We love the Sandals family of resorts, and you can read about the ultimate all-inclusive resorts in our on-going series of Southern Girl Travel Guides to Sandals! including guides to:
with more to come.
Today, in the sixth in our series, we’re featuring our first guide to Sandals’ family resorts with our Southern Girl Travel Guide to Beaches Negril!
Beaches resorts combine the all-inclusive amenities of Sandals Resorts, but with the ability to bring along the entire family.
From the Beaches Negril website:
The Ultimate Beach Hideaway…Beaches Negril is more than the white sand beaches, mesmerizing turquoise waters and the breathtaking sunsets that seem to light the whole sky on fire. It’s all about spending time with those you love… in a setting that’s as memorable as the experience itself.
Where is Beaches Negril?
We’ve written extensively about how the Montego Bay, Jamaica area can be the perfect spot for a Caribbean getaway.
With resorts like Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean only a few minutes from the airport, you can lounge on a Jamaican beach less than four hours after taking off from most airports in the Southeast.
Compared with Montego Bay, Negril is a relatively small beachside town on the far western end of Jamaica.
Beaches Negril is about an hour and 20 minute drive from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, along the north end of Negril’s famous Seven-Mile Beach, just off Jamaica’s highway A1.
A quick note on flying into Jamaica: When headed to Beaches Negril, you’ll be flying into the Sangster International Airport. Sangster is one of the largest and busiest airports in the Caribbean and getting through customs and immigration can be a bear – we always use and we HIGHLY recommend that all our clients utilize the services of Club Mobay.
Club Mobay is an arrival and departure club/service whose representatives will meet you at your arrival gate, see you safely through customs and immigration, and settle you into their arrival lounge for a drink or two before they connect you with your ground transportation.
They’ll do the same thing in reverse when it’s time for you to (sadly) leave Jamaica. Club Mobay’s parent company, VIP Attractions, also operates a similar service at Kingston’s airport, known as Club Kingston.
Sandals’ own private arrival lounge is right beside the Club Mobay arrival lounge at Sangster so you’ll be right where you need to be.
If you are using Club Mobay for your arrival, you can pretty easily enjoy both lounges!
This would be a good time to mention the Sandals/Beaches arrival lounge at Sangster.
It’s a cozy spot to enjoy those first few minutes of your all-inclusive experience. The lounge provides a comfortable wait for your transfer to Negril.
You’ll have places to sit, relax, and enjoy a beer and maybe some rum punch (all are included). Make sure to pick up a copy of the Gleaner – the nearly 200 year-old Jamaican newspaper – and see what’s happening around the island.
You’ll be alerted when your ride is ready and in another hour or so you’ll be pulling up at Beaches Negril.
One of Negril’s most famous sites, and Beaches Negril’s most prominent feature, is what’s know as Seven-Mile Beach.
From Beaches’ site:
Facing directly west, Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach has been voted many times over as one of the best in the world. Legendary for its dramatic sunsets, silky white sands, clear turquoise waters, and spontaneous island spirit, the natural attributes of this phenomenal beach are alluring to the soul.
Sheltered by one of the Caribbean’s great reefs, Negril Bay is always tranquil. And because Jamaica itself does not have high tides, the entire protected beachfront is nearly level with the gently lapping waters, creating a seamless entry from sand to sea.
You’ll also enjoy weekly beach parties featuring a variety of Caribbean and food, music and live entertainment. At daybreak and dusk, the peaceful waters stand so still they seem to be paying homage to the magic of the sun, like the rest of Negril.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
Sandals also lists the following features at Beaches Negril:
Spread out over a lushly landscaped 20 acres, Beaches Negril epitomizes paradise with spectacular gardens beside the sea, a sprawling Pirates Island waterpark, and plenty of activities and amenities for the whole family.
