Hey all, we just returned from our wedding at Beaches Negril and stay at Sandals Negril. I guess BDW has changed their review section of the site, so I'll be posting it here!!
JET BLUE - A
WARNING: If you are bringing your dress on your Jet Blue flight, they do NOT have closets on any of their planes and you will need to put your dress in the overhead bin. On our first flight (one hour connecting flight from BOS to JFK) the flight was so full, my dress had to be folded on top of one of the bins. Luckily on the flight to JFK to MBJ (montego bay) there was an empty bin and my dress was able to travel alone laid out nicely. In both cases we asked the flight attendants for help and they did the best they could to accommodate the dress. If you have a larger dress or you don't like to "wing it" you may not wan to fly Jet Blue to ensure you are able to hang up your dress in a closet. HOWEVER, Jet Blue was awesome in every other way and our travels and flight adjustments for last minute change to Jamaica all worked awesome. Just remember, you can always steam your dress at the resort (it cost $80).
SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - A
On the flight, you are given immigration forms. They are a little tricky so read it over carefully before filling it out. They use month/day/year for birth date and also the lines and boxes to fill out are somewhat confusing for name, address, etc. You also need to sign the immigration form like 3 times and also fill out the departure section. You will need that when you leave. I haven't flown international since i was 15 so all of this was so new to us.
PRIVATE TRANSFER TO RESORT - A+
Since I was nervous about the 1.5 hour trip on a shuttle with my dress (and we had a guitar for our ceremony) we purchased the $200 private transfer. Since we had Butler Service, there was a cooler with beer, wine , champagne, water and juices a well as a plate of appetizers and chocolates. Our car was a Mercedes with flags that said Sandals on the headlights. I felt like a Princess!!
SANDALS NEGRIL - A+
When we arrived at Sandals Negril, we were immediately greeted by our Butler, the Sandals Wedding coordinator Andrea and the Beaches Wedding Coordinator Nickesha. We were given cold towels and our butler brought us to the Beach Grill and ordered us some jerk chicken. We sat in awe at the beauty of the beach and that we were finally there! We stayed at the Swim Up Lagoon at the beachfront (Sundowner building) and it was AMAZING. The ONLY complaint we had was that it is the very end of the property and the property next door has a large and LOUD guard dog that barks. Every single employee at both Sandals and Beaches were SO FRIENDLY and genuine. We had am amazing stay at Sandals. When going to beaches, we would request a cab ($5 per couple--most of the cabs are 6 person vans) each way. You can also walk 5-6 minutes down the beach to Beaches Sandy Bay and take a free shuttle to Beaches Negril which runs hourly on the hour. Staying at Sandals and getting married at Beaches worked well for us, but there were a few miscommunication that wouldn't have happened if we stayed at the resort where we got married. So many things are put towards your room, and even though the resorts are owned by same company, they don't have the same charge lines, etc and a few things weren't as easy. IT wasn't too stressful and we DEFINITELY are happy our wedding was at Beaches Negril and we stayed at Sandals.
BEACHES NEGRIL WEDDING COORDINATOR/MEETING - A+
When we arrived we knew our meeting was scheduled for the following day at Beaches. We waited at the Concierge (we were early) and were given mimosa! Nickesha came and greeted us and we took a tour of the grounds. We knew we wanted the beach location and we LOVED what she showed us. We were given two options for our reception, the beach hut or a private area inside The Mill (the main dinning area/buffet). We chose the Beach hut which was directly next to the ceremony site. We chose Beautiful Beginnings and purchased the Vision in White Arch which worked excellent. (we did that in advance). We had also chosen the Oceanside Luncheon Buffet which was cheese/crackers, fruit, salads, pasta with shrimp, steamed fish, chicken with mushroom sauce , veggies, roasted potatoes and TONS of desserts and pastries. IT was $40 per person and we also got kids meals for the two children under 8. For ages 5 and under it was free, and I think for the 7 year old it was like $12 or so. Nickesha was great, answering all of our questions and bringing up small things we didn't think of or forgot about. I did bring all of the items I had printed out and mine was slightly moe updated than hers. For example, I had purchased something the week before we left and she didn't have that, so I showed her our chart and it was fine. She also gave us MORE champagne and everything was very easy. We also were able to get the IPOD dock for free (I had read they charged you or it at the ceremony) as well have the photographer there for 30 minutes after the ceremony without buying a package prior too. They definitely do not urge you to buy things once you are there, they just want the wedding to be what you want and will work with you to make it right. We also did not book a Rehearsal/Welcome dinner. We were going to try out hardest to get them let us have 22 people in a private area without paying extra. We told all our guests we'd have a welcome dinner on Thursday night and we set a place to meet. LUCKILY, Thursday night is the BEACH PARTY night at Beaches and Nickesha reserved us a long table for 22 right up front.
