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“Good but not great resort”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Saskatoon
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Good but not great resort”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We travelled to Jamaica in 2010 and were booked at this resort initially. However, upon arrival we found out the resort was under massive renovations. We were unhappy b/c we weren't told in advance, several ammenities weren't available & construction was extensive on the beach area. Their customer service was amazing, they understood our concerns and we were immediately transferred to Sandals Whitehouse. We had an amazing vacation. We came back this year (after all renovations were complete) for a wedding. The resort itself is nice, grounds are beautiful but it needs some updating (painting, repairs, etc). The restaurants were great, food was awesome. Buffet for breakfast and lunch is small & variety isn't there. Soy restaurant had some tasty dessert, we ended up there most nights for deep fried ice-cream and lychee fruit. Susan was exceptionally friendly and knew us by name by the end of our trip...not sure that was a good thing as that tells you how much dessert we were eating! The grills on the beach and by the dive shop served amazing jerk chicken, peas & rice! The staff is very friendly, everyone is very relaxed and eager to help with whatever you need. We are avid scuba divers and went out at least 1-2x/day. I took my open water certification and was very happy with the level of professionalism and friendliness of all the employees at the Dive shop. Special mention to my instructor Ike. He was very patient & thorough. I wouldn't give this a 5 star rating b/c the resort is still old and in need of some general maintenence. I won't go back to this resort but won't hesitate to try a different Sandals.

Room Tip: Our room was right on the path in between the main building (on beach side) and the beach. It was ve...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Kim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Knoxville, Tennessee
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 19, 2013

My husband and I honeymooned here, and even a while later, I think back to that week and wish we'd gone elsewhere.

Naturally, because it was our honeymoon, and Murphy's Law holds true, the trip itself was sour from the beginning. (That absolutely has nothing to do with this resort, but helps describe the hassles at the resort later.) Our flight was canceled as soon as we arrived at the airport, so we ended up on three connecting flights to get to Jamaica that night. Long story short, we spent all day on a plane and made it to Jamaica around 10:30pm. Our luggage did not. This resort is an hour away, which means we made it around 11:30pm.

Upon arriving at the resort -- which has two entrances, depending on your reservation -- we were told to look at the sticker on our luggage to tell us where we were meant to get off of the bus at. I only had my purse because, hilariously, we'd forgotten the carry-on at home before leaving for the airport that morning. (I know…really bad move on our part, no matter where you’re traveling.) Half of the bus had orange stickers, and the other half had green. We had yellow, and absolutely no one, including the driver, could tell us where we were supposed to go. After asking the bus driver, who promptly waved us off the bus with obvious irritation, we unloaded on the beach side and went into the lounge area there. They split us up, having the men get the luggage and women go up the stairs to wait for our room assignments. This was quite awkward for my husband since -- although we said we were tired and without any luggage whatsoever -- it was insisted that he go back to the bus to get the "luggage" while I go upstairs. Minutes later, the attendant in the lounge area starts asking us our last names for reservations. Finally, when he got to me, he said, "We do not have your name on the list." I couldn't believe it. "Seriously?" I asked. He just looked at me like I was crazy.

I told him we had a butler suite. He stated that we were on the OTHER side of the resort, and that we'd have to wait until the bus came again to take us over there. So, we waited. Once we got to the other side of the resort, we spent another 20 minutes waiting -- practically begging -- for someone to take us to our room. Finally, an attendant showed up and walked us to our suite. He tried the key -- and it didn't work. So he left us there in the dark and came back with another key. It didn't work either. Third time was the charm, and we finally, FINALLY got inside of our room. This was around midnight, and we were starving. He offered to make us a snack, and we quickly said yes, my husband giving him a small tip in gratitude. He came back 15 minutes later with cheese and crackers, then waited after we’d thanked him. And waited. Obviously, he was looking for another tip!!! I finally told him thank you again a little sternly and goodnight, and he caught the hint and left. Talk about awkward.

