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“Seasoned Sandals traveler; okay property” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort

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Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Ocho Rios, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #7 of 39 hotels in Ocho Rios
Powhatan, VA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Seasoned Sandals traveler; okay property”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

If you have read all the other reviews, I won't repeat the distance, bus ride, etc. This is our 11th trip to a sandals property but the first to SGR. I will say we did book for next year, but truly only b/c of prices quoted for next Jan. ('14). I am a little taken back at the percentage increase for next year, which made our favorite properties out of the budget so back to SGR we will go. There are worse places to be, like at home in winter and at work.
Our ride was great. We didn't stop and made it to the resort in about 90 minutes with little traffic.
Check in was smooth and our group was a little split up over the riviera side. That ended up being okay b/c we were able to view other room categories as well. Apparantly we got an upgrade (in the "cottages"), but I think only b/c of the privacy. As repeat guests, I think they try to do that, but it ended up being a small room in a good location. That is the only way I think they can call it an upgrade. No worries, the AC was fine, it was small but all we need it for is a hot shower, sleep and well...fill in the blank, hell it is vacation, right!?
The gifts on the bed upon arrival are always a nice touch welcoming us back. :)
The return guest dinner was good but not great, as is my comment with most of the food. It is all edible, but nothing I ate made me say I have to eat that again. Nothing awful either. Breakfast was by far my personal favorite.
The chocolate buffet was a great finish to the return guest event. The entertainment for that was very good. We missed most of the shows, but the ampitheatre is very large and clean. Try to catch the steel drum band, they rocked it!
I did think Sandals is cutting corners on the options at the beach buffet and other small details that aren't present anywhere here.
Not mentioned in other reviews I read was that each side has the spa. The one up at the manor was nicer I thought and I am still kicking myself for not using all of our credit!
I thought it was a much better perk to have the return guest credit as a resort credit NOT spa credit that way we both can enjoy it. Hubby isn't going to use spa services...are you kidding?
We were disappointed that the catamaran wasn't going the first 3 days we were there b/c of choppy seas, etc. So no excursions for us this trip, that was the only one we were interested in.
Our favorite part of the resort was the sundowner deck/bar. The night bartender Basil was awesome and the cute little waitress there was great. Many of our nights started and ended there.
As mentioned in other reviews,the pools are cool and in January can be cold when the sun isn't out. Oh, yes it did rain a few times and one FULL day of our trip, but again we are in JA and not at home so it was okay.
There was no lack of finding shade b/c I am a sun seeker and the other half isn't. TONS of nooks and crannies to nap or whatever. Found a great hammock that was always empty. The new ochi beach club is beautiful, but the music selection there ruined it for me. After a 1/2 of a day we never parked it there again and hung at the pool near the ampitheatre or up the hill. Only tried the pier the last day and was sorry I waited until then. Mostly sunny on the pier all day unlike other areas that shade over. Hillside pool was great until it rained and then was slippery to get to cover! The grill and jerk pit up on that side was very good, although the staff was a bit short.
The gardens are beautiful and the ponds scattered around are well stocked. Try to "pet" the fish near the Riviera building on the top of her head and watch her fins dance. So funny!
We did use the Soon Come Back desk to book our return, but as mentioned back to SGR b/c of prices being crazy higher at our other choices. Tyrone came in on his day off to assist my hubby book us and two other couples at home and the other 2 rooms of couples there with us. It took longer than expected b/c the Sandals Bank of America card isn't very easy to redeem, but now we know; call Sandals customer service FIRST and they make the transaction happen and call World points with the card...that was a waste of 2 hours that we won't get back on vacation...AUGH. I truly was ready to cancel the card, but knowing the proper channels to go now hopefully will make it easier. All for $300 off our vacation from the points that were built up I guess was worth the time.
The watersports guys are usually very friendly, but we only found a few this trip. Nemo is great and I hope he is there when we go back.
I don't anticipate changing resorts unless we find a special that really knocks the prices down.
As usual, the perks in the room are nice: the red lane spa bag and products in the bathroom and the fridge stocked.
A ++++ to housekeeping. Best by far of all of our Sandals stays. We happened to be seated with Maylene at the return guest dinner and only saw her once after and I wish i could tell her how awesome housekeeping was!
Food is a personal opinion but I will definitely NOT return to bayside on the riviera side in the evening...worst food and service of he trip...nothing that ruined our vacaiton, but really? BAD. Someone had made a positive comment about Wayne, and I thought he was the only staff member we met who made me want to never return. I thought he was rude!
If you have traveled before to JA, we noticed more changes at the airport. When arriving, there is another opening to get to immigration, a way we have never entered that area. It may not be new but we were used to the long walk and coming down the ramp, this time we entered on the same level and came around the corner to the lines. Interesting...
When leaving, we flew Delta...some airlines are now collecting the departure cards and there is no stamp when leaving the country...also made us go hhmmm?
Many of the stores rotate in duty free and have moved around and in a short amount of time b/c we were there in July. Frustrating trying to find your favorite store and it is moved! LOL
Back to SGR: it was helpful to view the newsletter for the next day but it wasn't delivered to our room consistantly so I just picked it up in the lobby of the riviera building. I don't think the lobby is really used b/c the other building with all the resorts, etc is more of another lobby with TV's and pool tables.
No purchases this time from the photo shop. Again higher prices and I don't think there were any pictures worth purchasing.
Kudos to some staff we absolutely loved and can't wait to see again:
Kenroy in the Reef Terrace and bayside breakfast
Natassia - great soon to be butler!! She took great care of us during her training and we didn't even pay for a butler room
Nemo - as mentioned, great water sports guy
Bishop & Basil - best bartenders (honorable mention to Jermaine)
Tyrone - soon come back...i know we were a pain to book (7 rooms total and only 3 couples that were on property)
Wish I could remember our housekeepers name, Danette? She was very good! :)
All in all a good vacation. Next year switching to hill side; we liked the feel of the pool and space up there on the hill...it is only a 3 minute ride to the other side.
Have too many pics to post; message me if you want deets on any area or have questions!
IRIE

