Daycation Series: How to Stay at Sandals Resort Jamaica for $100
So I am excited to have a new travel series on the blog! This Daycation travel series was suppose to go live in March but as you know, Covid-19 happened and it did not seem like a good time to announce travel options. As I announced in Jamaica in December, I will be featuring a Daycation Travel Series where I will be highlighting places where you can get a day pass to enjoy the best hotels and resorts! I love finding different ways to go on vacation without spending a lot of money. That is how I began my Mini Vacation Travel Series. This Daycation feature is of Sandals Resort day pass, in particular Sandals Ochi Resort in Ocho Rios Jamaica!
WHAT IS A DAYCATION VS STAYCATION?
So now more than ever we are looking for options to have a vacation without spending alot of money…or now due to Covid-19, without getting on an airplane. I started my Mini Vacation Travel series which featured some staycation ideas that are within driving distance of your home or where you can find cheap airfare around $100. Staycations are little trips you do within your city or metroplex without getting on a plane where you stay at hotel and explore your own city as a tourist. So what is a daycation?
A Daycation is an option to have a vacation for the “day”. So unlike with a staycation, this does not require a hotel reservation where you will sleep the night. However, you will enjoy all the benefits of staying at a hotel by means of a da pass without checking into an actual room. You will be surprised of the different hotels in your own city that allows day passes.
Daycations can quite fun and convenient and is cheaper than booking a room at the actual hotel. You typically have access to every part of the hotel including pools which is a great option for the summer, spa, gym, restaurant and lounge area. Also hotel with shuttle services is a plus. A lot of hotels have shuttles to the center of the city,which saves you money on valet and parking too in the main city center.
WHY STAY AT SANDALS RESORT WHILE ON A CRUISE
One that thing that you may not know is that when going on a cruise, you can book day passes for one of your port stops. You do this directly with the hotel. Sandals Resorts is one of the resorts that you can do this with. For our cruise, we had two port stops – Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman was going to be full of adventure with a tour so we wanted to relax and enjoy a nice quiet beach so we booked a Day Pass for Jamaica.
We have had the pleasure of staying at two of Sandals 5 Star Luxury Resorts prior to this trip. We stayed at Sandals Regency La Toc in Saint Lucia on our honeymoon and Sandals Montego Bay Jamaica for an anniversary. The best thing about Sandals Resorts is that it is an adult all-inclusive resort so that means no kids and eat as much as you want. You typically only see mature adults and mostly couples and a lot of newly weds. We never had a problem with obnoxious rowdy groups because we all came to Sandals for one thing – to relax and have a good time.
At Sandals Resorts, you can eat at some of the best 5 star restaurants and order as much as you want. My husband really liked that since he is big eater. In our past trips, he has ordered double portions of steak. If you do not want a formal sit-down breakfast lunch or dinner, then you can hit up their buffet options which the food is just as good or some of there informal restaurants like ordering Bella Napoli pizza or jerk chicken on the beach! I can say the jerk chicken in Jamaica was WAY better than the jerk chicken on the cruise boat.
Another reason why I love Sandals Resorts is the unlimited alcohol! Alcohol create a high bills sometimes when it comes to cocktails. But at Sandals, it is all included! The only alcohol that is not if you want a particular expensive bottle of wine. I love the swim up bars and ordering pina coladas and trying local cocktail drinks!
SANDALS OCHI RESORT IN OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA
For our cruise with Carnival, we were happy that it included a stop where there is not jut 1 but 2 Sandals Resorts! Another great thing about Sandals is that you can stay (pay) at 1 and play at 2 or even 3! With our honeymoon there were 3 Sandals Resorts that we hop around on it. Its like staying at 3 different resorts on the same vacation especially when they each brings something different and the resort shuttles you to each for free. On this port stop, we did not have time to visit a second Ocho Rios location.The nice advantages of staying at Sandals in Jamaica during a port stop is not having to share the beach with locals. Like with any place, there are people always wanting to sell you things including illegal things on the beach and you have to watch out for pickpocketers. But on the resort it is a private beach with security so you are cut off from all of that and the hundreds of cruisers that will flood the other public beaches.
We only stayed on the Sandals Ochi resort which we wished we had more time because it was truly beautiful! When we first walked in, we were greeted by ever worker that passed us. It was like they knew the faces of all the guests and they knew they had not seen us before. With warm smiles and greetings, we got checked in for the Day Pass. The price of the Day Pass is $129 each. This was actually an increase from June 2019 when it was $89 when I initially inquired. To get a Day Pass, you will need to contact the hotel no more than 2 weeks before you arrive and it is first come first served. The nice touch about the Day Pass is that you did not have wear anything special to distinguish you from the rest of the guest,s – no bracelets or anything but they did keep your passport until you checked out. The drive from the cruise port to Sandals Ochi was about 15 minutes.
We first took at nice little walk through the property and at Sandals where everything is always green and blooming. We then had breakfast at the buffet since it was the quickest. It was breakfast/lunch mix at the time when we got to the resort. Once we finished eating, we headed to the beach! The water was pretty and blue but a bit rough. Due to the high winds, the did not have any watersports available because it would be dangerous. Sandals resorts has different watersport activities from kayak, boats and the on the water bikes. We had a nice swim on the beach, had a cocktail or two and relaxed on the beach.
From there, we headed to the pool where they had a swim-up bar and played nice reggae music! I enjoy Sandals swim up bars because you get to socialize with the local bartenders. They are always super nice and know how to make some good drinks or get creative with drinks based on your taste. We had a quick late lunch before we had to head back to the cruise boat.
But no trip to Jamaica is complete without eating some Jamaican Jerk chicken which is my favorite. So we headed to The Jerk Shack where we had the best jerk chicken! This was on a different part of the resort and you needed a shuttle to get over there. This area was just as beautiful as well and seemed to sit higher up with no direct access to the beach but beautiful lounge areas and pools. We really did not want to leave and wished we had more time but felt like it was worth every penny.
So I hope the next time you are on a cruise that you look if there is a Sandals Resort at your port and book a Day Pass to enjoy a relaxing day. If you are not cruising especially during this Covid-19 era, then definitely consider getting a Day Pass at one of the hotels in your city and enjoy all the beautiful amenities that they have to offer. Stay tune as I share with you other hotels that offer Day Passes in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, in the state of Texas and beyond!