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“No Snow Here” 4 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
York, Pennsylvania
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“No Snow Here”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

We just came back from our trip to Sandals Grande Riviera. We have previously visited La Toc in St. Lucia and Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay. On this trip we stayed on the ocean side club level (concierge service). Sandals does not disappoint. At Grande Riviera there were plenty of activities, we had good meals, there was a friendly staff and we could always find a place to get some sun.

The staff overall was wonderful. Excellent concierge group - Racquel, Shadine and Lydia were so reliable and made us feel like it really was our home. I went scuba diving for the first time and Kevin made me feel very safe and comfortable. There are plenty of activities at this resort. Although it's the largest, it doesn't feel overcrowded. We had a great meal at Victor's (go early, they don't take reservations and it gets very busy) and we had a great meal at Kimono's (Tex was our cook and he was a blast). The dinner for returning Sandals guests was also very nice. We were able to learn more about Sandals and it had some nice recognition for guests. We also sat with a staff member, Rocco and he was fantastic to get to know. We had a great tour with the catamaran to Dunn's River Falls. Awesome staff. Would definitely recommend this tour if you're going to Ocho Rios. Another wonderful thing, our flight was cancelled due to the snow and the Sandals staff completely took care of us. We didn't need to change rooms and their policy is that the first night is complimentary if your flight is cancelled. Thank you Sandals! It's stressful when plans change and it makes it so much better to know that we didn't need to worry about a place to stay.

There really wasn't much that we didn't like, but to be fair, I should include the information. In comparison to the other resorts that we've been to, the room was just ok. The bed was very comfortable, but again to be fair in comparing to other Sandals. This resort also feels like 2 separate resorts (hillside and ocean side), you can't get from one side to another without a shuttle bus, they run regularly, but we're independent and like to walk. There are a lot of stairs on the ocean side, which we don't mind, but it may be something to consider. We couldn't get into Kelly's, they take reservations, but it's a small place and they were booked so far out we were unable to go. In my opinion, those are all minor.

We had a great recommendation from Rocco and booked our next trip to Antigua with Tiffany. We can't wait!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 (1,382)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

We travelled as 2 couples in early February and arrived at SGR only to be told that our seaside reservations were overbooked (couldn't figure that out) and that we were being upgraded to the Butler Villas. What was concerning to us was the attitude of the staff that it was no big deal but they must understand that when you arrive at a resort for the first time in the dark and things like this happen it is a big deal. Adding to our frustration was the fact that we ended up being located on the opposite side of the resort from our travelling companions. Our first morning was spent moving to a new villa that we could share with our friends and the thoughts of wasting half a day of a seven day vacation on this issue did not impress. After a tour of the entire property we decided that the Villas did not look like such a bad option after all and really enjoyed the rest of our stay.
Hanging out around the Great House Pool with the occasional trip to the seaside on the convenient shuttle turned out to be the best of both worlds for the remainder of our stay. We also managed to fit in four rounds of golf which turned out to be quite enjoyable. Don't see many reviews of the golf course but it is a decent challenge and we were very impressed by all the staff - the girls in the pro shop, the caddie master (Tony?) and especially our caddies Alfred (all four days) and Stanford who made the golf fun for all. Garry the shuttle driver was always pleasant but I would suggest that Sandals add an extra shuttle at noon on busy days to make sure clients don't have to wait at the course for a ride back due to full shuttles. A couple of mid-course washrooms would also help.
The Butler experience was second to none and our four butlers Simone, LaDana, Paula and Jackie made sure that everything we needed or wanted was ours and made the entire stay memorable. The amazing after golf lunches, dinner reservations, towel art, airplane care packages and their attention to detail is a credit to Sandals.
Other staff who made the week were:
Dwayne - the omelette king who brought a smile to work every morning and backs it up with great omelettes. I think he must be the most positively reviewed chef on all of trip advisor!
Basil and Darren- the Great House Pool bartenders - great service. Sandals does need to invest in wasp catchers for their outdoor bars
Annelee - the Polo lounge bartender - what a sweetheart with those mysterious green shooters!
Favourite Restaurants:
Valentino's, Kelly's Dockside, Coconut Shrimp at Neptunes and the pizza at Dino's

After a slow start Sandals Grande Riviera and their wonderful staff came through for us and we enjoyed our stay so much that we booked again for next year - I guess that says it all !

