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“Don't listen to the negaitve reviews & just relax mon !” 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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$305 Spa or Tour Credit!
Ranked #7 of 40 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Islip, NY
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Don't listen to the negaitve reviews & just relax mon !”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2009

Just got back from SGOR last week & had a blast. I read many of the negative reviews on here & after visiting SGOR last year as well, I came to the conclusion that you just can't please everyone. I'll begin with the Montego Bay airport & try to cover everything. Went right to the Sandals lounge & were " Welcomed Home " & had time for a quick drink. We then proceeded to the bus to Sandals. As far as tipping now, people said they were swarmed by people in the airpoprt, we weren't. You only need to tip 2 people there, the red caps who take your bags & the bus driver, not mandatory, but a nice gesture & we were NOT pressured into doing so. We waited about 15 minutes for more people to get on the bus, then we were off. The bus ride is NOT as bad as people say. About 1 hour & 45 minutes with a rest stop in between. Besides the driver, there is another worker on the bus who points out various things on the island on the ride over. Now you can either enjoy the ride, mingle with other people, drink your drinks that you're allowed to bring on or maybe take a nap, that's it, so what makes this ride so bad ? If you did your research when or after you booked the trip, you had to know this was the distance from MoBay to Ocho Rios. Anyway, upon arrival to the resort we were greeted with the usual wet towel & champagne & since we're SSG guests we were upgraded to the Riviera side. I always get the deluxe room & always get upgraded. Lots of people complain about the rooms, but honestly, we were never in them except to get ready for dinner & to sleep. Who goes to the carribbean to spend it inside a hotel room ? Also the complaints of the manor side & riviera side, did you not read the brochure ? It shows you it's split up. I can't understand how some people can travel blindly & know so little about the place their visiting. The bus back & forth between manor & riviera side was maybe 10 minutes the most, we didn't wait long at all, & mind you the resort was fully booked this weekend. Manor side pool is nice & big & was fun during the day, we mainly stayed on the beach side. The beach side has the beach club, another little pool bar, amphitheater & piano bar which was a blast. Now, while the beach is small, again, there are pics of it in the brochure ! Our room was in the main building facing the garden, which was actually a beautiful view. Room was clean & found nothing wrong it. People complaining about cracks in the tiles or chipped painting boggles my mind, we actually laughed about it. On to the food, we waited only 30 minutes one night & that was it, never had a problem anywhere. Wednesday was the White Party on the Manor side , which was like a seafood buffett, good & walked right in. Friday night was the Beach Party on the Riviera side, another buffett & again, walked right in. One night we skipped dinner due to a long a intoxicating day on the Dunns River party cruise, lol, & the last night we had a private candlelight dinner on the beach. The people I saw waiting & complaing were the people that just were out boozing all day & came down to eat at like 800-900. If you know Sandals & the Caribbean, you can't do that. Things are done differently than back home. Get up early & enjoy your day, get to dinner around 600, than enjoy the rest of your night. Most folks are in bed by 1100-1200 anyway. You need to leave your normal routine home & relax on Sandals time. Another thing about timing, you can't sleep all morning, than stroll down to the pool or beach at noon & expect to get a chair, just doesn't work that way. The staff was excellent, everyone was nice, didn't run into any rude people. The entertainment that we managed to see was good too. Sometimes the bar service is slow, but expext it, lots of drink orders & everyone wants a frozen drink which sometimes takes a little longer. If you must do one trip, do the Dunns River Party Cruise. Well worth it, boat takes you snorkeling, then to Dunns River Falls to climb it, then it's one big dance party on the boat on the way back. And that rum punch on board....deadly !!!! Lol ! Also, the Island Village area was nice, went shopping & hung out at Margaritaville there. No one harassed us either to buy their stuff, smile & be nice & you're fine. We hated to leave, they make you leave the resort kinda early, but that extra time is needed combined with the bus ride back, airport check in, immigration & any duty free shopping you may wanna do. We had one hour to spare in the airport after all that. Bottom line, if you're really expecting royalty, go somewhere else. If you wanna relax, laugh & smile, then come here & please people, do some research on the place that you're gonna visit. Any questions for me..feel free....Anthony

