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Has anyone seen the overwater bungalows in Jamaica and Mexico?


We’ve seen the overwater bungalows in Jamaica and Mexico and with competitors like St Regis and Four Seasons Bora Bora would be hard pressed to choose THE most luxurious overwater accommodation but the new overwater villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean are definitely in the running. They are stunning and with 1800 square feet of luxurious appointments, private infinity pool, indoor and outdoor living areas, two glass viewing windows, fully stocked premium bar and butler at your beck and call it’s hard to imagine leaving once you’ve checked in. This level of pampering compares with 5 star resorts in Bora Bora but the setting, resort and island experience is very different so the Caribbean will appeal to some while Tahiti to others.

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The overwater bungalows at adult only El Dorado Maroma in Playa del Carmen Mexico are also lovely but Patty, our Mexico specialist, feels some guests may be happier in another room category. The same can be said of Likuliku Resort in Fiji where I often recommend deluxe beachfront bures rather than overwater.

So what should you consider when choosing an overwater bungalow for your vacation or honeymoon? In addition to room features and amenities our list would include travel time, weather, planned interaction with the water, preference for all-inclusive or independent pricing, nightlife, activities, off resort tours, language, food and culture. Let’s begin with French Polynesia and its crown jewel, Bora Bora.

Much of what makes Bora Bora exceptional is the physical setting with Mt Otemanu surrounded by a ring of low lying islets called motus. These tiny islands form a barrier to waves and tides creating a calm inland lagoon with shimmering turquoise water.  The lagoon is bathtub warm, almost that clear and home to vibrant coral reefs that feed thousands of brightly colored tropical fish. So a big part of the overwater experience in Bora Bora and the Maldives cannot be replicated in Mexico or the Caribbean because the physical setting is different and if you’re a diver, snorkeler or want to watch tropical fish through a glass viewing window nicknamed “Tahitian TV”, that’s important and you may only be happy in Bora Bora or another South Pacific island. Bora Bora fans also rave about the quiet setting, fabulous French chefs and spectacular sunsets.

But if you value a short flight, prefer an adult only all-inclusive format and plan to cool off in your private pool not ocean you may be happier in an overwater villa at Sandals Royal Caribbean. Your all-inclusive villa comes with butler service, fully stocked bar with premium liquors and espresso machine, choice of 8 restaurants and bars plus dine around privileges at two other resorts. Jamaica is closer, English is the primary language and weddings are easily arranged and free at Sandals Resorts. Nightlife and sports bars are available and there are more activities and off property excursions in the Caribbean than Tahiti. Many dates for the overwater villas with private pool and overwater bungalows at Sandals are sold out but there are pockets with space available in 2017 so please ask if you’d like help with a luxury included honeymoon or vacation.

Think about what’s most important to you then call or email your wish list and questions. Patty and I will be happy to help you choose the best resort for your overwater vacation or honeymoon whether in Mexico, the Caribbean or South Pacific. We’ve seen them all, our service is free and we guarantee the lowest price on everything we sell.

A new Sandals Resort & contender for best adult only all inclusive


Sandals Whitehouse was a favorite all-inclusive resort for years, but things change and I’d heard some complaints so last week I flew to Jamaica to check out 10 resorts including all the Sandals Resorts. The verdict? Sandals Whitehouse, recently reopened as Sandals South Coast, is better than ever and gets my vote for best adult only all-inclusive and best Sandals Resort in Jamaica. But best is in the eye of the beholder and there are great Couples and Secrets Resorts in Jamaica as well, so what makes Sandals South Coast #1?

Here are 5 reasons I choose Sandals South Coast as the best adult only all inclusive resort in Jamaica –

1. The main pool at Sandals South Coast is stunning. It’s the size of a small lake, has a large swim up pool bar, underwater lounges, oversized jacuzzi and beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea. At night this pool becomes a shimmering centerpiece for the romantic Italian inspired piazza and glows with underwater lights and tiki torches. There’s a second oceanfront pool with swim up pool bar and jacuzzi and in between lies one of the largest heated jacuzzis in the Caribbean, Bottom line? Pool people have lots of choices all steps from the beach and ocean. That’s the best of both worlds and the best you’ll find at an adult only all-inclusive resort in Jamaica!

