Hot weather, lounging by the beach, eating great food, making memories. Seriously, sunny escapes are my favourite thing to do!
Last year, the three of us took our very first family vacation to Royalton White Sands in Montego Bay, Jamaica. As nervous as we were traveling with our little one, it ended up being a blast. About six months later, we were lucky to visit Jamaica once again. My in-laws who were celebrating a milestone anniversary took the entire family to Royalton’s sister property, Blue Waters (located right next to White Sands).
Since I was able to experience both sides of the Royalton property, I thought I share a little personal insight.
Both Royalton White Sands and Royalton Blue Waters share the same property. The buildings are adjacent to one another and all the common areas and facilities are shared—swimming pools, restaurants, etc—with the exception of some Diamond Club areas. It’s a smaller size resort which makes it perfect if you are traveling with kids.
The grounds are kept in immaculate shape, the property is set on a small cove of white sand beach. You see workers every morning gracefully doing their job. Everything has a clean-lined contemporary feeql to it. The architecture and design definitely stand up to its luxurious label. However, I did find typical inconsistencies and service flaws during both my stays. Nothing really worth mentioning as it’s no different from what I’ve experienced at other all-inclusive resorts.
The accommodations are the BIGGEST difference between whether you choose to stay at White Sands or Blue Waters. Before I get into the details, I will note that both hotels had a similar modern aesthetic to them and both were well-maintained.
The walk to our room was picture perfect with an open concept hallway that let the Caribbean breeze flow through. It really did offer some of the best views of the resort. However, upon entering our room, I was completely shocked. This was the smallest room I’ve ever stayed in.
We booked a standard Luxury Room, which was my first mistake travelling with a 12-month-old at the time. These standard rooms are not equipped to put more than one piece of luggage, there’s nowhere to put clothes and toys, there is no room for the kiddos to walk around and there’s no bathtub.
Now, if it were Mike and I just travelling, perhaps the room situation wouldn’t have been a big deal. BUT, if you are a family who depends on the room a lot more, do yourself a favour and book a Luxury Family Suite or better yet, just book Blue Waters from the get go. During our stay, the hotel was at full capacity and we were unable to switch.
Each floor in the White Sands building has a concierge desk located in front of the elevator doors. At first sight, I thought “what an amazing concept”. We don’t have to go to the lobby to book dinner reservations, if we need any sort of assistance, we have someone right here to help. How great, right!?
Not at all. The so-called “concierge” cannot help you with dinner reservations, in fact, they cannot really help you with very much besides hassle you to death into attending a presentation on the Blue Waters side. Since they strategically place these desks in front of the elevator doors there is absolutely no way to avoid these timeshare reps.
If accommodations are important to you, this is by far the “better side” and worth the extra money. We stayed here during our second visit. The standard rooms (Luxury Junior Suites) were spacious, had both the rain shower head and bathtub.
There was enough space for our daughter to walk around and play while we got ready and the best part—the view was freaking amazing. I loved waking up to the picturesque blue ocean and sky. The great thing about the Blue Waters building is that no matter which type of room you book, all of the rooms pretty much have an Ocean view. This is not the case with White Sands.
As for the timeshare reps, they were still present on this side but they were located in the main lobby and it was very easy to avoid them. They did try to approach us a couple of times, but with a single “we are not interested”, they left us alone.
Diamond Club: The Diamond Club is an upgrade that you can do which gets you preferred rooms, a butler, a selection of in-room liquors, access to Diamond Club lounge and beach and a few other perks. I can’t comment based on personal experience as we did not opt for Diamond Club Level but I did talk to a few people on both trips who said they could have done without it.
Again, everything is shared between the two sister properties. The only restaurant that requires reservations is Zen restaurant, which is your typical resort style teppanyaki dinner. Everything else is first come, first serve. We were able to get reservations to Zen during our first trip and I personally wasn’t impressed. I was hoping to give it another try during our second visit to compare but we couldn’t get reservations for our big group as it was only opened on certain days.
Fave restaurants to eat:
Hunters Steak House – everyone’s favourite amongst our group. Consistently good both times we went.
Gourmet Marche Buffet – Breakfast, lunch and dinners were good. Always had a variety for everyone.
Jade Asian Fusion – Amazing the first time we went, not so consistent with the quality the second time around.
Caffe Lounge – My fave place to visit every day for ice cream, specialty coffees and pastries while Olivia took her afternoon nap in her stroller.
Jerk Hut – Served amazing Jamaican snacks. Jerk chicken by the pool was fantastic!
Not the greatest:
Grazie Italian Trattoria (Italian cuisine) -From the burnt pizzas, to the cold dishes, to the awful desserts. I’d like to think they were just having a bad night.
All the other restaurants were pretty much average for an all-inclusive resort. Good but nothing over the top.
This pirate-themed water park is one of the main reasons why I picked Royalton. It’s quite impressive and will keep the little ones occupied for hours. Although our daughter was a little young to climb the stairs and use the watersides the first time around, she was completely content watching the action from her floater, especially as all the children dodged the giant buckets of water that tip over as they filled. The second time around she was mobile and had a blast in this water park. For the older children and adults, there is a separate pool with four slides that twist and plunge into deeper water.
They also have a Kids Club, which we did not use. However, we made a point to be around when the cartoon characters made an appearance. Max and Ruby was a fave for our daughter. The lazy river was a nice touch, surprisingly it was never busy during our stays, which made it nice to lounge for a few laps.
Overall, we had a great time on both of our stays. The water was beautiful, the resort is picture perfect and there’s just enough to keep both the adults and kiddos happy.
Are you considering this resort or have you been to any other Royalton properties? Do share in my comments below!
DISCLOSURE: This is not sponsored. Just sharing my personal experience!