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“Don't Stress. We had a great time. Real Honest Review.”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Don't Stress. We had a great time. Real Honest Review.”
Reviewed May 9, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios on our honeymoon. I had been reading the reviews and was a little apprehensive upon our arrival. The check in went very smoothly... took only 10 minuetes. They asked if we were on our honeymoon, which they then sent some champagne to our room and complimentary breakfast in bed. Nice touch. My husband calls me a hotel snob because I am so picky when traveling on the service provided by hotels. I do have to say I was very impressed with the staff at the Sandals Grande. Everyone is polite, stopped to talk, make sure you knew where you were going etc. We only had one bartender that was a little rude. We booked the optional private four course dinner on the beach which I definately recommend! There was a bit of confusion as to which location we were to go to, but once that was figured out the experience was great! White glove service 8 feet from where the waves were crashing, surrounded by candles. If you can afford it... do it. It is not that expensive and worth every dime. We returned back to our room to find more champagne, cookies, and rose petals on the bed. Another nice touch. We did the shopping excursion, which I would not recommend. Kind of stressful for me. Was three stops, one was high end jewelry, second was souvenir area, third was local craft market. We had spent so much money on the first two stops that we hardly had any left for the locals, which broke my heart. They were all such nice people. I thought they should go there first and the high end shopping second. That way the local economy would benefit more. If you do want to go shopping, get to know one of the drivers and call on him (they are all taxi drivers too) that way you can go where you want to go shopping. We also did the Dunns River Falls. It was nice. Kind of a tourist trap... but pretty and fun. Worth the price. At the resort we partook in many of the activities provided. We sea kayaked, snorkeled, rode the glass bottom boat (boring), and rode the water bikes. Activities staff is not too helpful, but friendly. All the drinks were great... and strong. Our room was nice, we stayed on the Rivera side which I was glad of. It is so much closer to everything (beach, bar, restaurant, activities). We went to the manor side one day to do the climbing wall, but could not find anyone attending it which was a bummer. The manor side was pretty, very manicured, but didn't seem to have alot to do. We also ventured to Dunns River Sandals. They have a nice beach (more waves), and the brick oven pizza place is good. We got one of the Scents of Love couples massage at the spa. Oh my God it was wonderful. Side note:you can tip at the spa... we had to ask. You can also tip all the drivers because they are not Sandals employees and they will expect it. As far as food, I only ate one meal I didn't like. Bayside for dinner left much to be desired. We ate there for breakfast and it was yummy though. Valentinos was our favorite dinner spot (aside from our private beach dinner). Service was impeccable. Clayton was our favorite waiter. Also, we ate at the Reef Terrace which was very good. We also ate a couple of times at the Grill which is just basic burgers, jerk chicken, etc. Fast food style. Valentinos was the best if you are looking for fine dining. We didn't get to Orchids but i heard it was good from other guests. I think the most displeasurable part of our trip was the Guests we saw be rude to the staff a couple of times. It makes me wonder if the bad reviews of poor service were recieved because the guest was out and out rude. We saw this only a couple of times and definately made me embarressed to be an American Tourist for a moment. I think if you go to Sandals, go to have fun. If this is your agenda you will have a great time. it was really nice to not have to worry about having cash with you all the time for your meals and drinks etc. Relax and have fun... thats all you have to do. I have attached a couple of pics also so you can get an idea of how it is there.

  • Liked — Beach, Activities
  • Disliked — That we had to go home eventually
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank leahbutterfly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Calgary
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2008

We stayed at this resort between march 15-29, 2008 and had done a lot of reading these reviews before departing. We had mixed feelings about how the trip would turn out, but ended up quite pleased. The resort itself is in need of updating, but the grounds are beautiful and the staff are top notch which makes up for the rest in my opinion.

It is true the beach is smaller and is sectioned off with the resorts pier, but we were not bothered by this. There was always plenty of space to find near the ocean, which is all that really mattered to us. We stayed in the basic Bamboo Grove building which was not luxurious by no means, but I don't go on my vacation to spend my time in the room. If you prefer a beach setting stay on the Riviera side of this resort, if you prefer to be relaxing around the pool, stay on the manor side. We were 2 couples, and our friends stayed on the manor side and were quite happy as well, it depends on your preference. In any case they do shuttle you back and forth between the two sides of the resort all day and night, so you can easily take advantage of both. This resort is huge, if you like a resort that has everything central in one area this will not be a good choice for you.

The food I found to be OK, I always managed to find something to eat and never went hungry, if you are a really picky eater I don't think I'd recommend any all inclusive resort. This resort functioned differently than other resorts we had visited, there were no reservations in the evening for meals. This is great if you want to eat earlier, but if you want to be heading out 7-7:30pm, you can expect to wait an hour before getting a table. Our favorite was Orchids on the manor side, we did also eat at Valentinos, San Genarros as well as Kimonos at Sandals Dunns, which is just down the road and there is a free shuttle between both resorts. Take advantage of this, we were glad we did. I'd suggest booking in Kimonos as soon as you get at the resort as there is usually a long wait list for it.