2. Beach beach beach. Did I mention the beach? The beach at Sandals South Coast is back and better than ever. The generous expanse of sand provides room to spread out and plenty of lounge chairs for sun worshippers and shade lovers alike. Walkers and joggers have more than a mile to stretch their legs and though the beach is not technically private, no one else has access so your barefoot strolls remain undisturbed. Negril has 7 mile beach but you’ll share it with dozens of resorts, kids, security guards and vendors so in my beach lovin’ opinion Sandals South Coast newly reclaimed beach takes best prize.

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3. Tropical weather and bathtub warm water calls for lots of watersports and Sandals South Coast offers complimentary snorkel trips, a glass bottom boat, waterskiing, wakeboarding, stand up paddle boards, windsurfing, kayaks, sailing and scuba diving. Land sports also abound including tennis, squash, basketball, shuffleboard, ping pong, billiards and well equipped fitness center. All land and water sports are free and activities another “best in class” for Sandals South Coast.

4. But what about rooms? Sandals Whitehouse was known for 100% beachfront rooms and every room at the new Sandals South Coast is steps from the beach. So every guest can enjoy an ocean view and soothing sound of gentle waves from their private balcony or patio. The new resort adds beautifully remodeled club level rooms and butler suites where the decor is light and airy and feature walk in showers, soaking tubs, fully stocked in room bar, room service and other luxury amenities.

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5. Dining is very important at any all-inclusive resort and Sandals South Coast has 9 restaurants. Whether you crave steak, sushi, seafood, Caribbean specialties, Italian, French, Asian or wood fired pizza you’ll find it and you always have the option to dine indoors in air conditioned comfort or outside in the balmy breeze. Only one restaurant at Sandals South Coast has a dress code and only one requires reservations so you can relax and enjoy an elegant or casual dining experience whenever you’d like. Dining at Sandals South Coast is truly dining your way.

Those are 5 reasons for choosing Sandals South Coast as the #1 adult only all-inclusive resort in Jamaica but there’s more!

  • The service is excellent and every employee from gardener to front desk was unfailingly friendly on my recent visit. Chefs came out to greet us, servers burst into song over dessert and bartenders entertained with their usual flare. There is no shortage of fun at this resort.
  • Sandals South Coast has amazing venues for destination weddings and groups. Weddings are free, the group program starts with as few as 5 rooms and with a brand new overwater bar and overwater chapel, acres of gardens, more than a mile of beach and indoor capacity to seat 350 this resort is one of the best choices anywhere for a destination wedding.
  • The spa is fabulous and the sauna, steam, hot/cold plunge pools are free. Extra special treatments include a one hour couples massage followed by ½ hour soak in a flower filled tub for two. If you’re looking for the perfect honeymoon surprise or wedding gift check it out and don’t forget spa treatments and private candlelight dinners can be part of your honeymoon gift registry.
  • Lush gardens overflow with exotic tropical flowers and walkways meander through greenery and along the sparkling sea so strolling the grounds at South Coast is a sensual pleasure. You’ll find couples hand in hand, lingering in a hammock and photographing peacocks and hummingbirds. Sandals South Coast is a place to relax, unwind and reconnect.

I’ve seen hundreds of all-inclusive resorts and in Jamaica like Couples Swept Away, Iberostar Grand Rose Hall and Secrets Wild Orchid, so what makes Sandals South Coast the best adult only all inclusive resort? Beach, pool, food, activities, service and more. Sandals South Coast hits on all cylinders, checks all the boxes and is the best overall choice for many of my clients.

So what do you need to know before booking a vacation or honeymoon at Sandals South Coast? If you have questions about prices and specials, weather, flights, room choices, off resort tours, scuba diving etc. please call or email and allow Totem Travel’s Sandals Specialists to assist. We’ve been to all the Sandals Resorts on all the islands, always guarantee the lowest price and are happy to help!

 

Which is the best Sandals Resort? 2016 update


A lot has changed since I first wrote about the best Sandals Resort including new resorts in Grenada and Barbados and major enhancements at Sandals all-inclusive resorts on Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia and the Bahamas. So with 15 all inclusive resorts on 7 beautiful islands, which is the best Sandals Resort for a honeymoon and how should you choose a Sandals Resort for your next adult only all-inclusive vacation? Here are our picks for the best Sandals vacation experience.

