Behind every great romance is a great story and the story of Sandals Montego Bay is a classic Pygmalion narrative. Boy meets run down hotel and transforms it into one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable escapes for couples, along the way trials and tribulations threaten to diminish the passion, but the boy is steadfast in his devotion, and 38 years later, the love is not only strong, but seemingly invincible. Most people thought Butch Stewart was crazy buying a hotel that sat at the end of an airport runway, but most people underestimate the power of being crazy in love—and make no mistake, the story of Sandals is truly about love.
In 1981, Butch and a small dedicated group of Sandals employees set out to transform the all-inclusive experience. In what was considered unheard of at the time, they focused exclusively on couples travel, built the Caribbean’s first swim-up bar and elevated in-room amenity offerings with king sized beds, hair dryers and clock radios in every room. While this may sound trite by 2019 standards, it’s what changed the luxury hotel experience forever making these things de rigueur now. Sidebar: as a hair dryer obsessed woman, I owe Butch an eternal debt of gratitude. Not all heroes wear capes, some are armed with 1500 watt blowdryers.
For all great relationships to last though, everyone must be willing to adapt and change. That’s why the recent renovation of Sandals Montego Bay solidifies Sandals place as the leader in the luxury travel space. If we can now thank Sandals for something as innocuous as a hair dryer, in 20 years you’ll be giving a silent nod of gratitude for your standard luxury tub on your verandah.
Here’s what you can expect at the new Sandals Montego Bay.
Luxury Starts At the Airport
Guests who are staying in either concierge or butler room categories can expect a private transfer in a chauffeur driven luxury BMW from Montego Bay Sangster International Airport to Sandals Montego Bay. With 60% of the rooms falling in this category, chances are high, you’ll find yourself in the lap of luxury from the moment you step out of the airport.
A New Welcoming Space
Paradise never needs a refresh, it only needs a partner that plays to its best attributes. The new lobby at Sandals Montego Bay does just that. Bright and airy, the cerulean Caribbean Sea is the perfect backdrop as you step out of your lux ride and into your well-earned vacation.
People Who Love to Eat Are the Best People
Don’t worry if you’re feeling a little peckish upon arrival because your taste buds are in for a treat. From fresh-baked cookies in the concierge area at check-in, to the Jerk Hut on the beach, to the new Butch’s Steak and Seafood and Soy restaurants, Sandals takes its culinary offerings seriously.
There are 12 unique dining options at Sandals Montego Bay meaning you may have a hard time trying to get to them all in one week. Maybe that’s why Sandals has so many loyal repeat visitors. In fact, when we visited in February, the resort was over 50% filled with returning guests. Exceptional food, service, and scenery are a recipe for loyalty it seems.
The Attitude of the Latitude
If the lobby is the perfect introduction to the beauty of Sandals Montego Bay stunning setting, then the new Latitudes Overwater Bar is the only place to take it all in. This 360° structure sits on the water offering spectacular views no matter which direction you face.
Relax in an over the water hammock built for two during the day, or sip a cool cocktail by one of the firepits in the evening. No matter what you choose, be prepared to let every care you have be swept away by soothing Caribbean breezes.
Marriage Has A Nice Ring to It
I am madly in love with an amazing new guy, but not so far removed from the end of an 18 year marriage, that the thought of taking another trip down the aisle causes me to reflexively throw my head between my knees and reach for a paper bag. With all that being said, I found myself briefly toying with the idea of saying I do again at Sandals Montego Bay on a romantic level as well as a practical one.
After you’ve been through a marriage, the trappings of a wedding are viewed through an entirely different lens. They become less about the show and more about the love, and this is where Sandals has it all figured out. They’ve removed all the stress of planning a wedding and included it in the price of your vacation. Like all things in life, there are upgrades available, like the overwater wedding chapel pictured above, but with a minimum stay of 3 days, you can get everything from wedding planning to the honeymoon included with the price of your stay.
Yes, Sandals Montego Bay provides a stunning backdrop, great food, and picture-worthy moments, but they never forget that at the end of the day, this is really about two people declaring their love for each other.
Live By The Sun. Love By the Moon.
Look, I don’t want to get too base about this but the room is where the magic happens when you’re on a romantic escape if you know what I mean. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. You travelled a great distance to connect with your lover, hold their hand, look soulfully into their eyes, whisper you undying devotion in their ear, and to get jiggy with it. What?! You know you were thinking it, I just put it out in the open. With room categories such as the “Love Nest” or the “Romeo and Juliet” suite, you know Sandals has put some thought into this too.
We stayed in the Romeo and Juliet Suite which sits steps from the sugary white sands of Sandals Montego Bay. Gone are the old-style Colonial style mahogany beds and furniture, and in its place modern, contemporary design plays to all the best elements of Jamaica’s lush surroundings.
If cleanliness was the goal we certainly had no shortage of places to freshen up with a tub on our verandah, a large tub for two in our washroom, and a shower with a rainfall shower head and a bench built for two.
There are several room categories available at all the Sandals resorts, and you’ll need help sorting which one is right for you, so be sure to check in with a Sandals specialist before you book.
About Those Planes
The one thing that has not changed at Sandals Montego Bay is its proximity to Sangster International Airport. I admit that I had serious reservations about staying so close to a resort where planes would be flying overhead all day. By the end of the first day, all my concerns were safely put to rest.
I stopped noticing the planes by 3pm the first day, and the accessibility of Sandals Montego Bay from the international airport is one of it’s biggest perks. Upon arrival we were through customs and happily lounging on the beach in just over an hour. I can’t remember ever slipping into a vacation state of mind that fast.
Years ago, when Sandals Montego Bay first opened, the general manager was looking for a way to turn a negative into a positive, and so the tradition of kissing your lover and waving everytime a plane flew overhead was born. You don’t have to tell me twice.
Disclosure: I was invited by Sandals to experience the new Sandals Montego Bay and share my experience. All opinions expressed remain mine.