We took advantage of the watersports area, we took out the catamarans as well as the water trikes, we went snorkeling which was also included and my boyfriend took advantage of their diving. He is certified and I would highly recommend if you are interested in this type of activity to become certified before going, so you are not so limited as to when and where they take you.

We participated in the beach party that happens on Friday nights as well as the manor party on Monday nights and enjoyed both. We also attended the special dinners offered to return Sandals guests. We were at the resort during their 2008 reunion week which we were very pleased about, there were many special functions involved in which we participated in as much as possible. We went off site with the resort to a place called Laughing Waters, which offered a nice long stretch of beach to spend the day at, with many special planned activities. It was a lot of fun.

We researched before going to Jamaica and I was lucky to find a really good reliable tour company known as Lees Tours and Taxis. I really can't say enough good about these people. They made our vacation very special. I had e-mailed back and forth with Norma Villiers before going on our trip and she worked out everything I wanted to do outside of the resort. I felt safe traveling with this company and when you travel with them you are truly on your own time. We took several tours with them and as we were a group of 4, it cost us less than booking through the resort. The night we arrived at the resort, I got to meet Norma as she came to provide me with a complimentary cell phone during our stay. The driver did stop and top up the time on it for me one day. If you wish to call home, this is so convenient, much cheaper than calling from the resort. We took several tours with Lee's. We went on the Canapy Tour, which was great by the way, Luminous Lagoon/ Martha Brae River Rafting, the Bob Marley Tour as well as took advantage of a bonus stop at Margaritaville. I also mentioned to our driver that I had brought along some school supplies for the kids. He came an hour early one day and we had the opportunity to stop at a local school house and interact with the kids. This may have been the highlight of my trip, these kids were thrilled to see us pull into the school yard. If I am lucky enough to return to Jamaica I will be sure to contact Lees Tours and Taxis again, they truly give you a sense of being part of their family, they're just really good people.

All in all, we were glad we chose this resort in Jamaica. While we do look for certain luxuries in our vacations, what we find really makes the difference for us, is the people. The Jamaican people were really good to us, both on and off the resort. This is what makes us overlook what we consider to be petty complaints. Being surrounded by good friendly people truly makes our vacation special. We would go back to Sandals Grande Ochos Rios in a heartbeat.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
3 Thank CalgaryPinkPearl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ozone Park, New York
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2008

My fiance and I had one of the best times at Sandals in Ocho Rios. I mean where do I begin???

Your staff treated us like royalty. Everyone was so warm, friendly and extremely helpful.

The Villa was beautiful. Our room was absolutely gorgeous!!! I couldn't wait to take a dip in our semi private pool.

The food was fantastic. The entertainment was so much fun!!!

The days went by so fast. I was so sad to leave!!

I would definitely reccommend Sandals to all of our friends.

  • Liked — THE WARM FRIENDLY STAFF
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank GUNTHER9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
long island
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2008

OMG Had and amazing vacation. Returned home raving about SGOR to my friends.

The entire trip made me feel so very welcome and comfortable.

My boyfiend and I went as a last minute getaway, he's been to 2 different Sandals properties before me.

The Sandals reception area at MoBay airport was nice and comfy and free beer. Warning: the ride to the hotel is long (about 2 hours) and no bathroom because we arrived later, the bus stopped early into our ride while the sun was still up so it was tough on the bladder.
At the airport, Sandals made sure our luggage was taken to the transport, but the baggage person (not a Sandals rep) expects a tip and so does the driver at the end of the trip.
Upon arrival at the Manor house we were greeted with champagne and someone took our luggage off the bus.
We were then driven to our room, upgraded (from the Great HOuse Mountainview to the Plantation Honeymoon Villa with pool), without us even knowing. We were quite shocked when we were delivered there. The driver/bellman did expect a tip.
The food was always very tasteful. We ate at a restaurant every night, except my birthday night which my boyfriend arranged for a private romantic dinner for two out on the pier with our own server. The service was wonderful and all the staff was over the top friendly and accomodating. No one ever expected a tip until we left the porperty. Our room was always very clean and same was to be said for the grounds.
The Manor house pool always had activity and we were always able to partake in the activities at the resort.
We took a day excursion to the Dunn's river falls, (don't go on cruise ship day-Monday) it was packed and the climb took a long time. Wear a coverage bathing suit and sneakers or water shoes. It was alot of laughs.
The bartenders at the MAnor house were fun.
Since my boyfriend was a returning guest and Reunion week was approaching, rum, t-shirts and other items were delivered to our room. We were invited to a private cocktail party and breakfast at the Riviera side. I highly recommend joining the Sandals Selet Rewards program if you a re a return guest.
All-in-all I would suggest this property.

The only drawback was that the property was so big you had to take a shuttle bus across the road to get to the two sides of the resort. It was a minor inconvenience.

