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“Sandals Ocho Rios was great!”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #7 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed March 16, 2008

My fiance and I went to Sandals Ocho Rios for our wedding and honeymoon. The wedding coordinators were pleasant and professional, anticipating anything extra you might want. The resort itself was beautifully landscaped and kept. The colors of the flowers and trees were incorporated into the furnishing and buildings onsite. Dining was elegant but could also be as casual as you wanted. The resort presented you with many different activities and adventures to make the most out of you vacation. However, the beach and pools made for a relaxing environment. In our room category, we had the serivce of a butler. While I was a little hesitant about it at first, the experience was very handy. The butlers were able to make dinner reservations as well as plan activites during your stay for tours or spa treatments. We didnt use the butler for too much pampering, like shopping and unpacking, but being picked up at your room for transport to dinner or the shuttle was very nice.

Stayed: March 2008
5  Thank ktb6298
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8,343 - 8,349 of 8,865 reviews

Reviewed March 16, 2008

We have just returned from 2 weeks at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. Our previous experience of Sandals was 2 years ago in Antigua. We found the whole experience far exceeded that of Antigua - the service in particular.
Getting through the airport to the bus was easy without too long waiting in queues. Yes, the drive from the airport is around 1 hour 45 mins but you must be expecting this if you read these reports. We found the trip pleasant and gave us a good initial view of the island.
We had booked the cheapest rooms but were upgraded to the Manor Villas with pool shared between the 4 apartments. Dont worry about being on the Manor side - it is quiet but easy to get around on the very frequent transport - we never had to wait for more than about 5 mins - relax, you are on holiday!
The choice of restaurants was good and if you do not wish to wait go early, around 6.30 & you should have no problems getting straight in. The Manor & Valentinos were our favourites and we ate at all restaurants over the 2 weeks. Ignore the comments about small portions - we were happy with the size of the meals & were not hungry after visiting any restaurant. Perhaps many are used to having larger portions in restaurants in the US than we are in the UK.
Bar staff were excellent - you would not sit with an empty glass for long - they usually remembered what you are drinking.
The beach is not as small as we were led to believe from some of the reviews - there were always plenty of sunbeds whatever time of day you arrived.
We did the Bob Marley Zion bus trip - well worth the experience & the Katt Dunns River Falls trip - not to be missed.
We were hesitant about a 2nd trip to Sandals but this has restored our faith in the company & will probably go again.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank StryW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2008

We standed at SGOR Mar 3-10. The staff was great. Our room (Riviera Luxury) was equivalent to the Honeymoon Penthouse (less the liquor). The bar tenders at the swim up pool bar by the kayaks were incredible! They were great (Dr. Dre and MJ). Now the FYI: There is a lot of walking, especially stairs. My husband and I are 43 & 42 and in decent shape, but I found the stairs a bit of a PITA (pain in the a..). I saw quite a few OLDER couples and wondered how they managed. This is a LARGE resort, especially with the 2 sections. They are separated by a major road. They have shuttles regularly going back and forth but this was a bit much for us. We stayed at Couples Negril in 2004 and it is a much smaller resort, but thats what we've decided we like. We met 2 great couples whom we've made friends with and will keep for a lifetime. Make friends with the bartenders, your drinks will be much better. Eat at Valentinos, the filet... INCREDIBLE! My husband claims the shrimp were the best he had EVER had. Jamaicans are skinny for a reason, meal portions. As American's we overeat and eat everything on our plate. Their portions are smaller, but you can order several of everything on the menu. Appetizers are meant for one person, so each person should order at least one for themselves, sometimes several others if you're hungry. Entrees are the same way, order the filet and the shrimp or chicken and the steak. We had no problem with our room. Room service did a great job. Keep in mind if ever there is something you need, you have to ask, they're not mind readers. My biggest problem overall is Sandals the corporation, the almighty dollar. We had free wireless internet service the first day. After that, none. Front desk kept telling us to go the the riviera side (which we were on) but we never got it back. They kept telling us to use the KIOSK (at .60 a minute). We had an excellent signal, it was their network, probably as simple was just resetting their router. But they didn't seem to be concerned. I know we're on vacation, but I rely on the internet for keeping in touch with family and coworkers rather than using the phone. It just seemed they wanted us to spend the .60/min on their machines. Also, photos they take at the resort $15 for a 5x7 and $18 for 8x10. The cost to have the photos put to disk, $15/ea. I thought this was extreme. They take pictures everywhere (even scuba diving). There are pics we wanted for memories (and we bought 3), but we would have liked them all at a reasonable cost. The 5x7 printer was down and they only offered us 8x10 so we opted for the pics to disk. We got a better deal on our pics from the canopy tour with a video. We did the booze cruise to Dunn's Fall and the Canopy Tour. Both we loved and would do again. If you have any specific questions to any of the above, email me and I'll answer. We loved our vacation with few exceptions. I just think everyone needs to know as much as they can. I read these review before we went. The oldness of the resort didn't play a part in our enjoyment. Speaking for our room, it was clean. Not your Ritz Carlton but 100% better than the Red Roof we got stuck in Atlanta on our way home in. If you've already booked, relax, you will enjoy your trip.

