If you dream of a destination wedding in Latin America or the Caribbean, you’ll probably be familiar with the world-famous luxury resorts called Secrets and Sandals.
The trademark of Secrets is “Unlimited Luxury,” while Sandals specializes in Luxury Included experiences—and both are excellent at what they do!
Secrets Resorts & Spas began operating all-inclusive vacations in 2003, and Secrets is now one of the many resort brands owned by the Hyatt Hotel corporation.
Sandals Resorts International is family-owned and managed by a dedicated global team.
Sandals vs. Secrets—What’s the Best All-Inclusive Resort?
Today, we’re focusing on what Sandals and Secrets offer to couples like you, especially when it comes to unforgettable events like your destination wedding and honeymoon.
Sandals and Secrets are luxury resorts that have a lot in common, but they also have significant differences.
Here’s what to know, especially when it comes to the all-important stuff like planning your destination wedding and honeymoon!
Secrets vs Sandals—Differences Between Resorts
Five things make Sandals different from Secrets, so let’s talk about this:
Location of Resorts
- 13 Secrets Resorts are located in Mexico, two Secrets Resorts are located in the Dominican Republic, one in Saint Martin, and one in Costa Rica. There are also three Secrets Resorts in Spain and one in Bulgaria.
- Sandals has 17 resorts throughout the Caribbean but no resorts in Mexico, the DR, Saint Martin, Costa Rica, or Europe.
- Jamaica is the only country that has both Secrets and Sandals resorts.
Exclusivity of Resorts
While both Secrets and Sandals are exclusive to guests who are 18+, Sandals is designed exclusively for couples and destination wedding groups.
User-Friendly Website for Resorts
Hyatt Hotels offer many resort “collections.” You’ll need to find Secrets listed under the destination tab on the umbrella website. From there, you can see a resort map worldwide and a gallery of resort links for all properties. In addition, each Secrets Resort has a link with accommodation categories and select photos.
Sandals offers a different kind of user-friendly experience online. From the moment you click on the website, you’ll easily find links for each Sandals resort, What’s Included (and Vacation Extras available for pre-purchase), a dedicated Wedding Planning tab, and a Special Promotions tab for amazing savings!
Sandals AI Booking Tool
Sandals also offers a dedicated AI Booking Tool. This is such a helpful feature because it assists you in planning the best destination wedding and honeymoon adventure with just a few simple questions and clicks!
Resort Amenities and Exchange Privileges at Sandals
Sandals gives you complete descriptions of resort amenities:
- Gourmet Dining is a wonderful link to explore the various cuisines from around the world that you’ll enjoy at Sandals. There’s even a restaurant filter where you can choose your favorite kinds of food, and you’ll be directed to specific resorts offering your choices with stunning photos and menus.
- Premium Beverages—click on Wines and Liquors to learn about the 5-star adult beverages you’ll be enjoying that are always included!
- Love Nest Suites are exclusive to Sandals and designed for lovers like you! So if you’re imagining an Over-the-Water Honeymoon Bungalow or an Ocean View Suite with Your Own Private Pool in the Sky… your dreams will come true!
- Butler Service and Club Sandals tabs give you specific details about the excellent service you can expect in Butler accommodations and Club Level rooms at Sandals.
- And when it comes to entertainment and activities at Sandals, you’ll find it all on these links: scuba diving, water sports, championship golf, land sports and fitness center, and exciting entertainment from day to night.
Exchange Privileges at Sandals
You’ll enjoy Stay at One, Play at All exchange privileges at select Sandals resorts in Jamaica, the two side-by-side Sandals resorts in St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados, and three beautiful Sandals in Saint Lucia.
Something else that Sandals does right is complimentary airport transfers and round-trip transfers between resorts as part of the Stay at One, Play at All exchange program.
Secrets vs Sandals—Other FAQs
Are you wondering how “bare” it will get at the resort on your wedding day, or are you looking to enjoy that tropical party vibe during your wedding and honeymoon?
Check out these FAQs!
Is Secrets a Clothing-optional Resort?
No, Secrets is not clothing optional, and neither is Sandals—but Sandals offers a very handy “Ultimate Travel Checklist” blog with information on resort dress codes and all kinds of other useful information!
Is Secrets a Timeshare?
There are timeshare sales offices located onsite at many Secrets resorts, and presentations can last several hours if you accept an offer to attend.
Are Sandals Resorts for Couples Only?
Sandals caters to couples in love… but if you’ve got a destination wedding group, your single adult guests should be able to be accommodated!
Is Sandals for Older Couples?
Sandals is for all couples, and every property has amenities and activities that suit any age group.
But some Sandals resorts are more popular with a younger crowd, including Sandals Ochi and Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica, Sandals Royal Barbados, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, and Sandals Royal Bahamian with its sexy private island off Nassau.
Do Secrets or Sandals Offer Loyalty Programs?
Secrets offers an extensive loyalty program through World of Hyatt.
The Sandals Select Rewards program is loyalty-based and rewards guests of Sandals resorts—you can read up on the benefits if you wish and enroll if you choose.
What Is Included in a Stay at Secrets?
That’s a good question—and we dug deep to find some answers.
On the World of Hyatt webpage, there is an “Escape into Luxury” tab that mentions what’s included at Secrets Resorts:
- No reservations are required at unspecified gourmet à la carte restaurants.
- Unlimited domestic and international liquors (in bars and restaurants, not in your room).
- Room service and a concierge desk are available 24 hours.
- Unspecified times for pool and beach service by wait staff.
- In-room minibar with beers, soft drinks, juices, and bottled water (no wines or liquors).
- Rooms are serviced daily.
- Unspecified theme parties.
- All taxes and gratuities.
- Free Wi-Fi.
According to the main Secrets webpage, the “Unlimited Luxury” amenities at Secrets includes:
- Unlimited Drinks and Dining.
- 24-hour Room Service.
- Pool & Beach Wait Service.
- Best-in-Class Service.
- Endless Entertainment.
The best way to determine precisely what is offered at a Secrets resort is to scour online reviews for the property you think you’d like to book. Honest reviewers will give you a great idea of what to expect.
We were also eager to discover what’s meant by “Endless Entertainment.” Online reviewers frequently mention that there are excellent entertainers poolside at Secrets Resorts and poolside activities daily.
The Secrets website also mentions spa treatments, kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing, as well as art, dance, and cooking classes.
Still, because these aren’t specifically noted as being “Unlimited Luxury” inclusions, you might have to ask what activities are an additional cost.
What Is Included in a Stay at Secrets Impressions?
Secrets Impressions are two special all-suite properties in Cancun, Mexico (Secrets Impression Isla Mujeres is opening May 26, 2023).
These resorts look extraordinary, and the webpage mentions super-special inclusions called “Endless Privileges”:
- You can arrange pre-arrivals with the Secrets Impressions team to eliminate a firm check-in time.
- You can design your itinerary for the day with your butler.
- You can experience white-linen room service around the clock in your suite.
- Your in-room bar fridge is stocked with premium wines.
- If you choose to exercise in your suite, in-room fitness equipment may be available.
Either of these two properties could be a spectacular location for a destination wedding.
We selected four nights in January 2024 to get an idea of the costs:
- A Junior King Suite starts at $5,032.00, and an Oceanfront Honeymoon Suite is $17,608 for several nights.
- Wedding packages with a wedding officiant are an add-on and range from $3,400 to $26,000.
That’s definitely a luxury price tag!
Let’s take a closer look at how destination wedding packages compare between Secrets and Sandals.
Secrets vs. Sandals for Your Destination Wedding
We know that planning a destination wedding comes with very real pressures!
That’s why we were happy to discover that wedding planning services are available at both Secrets and Sandals.
Planning a Wedding at Secrets
Wedding Packages at Secrets are listed on one page, which is handy as a reference link. There are four wedding package options and one package for eloping couples.
Here are some things to note:
- The most affordable “Weddings in Paradise” option is either $999 (or complimentary, but it doesn’t specify what grants you a complimentary wedding).
- “Weddings in Paradise” are “symbolic” and don’t include a minister.
- The planning page includes a contact form link to provide details for your wedding and request a follow-up.
- A wedding guide is available to download with more details on all Secrets wedding packages.
- Wedding venues at Secrets include garden settings, beach settings, a wedding gazebo, an oceanfront deck, or a ballroom—no specifics as to what resort offers what venues.
There is no wedding package page at Sandals. But that means more choices to plan your destination wedding with your budget in mind!
Planning a Wedding at Sandals
Here are some things to note:
- Sandals Destination Weddings is a fantastic starting point with full details on what is included at every Sandals wedding (a non-denominational minister officiates all weddings, so your marriage is legal everywhere).
- Click Wedding Venues for all wedding locations at Sandals properties, including exclusive Over-the-Water Wedding Chapels, a semi-private Oceanfront Skydeck, a private Garden Resort Chapel, a European-inspired Garden Wedding, and a boho fabulous Beach Wedding!
- Click Wedding Inspirations for full details and links to wedding menus, photography and videography, bridal beauty packages, and wedding decor items, including gorgeous lookbooks for your wedding ceremony and reception.
- You can even “Mix and Match” decor items according to your budget!
Sandals offers a free 5-Step Wedding Planner as well as special promotions, including Test Drive Your Wedding, where you can take a fun pre-wedding trip to your chosen Sandals resort at super-special low prices!
Secrets vs. Sandals—What Is the Best Destination Wedding Resort for You?
The most important consideration you can make in planning your destination wedding is choosing the right location to say “I Do!”
Here are our suggestions:
- Do you prefer Cancun, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean Sea, Los Cabos, or Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast? Secrets operate many beautiful properties in Mexico, as well as two resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, one in French Saint Marten, and one in Costa Rica.
- Would you prefer a quick flight from major Midwestern and East Coast hubs? Then choose a Sandals resort in The Bahamas.
- Are you looking for delicious Caribbean cuisine and plenty of culture and history? Then choose a Sandals resort in Saint Lucia, Grenada, or Barbados.
- Secrets has opened two resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica too.
- The Sandals brand started in Jamaica and there are seven Sandals in Jamaica, including the exquisite Sandals Dunn’s River opening in iconic Ocho Rios on May 24, 2023.
- Beach lovers flock to Antigua because there’s a beach for every day of the year—and Sandals Grande Antigua is located on the island’s very best beach!
- One of the newest resorts in the Sandals family is Sandals Royal Curaçao on an intimate island in the Leeward Antilles, featuring breathtaking beachside honeymoon bungalows with private pools!
Whatever you do, don’t be shy about making wedding inquiries at a Sandals or Secrets resort. Investigate any promotions and specials for destination wedding groups, and have fun planning one of the best days of your life!