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“Perfection!” 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
Pittsboro, North Carolina
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Perfection!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

Sandals has impressed us again!!! We got married at the resort 10 years ago, and decided to go back to celebrate our anniversary. They have done big renovations since 2003! The addition of restaurants, Ocho Beach Club, and updates to the rooms. We used Ruth DeMuth with TripGuy Travel as our agent. She was excellent! She helped us reinstate our points with the Sandals Select program and saved us $750! Plus we used the military discount and saved $350 more! We were treated as VIPS when we arrived. We got a personal welcome from the manager Jacques. He upgraded our room from cottage to ocean front!! What a surprise!!
The property is beautiful and well kept! Service was great. The rooms were decorated so pretty and they were so clean!! Maid and Turn Down Service every day! They also supplied the room with soft drinks, water, and Red Lane Spa products! Jamie's Bar has the BEST bartender EVER, Anthanial. He was soooo funny and sweet. He put a smile on everyone's face! The restaurants were exceptional. We were there 10 days and ate somewhere different every night. All of the food was delicious and the presentation was so beautiful!
We thought about going somewhere different for our anniversary, but I'm so glad we went back to where it all began!! This will definitely not be our last trip to Sandals Grande Riviera. It's like home now!!

  • 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
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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 (1,405)
Date | Rating
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English first
Niagara Falls, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

We stayed at the Hillside Villas for our vacation here at Grande Riviera and loved every minute of it. We arrived tuesday and got married on friday, June 28. It was very humid during this time but was still a great time! We had the butler service and loved both of them! If you get Oren or Gayann consider yourself very lucky! Oren even brought over my vail on the day of the wedding because i left it in my closet back at the villa. I loved every minute of this vacation and can't wait to return!

  • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Usa
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

We really enjoyed our stay at Sandals Grand Riviera in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We were prepared for the hour and a half bus ride from the air port to the resort. The staff at the airport was very accomodating and allowed us to take quite a few beverages per person onto the bus for the ride. We also had a pit stop for bathroom and to purchase more beverages if people wanted. So, we made the most of the trip with the people on the bus and watching the scenery.

When we got to the resort, check in was easy. We were greeted with champagne and warm smiles! We were even able to make a reservation at Kelly's Dockside for dinner one evening which is supposed to be for Butler guests only.

Our room was on the beach side of the property and was quite nice. It was one of the bungalow rooms rather than a room in what looked like the big hotel like building. Our bungalow had a nice tropical view and everything in it we could want. We even asked to have a couple of beers put in the fridge for the next day and they accomodated. The one downer was that the AC was not working when we got in. We called the desk and they were quick to get someone up there to fix it and it was cool in a matter of a couple of hours. The fix lasted until our last day when we noticed the AC wasn't working very well again. So, slight bummer there, but for most of our stay the AC was wonderful in our room.

Our first night we enjoyed the candlelight dinner on the beach. It was so worth the money to have the memory of that beautiful evening, the impecable service, and the wonderful food. We had a photographer do a sunset photo shoot with us on the beach and he got tons of great shots (Thanks Ralston!).

For the most part, we started each day at the breakfast buffet at the Bayside with the made to order omelettes and a ton of other food. I was even craving a steak for breakfast one morning and the waiter actually had one made up for me special.

We spent most of our days hanging out at the Ochi Beach Club either on the beach or at the pool where there is a swim up pool bar. The staff at the beach club was great...and accomodating as was the theme at the whole resort. They learned your name and your drink and made you feel like you were home!

We had lunch at the Bayside once and at the Mariner the other days. Both were good. We had dinner at the Bayside, the Reef Terrace, Neptune's, Kelly's Dockside, and Soy. The Reef Terrace and Kelly's Dockside were awesome. We really enjoyed the food and the view. Neptune's and Bayside were fair...maybe I just didn't order the right thing, but my husband enjoyed them. Soy was the absolute BEST!!! We could have eaten there every night...and actually did go there for appetizers before hitting dinner elsewhere a couple times. The wait staff at Soy was so much fun and always remembered us! Absolutely LOVED that place!

We did the Dunn's River Falls catamaran excursion and it was a blast! It was overcast and rainy for the snorkeling so that wasn't my favorite part, but the hike up the falls and the booze cruise back was super fun! We also did the River Tubing and Ziplining excursion. We have never been ziplining so it was a good first time. The tubing was beautiful and relaxing. If you get cold easily, bring a long sleeve rashguard or something a little thicker. I was chilly...husband was not.