3 pools, 2 with swim-up bars
9 Specialty Restaurants
Caribbean-inspired Red Lane® Spa
Liquid at Beaches Nightclub
Comprehensive Scuba program
Pirates Island Waterpark
6 bars serving unlimited premium drinks
Supervised kids camp for kids of all ages
Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street®
Xbox Play Lounge
Trench Town Teens-only game-room
Scratch DJ Academy
Nearly everything in the list above is included. Sandals is one of the originators of all-inclusive and we believe they do it extremely well.
A Few Thoughts on All-Inclusive: If you haven’t already, read our Southern Girl Travel Guide to Sandals.
You’ll learn more about what all-inclusive means at Sandals. You’ll be pleased. At Sandals (unlike some other all-inclusive resorts) all-inclusive means that nearly every thing really is included in the price of your stay.
All your food and drink will be included. We don’t mean just well-brand liquors either. Everything at the bar is included. The only exception we know of is that some Sandals restaurants will offer more exclusive wines at an extra charge, but we have experienced no pressure to purchase.
We have checked out from a week’s stay at Sandals with absolutely no additional charges and you can, too.
Tips are not allowed unless you are in a butler suite – and even then they are not necessary, but you will likely want to reward the amazing service you will receive. Off-resort you’ll want to be prepared to tip as you would anywhere (we’ve noticed some serious pressure to tip in the airport).
Off-resort excursions do cost extra as do a few other things. Let us know what you’re interested in and we’ll give you all the details.
Ok, let’s really get started with:
What are the rooms like at Beaches Negril?
The resort has three major room categories, while Sandals occasionally changes the names, the categories include a standard range, club-level, and rooms that are served by Sandals’ famous butler service.
Right now, they’re simply known as:
Each category includes a variety of specific room types that vary in exact amenities and in location around the resort.
As of January 2016, the Negril Deluxe (maximum occupancy of 3) is the most affordable room at Beaches Negril, and the Caribbean Beachfront Three Bedroom Butler Suite (maximum occupancy of 12) is the most extravagant.
Give us a call or drop us an email and will give you all the information on current rates and room details.
Enjoy a few photos of the various room classes:
We have found the rooms at Sandals to be extremely comfortable and well appointed.
Depending on the class of room, you may find a fully stocked bar, whirlpool tubs, mini-fridges full of beer, wine, and soft drinks and beds as comfortable as any we know.
Sandals is also known for being generous with room upgrades – especially in the off-season. We’ve experienced it ourselves and while nothing is guaranteed (and please don’t expect it), don’t be surprised if it happens! Of course, if you are upgraded to club or butler level, it will just be for the room and it won’t come with gratis butler service!
Everyone wants to know about the butler service. All we can say it that it’s amazing, and if you haven’t already, check out the video below from Sandals’ own butler, Rorey down in Antigua.
If you have seen it scroll on down.
Food & Drink!
Now for our favorite part of Sandals travel – the food and the drink!
Beaches Negril includes nine restaurants where all the food and drink is included for guests. Each spans a variety of styles, and has a particular atmosphere.
Food and drink is the area that really sets Sandals apart from other all-inclusive resorts. Others will have a single restaurant that is included and only cheaper brands of drink. It’s all included at Sandals (with the wine exception we mentioned above), and every resort has multiple restaurants.
Before we jump in though, let’s talk dress codes and reservations:
Beaches dress codes seem slightly “looser” than the codes at Sandals. They’re not at all strict, but they do matter.
Resort casual can include shorts or jeans, tee-shirts or polos. Any swimwear must be covered and no bare feet.
Resort evening can include dress pants or jeans for men, long or short sleeve dress shirts (with or without a collar); dress shoes or sandals; no tee-shirts, sleeveless shirts, tennis shoes, flip flops or slippers; and, no hats nor caps. Again, the dress codes are enforced, especially resort evening. Watch that shoe requirement and make sure to bring a pair of decent shoes in addition to those flip flops and tennis shoes – especially for the kids!
Many of the popular restaurants can get rather busy at Beaches, and we recommend planning what restaurants you would like to try before your travels. Make a list and meet with the concierge immediately upon your arrival to make reservations.