Room Tip: Butler Village is the place to be! Don't miss the Steel drums on Saturdays.
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newbury
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

We have been to Couples in Ocho Rios Jamaica and loved it and so I thought from reading all the blurb about how Sandals pride themselves on being the best, that I was now booking an even better experience, I was sadly wrong.

The accommodation was very comfortable, our complaint was with the food and service in the restaurants.

On two occasions we did not eat a meal due to it being cold or every dish covered in spice or curry. Once we had booked a table at 8pm and finally got our table at 9.10pm! We were waiting in the bar while they tried to sort a table and our butler gave up hanging around. I should mention that when you book a butler suite, you have to be escorted to dinner to ensure you get served. Initially we did not bother ours as we only thought we would use them to book the restaurants, however at Kellys the first night we were ignored at the check in because our butler was not present.

We did meet with the food and beverage manager, (as did a few guests we chatted to) who was a nice young man that did seem to care but what could he do? With such a huge operation that needed so many improvements, notably in the staff who had No supervision. Tables were not cleared and so main courses were not called and food was waiting to be delivered, you could see it unfolding before your eyes.

We did have a few good meals at Kellys (the best in our opinion) and we loved the ice cream in the afternoon, when it did not run out at 2.30pm.

Our butlers were kind and proffessional, no complaints there and house keeping was good. All staff were very friendly and made us feel welcome.

If you have booked, drink loads, stay relaxed and go with the flow.
If you have not booked, think twice. It is good for groups to party but for couples it is a big resort, honestly not catering for the English palate or romantic holiday.
So near to America it is ideal for the young party people who use the Pool bar through out the day, but if you want quiet relaxation think again.

Room Tip: Ask not to be next to the road as the buggies the butlers use dart around at all times and you can h...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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, Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
We strive to keep the highest standard of quality and service and we deeply regret if we did not quite live up to your expectations. Please accept our apologies for not meeting your expectations during your stay. We strive to meet our motto: Luxury All-Inclusive Vacations for Two People in Love. We are in a constant state of evolving our resorts and updating our amenities so I will be sure to send your feedback to the relevant departments.

Thank you for your feedback.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubuque, Iowa
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014 via mobile

Bus ride too and from resort was long and horrible. Over two hours to get there and only one bathroom stop twenty minutes in to buy beer. If you want beer it was $25 for a six pack but the resort itself was amazing and beautiful. No shortage of delicious food or strong top shelf liquor drinks. Only had to get dressed nicely for two restaurants and never a long wait. Rained the whole time expect one morning when we took tge catamaran to dunn falls. The boat tour to the falls was the best part of the trip which I would recommend to everyone (must wear swim shoes to participate in falls...no flip flops...snorkeling is included on catamaran tour). Even with the rain which really limited beach activities there were lots of bars and spots to hang out outside out of the rain. Staff here couldnt have been nicer considering they werent ever getting tipped. Check out alex and tyrone at the ochi pool bar for a great time and strong drinks. Same can be said for andre at the pool bar near the piano bar. Manager of the manor house gift shop was more then helpful. And nastasia in the red lane spa was incredible. Ask for her if you are getting a massage. Beauty of this resort is it is two separate resorts in one easily accessed by a 1-2min shuttle and each has a totally different feel. We stayed in the beach resort but visited the manors restaurant and pool which were amazing. Eat at The Manor restaurant if you get the chance amazing coffee encrusted steak. I would recommend to stay at the beach resort side as most the restaurants and things to do are located there. Younger crowd seemed to be staying there though I was impressed there were no obnoxious drunk young adults. Everything was very relaxed. The staff literally is so helpful you feel guilty not tipping. If you get the chance at night check out the shows in the amphitheater and follow it up with drinks at the sing along piano bar. The ocean areas were beautiful and it was easy to be with other people but still feel private. There is an ocean swimming area surrounded by the dock and underwater fencing for those who want to swim in the ocean and not have to worry about creatures. I would definitely go back here in the future or at least another sandals. We were not disappointed by the surroundings, resort, or all the inclusions