Best entry level rooms – Whitehouse is the best Sandals Resort for entry level rooms with 100% beachfront locations and lovely ocean views. Every room has a king bed and furnished balcony plus all the features you expect from a luxury resort.

Best suitesOverwater bungalows open soon at Sandals Royal Caribbean and all we can say is wow! These opulent Tahiti style all-inclusive suites are the first of its kind in the Caribbean and come with private infinity pool, overwater hammock, glass viewing window and butler.

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Until then, the best suite is the Millionaire’s Suite at Sandals Regency La Toc, the only “love nest” to combine a completely private pool and skinny dippable Jacuzzi with expansive ocean views. These stunning views can be enjoyed from your king size bed, spacious living room, private deck, pool and Jacuzzi. There is even a sliding wall to open your room to balmy tropical breezes. Not sure if an upgraded room at Sandals is worth the extra cost? Read our post on that!

Best food  – We have a tie! Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau offers 10 distinctly diverse restaurants with upscale dining at the Baccarat and Crystal Room, fresh from the sea preparations at Gordon’s on the Pier and casual eateries such as Stew Fish on the private island and pub for late night dining.

Sandals  La Source Grenada uses locally grown “spice island” ingredients in every creative and beautifully prepared and presented meal. The 9 dining options include a classic steakhouse, French, seafood, Indian, Asian, Italian and even coffee drinks and cocktails are enhanced by exotic local spices.

Best service – The best Sandals Resort for service would be Royal Plantation with its intimate 72 room all butler suites. Sandals Grenada is a strong runner up with its handpicked staff and outstanding management team.

Best beach – Sandals Emerald Bay on Exuma has an unbeatable mile long white sand beach where the sand is soft, sugar white, the water a shimmering turquoise and the adult only ambiance super chill with nary a vendor to disturb your sun worshiping, beach walking serenity.

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Best pool – The Mediterranean Village at Sandals Grande Antigua takes top honors with its oceanfront fantasy pool, swim up bar, fountains, underwater seating, jacuzzi, comfy lounge chairs, shaded areas and butler attended cabanas.

Best on and off resort activities – The best Sandals Resort for activities is Sandals Ochi. This resort offers numerous land and water sports such as snorkeling, scuba, kayaks and tennis plus special extras like a rock climbing wall and an 18 hole golf course free of charge to guests. Off property you’ll find everything from river rafting, horseback riding and zip lining to Dunns River Falls, swimming with dolphins, ATVs and Jamaican bobsledding.

Best watersports – a tie for Sandals Grande St Lucian and Whitehouse offering on site snorkel and dive boats, waterskiing, tubing, stand up paddle boards, sailing, kayaks and water trikes all complimentary to resort guests and fun for active couples .

Best nightlifeSandals Royal Bahamian offers the best on and off resort nightlife with nearby casinos and big name entertainment.  Sandals Ochi has the most on property with a nightclub and the Caribbean’s only all-inclusive speakeasy bar.

Best for a destination wedding – Negril is the best Sandals Resort for a destination wedding with awesome sunsets and easy legal requirements plus kid friendly Beaches Negril minutes down the beach. Planning a fall destination wedding? Add Sandals newest resort in Barbados to your list. U.S. Travel and Leisure Reports says fall is the best time of year to visit and Sandals is offering fall wedding groups every 5th room free!

Best value – Sandals Whitehouse where every room is beachfront. Sandals Regency La Toc where you can get gorgeous views and private pools without spending a fortune and Sandal Ochi for low starting prices and the most affordable butler service.

Which Sandals Resort is the best for you? That may depend on travel dates, weather patterns, wish list and budget but if you’ll call or email we’ll help you choose the best Sandals Resort for you. We’ve been to all the Sandals Resorts and stayed in entry level rooms, Club Level and Butler Level suites. We’ve also been to Couples, Secrets, Excellence and other adult only all-inclusive resorts. So if you have questions or need help please call. We are here to help!