Don’t wait, especially when traveling during peak times.
We’ve listed each of the nine restaurants below with a description from the official website.
Stewfish embodies the laidback charm of the Caribbean. This classic restaurant is named for its signature dish of brown stewfish, a Jamaican cooking method where fish is simmered in its own juices along with sautéed ingredients to lock in flavor. All of the Jamaican-inspired dishes here exemplify the unique tastes of the Caribbean. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy an authentic Caribbean meal amid Old English ambience with thatched-style roofs and sand-lined walkways. With the beach just steps away, there’s no better place to enjoy bona fide Caribbean cuisine where an after-dinner walk along the beach is inevitable. The whole family can enjoy exquisite comfort food as well as the incomparable hospitality that Jamaica is known for.
The Stewfish dress code is Resort Casual (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Breakfast – 7:30 am – 11:00 am
Supper – 5:30 pm – 9:30pm
Check out a sample menu.
Like the ancient sugar mills of days past this Caribbean gem is a sight to behold. Made in the image of ancient sugar mills, the ruins of which still decorate Jamaica’s countryside today…located along Negril’s famous 7-mile beach, The Mill presents a wide selection of delectable entrees and desserts, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner served in a lavish buffet style. The cuisine here is just as enticing as the nearby Caribbean Sea with fresh-off-the-knife meat carvings, hot eats, and healthy treats like rib eye, exotic local cuisine including Jerk Chicken & Fried Dumplings and Rice & Peas, as well as fare the kids will love. An extensive selection of cakes, pies and pastries is on-hand for confection enthusiasts and sweetly culminate the sumptuous and memorable Mill dining experience.
The Mill’s dress code is Resort Casual (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Breakfast – 7:30 am – 10:15 am
Lunch – 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Supper – 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Catering to the whole family, this fascinating restaurant reminiscent of the street cafes of Venice, offers juicy meats, fresh salads, and irresistible desserts, cocktails, and entrees including the enticing signature dish, Costolette D’Agnello Allo Scottadito (Grilled Rack of Lamb with Roasted Tomato, Black Olive, and Red Wine Reduction) and the specialty cocktail, the Sgroppino, a mix of lime sorbet, vodka, champagne, and mint. Younger guests can order from a separate children’s menu and enjoy delicious cuisine and exotic kids cocktails including the Italian Creamsicle, a tasty blend of orange juice, vanilla ice cream, and milk.
The Venetian’s dress code is Resort Evening (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Supper – 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Follow the tantalizing aroma of exotic spices and perfectly grilled delights to the majestic extravagance of Kimonos, a vibrant restaurant that serves up the exotic cuisines of the Far East in a most interactive and impressive way. The mid-1940 Teppanyaki cooking style used here is one indication to guests that they’re in for a truly memorable experience. With dim lighting, red accents, and Asian-inspired windows modeled after the fascinating Shoji sliding screens of East Asia, the décor of Kimonos is ever so slightly exotic and mysterious, yet comforting at the same time…you never know what new tricks and treats the chefs have up their sleeves, possibly juggling cooking utensils, flipping a shrimp tail into their shirt pocket, or catching a shitake mushroom in their hat. Choose from entrees that incorporate teriyaki beef, orange chicken with sake sauce, and garlic-ginger shrimp or enjoy palatable salads, soups, or beef gyozas. The soothing brown and red decor enhances the authenticity of this elegant restaurant that features live entertainment and the perfect balance of liveliness and serenity.
Kimono’s dress code is Resort Casual (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are required.
Kimono’s is one of the resort’s most popular spots, so make reservations as soon as you arrive!
Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Supper – 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Check out a sample menu.
Arizona’s offers traditional favorites like Ceviche, Tortilla Soup and Enchiladas, and also presents dishes such as Mahi Mahi Gratin with Tequila, Grilled Ribeye Steak, and BBQ Baby Back Ribs. Not to be left out, the kids also have a plenty of delicious options including BBQ Buffalo Wings, Chicken Tacos and Quesadillas. With its inviting and welcoming décor and delectable cuisine served in the midst of a tropical paradise, guests will discover traditional and newfound favorites at this popular restaurant that offers something for every member of the family.
