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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Tampa, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Pro's and Con's”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Without a doubt go for the butler suites on the hillside rather than the beachside rooms. That is un...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank Anonymous214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2013

So much to write and not enough space. Let me start off by saying that I have no idea what these negative people are saying. My husband is a germaphobe and super super picky with food - Sandals Grande definitely passed the test! Food was delicious!!! We did hear some people around the resort complaining about the portion size, but hello...it's an all inclusive! Just order more! I found the smaller portions excellent as it allowed me to try many things!

So, what are some things I was pleasantly surprised with that not many reviewers have commented on? 1) WIFI for the week was about $40 - can't go wrong since we were doing FaceTime from the beach with our two year old son, friends, and extended family making them super jealous. WIFI was fast, not lagging, and better than the WIFI here at home. 2) Anything you buy/pay for at the resort is done via membership card. They DO NOT accept cash anywhere, so no need to carry any $$ around with you. Safes are free and are located in the closet of your room. 3) The people are super nice considering tipping is frowned upon! No matter what you ask, the answer is 'no problem' - by day three I started to think that the resort management encourages the staff to say stereotypical things like 'ya mon' or 'no problem'. 4) I've been home for a week now, and I'm still relaxed. People I work with can really see that a week in paradise definitely had an affect on my demeanor.

Some tips?
1) Try and get to dinner early. We went everyday around 6 and never had a problem getting a seat.
2) Make sure you attend the reggae night! Peter Lloyd was incredible.
3) If you're staying on the Riviera side and refuse to pay big $$$ for a private cabana, the manor side offers the same thing for $49.
4) If you're debating between a butler room and a non-butler room, I have to be honest, the butler thing creeps me out. The butler seemed to chaperone the guests around like a parent chaperoning a high school dance. I didn't like the idea - but that's my opinion.
5) At the beach party, donate $10 to the Sandals Foundation to release lanterns into the night sky (like Hangover 2 or Tangled). Partner up with another couple because you and your significant others hands will be busy holding up the lantern, making it impossible to take pictures.

I'm pretty sure I have all the things that stood out. Enjoy your stay - I'll definitely be going back!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Checka_83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plainfield, Indiana
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2013

To get to Sandals Grand Rivera, it is about a one and a half hour bus ride from the airport. The roads traveled are nice, smooth, and straight.

Friendliness overall is not nearly as nice as Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, however still very pleasant. There are exceptions, such as Kenroy at the Bayside, and Kerryann our pool hostess. Both were willing to go the extra mile to satisfy the guests. Conversely, on Saturday I asked the sports lady who was trying to get us signed up for volleyball, if Sandals was going to have a table tennis tournament and she said no. Lo and behold, on Monday, they had one on the schedule. Too bad we already had a tour River Rafting on the Martha Brae river booked. Lesson learned, asked two or three to verify an answer.

Scuba Diving in Jamaica is not worth your time unless you are new to diving. The fish are almost nonexistent except for a few species, and none are very large. Sponges and corals are also somewhat limited. Divemaster and crew threw out the hint that if we liked what they had done for us, we could show our appreciation. This is the first Sandals I have been to where someone working for Sandals basically is asking for tips. We also found this out throughout our visit. Either Sandals has changed their philosophy, or this Sandals is an exception.

Food at Sandals is similar to other Sandals with one huge exception. The beef here is tough, and not worth ordering. I will submit restaurant reviews under the restaurant section for the different restaurants we visited.

Maid service was slow if you expected to get your room done by late afternoon. Perhaps that was because of our room number, or laziness, but we usually did not get clean towels and bed changes until after 4:00. On one evening, making the bed was done at the same time as the turn down service. On Monday we complained about our maid service being slow. Tuesday morning and thereafter, our rooms were being made up at 9:00 AM. That's more like it! Guess you just have to call and complain.

The resort itself is a huge layout. You have the beach side of the road, and the mountain side of the road. Beach side is separated by numerous restaurants. Going from one side to another requires one to navigate a large number of steps, both up and down. It would not work well for someone with bad knees or ankles.

One thing that perplexed me was that we saw vendors selling their wares on the property. When two Sandals employees walked past me, I asked if the vendor was a Sandals employee? They said "No". I then asked if Sandals allowed non Sandals vendors onto their property to sell their wares? They said "Yes". Talk about being insecure! Entrance into Sandals is gated and guarded, but they allow vendors onto the property.

