My husband and I travel to Couples at least once a year, typically Swept Away each December. But, we've also visited Couples Tower Isle and Couples Negril. We also got married at Couples, so we have a personal connection to the country of Jamaica and the Couples brand.
This December we decided to break with tradition and travel to St. Lucia. I loved visiting the country of St.Lucia as it is so unique, green and beautiful (especially the pitons). The only downside is there is no Couples on the island. We stayed at S. It was a good experience, but Couples is so much better.
I would say that the only advantage that S has over Couples is that there are more properities throughout the Caribbean and if you stay at 1, you get to play at all 3. From 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, I would rate Sandals at 6.5-7. The experience is very corporate, spend less and make more, and it is evident in the overall product.
For example, the bars were never well stocked and they served rail liquor. We also felt extremely nickled and dimed at S. It's not really a luxury all-inclusive. For certain services and extracurriculars that are automatically included in the Couples rate, there was an extra charge. I also thought the service was good, but not great. Although like any resort, there were a few people who stood out like Ms. Philipa, Lawrence, Mirandre, Adrinia, Sachalee and Latoya. I appreciated all of their efforts.
Would I recommend S? Yes, it's a good option, but make sure to get a good deal on the trip. We booked S during one of their big sales, so we didn't pay as much as others for our stay. Plus, my husband and I can have a good time as long as there is the sun, beach, and a swim-up bar.
With that said, nothing beats the Couples experience. The staff, service, food, and overall experience is phenomenal. The Couples experience lures you into complete relaxation and peace. The staff goes out of its way to make sure every need is met, the food is great and there are a number of options, and the bars are well-stocked with a range of spirits (not rail). Couples also has good nightly entertainment, which is key when hanging out on a resort. Plus, everything is trully included. I miss Couples, and althought I've put down my deposit for next December, I'm considering taking a trip in April as well.
Of course, there are some people who probably love S, but for me the experience was good, but fell short. I travel extensively and stay at a number of resorts, from all -inclusives to high-end hotels, and the Couples experience meets the mark. I just thought I would take the time to let the Couples team know how much we appreciate you....