Pool at Sandals Dunns River in Jamaica.

Sandals Dunn’s River Review: A Top Destination for Luxury Travel

If you are looking for a tropical paradise vacation set on the pristine north coast of Jamaica, look no further than Sandals Dunn’s River. This beachfront luxury resort is set in a stunning environment in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and offers all the amenities you can dream of.

I visited Sandals Dunn’s River in November and it was a perfect time to head to this newly renovated property. Temperatures averaged around 83 degrees and I enjoyed 11 hours of sunshine each day. 

Here’s an honest Sandals Dunn’s River review that includes everything you should know if you’re thinking of staying at this beautiful resort too. From the type of suites and rooms to the customer service, I cover everything in detail.

Sandals Dunn’s River: Overview

Sandals Dunns River resort with the sea in the background.
  • Five-star luxury resort
  • Beachfront property
  • 12 restaurants
  • 9 bars
  • 5 pools & 2 river pools
  • Fitness center & spa
  • Unlimited watersports
  • Access to the Sandals Upton Estate Golf & Country Club
  • 90 minutes from the Montego Bay Airport

A remarkable $100 million renovation has transformed this idyllic beachfront property into a five-star luxury resort. You have your choice of villas, suites with balcony sky pools and soaking tubs, restaurants, bars, unlimited watersports, and a million-dollar view of the Caribbean Ocean.

Set on 25 acres, the site of this lush property was handpicked by Sandals Founder Butch Stewart 31 years ago because of its beautiful stretch of white sand beach.

The vibe of Sandals Dunn’s River is so welcoming. As you enter the property, you’ll come upon a beautiful village of thatch roof Rondovals. We were soon beckoned by The BLUM Coffee Shop which helps you celebrate the ritual of the morning coffee experience. You will read more about this later in this post.

Interior of Sandals Dunns River Resort.
The lobby

When you walk into the two-story, open-air lobby to check in, you immediately see the expansive Caribbean Ocean that invites you into this luxurious hotel. Large columns in the lobby are draped in moss and you will find Jamaican-inspired landscapes that have been created by local artist Amy Laskin here as well.

Interesting artwork by Ammoy Smith dots the area and you’ll experience her love for nature through fabrics, weaves, and non-loom techniques. Award-winning design studio Plant the Future also has added its iconic moss artwork to public areas and has made it an interesting gallery of sorts for art lovers.

Jamaica’s laid-back style is all about relaxation and rejuvenation and Sandals’ new indoor and outdoor design makes it even more spectacular. The stunning shades of blue and green in the Caribbean Sea feel like they blend into the pools that span the entire area between the ocean and the resort.

Sandals Dunns River in Jamaica.

History of Sandals Dunn’s River

From as early as the 1950s travelers were drawn to Ocho Rios and its beautiful unblemished beaches. The iconic Arawak Hotel was unlike any other and helped put Jamaica on the map.

Fast forward to the early 1990s when Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who grew up on the beaches of Jamaica, decided to create the original Sandals Dunn’s River. His desire was to create a place where people could go and experience the beauty of Jamaica in an all-inclusive luxury resort.

While many upgrades were made to the resort, the Stewarts strived to keep certain qualities the same. This is why they left some of the hotel’s most distinctive designs untouched. 

In 2020 a plan to upgrade the Sandals Dunn’s River resort was born. Father and son worked together to accomplish this goal. The Stewarts had a vision for what this new, upgraded resort would look like and they knew there were certain aspects that they wanted to remain the same.

Architectural designs that were popular back then, such as entering a lobby and seeing the pool out back and angling hotel towers so the ocean was a focal point, were preserved in the new resort. 

Suites and Rooms

Suite with pool at Sandals Dunns River in Jamaica.

If you are searching for a reimagined and refined type of resort experience, Sandals has totally elevated and innovated the hospitality industry at this property. 

There are 14 room categories with three levels to choose from–Butler, Club Sandals, and Luxury. Each room is unique and offers different features and views.

The resort, a 260-room property, has four distinct areas of accommodations:

  • Coyaba Villas
  • Tufa Terrace 1 & 2 Beachfront
  • Mammee Bay Beachfront
  • Travertine Building Beachfront

You will find an example of a suite in each of these areas below.

Check out the current specials at all Sandals resorts.