Room Tip: Cottages are very close to the lobby; riviera building is good but Jamie's at night can make sle...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Ennismore, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

Let me just start by saying that the day before your departure from Sandals you get a departure package delivered to your room. The first sentence in the letter is as follows: "We trust you have had the time of your lives." Bold statement? Indeed. Completely accurate? Absolutely.

I will provide brief overviews on our views of the resort, as a Canadian couple in our late 20's/early 30's traveling for relaxation/fun. We traveled from Jan. 6 - 14, 2013.

This was our first time to Jamaica and first time at a Sandals resort. We are now hooked. The high level of service starts when you get off the plane and get to take advantage of the Sandals departure lounge while the porters take care of your bags. This gives you an opportunity to change into more climate-appropriate clothing. The bus ride to the resort is 2 hours but if you have fun people on your bus it goes quick. We asked our driver to stop at a store to pick up a case of Red Stripe which was enjoyed by all.

The resort is immaculate. Every surface is clean and well cared for. The grounds are beautiful and the ground keepers are always out and about and very friendly.

House keeping is equally beautiful. Our room was cleaned twice a day. Once in the morning after breakfast and once after we left for dinner. There was no musty smell in our room like reported in other reviews. We were able to adjust our room temperature to whatever suited us. We stayed on the beach side in one of the room complexes near the lobby and had a lovely patio overlooking the garden and a pond. Our bed was comfortable and everything was very well maintained.

Food is incredible and met the expectations we develpoed from the reviews we read before we left. The variety is great and it is very easy to get into the restaurants that you want. We ate at many of them and enjoyed them all for various reasons. I personally enjoyed the beach BBQ for the food as well as the atmosphere. The grilled lobster tails were cooked beyond perfection. I won't go into great food detail as I see many other reviews do that.

The beaches were wonderful. We found that the surf was rough on most days but that didn't stop most people from swimming. It did stop the water sports from going out though, which was disappointing as we had booked a few trips (they were refunded easily).

We made the trip to the "other side" to the big pool twice, but enjoyed our side more. The pools are clean and well cared for. The hot tub got a bit grimy toward the end, but people were bringing in sand on their feet and spilling drinks, etc.

Pool chairs and beach chairs were easy to come by, unlike some resorts where all the chairs are taken by 10am.