Top 5 Adult Only All-Inclusive Resorts with Butler Service


Looking for an adult only all-inclusive resort with butler service? Here are the 5 best butler service resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico plus a suggestion for the ultimate in pampering and butler service in Tahiti.

Sandals Royal Plantation – This 74 room gem is 100% oceanfront, ocean view butler suites with peacocks strolling the manicured gardens, afternoon tea on a shaded verandah, top rated spa, caviar bar and butlers offering champagne or spritzing guests lying by the azure sea. Butler not close enough to hear your thoughts? No worries, he or she is on call at the touch of a button!

The vibe at Royal Plantation is decidedly chill but when it’s time for action, guests enjoy a plethora of complimentary water sports or head to the 18 hole golf course where greens fees are free for Sandals Resort guests. Also complimentary are resort hopping privileges at Sandals Ochi, which BTW, provides some of the most affordable butler service accommodations anywhere. No wonder “The Bachelor” chose these resorts for his very special proposal!

Iberostar Grand Bavaro – This stunning adult only all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana is built around a magnificent lagoon fronting miles of white sand beach and turquoise water. Every opulent room features a marble bath with jacuzzi for two and walk in rain shower, luxurious linens and pillow menu, elegantly furnished sitting area and fully stocked minibar.

At check in butlers meet with guests and offer assistance with restaurant reservations, tee times and spa services and butler service is available throughout your stay. Noteworthy resort features include a wide range of organized activities, golf course, shipboard bar and oceanfront ocean view exercise facility with top of the line equipment.

El Dorado Maroma – An intimate boutique hotel tucked away on the peaceful Mexican Riviera, El Dorado Maroma is the antithesis of sprawling mega resorts.  Low rise buildings are built near the sea and beach butlers serve tropical drinks and snacks to resort guests lazily ensconced in comfy beach beds. Soon butler service will be expanded dramatically when the resort opens Mexico’s first overwater bungalows called “palafitos” complete with private pool, outdoor shower, 24/7 room service, private restaurant and more. Wow!

Sandals La Source Grenada – One of Sandals newest resorts, and one of its best, Sandals La Source has a number of unique butler service suites plus excellent service provided by a top quality team under exceptional management. Our favorite butler suites include the SkyPool in the Italian Village, South Seas One Bedroom with Private Pool and South Seas Rondoval with Private Pool. All include the service of a guild trained butler who attends to your every need day or night. Grenada also earns a “best food” vote with specialties enhanced by locally grown spices and creative preparations offered in a wide variety of restaurants.

Paradisus La Perla – Modern with generous sized junior suites, this adult only all-inclusive resort is one of the few in Playa Del Carmen to offer personalized butler service.  With Royal Service, you will not only enjoy a butler to discreetly attend to all your needs, but a private lounge for check in and check out, ala carte restaurant for breakfast and lunch exclusive to Royal Service guests, private pool with swim up bar and private beach area.  And while you relax poolside, your butler will bring the mojito of the day.  Finicky about your food, no problem! This resort can please even professional chefs, as we have sent them with glowing feedback.  Butler service, elegant resort, Playa Del Carmen location, this adult only all-inclusive resort has it all!

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St Regis – While not an adult only all-inclusive resort, St Regis Bora Bora is decidedly adult oriented and meals can be included as part of a vacation or honeymoon package. At St Regis Bora Bora, the superb service begins with check in on a private yacht and continues with butler service greeting upon arrival. In fact, butler service has been a hallmark for years at St Regis and we suspect an inspiration to many other resort groups such as those mentioned above. Dining at St Regis is as inspirational as the exotic Tahitian setting with Lagoon by Jean Georges setting the bar with Villa Mahana for best restaurants in the South Pacific.

So if your travels take you to the Caribbean, Mexico or Bora Bora and butler service is on your wish list please call or email for further assistance. We’ve stayed at all the resorts recommended plus many more and would be delighted to help you plan the perfect, pampered getaway!

