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“Sandals Grand Riviera” 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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$305 Spa/Tour Credit!
Ranked #7 of 40 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Grand Cayman
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Sandals Grand Riviera”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

This is a really good resort, worth the visit and worth returning to.

The setting of the resort is beautiful, the sea, beaches, mountainous surroundings etc.

The staff are professional and courteous.

The rooms are very nice, comfortable beds and relatively spacious.

There is an abundance of activities which really adds to the whole experience. I was pleasantly surprised that with an all inclusive resort it really was all inclusive and there was not too much aggressive selling of optional extras. Ken was a great tennis instructor, Bill was a very helpful golf pro and the diving team were very capable and good fun.

Plenty of nicely situated bars and restaurants, the drink was top shelf, well prepared and plentiful. Andre's bar by the pool on the seaside was a favourite during the day and the main bar in the garden side is very relaxing in the evenings.

The food is good in the main. If you stay away from the grill restaurants which don't seem to be serving very fresh food and stick with the pizzerias during the day and the likes of the sushi restaurant, valentinos or preferably china doll you will have a pleasant dining experience for the entirety of your stay.

The biggest downside of the resort is the mis information and inconsistency of messaging regarding the activities. You will get your information from the website, from the info stands around the resort, from the daily activity schedule handout and from staff but these are rarely a clear and consistent message. I enjoyed my stay so I won't bash this too much but I would encourage you before thinking you are going on a 2 tank dive on a certain day or taking a sailing lesson at a certain time etc to ask and ask again.

Our transfer home was 30 mins late at 4am - a bit frustrating, and our driver appeared suicidal. We had heard they were crazy drivers but nothing will prepare you for how irrational and erratic your driver and others on the road are.

On balance we will be back and would be willing to visit other sandals resorts and other places in Jamaica based on our maiden experience.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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5,214 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,500)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

My mom and I spent 8 days at Sandals Grande Riviera and really loved it. The resort is 1 hour, 45 min bus ride from Montego Bay. You are greeted at the airport by Sandals staff who usher you to the Sandals lounge (what would you like to drink?!) before getting on the Sandals shuttle.
Usually we do excursions while on vacation, but we didn't leave the resort all week on this trip!
Instead we opted for spa treatments at Red Lane Spa - shout out to their lovely staff, including Delvine, a wonderful nail technician! We both got massages, mani-pedis, and facials (we recommend the Sun Lovers facial - will leave you even-toned and glowing!).
We stayed in Villa 55, an all-butler suite. Big hugs and THANK YOU's to our extraordinarily hard-working butlers, Nadine and Dennis!! Thank you for getting us lunch on the beach, picking us up and dropping us off at our room, making our dinner reservations, and just plain making us feel so special on our vacation! We loved you both, thank you!!
We loved our stocked fridge every day - beverages and the cheese/cracker/fruit plate. Just lovely! Having a private pool behind the villa is so nice, we'd make it back from the beach or main pool everyday just to float around in it.
The room was lovely, and bathroom stocked with great Red Lane shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and aloe vera gel! Comfy robes in the closet and a safe in the closet to keep your valuables.
The resort is huge (and beautifully landscaped) and so the butlers will shuttle you in golf carts around the resort. The resort is split in two parts - upper and lower (the beach). Be advised you can walk down the hill and across the street to the beach and lower restaurants, but there is also a shuttle bus.
There are kitty cats all over the resort. We found this charming and sweet because we are cat lovers!
The food at Sandals Grande is phenomenal. We have vacationed at several large all-inclusives and this is by far and away the WINNER for dining. We recommend dinner at China Doll (asian) and Valentino's (italian). Courses are prepared artfully with care. Portions are not so giant that you stuff yourself. Desserts are fantastic.
You can look forward to Wednesday night and the amazing CHOCOLATE BUFFET! So much chocolate, and you can fill a dinner plate with it! Chocolate rimmed champagne glasses to boot. This was over the top, we loved it!
We were so impressed by the Reggae night performance in the ampitheater. I wish I could remember the gentleman's name who performed, what a show. The audience was so into it, he had the whole place captivated. His covers of all the great reggae music was spot on!
Thanks for a great week of vacation, Sandals Grande! We weren't ready to leave!

Room Tip: Villa 55 was right next to the maid's preparation quarters, so was a little loud, just fyi.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, Iowa
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

WE WOULD 100% RECOMMEND THIS RESORT! We had a blast and will definitely be returning with friends next year!

This was our first trip to a Sandals and our first trip to an all-inclusive resort. We went to Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios from March 23-28 as a belated honeymoon (we have been married nearly a year and a half). I must say we had the greatest time! My husband was not too excited about going as he can't swim and isn't much of a beach bum...his vote was for a trip to Las Vegas. Shortly after arriving, up until our list minute on the resort, he kept saying "the next time we come back...". So needless to say we both had the time of our lives!

