Totem Travel (425) 821-4100   (800) 321-7907

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.

2014 STAR small

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


 

Sandals Emerald Bay Resize

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

Review of Sandals La Source Grenada and tips on island sightseeing


Grenada 005 (2)

Click for Slide Show

One of the best perks of being a top Sandals agent is being invited to the grand openings when a new resort opens and I just returned from Sandals newest resort in Grenada, Sandals La Source. Here’s a quick review of the resort and some recommendations of what to see and do on the island of Grenada –

• Food and drink – All I can say is wow! I enjoyed some of the best meals I’ve had at any all-inclusive resort. Don’t miss the incredible crab crusted salmon at Le Jardinière; scrumptious shrimp, spinach and puff pastry appetizer or fiery jerk pork with fresh pineapple at Spices; delectable sushi at Soy; crepes with fresh fruit and specialty coffees at Café de Paris; Mediterranean inspired salad and local seafood at Neptunes; or a great steak at Butch’s Chophouse. Every dish I tried at Sandals La Source was excellent and a distinct step up from Sandals’ prior best. The same could be said of drinks and I had a mean martini, nutmeg infused rum punch, well-made black russian and several varieties of wine. All good and of course all included!

• Rooms – There isn’t a bad room in the house although I have clear favorites at every price point. Entry level rooms at Sandals La Source are lovely with comfy king beds, high end bath fixtures and huge walk in rain showers and you can choose a beachfront room quiet enough to be lulled to sleep by waves lapping at the shore or step up the energy and stay near the South Seas pool. Butler suites with private pools are stunning and come in an array of locations from ground level rondovals tucked amidst tropical gardens to the tippy top floor of the Italian Village with stunning ocean views. Waterfall and swim out river suites offer even more unique accommodation choices. Check out the kazillion room choices or ask for help choosing one of the best rooms at Sandals La Source in your price range!

• Beach – With the resort at 100% occupancy I found the beach half empty so there is ample space to spread out and find the perfect chaise lounge in the sun or shade. The sand is soft and white and the water clear and inviting with no seaweed or rocks to interfere with a delightful swim in the ocean. Drink service is available on the beach and there are no vendors hassling guests.

• Pools – There are too many to count! The South Seas signature pool is the largest with a huge swim up pool bar and cabanas dotting the perimeter. The Pink Gin section has a beautiful beachfront pool with sitting area and fire pits integrated into the design for day or nighttime enjoyment. Dozens of butler suites have their own private pool and Jacuzzi and swim up suites have direct access to a beautiful river pool which flows along the ground floor of the Italian Village.

• Watersports – Scuba divers and snorkelers will enjoy a vibrantly alive reef system teeming with brightly colored fish and coral. All dive equipment is free of charge and dive sites on Grenada include an underwater sculpture park, marine reserve and various walls and reefs. Seasoned sailors will find enough breeze on a typical day to challenge their skills and those new to the sport may request a ride with a watersports captain at the helm. Kayaks and trikes are in good supply but were unused during my stay.

• Fitness – There is a brand new fitness center with state of the art equipment, a personal trainer and daily classes including core training, abs blast, yoga, circuit training and aquasize.

• Weddings – Although many will choose a beach wedding with toes in the sand, my favorite spot at Sandals La Source Grenada was a secluded garden bridge amidst tropical foliage and flowers. But whatever setting is chosen Sandals Beautiful Beginnings Wedding package is free and getting married in Grenada is easy.

So where is Grenada and what would you see and do on the island? Grenada is known as the spice island and you’ll find cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, mace, vanilla and other spices growing is casual profusion. If you decide to tour the island stop and see John at the Spice Place for a demonstration of how spices are harvested and processed plus a nice selection of product for purchase. Belmont Estates is another great place to stop where you can learn about cocoa processing and taste the yummy product.

The coastline of Grenada is dotted with 55 beaches including one pink, 9 black sand and 45 white sand beaches. Leatherback turtles lay their eggs April through June on the north end of the island and a few months later baby turtles make their dash to the sea. Grenada’s interior is rainforest and there is dense vegetation, monkeys and numerous waterfalls to enjoy. It takes some hiking to reach 7 Sisters and Mt Carmel but other waterfalls are only steps from the road and easily accessible to all. Other sites include a historic fort, two rum factories and Leaper’s Hill where fleeing Carib’s leapt to their death to escape imprisonment by invadors.

