Spot Cool Stuff: Travel

The Best Sandals Resort in Jamaica

Which is the best Sandals resort in Jamaica?

That was the seemingly simple question we set out to answer when we first began to research the review article you are currently reading.

Sandals, as you may know, is a chain of all-inclusive beach resorts with properties in a handful of Caribbean countries including St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Grenada and Antigua. The country with more Sandals resorts than any other — there are seven altogether — is Jamaica.

But which of those seven Sandals should I choose for my vacation? you might be asking.

With that specific question in mind — and with a skeptical view of Sandals in general — Spot Cool Stuff visited all our their all-inclusive resorts on during our last trip to Jamaica. Here’s what we found:

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Plane Spotting, Caribbean-Style

Ah, to be on a beach in the Caribbean. The sun. The sand. The clear blue waters. The roar of airplanes. The smell of engine fuel. The danger of jet blasts.

There can be a fine line between a travel experience that’s cool and one that is perilous. At Mahó beach, on the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten’s, that line is about 12 meters wide. That’s the distance between the vacationers on the beach and the start of the main runway at Princess Juliana International Airport.

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Guten Tag, Treehouse Hotel

This being Germany, every treehouse includes a beer-filled mini bar

Ever since we published our selection of places that resemble a Dr. Seuss illustration we’ve regretted leaving certain hotels off our list. Like this one: the funky, arboreal Baumhaus Hotel in Neißeaue, Germany.

Baumhaus is a sort of woodsy-themed adventure park with eight different treehouses that can be rented for the night. Each treehouse is multistoried, each is perched 8 to 10 meters (26 to 33 feet) above the ground and accommodates 4 to 6 people. Rates include breakfast and use of the adventure park grounds. This being Germany, every treehouse also includes a beer-filled mini bar.

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5 In-America-Only Cultural Travel Activities

A joke we overheard in a coffee shop in Italy:

Question: What’s the difference between yogurt and the United States of America?

Answer: Yogurt has culture.

Okay, maybe that’s a little funny. The problem is, it isn’t true. The United States is full of culture. It isn’t as gourmet as, say, Italy. Nor is it as old as China or as enveloping as India, or as snobby as France. But it most certainly is there. American culture is diverse, interesting, and, we’d argue, it’s one of the most fun national cultures on the planet.

Want proof? Below is our recommendation for five distinctly American cultural experiences that you are unlikely to find written up in any guidebook.

Note: For this post we only considered experiences that are available across the country. Anything that’s exclusive to a specific ethnic group or region — attending Burning Man in Nevada or eating gumbo in New Orleans or getting yelled at by a taxi driver in New York City, for instance — was disqualified. We also nixed holiday events, like the 4th of July American Independence Day.

While this post was written with non-American travelers in mind, those from the United States may also gain some travel tips by reading on . . .

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