17 JAN 2017: It’s the waterbaby of waterbabies. Forget about flying around the world for over the water villa vacays. Take a short flight instead and get ready to soak in a Caribbean Nirvana like no other.

In the burgeoning luxury travel market industry insiders agree a key deal closer is offering affluent travellers bucket list worthy unique experiences. Sandals’ spectacular Over The Water Villas which debuted in Montego Bay, Jamaica this past December is the Caribbean’s only and first of its kind to hit these turquoise waters. Judging by the full house, the five villas available for reservations are booked solid but thankfully there will be more on the way.

As soon as the plane lands at Sangster International Airport guests are fast tracked through security. For hotel transfers there is a fleet of BMW Seven Series sedans.

If that’s not enough, guests bypass the usual check-in at the Sandals Royal Caribbean, home of the new over the water villas, for a private water taxi transfer that whisks them to the resort’s private island pier by an electric eco-friendly boat from California called the Royal Duffy. There amid the turquoise sparkling waters and a wondrous blue Caribbean sky, heaven and earth meet. The personal butler checks in the guest via a tablet and already knows if they prefer chilled wine or bubbly Champagne in this adults-only Caribbean paradise.

You feel like you are a million miles away, but really it’s more like a Jamaican minute from the mainland distractions. A private butler is able to plan island excursions and virtually anything underneath the Caribbean sun.

Strong Product Demand

Now if your client wishes to try this luxe all-included experience anytime soon, think again. “You know my sister was just giving me a hard time, she can’t even get a room,” Sandals CEO, Adam Stewart, tells Travel Industry Today of the soaring success of the hotel company’s new concept in which bookings have been presold 18 months in advance for the $3000 nightly stay.

Inspired by his personal honeymoon to the Maldives, these five secluded over the water villas which cost under US$9-million dollars have been regarded by SRI as the most expensive project ever done in the Caribbean.

What began as architectural plans seven years ago, today offers the next level in the VIP guest experience incorporating the freshest trends from tub preferences to bigger freestanding closets using only the best of the best butlers in the two butlers per villa scenario.

Designed in-house by HPI senior designer Sarah Hartman, each villa represents one of the feng shui elements from earth to water. Built atop 18 pylons using sustainable materials, the sturdy structures can withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Sheltered by a reef, guests can leave their private deck and walk into the shallow sea. The suites are angled to provide complete privacy from the neighbouring villas.

Do Not Disturb

The electronically controlled ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is available anytime in this self-contained world.

The spacious 2,000 sq. ft. villas have a special door for butler access along with a unique section for food and beverage pick-ups so the butler doesn’t disrupt guests during daily room maintenance. The suites include a fully stocked kitchen and fridge refreshed daily. Customized menus can be cooked on-site and any type of cuisine is available around the clock. Guests enjoy a House of Marley sound system and receive a welcome gift including a branded beach tote and towel set, free Wi-Fi and more.

The modern bedroom styled in chic furniture has hardwood floors and a sea-facing custom-made king-sized bed. Unique elements include warm wooden pendants and underwater art pieces to mirrored and metallic accents. A narrow glass vision floor is imbedded for marine life viewing but come nightfall, smart LED sensor lighting automatically illuminates the glass floor emitting a whole new vibe. Motion sensory lighting is used in the luxurious bathroom too.

The exquisite bathroom in mosaic tiles contains a deep soaker tub, a his and hers sink, a walk-in rain shower that leads outside to two private rain showers. The wooden deck is has a sun lounger, infinity pool, a tranquility soaking tub and over-water hammocks.

“It’s a resort where people spend more time in their rooms. I know if I was in one of those suites I would never leave. It’s your own private world,” says Tim Croyle, vice-president and general manager of WestJet Vacations days before I arrived to the villas.

“We always pioneer,” smiles Stewart, as the sun sets in this magical aspirational getaway made for two.

Due to the strong demand agents can expect an additional 12 over the water villas at the Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica to open in March. Don’t be surprised by the configuration either. The seaworthy villas - like the Sandals signature in selling holidays and romance - cluster around a heart shaped village.

Sandals Over-the-Water Suites



Sandals Over the Water Villas
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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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