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“Good, not Great” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort

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Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   * The resort will be closed until March 2015, when it will reopen as a Palace Resort * | P.O. Box 100, Ocho Rios, Jamaica   |  
Hotel amenities
United States
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Good, not Great”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

First time in Jamaica - we've been all-inclusive to Cancun twice. All in all I don't think we'd return. It wasn't a great fit for our family with kids 8 & 10.

First, we googled how far Ocho Rios is from the airport. Mapquest came up with 1.5 hours. It took 2.5 hours on a bus. They made one stop at a bar to use the restroom (tho it did seem there was one on the bus). We arrived at 6pm, it was dark and the pools closed, so we ate and went to bed. It took 2 hours returning to the airport. Summaries below:

RESORT:
Nicely maintained, nice lobby to hang out in (which many people did as this is where the wifi works). Bees were all over the place and constantly landing in your drink. The pollen has washed away so they're looking for sugar. There were bees in the drink dispensers, at the bar, in your drink... We left the resort one night to get local Jerk Chicken (I think called Jerk Chicken centre or something). A staff member actually walked us there as she thought we might get lost. Walking around the downtown area was an eye-opener for sure. They have many tourist police (In white bucket hats) and nobody was a bother, but they will try to sell you whatever it is they are holding.

On the weekends they are inundated with locals who buy daily passes. We had to stand and wait for a table for breakfast. The food gets picked over quickly. Upside is we did enjoy meeting a local family and the kids played together.

ROOMS:
We stayed in the North tower. It was comfortable but small. Until 9pm they played LOUD music such as Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers etc. It sounded like they were on our balcony. The mattresses are not bricks like the ones in Mexico. The room was clean and housekeeping changed the linens every day. You are not allowed food in your room, nor is there room service. Tho people did bring food up and would leave dirty plates on the benches by the elevators. Plumbing all worked fine.

FOOD/DRINKS:

Several bars. But only three restaurants, and the buffet. Only one restaurant was open each night and unless you went at 8:30 the morning before to book, you were likely to miss out. There were no kids' menus so we had to feed our picky eaters at the buffet after we ate. 'Dining on South Beach' was not open at all while we were there, but the Bar and Grill was open for Jerk Chicken at lunch.
'La Diva' - italian - was good. 'Ginger Lily' was good. Nothing spectacular but the atmosphere was lovely.
Buffet food was ok. If changed every night so if you liked something the night before, you might not see it again. Cowfoot I will be happy not to see again. Many local dishes but we are not too adventurous. The desserts were unusual and rather rubbery. The gingersnap cookies were the best thing there.

At the Lighthouse Grill they serve cheeseburgers, fries, hot dogs etc.. that is where our kids ate most of their meals. The buffet was closed between 2:30 and 6:30 which is when we could have used a good meal (other than the fries/burgers).

Drinks were sweet sweet sweet! And ultimately ended up with bees in them.

BEACH:
It's just OK. the sand was really nice. We brought water shoes after reading reveiws about urchins etc, sure enough we met someone that stepped on one. Just outside of the resort people will try to sell you stuff - hairbraiding, shells, jet ski rides and boat trips. We did buy necklaces etc and two jet ski rides, and a glass-bottom boat trip. They were not pushy HOWEVER I will say that they are not allowed on the resort beach. Security guy actually berated us for buying from them and told us his job was in jeopardy because of it. UMMM So watch the fence and don't let them in. They made us feel like WE were in the wrong.

So the kids loved the jetski and the boat tour was great - we snorkeled at the reef just off the resort. 'Don Juan' was the guy that set us up. We actually paid two days ahead and were nervous he would be a no-show but he was there and it went well. I think we paid $70 for all of us for an hour.

STAFF:
Hit or miss. If you tipped they remembered you. I wouldn't say they were rude, just not very friendly. Some of the staff were. We put the kids in Kids' Club a couple of times and they enjoyed it - though pretty much the only kids there. We were annoyed that someone called our first night at 10:30pm to ask if we had the blankets we asked for. We had been travelling since 6am and it was like the middle of the night for us!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,307)
Date | Rating
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English first
Lambertville, Michigan
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

My husband and I have been going to Jamaica (the Sunset Jamaica Grande) for 20 years. The name has changed over the years and we have watched it grow up from two small hotels with a pool each to the resort that it is today. The facilities are older, but they are well maintained and I have always found them to be clean. The food is pretty good (Ala Carte restaurants are fabulous) and the drinks, beach, and location to town are excellent. The price is one of the cheapest on any island for all inclusive. We have traveled all over the Caribbean and even the Bahamas and Mexico... this is our favorite vacation for the price. All you naysayers... please keep in mind what you paid to be there (deduct the price of airfare alone... you will be amazed) when rating the hotel.