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
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English first
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2009

My husband and I traveled here the first week in March for a relaxing beach vacation. We were disappointed in the resort. First, it was too large. We stayed on the Manor side and would have been much happier on the Riviera side nearest the beach. I had booked a room right in the Manor building because we like to be close to the restaurants and pool, which was my own mistake. Check in was confusing and took a very long time even though I did the online check in which was supposed to make it faster. We were upgraded to a villa room which we were not told at check in. The villa room was terrible. It looked like it had not been updated since 1960. The bathtub was stained a dark yellow color and was disgusting. The room was just large enough to walk around the bed. We complained and were then given the original room we had booked which was actually a lot nicer, but noiser as the view was basically the parking lot. We were okay with that as we did not want to spend a fortune on a room. We have had very bad luck at paying extra for ocean views and getting tree or building views instead. The staff was all very friendly and helpful. We thought the food was very good. You do have to get to the restaurants about 15 minutes before they open to get a table for the first dinner seating, or you will have to wait 1 1/2 to 2 hours to eat.. The breakfast service at the Market Place restaurant was terrible. It is a buffet, but they are supposed to bring you coffee. Most of the time it took 20 minutes to a half hour to get coffee and by that time we were pretty much done eating breakfast. The Bayside had much better service. We ended up spending way to much time going back and forth on the shuttle between the Manor side and Riviera side. I was a bit skeptical at booking this resort after reading some of the bad reviews, but my husband is a scuba diver and this resort included that in the price so it ended up being a better deal. Hubby thought the dive shop staff were very good and safety conscious. He enjoyed the scuba diving, but disliked that each dive is a short one tank dive. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. He thought it was rather time consuming to get all the equipment ready each time for such a short dive. The weather was not good for the week we were there either. It rained off and on for all but two days we were there. When talking to one of the locals he said that it does rain a lot in this area because of the mountains. If I would have known that I probably would not have stayed in the Ocho Rios area. This was our third time to Jamaica as it is one of our favorite places. We love jerk chicken, reggae music, and the beautiful beaches and scenery. We would go back to Negril though next time. My husband and I have traveled a lot and usually stay in moderately priced places as we can travel more often that way. My advice to anyone considering this resort is if you have a lot of money to spend on a vacation, stay at a nicer resort. If I would have paid $800 a night for a room at this resort and saw how poorly it was kept up, I would have been really disappointed. There definitely was no attention to detail. No daily or weekly schedules in the rooms. The grounds were dirty. You have to get your own drinks at the beach and pool. Definitely lacking in the "Luxury included" department. The entertainment was okay. The steel drum band on Saturday was great, very unique. Trip to Dunn's River Falls was a lot of fun. This resort is also separated by two roads, one the old highway and the other the new highway. Had the worst massage ever in the spa, which also was not very high on quality or service.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
New Jersey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2009

We stayed at Sandals Ocho Rios the week of March 14, 2009. I rarely write reviews, but before we went I read some reviews about the hotel and was a bit worried. A little about me female 29 from New Jersey. My expectations were met no doubt! We did get a really good deal which makes it even better. If you are a really uptight person this may not be for you! My parents and I vacation with eachother at least twice a year and all agreed this was awesome! We stayed in the villas next to eachother with the semiprivate pool. We hung out there frequently but also went to the manor pool and to the riviera side. The food was "good", I was never hungry. On the manor side a short walk from our villa we ate alot of jerk chicken during the day and loved it. The buffet was good with different choices for breakfast and lunch. We also went over to the Beach side for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was good in general. Sometimes a little wait because we eat at 7 or 8 but whats the rush we're on vacation, and we ate a ton during the day!!!!!
The villas are not the Ritz with marble bathrooms people have to remember what you pay for. The beds are pretty comfy pillows not so much. The villas are soooo quiet, what was exactly what I had in mind when I booked. We are pretty chill people and thats what we were there to do. The flowers, plants and trees are beautiful and we met Christopher a staff member who told us about them. He also pulled fresh coconut from the tree that we drank and enjoyed. Speaking of the staff, all very nice, some are over the top sweethearts! At night we would sit near our pool in our pjs and look at the stars! It was amazing!!!!!
As for the jitney,bus thing: we walked across to the beach side it took about 7 minutes max from our villa sometimes we took the 3 min bus ride. The buses ran frequently and jitneys around the manor side were always asking if we needed a ride we preferred to walk a little exercise is needed in life.
For fun we went on a tours with little local boats that park at the marina near the far left beach. Looks a little scary but we felt safe. Me and my finance are a little bit of scardy cats,so it means alot coming from us. We visited a lush natural pool were a James Bond film was made and Dunns falls with a nice boatride included was well worth the money we loved it because we didnt have to go with a group up Dunns Falls and on a bus. We also went to white River with a guide we met and it was an experience! Fresh fish, locals,and a drink called a magnum. Ask for Spider.
It was a great Vaca we will be going back soon!!
Also A tip helps for housekeeping and bar refilling.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Lincoln, NE
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2009