There were lots of nooks with private hot tubs and lots of lounge beds all over the resort. It is very easy to see that this is a couples resort. You can truly connect with your partner and enjoy all that the resort has to offer.

Now on to our favorite aspect of the trip and the part that sold us on Sandals from now on; the staff.

I have read many reviews that comment on the high level of service from the staff and went so far as to mention names. I usually passed this off but after our experience I feel the need to do the same.

On our first night we attempted to go to Kelly's Dockside for dinner. This particular restaurant needs a reservation, which we did not have (we skipped orientation and did not review the restaurant list, so it was our bad). The manager was in the process of politely turning us away when a server, Clarke, came over and whisked us away to a beautiful table. He took such wonderful care of us and provided such exceptional service it really made our night (we would have easily gone to another restaurant without complaint). We woke the next morning still impacted by this outstanding service.

We were then hooked on Kelly's for our pre-dinner beverage routine. The bartenders there, Nigel, Ramone and Damion, were always happy, helpful and professional. They shared with us the history of the country, interesting facts, and other fun stories as well as giving us room to enjoy ourselves.

One night we had reservations at Kimono's which we were so excited for! When we sat at the bar at Kimono's I suddenly got very light-headed and felt very unwell. We left without eating and went back to our room. I told my finance I would be fine so he went for a drink down at Kelly's. He told Clarke I was not feeling well and so without request, sent my fiance back to the room with a fillet mignon, potatoes and vegetables for me. I felt so well taken care of by the the staff and was back to myself in the morning. I cannot say enough about Clarke. If you get the chance to meet him you are very fortunate.

The beach servers and lifeguards are also worth noting: Monique is a wonderful beach front server. She is quick, friendly and always smiling. Shawn/Sean (sp?) is a great guy who will reserve seats for you and ensure you have fresh towels.

The photographers are also worth commenting on. The make you feel comfortable and confident. The photos they take are well thought out and professional. We ended up buying a package of 15 from them at the end and are easily the best photo's from our vacation.

We took advantage of the spa service and enjoyed that as well. Next time we will probably get a massage waterside instead of in the spa though.

In the evenings after dinner we usually returned to Kelly's for a drink then proceeded to Jamie's Bar to join the party. After we finished there, right next door is a lovely "snack shack" that's open late. They have serve-yourself nacho's and amazing jerk chicken! We never went without food or beverage.

Without a doubt, this is the best vacation we have had so far. We really look forward to exploring more Sandal's resorts, my fiance also talks of getting married at a Sandals resort, but that is an ongoing discussion...

Happy travels!

Room Tip: Beach side is busier than the mountain side and has more amenities (beach, restaurants, bars). Mount...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glenboro, Manitoba, Canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

We have been to a few resorts, but this one by far exceeded our expectations. From the time you get off the plane to the time you go home, Sandals looks after you so well. The trip is a little long once you have been on a plane for 5 hours and then a 2 hour bus trek, but so worth it once you are there. The staff right from the gentlemen that greet you at the front of the resort to the people serving you are the most friendly hard working people we have ever seen. You could ask for nothing more in a vacation. Do as much as you want to do , or sit on the beach and soak up the Jamaican rays, its your call. If you like to be pampered check out the spa facilities on both the riviera side and at the Great house. Both are exceptional. We travelled as a group of 14 and there was never a problem getting reservations ahead for our group. Wayne at the Bayside resteraunt is a great fellow who makes you feel like family but works really hard to make your dining experience the very best it can be. I would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a do as much or as little as you want experience!

Room Tip: we stayed in room 3210 and you didn't hear any of the music and nightly activities we slept like...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

This was our second time to Jamaica and also our second time staying at a Sandals resort. We booked a 10-day vacation from January 4th - January 14th for our honeymoon. We travel every January because the weather is usually perfect.

AIRPORT/TRANSFER TO RESORT:

As usual, it is always great to hang out in the Sandals lounge at the MoBay airport while waiting for your transfer. One of the main reasons why we are going to continue booking with Sandals is because it is hassle-free. No confusion, exceptional treatment and service from the second you step off the plane, and of course... complimentary Red Stripe beer on tap while waiting in your lounge!
The bus ride to the resort was approximately an hour and a half. If you get to ride during the daytime, then it's a very interesting drive. Lots to see and take pictures of along the way! The bus will also stop at a local restaurant/bar/convenience store about 45 minutes into the drive. Here you can use the washrooms, grab food/drinks etc.
You are back on the road within 10 minutes or less.

