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“wonderful experience which we have enjoyed for 8 trips now”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Orleans Michigan
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“wonderful experience which we have enjoyed for 8 trips now”
Reviewed March 5, 2013

Jamaica is wonderful, beautiful water weather and lovely people. Would highly recommend it to anyone. It is like they say Home away from home. We have brought friends with us that will return as well they agreed that we were right and could see why we always go back to the same place and enjoy every moment.

Room Tip: I cant imagine any room not being good. My only wish would be is that the beds werent so high as wh...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kay C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Montreal, QC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

Just returned from a 1 week vacation in paradise with my now husband! We enjoyed our vacation so much because of the:

1) PEOPLE: Never have we encountered such genuinely friendly people. Everyone single employee from a-z is dedicated to making you feel safe, welcome and cared for. You can't walk by any employee without hearing "good morning" "are you enjoying yourself?" "everything alright?" " let us know if there is anything we can do." A few stand out employees include: Alshane and Kelly our amazing butlers who were helpful without being intrusive and kind without being phony. Karah, a playmaker on the beach side remembered our names several days after we met her and always made us feel extra special. A young guy with short curly hair who gave the glass-bottom boat tour (his name sounded like Collin but different pronunciation) was funny, friendly and knowledgable.

2) SURROUNDINGS: The resort, accommodations, greenery, beach, restaurants are truly beautiful. Everywhere you turn is like looking at a postcard. Everything is clean and well maintained from the rooms (we stayed in the honeymoon bougainvillea suite) to the common areas. The resort is so big that there are many nooks and crannies to explore.

3) FREE WEDDING: If you're looking for a destination wedding, this is the place to go. A basic wedding was free with our stay. Anna-Kay, our on site wedding coordinator, was a true professional. Every single detail was executed to perfection.

4) FOOD SELECTION: Many restaurants and food options to suit everyones tastes. Are  favorite was the thin crust pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven. Absolutely delicious. Had it for lunch everyday.

Areas for improvement:
- Room service was quick but the food always came cold and soggy from being wrapped in plastic wrap.
- We had a late flight (8:30pm) but had to check out of our room at 11am. The resort had could not offer us late check out or a courtesy room so we had to carry around our carry on luggage with important documents (e.g. Passports, tickets etc) all day. Not a huge deal but kind of a bummer to end the vacation that way.

It is true, as other posters have commented that:
- The resort is 2 hours from the airport
- You have to take a little bus from the mountain side to the beach side
- That there are some stray cats (...that are harmless)
***But none of this stuff is a big deal and shouldn't dissuade anyone from visiting this amazing resort. We were very sad to come home and hope to return again in the future.

Room Tip: We stayed in the honeymoon bougainvillea suite on the mountain side. Absolutely delightful villa wit...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Laurenbg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belding, Michigan, United States
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

The resort is spotless, groomed and beautiful. Sandals staff are the friendliest and most accomodating I have ever met! If you are interested in learning to SCUBA dive, I found the dive team excellent instructors and dive masters. Thoroughly professional and displaying super attention to detail. Semaj will make your every dive trip a great experience!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tom C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

This was a "second chance" experience for Sandals. While the resort is beautiful and most of the staff are nice and helpful, it doesn't justify the price. We've stayed at many 5* resorts and we feel that Sandals doesn't offer value compared to them for the price. While we do considered this resort a 5* resort, the price is way too high compared to for example Secrets. The ride from the airport is 2 hours but could be shorter if it was direct and the driver didn't stop at a friend's establishment so that the vacationers could buy stuff. Sandals should provide refreshements on the bus to their guests without charge.

Because we were on our second trip we were invited to the "returning guest" dinner which was quite nice. Reminded us of a wedding reception, but again it was a marketing opportunity. Many of the guests were on their 10th or 15th Sandals resort week. Sandals makes a great fuss over those guests in front of everyone which I think they fall for. My recommendation is to try another chain resort like secrets and don't get swept up in the adoration. Sometime people get swept up in "collecting" things and this would qualify.

