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"Pretty Incredible"

The Bahamas Review

A Sandals Resorts expert, Yasmina Cherquaoui spent many years working with Sandals to ensure customers experienced only the finest stays in the Caribbean. She knows a thing or two about these resorts, so we asked her a few questions to illuminate these island stays...

Which is your favourite island and why?

This is such a tough one!!! It’s like choosing between an apple crumble and chocolate fondant. If you twist my arm, I would have to say Jamaica. I love that the moment you get off the plane you know you are in Jamaica, you can feel the pulse of the island, the vibrancy of the people - the music, culture and food are the cherry on the cake.  Plus Jamaicans are some of the friendliest and funniest people you will meet. The island itself has everything I love, the idyllic white sand beaches with turquoise waters and the interior Is the perfect playground for adventure with waterfalls, rivers and mountains to explore.

What’s your personal favourite resort and why?

Ok so I think I am going to have to say Sandals Emerald Bay, im slightly biased as I lived in the Bahamas. I’m a beach bum and it has the most amazing mile long beach with sand as soft as icing sugar! The Exuma chain of islands is magical, if you like water, it is heaven. The sea is so clear and blue; you have to remove your sunglasses to check it’s not a filter (it’s not!) It is also home to the swimming pigs and there is nothing more memorable than a day on a boat followed by a paddle with a family of pigs and a swim with the local nurse sharks.

What does a typical day look like at a sandals resort?

For me; it involves waking up and hitting a buffet (you just can’t beat a buffet breakfast!). Starting with salt fish and ackee with fried dumpling followed by my body weight in pancakes. I will then roll down to the beach to catch some rays. I am a keen scuba diver so would head to a local reef or join one of the daily snorkelling trip. By then it’s time for lunch which has to be on one of our private islands looking out to sea. In the afternoon I would either have a water-skiing lesson or do a sunset yoga class and then have a massage in one of our beach gazebos. Finishing the day off, dining under the stars listening to one of the reggae bands whilst sipping on a cocktail.

What’s your favourite restaurant and why?

I will have to choose one of our restaurants with an incredible view overlooking the beach. Sushi in the Sand at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica is pretty incredible!

What makes Sandals unique in the Caribbean?

Sandals are innovators. Our Chairman and Founder is the most inspirational person I have ever met. He is constantly striving to improve and be the best. If you enjoy food, then you are in for a treat. Sandals Resorts have up to 14 restaurants serving every cuisine you can imagine. The suites are pretty out of this world too. You won’t find anywhere else in the Caribbean with over the water suites built off a private island or infinity pools on balconies!

What has been your most exciting experience at the resort?

I would say having a Jacuzzi in the middle of the night when the resort is sleeping is pretty exciting. The stars are incredible and it is so peaceful

What’s the most indulgent moment you’ve had at a Sandals resort?

I was lucky enough to have a butler and after a busy day of meetings and being on my feet all day, he checked my schedule and when I got back to my suite he had run a rose petal bubble bath with a bottle of champagne on ice, candles flickering and chilled reggae music playing….shame I was on my own! I also have a habit of having a post lunch – pre dinner ‘snack’ of pizza from our Italian pizza ovens.

What kind of person would love a Sandals resort?

I think anyone who really enjoys food and choice. The choice to do as much or as little as you like. If you are a beach lover, you won’t find better than the clear turquiose waters and white glistening sand, if you like adventure whether it’s on resort with the watersports team or on an Island Routes excursions exploring the islands – you’ll never be bored. It’s also great for those that don’t like carrying a wallet! Everything is included.

What resort is on your bucket list?

Sandals Royal Barbados opening December 2017. All Concierge and Butler Suites, I cannot wait to swim in the rooftop pool!

Where is the most Instagram friendly pool, and why?

I would say that it doesn’t get much better than a Skypool suite at Sandals La Source Grenada. Each suite has an infinity pool on the balcony overlooking the beach The view is incredible and completely private!