Secrets vs Sandals: Which Is Best For You in 2024?

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, Hotels.com, 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: Sandals Resorts


The appeal of an all-inclusive getaway is timeless. If you want a destination that exclusively caters to adults, two resort chains emerge as a standout: Sandals and Secrets. Both offer world-class adult-only luxury. However, there are still points of distinction. For instance, when discussing Secrets vs Sandals, the latter focuses more on couples. Secrets, on the other hand, is better suited for singles and groups. 

In this blog, we’ll give you a comprehensive comparison between the two brands. After all, your choice of resort can make a difference in your overall experience. 

Why Choose Sandals Resorts

Secrets vs Sandals

Sandals is an all-inclusive adults-only resort brand with properties located in some of the most beautiful Caribbean destinations

As stated, Sandals resorts are more suitable for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Generally speaking, the brand also offers better all-inclusive packages, as your gratuities and airport transfers are covered. And because Sandals has a penchant for couple-focused experiences, the resort chain also boasts more unique accommodations aimed to spark romance, ranging from overwater bungalows to Rondoval suites.


Why Choose Secrets Resorts

Secrets vs Sandals what's the difference

If you’re traveling solo or as a group, Secrets resorts tend to have a less romantic vibe, making it friendlier for solos and other types of non-couple travelers. It also boasts more properties with resorts located not just in the Caribbean but in Central America, Mexico, and Europe as well.

While Sandals has better packages, it doesn’t take away the fact that choosing Secrets can be cost-effective. Booking a room in any of its properties will provide access to a variety of amenities, along with unlimited food and drinks.


Secrets vs Sandals Comparison

Let’s take a deeper dive into our Secrets vs Sandals discussion to provide a more comprehensive comparison.

History

Founded in 1981 by Jamaican entrepreneur Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Sandals quickly established itself as a leading all-inclusive resort chain in the Caribbean. The brand boasts 18 premier destinations across the Caribbean, offering many innovative amenities and features designed for couples.

On the other hand, Secrets was launched in 2003 and includes 21 beautiful properties to date. It became part of the popular World of Hyatt brand following Hyatt’s acquisition of Apple Leisure Group (ALG) in 2021. ALG’s resort brand management platform AMResorts includes Secrets in its portfolio, alongside other renowned brands like Dreams, Breathless, and Zoëtry. Now, guests staying at Secrets can earn Hyatt rewards points toward complimentary stays across the global Hyatt network.

Where Are Secrets And Sandals Resorts Located?

You can find Sandals and Secrets across the Caribbean, Central America, the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Mexico, Spain’s Mallorca and the Canary Islands, and even along the Black Sea in Bulgaria. If you’re dreaming of spending your next holiday surrounded by stunning beauty, consider these two resort brands as your home away from home.

Sandals Resort Locations

Sandals resort locations

Sandals takes pride in offering all-inclusive luxurious destinations in the Caribbean. All in all, the brand has 18 properties across 10 islands region.

Sandals Saint Vincent

The brand’s newest luxury resort is situated among an unspoiled paradise on the island of Saint Vincent in the West Indies, tucked between Saint Lucia and Grenada, a less-visited part of the Caribbean. It boasts overwater villas, swim-up suites, 12 dining concepts, and more, that allow guests to leave the chaos of the busy world behind.

Sandals Barbados Resort & Spa

This resort boasts the longest river pool on the island of Barbados, set against the backdrop of Maxwell Beach. As it offers full exchange privileges, guests can also enjoy the amenities of Sandals Royal Barbados.

Sandals Royal Barbados Resort & Spa

Next to Sandals Barbados, Sandals Royal Barbados distinguishes itself with the first rooftop pool and whirlpool within the Sandals brand.

Sandals Dunn River, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

This newly updated resort introduces Jamaica’s first Skypool Suites and the exclusive Sky Villa Rondoval™ Suites. Plus, guests also have the benefit of full exchange privileges with Sandals Ochi Beach Resort.

Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica

The flagship property of Sandals, Sandals Montego Bay is located on Jamaica’s largest private white sand beach. It includes unique over-the-water structures such as a chapel and bar, and it also offers exchange privileges with Sandals Royal Caribbean.

Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Jamaica

Perfect for beach enthusiasts, this resort sits directly on famous Seven Mile Beach. It’s not only the longest stretch of shoreline on the island. With pristine coral sands and crystal-clear blue waters, it’s absolutely mesmerizing.

Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Sandals Ochi Beach Resort features over 500 rooms, making it the largest Sandals resort. As a result, it offers many desirable features, including a unique rock climbing wall and over-the-water dining. Plus, guests enjoy exchange privileges with Sandals Dunn’s River.

Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

This exclusive all-butler, all-suite boutique resort offers 74 colonial-style suites. As it has exchange privileges with Sandals Ochi, you’ll get even more out of your stay.

Sandals South Coast, Whitehouse, Jamaica

Set within a 500-acre nature preserve, this resort features the first Swim-Up Rondoval™ Suites and over-the-water amenities like a chapel and bungalows with private beach cabanas.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Known as Jamaica’s most captivating resort, Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island has its own offshore island and over-the-water villas. Because it offers full exchange privileges with Sandals Montego Bay, it’s like a two-in-one.

Sandals Emerald Bay Great Exuma, Bahamas

Known for its refined elegance, Sandals Emerald Bay Great Exuma boasts a mile of pristine sandy beaches. Plus, it’s crowned by the Caribbean’s largest zero-entry pool.

Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, Bahamas

Located in Nassau, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island was the second Sandals resort ever built, but it was recently updated to reflect authentic Bahamian culture. As the name suggests, it has its own private offshore island, Sandals Barefoot Cay with two secluded beaches.

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Nestled on Antigua’s most serene beach, Sandals Grande Antigua is famous for its Rondoval suites. Because they feature private pools set among lush gardens, they’re perfect for those who enjoy exclusive tranquil dips.

Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort

Occupying a unique peninsula, Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort provides breathtaking views and access to two additional Sandals properties. Not only that, but it comes complete with over-the-water features, including a chapel and restaurant.

Sandals Halcyon St. Lucia

As a true embodiment of tropical paradise, this St. Lucia resort features the longest river pool in the Caribbean along with a unique over-the-water restaurant.

Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa in St. Lucia

Dubbed the “Emerald of the Caribbean” with its lush hillsides, Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa resort boasts stunning surroundings. It also allows guests to enjoy facilities across three Sandals resorts in St. Lucia.

Sandals Grenada Resort & Spa

This Grenada resort is distinguished by its innovative amenities like Skypool Butler Suites and Tranquility Soaking Tubs™, ideal for couples.

Sandals Royal Curacao

Set within the vast Santa Barbara Estate, this resort on the Dutch Caribbean gem of Curacao is one of the newest Sandals resorts. Opened in 2022, it boasts some of the most luxurious Sandals suites and a magnificent infinity pool.

Secrets Resort Locations

With 21 properties, Secrets has a slightly wider presence than Sandals. The majority of properties are located in Mexico. As such, these resorts offer some niche features such as Spanish classes to help travelers like you embrace the local culture and language.

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This tranquil sanctuary nestled along the Riviera Maya is renowned for its exceptional snorkeling. It touts an elegant design, secluded pools, a world-class spa, and a serene beach where sea turtles are often spotted.

Secrets Aura Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Cozumel’s exclusive adults-only resort offers pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs for diving, a world-class spa, and an on-site PADI dive center for an intimate yet active island getaway. It’s an ideal base if you’re into breathtaking underwater worlds, golfing, or embarking on Mayan explorations.

Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa, Nayarit, Mexico

A surf-and-spa paradise, this Secrets resort offers limitless gourmet dining, activities, and stunning views of Banderas Bay. Guests also enjoy access to amenities at the family-friendly Dreams Bahia Mita.

Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

This Cap Cana resort is a haven for a romantic escape on beautiful Juanillo Beach, featuring exquisite dining, a wealth of activities, and an unlimited luxury experience.

Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, Oaxaca, Mexico

Nestled on Conejos Bay’s secluded coast, this Secrets resort provides a serene, romantic escape with spectacular ocean views, gourmet dining, and a myriad of fun activities for couples, friends, and other adult travelers.

Secrets Impression Moxché, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Redefining luxury, Impression Moxché by Secrets offers expansive modern suites, stunning infinity pools, Endless Privileges® inclusions, and dedicated butler service for unparalleled privacy and service.