Stayed: March 2008
5  Thank smax730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2008

One thing I have learned: Vacation is what you make of it.

My husband and I just returned from our vacation at SGOR. At the time we booked Sandals was offering a 55% discount and a free promo trip on the Katt to Dunn’s River Falls. We had planned this vacation six months in advance, and as such had a lot of time to read reviews of this property from previous guests. By the time the six months had passed, I was really worried about what to expect when we arrived. There were such a mix of reviews, and a lot of negative feedback so I was concerned. I personally had convinced 3 other couples to join us on this vacation, so I felt responsible for their experience as well.

When we arrived at the Manor lobby, it seemed pretty chaotic. No one told us where to go, or what to do. Finally we had to go to the front desk and ask what to do. There they told us we should give a copy of our credit card and we could get a Jitney to our room. We found it strange because our room was supposed to be in that very building. It was just what I had read about and feared…”The Upgrade”. After some negotiating on my husbands part, Glenroy (manager) asked us to go check it out, if we weren’t happy we could change rooms the following day when they had availability. (He also promised my husband that he would stock the refrigerator with Red Stripe!) We hopped on a Jitney to our room with Wayne, awesome and most helpful guy. Once we enter the room, we are totally happy, and love the room – correction: 2 bedroom VILLA! All worries are melted away – vacation had begun! Just a while later, my parents were escorted to the Villa, so we shared the common space with them, which actually worked out just fine. My parents were also very happy with the accommodations, even though we were all looking forward to the oceanview and view of the beautiful Sandals Manor pool. We all decided to stay, and to forego the hassle of changing rooms. After several calls, we finally received 3 Red Stripes. After several more calls we received a couple more. Hardly what Glenroy had promised, but whatever, we were in paradise!

Fortunately our other friends had no problems getting the rooms they booked. They were very happy and that was good news to us.

From that point, our vacation was WONDERFUL!

Some reviews complained about the food…I am totally confused. We loved it! We ordered every course (appetizer, salad, soup, entrée, side and dessert) and often had to take the dessert to go! We both have healthy appetites, and discriminating palates, so these complaints were a mystery to us. The a la carte restaurants were better than the buffets, but that seems to me a general rule of thumb, right?

We encountered many great Sandals employees, specifically I would like to mention:
• Kiman, Tasha & Bjorn – Playmakers…good times!
• Kesmit – our friend’s Butler, who was wonderful!!!
• Carl – Beach Pool Swim-up Bartender – FUN!
• Windell – Server at Arizona’s, made my husband’s b-day very special!!!
• Winston – our Caddy at the Sandals Gold Club, he was awesome and extremely helpful!
• Entire staff of the Katt, morning trip to Dunn’s River Falls 3/5/08…fantastic! Also made my husband’s b-day special!!

These people made our experience so wonderful and unforgettable!

Other highlights:
• The grounds were absolutely beautiful and well maintained, so lush!
• Our Villa was so pretty and spacious
• The bed was pretty comfortable for a hotel bed
• We thought the food was fantastic, especially Valentino’s, Arizona’s, The Reef Terrace, Orchid’s, and Marco Polo @ Sandals Dunn’s River
• Couples massage on the pier was fabulous
• Always something fun to do around this resort
• The Katt to Dunn’s River Falls – A must do!!
• Shopping at Soni Plaza – great deals on jewelry, literally ½ off US prices!
• My husband loved sailing the hobie cats!

Some of the negatives were as follows:
• Check-in was disorganized and confusing
• Not getting the room we booked was initially frustrating (but worked out better in the end)
• Problems with our phone
• Problems with our TV

It is a short list indeed.