We did the complimentary 15 minute photo shoot and got tons of great picutres. They will work with you on the packages. It was hard for us to exclude any of the pictures from our stay!

Note...there are LOTS of stairs and we did a lot of walking everyday to and from the room. I saw older notes about slippery pavement and they are working on getting all the sidewalks re-done so they have some traction. We didn't have any problems.

Another note...we did NOT do the butler service. If you do the butler thing your suite is on the entire other side of an actual road...not just a road that's within the Sandals property. There is a guard gate and everything...and you have to get a shuttle or your butler to bring you to and from the beach side. Yuck. We met people who stayed in the butler rooms and they said they wouldn't have paid the extra money to do it had they really understood how it was set up. Also, it seemed like the Riviera (beach) side of the property was the fun, happening, young side. So, if you are looking for that kind of vacation...the Riviera side is for you...and you don't need a butler. If you want to hole up in your suite with your private pool...and play golf...then you may really enjoy the butler service and the other side of the property.

Check out was as easy as checking in. The bus ride back to the airport wasn't nearly as fun as the ride to the resort...but that's to be expected at the end of a trip.

We had a great time and will definitely be returning to a Sandals resort again. It was a little pricy so we won't necessarily be going every year, but maybe every 5. We also have a little one so we like to vacation with him...and would think about maybe doing a Beaches resort with him when he's a bit older.

Suggestions:
1) Soy should be open for lunch and dinner! We would have eaten sushi for lunch and dinner every day!
2) Add a few other wine choices to the house menu. Maybe a white zinfandel and/or a moscato. There wasn't anything sweet on the house menu.
3) Check AC in rooms the morning that people are checking in to ensure they are working and cooling.
4) Have the option of butler rooms on the Riviera Side.

Room Tip: Don't worry about butler service. The happening side of the property is the Riviera side. The...
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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
    • 4 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 13, 2013
We're so happy to read that you had a great vacation with us at Sandals Grande Riviera. It's such a pleasure to hear you speak so highly of our luxurious accommodations, delectable dining options, beautiful property and the wonderful personality and hospitality of our staff. Thank you for your review. It was a pleasure creating such a memorable experience for you.

We can't wait to welcome you back in the near future!


Sincerely
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uckfield, United Kingdom
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

We have stayed here 3 time and also omce next door at the Royal Plantation (which is all butler service). The 2 resorts are very different: Grande Riveira has best of both worlds in that you have beach side and villa side. The former being more of a party place and the latter being a little quieter. No hassle really to get the shuttle to the beach from the villa (where we have stayed all 3 times). Agree with some comments on the food - Kellys Dockside is a beautiful setting but the food quality was disappointing. The coffee rubbed steak at the Manor on the other hand was superb and right up there in quality to Gaucho in the UK and Capital Grille in NYC. China Doll is delicious and I think it is an improvement to have both Bayside and Sabrinas as table service in the evening as the quality seems to have improved from the buffet style. Agree also that some of the pool areas could do with an update.
Royal Plantation next door is best of 3 worlds as it is a small, very cosy (but not claustrophobic) atmosphere. Beautiful manicured beaches and lots of intimate spots for couples to just enjoy the whole atmosphere. From Royal Plantation you can visit Grande Riviera and enjoy all it has to offer. Definitely recommend!
Overall our experiences have been very positive - the staff are all so friendly and upbeat you cannot fail to have a great fun time. Only 2 big wishes would be firstly that the website could be tidied up instead of showing dozens of room types in name but many appear to share the same photos, secondly it would be great if Sandals could invest in some bigger, newer buses for the ride from the airport as it can be gruelling (especailly after a 9 hour flight from UK). Don't let that put you off - you will have fun!!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Norfolk, Virginia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Stayed at this property for only 5 days and 4 nights end of June. Staff was super friendly, genuine smiles. We stayed on rivieriera side, loved the concierge service and lounge. Having a stocked fridge in room and alcohol was great. The food was not bad, but could use more variety at breakfast and a bit more Caribbean flavor. We only went to half the restaurants, service was quick and food plentiful. It's stormed one afternoon, was nice to hang out at Jamie's sports bar with ore guests, listening to music, enjoying drinks and being entertained by Playmakers staff.
The ride from the airport was fun. We stopped along the way and had delicious rum punch that totally lived up to it's name. Room was clean, service twice daily if needed.

Room Tip: Preferred riviera side closer to beach. We did not venture to manor side, so unable to comment.
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  • 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.
Saint Paul, MN
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
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.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 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.

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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 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*
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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