ROOM:

We normally book just a standard room, but since it was our honeymoon we upgraded to Honeymoon Concierge on the beach (Ochi side). We actually paid an extra $800 to upgrade with our travel agent. We didn't really find that it was worth it. The only extra things we had that a standard room didn't was a mini bar (vodka, rum, gin, rye, red & white wine) and a separate check-in/check-out.
Upon booking, we thought that having a bar in our room would be awesome, but really...I'd rather have a drink made for me rather than have to make it myself. The alcohol in the room was also generic/no name brands except for the Appleton rum.
We didn't spend too much time in our room anyways, to really enjoy it either...we are very social people so we went out every day and night.

The beds are very high (and my husband and I are both tall) however, they are extremely comfortable! Always got a good nights sleep! Like all Sandals resorts, they provide most Redlane bathroom toiletries.

BEACH/POOLS:

We are more pool people rather than beach bums. The beaches on this resort are VERY small, so if you are a huge beach bum, then I would not suggest this resort. We spent most of our time at the Ochi pool. We found this pool to be the livliest. They will have poolside waitresses that come by and serve you drinks, or you can get them yourself either at the bar or the swim-up bar. The pool water is very cold, but very refreshing! There was never a problem finding a few lounge chairs, as long as you are out there by 11am.
We didn't get to take much advantage of the ocean water toys as it was very choppy and rough for most of our time there.
My husband did the glass bottom boat and snorkeling...he said they were both great.

FOOD:

My absolute favourite dish was the coconut shrimp at the Mariner's Grill! I was literally addicted! Had it everyday for lunch! :)

We tried most of the a la carte restaurants while we were there. Most were a hit, some were a miss. The two we did not enjoy were Soy and Sabrina's. The sushi is, well, not good....and the lobster at Sabrina's was cooked to rubber. Possibly we just had a bad chef, as other people we talked to really enjoyed it.
Neptunes, The Reef, The Manor, Kimono's we all delicious! The preparation and love that goes into their food was great!

We had heard that Tex at Kimono's is the best chef, but we had Junior and he was hilarious and awesome! I have a feeling that no matter who you get as a chef at Kimono's that they would be great!

The snack bars were lacking good food however...we usually just stuck with fries or nachos and cheese if we needed something at 1am after the bars. My husband had a burger and he said it was very dry, along with the grilled cheese. But hey...it's the food you crave after a night of drinking!

OVERALL:

-If you are looking for a livlier atmosphere, I would book your room on the beach side. (Resort is split in two by a busy road that you need to hop into a van to get across)...the "mountain" side is extremely quiet. 90% of the restaurants, bars and entertainment are on the Ochi (beach side).

-We did not run into one disgruntled employee at the resort...everyone was so lovely and friendly and it was just so refreshing! As long as you treat them with respect and kindness, then they will do the same.

-The entertainment in the amphitheatre is mediocre. I think Sandals could definitely step it up a bit. However, the steel drum orchestra and Reggae night were very good.

-We usually hung out at Ethel's Piano Bar most nights or Jamie's Sports Bar...definitely great entertainment in both places!

-Lastly, this was a very fun resort...we loved it...we would definitely return, but would like to try Negril next time.

Room Tip: If you like entertainment and a more lively atmosphere stay on the beach side...if you like more qui...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

This was our second stay at Sandals Grande Riviera, and it was fantastic! We stayed January 12-19.

The resort is nearly 2 hours from the airport, so make good use of the Sandals Lounge in the airport before getting on the shuttle. A rest stop is offered on the way.

The resort is large; actually 3 resorts combined into one large one, with just over 500 rooms total. Manor side is across the street from the beach, but the shuttles run every few minutes, and make a constant loop of all three spots so you can move around easily.

Beach: The beach is separated into 2 parts, divided by a walkway and pier. It is well maintained, though there are some rocky areas naturally. We never saw any kind of sea debris laying around; the staff ensure everything is clean. The water in front of Jamie's Bar is probably the warmest, as it is mostly contained by the pier.

