I stayed at this resort for five days last week while presenting at a workshop. It was my third time there. I stayed in an ocean-view room in the south tower.
Check-in was fine, although there was a little mix-up with the online check-in. Apparently when you check in online, you need to print the form when you do so, and bring it with you. That being said, they still gave us our half hour of free wifi, and no worries with our restaurant reservations as those were being taken care of by the AC Vacations rep.
Our rooms were ready upon arrival around 3:30 pm. When I got upstairs, I discovered some water dripping from the air conditioning vent. I called downstairs and someone was there within 5 minutes. It turned out someone had left the balcony door open, which causes condensation. This was explained, fixed, and one fellow went to get a mop to clean up, even though there wasn't much water on the floor at that point. Better service than I have gotten in other places when there was a problem by far.
The room was basic, but clean and functional. I was on the ninth floor facing the water, and yes, it did look out over the roof of the facilities below, but I still got that breathtaking view of the Caribbean every morning. The bed was fine - much better than the one I had in Brussels a couple of weeks earlier - and the room was kept clean. Water pressure in the bathroom was great and there was never a problem with hot water. The room came with a small walk-in closet, iron and ironing board, tea kettle, alarm clock, and small fridge. The only issues with the room were that it did face the side where the evening entertainment happened, so while I was well away from the disco, the evening entertainment went on until 11 pm and was loud. This likely would not be an issue for someone on holiday, but as I was working, it did keep me up longer than I would have liked. The other issue was kind of odd. When I arrived, there was no bath mat, but lots of towels. After the first day, a floor mat arrived, but the hand towel disappeared never to be seen again. No worries - this is Jamaica and I just used a wash cloth which was always replaced.
Bar service (when I had time) and meal service was fine. The servers in the buffet work very hard and I never had to wait for tea in the morning or water or drinks with other meals. There is a line-up for the omelet station, but it never took more than 10 minutes to get through it and there are lots of other options if one doesn't want to wait. I love a fresh omelet, so I waited. Food was plentiful, and reasonably good - as with any buffet, there are some things they do better and some things that just don't do well in a buffet setting. The lunches and evening meals were fine - there is always a choice of meats, fish, salads, fruit, and the dessert section is guaranteed to help you put on weight. Service was always very friendly, with servers greeting you with a smile and a cheery good morning or hello.
We did manage to try three of the four specialty restaurants. For some reason, the Grand Terrace was not listed as an option for us, so we didn't get in there. My favourite has always been the Italian place and this time was no exception. Both food and service were comparable to fine dining in lots of places in the world. And the wine in the specialty restaurants is a little better than what is available in the buffet (where it is not even palatable.) We also had very good meals in the Ginger Lily and South Beach restaurants. I love the South Beach because you are outside and because the food is more local.
I only spent a short time swimming one morning, so can't comment on all of the beach areas, but this resort is not one to come to for the beach. The pools seem to be lovely and well-used, and there is so much pool space that you should be able to find quiet if that's what you want, or fun if that is more your taste. I can't comment on activities or stuff for children as I was working most of the time I was there. It is a short walk from the resort into Ocho Rios. To the right as you leave the resort are the tourist areas and craft market, and to the left is the area where locals shop. One other thing I would highly recommend is getting off the resort for a tour or two, and not necessarily just the Dunns River Falls tour. The last time I was there we took a tour to a coffee plantation in the hills, and we also did a tour to see Noel Coward's home, Firefly, as well as a fruit plantation. Both tours were really interesting and a chance to see a less touristy side of Jamaica.
As I noted in my header, the staff here was always friendly. It was rare to pass someone anywhere in the resort without them greeting you, and the service from the restaurants to the bars (especially the lobby bar) to the front desk to my one visit to the towel hut was always friendly. I am not sure what happened with the folks who have reviewed this resort and noted unfriendly staff, as we never encountered this.
To sum up, if you are looking for luxury, then pay the money and go for it, but if you are looking for a comfortable, friendly resort where you can soak up the sun, I can recommend the Sunset Jamaica Grande.
- 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