly!
Around the Main Pool
The main pool has a covered seating area. This is great for those of us with fair skin who are prone to quick sunburns. Here, you can sign up for your special water activities, such as snorkeling or booking a catamaran cruise.
After you sign up for your daytime water sports, grab a draft beer and compete against your travel companion with a game of checkers. Try not to end it with a standoff like we did. That’s the real challenge.
Once you relent on the standoff you tried not to have, go check out the handmade jewelry made by the locals. Their work is so beautiful! The artisans aren’t there every day, so keep an eye out during your stay. Had I made a point of bringing more cash with me, you better believe I would have a practical new souvenir.
The sandy beaches of Sandals Royal Caribbean are meticulously manicured by the gardening staff. Their perpetual clean up of anything that washes ashore keeps guests happily swimming. No tip-toeing over clumps of seaweed or fallen palm tree fronds here!
The resort has paved walkways to gazebos with decorated ironwork ceilings. Even if you are wheelchair bound, you can still enjoy getting closer to the salt waters of Montego Bay. While you can’t meander on the sand, you still have access to the sea.
Speaking of the paved walkways over the water, our beachfront walkout room afforded us a view of a wedding from our window. Luckily, the staff informed us in advance as to not unintentionally distract from their important event. For some of you reading, I’m sure that’s a relief to know if you’re deciding on a Sandals Destination Resort Wedding.
The Offshore Island
The offshore island is a cool benefit of staying at Sandals Royal Caribbean. Its shoreline is much smaller than the beach at the resort. However, tons of lounge chairs waited for guests to occupy them in the warm Jamaican waters.
They have a quick service bamboo shack themed restaurant. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about it until after we ate lunch on the mainland. It looked cute and the dining tables were shaded by bamboo roofing.
After meandering hand in hand around the area, we happened upon a clothing optional section of the island for guests. Got to say, we were both completely surprised as no reviews we came across mentioned it. However, now that they have the stunning, newly built over the water private bungalows, I don’t know if the clothing optional beach survived the update.
If you get exhausted from what the small shore offers, just go up the stairs to a pool. You have the option of a hot tub or a standard pool that boasts a swim-up bar. Can you guess which one we chose?
Later in the week, we came back for our reservation at the Thai Restaurant. It didn’t cost us anything extra, but you do have to make reservations. Believe me, you want to make the reservations! The restaurant is beautiful and colorful. Our food was plentiful and flavorful. If we hadn’t waited until our last night to try the Thai restaurant, we probably would have returned to experience more bountiful flavors.
Enhancing the Mood of Your Stay
As the sun goes down over Montego Bay, the Sandals Royal Caribbean staff are on standby to make sure you have a great time! Outdoor dining, special dress nights, and entertainment abound throughout your stay.
Special Private Events
Since we stayed in a club level room, we attended a late afternoon social reserved for Club Level guests. During our particular stay, we enjoyed the Exclusive Martini Tasting Event that took place next to our building, overlooking both the beach and lavish pool.
My absolute favorite, the Cosmopolitan, made it onto the menu. I may or may not have engaged in a small celebratory dance about it. Considering the Manhattan made it onto the menu, I decided to give it a try. I found out the Manhattans are a bit too manly for me. It’s worth noting I did appreciate their delicious Cosmopolitan and Chocolate Martinis though.
Dining Al Fresco
One night, we dined under the Caribbean stars near the main pool. Sandals Royal Caribbean dedicated multiple tables of delicious food for guests to devour. Our seating host surprised us by placing us at a 2-top table instead of the standard group tables. Little things like soft lighting, a private table, and candles decorating the tables made our al fresco experience even more romantic.
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Another night, the resort decided to go with a themed clothing night for the guests. Despite my incessant research of the official website as well as reviews, the lack of information regarding the themed “White Night” left us unprepared. Granted, you can still participate in the nighttime activities without donning in themed wear.
They do have a small clothing store just past the main lobby so you can buy an all-white outfit while there… Unless you’re larger than a 1X. This is an important piece of information for plus-sized readers. Despite seeing several plus-sized guests during our stay, the store’s plus sizes were moot at Sandals Royal Caribbean, unfortunately.
Bring a white outfit from home if you want to take part of the festivities to the fullest extent and you consider yourself plus size. Here, print out this handy Sandals Checklist & Tips with notes. A white maxi or sun dress will work just fine for women. For men, a white linen shirt and khaki pants accompanied by closed-toe shoes are completely acceptable for “White Night.”
Sandals Royal Caribbean hosts several events for guest entertainment. One evening before dinner, a local school’s band performed in the open spaces near the lawn chess and croquet areas. They were clearly very talented and knew how to put on a show, complete with choreography!
Another time, we happened upon a Jamaican themed fashion show. Both staff and fellow guests showed off their beautiful outfits. I especially liked the Men’s Swimwear line! 😉
Now, what’s really fun is the night time live bands performing. We watched in awe at the festive stage filled with an all-female steel drum band. The way they all moved and danced while beating their steelpans mesmerized the audience. The music, lending to some Jamaican flare from the steel drums, were easily recognizable Top 40 hits. Nick and I relished quizzing one another as to which hit we were listening to as we laughed and tried to remember the lyrics.
Would We Do It All Over Again?
Looking back over everything we did, I know we both would fly back there tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself. With the challenges of a newborn and making time for our oldest, setting aside time to be a regular person with the person I love most is hard work.
Another Sandals vacation can definitely get us back into a seamless relationship. Finding carefree and lazy moments in a luxurious atmosphere allows us to focus on one another more. If any resort could help us regain the balance of attentiveness to one another, it’s Sandals.