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“excellent honeymoon” 5 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
Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“excellent honeymoon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

great food and drinks, great butler service, great resort overall!! no complaints! we also did a few excursions that mixed things up so we could see the island a little bit, including a catamarand cruise, the dunns river falls (which was OK... nothing too fantastic but still enjoyable), and a biking tour of the blue mountains.

Room Tip: pick a few excursions.. blue mountain biking expedition was great!!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
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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 (1,402)
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English first
New York, New York, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Review:
This place was INCREDIBLE. From our introduction to the hotel from Ashalee the wonderful host, to our last day! All inclusive resorts usually run the risk of being a bit less luxurious and or having lower quality food, this was NOT the case. The food spread was impressive (in quality and variety), we tried nearly every restaurant our week there (2 dinner nights!) and none disappointed. Pizza was great! The poolside grills which are open late are the places to go when you need a snack after the restaurants close. The pools were great, the beach left a little to be desired but the water sports included more than make up for it (go kayaking, and try wind surfing!)
The REAL takeaway however, are the people, the staff at Sandals alone are worth the price! Genuinely happy staff who make your enjoyment of the resort their only priority. From bartenders who did not mind giving you a daily run down of your drink options, to waiters who doubled as tour guides and gave tips on how to best enjoy your stay, and finally the welcome desk staff who learned your name the first day and made you feel special every time they saw you.

Thank you's:
I would like to give a thank you to a few specific staff members that truly went above and beyond and made our stay extra special.
Ashalee - Thank you for the welcome snack plate and champagne, you're amazing!!
Demar - a waiter at Kimonos who helped us just about everyday of our trip. Always available to answer our questions and provide us with restaurant recommendations.
Gabriel and Voyston- Two fun bartenders who took the time out to show us some unique Jamaican shots. Including a "Bob Marley shot" which had layers of green, red, and yellow and looked almost as good as it tasted.
Susan and Anita - restaurant managers at Soy Sushi & Neptunes thank you for being so nice!

THANK YOU SANDALS for the memories!

Room Tip: I would suggest opting for the regular rooms if you want to save a bit, since all the employees are...
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  • Stayed June 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

To preface this review, I'd like to say that this was our fourth Sandals experience (in as many years), the second in Jamaica. We have previously been to Royal Bahamian, Montego Bay, and Grande St. Lucian. We are 30 years old, very active, healthy adults who are easy going who enjoy having a good time and trying new things. When planning this trip we knew we wanted to go back to Jamaica, but wanted to try a different resort. We contacted our travel agent who we have used previously and she suggested this property. We went ahead and booked the panoramic ocean vista poolside one bedroom butler suite. Over the next few weeks, I started reading reviews of the property as I always do to get a feel for what we might expect. Needless to say I generally disregard all one and five star reviews, however, after being there, I could see how most of the one star reviews could happen. Below is my observations of the property and our experience.

The drive is extremely tedious and not safe. No matter how much we prepared ourselves beforehand, nothing can truly prepare you for the hour and 45 min car ride after flight travel. As mentioned in other reviews, the property is split in two. We were staying on the manor side so we were taken to the manor house to be checked in to the Butler lounge. The road that separates the resort is a two lane road, but the drivers are crazy so it truly is not safe to walk across. Once greeted by our butler and taken to our room we realized how massive the property actually was and how poor the layout is. If you are staying on the Manor side, unless you are in the villas at the top of the hill (there are only two, each one has four rooms) all the other villas are down the hill and cramped together. You can hear all golf carts or jitneys driving by at all times of the day and night. There is absolutely zero ocean view from any of these villas. You may be able to see the ocean but it is not a view. Most rooms look at a concrete wall with a barbed wire wrapped around the top. This includes the romeo and juliet swim-up suites. I know they just refurbished all of these villas, but the wear and tear is extremely noticeable everywhere you look. If you happen to be in the Manor house rooms you are above a bar that stays open until 2 and a restaurant that opens in the morning at 7.

As for the public spaces on the manor side, the landscaping was stunning. Very lush and green. The Manor pool itself was clean but the walking areas seemed like they had a layer of dirt on them.

Now for the fun part...waiting for the bus to take you to the other side. Our wait lasted anywhere from 30 seconds (this happened once) to ten minutes (happened multiple times, which is why we stopped going to the other side). We stopped at the Ochi Beach Club and the pool was extremely dirty. It was full of dirt and leaves and dead bugs. The Ochi Beach Club beach is on the smaller side but very pretty. Unfortunately there are lots of medium sized rocks on the bottom so it is painful to get in the water. Jamie's sports bar beach is only about 20 feet from the entrance to the restaurant to the water, but at least you could get in the water. The third beach area is dedicated strictly to water sports. For the record, you cannot walk all three beaches at once. You have to walk up and then down steps to go from the ochi beach club beach to the middle beach and then over the dock to get to water sports. Beware down by the waters sports there are locals who offer shells along with drugs.

