Our first time in Jamaica as well as Sandals. We were there from Feb 19 to Mar 1. I would have scored 5 our of 5, had it not been for the first mix-up of the rooms and one particular staff.
Other than that, the weather was beautiful (sunny every day while we were there with 32 degrees), the food was great, entertaiment and water activities were amazing including scuba diving.
The mix up of the room on the day of the arrival was very dissapointing but it was take care of by 2pm the next day. Debbie at the Seaside front desk was accomodating to our needs and thanks to her, we had a enjoyable and comfortable stay. We stayed on the third floor of the Riviera building and the room was spacy and clean. Only downside was that the daily activity schedule was delivered to our door only twice during our 10 nights stay and I often had to walk over to the front desk to get one. Sometimes they didn't even have one and was told "it was not delivered to them." This is too bad as Sandals had lots of fun activities and we would have hated to miss out.
This particular resort does not have a good house reef so avid snorkellers have to take a glass bottom boat ride to enjoy good snorkelling. There is nothing wrong with this as the snorkelling tour is included and offered 4 times a day. Recommend to go in the morning when the water is calmer.
If you are a certified diver, you will enjoy the unlimited diving with a group of amazing dive team! I had the opportunity to dive with Denis and Moses who were abusolutely fantastic. They care about the safety which I really liked as my non-diver husband had horrible experience in Mexico as he tried "discover diving" there. With Sandals, it was not a problem. We asked Denis to do a private dive for just the two of us ($80 p/p) as my husband preferred shallow waters. He picked an ideal spot for us and my husband enjoyed the 45 minutes underwater to the fullest. He had also preopared some after dive snacks and took us on a little sightseeing trip on the way back to the hotel.
If it is your first time staying at Sandals, I would recommend attending the orientation the next day you arrive. Our group was led by these amazing two ladies, Kacy and Shamara, who kept us entertained throughout the tour. Kacy and Shamara would always come talk to us to check how we were doing whenever we saw them at the resort, which made us feel welcomed. We felt like we are more "involved" thanks to these two wonderful ladies.
We thought the Manor on the hillside was excellent and it was our choice for our last supper there. The atmosphere was very nice and the food and the service was excellent. My husband really enjoyed the steak. The servers that attended us, Carlington and Odain, was very professional yet friendly and made our last night very special.
The hostesses in restaurants on the hillside seemed more friendly to us. Especially the hostesses at The Manor & Sabrina's Market Place were nice and had always attended us with a smile.
We were hoping to try Jamaican Cuisine and most of the restaurants had these available, which we really enjoyed. One day, they cooked the jerk chiken and pork on the beach, which was fun and delicious!
----The downside, this is the reason why I did not score 5----
The host at the Reef Terrace, Kenroy, made us feel unwelcomed. The night we wanted to have dinner there was quite busy and people were waiting. As my husband asked how long the wait was, Kenroy yelled "45 minutes!!" We understood it was hectic but it was not at all unneccesary. This guy was like a drill sergent and was treating the servers in a disrespectful way. But we all patiently waited as directed. And when a young lady (guest) said to her partner "what can we do to make him(Kenroy) remember us?" Kenroy overheard this and said "Money!"
After watching him, we realized that he would be nice to customers who he think would give him good tips, which is prohibited at Sandals. He would talk loudly, slapping shoulders of the guests as if he owned the place. We we finally sat down, Kenroy would rush the servers to clear out the plates the moment we finished eating and we would see him snapping fingers behind our backs, which we found quite rude. The food at the Reef Terrace was horibble so was the service.
Kenroy also works at the Bayside during breakfast. We noticed him after the experience at the terrace. He would approach his "patrons" but ignore the rest of us who had not given him tips. We tried avoiding any contact with him but one morning, he approached my husband and said to him, "I decided to give you more respect. Respect, Respect, Respect!" What the hell?? What does he mean that he "decided to give respect"?
I am sure we are not the only one annoyed by this individual. He is the older guy with a mustache who always acts like he owns the place.
----That was the only downside about this resort-------
The Excursion to Dunn's River on the beaufitl Catamaran is a must! The staff at Island Routes keep you entertained all day long.
We also took the tour to the Blue Mountain and it was wonderful. Just be prepared for the 2 hour bus side on the very narrow, steep & bumpy mountain road.
The entertainment was top-noch. The singers/performers that Sandals hire are all amazing!! The Hot White Party was fabulous, too! They do it once a week so bring something white to wear for this party.
We would visit Sandals Grand Riviera again in a heart beat!
- 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