One other concern I have is the price. We booked while there was a 55% discount. I would not consider paying full price for this vacation, even though we had a great time. We have visited comparable all-inclusive resorts that had rates that could meet or beat Sandals 55% sale price, so pricing will weigh heavily when deciding on future trips to SGOR.

Longwinded, my apologies, but it was such a great time, I wanted you to know. Unless you are a nitpicky miserable grinch, ignore the bad feedback about SGOR. It is a gem, meant for fun-seekers young and old.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank bran-chan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2008

My wife and i love this place! we were married there 3 years ago and have returned there for last 2 years for our anniversary as well! We have made great friends there that look forward to our return. Garfield in the banquets department served us and sang to us at our wedding reception 3 years ago, took time out of his busy schedule this past year to serve us a candlelight dinner on the pier tower! He is amazing!!!! Mr. Patrick Drake one of the managers also super! I have a tendency to be a chatter box and he always took the time to speak with us for the last couple of years, he even sent us a anniversary cake and champagne on our anniversary to our room! The people are awesome! Go there relax don't be uptight, or sweat the small stuff they will look after you! Keep up the amazing work! We love ya! The Aldred's
everyting be irie mon!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank The_Pool_God
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2008

Sandals was one of many locations we carefully researched for our destinaton wedding. And after many months and wedding expo's etc... we settled on Sandals Grande Ocho Rios.

It was exactly as the web site said it would be. We, in fact, we were upgraded upon arrival to the Romeo & Juliet Suite! We had our own pool and hot tub in our private suite! On top of that we booked a private butler which ended up making the entire stay perfect! We even visited Sandals at Dunn's River Falls one afternoon and it couldn't begin to compare to Sandals Grande Ocho Rios.

The resort is two seperate sections: the "Manor" up in the hills, and the Riviera which includes the Beach Club and Orchid Gardens ets... The property is huge and very nice. Drinks were awesome! Food was very nice. Beach and pools were all fantastic. Staff was incredible! Plenty to do and see. Our butler booked us a private shopping trip in town, where we enjoyed local shopping including Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville! What a blast!

We were there 10 nights and wanted 10 more. Returned rested and refreshed.

We are booking our next stay at Beaches and taking the kids, then it's back to Sandals Ocho Rios!

We're sold! :-)

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank brandonpugh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2008

What a vacation! I know I haven't been there in more than a year, but felt it necessary to write a review after reading some that are less than positive.

More than 30 of us went for a wedding and what a week we had! The worst part of the entire trip was the drive to and from the airport. It was much longer than expected. In the future I would have stayed an extra day had I known we wouldn’t arrive until late-late afternoon. The service was outstanding - the resort was so clean and lush. The pools were fun, always a pool volleyball game to join. Yes, we are in our early 30's and like to... let's say... take advantage of the "all-inclusive" portion of the beverages, but we're certainly not loud drunks by any means.

The breakfast buffets were just fine. I typically had a cooked to order omelet every morning. (This was my choice as there were many other options) We ate at three other restaurants during our five night stay and each was really yummy! It's hard to comment on the wait as we had such a large group and tried to sit together in clusters. We usually just got a couple of bottles of wine and enjoyed meeting new people and the weather which was perfect. The grill by the beach that was open until 1or 2am was okay in the day, but PERFECT come Midnight when we needed a little nosh to soak up the days fun.

It only rained for about 30 mins the second day we were there. When that happened we were at one of the pool bars closest to the beach. The bar tenders had us all sit at the bar and proceeded to play a hilarious drinking game. So much fun. That's what I mean by great service. They could have easily sat there and enjoyed the rest and calm - but they turned a stinky situation into a great memory.

My best friend who was married there enjoyed her experience. The spa was great and my hair turned out just like I asked. We all loved the piano bar on the beach side. You would have thought we were superstars! We only spent one day/evening on the Manor side. The pool there is fun with the cabana's - but kind of a trek taking the shuttle back and forth.

All in all, we LOVED Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. I would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled with friends
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7  Thank macgal2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Ochi Beach Resort

Address: Main Street | P.O. Box 771, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $429 - $1,120 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Ochi Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 529
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 & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach And Villa Golf Resort
Sandals Ocho Rios
Ciboney Ocho Rios
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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