BEACHES CEREMONY & RECEPTION - A+
Our guests were told to meet at 10:30am by the Big Top bar and one of the other wedding department employees brought them down. Nickesha came and got me, my dad and my sister (matron of honor) around 10:42 and the wedding begin right at 11am on the dot! We brought our own entire wedding script/vows and they read all of it. The general Sandals vows are very religious, and legally they didnt' have to change any of our wedding for the ceremony to be legal, so it worked out very well for us. We didn't purchase an additional reception. We had the luncheon and after eating, we had about 30 minutes of dancing--all added by our IPOD. IT was great!!! Dancing in the sand is HARD so 30 minutes was JUST enough time. We also then proceeded to the ocean and JUMPED IN! We made sure we had everyone take photos and also created a photo share site for everyone to upload their photos to. From the start we made it clear that we wanted EVERYONE to take LOTS of photos as we didn't want to buy too many professional photos. More on that later. The whole day was amazing and the Beaches staff at the wedding were extremely accommodating and made sure everyone had a drink, food, etc. ONE thing that I didn't know but LOVED was that in Jamaica they have a tradition for cutting/eating of the cake. You don't do the US tradition of feeding each other the cake, you feed the cake through your mouth---like lady and the tramp style!! It was a great addition.
BEACHES RESTAURANTS A-
The BEACH PARTY Friday night buffet the food was great and there was a lot of variety!
SEVILLE - the Italian restaurant is the most fancy place at Beaches and everyone seemed to like the food there.
KIMONOS - we went to Kimonos at Sandals and LOVED IT. Everyone who went to BEACHES felt the same. The chefs are great an it's very similar to Japanese Hibachi back in the states.
ARIZONAS - this was the only food taht I did not like during our who ten days at Beaches or Sandals. My dad had a bone in his chicken quesadilla and my fish sandwich wasn't seasoned very well.
THE MILL - we had a la carte lunch at THE MILL and it was maybe the best fish I had all week. The Buffett was great too. VERY extensive and the Kid's Corner was great---always had chicken nuggets, fries, spaghetti and peanut butter and jelly!
Each restaurant has limited options, but there are so many different choices of where to go to eat, so it's not hard to find something you like. People who are used to five star restaurants might have different views, but the food was sufficient for sure.
BEACHES WATER PARK - A
SO MUCH FUN. There are two slides, one open and one enclosed. The enclosed slide is FAST and pitch black. The other one is pretty fast as well. The lazy river is so much fun. They don't have inner tubes, you need to wear a life vest. At first we were turned off by that, but it was actually very fun and relaxing and the vest wasn't annoying at all. There are plenty of food (and ice cream machine) right by the water park and the pool and swim up bar are right there as well. We could have spent all day there!
BEACHES BEACH -- A-
There was definitely ALOT more sand and beach at Beaches than Sandals. The beach was beautiful and the swimming was great. There were at least 4 people in our group who got stung by jelly fish at Sandals and Beaches, so just be aware. ALSO, there are A LOT of bugs at Beaches and Sandals. Make sure to wear bug spray. There are sand fleas at night at Sandals (not sure about Beaches, but assume so) ESPECIALLY put buy spray on your legs and ankles. EVERYONE from both resorts got lots of bug bites on their legs. Beaches also has a lot of trees an bushes, so more bugs flying around as well. There are ALOT of vendors walking the Beach and they bug you, but if you ignore them or say NO, they will go away.
BEACHES ENTERTAINMENT - A
The "players" were AMAZING!!!! We even had two employees come over and dance with us at our wedding. At the Beach Party, we had so much fun dancing the night away and learning lots of new Jamaican dance moves. Every night the entertainment at Beaches was fantastic for both kids and adults. There were steel drum players playing traditional and modern pop music. The resort was VERY low on guests (off season) but all the staff did their best to make sure everyone had fun and we did not feel slighted at all for not having a full house!
BEACHES RED LANE SPA - A-
I had my hair done at Beaches and my sister had her hair and make up done there as well. We both had great experiences, my only complain was one of my bobby pins fell out like twice...not a big deal at all. One thing I didn't know bout was there is a "service charge" not the traditional tip. I had planned on giving a cash tip, but your room is charged a 12.5% service charge. The spa is pretty small, but they do the job!
SANDALS RED LANE SPA - A-
I got a mani and pedi at Sandals Red Lane Spa the day before the wedding with Simone. She did a great job. The pedi's are not in a traditional pedi chair, but a comfortable chair and a bucket of water. It worked well though. I waited an hour until going to the beach, and my pedi still got a bit smudged. I went back and she fixed it no problem. I think the humidity really made it take longer to dry.
BEACHES PHOTOGRAPHY B (photographer A-)
We had Collin, and he was very nice and took 134 photos of us! All the photos came out nice and we had blinding sun and I am very pale. He did not complain when my friend followed us down the beach and literally stood behind him as he took photos of us. I thought that was nice of him. We went to view our photos and ultimately chose 16 photos. We were able to see all our friends photos first, so we knew what ones we really wanted and what one we had similar from our friends. With our package we got one free 5x7 and we purchased 15 photos in 5x7 and on CD. It cost $360. PLEASE NOTE that the "free" photo you get is NOT included on a CD. The quality of their photos is not great, and the KODAK printing, etc is not that great. I know you have read a lot about that, but the printed quality isn't that great. My hubby had a seersucker striped suit and it looks all shimmery and pixilated since the camera quality isn't TOP quality. That is one reason why we didn't want to purchase too many. Also, when we picked up our album, there was some smudging or "running" on one photo. Like a black smudge which we complained about and got a new print printed. We also complained that we weren't told about the "free" photo not being included on the CD and they gave us an extra CD with the photo. They really are there to help you, so if you speak up and do it not TOO rudely, they will try to help.
Sorry for the spelling errors!!! PLEASE feel free to PM me with any questions about Beaches or Sandals Negril!!!