The pools that we visited were quite nice and well maintained. If you wanted a quiet pool, they had it. If you wanted a pool with lots of young people and a swim up bar, they had it. If you have visited Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, you were either amazed or annoyed by the peacocks. At Sandals Grand Rivera, peacocks are non-existent. Probably because of the abundance of cats? The grounds of the resort are well kept as are all Sandals we have visited.

Our room was quite spacious, as we were booked in Hummingbird Hideaway area. We had a nice second story patio overlooking a small pond and waterfall. Our bed was a large poster type bed, but needed some work done on it because every time you rolled over, the bed squeaked big time. The bed was high enough you could easily fit your luggage and dive bags underneath. However, since it was so high, you could not easily climb into bed without something to stand on, unless you were extremely tall. When I sat on the edge of the bed, my feet were still a good 8 inches off the floor. Our TV was mounted on the wall so you could not move it at any angles. When I turned on the TV the first time, I could not get any channels. I had to reprogram the TV which took a good 10-15 minutes as you had to let all channels reload into the system. We also had a refrigerator in our room that was stocked daily with diet coke, sprite, and water. This was especially nice if you wanted to read on your balcony and have cold refreshments. WiFi is available by either a day or a week. For 24 hour access, the rate is $14.99; for 1 week access, the rate is $42.99. I chose to have it on a Sunday and a Thursday, and that was fine for me.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jaklay2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2013

In general, snorkeling is mediocre at SGOR compared to that at Breezes Grand Negril. However, at SGOR, we enjoyed boat snorkel trips, every morning at 10 am, before it got too windy and wavy. They take you to several reefs, quite close to the resort, four times a day. To reserve a spot, phone watersports any time after 8:30 am on the day you want to go. Most of the fish are small and the population is sparse. But we got good video of a free swimming octopus at Dickie’s Reef. The huge mounds of coral are beautiful.
Because we have our own gear, we went snorkeling very early, around 7 am, outside the promenade dock and saw grunts and damselfish, and a small barracuda. During the whole week we saw only one yellow stingray; in comparison, at Breezes Grand Negril we saw many each day. At SGOR there are lovely sea fans on the rocks around the dock. Silversides and glassy-eyed sweepers hide under the dock at the tower. We saw a couple of golden morays and one electric stingray. One day, we were looking down from the Sundowners bar and saw a spotted eagle ray. That was the only one we saw all week, whereas, at Breezes Grand Negril, we saw spotted eagle rays and southern stingrays every day, right at the resort, as well as on boat snorkel trips.
Thus, the snorkeling at SGOR was disappointing but still fun. We had an enjoyable time because the staff were so friendly and provided personal service, even though we were not in butler class. By the end of the week, bartenders and waiters knew where we liked to sit, what we liked to drink. Our thanks to Bishop, Shanique, and Monique at the main pool. Paul at Bella Napoli even remembered my name, and served me the yummiest chocolate pizza. Arigato to Arturo-san at Soy Sushi. Try his volcano roll but forget the tempura. At Bayside, staff may growl at you but they are very nice when you smile and chat with them. I had so many friends there, including Wayne, Naressa, Opal, Linval, two Michaels, and Ronaldo. At watersports, Nakoda automatically reserved us a spot on the 10 am boat; Captain Tim and Orlando became our friends.
At the restaurants, food quality is erratic, e.g. strange hard potato salad and watery soups interspersed with excellent items. The jerk chicken and BBQ ribs were so-so. Steak at both the Reef Terrace and Bayside was very good. Kimonos is great entertainment. On Friday, bypass the Beach Party Buffet and have dinner at one of the restaurants, then go to Ochi Beach later for the limbo and fire show.
The grounds are beautiful and well kept with exotic plants, mature plantings, thick groves of bamboo and shrubs, many varieties of huge palm trees, and interesting fish ponds full of fancy goldfish and roaming turtles. Don’t miss Angelina, with her large lips, at the entrance to the Riviera Building. Say hi to Neil who takes care of the ponds.
We had a large, well-appointed room, conveniently located on the ground floor in the Bamboo Grove building. It had been renovated and had nice bathroom fixtures; watch out for a very deep tub. The walkways and many stairs are treacherous when wet and when obscured at night.
SGOR was nice but we prefer Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Whitehouse, and Sandals La Toc.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank 7_am_Snorkeler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avon, Indiana
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2013

We just returned from a week stay at the Sandals Grande Riviera. We stayed on the ocean side, asked to not be upgraded to the manor side because we wanted to be close to the ocean. We were in one of the cottages that looked out upon a garden area with a small water fall and meandering stream. It was very peaceful and quiet. The sound of the water was very relaxing. I especially enjoyed my mornings, drinking coffee on our balcony. Another special time for me during vacation is a nice, leisurely breakfast since I'm normally at work at 5:30 every morning. So, I especially enjoy eating my breakfast while looking out upon the ocean.