We had one of the top butler suites at the resort for the week, which was the best thing about the resort outside of the food and drink, which we ate and drank our fill of since the rest of the week was just so-so. Our first butler was very unhelpful and treated us like children (not in a good way). We never caught the Intro to Sandals course they did the next day since we were exhausted and only had the clothes on our backs that we’d traveled in, so we knew very little about the resort, and neither our butler nor the paperwork in our room really clued us in.

The luggage finally arrived on the second full day at the resort, which was a blessing. We'd bought tourist shirts and some other clothing in the gift shop to wear until it arrived, but we didn’t feel dressy enough to go to any of the restaurants, so we ordered room service.

At first, the flower and towel arrangements on the bed and in the poolside cabanas were really nice, but as the week went on, we only got a few flower petals here and there. The same was true for the pool cabana; we wanted one each day and told our butlers in advance, but after the first day, we were told that they would have to check and see if any were available, and we only got the nice cabana arrangement with flowers on the first day. It was a little off-putting since we'd went to such great lengths to have one of the "nicest" reservation levels on the resort, yet we were constantly told that we might not be able to do certain things.

Our second butler was incredibly sweet, although she too seemed like the other guests she was tending to held precedence on all but one evening and day, when she stayed with us pretty much our entire meal that evening and then drove us around for an hour or so the next day, which was a highlight of our trip.

The food was amazing, hands down, as were the drinks. Favorite restaurant was absolutely Kimonos (Chef Tex rocks!), and worst was Gordon's on the Pier (there were, literally, hundreds of bugs crawling throughout the meat at the seafood bar, and hundreds more swarming around it). The spa was also great…we went to the steam room basically every day!

I've been told -- and still don't know if it's true or not -- that we went terribly wrong by tipping our butlers a pretty hefty amount daily, which I was told once we were stateside to never do unless you want to see your service dwindle throughout the week like that. A few Certified Sandals Reps that I know said to only tip at the end of the week, if at all. We missed the memo on that, I guess!

Overall, if the food and drink hadn't been great, I would look back on the trip and cry instead of laugh like I do now. After all, it was our honeymoon, and you really only get one shot at it. I guess the trip could have gone worse, but I must say that I've never been so glad to be in the USA again!

This would probably be a better option for groups looking to be active and have fun together on vacation. If you’re not big on being outrageously social, and you want time to just enjoy a luxurious week, I’d opt for another resort meant specifically for honeymooners.

Room Tip: If you want something where you can walk to the beach, make sure you get a room on that side of the...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Andrea M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Macomb
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

My Husband and I had an amazing time. We have been to a number of other Sandals and this is our favorite so far. We were there for two weeks in Jan/Feb and plan to return in May this year. This resort is so large you never run out of thing to do. We stayed on the manor side in a semi private villa which we shared with friends. This is a nice quiet area and allows you to find the activities or retreat from them as your please.

We spent the majority of our days at the manor pool- (main pool villa side) Ajohn and Basil and the entire team make every day at the pool wonderful. I had to work some on the trip (good internet connection at the resort) and when I came to the pool stressed out Ajohn and Basil helped me to forget about it. If you are visiting the resort make sure you tell your phone service you need international calling on your line if you will need to call home for any reason.

I also like to mention the playmakers. While I was working playmakers would play basketball (and beat) my husband- great job girls All the playmakers went out their way to make sure we had a great time..

Our Butlers were so kind and looked out for us and also made sure we had a romantic time above and beyond what we seen at other Sandals. (thanks Moria and Christine)

As far as the two sides of the resorts being split- I hardly noticed. When we stayed at the resort it was sold out and we never waited longer than 5 minutes for a bus or jitney. (Many times they waited on us)

The ride to the resort is long- Make sure you grab a couple beers in the lounge or at the bar outside if you don’t like beer (there is a charge at the bar outside). Do not let the drive there scare you off from this resort. All the resorts is Jamaica have the same drive if not longer accept Montego bay. This resort is worth the drive.

Also I wouldn’t suggest exchanging the US dollar for Jamaican currency it’s accepted in Jamaica and you receive US$ change. . I can’t speak to other international currency.