Grenada is at the southern end of the Caribbean chain and escapes most tropical storms and hurricanes. In fact it was 50 years between major storms until Ivan and Emily packed their one two punch in 2004-5 so hopefully another 50 years will go by before the next storm to worry about! So put Grenada and Sandals La Source on your must do list and call or email linda@totemtravel.com for favorite room categories, help figuring out the somewhat challenging  air situation and more info to make your vacation or honeymoon perfect.

Still not sure how to choose the best all inclusive resort? Call us! We’ve been to all the resorts and will make it easy and fun to plan the perfect honeymoon, destination wedding or all inclusive vacation. Plus we guaranteed the lowest prices, can help with tours and special requests and will make sure you don’t miss any of the amazing specials and deals. That’s what we’re here for!

Is a cruise or all inclusive resort a better vacation value?


I love cruising and I love all inclusive resorts so I’ve been asked many times which is the better value. Well there is no one answer but let’s take an example and compare an oceanview room at an adult only all inclusive resort with an oceanview cabin on a 7 day Caribbean Cruise.

All major cruise lines include meals and entertainment in the basic cruise fare but except for a few luxury lines there are lots of extras you must add to your vacation budget. Coffee, tea and fruit juice are usually complimentary but you’ll pay for most other beverages whether you order a soft drink, bottled water, beer, wine or cocktail and a 15-20% tip will be added to your drink cost.

Specialty restaurants requiring a reservation charge a fee. Coffee drinks and gourmet ice cream are not included. Exercise equipment is free but classes often carry a charge. Transportation from the airport to the cruise ship and back are extra. Gratuities for your cabin steward, dining staff and other services will be added to your bill at the end of the cruise and shore excursions such as a snorkeling trip will be extra.

By contrast, at an adult only all inclusive resort like Sandals all of your meals, beverages, gratuities, airport transfers, entertainment, land and watersports are free. Snorkeling, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, water trikes, Hobie Cats, windsurfing, waterskiing and SCUBA , is all included and you can enjoy fitness classes and equipment at no charge.

Specialty restaurants such as Italian, Japanese Teppanyaki and French are all included at no extra charge and you’ll find ice cream shops, swim up pool bar, English pub and nightclub all complimentary. Golf is included at many of the Sandals Resorts and even destination weddings are free!

To give a price comparison, I have compared apples to apples: balcony rooms, oceanview, 7 nights, 2 people:

Cruise:

• Oceanview stateroom with balcony: $2725 for 2 people

• Gratuities @ $80 per person = $160

• Alcoholic beverages, 2 drinks per person per day @ $7.50 each = $105

• Diet Coke, or other soft drink, 2 per day per person @2.50 each = $35

• 2 bottles of water per day per person@ $3.00 each = $42 for the week

• Snorkeling excursion for @ $60 per person = $120

• SCUBA, 2 tank dive @ $105 per person = $210

• Kayaking excursion @ $59 per person = $118

• Airport/port transfers $35 per person each way: $140

TOTAL: $3655.00

 

Sandals Resorts:

• Oceanview room with balcony: $2400 for 2 people

• Gratuities: $0.00

• Alcoholic Beverages: $0.00 unlimited

• Soft drinks: $0.00 unlimited

• Bottle Water: $0.00 unlimited

• Snorkeling: $0.00

• SCUBA: $0.00

• Kayaking: $0.00

• Airport/resort transfers: $0.00

TOTAL: $2400.00

So if you’d like to visit several tropical islands in a single week cruising may be your best choice,  but dollar for dollar your money may go further on an adult only or family friendly all inclusive vacation. Whichever vacation experience is right for you I am happy to help so please call or email sandi@totemtravel.com or contact one of the Certified Sandals Specialists at Totem Travel.

Best Sandals Agency, top butler agency & 3 top travel agents bring home awards


STAR awards 2013 resized

This month I represented Totem Travel at Sandals Travel Agency Recognition Awards. This event acknowledges top travel agencies and individual travel agents and Totem Travel has been honored to receive awards every year since becoming a Preferred Sandals Agency. 2013 was no exception with Totem Travel awards for top butler agency, Best of the Best travel agency and 3 Chairman’s Royal Club members, the top individual travel agent award.