Secrets Lanzarote, Lanzarote, Spain

This retreat in the Canary Islands provides luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, sparkling pools, a spa, a fitness center, and excursions to places like Papagayo Beach and Timanfaya National Park.

Secrets Mallorca Villamil, Balearic Islands, Spain

An island resort nestled in a traditional Mallorcan building, Secrets Mallorca Villamil offers a romantic Mediterranean escape with a variety of activities, live music, and the opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture.

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This romantic refuge invites you to a luxurious, all-inclusive escape on 500 acres of pristine beaches along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Just a 10-minute drive from Playa del Carmen’s Quinta Avenida, this Secrets resort boasts international cuisine from over a dozen restaurants and bars. Its 485 lavish suites are impressive with many luxurious amenities.

Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica, Papagayo, Costa Rica

This intimate Costa Rican nature retreat is set on stunning Arenilla Beach. Here you can look forward to breathtaking views, delectable gastronomy, a world-class spa, and unmatched service.

Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, Quintana Roo, Mexico

A secluded adults-only paradise in the exclusive Playa Mujeres and surrounded by a Greg Norman signature golf course, this Secrets property offers awe-inspiring sea views and a top-notch luxurious experience.

Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Enjoy a luxurious adults-only getaway on the Sea of Cortez, surrounded by mountains and the Baja Desert at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort. It offers limitless activities, incredible views, beautiful beaches, and enticing pools in the exclusive Puerto Los Cabos community.

Secrets Riviera Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Tucked between the Caribbean Sea and the Lagoon of Bahia Petempich, at Secrets Riviera Cancun you can enjoy an all-suite, all-inclusive adults-only luxury retreat with access to Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa.

Secrets Royal Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Tropical and lively, this all-adult Punta Cana luxury resort hosts modern, romantic suites and vibrant decor. It’s renowned for its beautiful beach and enchanting Caribbean waters.

Secrets St. James Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica

This Secrets property in Montego Bay provides the ultimate relaxation and romantic experience on the island’s spectacular north coast. Enjoy all-suite luxury accommodations, all-inclusive privileges, and access to the world-class Secrets Spa by Pevonia.

Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa, Anse Marcel, St. Martin

A place where European elegance meets Caribbean beauty, this St. Martin resort marks the first-ever Unlimited-Luxury® all-inclusive property on the French side of the island.

Secrets Sunny Beach Resort & Spa, Burgas, Bulgaria

Offering a luxurious and romantic holiday for adults like you, Sunny Beach is a Bulgarian resort that comes complete with jaw-dropping views of the Black Sea and UNESCO-listed Nessebar, as well as boasting pristine pools.

Secrets The Vine Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This Riviera Cancun resort offers the ultimate wine enthusiast’s escape by the sea, featuring an extensive wine collection and private balconies for soaking up the views.

Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Providing an adults-only “Unlimited-Luxury” experience, this Puerto Vallarta resort is the ideal destination if you’re up for activities like horseback riding and beach volleyball.

Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Providing an island paradise escape on a peninsula with a dedicated beach, Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay is inspired by Jamaica’s tropical setting and African heritage.

Secrets vs Sandals Accommodations

Sandals overwater villas

Sandals and Secrets accommodations have their own unique qualities and charm. Sandals, esteemed for its all-inclusive luxury, boasts diverse room selections that reflect its commitment to opulence. From club-level rooms and SkyPool suites to beachfront Rondoval suites and overwater villas, there is a wide array of options to choose from. 

If you want to elevate your experience, Sandals offers Butler Elite-level rooms with personalized butler service. If you’re specifically seeking an ultra-romantic getaway, we recommend booking one of the Love Nest Suites. The brand also offers special villa accommodations and unique suites like swim-up and beachfront walk-out suites for those desiring direct beach access or pool entry.

Similarly, Secrets hosts wide-ranging accommodations, including junior and presidential suites. These luxurious rooms often feature private balconies or terraces with swim-out access to pools or beachfront locations, providing stunning ocean or tropical views. If you’re looking for more pampering, choose a room tagged as Preferred Club. Apart from the usual offerings which include 24-hour room service, concierge service, private furnished terraces, soaking tubs for two, and minibars refreshed daily, it has additional perks like top-shelf liquor, a private lounge, and an exclusive pool at select locations.

