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“Friendly staff, but not worth the money $$$” 3 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
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Friendly staff, but not worth the money $$$”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We normally do not stay at big chain resorts, but stayed for a friend's wedding. Bonus is they provide transportation and a waiting area at the airport with refreshments. The resort itself is over an hour away from the airport so make sure to pee before you leave! Halfway there, they stop at some random jerk chicken place... Not sure why they stopped bc it really wasn't a good tourist stop but at least you could go to the restroom.

The property is beautiful, and they had various entertainment throughout the week. As expected in Jamaica, the service can be slow and rooms were good. The big thing was I felt it was not as good as it should be for the amount of money we paid, especially with Sandals prices. However, most of my friends thought it was fantastic (so go figure)!
There were some hiccups with booking with the other guests (wrong rooms, wrong side of the resort), but I think it was more the travel agent's fault not the Sandals staff. At least the staff attempted to do what they could to resolve it. ^_^;

Room
We booked the ocean front room, and we got a view of the ocean alright.. But I didn't realize it would also overlook the buffet restaurant below.... Some nights they played loud clubbing music down below until 1-2am.. so If you plan on sleeping early, don't book a room near the restaurants. Luckily we brought my handy sleep noise cancellation machine and that drowned most of it out. :) For it being "newly upgraded" there sure were a lot of unfinished touches like exposed light switches and outlets, and holes in the wall. We did not get a balcony... I guess you had to upgrade to a butler suite for that. However, the room was clean and met our needs. The AC was a bit tricky to figure out.. you have to use the little remote and not the AC panel on the wall to get it to turn up/down. My friends didn't know that and had apparently been sweating for a couple nights until I told them. ;)

General Property
The hotel grounds are pretty nice. The main thing I did not like is the fact that the resort is broken up into 2 sides. It can be a real long walk from one side of the resort to the other, which makes coordinating and meeting with your other friends a hassle if they stay on the other side. A road LITERALLY cuts between the 2 properties. This place is not handicap friendly at all so if you have trouble walking, There are a lot of stairs you need to go thru to get from one side of the resort to the other.
Also special note that the beach itself is pretty small.. One part is enclosed with the pier. So if you're looking for large beaches, this is not it. However, the water itself is good for snorkeling, you can see tons of fish and anemones. The water sports (kayak, paddle board) are free. One of they days they closed the entire side of the beach for a pay-event ("Blue"). It was a fundraiser for kids, and there were kids all over the beach. For a resort toting adults only, there were a lot of kids that day. I have no problems with kids or fundraising for kids, but don't alienate your other guests by kicking them off the beach and saying you need to pay to enter.. :( so basically you closed half of the beach for the regular guests...

Pros
Fun entertainment
Friendly staff
Beautiful property
Various free activities
All Inclusive

Cons
Food was ok, but service can be real slow-don't be in a hurry!
Hard to navigate around the resort
Not handicap or sr citizen friendly

Wedding
The wedding was beautiful but there were some hiccups:
1) they totally played the wrong music when the bride came down the aisle (pier). Doh.
2) bride purchased the video package with guest well wishes... They did not film everyone and the final video was not done completely.. Important parts were missing including the best man and MOH speech, even though we saw them film it, parts were mixed up.
3) the dance music was pretty hard core (felt like it was the DJ's preference).. I feel like they should at least mixed it up and stuck to the brides genre (she provided a playlist). No slow songs were played.
4) one of the staff accidentally stepped on and broke the grooms sunglasses (saw it happen) and did not let them know.. I feel like they should have at least told them. =\
The good thing about the wedding was the pier dinner was enjoyable and it looked very beautiful. The Sandals photos turned out nice.

Overall I had a fun time. Not a bad resort, but I can't justify paying that much to go back...but my friends disagree! despite their booking/wedding issues. I don't know.. maybe I've become a hotel snob. >_<!

Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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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 (1,453)
Date | Rating
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English first
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I loved this place a lot! The grounds were gorgeous and the food was the best I have ever had in a resort and there was not one single dish that wasn't perfection. The staff wore costumes that matched the nationality of the food and every dish was clever, well done and unique. there were butlers who came around the pools with coffees on silver trays, angels with feather wings that offered, beer, and the fabulous turquoise ocean. Certainly a class act in so many ways and the staff were alway so nice to us.

the airport access was a two hour trip. sigh. customs in Jamaica is slow slow!! we were exhausted when we arrived. I also found that the bus drivers got upset that I didn't tip them (it was included and I never thought that through. Then, only had travellers cheques and they were snarly about that. These are not Sandals staff as such. Note to self, bring simple dollar bills next time). I had to run and fight to get my bag away from a guy who was rolling it to his bus and I didn't know who he was. he was doing it for the tip after I had brought it a long long way already, he wanted to get the last 100 feet in. he twisted to keep me from reaching for my baggage and I didn't know who he was. Be prepared to be firm. it's not a sandals thing but Jamaica in general.

Using the bus to get to the second half of the resort was a big pain as it didn't come regularly and sometimes was a good 25 mins wait. The grounds are large which would be hard if you had mobility issues. You could be a half hour getting back to your unit if you were not he other side. But everything is beautiful and it didn't pour on us so I never minded. The shops were better appointed than most resorts and the items were interesting enough to make me actually want to buy something.

The cat situation was just awful awful awful and the staff got quite aggressive if you threw scraps to them. They need to be spayed/culled or else damn well fed and taken care of. They are blind, covered in sores, pitifully thin, they come crying to you and you can tell they are really hurting. Fights are in the bushes all the time in the night near the restaurants, and no wonder. The hideous state of the cats was enough to weigh in my mind as large as the otherwise wonderful time.

