I recently had the opportunity to spend one night at Sandals South Coast’s luxury Over-The-Water Bungalows (OTW Bungalows) in Jamaica. It has long been on my bucket list and I have looked longingly at photos of bungalows in Fiji and the Maldives but did not relish the travel time. However, you can fly to Jamaica in just a few hours from East Coast hub cities.
This opulent experience was definitely worthy of my bucket list. In addition to the posh accommodations, I was surprised at all the extra amenities this room category includes.
Sandals Resorts hosted me on a press trip to learn about their luxury accommodations. All opinions are my own.
Expedited Immigration And Private Airport Transfers
My entry into the jet-set lifestyle began with my arrival at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. When I walked off the plane, I was greeted by a representative with my name on a placard who quickly whisked me through immigration and security and helped with my baggage. She escorted me to the Sandals arrival lounge where I was quickly checked in. There was no wait for the chauffeur-driven luxury car to take me to the resort. Sipping a cool beverage and enjoying snacks made the 90-minute drive seem quicker. The car even had Wi-Fi. I think I was on my way to Sandals South Coast before people from my flight made it through security. I could get used to this.
Upon arrival at the resort, there is an expedited check-in, and then your butler escorts you to your room.
Where Are The Bungalows?
Sandals South Coast sits amidst a 500-acre nature preserve and is the only resort on this pristine 2-mile stretch of white, sandy beaches with clear, Caribbean blue-green water. It is just stunning. The OTW Bungalows are located at the far end of the resort for the ultimate in privacy. The 12 bungalows are arrayed in a heart shape and accessed by a pier with a private lounge at one end with a 24-hour concierge and security. A driveway leads up to the lounge and transportation is available to take you anywhere on the resort. There are stunning views of the beach, nature preserve, and the resort. It is a wonderful haven away from all the resort activities.
High-End Bungalow Amenities
Each bungalow has vaulted ceilings and is decorated in an opulent beach style (think Tommy Bahama). You enter the room through a galley kitchen/bar entry area fully equipped with premium liquor and wine as well as water, sodas, and fruit juices in the refrigerator. You can lock this area from the main room for privacy, which is a nice feature for room service delivery. There is a comfortable seating area, custom crafted king-size bed, and a spa-style bathroom with a double vanity and a rain shower which connects by door to the deck. Lavish bathroom amenities from Molton Brown, an upscale British personal care brand, add to the spa feeling.
What makes the bungalows so special is the outdoor space and connection to the Caribbean Sea. It begins in the room with the glass floor panels that can be lit at night so you can enjoy the marine life below. Outside is a large, extended sun deck with an outside shower and a private “Tranquility Soaking Tub” for two. There are sun loungers and an over-the-water hammock where you can enjoy the ocean breezes and watch the pelicans diving for fish. In the water is an anchored ocean float for each bungalow, and there is a box of snorkel gear and lifejackets on the deck for enjoying a swim.
Butler Elite Service
Each bungalow has butlers assigned to you for your length of stay. Your butler will handle every detail of your stay to ensure a perfect vacation. When you are introduced to your butler, you will receive a cell phone so you can reach them whenever you need anything.
Pro Tip: There is a section on the Sandals website for guests who are already booked. If you have a butler-level room, you can fill out a preference sheet prior to your arrival.
I love little surprises. In the bungalow was a welcome gift of a branded tote and fluffy Sandals beach towels to take home. A chilled bottle of prosecco awaited in an ice bucket as well as gourmet snacks. Your butler will surprise you with treats throughout the day.
Each OTW Bungalow includes a beach cabana for your use during your stay on a more private section of the beach. Your butler is just a phone call away to bring you frosty cocktails and frozen drinks. You can even enjoy lunch if you like.
The room service menu is expanded and even includes filet mignon. Another benefit to these accommodations is that you can order a meal from any restaurant on the resort and your butler will bring it to you. Another option is to splurge on one of the Candlelight Dinners and have it served on your deck during sunset.
My Sandals Bungalow Takeaways
This indulgent experience is out of my normal vacation budget, so I took full advantage of it. I began my day by enjoying the private cabana on the beach sipping cocktails delivered by our attentive butler. It was so enjoyable to have almost the whole beach to myself. I opted for lunch at the nearby Schooner’s Seafood Grill but had the option of having lunch delivered to the cabana. After lunch, I enjoyed a walk down the pristine white sand beach.
When the bungalow was ready, the butler escorted my husband and me to the room and gave us a tour of all the myriad features. It was so luxurious that other than having cocktails at Latitudes while the deck was set up for our Candlelight Dinner, we didn’t leave again until we checked out the next morning. We spent the whole afternoon on the deck swimming and snorkeling. It was fun seeing the dive boat come in from a day of scuba diving and then seeing the sunset cruise depart. I really enjoyed the pelicans that like to hang out in the area. We even had one drop by for a visit on the deck. With the first tinges of hunger, we enjoyed the antipasto platter our butler had for us in the kitchen with a glass of prosecco.
I loved all the fancy amenities from Molton Brown as I got ready for dinner. The rain shower was amazing and had great water pressure. The resort has an over-the-water bar, Latitudes, which is not far from the bungalows, so we walked over to have a cocktail while our deck was set up for our dinner, Sandals’ Private Candlelight Dinner for Two. Dinner was so romantic on the deck with the lovely sunset views. The service was attentive but unintrusive. The kitchen area entryway was a perfect place for our waitress to stage our meal. What a great experience! Once the sun went down, we turned on the lighting for the glass floor. In the evening, large tarpon came closer to shore, and we could see them through the floor. The bungalows are air-conditioned, but you can also open the doors and enjoy the sounds of the sea and the ocean breezes while you sleep.
In the morning, we had time for a swim and a bit more sun. We enjoyed breakfast out on the deck before we had to depart for the airport. Checkout was a breeze, and a private car picked us up to take us to the airport.
Both the Sandals South Coast and Sandals Royal Caribbean resorts in Jamaica offer Over-The-Water Bungalows. You can also enjoy the experience at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian in St. Lucia. If you want to enjoy this experience, make sure to book well ahead. The bungalows pretty much stay fully booked.
Pro Tip: You don’t have to stay in the same room category your entire visit. In my case, one night was available in an OTW Bungalow for my last night at the resort. It was a perfect end to a wonderful vacation.