We traveled during a very busy time of the year so we expected some delays. We arrived in Montego Bay around 1:00 pm. We were off the plane quickly and were on our way to immigration/customs. That took about an hour or so, but the line moved steadily and we were just happy to be in Jamaica and off the cramped airplane! Once making it through immigration we headed straight to the Sandals desk. Our luggage was tagged and taken to our bus, we were asked to follow our luggage out to the bus. Our bus left about 15 minutes after us boarding, as we were waiting for more passengers to board. About half way to the airport we stopped at a store for drinks and a bathroom break (it is about an hour and a half drive from the airport). The only bummer about this was that it cost us $21 for three beers and a Gatorade. But we weren’t too worried as we knew we wouldn’t be spending too much more cash on the trip. (You are expected to tip the driver and luggage people as they are not Sandals employees) Once arriving at the resort they drop guests off on the hillside first. Shortly after we were dropped off on the beach side of the resort. Check-in was swift and our luggage was loaded on a cart and taken to our room (no tipping at the resort). We also made reservations for Kimonos while checking is, as that is the only restaurant that requires them.

We were very pleased with our room, the Jasmine Grove Luxury. I would call it a very large hotel room. There was a ton of room to leave our suitcases spread open and the bathroom had a ton of counter space. The room was in the main building on the ocean side but did not face the ocean or have a balcony. Neither was of concern for us as we spent very little time in our room.

We got ready for dinner and headed out for some sushi at Soy. It hit the spot for sure. Not the best sushi we have had, but the drinks, service, and sushi all made for a great experience. We then played some giant chess and then headed to the amphitheater for the steel drum band. The performance was amazing! I would highly recommend seeing it! All nightly entertainment at the amphitheater starts around 9:00 pm. I discovered that if I wanted to do that and have a drink or two after, a nap was definitely in order during the day!


The breakfast buffet is great, and we enjoyed eating both inside and outside! After breakfast we would head to the beach or a pool for some swimming, drinking, and reading. We read a ton, sat back and relaxed, and enjoyed some frozen drinks. That was basically most of our days at the resort and we loved every single second of it! For lunch we would hit up the pizza place most days, the pizza is awesome. And they are personal-size so we could sample many varieties. We did try the grill one day, but it just didn’t match up to the pizza. We didn’t try the buffet for lunch. In the afternoon we usually headed to a different spot to soak up some rays. One day we checked out the pool on the hillside and loved it! It’s huge, and so much fun! That and the beach were our favorite. We also really enjoyed the pool by the amphitheater, as its right next to the pizza! We would then take a short nap and get ready for dinner.

Food and drinks were awesome! We never had to wait for dinner, even though the resort was pretty full. We tried most of the restaurants, which was a blast! The second evening we ate at Valentino’s, which was our least favorite, but still a very nice dining experience. Our reservations were at Kimono for the next night. The hibachi grill is so fun, and the food was excellent! They certainly had the largest portions here. The following night we ate a China Doll and tried nearly everything on the restaurant’s menu, and loved it all. Get there early and you can sit outside! Our last night we enjoyed some sushi as an appetizer at Soy and then headed to Neptune’s. My husband loves seafood, and he loved this place! A couple of nights we found ourselves at the grill for a late night snack of a burger or nachos. We also got smart and ordered extra pizza at lunch a couple of days and saving it to eat as a late night snack in our room. All of the drinks were wonderful. Even my husband enjoyed the blended “girly” drinks. Our favorites were the mudslide and dirty banana because they weren’t too sweet.

On our third full day we decided to book an excursion. We heard wonderful things about Dunns River Falls, and it did not disappoint. We were too late to get on the catamaran, so we took the bus instead for the morning trip (only $54 per person). It was such a blast! We would do it again in a heart beat! There is something wonderful about climbing falls in your tennis shoes and swimsuit, the perfect way to enjoy a camera. This is a can’t miss happening. We wanted to do the ATV or zip-line but both were booked up. We weren’t too disappointed. Like I said, we were quite content to spend our days lounging by the pool and beach reading our books and drinking our frozen drinks.

NOTES: Looking back, we should have booked an excursion during our first morning at the resort. We didn’t because we were hesitant, as we didn’t know how our days would go.

Also, we didn’t do the tour of the resort that they offer. We felt a little lost at first. Then we decided to head to the front desk and ask for a map. We carried that with us, and spent about a half hour exploring the grounds to get our bearings.

The two sides of the resort is a non-issue, buses run nearly constantly.

Invest in a water-proof disposable camera for excursions!