Romance: Thing to Know-
Sunrise- If you want to see the sunrise and you are staying on the villa side- You can take a walking path to the other side of the resort
Couples massage- If you are doing a couple massage outside- ask for the bluff- it is private
Lanterns for charity- On Friday at the beach party Sandals does a Lantern lighting for charity- these are Chinese lanterns that lift into the sky- very romantic. (10 dollars us per lantern can be charged to your room)

Party: Thing to know:
Main pool is lively during the day- manor side- There are other pools throughout the resort some are quiet pools – There is a party pool by the beach (it is just small)
Jamie’s party at night starting around 10:30 (dancing)- This goes to about 1:30 if on the manor side you can get a ride back-

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
12 Thank Christi G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monticello, Iowa, United States
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

Positives -- pretty good food, good service in restaurants some of them were a bit slow, but we really enjoyed Soy and a Kellie's . We had butler service during our stay and enjoyed their personalities and the extra's they brought to the experience.

Negatives -- by no fault of the resort, it rained the entire time. and then the bad part, on the second day of my stay I slipped on my terrace and suspect that I cracked my foot bone. It took over 24 hours to have the nurse look at it (we call her Nurse Nasty, because she was fairly unpleasant). It then cost me over 250 to have a dr. look at it, give me a shot in the butt which did not help and an ace bandage. This happened on Friday, the soonest I could get in for an xray (which was going to cost me additional money), was on Monday. I decided to wait till I was back state side to have it xrayed. During all of this, I filled out an incident report and not a soul from managment ever contacted me to see how I was doing.. honestly.,,. I can't wait to leave...

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kristine N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Acworth, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

We just got back from a week (2/10-2/17) in a villa on the hillside side. There were 10 of us travelling together and, overall, it was a wonderful vacation!

Highlights of the resort:

Pool on the villa side - awesome!

Transportation between the two sides of the resort (beach/villa) - always quick and easy!

China Doll restaurant (villa side) - so yummy! Best meals of the week!

Bistro restaurant (beach side) - second best meal...and Courtney who was an AWESOME server to our group!

Water sports (beach side) - paddle boards, kayaks, water trikes - so much fun! Awesome staff!! Alandro, Nemo, Johnny, and Kenville were so helpful and SO fun!! Huge thanks to them for taking lots of time to help a member in our group find her sunglasses in the water.....they didn't give up until they found them!

Mark, Damar, and Brandon at the Reef (beach side) who really made our last night special.

Dunns River Falls catamaran excursion - fantastic from start to finish!


If I had to find anything to complain about, and it was such a fun trip that it is difficult, it would be that most restaurants were not very good about accommodating our group of 10 and most nights we needed to be split up. Not a huge deal, but, in most cases, there was not an apparent reason why tables couldn't be pushed together for us to sit together.

All in all, a great week at a great price!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jennifer N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rhode island
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Just got back from a week of relaxing in a beautiful resort. Stayed in a garden view room and loved it. The gardens are breathtaking! I would like to thank the staff for making our stay so nice. This was our first trip to Grande Riviera and won't be our last! A big shout out to Tyrone, Bishop, Hollie and all the great staff who made our stay so wonderful!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank colleensandals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Comox Valley, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We had a great time, the food was good, the service was good, all was up to par for a Sandals. There are 3 things I think travelers to this resort should know:

1- The walkways are EXTREMELY slippery...they seem to have been made from a polished cement of sorts and when wet are very dangerous. We saw many people slip and fall during our stay and even saw a guest wiping the walkway around the pool because he was tired of seeing people slip. Even for fit individuals, this is dangerous. So if you have any physical limitations, this is not the resort for you.

2. The resort is split in two. The main pool and additional restaurants and facilities are across the road and up a very steep hill. The secondary pool (smaller) and the beach is below. the website does not point this out and we likely would have chosen a different resort for this reason. The idea a taking a bus to the main pool everyday does not appeal to us.

3. The grills that are supposed to be open late through the night, to our knowledge were not most nights we checked. Not a deal breaker, but good to know.

4. The beach is chopped up into sections and not very big in either.

Room Tip: Make sure you know exactly what room you are booking...we were stuck beside a restaurant and an air...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank cdnIriegirl
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

Property: 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:
#3 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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