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“How to make four enemies with one reservation” 1 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
Saint Paul, MN
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“How to make four enemies with one reservation”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

My friend booked and paid in full for a five day reservation at this resort. For valid reasons, which are not important to this review, he was unable to go. He kindly offered the room to me and a friend. We were able to get last minutes flights, even using miles so we would have free tickets, but when we contacted the resort we were informed that only my friend and no one else could use the reservation and he would not get any of his money back. She said I was welcome to make my own reservation and she would happily bill me for over $2000 (which I declined). So now they have four disgruntled customers. None of us will be tempted to use their resorts ever. As a small business person I can tell you this is not the way to get customer loyalty. I contrast this lack of service with my experience with Viking River Tours who refunded all of my money for a trip that had to be canceled due to the uprising in Egypt. They did this even though the contract clearly stated that they didn't have refund money due to trip canceled due to "acts of war." They have loyalty, and I praise them whenever I can.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 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.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort, responded to this review, July 13, 2013
We strive to keep the highest standard of quality and service, from booking all the way to check-out, therefore, we deeply regret that you had this experience with us. This is certainly not our standard and we would like to make things right.

I have sent you a private message, so that our management team can get in contact with you and address your concerns. I hope that you will reconsider your decision and give us a chance show the excellent service for which we are known.

Thank you for your feedback.


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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5,147 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 (1,466)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Prior to visiting this resort I read many reviews. Reviews of the facilities, pools, beach, food and other subjective opinions. This review is not going to comment on the personalities of the bartenders, pool men, maids, etc. Unless you’ve gone to a resort a number of times you won’t know if the chef had a good day or bad, whether the pool needed to be heated or was too hot, whether your towels were not fluffy enough or too fluffy, etc., etc. Basing a critical opinion of all aspects of a resort on one visit is not credible. This was our first visit so our only means to provide a critique compares Sandals to other resorts that we have visited. No resort is perfect, but this one is as close to perfection as possible. We spent too short a week here in June and left with very pleasant memories.

The grounds are attractive and very well kept. The swimming pools and the beach are well tended. Cleanliness appears to be paramount. What was especially memorable was the staff. Throughout the resort you are met with smiles, greetings, and offers to help. Looking for a particular restaurant we asked a passing worker for directions. He put the arm of “Madame” in his and escorted us to the door of the restaurant. You can’t be more considerate than that. At the restaurant we mentioned that we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Without asking, they brought us a cake with “Happy 50th Anniversary” written across the cake. It’s these little extras that add up to a fine resort.

Kudos to our two butlers, Kevin and Shauna, for warm, prompt and outstanding service.

If you think this review has no validity unless it contains something negative, rest easy. The wait at the airport for transportation and the ride to the resort is lengthy, especially if you come from California, as we did. However, reading other reviews, we knew what to expect. If you can’t handle the transfer don’t go.
If you plan to go, check the resort's website for advance registration and other info.

  • 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sccranton
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

My husband and I have stayed at many Sandals resorts but decided on the Grande Riviera this past May. We have always had a butler but never have we been more impressed by our Butler than this last stay! Oneil made our vacation unbelievable. He was kind, easy going, and totally listened to our needs. After the first day, we felt like he was our friend sent to watch over us and ensure our vacation was incredible. We are still talking about him to this day. Our return to this location next time will be totally because of Oneil! However, the resort is also beautiful! :-)

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Memphis, Tennessee
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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...
See more room tips
  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
#5 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*
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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