Room Tip: Jasmine Grove Luxury was perfect for us, a nice spacious room without all the frills!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Second North River NB
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

This was our 3rd time at this resort and again it did not disappoint! For the first time we had butler service and what an experience..never had to do a thing..our butler Tizan is worth way more than money can buy. She made this trip special and she has a lifelong friend in us..we loved her smile, her fun nature and the way she helped us was beyond..she truly went above and beyond for us and made this trip an experience of a lifetime..one we will never ever forget!! When staying here..the food is exceptional, but the people are what make this the best place to go so "welcome home" is their motto and home it was!! Please when staying in a butler suite ask for Tizan..much love!!! Audra & Brent Steeves..New Brunswick, Canada

Room Tip: Rooms on the manor side can be more secluded and private..but any room we have had didn't disapp...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We truly enjoyed our stay at Sandals Grande Riviera. We stayed in one of the Hillside Villas with Butler Service. Worth every penny. My husband and I decided to try a Sandals Resort to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Definitely a great decision.
The drive from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios was no surprise. We had read posts prior to our departure that the drive was approximately 1 hr 45 minutes (ish). No problem.
The Resort is definitely worth the drive...
We can't say enough good things about our butlers: Prince and Denton. They were always available and happy to be of service. They even decorated our room with beautiful flowers, a nice card and candlelight one night to mark our 25th Anniversary (how sweet is that).
The entire staff is wonderful at this resort. They really seem to like what they do. The housekeeping staff (Taphian) who looked after our room was awesome. She always had a bright cheerful smile and added special touches to our room when she was making it up and made sure that we had lots of coffee, juice, wine, etc...... Also want to mention Ricardo (Groundskeeping). He is very knowledgeable and took us around the property one fine morning to show us all the unique local flowers (he even made us a beautiful bouquet to put on our patio table).
The scuba diving instructors are AWESOME. They are all very relaxed and have a great sense of humour - but when it comes time to safety, they're all business. Well done - a special thanks to Ike who was my diving instructor (I finally became a certified scuba diver when I was in Jamaica).
The activities at the resort are certainly plentiful. There is so much to do. If anyone is bored at the Sandals Grande Riviera, it's because they want to be...
My husband and I love the beach. Although the beach is not big (sort of 3 small beaches), we never had any problems finding a place to sit and enjoy some sunshine and a cold beverage on the beach. We even went snorkelling one afternoon from the beach (lots of fun little fish close to shore).
Almost forgot - the food: We loved every meal we had while we were there. I can't really single out one particular meal but they were all fantastic. There is so much selection. The evening meals were always my favourite.
We took one excursion: Dunn's River Falls. In my opinion, it's a must for anyone going to Jamaica. It was well worth the $$. The little market that you get shuttled through at the end is a bit annoying but it's not all that bad.....
The only negative comment I would have is that our Sandals experience has ruined us for any other resort. We're now Sandals people.............We've already booked for next year!

Room Tip: If you like quiet, stay in the Hillside Villas (and they come with Butler Service) Well worth the m...
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  • Stayed March 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Travelled to Sandals Grande Riviera as a group of 12 "The Tartan Clan" March 22-31, our trip didn't start out too well as we had a 3 hour delay in Toronto due to mechanical problems with the aircraft. Once this was all sorted we were off, flying West Jet the flight was fine, breezed through customs and then off to the Sandals lounge, less than 10 minutes later the 12 of us boarded a small bus for the journey to Ocho Rios.

Once we arrived at Sandals we were greeted, registered and then off to our rooms, although it was a little difficult at first trying to seat 12 people for meals things went very smoothly after we contacted Ingrid. The service at all of the restaurants was very good as were the meals. If you go onto the Sandals facebook page you will see the Operations Manager Radu coming out of the water with a tray after serving our group out on the floating raft, now that is customer service.

We golfed 3 times (2 golfed 4 times) with caddies Mark and Yellow, be sure to ask for these two as they are very good caddies. Also if you wish to get to and from the course ahead of the shuttle you can contact Homa the cabby caddie who will get you to and from the course ahead of the shuttle for a very reasonable price.

Special shout out to Natallia who kept us entertained all week, and Brandon who looked after us every morning for breakfast. We also had a blast with Oliver in Miss Ethyl's piano bar.

Overall very good vacation.

Room Tip: Stayed in Villa 2061 on the Riviera side, great location close to everything
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We just returned from this resort and found the property to be beautiful (and huge!) and the service excellent. We found that there were a lot of staff there to assist with anything you needed and everyone was always very friendly. We had a hillside butler suite with a semi private pool. We would highly recommend both Charlette and Anna for not only their excellent service as butlers but also for their warm and friendly personalities. One feature we found nice with the butler service was that they provided a cell phone to contact your butlers from anywhere if you required anything. The hillside of the resort has more private rooms and it was nice to enjoy the quiet of our own pool. The beach side is more lively with lots of music. We loved both valentino's and the reef restaurants but the food was very good everywhere except kimonos. We also booked a candlelit dinner on the beach which was excellent. We spent a lot of time on the beach side of the resort and found the shuttle service to be very good. We never waited for more than a few minutes and the jitney service on the hillside made the rooms very convenient to get to. Overall we really this resort.

Room Tip: Beach side is noisier but is where a lot of the restaurants and entertainment is located. The hills...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
#4 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 529
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 & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach And Villa Golf Resort
Sandals Ocho Rios
Ciboney Ocho Rios
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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