Pamper, pamper, Jamaican style

Sandals Montego Bay is an exclusive, all-inclusive luxury resort, where pampering you is part of Jamaica’s national language.

(Editor’s note:  To whet the appetite for our June ‘Fascinating Journeys’ issue, we present a WAG Weekly exclusive – WAG Wanderer Debbi K. Kickham’s recent trip to Sandals Montego Bay with hubby attorney William D. Kickham. Sounds like the traveling lovebirds had another terrific time. Just one question:  When are they going to take us along?)

Here’s what typically happens when you have a vacation at a beachfront hotel:  You pay for your guest room.  Then you pay for your breakfast. Followed by the sound of ka-chings for your watersports, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner, snorkeling trip, kayak and everything else.  And don’t forget about cashing out for cocktails and frothy cappuccinos. It’s cost-plus, and your wallet – and your psyche —  feel the pain all day long.

So, with that said, wouldn’t it be great to stay at a sandy vacation spot where everything is included?

The all-inclusive approach turns the entire hotel vacation idea upside down.  Especially when you stay at Sandals Montego Bay, an exclusive, all-inclusive luxury resort, where pampering you is part of Jamaica’s national language.

We recently stayed for six nights at Sandals, and experienced the trip-of-a-lifetime.  And trust us – we travel so much that every trip, pretty much, is a trip of a lifetime.

But this was different. First, Sandals Montego Bay is just made for you to do one thing: Live in your bathing suit. Put on your swimsuit in the morning and spend the morning and afternoon, and even sunset,  on the beach – swimming, sunning, having a cocktail (or mocktail), lunching, kayaking, glass-bottom boating  – and much more. It’s all there for you to enjoy, all-inclusive. Stash your wallet in the hotel safe,  and let that be the end of it. You’ll thrill to the blue sea – and especially, the orange floats in the water that allow you to lie there with your sweetheart, cheek to cheek, while you soak up the sun. 

It’s like being on an all-inclusive cruise ship – with, yes, premium spirits and alcohol all factored in – but at Sandals, you have 24/7 beach access to the silky sands and “Vitamin Sea.”

If you’ve attained any kind of success in your life – and if you’re reading this magazine, this means you — you’ll want to stay in the best rooms at Sandals Montego Bay (and there are some guests who stay  only in Sandals’ best rooms, year after year, at about $1,450 per night).  That rate would be in beachfront, “Millionaire,” one-bedroom butlered villa suites – complete with a tranquility tub.  The best definition of this type of room is “Wow, wow, wow.”  We thrilled to our suite, featuring a king-sized bed, expansive balcony offering stunning views (especially from the comfort of your outdoor tub-for-two), which leads directly to the powdery sands of your beachfront. The spa-inspired bathroom boasts a circular soaking tub, walk-in rainshower, and beautiful Red Lane Spa sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. (This is a great asset. In all of our travels around the globe, we’ve never before been pampered with these kind of eco-friendly in-room amenities.) Of course, the very-very best thing about the Millionaire’s Suites are the butlers – these Jamaican angels of all-things-possible, who summoned up our bubble baths (complete with rose petals), our towel animals (shaped like little monkeys), and also assisted with every other request we had on the planet.

If you want global, gourmet dining, look no further than the resort’s own restaurants.  The property features numerous restaurants – all-included in your prepaid rate– that offer you first-class meals (which you would definitely be charged more for on almost all mass-market level cruise ships). We delighted in Butch’s Steak and Seafood, an upscale eatery that ranks among one of the best steakhouses we’ve ever eaten in.  You can also enjoy such places as the Jerk Shack, offering the finest authentic Jamaican jerk, and Soy, a sushi restaurant offering unmatched Asian cuisine. Couples can also enjoy premium spirits and stunning views at the resort’s new over-the-water bar called Latitudes, equipped with cantilevered hammocks and underwater lighting. 

Other restaurants on the property include an adorable little French bistro where you can order Nutella crepes.  Oo la la! In all, there are 12 unique culinary concepts onsite, and six bars. If that’s not enough, you can go right next door to a sister Sandals resort (a five-minute ride in regular, free shuttles provided by the property) to partake in Sandals Royal Caribbean and its eight restaurants.  (This property also features breathtaking over-the-water butlered bungalows.)

If anyone you know is getting married, this is the place to send them.  Sandals Montego Bay recently unveiled its absolutely gorgeous over-the-water Serenity wedding chapel.  It features breathtaking panoramic views and a signature glass floor aisle. After all, on your wedding day, doesn’t your spouse walk on water?

Perhaps the most fantastic experience we shared as a couple was a private evening dinner-for-two on the beach.  (Editor’s note: Debbi orchestrated this for Bill, on their 19thanniversary, as a surprise). This was one of the most unforgettable experiences, as we sat in candlelight with the stars above – and the water right next to us.  And you know what? The whole time during our Sandals dinner, the “bride” of 19 years kept thinking that the “groom” still walks on water. Now, that’s the added benefit of a really good vacation.

Which reminds us: Next time we’re at Sandals, we’re going to sign up for the complimentary vow renewal “Re-Tie The Knot” ceremony that it offers with minimum three-night stays. It’s a great idea that should be embraced.

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Debbi K. and William D. Kickham

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