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“Christmas Holiday”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Christmas Holiday”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

We went to Sandals Grande Riviera in Dec for Christmas with another couple and flew Club World from Glasgow with British Airways which was the only way to fly long haul! We had a villa along with a pool and our own butlers who were terrific. The resort was great along with the food and diving but best of all was the staff. We have been to 2 other Sandals resorts and by far the Jamaicans are the nicest people you will meet. Our butlers Curtis, Sheriffa, Oshane and Damian were brilliant and really looked after us with surprises and treats all the time. We were sad to leave after 16 days and would thoroughly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Keith J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 9, 2014
We're so happy to hear that you enjoyed 8 splendid days at Sandals Grande Riviera. Our staff goes through countless hours of training to ensure that we are offering the highest level of service to our guests and I'm so glad that your stay was indicative of our efforts. Thank you for your review!

Happy Travels!
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English first
Omaha, Nebraska
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

We enjoyed our stay at this resort. We had a bit of a rocky start, mostly because we were tired after a long day of travel, when we asked a staff member where the restaurants were, he began to scold us for not attending orientation. Most of the staff was helpful, but not nearly as friendly as we have experienced at other Sandals/Beaches resorts.

The food was amazing. We had wonderful meals at China Doll, Soy and the italian restaurant and Reef terrace. The buffets were just ok, but still good.

The rooms were clean, the bed was comfy.

We were on the beach side, which was great because we walked to the beach daily. We spent most of our time on the beach near Ochi Beach club, it felt more like a "real beach". Peaceful and lovely.

We did not have butler service and were perfectly fine with that as we saw many couples sharing meals with their butlers...not sure that is our style.

Overall great stay and would highly recommend!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank ginamarina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 9, 2014
We're so pleased to hear that your first impression of Sandals was a great one! You enjoyed your stay at Sandals Grande Riviera and we couldn't me happier to hear it. Now that you know, we hope you'll visit us again and experience all of our Luxury-Included resorts. Thank you so much for your review!

We can't wait to welcome you back and exceed your expectations next time!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upper Montclair, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

I was definitely apprehensive about an all-inclusive but decided to give it a shot. I am from NYC and enjoy great food and top shelf alcohol. Overall I would give the food/rooms and resort 3.5 stars. It was in no way luxury except the people that work there were/are amazing and the beds are extremely comfortable. Make sure to tip everyone because Sandals does not pay their employees well! Here is a quick breakdown of our trip:

Shuttle service: It's approximately an hour and a half to the resort in Ocho Rios from Montego Bay airport. Shuttles were completely fine, not a bumpy road at all and we liked both drivers and tipped both of them.

Check in: We were greeted by the nicest people and received an upgrade from the Great House (on the hilllside) to one of the villas on the beach side. We were thrilled since we really did not want to be up on the hillside. Our room also had a stocked fridge and bottles of alcohol which they gave to us at no extra charge. We even added a bottle of rum at no extra charge.

The room: Very comfortable king sized four poster bed, nice patio with table and chairs, nice sized flat screen tv and the ac and ceiling fan worked well. Everything was very clean. Bad aspects about the room were the shower had low pressure, one of the toilet paper holders keep falling off the wall and one of the chairs on the porch left black paint all over your arms. We also got locked out of our room several times during the trip but they were extremely apologetic and gave us a $200 resort credit.

The restaurants: Dinner at SOY was disgusting! I may be a snob about my sushi since I live in NYC but it was inedible, rice was spongy and not cooked properly and the sushi was not sushi grade, more like bad lox thrown over some rice. Valentinos was pretty decent and The Reef Terrace was great. We also had a candlelit dinner on the beach and the food was also pretty decent. The Mariner Grill down at the Ochi Beach Club was a great staple for lunch. We enjoyed the jerk chicken, burger and coconut shrimp dishes for lunch. On the hillside, we ate at The Manor which was ok except the steak I got looked like a steakum and was disgusting. Breakfast was the same at the 2 locations - huge buffet of the same things each day. Omelette station was decent, french toast was gross, pancakes were ok and fresh fruit and fresh squeezed OJ was a nice addition. Some of the late night snacks were a nice feature - we picked up grilled cheese and fries one night. Down side is for our room category, we cannot get room service.