The Sandals recognition event lasts from Thursday-Saturday and was held at Beaches Turks and Caicos a fabulous all inclusive resort for families. This year was unique in that agents were also given the chance to visit 2 Sandals Resorts: Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas, and Sandals Grande Antigua. Jets were chartered for the occasion, and we were accompanied by many of the Sandals Management Staff. What other company will charter a jet to whisk you off to a Caribbean Island for lunch? Not many, I would say!

Travel agents had the opportunity to enjoy the host resort, Beaches Turks and Caicos, with nineteen restaurants, fantastic water activities for every age like water slides and fountains for toddlers, a lazy river that is fun for all, and an incredible surf simulator for more adventuresome. Hobie Cat sailboats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, snorkeling and scuba are very popular at Beaches Turks and Caicos as well.

Friday evening, after traveling to Antigua, we dined at Neptune’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in the new Key West Village. In addition to the wonderful meal, awards were also presented and Totem Travel was recognized as the top butler agency for the 3rd year in a row! WooHoo!!

Saturday morning, another beautiful day in paradise, presented agents with the occasion to hear Sandals CEO, Adam Stewart, and the Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart and both Mr. Stewarts were excited about the newest Sandals Resorts – Sandals Barbados and Sandals La Source in Grenada.  We also learned that Beaches is adding two new resorts  , one in Barbados and one in Antigua! Beaches Turks and Caicos will also be adding a Conference Center to the property offering an excellent opportunity to combine business and pleasure.

We also discovered some rather interesting insights into Sandals and Beaches philanthropic efforts in the Caribbean. Sandals Foundation, established 4 years ago, has directed more than $12 million into the Caribbean community. This ranges from building schools, paying teachers, supplying hospitals with linens and bringing healthcare to those who cannot afford it. Although many charities use much of their donated funds to support the charities administrative staff, Sandals Foundation does not retain any of the donations for managing the Foundation! 100% of the funds are put to work supporting more than 150 major projects in Sandals & Beaches host communities. Sandals Resorts International covers all operating costs!

Saturday evening brought another lovely dinner with wine to complement each course, fantastic entertainment and more awards for Totem Travel including Best of the Best Travel Agency and three Chairman’s Royal Club members, Sandals top award for individual agents. With over 700 agents in attendance from all over the world,  Totem Travel was proud to be recognized as a top Sandals agency and it was my pleasure to bring home awards for Linda, Patty and myself as top Sandals travel agents.

So check out the best deals for Sandals Resorts, request a quote, call (425) 821-4100 or email if we can help you choose the best Sandals Resort for a romantic, all-inclusive honeymoon or find the right Beaches Resort for a fantastic all inclusive family vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandals butler service – what does a butler do & how much do you tip?


Butler

Click for slide show

Adult only all inclusive Sandals Resorts offer standard rooms, club level rooms and butler suites. So do you need a butler, what does a butler do, is a butler suite worth the extra cost and how much do you tip a butler at Sandals? Our Specialists have had the good fortune to vacation at all the Sandals Resorts and stay in almost every room category from entry level to the Millionaire’s Suite, but everyone has different ideas about the perfect all inclusive vacation and on a honeymoon it’s all about you. So let’s start with the basics –

Standard rooms are the least expensive and start with the entry level room. These rooms have all the features you’d expect including a king bed, A/C, blowdryer, bath amenities, safe, iron and ironing board plus a mini fridge stocked with water, soft drinks and fruit juices, all complimentary. You may or may not have a balcony in an entry level room and room service is not usually offered.

Club level rooms add bathrobes and a fully stocked in room bar with wine, beer, champagne, liquor and mixers. There’s a club level lounge with free WIFI and other services plus a concierge to assist with check in, spa, tour and restaurant reservations. Almost every club level room has a patio or balcony, many have beautiful ocean views, some are beachfront, some have whirlpool tubs and room service is normally included.

Sandals Butler suites are another step up with the very best locations plus special features like a private pool and outdoor jacuzzi (skinny dipping anyone?) such as the Romeo and Juliet suite or Sunset Bluff Millionaire’s Villa with panoramic oceanview from the bed, living room and huge private pool deck. Talk about the life! Other butler suites are located directly on the beach such as the two story beachfront villa with pool on Exuma or romantic Beachfront Rondoval with private plunge pool and whirlpool in St Lucia. Still more are Swim Up Suites such as those at Sandals Negril, Sandals Royal Caribbean and brand new Sandals La Source in Grenada.

