What have I been doing lately?
So as most of you know, I have been in Jamaica at different Sandals Resorts for the last 4 days. As much as I travel to the Caribbean, I had never been to Jamaica! I was extremely impressed by the kindness and “one love” that the Jamaican people showed us in our short amount of time there.
Now, what you may not know is that I work as a Sandals Affiliate, through CJ Affiliates by promoting the Sandals brand. This particular trip was actually sponsored by the partnership between CJ Affiliates and Sandals Resorts. Meaning, they hosted James and myself, along with 20 other bloggers and business people in order to share news/updates about the different resorts and familiarize us with the Sandals Brand.
While I didn’t need much familiarization with what Sandals has to offer because we have been in love with the Sandals Company for the last four years; I did learn even more about how Sandals has truly thought of and perfected all possible details to make your vacation perfect and effortless.
With that said, my main focus of this particular blog post is to 1) Emphasize the excellence of Sandals Resorts and 2) recap what James and I did with our time in Jamaica. However, I am going to add a 3rd section into this post for Bloggers who have reached out with questions about getting sponsored travel work.
The Sandals Standard of Excellence:
Just incase you don’t know, Sandals is a luxury, all-inclusive chain of resorts. They have multiple resorts in multiple Caribbean Islands. With each stay at a Sandals Resort, guests get to indulge in unlimited five-star cuisine, top-shelf liquor, Robert Mondavi house wines, water sports, snorkeling, entertainment, and top-tier service. Once you arrive, there are NO extra hidden fees or exclusions!
While there are many different levels and categories when selecting your room, all Sandals Resorts have modern, updated, and asthetically pleasing guest rooms.
Food allergies? No problem! Sandals has a food concierge service that will prepare whatever you want in a separate kitchen and serve it to you in whichever restaurant that you desire! And again, this comes with NO hidden or extra fees!
Also, the Sandals Brand has a separate category of resorts that is geared towards families, called Beaches Resorts! Each stay at a Beaches Resort comes with the same great all-inclusive features as Sandals, but also includes a water park, kids and teens activities, child watch/nanny services, and more!
In addition, while this will not apply to everyone, it definitely impressed me: Beaches Resorts have several special programs in place for families that have children with special needs, including autism.
Our Personal Jamaica Recap:
Over the course of three days, we visited and toured three different Sandals Resorts in Jamaica: Montego Bay, Royal Caribbean, and South Coast (including the oh-so-amazing Over-the-Water Bungalows)!
We arrived Saturday evening, ate a delicious pizza, explored the resort, then got ready for a cocktail hour with the other affiliates! Later in the evening, we had dinner at Giuseppe’s, which is the Italian restaurant at Sandals South Coast. ALWAYS eat at the Italian restaurant on site; it never disappoints!
Throughout most of Sunday, we toured the different resorts that I mentioned previously. We did a ton of walking, but we really enjoyed seeing the unique differences between the different resorts. Also, we got to tour the over-water-bungalows, which was an absolute dream come true for us! Stay tuned, because I will be sharing an exclusive tour of them soon!
We had Sunday afternoon free, so we spent the entire time relaxing at the beach. The water at Montego Bay is absolutely stunning and is extremely calm. I am not one of those girls who can lay on the beach all day with perfectly curled hair. I spend 95% of my time in the water, and I love it!
Later, we had dinner at Stewfish at Sandals Montego Bay, which is a restaurant literally on the beach… meaning shoes are not required! This is always a favorite of ours.
We also had free time on Monday morning, so we decided to go on a (free) Sandals Snorkeling Trip! This is something that people often overlook while at Sandals; snorkeling trips are free, every day… you just have to sign up! We saw a huge variety of fish during our snorkel in Montego Bay – I highly recommend it!
Around midday, I had to attend a few meetings, which is where I learned some of the information that I shared with you in the beginning of this blog. Also, I learned that new resorts are coming in St. Lucia and a first in Tobago!
For the rest of the afternoon we continued to enjoy the resort and the beach.. including these amazing rafts that are anchored to the ocean floor. We ended the night at a farewell dinner with great people that we got to meet throughout the week and some excellent food!
Advice for Sponsored Travel:
Once people started noticing that I was on a sponsored trip with Sandals, fellow bloggers started reaching out with questions about how to go about working with brands and pitching yourself for sponsored travel.
I will start off my letting you know that I did not pitch myself to Sandals for this trip. I have been an affiliate with Sandals for a few months now, and I simply received an e-mail from the head of the affiliate program inviting me on this trip. I’m not sure what made them want to invite me, nor do I know how many people were offered the opportunity. I just know that I accepted it the instant that I saw it!
However, normally I do send 100s of e-mails pitching myself to hotels, chambers of commerce, restaurants, attractions, etc. when trying to plan a trip! Of course, numbers matter, but confidence and the quality of your work speaks volumes! While I have grown significantly in the last few months, my numbers are not insanely impressive (compared to others). However, I have grown a tight relationship with my following and that can be seen in my engagement.
My main piece of advice to people who ask me questions about sponsored travel is this: 90% of the people who you e-mail will not respond… BUT, the few that do make the time and effort worth it! Everyone uses the internet to do research before traveling. And we, as travel writers, help tons of people that we may never know about!
Over the course of the Summer, I will be sharing complete tours and reviews of each of the individual resorts that I have been given the opportunity to see recently. I’m also going to release a special edition Over-the-Water Bungalow Blog, so we can just drool over that one! 🙂
Each Sandals Resort is different and unique! At the end of this summer, I can say that I have stayed at, or visited, 12 out of 16 of them! If you are considering booking a Sandals vacation, please reach out to me! I would love to help you choose the resort that is best for you!
Stay tuned on Instagram for more pictures and travel adventures! By Sunday I will be BACK in Jamaica with my mom and Sandals Ochi! 🙂
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