This was our first visit to Sandals but have had many other 5 * All Inclusive Holidays. We stayed in a One Bedroom Butler Villa Suite V1 - number 7349. The suite was excellent with a lounge, bar area and balcony and was serviced to a very high standard. We shared a pool with the 3 other villas in the block however the pool was a little disappointing as it was not maintained very well and not cleaned for the two weeks we stayed there apart from the odd chlorine tablet thrown in to dissolve whilst you are swimming. All of the furniture was in need of repair / replacement across not only our villa pool but also the surrounding villa pools. We had a team of two Butlers, Patrick and Makiko who I must say were excellent in every way, nothing was too much trouble and they were always there when needed which added greatly to the holiday experience, you do really feel special with their service.
All of the bars were well stocked with a wide selection of premium brand spirits and the cocktails were some of the best we have tasted. The highlight of the holiday was Miss Ethel's Piano Bar, a very small bar next to the Reef Restaurant; many guests never find this bar. You are hosted by the barman/entertainer/singer affectionately known as Papy (Anthaniel) accompanied by the fabulous pianist Oliver who together ensure you have a unique experience, you have to visit to believe it!!! Many thanks to Papy and Oliver.
The transport around the property was excellent you have the Butlers collecting in golf buggies and the larger vans working 24 hours a day and then a bus which goes between the Manor Hillside, Ochi Beach Club and the Beachside. Never had to wait more than a few minutes.
Beaches were excellent however they are limited and you cannot walk more than a few minutes to each end, please beware of the Sea Urchins as many people encountered nasty spikes while we were there, very painful, and water shoes will help guard against visits to the Nurse and Doctor, the worst we saw was 22 spikes in one foot !!!!.
All of the hotel, pool and gardens are very well maintained, they look beautiful and have all you require, keep an eye out for the Humming Birds they are beautiful. Staff throughout the property are second to none, they are all excellent and in abundance. You never have to wait for a drink even if sunbathing on the pier. We will mention a few, Annalee and Shanique on the beach, Michael Spicer in Kelly's Dockside Restaurant, Ramone in Neptune's Restaurant & Claude in the Manor Restaurant they all deserve a medal as they go above and beyond the call of duty!!! Well done and thank you to them all. We must also mention Anna who looks after the Cabanas, although we did not use these during our stay she always made a point of being helpful and friendly and really made an impression on us.
Each night you receive a Daily Breeze Newsletter which gives all the information for the next day. This was very informative however we tried on two separate occasions to join 'Bocca' and both times none of the Playmakers even knew it was meant to be taking place. On the second occasion, when we were waiting aimlessly, a manager 'Rocco' asked if he could assist, we explained the situation and he said he would sort straight away, we waited for a further 15 minutes and nothing happened, we did see Rocco on our return to the beach however he choose to avoid us! Having said this the Playmakers were all very pleasant but it is a very relaxed and unstructured part of the holiday.
There are 15 restaurants, here’s the low down 1 by 1
Bayside -Very poor buffet starter and desserts main courses ok.
Valentino's - One of the better ones but a different standard both times we ate there.
The Reef - Don't bother unless all other food outlets are closed.
Sabrina's - If you think two slices off tomato and cucumber and four pieces of feta cheese is a gourmet starter then this one’s for you!
Dinos Pizzeria - A good lunch Venue
Market Place - Breakfast buffet OK - Lunch Buffet well below par - Dinner was Sabrinas
Manor House - In the top two - Good all round food with excellent service (Claude)
Soy - Did not use as we don't eat Sushi but we heard all good reviews.
Mariner / Neptune’s - This outdoor restaurant on the back of the beach is the Mariners at Lunch and Neptune’s in the evening. The lunch is OK with outstanding Coconut Shrimp many thanks to Ramone excellent service, Dinner in Neptune’s is good also.
Kimonos - A nice experience, the Chef cooks in front of you the only thing I would say is it is very rushed and they are not good if you have a food allergy.
Bella Napoli - An excellent lunch venue, we are not pizza eaters however they are extremely tasty and we visited more than once!!!
Kelly's Dockside - Breakfast and Lunch are buffets however we did not visit these more than once as they attract a lot of bees over the buffet food. Dinner is in a wonderful setting on the end of the pier - shared started OK, main and dessert were good and we must compliment Michael Spicer on his service, he is second to none and made our evenings in there very special.
China Doll - Chinese and probably the best dinner venue, breakfast was OK. We visited twice and tried many dishes on the menu all cooked to a very high standard with good service.
Beach Bistro - A lunch venue on the beach, food was good and they serve curly fries!!!
They also have a weekly beach party where you dine alfresco buffet style. This was excellent with the largest Lobster on complex!! Not to be missed.
We did encounter the Executive Chef on many occasions, wandering aimlessly, with coffee mug in hand. On one of these occasions he stopped and sked how the food was, the previous night we had a crème brulee and explained that it was more like a crème caramel, after a long conversation he said he would personally make us a crème brulee the next night on our visit to China Doll. However, when we asked our Server they and the Chef were unaware of any special requests. We later visited the reception and left a message for the Executive Chef which we never had a reply to. Even the receptionist remembered us a week later and asked “how was our crème brulee?” We advised we did not get a reply and heard no more.
To sum up the holiday, if you are going for food and entertainment there is a lot better at a more competitive price. If you just want to relax for two weeks and be pampered with lots of space and a beautiful environment this is the place for you. This is our first trip to Sandals (however we have visited Jamaica before) and will be our last. Gordon 'Butch' Stewart if you talk the talk you have to walk the walk.
- Also Known As:
- Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
- Sandals Grande Riviera Beach And Villa Golf Resort
- Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel
- Sandals Grande Ocho Rios
- Sandals Ocho Rios
- Ciboney Ocho Rios
- Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios
- 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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