 

Best Spots for a Fall Destination Wedding


Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall Jamaica

Destinations weddings are understandably popular and fall weddings offer incredible value so where are the best spots for a fall destination wedding where the weather is ideal and photos will be as beautiful as the bride? There are many great choices in Hawaii, the Caribbean and South Pacific but here are a few of our favorite destinations for a fall wedding –

  • Maui
  • Jamaica
  • Barbados
  • Antigua
  • Fiji
  • Bora Bora

Maui was recently chosen as the #1 island in the world by Trip Advisor with a wealth of activities and accommodations to suit every budget. Hawaii is popular for destination weddings year round but when kids go back to school in the fall, prices drop. So Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands are a great value for a fall destination wedding. Busy brides will find Tracy Flanagan an excellent resource to help them find the perfect venue and Totem Travel can make travel arrangements easy whether it’s two of you on the beach or a group requiring contracts and blocked space.

Jamaica also made the top 10 list but some couples worry about the Caribbean for a fall wedding because of hurricane season. Important news flash! According to US Travel and News Reports, Jamaica is a great choice for fall and winter travel and July through November is the best time to visit Barbados. Other good choices for fall destination weddings would be Antigua and Aruba, both drier islands and south of the normal storm path.

Combined with great weather year round, the Caribbean has adult only and family friendly all inclusive resorts which offer free destination weddings and fall wedding groups at Sandals and Beaches Resorts earn every 5th room free and special extras such as a rehearsal dinner, reception with signature cocktails and customized wedding theme. These kinds of deals make a fall destination wedding in the Caribbean one of the best values around.

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Tahiti, Fiji and the the South Pacific islands’ best weather is May through October and storms rarely make an appearance before February. The Fijian Islands make it easy to be married with toes in the sand and couples often spend less than an hour on legalities. Adult only resorts like Matangi Private Island Resort offer an exotic intimate setting, romantic beachfront bungalows and you can charter the island for the ultimate private destination wedding group!  There are also family friendly resorts in Fiji perfect for a wedding on the beach or in a chapel.

Bora Bora in THE place for an overwater bungalow with it’s pristine lagoon and gorgeous sunsets but symbolic weddings are more popular in Tahiti than legal ceremonies because of the time and expense involved. However legal weddings are possible in Tahiti and some things are definitely worth the wait!

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So how do you get started planning your fall destination wedding? Every couple and situation is different but making a few decisions up front and working with a destination specialist will make the process easier and more enjoyable. So think about whether you want family and friends to attend your wedding and if you’d like a simple ceremony or elaborate customized affair. Then call, request a quote or email Linda or Patty at Totem Travel and we’ll help with the rest. We know all the islands, resorts and wedding packages and look forward to making your special day picture perfect!

Best of the Best Sandals Travel Agency for Seattle’s Totem Travel


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Totem Travel was once again recognized as Best of the Best Sandals Travel Agency at Sandals’ annual STAR awards ceremony held at a favorite adult only beachfront all inclusive resort, Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica. Totem Travel, located in Kirkland Washington, also retained Sandals’ prestigious Chairman’s Royal Club standing given to a small number of travel agents generating top sales for Sandals and Beaches Resorts located throughout the Caribbean islands.

Totem Travel remained one of Seattle’s top travel agencies for 2015 as recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal and participates regularly at the Seattle Wedding Show where owner Linda Martindell and top agent Patty Houghton help honeymoon couples choose the best all inclusive honeymoon based on their wish list and budget. Totem Travel’s specialties are tropical destinations worldwide, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Requests for a customized quote can be made online and appointments are available for complimentary in person and phone consultations. Call (425) 821-4100 or (800) 321-7907 or email linda@totemtravel.com.

Travel agent sells Sandals Resort packages at lower price than Sandals online


Shocking news, but in this day of online discounts you can find Sandals Resort vacation packages at a lower price through Totem Travel than online. True, Sandals advertises a $35 incentive for booking online but they don’t always offer the best price on packages and Totem Travel, a Preferred Sandals Agency, can beat www.Sandals.com, Expedia and Orbitz while offering personal service and expert advice.

As the owner of Totem Travel and one of three Sandals Specialists, I sat down this morning to plan a client’s trip and do the research necessary to ensure I offered the lowest price while maximizing time at the resort using a reasonable air schedule. In the end I beat www.sandals.com by $303 along with Kayak, Orbitz and Expedia for the identical package (screen shots are available).

