Beaches vs Sandals: Which All-Inclusive Resort Should You Book?

By K.C. DermodyK.C. DermodyK.C. DermodyK.C. Dermody is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland and has had hundreds of travel articles published online and in print, including Yahoo! Travel, Trips To Discover,, Travelocity, and many more. She also creates itineraries for major tour companies focused on Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, the UK, Canada, and the US.Meet Our Team | Updated on June 5, 2024 | Posted In: All-Inclusive, Sandals Resorts

Hear us out. Your dream Caribbean getaway shouldn’t be that expensive. If you want to go on a tropical trip that makes financial sense, opting for an all-inclusive destination is the way to go. And when talking about all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, there’s one discussion we need to bring up — where do you go and what do you choose: Beaches vs Sandals?

Sandals has 18 resorts that are adult-only and made for couples. Beaches‘ three resorts are family-friendly. They are both all-inclusive and located in the Caribbean.

Both have gained acclaim for their top-tier locations and equally outstanding service while being a paradise in their own right. You really can’t go wrong with either resort. But if you want to make a more informed decision, you can count on this comprehensive guide. 

In this post, we’ll give you an in-depth comparison of the locations, accommodations, amenities, activities, and value for money at both resorts. Ready to splash your way into the Caribbean? Keep reading!

Why Choose Sandals Resorts

Sandals Resorts

One of the top adults-only brands in the world, Sandals Resorts boasts 18 luxurious properties across some of the best Caribbean islands. You can find seven of the brand’s all-inclusive havens on the always enchanting island of Jamaica, which is the most of any Sandals resort location.

Since Sandals properties cater to adult guests, they generally offer a more intimate setting. They tend to have a more romantic vibe, making them popular for weddings, honeymoons, anniversary celebrations, and any other type of couples’ getaway. 

However, keep in mind that Sandals isn’t just for couples. It welcomes adults of all types seeking a luxurious escape away from the hustle and bustle and the kids. If you’re looking for an escape with friends or fellow adult family members that includes soaking up the sun in a more sophisticated setting, Sandals is the better choice for affordable luxury

And within the Sandals network, you’ll have a wide range of options with each property offering its own distinct flavor and ambiance. For instance, if you want a vibrant atmosphere, book your stay at Sandals Montego Bay or Sandals Ochi. If you’re seeking a more relaxed environment, Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Barbados are sure to be ideal.

If you’ve decided that Sandals is right for you, use this tool to compare Sandals Resorts and find the perfect destination.

Why Choose Beaches Resorts

Beaches Resorts

Do you prefer a family-oriented vacation? Beaches, Sandals’ equally fabulous sister brand, is perfect. However, note that there are significantly fewer Beaches resort locations: Ocho Rios, Negril, and Turks and Caicos

While the Beaches brand has yet to expand, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s already established itself as a premier destination among families who want to experience the Caribbean. Just as Beaches welcomes guests across a broader range of ages, the array of amenities is wider too. Its properties include features that appeal to toddlers, kids, and teenagers. We’re talking Kids Camps, Xbox Play Lounges, nightclubs for teens, and children-friendly activities. While the youngsters have fun, adults can enjoy much-needed alone time. For instance, there are adult-only dining hubs on-site for savoring delectable cuisine in a tranquil setting.

Keep in mind that Jamaican Beaches properties have a generally more toned-town atmosphere as compared to the Turks and Caicos property. So, no matter what your family dynamic, there’s a Beaches property where you enjoy an unforgettable tropical holiday.

Sandals vs Beaches Comparison

As you’ve learned about Beaches vs Sandals, the former has a family-friendly vibe while the latter is exclusive to adult travelers. 

Whether you’re planning a family holiday or a romantic retreat, understanding the distinct offerings of each resort is key to making your Caribbean adventure one for the books. So, after providing a general overview, let’s delve deeper into what makes Sandals and Beaches different.


First, let’s go back in time a bit to learn about the beginnings of both world-class brands. Sandals, ranking among the best all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, was founded in 1981 by Jamaican entrepreneur Gordon “Butch” Stewart. Its first-ever property was in Montego Bay. Over the years, what started as a one-property brand has expanded to include 17 more stellar destinations across the Caribbean. Collectively, the brand caters to the diverse preferences and needs of its adult guests.

