We haven’t figured out where to go yet either, but it won’t be Sandals. I’ve been doing a lot of research and the less expensive rooms at Sandals don’t include room service or even concierge services (which seems basic), most don’t have bath tubs let alone whirlpool or jacuzzi tubs (most only have showers), and their unlimited scuba diving isn’t really unlimited.
We went to Moon Palace in Cancun and it was very luxe- jacuzzi in the room (and we didn’t get the fanciest suite at all), marble everything, Chi blow dryer AND flat iron in every room. We had great food experiences whether we went to a restaurant or the buffet (and we are critical of food bc FI went to culinary school and used to be a saucier). Overall, the service was top notch- FI proposed during the trip and the wedding planner helped him immensely arrange my spa appt, the surprise horse and carriage ride, was there to take photos of the proposal, professional engagement photo shoot, and private dinner in a gazebo on the beach. Spa, golf, and non-motorized water sports were not included but we had resort credits we could use towards them (and Sandals doesn’t include spa services either and has no resort credits). I am not sure I would go there for a honeymoon (lots of kids), but Palace Resorts have some adults only locations that we are considering- we are worried we won’t find a resort that tops this one for our honeymoon but also want to go somewhere new.
Last year we also went to Jewel Runaway Bay in Jamaica. It was nice for Jamaica, but resorts in Jamaica aren’t as upscale as Mexico, generally. Our room was not as nice, the food was good but not as good as at Palace. The people were great and we loved the scuba instructors. But you were also constantly reminded that you were in a third world country. Driving to the hotel, you see cinderblock homes with no heat, air, running water, glass windows, etc. We did a romantic horse and carriage ride through the nearby nice neighborhood all the lawyers and doctors lived… and some houses still didn’t have glass windows, there were underfed dogs running around, the streets were in utter disrepair, and a group of skinny cows in chains were grazing along the roads (our attendant explained the ranchers who owned them had no land, so they take them to public lands to eat public grass).
I think it depends on what you want to do during your honeymoon. FI and I know we want to spend a lot of our honeymoon scuba diving (I went for the first time in Jamaica and I love it & he has always loved it). If you look at Sandals “unlimited” scuba diving, certfied divers can do 2 dives using one tank each or 1 dive using two tanks a day up to 100 feet. FI is certified, but I am not. If you aren’t certified, you can do 1 dive a day but only up to 20 feet. 20 feet is nothing- totally lame. My first dive (I’ve gone 3 times) was 40 feet and only been deeper since! So while scuba is included at Sandals, if you aren’t certified, it is super lame scuba. You are better off going to a nice (but less expensive) resort that doesn’t include scuba and paying for it- still less than Sandals.
If you find a good resort (preferably not in Mexico or Jamaica) please share! 🙂