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

We had a very nice time at Sandals Grande Riviera. We stayed in February and the weather was perfect. They say it's the winter in Jamaica at that time, but it sure didn't feel like any winter we've experienced. The thing that makes this place a good as it is are the people here. They really go the extra mile to make your stay a great one. We had a really exceptionally time at Ethel's Piano Bar. We are fans of an older style bar, and this one was done fairly well. What really made our day was the service we received from the bartender Renardo. He was great, totally made our night with great conversation and fantastically mixed drinks. We are from NYC and we think we know a good cocktail, and he nailed them. Our experience there would be enough to have us back.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2014

My husband and I just returned from Sandals. We were on our baby moon. We visited Sandals La Toc in St. Lucia last January. That being said, we had a good time. The resort is large and there was always things to do. We had a butler villa on the manor side. The room was nice but needed some updating. The butlers were ok, we didn't need them for much. They made dinner reservations and spa appointments but that's all. The one butler forget about is twice and we had to call her to ask where she was. The food and dinner serve was okay. The food at Kelly's was cold, the food at Sabrina's was okay and Valentino, bayside and reef were better. At all the restaurant, our plates weren't removed. We left Kelly 's because we sat with dishes for over 30 minutes, we wanted dessert.
All that being said, we wouldn't go back to the resort as a couple. But would go back with a group of people.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2014

Customer service here is fantastic, everyone is so friendly, and tips are prohibited (but not strictly).

I do have to say, however, that for the money I paid... I'm not impressed. I expected a phenomenal resort in which you would have no need for anything more. Not the case at all. Let's start small, like the pool towels. After about 3pm, there are no more clean pool/beach towels anywhere to be found. In a resort like that, dirty towels should be collected every few hours, washed and replaced. If you don't score a towel before they run out, you're SOL until the next morning. Daybeds, are also quite hard to come by. With a sold out resort, they really should have back up beds by the popular pool areas.

Now for the big one... Restaurants. This resort boasts having so many high quality restaurants to choose from. In reality, unless you have butler service you will not get into SEVERAL of the high end restaurants (i.e. Valentino's, Kelly's Dockside Grill, etc.). If you have paid for Concierge Service, you have less of a chance than the butler service of getting into those restaurants, but still its a chance. If you are one of the regular people without butler service or concierge service, you're not getting into those restaurants unless you tip your way in (which is what we did). Valentino's, Kelly's Dockside, Sabrina's Market (at night) and Kimono's are the best restaurants at the resort; however, if you are used to fine dining (I'm from Los Angeles with restaurants from many celebrity chefs) these restaurants are good but nothing special. Which brings me to the other restaurants. You have your 2nd-tier restaurants which include Bayside, Neptunes, China Doll, Reef grill. You'll have to get there early to put your name on the wait list. The food is mediocre at best. We've ordered lamb at these restaurants and every time, it has been cooked incorrectly. Don't ask us how we want our red meat cooked if you're not going to cook it that way. Lastly, you have 3rd tier which is the quick easy fixes, Soy sushi, Mariners, the beach grill. If you're not too late, you may be able to order from their menu without problems... half the time, however they run out of several items on their menu. At an all inclusive resort, you better plan to have enough food to satisfy the demand at the restaurants. I'd like to say that was a fluke, but it happened at least 3 separate times during our 8 day stay, so you can be the judge of that.

The resort itself is clean and well manicured. If you really are afraid of Jamaica outside of the resort then go ahead and book everything through the resort, but be aware that you will pay premium prices. We booked a taxi through the resort and paid $8 to go into town which is only a 1 min drive away from the resort. On our way back, we took a local taxi (only go with the red license plate cars) and paid $2 total! The staff really try to push resort booked activities; however, I encourage you to venture outside of what the resort says of course be safe and know what you would like to accomplish.

I feel like though this place was nice and fun, I feel like I paid premium prices for a good place but not a premium place.

Main point: if you have high standards, maybe this place isn't for you.

Room Tip: stay on the Riviera side so you can be nearer to the beach and the better restaurants. Make sure to...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 8
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 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa 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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