About 16 years after Sandals was born, SRI, its parent company, launched Beaches Resorts. In 1997, SRI unveiled the brand to complement the adults-only Sandals. Now it also offers an all-inclusive experience to families and couples who want a livelier Caribbean getaway.

Fast forward to today. Both Sandals and Beaches have established reputations in their respective market segments. In the next sections, we’ll closely examine their differences and similarities.


All-inclusive Caribbean resorts

If you want to escape to a world of tropical luxury, opting for a Sandals or Beaches property is sure to be a great choice. When you choose either, breathtaking beaches, crystal-clear waters, and sun-kissed skies await.

Now, where are these SRI resorts located? 

Adults or couples-only resorts (Sandals)

Sandals Resorts, primarily catering to couples, are synonymous with romantic escapes, offering 18 unique locations across eight Caribbean countries. They are as follows:

  • Sandals Saint Vincent. Located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, this resort is the newest Sandals property. It features overwater villas, swim-up suites, 12 dining concepts, and unique experiences in a tropical paradise.
  • Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica. This is Sandals’ first property, located on Jamaica’s largest, exclusive white-sand beach. It boasts an over-the-water collection, including a chapel, a bar, and gazebos. Full exchange privileges with Sandals Royal Caribbean are included too.
  • Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Dubbed as Jamaica’s most alluring resort, it also boasts an offshore island of its own (the only resort in Jamaica with this feature). It has over-the-water villas and bungalows, and it offers full exchange privileges with Sandals Montego Bay.
  • Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Jamaica. A true beach lover’s resort, this property is built directly on the shoreline — particularly on the longest stretch of the famous 7-Mile Beach.
  • Sandals South Coast, Whitehouse, Jamaica. Sitting on an idyllic 500-acre nature preserve, this resort is home to Sandals’ first-ever Swim-Up Rondoval™ Suites. It also has over-the-water amenities, including a chapel and bungalows with private beach cabanas.
  • Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This is Sandals’ largest resort, with over 500 rooms. It has the only rock climbing wall in the Caribbean. It also has over-the-water experiences that include an above-water restaurant. Additionally, full exchange privileges with Sandals Dunn’s River are included.
  • Sandals Dunn River, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. One of the newly revamped properties in Sandals’ portfolio, Sandals Dunn’s River takes pride in having Jamaica’s first-ever Skypool Suites and Sandals’ Sky Villa Rondoval™ Suites. It also offers full exchange privileges with Sandals Ochie Beach. 
  • Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This is the only all-butler, all-suite resort among all Sandals properties. It’s a boutique resort with 74 colonial-style suites and offers full exchange privileges with Sandals Ochi.
  • Sandals Emerald Bay Great Exuma, Bahamas, Bahamas. Exquisite sophistication is what waits for you at this Sandals resort on a mile-long stretch of powdery sand beach, one of the best you can find in Exuma. A standout feature is the zero-entry pool, the largest in the Caribbean.
  • Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa in St. Lucia. Befitting of its nickname, this resort is indeed “the emerald of the Caribbean.” Like all other Sandals resorts in St. Lucia, it offers a Stay-at-1-Play-at-3 program, allowing guests to enjoy the amenities of its sister resorts. 
  • Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort. Occupying its own peninsula, this Sandals property offers postcard-worthy vistas. Apart from enjoying access to two more Sandals resorts, it has several over-the-water structures (e.g., chapel, restaurant, bungalows).
  • Sandals Halcyon St. Lucia. Simply enchanting, this tropical paradise has the longest river pool in the Eastern Caribbean. It sits between two other Sandals resorts and has its own over-the-water restaurant.
  • Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa. You’ll find this Sandals property on the Antigua beach known for offering the calmest waters, making it ideal for many types of watersports. It is the original Sandals resort with the popular Rondoval accommodation (suites-in-the-round, surrounded by gardens, with private pools).
  • Sandals Grenada Resort & Spa. Located on Pink Gin Beach, this Sandals destination stands out for its many innovative amenities, including Skypool Butler Suites and Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for two.
  • Sandals Barbados Resort & Spa. Home to the island’s longest and largest river pool, Sandals Barbados is situated on Maxwell Beach. It offers full exchange privileges with the nearby Sandals Royal Barbados.
  • Sandals Royal Curacao. This property is situated within 3,000 acres of the beautiful Santa Barbara Estate. Staying here allows you to explore the entire island easily.

