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“Very disappointed”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed February 18, 2014

This resort is very disappointing especially for the price.

They advertise 15 restaurants, but only a few are open each day and some are limited only to those who have butler service.

The employees are resentful and miserable (with some notable exceptions, but majority not smiling or helpful).

There were never any towels. The rooms were minimal luxury- the food was overall poor as well as the entertainment.

We stayed at Secrets in Montego Bay which was amazing and much better. I thought sandals would be better but I was sorely wrong.

Furthermore, they nickel and dime you and are constantly trying to sell you things.

Most people at this resort are 55+ in age.

We spent so much money for such horrible service, bad rooms with probably 200 thread count bedding, broken elevators, no room on beach.

The bathroom is so small- I weigh 98 lb and my husband 160 and we both couldn't fit in it. There was only one sink- no tub. Initially no balcony! We upgraded as this was our honeymoon to a room with a balcony, but nothing else.

DO NOT RECOMMEND

Room Tip: Make sure you find out if you have a balcony or a tub (you probably wont). The butler suites are n...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Kelli D
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 reviewResponded February 21, 2014

We regret to hear that we did not meet quite your expectations for service and quality. We have many guests who feel the direct opposite and have boasted of our accommodations. However, as hoteliers we realize that there is always room for improvement and feedback is crucial in this process so we thank you for your review.

We are always looking for ways to improve our resort to exceed the expectations of our clients. Therefore, we do request that while on resort you notify us of anything that does not meet your standards. We are always eager to do what it takes to ensure that you enjoy your stay with us.

Again, thank you for your review. We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,272 - 4,278 of 8,767 reviews

Reviewed February 18, 2014

We traveled for our Weddingmoon from 2/2-2/13. Needless to say, our expectations were greatly exceeded by Sandals Grande Riviera. The bus ride from the airport to the resort was probably the worst part of the trip. After a long day of travel, working air conditioning on the bus would have been nice. The trip took 1hr 45min including the stop. We did have a good driver who drove safely the whole way there. The resort, while very large, was well run. The grounds were well maintained, the location is great, and the layout is sensible. As far as hoping from the beach side to the hill side, it was easy and convenient. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a shuttle. Our butlers or a shuttle were always available to take us up to our butler suite. The restaurants were all very good, with Neptunes, Sabrinas, and Kelly's being our favorites. Tex at Kimono's also ensured we had a memorable last dinner with our guests before they left. What really made the trip great was the employees. They were ALL so nice, asking how your stay was, and making sure you were having a good time.

Our Butler's - Paula T/Jackie D - They were absolutely phenomenal! Always had a smile on their face, taking care of all our dinner reservations, picking us up for rides whenever we needed it, and being willing to help at all times. They were both HUGE helps on our wedding day helping my wife get her family to the room to help her get ready and to help people get around. They definitely went above and beyond on that day. Also, when we got back to our room that night, there were flowers everywhere and a hot bath drawn. This was great for my wife to wind down after the wedding. For our honeymoon, they always checked in on us, brought us some great lunches while we were on the beach without us having to ask, and made sure we had a great time. Also, our flight home was cancelled due to the winter storm, and having Paula/Jackie around allowed us to not panic. They spoke with management to secure us a room for an additional night, let us use the butler lounge to wait on hold to schedule our airfare, and really allowed us to enjoy our extra day. When we return to Sandals (hopefully soon), we will definitely be asking for Jackie/Paula again.

Kerry Anne - She was our wedding planner, and really did a fantastic job. She escorted us around the property and helped us pick our location. She advised us of upgrade options to really make the location pop, while not shoving every upgrade down our throats. The wedding day itself went extremely smooth. We could not have been happier with our decision to get married at Sandals. Ishmael was our wedding driver and was courteous, polite, and ON TIME.
He made sure everyone got where they needed to go on time. Darren was our bartender at the wedding, and he was a blast. He was dancing the whole time while providing excellent drinks to our guests, and I would make sure to ask for him at your wedding.

Anna was our butler at the cabana at the Ochi Beach Club 2 separate times. We rented for a second day because she made sure the first experience was amazing. She was on top of drinks, snacks, food, and taking care of us and our guests who were hanging out with us. She did a fantastic job!

Anthaniel was the main bartender at Jamie's Sports bar during the day. He always remembered us, made sure we had fresh drinks, and that we were having a great time. He even got involved in some pool games with us.

We are sure we are leaving other employees out, but they all made sure we and our guests had a great time. Our guests have been raving about the resort, the wedding, and all the fun we had together. We can' wait to make a return trip to Sandals' soon!

Room Tip: Hill side is quieter, more relaxed during the evenings.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Joe P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

My husband and I traveled here from December 30-January 5th for our honeymoon. Such an amazing escape!

The bus ride from the airport ended up being more like 2 hours since we were heading to the resort during the week day rush hour. Getting accustomed to driver's driving habits was a little adjustment (lots of tailing, honking & passing), but the view of the mountains was rather spectacular and you get to see the coast the majority of the trip.

It was a big relief finally getting to the resort. You are greeted with friendly faces and damp towels to refresh yourself. We couldn't wait to put our things down in our rooms (after an orientation/check in) and make our way to the closest restaurant, the Reef Terrace, which was probably my 2nd favorite spot. This looks out over the beach on an intimate deck.

Throughout our trip, we tried almost everything on the resort. We loved the rock climbing wall, water sports, life size shuffle board, pool games, specialty drinks, night events, ping pong, variety of pools and bars and all the beautiful views. You really don't need to venture out of the resort at all. In fact, after a week, we still felt like we hadn't quite done everything.