How can Totem Travel offer a lower price on Sandals Resort packages than online and be 100% in compliance with Sandals no discount policy? It starts by working closely with our clients to establish goals, then we add a few decades of travel industry experience, the flexibility to shop all channels for airfare and resort, and the willingness to spend the time and go the extra mile for our customers.

We can’t always beat the other guys but we always meet or beat them and guarantee the lowest price on all Sandals vacation packages. So here are 5 reasons to work with a travel agent and Sandals Specialist rather than book online when you plan a Sandals honeymoon or all inclusive vacation.

1.       We will find the best deal.

2.       We will point out what’s important, good and bad.

3.       We fix problems so you don’t have to.

4.       We make it simple!

5.       If your dream doesn’t fit your wallet we’ll suggest options that do.

We already talked about Totem Travel’s guarantee for the lowest price on a Sandals Resort package so I’ll elaborate on the other advantages of working with a travel agent that specializes in Sandals Resorts.

Unlike Sandals’ reservation staff we will point out good and bad features of a resort, room category or island. No need for days on Trip Adviser or elaborate spread sheets comparing unfamiliar destinations and confusing room names. We have been to all the Sandals Resorts and go back every year so will share what you need to know not just what you asked about. Plus we don’t work for Sandals so won’t hide the bad stuff!

Sandals does a great job and the vast majority of guests are highly satisfied with their all inclusive vacation experience but problems happen and we have clout with management to get them resolved if they affect your trip. We also pamper our clients and understand this is all about you, so whether your arrival is delayed, you have a special room request or need a gluten free vacation we can help. Totem Travel is a Preferred Sandals Agency, recognized as “Best of the Best” every year at Sandals Travel Agency Recognition awards and we’re members of Sandals’ prestigious Chairman’s Royal Club. In the photo below Patty is wearing the short black dress accepting one of several awards at this year’s ceremony. (I was on safari in Africa but more on that later!)

We love Sandals Resorts but many consumers are confused by the advertising, fine print, conflicting resort specials and what their final cost will be. We give you a simple bottom line price and guarantee there is nothing offered online, at the resorts or emailed to repeat guests that we can’t offer. We even guarantee the lowest price after you book. We also make it easy to choose the best resort, decide if a butler suite is worth the cost or plan a destination wedding. So let’s keep it simple and work together to find your dream vacation.

We sell a LOT of Sandals honeymoons and vacations but we sell other adult only all inclusive resorts and destinations as well. So if your dream doesn’t fit your budget we can suggest something that does whether in Fiji, Mexico or Hawaii. So what’s keeping you? Call or email a Preferred Sandals Specialist at Totem Travel today!

P.S. The newest resort, Sandals Barbados, opened yesterday to glowing reviews.

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Design your dream wedding at Sandals Resorts


How easy is it to design your wedding at an adult only all inclusive Sandals Resort? Very easy and it’s all online!  I decided to check out this new tool, so pretended I was a bride choosing colors, cake styles, flowers, linens…the whole works! It was really quite fun, and very simple.  Let’s get those creative juices rolling!!

  • Go to Sandals web site
  • Click on Wedding and Honeymoons and then Design.
  • Choose your island
  • Now your color pallet.
  • Once you have selected your colors, choose your bouquet, boutonniere, and any other flowers you would like, such as table decorations, bridesmaid’s bouquet, and mother’s corsage.
  • Click on the quantity you’d like and the cost will be displayed.

At the end, a $500 Wedding credit will be subtracted and your total wedding cost calculated. And here’s the best part…. If the price is over or under your budget, just go back and add or delete items. No stress, no high pressure sales pitch, just the information you need to plan a dream wedding at Sandals!

Sandals is well-known for its free weddings, but not everyone is aware that the only requirement to snag that free wedding is a 3 night minimum stay and that’s in any room category not just top of the line luxury butler suites!  Many resorts offer free weddings but require 10 or more rooms booked as a group to qualify for the free wedding.  Sandals has a minimum too……one!