Family-friendly resorts (Beaches)

Beaches has three spectacular family-friendly resorts under its belt. You can find them in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. Note that these destinations hold Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) designations, making them more inclusive for everyone.

  • Beaches Negril, Jamaica. The place to embrace pure freedom, this is the most intimate among all Beaches properties, offering 197 well-appointed accommodations. It’s located on the widest stretch of the 7-Mile Beach.
  • Beaches Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Tucked among 22 acres of tropical gardens, this Beaches property puts you right beside a beautiful cove beach. It’s the only Beaches resort with golf and clinics for children.
  • Beaches Turks & Caicos. The largest Beaches resort is located on Grace Bay, often ranked among or at the top of the world’s most beautiful stretches of sand. It also boasts the most thrilling waterpark in the region: the 45,000-square-foot Pirates Island.


Since Sandals and Beaches cater to various audiences, the brands offer different types of accommodations. Generally speaking, Sandals Resorts has rooms and suites ideal for couples. The property specializes in creating romantic and luxurious experiences, with some of the most opulent options for an elevated stay. That includes:

  • Swim-up suites. Want to be steps from swimming? Another option is a swim-up suite. This suite provides direct pool access, allowing you to swim right from your room.
  • Rondoval suites. These are round villas designed for adult guests who want a private and all-inclusive vacation experience. Surrounded by a pool, you can enjoy your stay here without the need to ever leave your suite unless you want to.

In contrast, Beaches have more flexibility, accommodating more people per room. Unlike Sandals, Beaches Resorts offer rooms that start with a standard occupancy of four, and can accommodate up to 10 or even more guests in villas, making them ideal for larger groups or families. Note that some suites include separate kids’ rooms and personal butler service

If you prefer a more luxurious stay, consider the Together Nest Suites™. Designed for couples and families, this type of accommodation comes with top-notch amenities and a butler or concierge service.

Amenities and Activities

Sandals offers a unique experience for its guests. For instance, a number of the brand’s resorts have over-the-water chapels, epitomizing a romantic setting for destination weddings. As mentioned previously, there are other over-the-water amenities like bars and restaurants. 

While on land, you can also check out several features. These include a four-lane bowling alley, complemented by a craft beer hall and a cocktail lounge.

On the other hand, Beaches resorts boast more family-oriented amenities and fun-filled activities. For example, the brand has a Pirates Island Water Park, complete with thrilling water slides and aquatic adventures for children of all ages. Moreover, Beaches comes with a Kids Camp providing a variety of activities, including teen-only catamaran cruises, beach soccer, seashell collecting, and treasure hunts. Keep in mind that certified nannies are available so that parents can enjoy quality alone time.

At Beaches resorts, young guests can also enjoy Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street®. This unique feature allows children to meet and interact with their favorite Sesame Street characters. Trench Town, another Beaches exclusive, is a vibrant area where kids and teens can enjoy electronic basketball, laser hockey, and a variety of other arcade games. For a modern gaming experience, there’s the Xbox Play Lounges. Meanwhile, Club Liquid offers a safe and exciting dance spot for teenagers.

While each brand has its own offerings, both Sandals and Beaches have one common denominator: prioritizing the creation of exceptional experiences for guests like you. As part of SRI, the brands boast the largest water sports operation in the Caribbean. With a fleet of over 270 boats, including dive boats, underwater vision glass bottom boats, boats for waterskiing, and a variety of non-motorized boats, you will have ample opportunity to explore the stunning Caribbean waters in style.


Sandals and Beaches share several dining concepts. Beaches properties boast a more relaxed, kid-friendly dining atmosphere, offering more menus and more casual dining options that appeal to younger guests. Character dinners with Sesame Street characters are a fun addition as well.

On the other hand, Sandals resorts focus on a more upscale experience, ideal for romantic dinners and sophisticated palates. While some restaurants are common to both Sandals and Beaches, the latter offers a more exclusive and intimate dining atmosphere. Over-the-water bars and unique dining settings further enhance the ambiance.

