My husband and I booked our first vacations to a Sandals resort after hearing so many wonderful things about these resorts. We travel lots and have done numerous trips to the Caribbean in previous years. We finally decided to try a Sandals resort. We stayed at the Sandals Grand Riviera in Ocho Rios.
As in someone else's review, it is true that the internet fails to make it clear that the resort is split into TWO parts. ONE part is down by the beach, the OTHER part is separated by a road and is a ways from the beach. However, prior to booking, we knew enough that we specifically chose to book down on the beach area. We specifically booked a "Luxury Cottage", right by the beach so that we did NOT have to take the bus down each day.
We first arrived and they said they "Upgraded" us to a room - which happened to be up on the hill, so now that meant we had to take the bus every day to the beach. We spoke with the manager and she said that was an "upgraded room" Perhaps it was, but now I was miles away from the beach. I specifically told her why we booked the other room. Long story short, our room that we had booked was unavailable until the next night. This was absolutely unacceptable. And we were very surprised that this was something that happens at a Sandals. I expect this maybe at a 2-star resort, NOT Sandals.
Besides that experience, here are the pros:
- Food - great at all the restaurants. Valentinos, Kimonos and Manor are three fav's
- Beach - not a long walking beach, but for just relaxing and sun basking, it was great
- Water - warm as bath water, clear and clean
- Service - expected much better for a few reasons. I had to call down to reception THREE times, two days in a row to ask for more water in the room.... Coffee at breakfast was slow to be served.... and of course the whole "upgrade" situation.
- People - friendly
- Water Sports - great! Lots of snorkeling!
Not rushing back to a Sandals just yet.. There are plenty of other amazing resorts out there, often less expensive and you don't get "upgrade" to a room up on the hill, a mile away from the beach!