One very big positive for us was the food. We tried every restaurant except Valentinos, Sabrinas, and Neptunes. All of our meals were very good and we had no complaints. The servers definitely keep the drinks flowing as well. The other positive was that all of the staff was very friendly and helpful.

Personally, we would never return to this property. Rather than catering to couples it seemed to cater to groups (4 or 5 couples travelling together). Lots of partying, lots of club music all day long, and "playmakers" having chugging contests between guests and beer olympics and whatnot. Had we not been at the top of the hill with a truly breathtaking view and a pool where we could escape, we would be absolutely furious that we spent any money at this resort. Could you imagine spending four or five thousand dollars on a vacation where you look at a concrete wall, hear golf carts all day/night, and are basically stuck on a side with no beach and three dinner restaurants? It was so frustrating trying to get to the beach side so it kind of takes away half the property. We generally used a jitney to get up to our villa because our butlers had 5 other couples and if we always waited on them we would have wasted even more of our vacation.

My advice, if you are a returning Sandals guest I would definitely recommend going anywhere else. If you are new to sandals, you have to decide if you are ok with small beaches, no view, and a very party/college spring break vibe. And if you do choose here, understand that this is the least impressive Sandals and we are baffled at how it is even a Sandals property. Because of this extremely poor experience, rather than celebrating our fifth anniversary at another sandals (we had planned on trying the new one in Grenada) we will be looking into other options. We may return to Sandals again, but it will be a few years.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

This was our first visit to Jamaica and our second to a Sandals resort. As noted by many reviewers, it is a solid 1 and 1/2 to 2 hour tedious drive from the Montego Bay airport. We chose to stay on the Manor side of the property in the Panoramic Ocean Vista Poolside 1 bedroom butler suite so upon arrival we were taken to the butler guest waiting area where we were offered drinks and cold towels. Within ten minutes our butler came and took us and our luggage to Villa 50 which is on the top of the hill. Room is satisfactory and definitely shows some wear, but what the room lacks the view makes up for. There are only two villas at the top of the hill with this view, thus only eight rooms. We stayed on the bottom floor so we could walk to the semi private pool. We felt safe the entire time. Note...the beds are very hard and incredibly squeaky.

To be honest with you, after the first day of trying to get over to the beachside we realized this property was too big for us. That being said, we enjoyed most of our time at our pool attached to the room. We had all the food and drinks delivered there and there was only one instance where room service took an hour. We were lucky enough to be the only ones in our villa so we did not have to share the pool with anyone. As for dinners, we enjoyed all the meals we had. We also never had an issue with weak drinks when we went to the bars. The returning guests dinner was exceptional and entertaining.

The one thing that consistently stood out to me was the friendliness of ALL the employees. We never encountered anyone who was unfriendly. A few who really made an impression are Narone from water sports, Donavan our server at Reef Terrace, Fernando our server at the Manor, Clarke our server at Kelly's, Ann-Marie our housekeeper, Nemo from water sports, Venarch our server at Manor when we just had dessert and drinks, Brandon our server at Reef Terrace our second time there, and most importantly, our TERRIFIC butlers, Kadesha and Devin, who made our stay effortless.

Room Tip: villa 50 room 7407 is by far the best room on property
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Halifax, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

This was our second stay in two years. And again the Grande Riviera did not disappoint as we had a fantastic, relaxing time! We stayed near the end of May and the weather was perfect – sunny and 31 degrees. It rained only twice, once at 10:30PM and again the next day at 2:00PM (both for about 2 hours). Don’t believe the long range weather forecasts that threaten torrential rain all the time. May is generally a great time to visit Jamaica. No worries mon!

Overall, we’d say Sandals Grande Riviera rates 5 stars. The resort is fantastic, the service awesome and the food sumptuous. I suppose there is room for improvement - the food could be gourmet creations every night, perhaps... but since we never pay full price (we find the frequent 65% off deals on-line), how can we argue? Needless to say, we think most everyone would find this a superior, world class resort.

We booked the Great House (Hillside) but were upgraded (again) to a lovely, slightly larger room on the Riviera side when we arrived. We were a little unsure about this at first as we wanted a quiet stay and some say the Riviera side is noisier. Well, the room was great and the entire wing was EXTREMELY QUIET the whole stay. We couldn’t even tell there were guests in other rooms around us and most of the time we heard absolutely nothing, especially at night. It was a thirty second walk to the beach, most restaurants, entertainment and three pools. We had the water polo pool (30ft) and hot tub (8 ft) just outside our window and we had both to ourselves several times during the week.

