Make yourself at home. Shirts and shoes are strictly optional.
Spot Cool Stuff has not seen the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back. But we’ve seen where Stella got her groove back — at My Time ‘N’ Place, a wonderful little cottage bed and breakfast-y type of place on the northern coast of Jamaica.
My Time ‘N’ Place owes its existence to the movie industry. And to its gregarious and entrepreneurial owner, Tony.
Which is the best Sandals resort in Jamaica?
That was the seemingly simple question we set out to answer when we first began to research the review article you are currently reading.
Sandals, as you may know, is a chain of all-inclusive beach resorts with properties in a handful of Caribbean countries including St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Grenada and Antigua. The country with more Sandals resorts than any other — there are seven altogether — is Jamaica.
But which of those seven Sandals should I choose for my vacation? you might be asking.
With that specific question in mind — and with a skeptical view of Sandals in general — Spot Cool Stuff visited all our their all-inclusive resorts on during our last trip to Jamaica. Here’s what we found:
Bora Bora has only 29 square kilometers of land. Yet, incredibly, the French Polynesian island has 9 outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts. That gives Bora Bora a OCLR/KM (outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts per square kilometer) value of .31, which is surely the highest of any island in the world.
Each of Bora Bora’s nine outstandingly cool-looking luxury resorts has its merits. A stay at each is also somewhere between expensive and exorbitant, especially once you account for the cost of food, activities and local transportation, all of which is pricey even before tacking on the 14% national tax. That makes choosing the optimum resort key. And, of course, if you are staying for your honeymoon you want to get it right.
For this overview, we’re listing Bora Bora’s OCLRs in the order of overall resort quality as we judge it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the first resort on our list is the best fit with what you are seeking for your particular trip. Also, while reading our comparison, keep in mind that all these resorts have overwater bungalows. All have service that exceeds that of a typical luxury hotel. And all are set in stunning locations, Bora Bora offering nothing but. In those ways, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices:
The Dhoni has been a central feature of life in the Maldives for nearly as long as there’s been a recorded history of people living there. Traditionally, Dhonis were small sailing vessel built from coconut palm wood. Today, a Dhoni (pronounced: “doh-nee”) comes in a variety of sizes and is as likely to be powered by an engine as it is by the gentle trade winds that grace the Maldives. Travel around that archipelago of tropical islands south of India and you’ll see Dhonis everywhere. People fish in them. Children ride to school in them. Merchants sell their goods from them. And at one hotel, the Cocoa Island Resort, Dhonis have been turned into romantic, idyllic luxury suites.
The vast majority of Isla Holbox—an island north of Cancun off of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula—is an untouched nature preserve. Only the eastern most tip of the island is permanently inhabited. That’s where you’ll find the few square blocks of sandy streets that make up Holbox town. Most residents get around by walking barefoot. (The island has no rocks). Those few who drive pilot golf carts, not cars.
Leaving Holbox town you can walk along the beach, past a few tiny shops, fishing boats and a ramshackle beach hut that doubles as a “slow food” restaurant. Eventually you’ll reach the last place on the beach, a cluster of buildings with white stucco walls and thatched roofs. This is where you’ll find the best accommodations on the island: Las Nubes de Holbox Hotel
Every villa is perched on stilts above calm, crystal clear waters, so you're never more than a few steps away from a refreshing swim
There are only two rules at the Soneva Gili by Six Senses in the Maldives and, trust us, after a few minutes at this honeymoon-oriented beach resort you won’t mind following either:
1) No shoes are allowed.
2) Do not discuss news from the outside world.
When a beach-side hotel is part owned by Madonna it's got to have a stylish pool.
Water views. Frozen drinks. The smell of sunscreen. Celebrities and scantily clad socialites mixing it up. The hotel swimming pools of South Beach do indeed offer all that. But did you know you can also find the world’s largest hot tub and the world’s shallowest swimming pool shallow end? For a scene like no other hop a flight to Miami and check out this selection of the city’s best hotel swimming pools: