My wife and I spent two weeks from the 10th of January 2012 at this resort and booked on the strength of the advertising and other reviews, I think the easiest way to explain our thoughts is with pros and cons or if you like the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but before doing so it may be best to state one thing, don't go during the Canadian Sizzler week.
The staff are absolutely fantastic, can't praise them highly enough, please treat them all with respect, from the Gardeners through all the Restaurant and facilities staff, just say hi, they are worth at least that.
The overall facilities are great.
The individual apartment was more than adequate.
The food was (execept Dinos) lovely and abundant, don't miss Kimonos, China Doll, Kelly's or Valentinos ( say hi to Hencle, the head waiter) but give Dinos a miss if you can.
The bar drinks were top line as long as you ask for the brand.
The standard wine especially Merlot was good, no need to buy the more expensive stuff on the wine list.
The transport between each area within the Resort was very good and efficient, I just wish we'd known we virtually had no option but to use it, explained in the "bad" notes below.
The Dolphin touch or swim excursion, good but at least an hour too long at the location.
The golf course is good but not exceptional, the clubs they hire out are good quality Teitliest or similar.
Book the Moby lounge at the airport for your return journey, worth the money any day of the week.
The two hour journey from the airport.
The cost of the excursions and the fact they were always longer in duration, steer clear of the Bob Marley Zion Bus or off road options to same.
The main road that runs through the Resort between the Manor Side and the Beach / Riviera side, not ideal for a walk hence the bus journey which as stated is really short and efficient.
No real walkways to get away from everything.
Ocho Rios itself, Personally I wouldn't go walking in it and certainly not after dark.
Canadian Sizzler week, we were ready to come home after the 1st week as it resembled more of an 18-30s holiday than a mature adult location, unbelievably noisy, excessive drinking and swearing.
You can only book for Kelly's or Kimonos and you must get your reservation in for those two the minute you arrive, as for all the others except China Doll you should be prepared to wait or leave your name and go back nearer the offered time and hope you don't have to wait again, not ideal.
Following on from above, Saying you can't book even through your concierge (unless you have a Butler) isn't strictly true as it turned out, if you press the Concierge team to contact the Food & Beverages Manager they CAN book a table.
NON SANDALS STAFF on excursions, transport etc will mention they expect a tip, sometimes more bluntly than is acceptable, this isn't Sandals fault but be aware, have a couple of dollars ready for the Airport baggage handlers coming in and going out, and in my opinion the driver to and from the airport should get $5 or $10, up to you.
If you book "MyTime" through your tour / holiday operator make sure you get any discount applied when checking out, I tried to get my 15% discount which was clearly stated without an end date but was told it had finished, let's just say I got the discount as agreed which amounted to $135
Not many things really,
Avoid the Canadian Sizzler week as mentioned above.
Avoid going outwith the complext at night.
Take lots of really good quality mozzy sprays, lotions etc or suffer the consequences and the cost of buying them from the resort shop.
If your British, sorry Scottish (as I am) don't be surprised if an American asks what language is spoken in Scotland, we told this one person all spoke English and he told us he spoke "America", mmm, I know he understood us and that it wasnt a joke and also some people speak Gaelic in Scotland but really!
Lastly, the noisy minority could quite easily have spoiled the holiday completely but only spoiled the 1st week and we learned to avoid some areas where they continued to be noisy throughout the 2nd week, for the record, we are not fuddy duddy's, we like fun, meeting people, having nice meals and a few drinks, we hate rude, brash, ignorant people who couldn't care less as long as they are having a good time.
See what you think for yourself and respect the staff, they deserve it.
Mike & Denise Froude Edinburgh.
- 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 And Villa Golf Resort
- Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
- Sandals Ocho Rios
- Ciboney Ocho Rios
- Sandals Ochi Beach Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios