We stayed in a Bougainvillea Hideaway Butler Suite for 7 nights and paid $3260 with a $270 spa credit. The beachside rooms were cheaper but unless you’re a spring break college student you'll be more comfortable in a butler suite. The views, the landscaping, everything is amazing! Transportation to and from the beach side is super easy thus shouldn't be a factor in your decision.
Our butlers were Andrew and Ray and they were amazing. They had the perfect blend of friendliness, humor and professionalism. You should rely on your butlers to escort you to dinners as you'll get the best tables with no waiting. You can use them for anything from unpacking/packing to arranging excursions. These are also the guys that make sure your room is stocked with the right types of liquor and fruit/cheese/desert plates. They'll also give you a private cell phone to reach them for anything. The butlers by the way are the only Sandals employees you should tip. I tipped them $100 each. Keep in mind the minimum wage in Jamaica is $70/week and the butlers take care of 4 couples minimum at a time.
The food and drinks are perfect and plentiful. If you want authentic jerked chicken then you'll need to see Creda down at the beachside Bistro grill. She makes her special jerk sauce and if you give her a smile and a pleasant please you can get extra sauce. What a sweet woman.
We had sushi at Soy's 6 of the 7 nights as our pre-dinner dinner. Yea, I know...we made pigs of ourselves. Try the fried ice cream there.
I would suggest trying a different restaurant every night. Oh, Kelly's Dockside is an extra charge unless you're staying in a butler suite. Dining there free is just one more of the many perks you get from staying at a butler suite.
The first day you should explore the property and go to the 10:00am orientation at the beachside lobby. We found several cool things that not too many people know about. For example you can use the spa's sauna, steam room and plunge pool as often as you like free of charge. China Doll's is open for breakfast and you can get fillet mignon and fruit smoothies. Try the Blue Mountain espresso rather than coffee americano. It's a nice change. There's also a tennis pro on staff.
I've stayed at many upscale hotels including two Ritz Carlton's and I must say that the staff and facilities at Sandals Grande Rivera are as good if not better that anything I've found. We tried to find negatives about this place and could only come up with the reverse alarms on the golf carts the staff use being too loud. They sound just like a smoke alarm going off. Trying to sleep in past 8:00am is tough if one of these carts backs up near your window.
The second and biggest con is the airline that Sandals chooses for you. I would highly recommend that you make flight arrangements yourself and spend the money on a direct flight or a better airline. Whatever you do, DON'T LET SANDLALS BOOK YOU ON SPIRIT AIRLINE!!! You have been warned. They are the ghetto of the airline industry. Everything short of crashing that could go wrong did go wrong. On top of that the employees were awful, especially Ricardo at Ft. Lauderdale Spirit gate. We witnessed him extort $100 from a kid with a FAA certified 45 linear inch personal bag that was specifically designed to fit under the seat. When the passenger placed the bag into the size measuring rack at the gate, the soft leather handle stuck up past the top of the rack about half an inch. The bag itself fit perfectly as it was designed. When the kid pushed the handle down it fit but Ricardo didn't allow the kid to hold down the handle thus charged him $100 for an oversized personal item. To make it worse Ricardo threatened to have the kid arrested if he argued about it as he would have been interfering with a flight crew. I could go on about $250 one bag fee and the 4 hour delay going and the canceled flight on the way back but I'll just leave it at "YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED ABOUT FLYING SPIRIT".
All in all I would highly recommend this resort to couples that want a romantic vacation to reconnect with the one you love. Oh, one more tip....try to bring candles and an iPod with romantic music as there is a bedside iPod docking station.
- 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