And it was the best resort i have ever been to, indeed.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Most beautiful, exciting, exhilarating, adventurous, romantic- I can't say enough about this resort!! There are so many emotions I have in my body and I've been back home 3 days now!! I'm still feeling blown away by the beauty...The attention to detail....The feel....The smells...The people...The culture! Just go see for yourself!! I don't know what else to say...I was there 6 days and hated to leave. Love, Love, Love this place! Thank you for my beautiful ceremony.

Stayed August 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.
Markham, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is a couples resort for that quiet getaway. We stayed in a Riviera Honeymoon Beachfront Club Level room facing the ocean. Everything in the building and room was really clean. No bugs and not even any mosquitoes to be found anywhere on the grounds or in the rooms. I'm not used to staying at such a quiet resort. It seemed like there was more staff than guests. The service was great and I especially like the Sandals no tipping policy as it makes everything easier.

The food was the best resort food that I've ever had although it's still a notch below food from a cruise. There were 15 a la carte restaurants to choose from and all of them were pretty good. My only gripe about the food is that it's geared towards North American palates. I don't blame them but personally I'd rather have authentic food. The jerk looked authentic but it didn't taste authentic.

With regards to activities, there's really not too much going on in the resort. The Beach was nice but pretty small. Unlimited water sports is great to stay active. There were schedules for activities such as beach volleyball or the rock climbing wall but no one was ever there, which is unfortunate since I love my sports.

Location-wise, it's a little too far from the airport for my liking. Almost a 2 hour drive to and from Montego Bay. This cuts significantly into the resort time. However, it is closer to tourist haunts like Dunn's River Falls so that could be a plus if taking excursions.

Still these are some small cons as overall it was a really relaxing experience and gave us time to reconnect as a couple.

Room Tip: If you like activity, choose the Riviera Beachfront side. Everything pretty much goes on in that si...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Creedmoor, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My husband and I spent a week at Sandals Grande Riviera 7/25 - 8/1/14. The resort is divided into 3 parts, all easily accessible. The Manor side has the large manor pool, 4 restaurants and a Red Lane Spa. This side of the resort has the hillside villas, where we stayed. We booked the 1 bedroom suite with shared pool and were very happy with our choice. Our suite came with butler service, free wifi, and room service. The suite was very nice, including a living room, kitchette and bedroom. The bathroom was a little dated as was the rest of the suite but clean and comfortable. We were on the 1st floor of the 2 story villa with a veranda. Just 3 steps down to our shared pool. Our butlers were Ray and Denton, both of whom were great. Always ready to pick us up with their golf cart and very helpful. The other parts of the resort are the Riviera and Ochi Beach Club. They were across a main road, which you could walk to or use the shuttle. The shuttle ran about every 10 minutes. We never waited longer than that. The Ochi Beach club has a pool, beach and 5 restaurants. The Riviera area included a beach, more restaurants, another Red Lane Spa, water sports, the Amphitheater and pool. Make sure to see the Silver Birds perform, they are awesome. The grounds are very pretty, well maintained and very relaxing. A fantastic staff, friendly and helpful. We rented a cabana one day at the Manor pool. It was a fun day with Odean and Odave serving us all day. I was celebrating my birthday and can't say enough about the great service we received. Our favorite restaurants were Reef Terrace and Bayside. All the food was fresh and presented beautifully. We loved the coconut shrimp from the beach grill. Never made it to 4 of the restaurants, planning our next visit to SGR to include the ones we missed. Manor pool is very large, lots of loungers, great pool bar. Ochi Beach Club pool is smaller and was more of a party atmosphere. We also enjoyed the Amphitheater pool, close to water sports. Snorkeling was good, included with your stay at SGR. The glass bottom boat tour, Captain Tim was very informative. A great vacation overall. Only negative is the 90 minute drive from the airport. We also used Club Mobay for arrival and departure and highly recommend both. We have already booked next year's vacation at SGR!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Belcourt, North Dakota
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We traveled with a group of ten people including couples, family, and friends! It was truely a breathtaking experience! We stayed in the Villa Butler Suites and had our own private pool. We met two amazing Butlers who treated us like family. The people at the resort we energetic, fun, and hospitable! I loved everything about SGR and Jamaica! I can't wait to soon come back!! My 30th bday will leave lasting memories!

Room Tip: I would definitely upgarde to the Butler Villa's. Can't go wrong with that option.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

We stayed at the beautiful Sandals Grande Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort last month and could not have asked for a better vacation. We stayed in the One Bedroom Butler Suite and were treated like Royalty! The 2 butlers were amazing and were most attentive to our needs. They knew what we wanted before we did! The suite was beautiful and came with our very own pool, that was shared by one other suite. The multiple restaurants were wonderful and the drinks were quite yummy and refreshing. So much to see and do. Don't miss a great opportunity to live like a King and Queen on your next vacation.

Room Tip: The Butler Villa is not beachfront, so if you want beachfront, be sure to say so when booking.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort, responded to this review, 4 weeks ago
Thank you for your great review!
We loved hearing about your incredible vacation experience at Sandals Grande Riviera and that you thoroughly enjoyed exploring the beautiful island surroundings. It's great that you felt completely pampered during your time with us in Jamaica and it was our pleasure being able to make sure all your needs were met. We hope to see you again soon and we look forward to welcoming you back to paradise!
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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 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa 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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