We were a little concerned about this place after reading some reviews, but we had a great time and would definitely return. Our room was located on the Riviera side which we definitely preferred over the Manor side. Even though a majority of the more expensive rooms are on the Manor side, you have to take a bus to get to the beach. There are also more restaurants on the Riviera Side.

Our room was in a small building along with 7 other rooms. The bathrooms are outdated, and yes, there is more caulking than tile in the shower, but everything worked fine. The room was freshly painted and the king size bed was perfect. There is nothing better than sleeping uninterrupted and waking up to the whistle of their native birds to remind you where you are. The TV's were updated, the mini fridge always stocked. I left a five the first day and asked for Red Stripe, and it was there when we came back from dinner. There were a few small bugs, but nothing you would notice unless you were looking for. It's the tropics and we felt this was to be expected.

We enjoyed the food and were never let down. We ate at both the Resort Casual restaurants and had no troubles with seating. Both are first come first served. We were traveling with a group of 16 and were seated right away at both Valentino's and Orchids.

Valentino's was the better of the two and overlooked the ocean. Tony was our server and he was excellent. Quite service that didn't interrupt conversation. We never had to request anything, and always had what we wanted. I highly recommend the steak. We could easily become four course diners.

They also have a breakfast buffet that has the standards as well as something new everyday. We're not big breakfast people, so this was just to get us through to dinner. Valentinos also offers breakfast a la carte, and is not crowded. They also have a lunch grill on each side of the resort which offers some tasty options. Again the service on the Riviera side was friendly, but not quite the same on the Manor side.

We did take the shuttle over to Sandals Dunns River and it's a nicer place. The main pool is right on the beach, and the beach area is bigger. It felt more open. We ate at their more casual restaurant, and it was also excellent. This Sandals had more of a "Resort" feel to it with a higher level of dress.

As far as entertainment is concerned, the friday night beach party was a lot of fun with some audience participation and dancing. They offered something similar on Monday on the Manor side that was like a street dance, but felt like a big informercial for all of the activities the resort offered for an additional charge. They also had a steel drum group named The Silverbirds and they were excellent. They were very relaxed, excellent musicians and had some talented dancers. We also did the glass bottom boat (pretty boring) and snorkeling. The snorkeling was good. We had a calm day and there were a lot of fish near the reef.

The only excursion we paid for was the Dunns River Party Cruise. We left, picked up some people from the Sandals at Dunns River and went to the falls. The water was really rough that day which made the ride a lot of fun. If you were on the front, you got drenched. The falls were fun. We had done them once before, so we didn't get the same excitement out of it as the first timers. It was also very crowded since there was a cruise ship in town. The cruise afterward is where things got out of hand. I think they call it Rum PUNCH because it'll knock you out. Of the 14 of us in our group, we had one black eye, one broken toe, and one chipped tooth. Did I mention the water was rough?? Even those who got beat up had a great time, but our day was pretty much over by three in the afternoon.

We also hired a cab to take us into town to do some shopping. The local flea market felt much safer than when we'd been there ten years ago. The merchants all wore a uniform and although they still bordered on begging, if you told them you would be there in a minute, they left you alone. Bartering was fun for me, and you must do it, or you'll get ripped off.