Food: Tremendous. The portions are not large, but the options are never ending, and we never left hungry. Kimonos and Kelly's Dockside are the two places you require reservations; book them early and enjoy!

Room: Our room was lovely. Small kitchenette, spacious bathroom, patio doors to the pool. Really nice!

Service: "Ya, mon!" is really the mantra. Nothing was denied. Special mention to:
RANSFORD - working on the Ochi Beach side keeping everything clean, we made an offhand comment about making something better, and he made it happen....quickly. Above and beyond what we expected, it was really appreciated. Keep up the tremendous work!

Ricardo, Michelle, Debbie-Ann and Renick at the Polo Lounge - thank you for pouring drink after drink after drink. You are some of the hardest working people we've ever seen.

Olmando, beach cabana butler - Great job. Thanks for making a perfect day relaxed and comfortable.

Bishop - you're a fantastic bartender. The Bishop Special might've been the tastiest drink ever.

Opal - thanks for the fantastic massage!

Junior (Chef Slender) - thanks for the wonderful dinner!

We rented one of the beachside butlered cabanas for the day. For $125, you get the bed cabana from 10-5, with butler. You also get 30 minutes of massage (15 mins per person). It's the perfect spot to spend a day at the beach.

It's a great resort in a great location. Go, sit back and relax in the sun. It's a little slice of paradise!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Brunswick Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

Just got back from a 1 week vacation at Sandals Grande Riviera (Jan 12-19). This was our second trip to Jamaica but this time we were travelling with other couples. Overall the resort was a pleasant experience. We had very high expectations as Sandals came highly recommended.
First I think people should be aware that it is a solid 2 hour bus ride from the airport in a hot bus on twisty tight roads. Some felt nauseous. Long ride after your air travel and waits etc. Something to consider for sure.
On arrival the resort is nothing to look at. A smallish lobby and greeting area, no views so we were a little worried but as you move back toward the beach it is beautiful and the grounds are lush and well manicured.
We stayed on the beach side with a view of the pool. Some in our group opted for the more pricey ocean view but it can be loud and no sun exposure on the deck during the day so we were pleased with our quiet comfy resort view room. The A/C is set at 21F, you cannot adjust it. When we arrived the room was so hot and humid it was not a welcoming feel. It did cool down but it took some time to figure out how to do this and if your door is even a crack open it turns off. I understand why, but it takes some time to get used to.
The rooms are nice, not fancy but nice. The mattress in our room needed replacing but it was fine-we are not overly fussy travellers.
The food was what I would describe as "ok". There was no meal that I could honestly say was fabulous. Nothing was bad though. We did find the resort does not cater to groups and we had to separate at dinner at a lot of the restaurants. They also don't seem to understand about portions for groups, portions were so small-especially at the China Doll. However it is probably all you need and we were fine with it. There are no snacks to be found between meals though so after we realized that we ate a little more at breakfast. Drinks were plentiful and Awesome-no complaints there.
The beaches (3) are small but nice. It was quite rocky as you enter and during the high surf it is easy to get scraped but hey your in warm Caribbean water and it is turquoise and wonderful.
What surprised me was the age of the clients visiting this resort. I would say the average is about 25-30. So a lot of drinking/drunk people which seemed a little like a return to our college vacation days. They also are probably less discerning about the food etc.
The best part of this resort is the service. You really feel catered to. I can't remember all of the special ones' names but Ricardo and Michael were 2 of our favorites. Except for the grumpy older bar tender at the Kelly's dockside bar everyone was more than we could ask for. The guys who took us on the glass bottom boat ride were first rate tour guides, over and above with a great sense of humor. Sandals can pride themselves on the caliber of people they have working for them and they should be commended. This is what makes SANDALS stand out from the rest. The rest of the experience is similar to what you would find at any 4 star resort.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