Note that both brands offer overwater bungalows at select resorts for an immersive tropical experience. In specific locations, Secrets also provides a clothing-optional experience.

Amenities and Activities

At the core of all-inclusive packages is an array of amenities and activities that can make any getaway more exciting. At both Sandals and Secrets, you and your fellow travelers can access unique services, amenities, activities, and entertainment tailored to create memorable experiences.

Sandals, in particular, is known for its comprehensive array of complimentary water and land sports which includes complimentary golf at specific locations. Full-service Red Lane Spas and adventure tours are also available, typically for an additional fee. On the other hand, Secrets offers more cultural activities such as dance and Spanish lessons, wine tastings, and cooking classes. With its Mexico locations, you can often enjoy excursions to historical places too.

In terms of entertainment, both provide a mix of shows, theme nights, live music, beach parties, and movies under the stars. Some locations also offer more interactive activities like karaoke and talent nights.

Dining

Secrets dining

Wondering what your dining options at Sandals and Secrets are? When it comes to gastronomic experiences, both resorts take pride in offering a vast array of gourmet dining options and bars. 

Sandals resorts boast eclectic cuisine choices across different locations, featuring a broad spectrum, with everything from pizza and Italian to seafood and local specialties. The settings tend to further elevate the dining experience, with options for in-room dining, open-air restaurants, and unique overwater dining spaces. A diverse range of bars, including piano bars, British pubs, swim-up and overwater bars, add to the overall enjoyment of your stay.

The Secrets brand provides relaxed, stress-free dining experiences. All Secrets resorts include 24-hour room service as a standard while the cuisine spans global tastes from Jamaican and Mexican to Mediterranean and Pan-Asian, among others. While Secrets may not have over-the-water eateries or food trucks, the dining locations are impressive, with open-air, waterfront, and beachfront options. The venues are complemented by a variety of bars, including beach bars, sports bars, and exclusive wine cellars like the one at Secrets The Vine in Cancun.

If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, the two resort chains both offer special private dining experiences, such as candlelit dinners on the beach, albeit for an extra cost.

Value for Money

Make no mistake. All-inclusive packages at Sandals and Secrets offer a great bang for the buck. However, when evaluating the packages each property offers, be sure to carefully weigh which has better inclusions.

Note that both resorts boast a wide selection of cuisine types and beverage offerings. Both brands are also packed with amenities and activities that make it worth every penny you’ll pay. However, Sandals Resorts might be the superior option when considering the overall value due to its inclusive approach to tips and gratuities. Airport transfers are also usually included in Sandals room rates, which makes for a more cost-effective stay too. The resort chain also offers several properties with full-exchange privileges with one or more sister properties. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Secrets vs Sandals Things to do

Here are some FAQs about Secrets vs Sandals to help you decide which resort brand to choose.

Which has better accommodation, Secrets or Sandals?

While Secrets offers diverse suites, Sandals steals the spotlight with its over-the-water bungalows, Rondoval suites, and SkyPool suites.

Which is better for weddings and honeymoons?

Sandals is more couple-centric, so its properties and packages are more appealing to couples planning a destination wedding or a honeymoon.

Which is better for cultural experiences?

For cultural experiences, Secrets excels with its Mexican excursions, offering guests immersive and authentic local explorations. The brand also offers Spanish and cooking classes, among others.

Which offers more water sports?

Sandals leads with a wider variety of water sports, including complimentary scuba diving, rare to find even at all-inclusive resorts.

Between Secrets and Sandals resorts, which is the better choice?

While both Secrets and Sandals provide top-tier vacation experiences, Sandals slightly leads with its innovative luxury stays, extensive amenities, and more extensive all-inclusive offerings. 


Secrets vs Sandals: Final Words

Without a doubt, the topic of Secrets vs Sandals resorts sparks considerable debate, given that they’re both adult-only, all-inclusive resort chains with properties in the Caribbean. The choice ultimately boils down to your particular preferences. With a team that helps travelers book romantic getaways, we’ve heard countless praise from guests of Sandals, but whichever you choose, you’re bound to enjoy an exceptional experience.  


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