The last thing I want to mention are Centipedes, or as the locals call them, Forty Legs. I had read about them on this forum, and I was bitten on the small toe at 2 a.m. It burns like crazy and quickly moved up into the groin area. I did need to wake the nurse and get three shots which was definitely incovenient, but nobodys fault but my own. Just know that if you get bit, it'll hurt, but it's not fatal by any means.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this resort. We had a great time.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Oklahoma City
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

This resort was as expected based on other reviews I read. We did not pay for a five star, and that is what we got which was fine. This was one of the cheapest Sandals Resorts for a reason. Food was good, rooms were just fine. We stayed in the cheapest Riviera rooms and it had all we needed. It even had a mini fridge which was not expected. We had previosly stayed at Montego Bay about 7 years ago and were expecting the same service and attitude. I would say that way my biggest disappointment. All employees were not happy like last time and the playmakers were a HUGE disappointment. They were great at Montego Bay, but here they were non-existent. They didn't even show up to one of their scheduled outtings. Nightlife is not much. Piano bar is ok, but not too many people go. Disco always seemed to be closed when we wanted to go. We had a group of 10, so we were just fine. Nightly entertainment was good. For the Red Bull/Vodka drinkers - you can buy Red Bull (and Miller Lite) in the gift shop. The best Vodka they stock in the bars is Skyy. On Monday is Sandals night at Margaritaville which has free transportation and cover. Fun Bar! We also did the booze cruise to Dunns River Falls. Great time!! The staff on that was great! We did the day transfer to Dunns River Sandals and that is very nice. Some people from Dunns told us people from there go to Grand to eat and everyone else comes over there during the day. They do have nicer facilities. All in all - good value.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Meridian, Idaho
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

We Stayed at the Sandals resort from March 6th- 13th. This is our second trip back to Sandals. We stayed at Sandals whitehouse 3 years ago and loved it.

Our trip hear was wonderful. My wife and I, both of our parents and my brother and his wife all went on this trip. They have never been on a trip like this so we were extra excited just for them. i have to admit after reading some of these reviews we were a little nervous about this particular Sandals because of what some people say and how they were so dis satisfied. But you get out of it what you want. The Property is amazingly landscaped and is beautiful. As expected the Staff was awesome. We stayed on the Riviera side. we booked on the Manor side but they put us on the Riveria side for some reason. By the beach. no complaints here. Food Was Great. Entertainment was awesome as well. Always something fun going on. Weather could have been a little better but that is no ones fault.

We also made it to the other resort. Dunns river Sandals for dinner one night at Marco Polos. we had eight in our party. got there about 7 and had no wait. it was the best filet and lobster i have had i think. amazing.

We ate at several of the nice restraunts and didnt ever have more than 10 or 15 minute waits. there were normally eight in our party too. So as far as these people talking about 2 hour waits and 2 hour dinner service. didnt happen to us. my parents had to wait an hour one night at one restraunt. they got there at 7pm. my wife and i got there at 630 and was seated immediately.

Beach was nice. not the biggest as you see alot on these posts but it was great for us. went swimming. water was nice. we also went scuba diving as well. we did an excursion one day and did the full package swimming with the dolphins. it was awesome. definately worth it but a little spendy. 220 per person.

All in all things were excellent and as expected aside from a couple cloudy days. a special thanks to Cheryl and Megan for making our stay extra special. we met them at the returning guests dinner. They are in charge of returning guests services. They are the most polite and outgoing people we met there and made our stay extra special by upgrading my wife and I's room the last two nights to an ocean view room on the 3rd floor. Thanks again and we shall return as soon as possible.

  • Stayed March 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
Somerset
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2009

My wife and I spent two weeks at the Sandals Grande at the beginning of December. This was our first visit to a Sandals resort. We were rather disappointed in our our room - which was a former time-share house and very dated. Having been sold the idea of 'Sandals luxury' the accomodation was badly in need of some serious re-decoration. However, room aside, we did enjoy the holiday. Weather was lovely, food was great and the staff were wonderful. Good selection of restaurants to choose from - we particularly enjoyed the Arizona, where the tables where set up on the beach (very romantic with your partner)

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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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
#4 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 On the Beach 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*
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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