Most butler suites have a separate living room, all have oversized bedrooms with king bed, and most have elaborate bathrooms with marble vanities, whirlpool soaking tub, walk in rain shower and more. All butler rooms and suites include a customized in room bar stocked with your choice of name brand liquor and liqueurs. And perhaps most importantly, Sandals butler suites come with the services of a personal butler on call day and night. So what exactly does a butler do and is it worth the cost? Here are just a few examples of Sandals butler services –

• Serve breakfast in bed with mimosas for a decadent start to your day

• Reserve a beach bed by the pool or cabana on the beach so you can sleep late and still enjoy your favorite spot

• Bring a forgotten book, sunglasses or sunscreen from your suite

• Book a snorkel trip, arrange a tee time, schedule a tennis lesson, organize a horseback ride or reserve a car and driver to show you the island

• Arrange a pre dinner cocktail party or appetizers to enjoy while you shower and change

• Reserve one of the best tables for dinner at a popular restaurant, on property or off

• Cater a romantic candlelight dinner for two in your suite or pop the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate your day

• Draw a bubble bath with candles and aromatic oils for a relaxing and romantic night in

• Arrange something special to celebrate an anniversary or birthday

At a family friendly all inclusive Beaches Resort, your butler can do all of the above plus provide a stroller, entertain your kids with a zoo full of towel animals, bring plates of warm chocolate chip cookies, arrange front row seats for the Sesame Street parade, help with kids club logistics and make sure the whole family is pampered and has the time of their lives.

So that all sounds good and you decide to book a butler suite. How much does it cost, how does Sandals butler service work and how much should you tip a butler at Sandals?

Cost will depend on the which Sandals Resort you choose, when you travel, how long you stay and the suite you select, but there are affordable butler suites and extravagant butler suites with costs from about $3-14K for a one week all inclusive stay for two.

Sandals butler service begins long before you arrive at the resort with a personalized preference form covering every aspect of your stay from food and beverage, to preferred activities, special requests and more. At your destination airport the VIP treatment continues and upon arrival at the resort your butler will provide a preprogrammed cell phone and orientation to the resort.

Two or more butlers work as a team to provide service 7 days a week from early morning to late evening and are “on call” as needed. Your butler will also check in several times each day to ensure your needs are met, anything requiring advanced plans is arranged and reservations are coordinated. At the end of your stay your butler will assist with check out, luggage and airport transfers.

At Sandals and Beaches Resorts tips are not allowed but butlers are the exception to that rule and most guests find $20-40 day an appropriate amount. Guests making extensive use of butler services may consider a higher amount and guests that rarely interact with the butler may be comfortable with a nominal tip.

Butler tips may be paid in cash directly to your butler(s) but most Sandals and Beaches guests prefer to add the desired amount of gratuity to their room bill and pay by credit card at checkout. An important note – butler tips may be split evenly or proportionately based on services rendered. And my personal advice from numerous butler experiences – there is absolutely no reason to pay part of your tip up front to secure good service. Your butler wants to please and will work hard to make your trip special and memorable.

So check out the specials and deals, call or email our specialists for advice and help choosing the best Sandals Resort, or book online. Then get out and create your own butler service experience. Once you try it you won’t go back!

Which is the best Sandals all inclusive resort?


Sandals La Toc St Lucia

As a top Sandals travel agency and specialists in adult only all inclusive vacations, we are often asked “Which is the best Sandals Resort?” and our travel agents usually answer “that depends”. Why? Well let’s take a few examples –

Couple #2 (more on Couple #1 below) is looking for a tropical destination where they can relax and get some sun. She wants to work on her tan by a beautiful pool, but he is worried he’ll be bored. Their budget has been stretched by the wedding so they are hoping to spend $2-3K on a honeymoon including accommodations, meals and drinks. If they can get a room with an oceanview or private pool all the better, but if push comes to shove they’d rather splurge on activities, a spa treatment or perhaps a private beachfront dinner.