We always take $1 bills with us for tipping; it can be very effective in getting great service and much appreciated by the staff; minimum wage was just increased to $5,000 Jamaican Dollar per week back in September. This equates to about $55 USD a week. You can see how a few dollars can make a difference to the employees.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
1 review
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

this was our second trip to this hotel and our third time in jamaica. the first time in this resort was much better than the second. my wife is diabetic and the diet pop in the fountain machine is actually regular. we complained about this for multiple days with no change. we tested for sugar in the diet pop every day and it had sugar every day.
there was also a water leak in our room, maintenance showed up to fix it, so like nice guests we left the room so he could work on the problem. returned to the room 30 minutes later to find all of our electronics gone (cell phone, camera, chargers, iPod) and cologne, however he left the memory cards with our pictures (such a nice their). when we told the hotel staff about this, they told us not to contact the police, we found this odd so we contacted them anyway. the "security manager" was upset when we told him we contacted the police. we ended up getting a hotel report, air transat report, but the police report mysteriously vanished (been told that police can be bribed).
when we tried to get insurance we were told they need a copy of the police report, air transat sent us an email saying that this didnt actually happen (can provide proof for those interested)
all in all, i will not ever be returning to this hotel, and will not be returning to jamaica for many years!
hope this information is useful for preventing future theft, and hardship

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

I booked this hotel after a friend said she had had a great time last year. I had noted the average Tripadvisor feedback from other travellers on this hotel but went ahead and booked as I was travelling with my mother and we wanted to stay in the Ocho Rios area. Without going into too much detail I would suggest that this hotel would be great for a family with young children for 1 week only. I am in my late forties and travelled with my mother, who is in her 70s and native to the island of Jamaica but had never stayed in a hotel on the island, so this was supposed to be a treat for her.

On arrival we were booked into the South Tower and I was greatly disappointed with our room. The approach to the room, i.e. the communal carpeted walkway was in great need of a vaccuum clean. There was a general musty smell which was quite strong in our room, the drapes were shabby, unpressed and dirty. The bathroom did not have adequate lighting, i.e. there was no light above the bath area so there was little visibility when the blackout shower curtain was drawn!! With my mother having restricted mobility I arranged for us to be moved the following day via our holiday rep and this was dealt with promptly. Our new room was in the North Tower, on the 3rd floor. I was advised that this room was for disabled guests. On first view the room was an improvement, clean, and adequate for our holiday. However the blackout blind and no light above the bath/shower area remained with the addition of a grab rail in the bath area so that my mother could get in and out safely. There was no door on the bathroom, just a shower rail with a fabric curtain! So as to enjoy the only 2 week break for me this year I decided to continue with the holiday at this hotel as there was also a financial consideration, having booked this break back in june/july this year. In the middle of our first week we noticed prolonged banging and drilling and general working noises well into the late evening but thought this was just general maintenance on another floor. By the end of the first week we realised we were pretty much the only guests on ths third floor and that many of the rooms were being re-fitted (the season does not really start until mid December) so we were greeted by a corridor of ripped out bathrooms, new fittings, etc. - a building site!

The beach area was fine for this size of hotel however it could do with more sand as in parts it could be quite rocky and many guests had brought shoes to walk on the beach and to paddle out to the sea. I had a real problem with the bees during the first week of my stay and finally realised it was my fragrant sunscreen lotion that was causing the problem! I would strongly suggest bringing a fragrance free sunscreen if you would like to lounge in peace :) The hotel shop did not stock fragrance free lotion. Mosquitos were evident but this is normal in the Caribbean so definitely wear a repellent if you are prone to attracting them.

The food choices became boring by the end of the first week although for a hotel this size it was great to have a constant Caribbean option at breakfast as well as the European / American option of fruit, toast, cold meats, pancakes etc. I noted the absence of any eating bananas during my 2 week stay?!

There are lots of trips to be taken in Ocho Rios, the Dunns River falls being the main one which should not be missed. Zip lining and bob sleighing were new options I had not seen before on this part of the island but I could not coax my mother into trying them :)

The water slide is one of the main features of this hotel and really great for kids and adults, the pools could be a little cleaner (saw a crab in one pool) and I preferred the quiet pool area where you could happily lounge and read leaving the other 2 main pool areas and hot tubs on the other side of the hotel to the more boisterous traveller. The Wifi access at this hotel is chargeable and weak! I paid 30USD for 1 week usage and did not bother to pay for the 2nd week. I would suggest that the hotel reviews this policy as most hotels have this as a free service.