The other thing worth noting is they don't wash the bar glasses very well. Now it does depend on the staff person doing it but we witnessed several times throughout our week where they just rinse them under water. Luckily we brought our own insulated mugs which is highly recommended. We had dirty wine glasses served to us a few times in the restauarnats at dinner where you could actually see lipstick on the edge and at one place they argued with us that they were clean. Really? The other issue that we had was with a pool bartender located at the Ochi Rio Beach Club. We ordered these drinks called Icebergs (frozen margarita dumped into a beer) which are awesome. He voiced is opinion that he didn't like making them and he proved that by making an aweful version where we had to dump them. His name was Marc and he really had a bad attitude and should be moved to laundry duty.

We originally were booked at the Ocean side (room was a little tired looking) and had a view of the ocean and the docks which was nice. The next day we took a walk over to the mountain side and discovered that it was much more luxurious and more to our likely so we switched room. They have a jutney service which was excellent so there wasn't any inconvenience of getting around. I think the mountain side is now all Butler only so the price is even higher.

One tip we would give is to tip discretely. You wouldn't believe the extra service that some staff will go to for a few bucks throughout the week.

I would definitely go back to this resort but not for the cost they are charging.

Room Tip: Stay at the Mountain side if you can afford it. It offers the best of both worlds.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank moemoe13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint-Lazare-de-Bellechasse, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

On our 19 th year at Sandals Grande, it was still amazing and delightful. Every year there seems to be improvement and the staff is keeps getting better and seems to make our stay better the previous year. We feel that Alex outdid himself with great food.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Pierre H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster, New York
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

We just returned from a 6 night stay, 2/23-3/1 as a group of 16 people and we LOVED this resort! Our group ranged in ages from 24-70's and everyone had something to do and expressed the same love for the resort as we did.

As someone in the travel industry, I want to start off by commenting on how professional everyone on the staff looked. Each restaurant, shop, desk, bar etc. had their workers in a clean, tucked in; ironed uniform with a name tag. It showed how much they cared about their job by how well put together they looked.

First off- you need to be aware that the ride from the airport is about 90 minutes. It's a nice, smooth ride through the hills, and your driver will usually point out things to you to keep you interested. You do stop about 1/2 way at a rest stop for a bathroom break, and snack/drink if you choose, but most people will do what they need to do, work their way back to the bus and you're on your way again in about 15-20 mins tops.

CHECK IN: Fast, easy, flawless. We arrived at the Sea side of the property and were whisked away to a garden deck area where our room keys were waiting for us, along with a cool towel and a welcome drink for being part of a group. All of which was set up by the AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL manager Brian Roper, and our group contact Sandra Powell. They are truly gems and made our stay better than I could have hoped for, from check in, to room requests, golf, dinner and spa reservations, they, along with the rest of the staff at this resort were amazing (I’m going to use that word ALOT).

ROOMS: Our rooms were Garden of Eden Premium, which were located in the Bamboo Grove building, and were all well-appointed with a COMFORTABLE king sized bed, small sitting area, iPod docking station, big closet, chest of drawers, fridge with soda, juice and water.....the bathroom had a large marble counter, single sink, tub and shower and makeup mirror. I loved this area because it was quiet, yet close to the main building, the restaurants, amphitheater, Riviera pool and spa.