The best Sandals Resort for this couple might be Sandals Grande Riviera with its fabulous pools and swim up bars, chic new beach club, and ultra affordable butler village. Complimentary activities at the resort include snorkel trips, golf, rock climbing, scuba diving, sailing, kayaks, tennis and more. Nearby activities include ziplining, swimming with the dolphins, river rafting, ATVs and horseback riding. This adult only all inclusive resort has more than 15 restaurants and starts around $2500 per couple for a 6 night tropical honeymoon including everything you can eat, drink and do at the resort.

Couple #3 is all about the beach. They want a beachfront room just off the sand and a great ocean view. They’d like to walk barefoot on the beach, try stand up paddle boarding, waterski, swim, snorkel, sail and kayak. In the afternoon they’d enjoy a hammock for two or book by the beach and at the end of the day they’d like to dine under the stars near the ocean. Sandals Whitehouse or Sandals Grande St Lucian might be the best resort for this couple and Sandals Emerald Bay has an incredible beach if waterskiing isn’t important and you travel at the right time of year.

Couple #4 wants to go somewhere exotic. They’ve been on a Caribbean cruise which stopped in the Bahamas and Jamaica so they want to try something different. They’re also worried about the weather because their destination wedding is in August and they heard that is hurricane season. They’ve fantasized about Tahiti but don’t think they have the budget for an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora so we’d want to discuss affordable options in the South Pacific such as a Fiji honeymoon. But we might also suggest one of six Sandals Resorts on St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua or Barbados. These islands are farther south and less likely to be affected by tropical storms and hurricanes.

The beautiful island of St Lucia looks a lot like Bora Bora with dramatic mountain peaks called the Pitons and lush tropical rainforest fringed with long stretches of pristine beach. The largely undiscovered island of Grenada has some of the Caribbean’s best beaches plus waterfall hikes and serene, green interior. Antigua adds the opportunity to swim with the rays, picnic on a deserted motu or dance, dine and watch the sun go down from Shirley Heights. And while no Sandals Resort has an overwater bungalow (yet) you’ll find beachfront bungalows and villas with spectacular views and private pools at Sandals La Toc, Sandals Grande Antigua, Sandals La Source and Sandals Grande St Lucian.

Couple #5 is limited on time but wants to be pampered with a few days in the sun. They both enjoy gourmet food and a bit of nightlife, she’s into spas and he’s an avid scuba diver. The best Sandals Resort for this couple might be Sandals Royal Bahamian. There are nonstop flights from many U.S. gateways so travel time is minimal. There are numerous restaurants and foodies enjoy dining options ranging from the elegant Baccarat and Crystal Rooms to an authentic Bahamian restaurant on a private island and wood fired pizzas by the pool. Nightlife at the resort includes a lively pub, theme nights and a piano bar plus there are big name entertainers at Atlantis Resort and several casinos nearby. The Red Lane Spa offers everything from wraps to signature massages to aromatherapy and the Bahamas are known for excellent snorkeling and scuba diving.

So which is the best Sandals Resort? We believe you are Couple #1 and the only couple that matters when planning the perfect honeymoon or adult only all inclusive vacation! With 15 Sandals Resorts on 7 islands and prices from just over $2K all inclusive to more than $10K for a fabulous week in a butler suite with private pool and jacuzzi, there are a lot of choices. Our Sandals Specialists have been to every resort and will help you choose the best resort for you. There is no charge for our services and there are great specials including up to 65% off, free nights, complimentary spa treatments and more. So call, email or book online. We want you to have the BEST Sandals vacation or honeymoon ever!

Totem Travel top agency in Seattle & best of best Sandals travel agency


Star Awards 2012

The last year has been a good one for Totem Travel awards and recognition. Some of the recognition came from the Seattle area business community where we were again named one the top travel agencies in the Pacific Northwest by The Puget Sound Business Journal.  Our travel agency has been located in Kirkland Washington since 1984 and we provide honeymoon and vacation planning services nationwide within our specific areas of expertise such as all inclusive resorts, tropical island destinations and Europe.

More awards came from Sandals Resorts where Totem Travel received yet another Best of the Best travel agency award and was selected as the top agency in Western Region for butler suites. Additionally, our three Preferred Sandals Specialists were reinstated as members in the prestigious Chairman’s Royal Club. Each award from Sandals Resorts recognizes specific areas of expertise and top performance as compared to travel agents and travel agencies located throughout the world.

Congratulations to all!

Totem Travel 12305 120th Ave NE Kirkland, WA 98034
Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.