Arizona’s dress code is Resort Casual (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Grill – 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Supper – 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Check out a sample menu.
Bar B Q Park
Discover Classic Barbecue Favorites Nestled poolside Bar-B-Q Park serves up the best in down-home comfort foods, anytime snacks, classic American barbecue favorites, and more. For guests on the go, this leisurely eatery supports the convenient Grab ‘n’ Go tradition, encouraging guests to grab their preferred snack or meal and venture to the beach or their luxury room to enjoy it. The Bar-B-Q is most known for its happy-go-lucky, casual environment and mouthwatering offerings. Those who have visited and tasted the barbeque here find it to be a vibrant expression of the tasty comfort foods found at American BBQ smokehouses. This colorful eatery combines a fun, bustling environment and good mood food. Here, it’s easy to find at least one thing every member of the family can enjoy.
The Bar B Q Park’s dress code is Resort Casual (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Lunch – 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Anytime Snacks – 3:00 pm – 3:00 am
Cafe de Paris
On most mornings, there is a cool breeze in the air, making enjoying a macadamia, amaretto, hazelnut, chocolate, vanilla, or raspberry hot or chilled latte all the more sweeter. Well into the afternoon, delighting in chocolate cream puffs, crème brûlée tarts, cake, cookies and more, is enchanting. And, as the sun lowers in the sky and the air cools again, indulging in a warm crêpe with the topping of your choice is magical.
Cafe de Paris has no dress code, and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Open: 6:30 am – 10:30 pm
With a style that is just as diversified as the inspiring sushi palate, chefs of Soy are eager to present guests with varying flavors of the Far East and share the essence of a consistent house style that is elegantly balanced through their splendid selection of daily specials, soups, sushi, sashimi, and sake…guests can enjoy a nightcap or pre-dinner cocktail near the stone-lined fire pits, and inside, will discover great ambiance with the stone statues and mahogany furniture. Sample delicacies like the Volcano on the Beaches, a guest favorite with spicy tuna, spicy crabmeat, and sweet soy sauce.
Soy’s dress code is Resort Casual (see the dress code descriptions above) and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Supper – 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Pizza combinations range from the traditional Margherita to the locally-inspired Jerk Chicken pizza and Calzone, all made with the same long-leavening, high-quality dough. With so many toppings to choose from, this place stays abuzz with guests vying for the opportunity to try every single pizza combination on the menu. With a charming outdoor seating arrangement just steps away from the beach, Neapolitan-style pizza doesn’t get any better than Dino’s Pizzeria.
Dino’s Pizzeria has no dress code, and reservations are not required. Currently listed hours (which are subject to change) are:
Lunch – 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Activities (other than lounging on the beach, eating, and drinking)
Because Beaches is a family resort, activities go well beyond the water to include clubs and camps, arcades and music. Here’s a summary of what’s on offer (information in quotes directly from the folks at Beaches):
Pirates Island Water Park
Just along the ocean is an 18,000 square foot water park with water slides, a lazy river, a plunge pool, a swim up soda bar, a kiddie area, and more.
With activities tailored to specific age groups, the Kids Camp includes fun for infants, toddlers, pre-teens, and teens. While hours can vary, Kids Camp normally runs from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and personalized care is available after hours and for special needs kids and an additional charge. Drop us a line or give us a call and we’ll give you all the details.
Beaches has a long standing relationship with Sesame Street that has brought all your kids’ favorite characters to Negril.
Read a little about what is new this year straight from the Beaches Negril website:
Beaches Resorts Presents Discovery Dome® Explore Outer Space with Elmo & Friends – Your don’t need a spaceship to learn about the sun, moon, and stars – just a little imagination! Take an imaginary trip to the moon with your Sesame Street friends and learn some amazing things along the way.
