Our trip, Mar 10-16, 2007, started at Sandals Inn after a red eye from LA. We stayed 1 night there and asked to be transferred to another Sandals. The only available rooms were at SGOR, which we gladly accepted. We were given rooms on the Riviera side on the 3rd floor facing the ocean. There was no comparison to what we had left at Sandals Inn. They were exactly what we had imagined!!
I have read many reviews on the poor food but we experienced none of that. It was excellent at all the restaurants, none of which take reservations. Even with a party of 6 at each dinner we had no problem getting in with only a minimal wait.
I was a little disappointed in the lack of night life. We closed down the place each night around midnight. Most of the couples had been long gone by that time. The nightly entertainment was OK. The guest talent show was more talentless but we still had a good time watching. There were a few people at the Disco but the music was so loud you couldn't talk to anyone. The piano bar was nearly empty also and we could only stand the bad singing for so long. We ended up shooting pool and playing poker.
The bus ride was not the nightmare I had read about. It took about 2 hours from the airport but that included a short stop along the way for the bathroom and drinks. Our bus driver made the trip go fast with his stories, points of interest, and jokes. We learned a lot about the Jamaican people and saw sights we would have not seen if we had not transferred. Our return ride to the airport however, took much longer, since we had to stop and pickup guests on the Manor side of the resort and at Dunn's River. Our bus left at 11:00 AM for a 4:00 PM flight so we lost the last day due to travel. Make sure you have tip money left for the bus driver. They EXPECT it and will tell you so.
We were put off by the tipping that was expected off property. We don't mind paying for service but when they tell you it's not enough that really put us off. If you go to Dunn's River falls make sure you take enough for the bus driver, 2 guides, and the photographer. We didn't realize there would be so many and didn't have enough. They have lockers to rent for $8 and when you turn your lock back in you get some of that back. They will also try to sell you a DVD of the climb for $40 and there will be some pictures for purchase when you get done. The only exit is through the "craft market". Many, many vendors wanting you to buy from them....you got, more money needed. We took $75 in 1's and $50 in 5's for the whole trip. That was plenty for us but we didn't go off the property except for 2 tours.
We took the canopy tour through Chukka tours. It was like a bunch of cattle being herded. I would estimate that there were 40 people and it was very crowded. They had us smashed together on the landings and were in a big hurry to send us to the next one. The staff was cordial but not friendly, they were just doing their job and trying to get everyone through as quick as possible. We have done the zip line in Kauai and there is no comparison.
The beaches are small but the pools are beautiful. We snorkeled only once since the water was very choppy for a couple of days. It wasn't great but there were a few colorful fish. They take you out on the snorkel boat a short ways from shore and give you about 45 minutes before it goes back. The boat has a glass bottom so if you don't want to snorkel you can still see whats below.
All in all we had a wonderful time and I would recommend this resort to anyone.
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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 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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