Skip to content

7 things to know before booking a stay at Royalton White Sands in Montego Bay

June 12, 2022
8 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Royalton White Sands in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is a 352-room all-inclusive resort in Royalton Luxury Resorts' portfolio that shares amenities with the next-door Royalton Blue Waters.

In 2021, Royalton White Sands, along with a handful of other all-inclusive resorts, joined the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Royalton describes its resorts as being upscale, modern and all-inclusive, but does the White Sands live up to its billing? Here are seven things you need to know before booking a stay.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Cost

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Like at most all-inclusive resorts, room rates at the Royalton White Sands vary based on the number of guests in your party. Cash rates start around $250 per night for two adults and around $400 per night for a family of four. Because we were traveling as a family of five, we paid an additional fee of $20 per night to cover having three children in the room. Children under 2 stay for free.

Points pricing begins at around 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night for two adults. Based on my fruitless search, Marriott does not allow points redemptions for anything other than two guests per room.

I did, however, hop onto the Amex Travel portal and found award availability for a family of four for around 57,000 American Express points per night. I wasn't overly impressed with the redemption rate, but if you are hoping to pay with points instead of cash, a credit card travel portal is really your only option.

Whether you pay using cash or points, your room rate includes unlimited meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, daily activities and nightly entertainment. You can pay extra for photo packages, romantic dinners on the beach and drinks like Red Bull and Heineken if you can't get down with the included complimentary options.

You can also pay about an extra $50 or $60 per night for Diamond Club access, which includes an exclusive beach and pool area, preferred room locations, butler and turndown service and other perks.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Pros

  • Gorgeous grounds.
  • Large pool complex with a family pool, adults-only pool, waterslides, lazy river and a pirate-themed water park for kids.
  • Well-furnished beach areas with lots of seating and umbrellas for shade.
  • Complimentary nonmotorized water sports.
  • Diamond Club perks were well worth the additional cost.
  • Good Wi-Fi.
  • Wide variety of dining options, from sushi to local dishes.
  • Bracelets served as key cards so you don't have to worry about losing your keys.

Cons

  • Rooms were run-down and some features were flat-out broken, like the rain shower and Jacuzzi tub.
  • Poor communication (and no resolution) about issues with room.
  • A bit too much of a party atmosphere for family travelers.
  • No resort guide or map given at check-in.
  • Persistent beach vendors unauthorized by the resort despite there being a designated space for them to sell from.

Vibe: Party scene

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

While there were certainly amenities and activities geared toward families, we encountered mostly couples and groups of friends on vacation. Aside from a few other families, we mostly had the water park to ourselves and when we visited the kids club for family bracelet-making, there were only four other kids there.

There were a few other context clues that made it easy to see this is a place where people come to party. A guest at the next table over at dinner on our first evening ordered a "Grey Goose and vodka" and the server spent the next few minutes trying to decipher what it was he actually wanted to order.

The next day there was a foam party in the adults-only pool at 2 p.m. with bartenders pouring shots directly into guests' mouths as bubbles filled the pool.

Related: Jamaican all-inclusive resort escape: We compared 3 Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott properties

I'm far from a pearl-clutcher and there was a time (redacted) years ago when I would have given the Royalton White Sands a glowing review as a place to party by the beach on a girls weekend. With three kids in tow, though, my days of lining up at the swim-up bar to have a bartender pour shots in my mouth are nothing but a distant (and somewhat fuzzy) memory.

Room

We were in a family Jacuzzi suite that had a large main room with a king bed, a dresser with storage drawers, coffee maker and minibar and a double-size pull-out sofa (upholstered in a distracting red pleather); a kids room with bunk beds; one full bathroom; and a large furnished balcony with partial ocean views. Both the primary bedroom and the kids room had flat-screen TVs.

The bathroom was oddly long and narrow, but that did leave room for two closets and tons of storage space. The Jacuzzi tub that was advertised in the room's name was inoperable, as was the signature Royalton rain shower. We spoke with a very friendly guest services agent about the issues twice, but as far as we could tell, nobody ever visited our room to assess the issues.

Related: 7 things to know before booking a stay at Royalton Chic Punta Cana

I usually expect some degree of wear and tear at a beachfront hotel, but our room was pretty downtrodden. The balcony doors looked like someone had tried to break out (or in), the reading light on one side of the bed was broken and because the tub and shower weren't working, the only way to clean off was with the handheld shower head.

Dining and drinking

The Royalton White Sands has a total of five restaurants, six bars and one cafe on site. Only one, the Zen Teppanyaki & Sushi Bar, requires reservations. The others are first-come, first-served and we were seated immediately at each restaurant we visited.

We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet, which was open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and a huge selection of items to choose from. My husband and I were able to get a bit of local flavor while the kids could please their less-adventurous palates with burgers, cereal, pastries and fruit.

Both the Tex-Mex and West Indies restaurants were delicious. Entree portion sizes are generous, but don't expect to share the starters or desserts. The portions are tiny, but the dishes were all artfully plated. I had the coconut fried fish at Calypso, the West Indies restaurant, and it was well cooked with lots of coconut flavor. I am a huge fan of plantains, so I was happy to find a few served on the side.

We also loved the beachfront Jerk Hut and unlimited iced coffee (for me) and ice cream (for the kids) from the cafe.

There were lots of original cocktail options at the bars, but the bartenders were happy to make a standard margarita or mojito, as well. There were even some fun mocktails for the kids when they got jealous of our colorful drinks.

Activities

During our stay, there were activities throughout the day. In addition to the adults-only foam party, there had been a foam party for kids and parents in the family pool.

Related: 7 things to know before booking a stay at the Royalton Punta Cana All-Inclusive Resort & Casino

The kids club was open from morning until late afternoon, and we stopped by for a family bracelet-making activity so we could have handmade souvenirs to bring home with us.

There was also trivia, a volleyball tournament and nightly entertainment with dancing and music. The activities team seemed like they were having more fun than the guests!

My 5-year-old and I borrowed a kayak from the water sports hut and explored the clear, blue waters for about 30 minutes. I was excited to find that the sanctioned area where paddleboards and kayaks were allowed was quite large.

Recommendation

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Of Royalton's claim to being upscale, modern and all-inclusive, only the last of those rang true. The facade of luxury that I felt when stepping into the well-decorated lobby faded away once I entered our suite, but I was impressed by the range of food, drinks and activities that were included with our stay.

If it's luxury you seek, I'd look elsewhere. If you plan on doing more partying than staying in your room, your beer goggles may cloud the issues with the accommodations enough that you'll go home with nothing but amazing vacation memories (and maybe a hangover).

Featured image by (Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.