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

Posted In: Sandals Resorts

By Randell Suba | Updated on February 3, 2024


The appeal of an all-inclusive getaway is timeless. And 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 these already cover gratuities and airport transfers. And because Sandals has a penchant for couple-focused experiences, the resort chain also boasts more unique accommodations, 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 offer a less romantic vibe, making it friendlier for non-couple travelers. It also boasts more properties located not just in the Caribbean but in Central America as well. This also makes the resort brand accessible to US tourists.

While Sandals has better packages, it doesn’t take away the fact that choosing Secrets is cost-effective. Booking a room in any of its properties already includes access to amenities — plus unlimited food and drinks.


Secrets vs Sandals Comparison

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into our Secrets vs Sandals discussion.

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 17 premier destinations across the Caribbean, offering many innovative amenities and features designed for couples.

On the other hand, Secrets was launched in 2003 and has 21 beautiful properties under its belt. It became part of the popular World of Hyatt 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 resorts can earn Hyatt rewards points, providing an opportunity to enjoy stays across the global Hyatt network.

Where Are Secrets And Sandals Resorts Located?

You can find Sandals and Secrets across the Caribbean and Central America. If you’re dreaming of spending your next holiday in the likes of Jamaica, Bahamas, and Mexico, 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 in the region.

Sandals Saint Vincent

The brand’s newest luxury resort is situated amid an unspoiled paradise on the island of Saint Vincent. Be ready to explore this part of the Caribbean and leave the busy world behind. It boasts overwater villas, swim-up suites, 12 dining concepts, and more.

Sandals Barbados Resort & Spa

This resort boasts the longest river pool on the island, set against the backdrop of Maxwell Beach. Guests can also enjoy the amenities of Sandals Royal Barbados, thanks to full exchange privileges.

Sandals Royal Barbados Resort & Spa

Next to Sandals Barbados, this resort 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. Guests have the benefit of full exchange privileges with Sandals Ochi Beach Resort.

Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica

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

Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Jamaica

Perfect for beach enthusiasts, this resort sits directly on the famous 7-Mile Beach, offering the longest stretch of shoreline.

Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

As the largest Sandals resort, it features over 500 rooms, a unique rock climbing wall, over-the-water dining, and 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 and exchange privileges with Sandals Ochi.

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, it features its own offshore island and over-the-water villas, with full exchange privileges with Sandals Montego Bay.

Sandals Emerald Bay Great Exuma, Bahamas

Known for its refined elegance, this resort features a mile of pristine sand beaches, highlighted by the Caribbean’s largest zero-entry pool.

Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, Bahamas

This Nassau resort, recently updated to reflect authentic Bahamian culture, is the second-ever Sandals resort.

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Nestled on Antigua’s most serene beach, this resort is famous for its Rondoval suites, offering private pools amidst lush gardens, perfect for water sports enthusiasts.

Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort

Occupying a unique peninsula, this resort provides breathtaking views and access to two additional Sandals properties, complete with over-the-water features, including a chapel and restaurant.

Sandals Halcyon St. Lucia

As a true embodiment of tropical paradise, this resort features the longest river pool in the Eastern Caribbean and boasts its unique over-the-water restaurant.

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

Dubbed “the emerald of the Caribbean,” this resort allows guests to enjoy facilities across three Sandals resorts in St. Lucia.

Sandals Grenada Resort & Spa

This 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 newest Sandals resort offers a gateway to explore Curaçao, boasting island-wide convenience.

Secrets Resort Locations

With 21 properties, Secrets has a slightly wider presence than Sandals. You can primarily find them in Mexico. And as such, they 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 in the Riviera Maya is renowned for exceptional snorkeling. It touts an elegant design, secluded pools, a world-class spa — and a serene beach with sea turtles.

Secrets Aura Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Cozumel’s exclusive adults-only resort has pristine beaches, coral reefs for diving, a world-class spa, and an on-site PADI dive center for an intimate island getaway. It’s an ideal base if you’re into golf and Mayan explorations.

Secrets Bahia Mita Surf & Spa, Nayarit, Mexico

A surf-and-spa paradise offers limitless gourmet dining, activities, and stunning views of Banderas Bay — along with access to the family-friendly Dreams Bahia Mita’s amenities.

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

This haven offers a romantic escape on the beautiful Juanillo Beach in the exclusive Cap Cana community, featuring exquisite dining, activities, and an unlimited luxury experience.

Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, Oaxaca, Mexico

Nestled on Conejos Bay’s secluded coast, the resort provides a serene, romantic escape with spectacular ocean views, gourmet dining, and 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 island 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

The resort is nestled in a traditional Mallorcan building, offering a romantic Mediterranean escape with various activities, local culture, and live music.

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This romantic haven invites you to a luxurious, all-inclusive escape on 500 acres of pristine beaches along the Yucatan Peninsula.

Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Just a 10-minute drive from Playa del Carmen’s Quinta Avenida, the resort boasts international cuisine from over a dozen restaurants and bars. It also features 485 lavish suites with luxurious amenities.

Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica, Papagayo, Costa Rica

This intimate nature retreat is set on the stunning Arenilla Beach. It features breathtaking views, delectable gastronomy, a world-class spa, and unmatched service.

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

It’s a secluded adults-only paradise in the exclusive Playa Mujeres and surrounded by a Greg Norman signature golf course. It offers stunning Caribbean Sea views paired with a top-notch luxurious experience.

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

This offers a luxurious adults-only getaway on the Sea of Cortez, surrounded by mountains and the Baja Desert. It features limitless activities, stunning views, beautiful beaches, and pools in the exclusive Puerto Los Cabos community.

Secrets Riviera Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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

Secrets Royal Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Tropical and lively, this all-adult luxury resort has 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 provides the ultimate relaxation and romantic experience on Jamaica’s stunning north coast, featuring all-suite luxury accommodations, all-inclusive privileges, and the world-class Secrets Spa by Pevonia.

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

This is a place where European elegance meets Caribbean beauty. It marks the first-ever Unlimited-Luxury® all-inclusive property on the French side of the island.

Secrets Sunny Beach Resort & Spa, Bulgaria, Bulgaria

It offers a luxurious and romantic holiday for adults like you — complete with stunning views of the Black Sea and Nessebar, a UNESCO world heritage site, alongside pristine pools.

Secrets The Vine Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This resort in Riviera Cancun offers the ultimate wine enthusiast’s escape by the ocean, featuring private balconies and an extensive wine collection.

Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Giving you an adults-only Unlimited-Luxury experience, it’s the ideal destination if you’re up for activities like horseback riding and beach volleyball.

Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica

This island paradise escape sits on a peninsula with a dedicated beach. The resort 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 sky pool suites to beachfront Rondoval suites and overwater villas, you have various options to choose from. 

If you want to elevate your experience, they offer Butler Elite-level rooms with personalized butler service. If you’re specifically seeking a romantic-through-and-through getaway, we recommend booking their 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 is home to 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 want to be more pampered, choose a room tagged as Preferred Club. Apart from the usual offerings — 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 overwater bungalows are available at select resorts for both brands, offering guests an immersive tropical experience. Secrets also provide a clothing-optional experience in specific locations. 

Amenities and Activities

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

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

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 having a vast array of gourmet dining options and bars. 

Sandals resorts boast eclectic cuisine choices across different locations, featuring a broad spectrum from pizza and Italian to seafood and local specialties. The setting further elevates 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, and swim-up and overwater bars — add to the overall enjoyment of your stay.

Secrets also offers stress-free dining experiences. All Secrets resorts include 24-hour room service as a standard. Meanwhile, the cuisine spans global tastes from Jamaican and Mexican to Mediterranean and Pan-Asian, among others. While Secrets may not feature over-the-water eateries or food trucks, their dining locations are impressive, with open-air, waterfront, and beachfront options, 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 offer special private dining experiences, such as candlelit dinners on the beach, for an extra cost.

Value for Money

Make no mistake: All-inclusive packages at Sandals and Secrets offer a great bang for your buck. However, when evaluating the packages they offer, make sure that you 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 worth every penny you pay. However, Sandals Resorts might be the superior option when considering the overall value due to their inclusive approach to tips and gratuities. Airport transfers are also usually included in their room rates, making their properties more cost-effective. 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 sky pool suites.

Which is better for weddings and honeymoons?

Sandals is more couple-centric, so their properties and packages are more appealing for couples who want a destination weddingor honeymoon.

Which is better for cultural experiences?

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

Which offers more water sports?

Sandals leads with a wider variety of water sports, including complimentary scuba diving.

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 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, and resort chains with properties in the Caribbean. The choice ultimately boils down to your preferences. With a team that helps travelers book romantic getaways, we’ve heard countless praises for Sandals, but whichever you choose, you’re bound to enjoy an exceptional experience.  


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