We left the property and took a cab to a restaurant in town called Scottches which was AMAZING. Real jerk chicken and wood grilled fish, rice and beans etc. Plus real drinks (grey goose, other beers besides red stripe) and we probably paid $20 for the entire meal for 2 people.

Overall Sandals is a decent all-inclusive if you don't care that much about food or top top shelf. The drinks were definitely watered down and how many days in a row can you drink sweet drinks? The best possibly vodka choice was Absolut and they do not carry seltzer. I would only go again to a Sandals if it was for 3-4 nights and with a huge group of people and if we got an AMAZING deal. It was basically a cruise ship docked.

Most of the resort is filled with mid-westerners, Canadians and a few from the UK. I felt like we were the only ppl there from NY and we also only met one other gay couple. I do not like the fact the Sandals is not really gay friendly.

I can't really recommend and when I go back to Jamaica, I will be staying at a boutique hotel in Negril.

Room Tip: ONLY stay on the beach side, everyone complained about the lack of bars and restaurants on the hills...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank BMHutt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Ontario
Level 4 Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

My husband and I just returned from SGR and found the resort to be quite nice but with a few issues.
Beach: If you are a beach lover, as we are, you will be very disappointed as it is a very small beach area that lacks the beautiful puffy white sand as found in other carribean locations.

Pools: We spent the first couple of days at the pool nearest to the beach as it was centrally located. I think this was the party pool for young people as it was very loud and full of drunk people, felt like we were at Daytona Beach for spring break, with obnoxious young people doing back flips off the bar stools in the pool. We then ventured to the Manor Side where the pool was much bigger and quieter, with couples of all ages. This pool offered various activities during the day and the servers were much more friendly and attentive.

Rooms: We had a very nice cottage that accomodated 4 rooms, near the beach as well as the restaurants. It didn't have a view of the water, but there was greenery and it was very quiet and it had everything that we needed.

Restaurants: We had dinner at every restaurant and found them to be very good, the portions were small but you could order more than one meal as my husband did, and no problem. Breakfast was buffet style with the usual omelette station. Lunch at the beach was excellent, the coconut shrimp and jerk chicken were the best!

Excursions: We did the Mystic Mountain tour, which included the lift up the mountain and the bobsled ride as well and zip lining. The bobsled was so much fun! Our friends did the zip lining and also enjoyed that. The views are amazing as you take the lift to the top of the mountain.

We spent 9 days at SGR which included New Years Eve. Last year at the same time, we were at Sandals Antigua and they put on the best party with amazing fireworks and an awesome band. We were quite disappointed this year, as there were no fireworks and the music was just the employees that work there.

During our stay, there were many times that thing were "broken". When we asked for espresso, they would come back to our table after some time and just say that the machine wasn't working, when they clearly just didn't want to make it. Other times, they didn't have blenders available at the bars to make frozen drinks.

Our vacation was still a great time but we wouldn't return to Sandals Jamaica, but another Sandals destination with an amazing beach for sure!!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank DanielaKitchener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014 via mobile

I was a little bit apprehensive about going to Sandals, more so I guess because of the fact I've never been there before and was uncertain what to expect. Well let me say first off and whole heatedly that my reservations were unfounded and I had one of the most enjoyable holiday experiences that I can recall in recent years.

We were there for 2 weeks in early December '13 and it was hot and humid has you would expect, it rained ever so lightly a couple of days and 1 day it rained pretty hard , but sitting in the hot tub you didn't care about the rain coming down.

The resort has a large array of sports and activities that a guest can partake of and the off site attractions are a must, even though they are at a cost to the traveller, I would highly recommend the catamaran cruise to Dunns River Falls, the Mystic Mountain experience which is actually 3 different events (gondola, bobsled run, and zip line), you can purchase additional bobsled rides at the top of the mountain. The Heritage tour on horseback which includes a run in the ocean on horseback is quite nice.

The resort itself is all inclusive of course, and while there are 7-9 different places to be eating, depending on your particular taste that day, you would be hard pressed to find something that doesn't appeal to you.

