Sandals Resorts is converting two all-inclusive Jamaican properties, along with a land parcel in Ocho Rios, into three Sandals resort experiences under the Sandals and Beaches brands.

Sandals will convert the former Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios and the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort & Waterpark, both acquired last year, plus beachfront land adjacent to the Ocho Rios resort, into three properties: Sandals Dunn’s River; an adjacent, 250-room Sandals Royal Dunn’s River oceanfront property and a new Beaches Runaway Bay resort.

Sandals Dunn’s River will undergo a “top to bottom” renovation. Sandals Dunn’s River will offer a total of 260 rooms including 48 signature SkyPool Suites, a first for Jamaica, which will feature a private cantilevered, solar-heated plunge pool with infinity edge. 12 Swim-up Rondoval™ Suites with many featuring a “Rooftop Terrace” will also grace the property – both signature Love Nest Butler Suites® for the ultimate in privacy and service; 10 restaurants including a specialty rum bar inside the brand’s newest Latin Fusion restaurant concept Azuka and 9 bars; 7 pools including 2 river pools and Red Lane® Spa.

The sister hotels will operate in much the same manner as the concept that Sandals developed between Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados, with exchange privileges between the two all-inclusive resorts. They will be offering “generous” exchange privileges between the two all-inclusive resorts, including multiple dining and amenity options.

The Runaway Bay resort, located between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, will also undergo “extensive redevelopment” becoming Beaches’ third Jamaican property. The redeveloped resort will feature 400 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, designed “with extended families in mind,” said officials. Guests of Beaches Runaway Bay will have access to Runaway Bay Golf Club and its par-72, 18-hole championship golf course.

The Dunn’s River property returns to the Sandals portfolio as Sandals Dunn’s River, the same name the property utilized when Sandals first purchased the resort in 1990. “Sandals Dunn’s River holds special meaning to our family because its history is the story of Jamaica’s evolution as a travel powerhouse,” said Adam Stewart, Sandals executive chairman.

“My father grew up on the beach in Ocho Rios and this hotel, the first of its kind when it was built in the 1950s, captured the era’s glamour and sparked his imagination,” he said. “When it became available, we jumped at the chance to bring the hotel back into the Sandals fold.”

Sandals has targeted completion of the new Sandals Dunn’s River for fourth quarter 2022. Phase II is the creation of sister-property Sandals Royal Dunn’s River, which will be adjacent and offer generous exchange privileges with a slated completion in 2023.

Stewart says the new Sandals Dunn’s River was the last project he and his late father collaborated on and is an homage to the natural beauty of their beloved Jamaica, with water pulled and circulated from natural reserves and the brand’s signature suites being a prominent feature.

For additional information about these three amazing new properties, contact me today!

Back in July, I had the pleasure of staying at Couples Tower Isle. This beautiful all-inclusive, adults-only, couples hotel is located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This property was built in 1949 and was the first resort built on Jamaica’s undeveloped north coast. In 1978, the founder, Abraham Issa introduced the “all-inclusive, couples-only” concept to Jamaica, and the Tower Isle was renamed, Couples Ocho Rios. The property was again renamed years later as Couples Tower Isle.

While this resort has been renovated, the art deco architecture remains.

The Pool Grill – Open for lunch and dinner as well as late night food service.

I found many things to love about this resort, but the food was definitely a highlight! There were many restaurants to choose from, however with COVID-19, not every restaurant was open every day, so we had to plan our meals out to make sure we hit as many restaurants as we could. Reservations are required for dinner at most restaurants and it was super easy to make them the app for our entire stay.

We ate most of our meals at The Patio which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer both a buffet (currently modified with a server plating the items you select) and an á la carte menu. Our favorite meal was at 8 Rivers. This restaurant has a glamorous 1950s era feel, serving classic food while incorporating local Jamaican and Caribbean ingredients. Reservations are required and a dress code is enforced. Dinner at The Verandah was also a treat! The website describes it as, “For those nights when you crave continental cuisine at its finest.” While it was continental cuisine, the chefs elevated it in both the fusion of flavors and presentation.

One restaurant that we did not get to try was Bayside. I heard incredible things about the casual and candle-lit Asian restaurant situated on the sea.

This resort is very romantic and great for couples celebrating their honeymoon or anniversary. They do offer nightly entertainment with live music and dance shows including resident band and cabaret performances, but the resort gets pretty quiet at night.

While there are garden view rooms, most guest rooms face the Caribbean Sea, many with views of Tower Isle. Tower Isle is a small private island for au naturel sunbathing. The beach here is small but private so you will not encounter vendors trying to sell you anything. During our stay, the water and beach were full of seaweed and there were red flag warnings, so we didn’t spend much time there. Luckily there are two pools, one with a swim-up bar that we enjoyed.

Every room features air conditioning plus a ceiling fan, private balcony or patio furnished with wide cushion seating and an outdoor table, large bathroom with a shower or tub, IPOD/MP3 player, satellite flat-screen TV, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, in-room safe, complimentary minibar that is refreshed daily, and nightly turndown service (the turndown service is currently on hold due to COVID-19). The furniture in the rooms felt a bit dated, but the rooms were clean and comfortable. The bed was so comfortable, we slept like babies.

Being a travel agent, I do have the opportunity to stay at a variety of resorts. Couples Tower Isle is now one of my favorites. The hotel itself felt special with its art deco architecture. The views were incredible and the staff was lovely! This resort felt like home to me. I think it is a great choice for a couple looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway.

To see more of this resort and the other Couples Resorts I visited on this trip, visit my YouTube channel and if you are ready to plan your next vacation, contact me here.