Coyaba Sky Villa

Coyaba Sky Villa Swim-up Rondoval Butler Suite w/ Private Pool Sanctuary at Sandals in Jamaica.
Photo credit: Sandals

Imagine staying in a luxurious villa that is designed like a round native hut in South Africa. Sandals Dunn’s River offers an entire Rondoval Village with many options for a Coyaba Rondoval Suite.

Open-air terraces, rooftop hideaways, tranquility soaking tubs for two, and private pools just a step away from your bedroom make this the ultimate getaway for couples. 

Plus, you get your own butler who will take care of your every need. We are talking about total relaxation while enjoying a king-size bed, HD Smart TV, an in-room bar stocked with premium liquors, and plush outdoor furniture.

Tufa Terrace Swim-up

Tufa Terrace Swim-up One Bedroom Butler Suite w/ Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub at Sandals.
Photo credit: Sandals

When you book one of these special suites in the Tufa Terrace, you can choose from beachfront, oceanview, or pool-view accommodations. These suites are located on the ground floor and are absolutely innovative in design. 

From your suite, you can enjoy ocean views from your personal patio. It has its zero-entry swim-up pool which also features a tranquility soaking tub and bistro dining set.

The suite includes a living room, seating area plus a large bedroom with a king-sized bed, HD Smart TV, double sink vanity in the bathroom, and walk-in shower.

In addition, you have a personal butler at your call, 24-hour in-room dining, and premium liquors in a fully stocked bar.

Mammee Bay Beachfront

Mammee Bay Beachfront One Bedroom Butler Suite w/ Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub.
Photo credit: Sandals

Fantastic beachfront and ocean-view suites can be booked in this area of the resort. Private balconies with privacy curtains come adorned with a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two.

You can enjoy coffee and breakfast at your bistro dining set on the balcony…all compliments of your butler service. 

Accommodations include a living room with a sofa, a large bedroom with a king-sized bed, and HD Smart TV.

Luxury amenities will surely delight you. You will have a spa-type bathroom featuring a walk-in shower and vanity with dual sinks. And, of course, 24-hour in-room dining is included as well.

Travertine Beachfront

Travertine Beachfront Club Level Room w/ Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub.
Photo credit: Sandals

The Travertine Building encompasses the lobby area so these accommodations are dead center on the property. 

Since these are exclusive Club Sandals rooms, you get a dedicated concierge to make dining reservations and secure any special requests you may have.

You can choose from beachfront, oceanfront, ocean view, or pool rooms. With this type of accommodation, your balcony will have a spectacular view of Jamaica’s white sand beach and come with a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two and a bistro dining table and chairs.

These rooms offer a king-sized bed, an HD Smart TV, and a plush sofa chair. The bathrooms are large and feature a walk-in shower, dual sink with a vanity as well as a make-up table. Plus, a stocked bar is offered.

Click here for last-minute deals at Sandals Resorts.

Food and Beverages

Jerk Shack at Sandals Dunns River.
Jerk Shack, my favorite restaurant at Sandals Dunn’s River

One aspect that truly stands out at Sandals Dunn’s River is its elevated food and beverage offerings. Guests can indulge in a culinary journey like no other, with world-class dining options that cater to every palate and preference. From gourmet cuisine to casual beachside fare, there is something to delight every guest at this resort.

Typically a resort this size which accommodates a maximum of 560 guests would have around six restaurants. However, Sandals Dunn’s River offers unlimited fine dining at 12 dining concepts. There’s Asian fusion, Edessa’s Greek Cuisine, the L’Amande French Restaurant, Hanami Sushi, plus many more. 

My favorite though remains The Jerk Shack. While in Jamaica, there’s nothing better than eating Caribbean fare. I absolutely love jerk chicken and dining casually by the ocean while enjoying a Red Stripe beer. The beachside Jerk Shack also offers whole fresh red snapper!

BLUM Coffee Shop at Sandals Dunns River.
BLUM Coffee Shop

For coffee connoisseurs, you’ll find Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, some of the best in the world, at the BLUM Coffee Shop. Because it’s grown high in the lush mountains with the perfect microclimate, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is considered some of the most refined in the world. It’s characterized by its smooth acidity and creamy, silky sweetness. When we arrived mid-morning, we enjoyed our first sip of this freshly brewed coffee and delicious pastries that were baked on the property.

As with other Sandals all-inclusive properties, you have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anytime snacks, unlimited premium liquors, 9 bars and a swim-up bar, a stocked bar in every room plus unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks® Wines.