Overall I would not stay at the Sunset Jamaica Grande again if I returned to Ocho Rios as I feel this hotel is more geared towards client volume and if I did return I think I would look for a smaller hotel or guesthouse which can perhaps focus more on the little details that make a holiday memorable for the right reasons.

Room Tip: I discovered the cabana rooms - low level apartment style rooms near the quiet swimming pool. I did...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Winnipeg, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

Our holiday was great!!! Went Nov. 7th to 14th,2012. Bus trip from airport too long,2.5 hrs., don't know how much a cab would have cost might be worth it. Check in fast and very friendly. Stayed in North tower, 10th floor. Everything worked and was very nice. Damp smell comes with being in the tropics and not that bad, I'm sure 5stars have the same problem. Everyone was very friendly but so were we and I think that is the key. BE HAPPY MON!!! Everyone will be happy back to you. No mosquitos but bees are everywhere around the pools. Food was good but the same, remember it is not the busy season. Ala cartes were good and service was great everywhere. Drinks had lots of booze, maybe the daily specials weren't strong but all you had to do was ask for more! No tipping nessesary but we did tip everyone on the second last day. Put it in your palm and shake hands then they can take the tip. Lots of entertainment all round the resort at night time. Dennis Malcom by the pool 7 to 9 great! Maurice in the Karaokee piano bar ,by the Chinese ala carte, was so much fun! Stage entertainment so-so, but again not busy season. Steel drums night was awesome a must see. Cool runnings excursion, snorkeling and Dunns River Falls, is a must!! Climbing up the falls was very exciting and safe. We also did zip lining and horseback riding in the ocean. Do not be afraid to go zip lining very,very safe and sooooo exciting. Would do it again in a flash. Riding was so-so but was on our bucket list. Felt very, very safe down town but the flea market was overwelming. They are too agressive and I have been to the Mexican flea markets many times. We went once for 1/2 hr. and would not go back. Lots of stores everywhere and because it is off season we got very good deals there!!!
Remember that this is not a 5 star but it was great and so friendly. Never had any problems and never went hungry. I can not say enough about the staff at the hotel and all workers with the tours doing everything to make our stay the very best!!! We loved every minute of our stay and would recommend the Sunset to anyone. Go ,have fun, be happy & friendly and it will be returned to you 100 fold!!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new jersey
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

maritza..
the hotel is ok the room we got was in the back no view kind of old but very clean no refrigerated in the room to keep things cold like water or soft drink. food ok. restaurant server very nice and polite. pool area nice. the beach dark water and to many rocks. entertaiment not much always the same music. if we ever go back not to this resort.

Room Tip: north side is ok
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta,GA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

The hotel was ok overall. The hotel was not new, but it was clean. That was the main thing for me. I loved the pool and the beach. My room was ok and clean. All the rooms had a view of the ocean. It was close to town and you could walk to get food. LOL. This brings me to the downfall of the place. They did not offer a good variety of food. It was hard to get a reservation at the restaurants.Thus, I ate at the Jerk Center, the indian restaurant, and Juice Patties.Don't get me wrong, the food was edible. I just didn't find anything that made me want seconds. The other downfall was that internet was only available in the lobby and pool area. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Overall, I enjoyed my stay and would go back again.
..

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Room Tip: All rooms have some type of view of the ocean. i could see the ocean and mountains from my room.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort

Address: * The resort will be closed until March 2015, when it will reopen as a Palace Resort * | P.O. Box 100, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Luxury Hotel in
#12 Top resorts Hotel in
#14 Spa Hotel in
#16 On the Beach Hotel in
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 730
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Escape to the all-inclusive splendor of the legendary 730-room Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios with its spectacular variety of amenities, divine dining, spa and stellar location. A beautiful white-sand beach fringes the resort while five lavish pools meander through this beachside complex, featuring waterfalls, plunge pools, Jacuzzis, swaying rope bridge and swim-up bars. Amenities include five restaurants, two beach grills, eight bars, two kids clubs, non-motorized water sports, full-service spa, air-conditioned fitness center, tennis, mini casino, nightly entertainment, disco, shops, business center, conference facilities, weddings and much more. Services abound, offering the ideal getaway for singles, couples, families and groups. The sensational Lighthouse Waterslide opened in April 2007. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunset Jamaica Grande Ocho Rios
Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort Spa
Sunset Jamaica Grand Resort
Sunset Grande Jamaica
Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel
Jamaica Grande Hotel
Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort Ocho Rios

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