Our stay bridged the American Memorial Day weekend. The staff said the resort was 80% full but we experienced no lineups or major delays for anything. For a few days the Hillside pool (which is fantastic) was about two thirds full, and it took at most 5 minutes to get a drink at the bar, but after the weekend it was deserted – nice! We liked the service at the Hillside pool and the play makers are easy going but energetic (Shayne: we’ll play ping pong again next time. Maybe you’ll win the elephant!).

We generally ate early and only waited mere minutes to get into any restaurant. The food deserves special praise as it is 100% trust-worthy: imported US beef, immaculate kitchens, temperature controlled and monitored buffets, large amounts of fresh fruit, exotic choices, well prepared and creatively served. Did we mention delicious?

We went to relax, and relax we did. We snorkeled and visited the spa -- what luxury! Thanks to all the Riviera side spa ladies, especially the lovely pedicurist whose name we have forgotten, but the Devil Inside still looks great! Enjoyed tennis lessons (thanks to tennis pro Ken, a great guy), relaxed by the pool, strolled in the gardens, walked on the beach and generally soaked up the warmth that is Jamaica. Kudos to the staff! We think you’re the best. As they say in Jamaica, “Welcome home!”

Although we never met a Sandals employee who wasn’t professional and cordial, special recognition must go to the following staff members for their outstanding service: Jermaine at Bayside and Kelly’s: exemplary service, true hospitality, and a great conversationalist! Kenroy at Bayside and Reef Terrace: warm and thoughtful, going the extra mile to make us feel like we were the only guests who mattered. Bartender Roshene, who didn’t laugh are our request for non-alcoholic beverages (yes, it IS possible to have a great vacation without being soused); waiters “Denzel Washington” Leon and Paul at Bella Napoli, for whom the day is 65% brighter; Opal at Bayside who makes a perfect breakfast smoothie every time (Make her smile! She lights up a room!); waiters and maitre d’s at Bayside (evening French restaurant) Marvalene and team for whom endless requests for the unbelievable chocolate strawberry mousse were a pleasure; Nemo and team in Watersports, great encouragers to try new things; Javille, terrific photographer; our maid and team Nnieka and Sheryl, among others (spotless!!); Tyrone and Caren in Guest Services; and Alisha (among many) at the Front Desk – so helpful!

If we aren’t lured away by Sandals Whitehouse next year, we’ll be back at Grande Riviera for a third incredible stay. Why mess with a good thing? :-)

  • Stayed May 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edna
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

My husband and I made the Grand Riviera our home for 7 awesome days! We stayed on the 5th floor on the beach side. Our room was immaculate, view was breathtaking.....Our butlers were Stanford and Joseph and they helped make our stay one of the best we have had at a Sandals. They WOWed us everyday! The restaurants were fabulous........also loved the little pizzeria by the pool. That was an everyday snack for us! And of course jerk chicken for lunch on the beach compliments of Stanford and Joseph! We snorkeled, went on several tours, ( swam with the dolphins, zip lined, and bobsled). Most of all we enjoyed our time on the beach relaxing with a cool drink and partying at the pool bar with great bartenders! We love Sandals and this was our first Grand Riviera visit and will not be our last!

Room Tip: Our room was awesome on the beach side. We prefer being close to the beach! Would prefer a walkout...
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  • Stayed May 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakeland, Florida
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

This was our second trip to Ocho Rios. We got married 6 yrs ago here at this very resort, which by the way was a great experience then, so we again decided to go back. We had a blast everyday was amazing!!! They treated us like royalty . Our anniversary trip was by far the most amazing so far. Sasha was so great to make sure we had our every need meet and did a great job keeping us entertained, she really knows how to put on a show and throw a beach party.I will also miss Raquel she made us feel like family and was the best dancer on the entertainment crew. The bar tenders where also entertaining and had excellent service! I will miss the rum punch for sure. Thanks making specialty drinks Nathaniel and Andrew, Omar and Micheal were also terrific. Our butlers Shaw and Scott where equally amazing by tending to our every whim and going above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. Can't thank them enough for a job well done! Ralston did a great job taking our pics and was so much fun to hang with, I couldn't believe he was only 19. The food was so fresh and delicious. The resort was beautiful with all the flowers, and plants, couldn't stop taking pics. This trip was so much fun we didn't want to leave, felt like we were leaving family behind when we left, can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Butlers villas where all great, share a private pool with several other rooms but they were never re...
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  • Stayed June 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
    • 3 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.

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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 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa 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*
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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