Value for Money

Sandals vs Beaches cost comparison

Are you wondering which resort offers better value for money: Beaches vs Sandals? The answer really depends on individual preferences and budget. The good news is that Beaches and Sandals vacation packages are available to offer cost-effective choices.

Generally speaking, Sandals resorts tend to be pricier per person, reflecting the brand’s focus on providing a more luxurious experience. With amenities like swim-up suites and overwater bungalows, it caters to those seeking a more exclusive and romantic getaway. However, it’s important to note that more affordable options are available, especially in locations like Jamaica, making luxury accessible at different price points.

Comparatively, Beaches Resorts tend to be more budget-friendly, especially for families or groups. While this brand has a sense of luxury, the focus is on family-oriented amenities and accommodations, which can translate to more cost-effective options for larger groups.

Either resort brand you pick can provide an outstanding bang for your buck. After all, they are both distinguished as the World’s Only 5-Star Luxury Included® resorts. The rates include the following:

  • Access to world-class gourmet meals
  • Exclusive accommodations, some with personal butler service
  • Comprehensive amenities and activities
  • Stay at One, Play at More benefit

Also, at an additional cost, you can enhance your experience by rejuvenating at Red Lane® Spas or booking excursion tours. In some resorts, these add-ons are included in your room rate.

Sandals vs Beaches: Frequently Asked Questions

Still undecided about which resort is more suitable for you? Here’s a roundup of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these resort brands.

Which has better rooms, Sandals or Beaches?

Both offer a range of options. Sandals is known for luxury rooms like swim-up suites, while Beaches offers everything from simple rooms to large villas. 

Which is better for weddings?

Sandals Resorts are ideal for couples with lush, tropical settings and unique over-the-water chapels. This brand also waives wedding fees for stays of three nights or more, offering a more affordable beach wedding experience.

How about for honeymoons?

Sandals Resorts, with its adults-only policy, over-the-water bungalows, and world-class dining, tend to be more suited for romantic and serene honeymoons.

Who has better restaurants?

Both have a variety of dining options, but Sandals offers more upscale dining experiences and a broader variety of cuisines. The Beaches brand caters well to families with more casual dining options.

How do Sandals and Beaches resorts compare in price?

Sandals tend to be more expensive due to luxury offerings, but both brands have packages for different budgets. Beaches, being family-oriented, has a broader range of pricing options.

Which offers more water sports?

Sandals offers a greater variety of water sports with instruction included. Beaches, with its Pirates Island Water Parks, accommodates more family-friendly water activities.

Which is better for kids’ activities?

Beaches Resorts are better for families, offering a wide range of activities for kids of all ages, certified nannies, and teen clubs. Sandals properties are adult only.

Which offers better tours and excursions?

Both resorts offer tours through Island Routes, with no significant difference in the excursions. You can expect a variety of land and sea tours suitable for nearly all interests.

So, between Sandals and Beaches Resorts, which is the better choice?

Ultimately, the better choice depends on your travel needs. Sandals is the brand ideal for romantic or adult-only getaways, offering luxury accommodations and dining. Beaches is perfect for families, with a wide range of activities and facilities for children and teenagers. Both offer all-inclusive packages with a variety of activities.

Beaches vs Sandals: Final Words

When talking about Beaches vs Sandals, it’s really challenging to pin down which is better because each has its own pros and cons. As stated, the choice really depends on the type of vacation you want to have. 

If you’re traveling with a loved one and you want a romantic, luxurious retreat, Sandals’ adults-only environments and upscale amenities will tick all the right boxes. If you’re going to the Caribbean with the whole family, Beaches resorts are ideal. This is SRI’s family-oriented brand; therefore, it offers a wide array of activities and facilities that cater to all ages, from kids to teens.

Both are part of the Sandals Resorts International group. These resorts guarantee top-notch all-inclusive experiences with diverse activities, dining options, and stunning beachfront locations. Whether you opt for the romance of Sandals or the family-friendly vibe of Beaches, you’re bound to have a memorable Caribbean vacation. All you have to do is choose, book that room, and enjoy. 

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