Hospitality and Customer Service

Staff at Sandals Dunns River in Jamaica.
Hospitality and customer service is phenomenal

What sets Sandals Dunn’s River apart from the rest is its unwavering commitment to customer service and attention to detail.

From the moment guests arrive until they bid farewell, every aspect of their stay is carefully curated to ensure maximum comfort and satisfaction. The staff goes above and beyond to anticipate needs and provide personalized service that exceeds expectations.

When I stayed at Sandals Ochi, I loved the friendliness of the entire staff. I believe the Jamaican people are outwardly warm and welcoming.


Sandals One of the pools with the sea in the background at Sandals Dunns River in Jamaica.

Pools have a unique way to bring people together and the Dunn’s River main pools do not disappoint. These are actually two curvy pools connected by a lazy river.

There’s a plethora of options where you can sunbathe. Even at full capacity, there are plenty of chairs with umbrellas, pool floaties, and covered cabanas. Both pools have infinity edges and offer an unbelievable view of the ocean while being literally steps away from the beach.

There are five pools in total at Sandals Dunn’s River. Another popular one is the pool with a volleyball net, where people can engage in water sports.


Sandals Dunn’s River offers unlimited watersports, so this is not a place where you will get bored easily.

From waterskiing, paddleboarding, and tubing to snorkeling and scuba diving, choice is abundant at this resort.

Spa Services

All Sandals properties offer a Red Lane Spa complete with fitness classes and top-of-the-line equipment.

A sampling at Dunn’s River includes couples stretching, power walking, private personal training, Tabata interval training, aqua fitness, Caribbean beach shred, ‘Jammin cardio blast, kickboxing, absolute abs, and aqua tabata.


 The Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica.
Dunn’s River Falls

When it comes to excursions, you can head to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, climb to the famous Dunn’s River Falls, go horseback riding, admire the Luminous Lagoon, or go river rafting on the Martha Brae River.

My favorite excursion was the one to Dunn’s River Falls just a couple of miles away. It’s 960 feet of pure fun. While you’re making the hour-long trek, you can splash around in several of the lagoons along the way while you explore the crevices and natural pools of water created by the rapid water currents.

This is a refreshing experience and definitely one to add to your bucket list. You can book this excursion through Trip Advisor.

It’s interesting to note that the natural reserves of Dunn’s River Falls are actually the source of all the water that you see at Sandals Dunn’s River, from the waterfalls in the lobby to the Red Lane Spa’s cascading pools.

Evening Entertainment

Like all of Sandals’ resorts, Sandals Dunn’s River offers plenty of nightly entertainment. This includes live shows, beach parties, talent shows, and theme nights.

Sandals Dunns River in Jamaica.

Why Golfers Love Sandals Dunn’s River

For golf enthusiasts, Sandals Dunn’s River is a dream come true. Just like Sandals Royal Plantation and Sandals Ochi, Sandals Dunn’s Rivers offers access to the Sandals Upton Estate Golf and Country Club 30 minutes away. 

Complimentary green fees and transportation are offered. However, there is a charge of $30 for a golf cart and $25 for a caddie. Titleist rental clubs and a sleeve of ProV1 balls cost $75.

Although the course doesn’t offer stunning ocean views, the 6,404-yard course gets pretty high marks in terms of having scenic, hilly views and challenging holes due to the doglegs.

Recent reviews on TripAdvisor offer these comments: the caddies are excellent, good elevation changes, well-maintained course with varied terrain. The Clubhouse has a nice bar up top and the pro shop offers nice merchandise.

Common sitting space at Sandals Dunns River.

Sandals Dunn’s River Review: Final Thoughts

One of the reasons so many people choose Sandals is because it simplifies budgeting and planning with its all-inclusive package. All tips, taxes, and gratuities are included.

Your roundtrip airport transfers are part of your package and WiFi is included in your room, villa, and all common areas.

In conclusion, Sandals Dunn’s River has truly redefined luxury hospitality with its recent transformation. With top-notch amenities, exquisite dining experiences, exceptional golf opportunities, and unmatched customer service, this resort sets a new standard for excellence in the industry.

I hope that this Sandals Dunn’s River review will help you make up your mind about whether this resort is the right place for you. I sure love the place!

>> Find Luxurious Travel Deals at Sandals. Book your vacation deal here.

Jenny Lynn on a Journey Travel Blog contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate marketing programs. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.

>> Read next: Sandals Ochi Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica: A Complete Review

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