We had very high expectations for Sandals. Having worked on various cruise lines from Crystal, Radisson to Carnival I know what the value of great customer service is and how vital it is to the hotel. Having said that, I also found out why employees at this resort are not the best they could be. I was told by other guests that most employees make about $400.00 a month and we knew tipping is not allowed. How would any one feel working for so little? Not everyone is born with a servant spirit and some do smile and step outside the box regardless of pay....but many there are apparently not happy in their jobs. We believe there should be an employee appreciation program set up and training in customer service. Tipping should be optional. Those who wish to advance are smart enough to know to smile and step outside that box and hold great hope they will be noticed and advancement will come. Some gave me a blank expression and no smile when I asked how their day was going....it told me changes have to be made so the resort can be the BEST it can be for both guests and employees. We noticed that the resort caters to the young and many couples over 50 told me they would not return. Some said it was their 2nd visit and their last...that something had happened since their 1st visit and it was negative.How about activities for those over 50...dance classes any one?? Wine tasting for a fee? Guest speakers on health and wellness,board games on the beach. Social event team players for over 50 guests. Food-Valentino's desserts were excellent. The Reef Rest.beef tenderloin was the best I have ever had in the world! Melted in my mouth-medium well! China Doll had the BEST overall food. Nothing special about the food any where else. Wine was very good. Be careful of the bees that hang around the pool bars...I was stung by one that landed on my leg, They are everywhere at the pool bars. The spa ladies are very good at their jobs. We had a couples stone massage and it was worth every penny. I also had my hair done twice and we used the dry and steam baths...they were great! My husband had the scuba review in the pool and then went out scuba diving and was pleased with all the guys. All professional at what they do. The weather did not permit diving for the first 3-4 days then they allowed it.All water sports were unavailable when winds were high. The beach is not anything special. We did the candlelight dinner and choose the small sports beach. Food was nothing special but the set up and the white glove service made us feel special. It was very private at 6:30 pm and photos were taken by one of their photographer's before we ate. I appreciated these photographers and found they were not too pushy...except for one girl that I thought should tone it down a bit when I met her. The photo shop experience should be changed so that those with portable Ipads or laptops can view their photos in the comfort of their rooms instead of having to go to the photo shop and have someone else flip from photo to photo for them. (It was a bit of a pain.) Cabanas looked inviting but $120.00 to rent for about 6 hours with a 30 minute massage, I was told. If you want quiet do NOT choose the beach side. Easy to go to beach and walk back and forth. Our room was 7246 and we walked up and down to the main lobby desk easily. This room needs updating which almost made it seem not totally clean. I have an allergy to dust and was sneezing my first night. I looked at the underlying mattress and there was a lot of dust there. A simple vacuum would take care of that but they had not done that for a LONG time. We loved the tree frogs at night....natures orchestra. Lastly we did the Bamboo Rafting down the Martha Brae River and it was worth every penny and very peaceful. The only thing is that they need a more comfortable bus for the long drive to the river.
It was a noisy bus, rough and not at all comfortable, 1.5 hours. The shop girls were not friendly and one almost seemed like she disliked all guests and hated waiting on any one. No smile, not friendly and absolutely no personality....in the WRONG business!!! We found the hostess at the
Valentine's Restaurant on the negative, rude side and also not where she should be. Other couples brought this up to us as well. The piano bar had a bar tender with the right attitude and always smiling and happy-Bryan is his name. And the piano player, Oliver is priceless! He is self taught,all by ear and not a sheet of music. I picture him as a child learning to play piano. Such a gentle spirit with great musical ability...he is worth his weight in gold a hundred times or more!!! I would like to return to Sandals but will try a different resort next time.

Room Tip: Non Beach side for quiet, beach side for partying and little sleep. Ask for a unit with a walk out...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort

Address: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Ocho Rios
#3 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•Situated on over 100 acres of lush hillside gardens overlooking the Caribbean Sea•529 villas, luxury rooms and suites with fantastic mountain and ocean views•94 pools (7 large public pools), 22 whirlpools•16 dining options including room service for butler serviced suites•2 luxurious Red Lane Spas•Complimentary golf at Jamaica’s most elite and popular golf course, the Sandals Golf & Country Club (Transfers to the golf course are included)•Over 5,000 sq. feet of first class meeting and conference facilities•Recently completed US$60 million renovation/refurbishing exercise•Voted Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand”, 18 years in a row•Voted Sandals Grande Riviera ‘Jamaica’s Leading Resort’ ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach And Villa Golf Resort
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
Sandals Ocho Rios
Ciboney Ocho Rios
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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