  • Liked — The friendly people
  • Disliked — Teh shuttles across the property
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank doing90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2008

May 2008

My husband and I were among a group of 25 people attending our granddaughter's wedding at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. We booked our reservations through Time for Travel, Ltd., our granddaughter's travel agent. Our granddaughter had worked with her travel agent, Sarah Kline, to assure that all in the group would have accommodations in the same location - the Plantation Villas with shared pools. Our granddaughter send us an email copy on April 25, from BRIAN ROPER (who is the head travel agent in Jamaica and who works with travel agents in the U.S. to insure all needs are met), assuring the party would be housed in the requested villas in the same area - the Manor side. We were also given the name of Christine Taylor, Guest Services Director, but she was "IN MEETINGS" the whole day and could not be contacted!

Our reservations, for a Plantation Villa w/shared pool all inclusive, were booked in December 2007. Other members of the party booked their reservations in October with their arrival dates spread out over several days. The wedding was scheduled for May 2, 2008.

Our reservations were for April 30 to May 5, 2008. Upon arrival, at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, we met our granddaughter in the lobby and she was trying to get the room she had reserved, which was not the one that had been confirmed. We were taken to our room, on the Rivera side of the facility and that was where the hassle began - we were not on the Manor side as was confirmed. We were placed in a regular room, without a shared pool. We immediately went to the front desk, on the Rivera side, and first talked with an assistant staff member. They went to a back office to speak with a manager, which we didn't see, and said nothing could be done because they had overbooked. We then asked to speak with the manager and didn't make any headway there either. This was 8 pm and we had not had any food since leaving the U.S. that morning so needless to say we went to eat. That manager did get back to us after we ate but said nothing could be done!

To make a long story short, we began again early the next morning to try and get the villa we had confirmed. Finally, we were given Mr. Brian Roper's name and of course he was to be unavailable the whole day. Finally, we got a manager on the Manor side who partly listened to us and told us we would be moved into an available villa on Saturday - 3 days after our arrival. We in fact did move on Saturday morning but the villa, with shared pool, was still just a single room, with no sitting area as promised in our original confirmation. Except for the mother of the bride, who arrived on Tuesday, April 29, 2008, not one person on the group of 25 there to attend the wedding, had the villas which had been confirmed and they were all on the Rivera side of the facility.

My husband and I have traveled world-wide (on business and for pleasure) many, many years and have never been confronted with this type of problem or the attitude "YOU HAVE A ROOM" and no trying to please the patron. If, the managers had been contrite at all and offered to adjust our room charge, we could have worked with that but the attitude was - so you booked months ahead and didn't get what you had been confirmed.

All the other staff, including restaurants, etc. were exceptionally friendly and well trained in their positions.

However, Sandals will never get our business again and we will certainly not recommend their facilities.

Janet and Ben Schaumburg

  • Liked — The regular staff and restaurant employees.
  • Disliked — The attitude of management.
  • Stayed April 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mcjanny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, OR
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2008

We spent 6 nights at Sandals at Ocho Rios from April 17-23. We can't wait to go back! The entertainment was top notch-every night there was something different. We were told it was local talent as well as professional performers. The steel drum show was amazing. We couldn't get to all the restaurants because we ran out of time but the ones we did go to were wonderful. The staff was very professional, friendly and hard working. The housekeeper for our room was wonderful. We will certainly go back because we didn't get to do everything we wanted to. Because the resort is so large, it is necessary to take the shuttle bus from one side to the other. We never waited more than 5 minutes for the bus. It's like having two resorts at one. Absolutely wonderful!

Salem, OR

  • Liked — The restaurants
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rosemaryu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redcar, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2008

Sorry its taken so long to write this review, but its taken so long to get over the experience. We went for my 40th birthday ,pushed the boat out and paid extra for the sandals experience that it was ! only not a good one. The building our apt was in was tatty with chipped patchy peeling paint, inside was no better, the bathroom cant have been redecorated since the 70's again this is old tatty with chipped and broken tiles and taps only a shower was had, couldn't bare the thought of a bath!. The room again peeling paint, noisy old air conditioning unit we turned off during the night to get some sleep, the bed is so high my husband had trouble getting on and off it and hes 6ft, house keeping left a lot to be desired I constantly went to reception for tea coffee etc, our floors didnt get swept, my husband dropped something we foundit two days later! we asked to be moved but the room they took us to was worse, the attitude on reception and in the spa areawas not friendly i could go go. we lodged a complaint when we got home as once in sandals no tour company reps are allowed in only sandals reps and as they think everything is perfect issues aren't dealt with unless you pay more money. on a possitive note the grounds are lovely and staff in the bars and restaurants are lovely. we recieved a letter direct from the hotel once we got home saying how wonderful the hotel and their staff are and that they cant understand why we were unhappy.we did get compensation once we contacted ABTA. Sorry I cannot recommend this hotel, I have travelled many times and stayed at many different types of accommodation from basic to luxury, and sandals luxury it aint.

  • Liked — bar, restaurant and gardening staff very friendly
  • Disliked — Accommodation and some of the food
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank fotogenik
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 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach 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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