Many couples, particularly second marriages, don’t want the stress of planning a big wedding, worrying about photographers and caterers, and everything else that goes into planning a wedding. But they do want to mark the occasion with a romantic ceremony and Sandals Beautiful Beginnings Wedding is just the ticket!  It’s free, and still customizable!! Sandals also offers pre-designed wedding themes, which are available, at an additional cost.  The really cool thing is that within each package you can mix and match from the other pre-designed weddings.  Don’t like the center piece pre-selected for the Flutter of Romance package, but you love the one from the Vision in White?  No worries, just select the one you like!  I think this is one of the best features of the pre-designed weddings…you can personalize the themes!   There are 6 themes, so there’s plenty of options from which to choose.

Sandals understands that each couple likes to make their own choices, but still want to stay within their budget.  Each and every qualifying wedding is entitled to a $500 Wedding credit to be used to design your wedding.  Currently, Sandals is offering a bonus credit of $500 to enhance your Weddingmoon.  You can use the bonus to cover the government fees (which vary depending upon which island you chose), excursions, or even to upgrade your room.  So that’s $1,000 toward your personalized wedding!

As you may be aware, Sandals Resorts are all-inclusive, adult only, couples only resorts, however, many couples want to have either their own children, or nieces and nephews at their wedding.  No worries!  Beaches Resorts, which is the family side of the Sandals Resorts, is for everyone!   The same wedding options that are available at Sandals Resorts are also offered at Beaches family friendly all inclusive resorts.

With Sandals and Beaches Resorts on 7 Caribbean Islands, and 17 resorts available…more coming….I know that you will find the perfect match for you and your intended!  As a Sandals and Beaches Preferred Agency, Totem Travel has 3 Royal Chairman’s Club Specialist on staff and we have been to every single Sandals and Beaches Resort.

If an all inclusive honeymoon or Destination Wedding is in your future, whether it be just the two of you or a group of friends and family….please contact Totem Travel.  We can help you choose the best resort, select the perfect room category, make sure you get the best specials and deals and create the wedding and honeymoon of your dreams. We’re even offering wedding show specials for honeymoons booked by March 31, 2015 so call us!

 

 

How to choose the best Sandals Resort for your honeymoon


 

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There are many wonderful destinations throughout the world but if an adult only all-inclusive vacation is on your honeymoon list, your best choice may be a Sandals Resort. No kids are allowed at Sandals, everything is included from meals to drinks to scuba diving and golf, and romance abounds with beachfront locations, king beds in every room, gourmet dining, private pools, butler service and luxurious spas. So how do you choose the best Sandals Resort for you?  Let’s start with location – Sandals has 14 all-inclusive resorts on 7 sun drenched Caribbean islands including St Lucia, Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, Exuma and the Bahamas. So your choice of destination should consider travel time, airfare, weather and what you’d like to see and do while on your romantic adult only vacation.

The shortest flights and lowest fares are usually to Jamaica or Nassau, but St Lucia also has excellent air service from many U.S. cities and if travel time isn’t a major concern, a relatively undiscovered island like Grenada is an exotic destination that should be at the top of most honeymoon wish lists.

Weather is a very important consideration and while all Caribbean islands enjoy sunshine and warm temperatures year round the Bahamas can be too cool for a bathing suit in December and more vulnerable to hurricanes in the fall. Jamaica is in the 80’s and 90’s year round as are the islands of St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbados and the southern Caribbean islands are also less affected by tropical storms and hurricanes.

The beach is #1 for a lot of couples all inclusive vacations and details matter! Every Sandals Resort is beachfront but if you want to swim in the ocean a calm, shallow entry may be desirable unless of course you wish to body surf and waves are what you’re after! If you’d like to walk or jog on the beach size matters and and if you are worried about too much sun the availability of shade is important. Which Sandals Resort has the best beach will depend on you but two of my favorites would be Emerald Bay and Whitehouse.

Pools are important too and some resorts have much larger and more glamorous settings with fountains, huge swim up pool bars, jacuzzis, even fire pits designed into the pool area. Sandals Grande Antigua, Grande St Lucian and Grenada are a few with stunning pool areas.

Activities will be a deciding factor for many couples choosing an adult only all inclusive vacation and Sandals includes more water and land sports than other resorts like Secrets, Excellence and Couples Resorts. But even within the Sandals group there are important differences so it’s time to be specific.