A few staff members I would like to mention. My favorite, Kerry Ann, brought us our drinks while we lounged around the pool. She always remembered our favorite drinks. The last day there, she created a special chocolate drink for us. Thanks, Kerry Ann. You're the best! Also enjoyed your smile every day. Also, kudos to Kenroy who helped us get some sandwiches together for the day we went on an excursion. We felt he went above and beyond our expectations! A couple of other people I would like to mention: Omar at Sabrina's Marketplace and Ramone at Kimonos. We felt they provided excellent service.

The ride from the airport is 1 1/2 hours, but the road is a major highway and no one in our group experienced motion sickness (which has happened on our way to the Sandals resorts in St Lucia). Also, our driver asked us if we wanted to stop or go on to the resort. I appreciated the driver giving us an option. We all wanted to get to the resort. So. as long as you are prepared for the 1 1/2 hour trip, I did not find this to be a deal braker for future trips.

We enjoyed the variety of restaurants that this Sandals offered, but still find the beef meals to be a bit tough. We especially enjoyed Kimonos, China Doll, and Sabrina's marketplace for dinner. We did not have good service at the Reef Terrace. We ended up leaving after 1 hour and 45 minutes, and we still had not had dessert.

One service that I especially appreciated is that you can request the time of day that you would like your room cleaned. They will try to accommodate you, if possible. We are early risers, eat our dinner meals about the time the restaurants open, so we like our room to be cleaned earlier in the day, if possible. The first day, it was 4:00 and our room was still not cleaned; I wanted to get cleaned up. So, I contacted them, requesting that the room be cleaned early. They were able to do this the rest of our stay. A special thanks to the housekeeping department for doing this.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank luv2div53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed March 30, 2013

This was a GREAT trip! Looking at all of the reviews before I left, I wasn't too sure what we would get but please please please ignore the negative reviews! There is very little to complain about at this resort! My husband and I went with another couple from March 22-29. First - this is their busy time with many places having spring break but the resort never felt overcrowded. We were in the Villa's on the hillside with butler service. Calicia and Shanna-Kay were amazing - I made sure to write Sandals about them as they went above and beyond and made sure we had a great time! This was a great perk. Sandals ensured we had all of our requests, we were beside our friends and had a few extra's in the bar that we asked for (Rum Cream for coffee and Canadian Whiskey) Our husbands brought their guitars and it was a great place to just chill by the pool and enjoy. We even had some staff and guests singing along :)
The food was good - some things were not amazing - it is clear that dairy is not a strong suit (real cream was impossible to get but they had milk) and some appetizers were dry or entrees not what was expected but here is the best part - every staff member will fix it for you, talk to the staff. Get something else - every menu had some AMAZING things on them- just ASK the servers and they will let you know what is the specialty or best item at the particular restaurant you are at. Every time I did that my meal was great!
Going back and forth from the two sides was easy - no waiting or hassles. Getting the jitney back to the room was hard a couple of times but between the drivers and our butlers it happened rarely. Entertainment at night was OK - the steel drum band - GREAT! The history of reggae night - GREAT! Other nights . . . more like a non-professional fun night talent show - some basic audience participation games, some dancing by the staff, a bit of singing. . . nothing to write home about but not terrible. But again - here is what we found - move on :) - there are SOOO many places at this resort - just keep walking to another bar or location to find the mood or vibe you are looking for. We were never disappointed.
The Beach was great - drink service and food service was amazing. Get the coconut shrimp and get the pizza - very yummy. The swim up bar on the beach side was better than the big pool. We swam in the ocean daily and always found beach chairs and towels. The sand is soft and well kept - swimming is best at the Ochi Beach Club or at the water sports activity beach as the the beach in in front of Jaime's is SUPER shallow. Snorkeling was good. Take the Dunn's River Falls trip - you will not regret it! Booze Cruise was a blast! Eat breakfast before you go.
It was a great trip!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Treens15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2013

My husband and I loved our vacation here! We stayed in a luxury category room. We didn't spend much time in the room so it was worth to get the cheaper rate. The resort had tons of restaurants to choose from and almost all of them had an ocean view. The whole staff was extremely friendly. The scuba diving was amazing. The boat only had to drive about 5 minutes to get to the dive sites. Overall, great vacation. Definitely recommend this resort!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ashley M
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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