We had a very very enjoyable time and would highly highly encourage people to try it at least once , we plan on going back as soon as possible.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank freedoug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dayton, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Awesome way to spend the anniversary!
My wife and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary in the Sandals Butler suites and we couldn’t have made a better choice! We were a little hesitant about the cost and questioned did we really “need” butlers but all of questions were quickly answered and all of our expectations were exceeded. All of the Staff went out of their way to make our visit truly feel like we were “welcomed home.”
Anton and Damon were our butlers and they did a great job of recommending restaurants, helping us map out our activities for the day and adding special touches to the room that just helped put our celebration over the top.
We have absolutely no complaints about the food. There’s plenty to choose from at the various restaurants to satisfy your tastes. If not, you could simply order/select something else. Dwayne the Chef, Claude and Brandon were some of the Staff that went out of their way to ensure we enjoyed our meals.
Activities were more than plentiful weather it was the Water Sports section (thanks Roger for all of your help), shows at the Ampitheater or the awesome New Years party, there was always something exciting to do.
Tasha and Shadane from Snapshots were great helping us take pictures and select the best photos to capture memories from our trip. Last but not least, we scheduled the couples massage with Juliette and Donnette and all we could say was “relaxing.” It’s almost as if my muscles were talking to Donnette’s hands “I’m a little sore right here” and she worked out all of the kinks and soreness. Lol!
Overall, our trip was truly outstanding and we’ll stay with Sandals again! We only have three suggestions for improvement: 1) Have more than one bus available after shows at the Ampitheater or parties to accommodate the larger number of people 2) Make sure people are aware of the Service Charge that the Spa adds on to the bill (even if you’ve prepaid for the services). I asked several people what the charge was for and no one could explain to my satisfaction what is was for or why it was included in the total when I booked the massages through the resort prior to arriving 3) come up with more drink options for those who don’t drink alcohol.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Melvin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 5, 2014

We had a very nice honeymoon at Sandals, overall. The best thing about this place, in my opinion, is the staff. Everyone is so happy to meet you and get to know you and serve you with a smile on their face. We'd particularly like to thank Anthaniel, Lyndel, and Lennox and at the piano bar, for many late-night drinks, laughs and endless entertainment. We frequented the piano bar quite a bit because these guys were so fun to be around! We also really enjoyed Alex and Clinton at Kelly's Dockside bar -- both such nice guys and always serving whatever you want to drink with a smile. Also, Alex at the swim-up bar -- one of the hardest workers I've seen in a very long time. He was always hustling to make people happy and still smiling and happy to serve everyone that he was helping and at times handled a very crowded pool bar without forgetting a single person's order. Impressive. All of these guys became like family to us after spending a good amount of time there and we were so thankful for their hard work and positivity! The staff was so welcoming and this really stood out to us. Thank you all!

One important thing about this resort that people should know (that we did not know) prior to coming. It isn't completely advertised that the resort is split into two sides separated by a highway. It worked out fine for us because we stayed on the oceanside, but I can tell you that I think we would have been disappointed had we stayed on the other side. I guess it depends on the type of vacation you want, but we were steps from the beach, about 3/4 of the restaurants, the piano bar, and pools. Also, I found that most of the entertainment took place on the beach side of the resort. Being on the other side isn't the end of the world as they have a shuttle that takes you back and forth that comes pretty regularly, but to me there's just something about everything being steps away and we really enjoyed that. That being said, maybe if you care more about golf and want a less crowded environment you'd enjoy the other side. In our ten days, we actually only went over there one time for about an hour and never felt that we were really missing out on anything.

Some things that stand out: Reef Terrace for dinner. Really good food and probably our favorite dining experience. We also really liked Neptunes (seafood) on the beach. We liked Kelly's Dockside for drinks, but dinner was nothing to write home about except for the scenery (which you can get by going to the bar). The food wasn't great and you need a reservation to get in, and I just didn't think it was worth it. Kimono's was also very good and a neat experience. We liked Valentino's, too. The lunch/breakfast at Bayside got old for us. We were shown pretty much the same lunch/breakfast every day and at the end of our trip it just wasn't' appetizing anymore. The pizza place by the pool (Bella Napoli I think it's called) was very good!

Our room wasn't anything super special considering the price, but we did have a beautiful ocean view. Also, it didn't really matter. We really weren't in our room a whole lot.

Thank you for everything, we had a very nice trip! Again, the staff makes this place memorable and special and we will never forget our new Jamaican friends :)

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ScottAmy13
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 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury 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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