I read pretty much all of these reviews before I went and they were SO helpful so I'll write a detailed review as well in hopes someone else will benefit from my great experience!
Took Jamaica Tours from airport to hotel. Took about 2 hours. Guide (Peter) was great and had tons of information about Jamaica and hotels along the way so the time flew by. We stopped and had the opportunity to get drinks etc. The alcoholic drinks were $7 each so I'd recommend just getting water or waiting until you get to the hotel. But take advantage of the view while you wait. Bathrooms were fairly clean as well.
Upon arriving at the hotel we were so impressed. Check in was quick for us. The room was ready but some people who rode the bus with us had rooms that weren't ready so I guess it is luck of the draw. We would have been fine waiting because of the great view from the lobby and nice staff.
We stayed in the South Tower which I think was the most convenient for us. Our room was just like the pictures and we were suprised at the great view. We ordered a "resort view" yet could still see the ocean and beach from our room. It was a nice surprise. I wouldnt splurge for anything unless you want a large balcony. The balcony could easily fit two people relaxing and even had a table and chairs to chill out on. There was a slight "musty" smell to the room but come on...moisture is inevitable right next to the ocean! I have severe mold and mildew allergies and I had no problems staying in my room at all!
The pools....are outrageous! I could never decide which one was best. The main pool has a swim bar and great bar tenders and music. If you are looking for a quieter time then go to the far pool at either the north or south towers. Both pools are very relaxing. The north pool has places where you can lay out in the middle of the pool and relax in the water while still getting a tan.
The bars....all were great. Make sure to ASK for rum when ordering your "premixed" drinks becuase I found they didnt always assume your pina colada needed rum in it...For a relaxing time chill out in the Orantique bar just off the main lobby. They were very relaxing before dinner.
The food...I would recommend making reservations at all 3 restaurants if possible. I found them all to be delicious and very elegant. They do have a dress code but we could tell they were pretty lax about it. Guys just dont wear shorts and ladies bring a few nice sundresses or churchy type outfits for them.
LaDiva - the italian one - was great. This is pretty much a 5 course meal which was great. Sure they take their time in between courses (say 10-15 mins) but you gotta digest right! It is great to have conversation and wine and just chill out after a long day in the sun.
South Beach - this is outside dining and has a great casual elegance. Some stray cats wander around some said but we didnt see any so who knows. Food was great but desserts were just ok.
Ginger Lily - wonderful! Great service, great everything. Wish we could eat there again!
The grande buffet was great. Lot of the same but changed up their main courses which was good. We never went to Jamaicalicious because it had a dress code and was only open during the day and who wants to bail on the beach to get all dressed up...no thanks!
Beaches - North beach is small, mostly for water sports. I recommend having them take you out on their sailing rafts. They are great and it is FREE. You go all around the bay and it is really fun.
South beach is pretty big (I'm not a huge beach person) and has fun rafts for you to go out in. It was just enough beach for this pool girl. Plus if you like to walk farther just wander to the neighboring beaches to get a better feel of the bay. If you want miles and miles of Beaches, Ocho Rios isnt for you. But it was perfect for me.
Staff/Activities - The activities were great for kids during the day. Scavenger hunts, etc. They wanted adults to participate but it was pretty minimal interest because we were all drinking in the pools ha! The Beach (Tues) night was great and so was the Pirate night (Thurs) so I recommend both of those. This resort is NOT for singles looking to party. If you are single and just want to relax and chill out then this will be just fine. If you want to be drunk and dancing all night - consider someplace else. It is great to relax and get away...
Outings - I did two tours.
1) Dunns River Falls - One of the best experiences EVER! We used the guide up the falls and took our time and it was great working together to get to the top. I would do it again in a heart beat. I am "heavy" and did just fine. I think anyone from 8 to 80 can do this if they dont have bad knees. If you have bad knees you might have difficulty but other than that it isnt an overtly physical climb if you can climb stairs you can do this! I highly recommend.
2) Spirit of Reggae Tour - We had a great guide with Jamaica Tours and it was a nice experience but I wouldnt shell out the $$ for it again. The guide, Desmond, made the whole trip and the rest was just average. It is a long day trip so I suggest just taking shorter (2-4 hour) excursions so you can relax a little at the hotel.
Outside shopping - I have to say that I found everything there to be kind of junky and expensive. The market had much of the same stuff and they start out so high that to haggle them down to a resonable price is just a pain the butt. We didnt buy much but they have some nice things and it is worth it to just get out and check it out but dont make a big day of it. I recommend taking a $6 cab ride to "Island Village" and then walking back to the hotel from there (if you can walk about a 3 qtr mile easily) and go late in the afternoon (3-5:30pm) for the best deals becuase the shops are "packing up" and wont pester as much. I found the hotel gift shop to be pretty comprable to outside stuff on everything except TShirts.
Contacting home.... If you HAVE to call home then get a calling card in jamaica or just make a quick call and charge it to the hotel room. Contacting home (USA for me) was not easy for us but we only called home once using the hotel directly and it was like 3 minutes for a few dollars. Expensive yes but easier than hassling with a calling card and all that business.
The internet....this was my only complaint. The rooms dont have internet, ok I get it, but we brought a laptop and still had to pay to use the internet. It is 30 minutes for $6 which is pretty expensive and was such a pain in the butt we decided to only do this once. Dont bring your computer - if you have to just use theirs for the same price. Internet wasnt really very fast but you should be out drinking by the pool anyway right!
If you have any questions regarding this review just let me know....please only THIS review, no solicitations (like that will stop them ha!)
And this might not be a 5 star by USA or even European views but by Jamaican standards it is a 5 Star. By ours maybe more like a 4 star?
- Also Known As:
- Sunset Jamaica Grande
- Sunset Jamaica Grand
- Jamaica Grande
- Sunset Jamaica Grande Ocho Rios
- Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort Spa
- Sunset Jamaica Grand Resort
- Sunset Grande Jamaica
- Sunset Jamaica
- Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel
- Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort Ocho Rios
- 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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