Exploring The Moon with Elmo Children will be introduced to basic astronomy concepts and learn about moon phases and craters on the moon’s surface. They’ll listen to a story and get a chance to create their own clay moon model with some help from Elmo.
Sesame Street Artist Workshops Join Louis Henry Mitchell and Barry Goldberg as they teach children how to explore their creative side through a series of fun and educational art activities. They’ll show you how to bring Sesame Street characters to life through drawing techniques and use of colorful chalk. In addition, these artists will also take to the beach to sculpt amazing, three-dimensional sand art incorporating everyone’s favorite furry friends.
Fall-O-Ween Stage Shows Join The Count and the Sesame Street gang for an on stage performance with sing-alongs and Halloween high-jinks that’s sure to be Spook-tacular for the whole family!
A teens-only club: “Just for teens, the hottest dance club in the Caribbean jams to music with a cool South Beach vibe. Totally hip and totally teen-no tagalong kid brother and never anyone over 21-until later at night when the club transitions to an adults-only dance bar.”
Scratch DJ Academy
This is one of the few Beaches activities that comes with a small additional charge: “Beaches Resorts has teamed up with the world famous Scratch DJ Academy so you can go inside the exclusive world of a DJ. As a part of the program, you’ll have the option of performing for your friends and family, or even participate in an authentic DJ battle!” Drop us a line or give us a call and we’ll give you all the details.
Xbox Play Longue
“In the Xbox Play Lounge, guests of all ages can enjoy unlimited free play! Test your skills, play with friends or challenge your own family on a variety of Xbox games – from racing and sports to adventure and fun, there’s sure to be a game for everyone to enjoy!”
“This hang out spot puts fun arcade games at kids’ fingertips, from shooting hoops with electronic basketball setups to lightning-fast laser hockey under club-like black lights. But Trench Town is more than a game room. It’s a teen-focused hot spot that reflects Jamaica’s vibe and urban culture with graffiti wall murals and concert posters plastered on the walls. In this space, kids can feel free to hang out and listen to Sirius Satellite Radio on Trench Town’s state-of-the-art sound system, or watch its enormous flat-screen TVs – all in a space created just for them.”
Beaches Negril also has a ton of other offerings – and nearly all are included.
Here’s a summary:
On the water (and included) at Negril, you’ll find:
- Hobie Cats
- Kids Canopy Pool
- Swim-up Pool Bars
- 6 Pools, 3 Whirlpools
Like all Sandals resorts, Beaches Negril also includes Scuba Diving…with just a few limitations on what’s included.
On land you’ll find:
- Table Tennis
- Day/Night Tennis
- Board Games
- Lawn Chess
- Beach Volleyball
There’s also a well appointed fitness center to help work off all the great food and drink you’ll be enjoying.
How about what’s not included?
Of course, once you leave the resort and venture into Negril, you’re back to the real world where everything is not included. While that’s always an option, we prefer to spend most of our time hanging out at the resort and relaxing.
There are, however, a few options you really should consider for an extra charge.
Candlelight Dinners. Read a little more here about this romantic option for mom and dad.
Sandals Red Lane Spas are available at every resort. At Beaches Negril, you can enjoy a number of different treatments including private massages along the beach. Contact us for all the details.
Sandals features Island Routes for off-resort excursions. There are a ton of choices that – if you like – will let you spend time exploring even the interior of Jamaica, making it back to Negril for a relaxing evening. Some of your choices include:
- Visiting Dunn’s River Falls
- Taking an off-road 4×4 safari
- Swimming with the dolphins
- Segwaying around an estate
- Taking a reggae cruise on one of those cool resort catamarans
Occasionally, Sandals will even offer a Catamaran cruise as a booking bonus, so reach out and we’ll give you all the details.
Let’s finish up with a few more shots of that amazing beach at Beaches Negril:
And a special thank you to Beaches for allowing us to use the great photos and videos in this post!
Never forget to:
Relax…you CAN get to Beaches Negril from here!