RESTAURANTS: I NEVER had a bad meal. Anyone who has said otherwise must be extremely hard to please. Our first dinner was at the Reef Terrace, and for our party of 14, they made up a large table and seated us all together. Kimberly and Davon were great and kept the food and drinks coming, even arranging for a special cake when they found out it was my friend's birthday. It was wonderful to sit outside, listen to the waves crashing and feel the warm breeze while enjoying some great Caribbean food. Our 2nd night we ate at China Doll on the Villa/Manor side and Anthony took great care of us. Great food and many options. Sandra arranged for the whole group to have a dinner together at the Bayside after a cocktail party on the Sundowner Terrace and Annmarie and Oren were our servers and were great. We had amazing surf and turf and delicious NY style cheesecake for dessert. Valentinos was close to the top of my list. Our server Denham was great and recommended that we could split 2 entrees on one plate if we wanted a taste of multiple things. I had a melt in your mouth caprese salad, minestrone soup that was out of this world and an entree of spaghetti and shrimp stuffed chicken breast. The homemade breads with oil/vinegar to dip in were a classy and delicious touch. And the best part? Tiramisu for dessert. I think we all left there 10 lbs. heavier and 100% happy about it! Kimonos was my favorite, and Pritchard was SO entertaining. You order the appetizer that you would like, and then your chef will cook up fried rice, vegetables, shrimp, snapper, chicken and beef for the table and will serve everyone until they can't eat anymore. I also had a fried apple dessert with ice cream that had pieces of cookies in it......to die for! Our last night, we ate at Kelly's Dockside, which was a treat since this restaurant is now only available for those in butler villas, but we secured our reservation prior to our arrival, (again, for being a group), and had no problem getting in. Rikardo was great, and so was the food! Surf and turf, cob salads, jerk chicken....you name it, they had it and it was cooked to perfection. It was great to sit out on the dock, feel the breeze, and watch the sun set. A fitting choice for our last night.

I also want to comment on those that complained about "light pours" in their drinks. False. Every drink- mixed, blended, frozen etc- you could DEFINITELY taste the alcohol. I myself drink Jack and Cokes and there were many times were I took a little longer drinking my drink because of how strong it was. There is NO WAY the drinks are watered down- regular cup or insulated mug.

ACTIVITIES: There is a TON. On water, you can snorkel, sail on hobie cats, paddle board, kayak, water trike and go on a glass bottom boat ride....all included. Shout out to Nemo and Wesley Sniper who took us out on the glass bottom boat....it was so much fun! You can also play tennis, golf, climb the rock wall, or participate in the many fun games and activities at the Villa pool. We spent half our time at the Villa side in the bigger pool with the games, water aerobics, dance lessons etc., and the other half of the time on the Riviera side at the Ochi Beach Club, or Riviera Pool. Bishop at the Riviera Pool- was a riot. "WHY NOT?!" "WHAT WHAT WHAAATT?!”

The shows and nightly entertainment were great. Especially the steel drum band, which started our vacation off right on the 1st night (Friday). They are a "can't miss" for sure. The talent show, reggae night and chocolate party were also a lot of fun. There are also a lot of cool places to go and just chill out and socialize, or relax. Our group spent many nights out on the dock at the upper seating area (Damion from the bar at Kelly's Dockside kept the drinks flowing, unlike his partner Nigel who was the only dud we encountered), above the Riviera Pool bar or at the Sundowner Bar.

All in all, everyone had a great time, and this had so much to do with the staff I mentioned above, along with everyone else at Sandals Grande Riviera. They truly love their job, and you can tell by the way the guests are treated. Again, I can't thank Brian and Sandra enough. They exceeded all my expectations and gave my group amazing service, and treated us like family. It was a wonderful feeling.

We're already planning our next Friends and Family trip for 2015 and we will DEFINITELY be choosing a Sandals again....we may even be back!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Redsoxchic04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Kansas
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

This was our second trip to Jamaica. Went to Sandals Negril the first time. Ocho Rios is a little longer drive to get to the resort but well worth it. This is one of the largest Sandals resorts with over 500+ rooms. But it never felt crowded at all. It is pretty spread out with different beaches and pools for anyone to use. We had an Ocean Front Penthouse room on the 5th floor. Great View of the ocean. Loved everything about it. Our room was clean and well maintained. The 13 restaurants on the property are diverse and offer anything a person could want! We never had any problems getting a table in the evening. The only issue I would comment on was the fact we didn't know that Kelly's Doc Side restaurant on the peer was for vacationers who used Butler service. Was turned away when we attempted to get a seat even though there was plenty of open tables still available. For what a person pays to stay at Sandals it doesn't seem right that an entire eating place is off limits. I can understand setting aside a certain number of tables if you need to. Other than that..... the snorkeling was great, the catamaran trip to Dunns River Falls was a must do! I highly recommend this for anyone.

Room Tip: The Riveria side is obviously more noisy. However they did tend to move the evening events around fr...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Redflagguy
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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