It’s winter somewhere. But here at Sandals Resorts, the color of the ocean and warmth of “welcome” defy seasons and time—reminding us of all the little things we’ve been missing over the past few months.
Victoria Worrell rummages through her purse shortly after arriving at the airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She has her passport, her negative COVID-19 test results in-hand and corresponding Travel Authorization documents required to enter Jamaica, Sandals South Coast reservations for her and husband, Bob, and the pack of gum she bought 160 minutes ago in Atlanta. There, between the baggage carousel and the Sandals Lounge, it hits her.
“I forgot my sunglasses,” she says.
Victoria does not panic. She isn’t even disappointed.
“I don’t mind squinting,” she says, breaking into a gentle laugh. “I missed these views so much.”
Take in the incredible views of St. Lucia with your loved one at Sandals Grande St. Lucian
She says out loud what everyone is thinking upon arrival in the Caribbean at this time of year, some who haven’t seen the sun in so long that they’ve forgotten the need to protect their eyes from it. They’ve missed the warm sunshine and the warmer welcomes and…
“I missed the happiness,” Victoria says. “It sounds simple. But just being here, especially during winter? It changes your entire mood.”
Victoria and Bob are greeted by their Sandals driver who is wearing a mask and offers them some hand sanitizer. They are immediately whisked away into their squeaky- clean, private transfer for the smooth ride to Sandals South Coast. In the massaging grip of the fresh air, their anxieties melt away. Bob sums up in one word what he missed most about being in the Caribbean:
“Freedom,” he says. “I missed this kind of freedom.”
Relax and unwind on your private transfer to Sandals South Coast
On the ride to Sandals South Coast, Victoria and Bob gazed out the window along one of the “Resilient Corridors” in Jamaica. No one is allowed into the corridor without first being screened, including the ladies alongside the road selling bammy. The face coverings worn by the ladies cannot hide the joy in their eyes at the sight of guests returning to their community, even if they’re just passing through.
“The islands are dependent on travelers,” says Bob, “so you know they’re taking the safety protocols more seriously as anyone.”
Aerial views from Sandals Grande St. Lucian’s expansive pool
Mary Carmichael missed the friendliness. “The smiles are real here,” she says while standing in the enormous pool at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. She and her husband, Ben, are about 40 feet from the sea. They’re only slightly closer than that to the nearest couple. Mary and Ben aren’t being anti-social. They, like everyone else, are being a new kind of social—from a bit of a distance. And that’s just fine because our idea of travel for most of the past year has been anything but free, fine, or distant. A walk in the neighborhood became our version of a “day trip.” A drive across two counties became a replacement for an “international getaway.”
“We finally said, ‘What are we waiting for?’”
During a stretch of frosty temperatures in Tennessee, they took the required COVID-19 tests and passed the necessary health screenings required to enter the island of St. Lucia. A few hours after pulling out of their Yeti-cold garage, they walked into their Love Nest Butler Suite at Sandals Grande St. Lucian and opened their balcony doors. We missed you, Caribbean trade winds. Then they heard a simple greeting that swept them away for the 15th time already.
Step onto your balcony and experience pure luxury in Sandals Grande St. Lucian’s Over-the-Water Bungalows.
“Good morning.” The butler stood at the door.
“It’s so good to hear that,” says Mary. Outside of the Caribbean we’ve forgotten the meaning of those two simple words. Good morning. Here, it’s almost lyrical. Yes, it is an impossibly good morning. It will also be a good afternoon lounging at the pool where the nearest couple is over 20 feet away. It will be a good evening at our private candlelight dinner along the beach. There will not be a single moment that is other than good—unless you count “fantastic.” The harmony of lovely, absolutely, and my pleasure started upon arrival earlier when Mary and Ben entered the open-air lobby and heard another heartfelt welcome: “We are happy to see you.”
Those words and those smiles. Oh wow. They’re downright powerful now.
“You have no idea,” said Ben, “how happy we are to see you, too.”
Soak in the views while staying in a Dutch Beachfront Penthouse One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub.
The colors of the Caribbean Sea have been described a million ways. In person, though, they tend to leave you speechless. Victoria Worrell got reacquainted with the speechless moments while soaking in the oversized bathtub on her balcony at Sandals South Coast.
“I missed those long, relaxing baths in the open air,” Victoria says.
She missed the sunrise walks on the long beach. She missed the weather forecast—so predictable here that you don’t need one. On their first afternoon, she and Bob sit under the shade of a palm tree and dig their toes deep enough into the sand to make their entire bodies say I refuse to move.
“You know what I really missed? Doing nothing. Doing absolutely nothing in a safe, beautiful environment like this where we feel like we’re the only two on resort… now that’s really something I’ve missed.”
So, she and Bob make up for lost time and do lots of nothing. Like many other couples, they had been contemplating when they would feel comfortable traveling, but after reading up on the Caribbean islands’ health and safety protocols along with the Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, they knew they’d be in good hands.
First thing’s first, they needed to be extra cautious and get a negative COVID-19 test to present upon arrival at the airport. Next? Having their temperatures scanned at the airport followed by a few extra questions about their previous whereabouts. Then, all clear.
“If it means we can be here?” Bob says, referring to the fact he’s up to his thighs in the Caribbean Sea sipping on a frozen Bob Marley drink with no one in sight except Victoria. “Look what they’re doing for us,” he says. “We feel safer here than at our local grocery store. Sandals has taken health, safety and service to a whole new level.”
Bob has always been awed with the service at Sandals—it’s a big reason why he and Victoria keep coming back. But during this stay he’s beyond impressed with the attention to safety minutiae. The staff is constantly spraying and wiping. They follow strict guidelines about changing their clothes and shoes before work. They walk through a head-to-toe sanitizing station like Range Rovers going through a car wash.
As he speaks the sky is so ridiculously blue and the sand so perfect, it looks as if they have gone through special cleanliness protocols, too.
Victoria knew what she’d been missing right after she stopped looking for her sunglasses at the airport. It’s why she didn’t mind squinting. A young lady wearing a Sandals badge looked at her the way a mother looks at a daughter who’s just returned from college:
Victoria stopped short of telling the truth. That at that moment, and for the seven days ahead, this would be far better than home. Soon, the sound of surf and the mild scent of jerk chicken would lull her into a daze on the beach. It was finally time to relax.