Snorkeling, daily snorkel trips and scuba diving is included at every Sandals Resort but the colors are simply more vibrant in the turquoise Bahamian waters and healthy reefs off St Lucia and Grenada.You can climb a waterfall, swim with dolphins or go ziplining in Jamaica. Casinos and big name entertainers are in Nassau and golf is free in Exuma, St Lucia and Jamaica. Hiking is best on St Lucia and Grenada and Antigua offers the opportunity to swim with the rays or party with locals while watching the sunset at Shirley Heights. Waterskiing and tubing is offered at Sandals Negril, Sandals Whitehouse, Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Grande St Lucian.

Every Sandals Resort includes complimentary watersports such as sailing, kayaking, standup paddleboards, snorkeling and scuba but conditions vary so ask a Sandals Specialist for more detail. Fitness centers and land sports like tennis and volleyball are also included at every resort but in Jamaica you’ll find Sandals’ only rock climbing wall and squash courts.

Once you’ve chosen a destination it’s time to think about which Sandals Resort is best for you. Are you looking for a casual beach atmosphere with open air dining or a more formal setting under crystal chandeliers? Are you a pool person, beach person or want a bit of both? Do you prefer small intimate resorts or would you enjoy resort hopping with dining, drinking and playing privileges at several locations?

Last but not least, every Sandals Resort has about a million (slight exaggeration) room categories with prices starting under $2.5K for a one week all inclusive vacation for two to more than $10K for a once in a lifetime honeymoon in a fabulous suite with private pool and butler. But whether you choose a garden view room or beachfront villa, every Sandals guest will enjoy a couples only getaway with king beds, fine dining, name brand liquors, activities, entertainment and tips included.

For more help choosing the best Sandals Resort you can email linda@totemtravel.com or call Linda, Sandi or Patty at (800) 321-7907.  We’ve been to all of the resorts and whether you work with a Sandals Specialist or book online you’ll pay exactly the same price and the lowest is always guaranteed!

P.S. Look for more on Sandals newest resort, Sandals Barbados.

$1000 off at Sandals newest resort in Barbados


barbados

Sandals Resorts International will be opening their newest Sandals “Couples Only” All Inclusive property on the island of Barbados sometime early in 2015.  On the heels of opening the stunning Sandals La Source, the grand opening of Sandals Barbados has everyone anxiously awaiting its debut. Now is the time to get some great deals on their newest resort.  Space is already filling up, but as of late summer, there is still availability in February 2015.

To kick things off, Sandals is offering a $1000 Air Credit on early bookings at Sandals Barbados.  In order to qualify for the $1000 Air Credit, you need to book at least 7 nights and your travel dates must be 2/14/15 or later.  This means you can stay 7 nights for as little as $3732 during high season!  For travel dates 2/17 onward, Sandals is also offering for a limited time, the $305 Island Routes Tour credit.  Sandals is also offering a generous $500 Air Credit for 3-6 night reservations, so if you don’t have a full week to travel, you can still take advantage of a nice discount. These deals can change at any time so call or email us now!

Some highlights to look forward to at Sandals Barbados are more luxury suites including club and butler level rooms that open up to a meandering crystal lagoon pool, as well as beachfront club and butler suites with tranquility soaking tubs.  Sandals Barbados looks to be following in the footsteps of Sandals La Source Grenada as far as the look and feel of the accommodations.  Add to the list more quality dining choices including gluten free and other dietary needs, grand swimming pools with swim up bars, and all your water sports activities included, put Sandals Barbados on your list of possibilities.

Other great deals and specials out for late summer/fall are more air credits for all the properties, including up to a $755 Air Credit for both their resorts in the Bahamas (Emerald Bay and Royal Bahamian), as well as Sandals La Source in Grenada.  The $305 Island Routes Credit is a fantastic promo for couples looking to explore the island and resort surroundings.   In addition to seeing and vacationing at all the various Sandals Resorts, we have taken many of the tours and can recommend activities to spend your Island Routes credit on.

Call (1-800-321-7907) or email us linda@totemtravel.com and we can tell you when to travel to take advantage of the best promos.  Happy Travels!  Linda, Patty & Sandi

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