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Aah... such a wonderful Sandals experience

BY KARENA BENNETT
Staff reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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A four-hour drive from the busy streets of Kingston to the south-western end of the island was just the getaway trip we needed after months performing office duties.

It may have been the sense of tranquillity, the mystery of nature and the scenic view that captured our hearts whenever we drove outside of Kingston, but when the invitation to visit Sandals South Coast came up, we just had to say yes.

Arriving at Sandals South Coast in Whitehouse, Westmoreland, took us back to the era of the simpler life — the ones we read about in our high school books and what we experienced as children before the world of responsibilities had set in.

As the vehicle drove up to the hotel's check-in, we were greeted by our butler, Leon Williamson, who, before carting us off to our over-the-water bungalow, quickly packed away our luggage and handed us fresh towels. It was smooth sailing thereafter.

The design of the bungalow was dedicated to the guest experience, butler's pantry, indoor and outdoor bathing experiences, top-of-the-line linen bedding, hammocks, over-the-water swings, and swimming platform. To top it off, each bungalow had cut out glass floors for the viewing of sea life and lit for night ocean.

The materials that were used to build the bungalow were sustainable and the wood was environmentally friendly rice husks. The bathroom was equipped with his and hers sinks, a large backlit mirror adorned with mosaic tile, and a walk-in rain shower.

Outside, the private patio was also equipped with an extended sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers, and a bistro set for two.

The room featured specials such as 24-hour butler elite service, private water taxi, a large flat-screen television set that was mounted to your desired angle, a bed fit for a king, personal airport greeting with expedited immigration, a welcome gift and, of course, Wi-Fi. But we gave up all that for a night out on the extended deck watching the waves of the ocean as the sun settled to the east.

It was like we never experienced anything of the kind. The water rushed against the deck while schools of fish flitted between coral reefs in the glistening waters below. We felt at one with nature, an immediate feeling of relief when we allowed ourselves to experience the beauty of Jamaica's beach.

Before we knew it, it was 7:00 pm and time to get dressed for dinner at one of the nine restaurants on the all-inclusive resort. Leon would arrive at 7:50 pm to escort us to Eleanor's Caribbean Cuisine for our 8:00 pm reservation. We arrived in style, clad in matching black and white formal wear.

And while we dined, Leon ensured that our bungalow was kept in perfect condition in addition to arranging a hot tub bath to ease the stress of the day's journey. It was every girl's dream.

By morning we could see the beautiful white sand beach stretching two miles long along with a lush nature preserve spanning 500 acres. The resort itself is spread out among 50 acres and is divided into distinctive European villages, offering charm in every direction.

From the hammocks suspended above the Caribbean Sea, we could see the over-the-water wedding chapel and the swim-up bar which extended into the sea. The beat of the reggae music played on our hearts along with the laughter of tourists, many of whom came in groups. Sandals did its best to keep Jamaican traditions alive and to become the best representation of the parish itself.

We took up the opportunity to enjoy one of the resort's many water sports, including snorkelling and kayaking, before heading to the Jerk Shack, a dining area with open-air seating and rustic vibe that served authentic jerk dishes.

But the vacation would not have been complete with a signature raindrop dreams massage from the Red Lane Spa. Much to our liking, Leon had arranged for the spa treatment to take place on the beach, where we had a breathtaking 360-degree view of waters.

Everyone deserves a day filled with bliss and pampering, and a one-hour-full body massage all with Sandals tropical signature twists as well as the sound of the ocean, which had us in relaxation mood.

Before we knew it, it was time to return to Kingston, but we needed no convincing to return to what the CEO of Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart described as a “formula that never fails”.

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