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“Fun week with friends” 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
Memphis, Tennessee
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Fun week with friends”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Really enjoyed our stay here. Overall great resort. We had a Concierge room in the Riviera with an ocean view, so our room was delightful with a stocked mini bar and fridge. The Concierge booked reservations for us and check in and check out were a breeze. This is a must!

We were able to dine at all the restaurants in the Riviera portion of the resort. Our favorites for breakfast were room service on the balcony eating fruit and omelets with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (the best!) or eating the great buffet at Bayside including fresh squeeze orange juice. Lunch spots we liked the most were the Barefoot Grill (jerk chicken and coconut shrimp) and Bella Napoli pizza (Hawaiian). Dinner favorites were Neptune's, Kelly's Dockside, and Kimono's. All the food was good, but wanted to highlight our favorites.

Our favorite drinks were the Jamaican Smile, Boom Boom, Hummingbird, Appleton Rum and Sprite, Mai Tai, and Rum Runner.

We loved sitting in the free beach beds at the Ochi Beach Club under the almond tree. Snorkeling in the swimming area was great too. We also loved the free activities like the Hobie Cat sailing. Ethel's Piano Bar was a fun way to end the evening.

Dunn River Falls was a little too commercialized for us. If you are into hiking and waterfalls and nature, I would avoid. If you like Disneyland with creepy peddlers lurking around, check it out.

Not the most romantic resort because they had rap music playing on the beach at 9 AM every morning, but they changed the mood in the evenings. Fun place to come with your married friends.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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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 (1,398)
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English first
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

I have been to other resorts and this was the best by far. I will list the good points and the not so good points although there were very few. We went with another couple for a 5 night trip at the end of June. We opted for the butler villa because of the price even though my wife wanted to stay closer to the beach. The shuttle to the beach came every few minutes so we did not have to wait long at all and it did not take us long to get to the beach. This was a concern for us at first but it worked out very well. Our butlers Patrick and Mikiko were great. We have never done the butler thing before so we did not know how it worked. We were concerned they might hover over us or bother us while we tried to relax. This was not the case at all. They were responsive and timely when we needed something. Often times we opted to walk from the villa to the Manor house instead of calling them for a ride but they would see us and pick us up. I think the butler service is the way to go even though it is across the road. The beach area was a little smaller but it was a nice beach and not very crowded. We had not problems getting chairs on the beach and swimming. They did not skimp on alcohol at the bars either. You should find Omar (Dr. O) the bartender, he is a show of his own and makes some very good drinks.

A few things that I thought needed improvement or the reason it was not a 5 star resort in my opinion: The food was good but not great. Of course some food was better than others but Kelly's dockside was not that great, my wife's food was a little undercooked. The rest of the food was good and I can't really think of anything else that stands out on it. The Manor house pool and swim up bar needed some updating. It was looking a little ragged and dirty in my opinion. Finally we did the snorkeling trip and it was a waste of time. There was not much to see and the guides just laid on the boat and did not pay much attention to what was going on.

Overall it was a great trip and we would go back. The staff was great, the resort was nice and we had plenty of things to do. We may have been paying for the name of the resort but it was the nicest we had been to so I guess it was worth it. We are very likely to do a Sandals resort again.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

The resort is beautifully manicured, has a very friendly staff and lots of choices of food and fun. The only downside is that it crosses over a busy road so to get from one side to the other, you must take the shuttle. If you get the shuttle stop right after it left, you sometimes have to wait 5 - 10 minutes for the next one. I guess waiting a couple of minutes in paradise isn't so bad though.

Room Tip: If you like your privacy, I recommend the butler villas. You get your own pool and the rooms are lik...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013 via mobile

We stayed the week of 6/24-7/1 in a butler villa on the hillside. Drive from the airport was long with halfway stop included, but no problem as the scenery on the drive is beautiful. At check-in, we encountered a similar problem I read in a review prior to our trip: we sat in some lounge about an hour waiting for our Butler to arrive. This was a problem as we felt stuck and the day slipped away from that point.

Room: nice room that has been remodeled. A partial view of the ocean with a mini bar. Top shelf liquor in the room and always stocked fridge to our liking. The only downsides were a very old and lumpy couch and distance from everything.

Travel: I thought getting shuttles would be no big deal, but in fact it was a bit of a hassle. They jitneys and shuttles run often, but not being within walking distance to beach/pool and restaurants took away from the experience. If we returned, I'd definitely stay on the beach side. There isn't much reason to stay on the hill side except for a great deal on a butler room.

Beach/pools: lots of pools to choose from, especially on the beach side. The beaches are adequate, but small and therefore a little crowded. Great drink service though.

Restaurants: very disappointed in the food. With each meal, we anticipated at least a very good meal, but found all to be a average to poor in quality. The Soy sushi spot was the biggest disappointment as our dishes were vey poor in taste and freshness. That was the biggest thing with the food...a lack of freshness. Outside of fruit/veggies cut daily, there was nothing we ate that didn't taste like it was old or previously frozen. I ate beef tenderloin most nights and even that wasn't cooked properly. My wife got fish a lot and it smelled fishy and/or it was aged. Sandals would do well to spend more on ensuring a better dining experience for their guests, particularly those that travel a lot.

Butler svc: turns out we're not really into having a butler, but it was nice to have someone set up your dining and activity reservations. Being escorted to dinner and getting a napkin placed in my lap, we can do without.

Overall, we wouldn't return to this resort and probably not to another Sandals again. Seems to be a higher price pretty much for the brand. A much better value is found at Couples resorts. Couples doesn't have 25 different room categories and the resorts are smaller, but the food quality is higher, you're not hounded to purchase extras your entire trip and its much easier to get around their resort.


Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013 via mobile

The resort was amazing!! Staff were great and very friendly. We stayed in the Butler Villas and would do it again. The Butler service is out of this world. The bar staff at the main pool Darren, Terique were great. Water sports Alshayne, Marlon and Rushard were awesome and a good time. Our Butlers Shaw and Scott were great and very helpful. The restaurants and food was the best I have ever had at any resort. Top of the line!! Would definetly go back.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort, responded to this review, July 6, 2013
Thank you so much for your review of Sandals Grande Riviera. We're happy to know that we were able to make your vacation very relaxing and enjoyable. We strive to create romantic and memorable experiences for our guests and it's great to see we met that goal during your stay.

We look forward to you returning in the future.


Sincerely,
Cassie C
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013 via mobile

Had a good time. Some restaurants are not best on service but overall the staff was great butlers were amazing and good times with lots to do and a lot of couples to meet on their honeymoon. Best restaurant was bay side. China doll is good service is slow.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

So glad we did not rely on reviews to order up a fantastic vacation at Sandals Grande Riviera resort. As I write this, there is only one other review written!

We chose this resort simply because we wanted to return to Jamaica (our 6th time as a couple) and wanted an all inclusive resort in Ochos Rios that only allowed adults (nothing against children, just wanted an adult atmosphere). On our last visit to Jamaica, we stayed at a Couples resort in Negril with a Sandals resort right next door. Just from the beachside view of what we could see of that Sandals, we felt our Couples resort was superior. Needless to say, we were a bit unsure about Sandals but took a chance because we wanted to get away and in all fairness, we could only see the back side of it.

We are so-o-o-o happy with our selection at Sandals Ochos Rios Grande Riviera. This resort was what we hoped for as it was beautiful, romantic, good food, and excellent service. We planned to visit Dunn's River on this stay, but decided we did not want to leave the resort or take any of the tours. We just wanted a relaxing vacation with some nightly activity, music, dancing, shows, and found just that.

We stayed in the Riviera Terrace with an ocean facing view which came with concierge service. We were quite satisfied with this choice. Check in was less than 30 minutes from arrival time and we were escorted not only to our comfortable rooms but also escorted to Neptunes to grab lunch after taking the time to change clothes. We would try the Butler service in the future because it could only get better, but again, service was excellent with the concierge rooms. Everyone had a pleasant, "will accommodate" attitude and always there to provide assistance with any reservation for restaurant, spa, or tour.

We ate breakfast at the Bayside most days (dinner one night) and Sabrina's. They were typical buffets for this type of resort, so really no complaints here. We had dinner 2 nights in a row at the Reef Terrace which was by far the best choice for dinner dining for us. The escovitch was excellent and so was the steak. Our service was personable. We were greeted by a nice gentleman who escorted us to the adjacent piano bar (Ethel's) which had nice seating and bartenders who worked to entertain everyone with their exciting drink choices making the wait really fly by. Make sure you order the "Bob Marley" in this bar which has 3 or 4 separate layers of color in a very tropical tasty cocktail. The gentleman returned about 20 minutes later to escort us to our table and routinely reappeared to ensure everything was going smoothly for us although we had 2 other servers accommodating us for drinks and food.

Though this does not affect my rating of the resort, the food could definitely use some improvement in the beachside cafe/bistro right beneath Bayside Restaurant. The food was not good at all and someone really needs to check the quality. I recall very stale nacho chips with flavorless watered down artificial cheese, tasteless hamburgers, bland chicken breast with awful dried out fries. We took one bite and pushed it away. We hate to waste food, but just could not get past the lack of taste and stale choices. Fortunately, there were other stellar choices for lunch, such as Bella Napoli with excellent pizza (we were quite surprised by how good the pizza was), and on the Great House side, there was a nice lunch choice near the waterfall above the pool area, as well as, Sabrina's.

We did not find the time to try all of the dining choices, which is another reason why it would be unfair to provide a rating any less than excellent in spite of the awful food at just one bistro. If it were the only lunch option, that would be different. "one bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch"...

For dinner one night, we had reservations at Kelly's Dockside, which is located on the Ocean as you see in the photo on the website with the grass thatch roofs. We canceled our reservations however, after visiting the bar there the night before. We found they could be quite snobbish without a reservation. It took more than a half hour just to get some attention. We simply wanted to see if they could accomodate us that night instead of the following night. They insisted they could not (did not have a "we will do our best" at all attitude!), which turned out to be fine. The place did not feel as important as they tried to make it seem at all. It was very casual in appearance with very basic tables and chairs with no ambience in spite of it being on the ocean--mind you it was quite dark so the ocean did not help the ambience. We cancelled the reservation and went to the Manor House that evening which had excellent service, great food, and a fabulous view.

Several weddings took place while there and all had wonderful and beautiful scenery to match the great weather. Even the transportation too and from the airport had excellent service as the drivers entertained us on the bus. We really ordered a perfect vacation and definitely would return to this resort.

Room Tip: It really depends on what you want. Stay in the Riviera for the ocean view, but the cottage/bungalow...
See more room tips
  • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort, responded to this review, July 6, 2013
Thank you for the great review of your stay at Sandals Grande Riviera. We're delighted to read of your wonderful vacation with us. We strive to meet our motto: Luxury All-Inclusive Vacations for Two People in Love. I'm so glad we were able to meet that goal, as well as exceed your expectations, during your stay. We have noted your feedback about our food and dining options and your comments have been passed on to our General Manager for review.

We look forward to welcoming you back next year for an even better experience next time!


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 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*
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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