My husband loved all the food we ate, I think I was a little harder to please. Our least favorite was probably the Italian restaurant, partly because of the hour wait and that they don't take reservations if you don't have a butler, partly because we had some awkward interactions with our waitress, and partly because our entrees were just subpar. In my opinion, the best restaurants are the ones where the menu serves local food, that's where the flavors and options really shine. So I would say definitely go to the Manor House and Reef Terrace. Even though sometimes we had to wait to get a table at the bigger restaurants, we had fun relaxing at the bar and playing board games. Plus, we weren't on a schedule, so the wait times were just an excuse to chat, sip drinks, and relax.

Highlights of the trip were simply hanging out by the pools. The hillside main pool was definitely our favorite! [Beware of the raft hoarders though, people will claim rafts even when they're not using them, which was mildly frustrating] In general though, all the other guests are really friendly and there to relax just like you.

We also loved the snorkeling (although our session got rescheduled 2 times because of choppy waters). Another highlight: my husband surprised me with a birthday private candelit dinner by the beach-- definitely amazing and romantic!

My last tip is for room choice. The butler option, from what we could see, wasn't very necessary, except for maybe getting better reservations. Staying on the beach in the Riviera House was super convenient, since almost all the attractions at the resort are on that side. It was very quiet too. That would be our recommendation.

You will have a blast here!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Anna L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We were at SGR form 9Feb-16 Feb. Went to celebrate husbands birthday and our anniversary.
Used the Club Mobay met and greet and we made it through and in our private transfer with Danny from Danny Island Excursions within 25 min.

Arrived greeted by a lot of old friends.

Great villa 7314 and good butlers Stanford and Joe.

Found the food a lot better than what we had last year.

While we were there the HM on the Manor side Vhisa(maybe spelled wrong)started a new policy.No floats are to be saved by seats and you had to get them from the watersports people and they would go around and take them. It was working.

Here are the misses. When they changed the Manor site into butler village it watered down the that service that you pay for. It is not like other Sandals. Also it is not right that the butlers have 7-8 rooms to take care of too many and the service shows it. One day we didn't even get a cooler which we called for earlier to almost 2p and it is bad when you get a note form your butler saying sorry didn't see you today too busy.
Was told by one of the managers that our butlers had to take care of a guest that he was trying to woo. So they had less time. Also hard on the butlers having to do rooms on both sides of the property.

On Friday one of our butlers told us that they had set up a private transfer for us. Told him we had one already they insisted we take it. Cancelled ours.
Sunday morning went to check out.Their computer system was down and my husband was rudely told by the front desk you can't leave to it comes up.
He said when car comes we are leaving you have cc. Than told okay we will email the invoice after asking just for a copy. Have yet to get that.
Well low and behold NO car and next bus an hour later. Went to butler room where we were looked at like aliens because of course head butler not there to straighten this out Go to front desk where we were laughed at by the front desk manager Derise.
Finally after we asked for a taxi it came and of course we didn't get the comfortable ride we get but cramped in a car and no water.

Emailed our driver about what had happened and he apologizes to what happened but yet to get an email or a call from Sandals to say they are sorry.

Because of this event husband made me cancel our trip to Sandals Royal Plantation,and next years trip with 5 other couples Also if we would cancel the April trip which we were to go to Sandals Barbados but Mr.Stewart decides to close for refreshing we are stuck and yes I say stuck going to Sandals Royal Bahamian because we had purchased air and were told we will pay for change fees and 300 pp more for air. It is over Easter so no air available to St Lucia or Antigua.

Also know there will be no little comment from their TA person because it isn't favorable to them.

We are Diamond guest of Sandals and I am a TA so the bad service can happen to anyone.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank sunny50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

My husband and I were married in early October but opted to wait until hurricane season was over before taking our Honeymoon. This was our first sandals experience. We stayed at the resort from 1/26-2/1 in the Riviera Honeymoon Luxury Club Level Villa Room on the Riviera/Beach side. These are the cottages between the check-in building and the main building on the beach. I will admit I was a little hesitant that we only received a "coupon book" with vouchers for the airline; Sandals transfer etc. after booking online without help from a travel agent. I was also very hesitant after reading many negative reviews. In the end, my worries were for nothing and we had a great trip- it does make me wonder if the people with negative reviews just didn’t do their homework prior to their trip. I found some reviews were definitely more beneficial and helpful than others so I will break down the trip as others did:

Arriving in Montego Bay: We travelled on a Saturday and didn't arrive in Montego Bay until approximately 3pm. The customs line was long and took approximately 45 - 60 minutes to get through; this was fine- we knew that by travelling Saturday- Saturday we would face longer lines. We didn't use Club Mobay and once through customs, someone greeted us outside the Sandals Lounge and took our luggage. We had just enough time to use the restroom and grab a drink before we were taken out to the shuttle.

Bus Ride: There were seven couples in total on our bus. We had Marvin as a shuttle driver- he was great unofficial tour guide & full of interesting facts! From reading reviews on this site, we knew the drive would take about 90 minutes. The majority of our group wanted to stop for beer and we did about an hour into the trip. I will say that the group on the shuttle with us was not a happy bunch. No one really spoke to each other. Three of the seven couples on the shuttle complained the whole ride; which started to dampen my mood. We arrived at Sandals and were greeted with cool cloths and champagne before we were shown the Concierge check in area.

Check-in: We were quickly checked in and since it was nearly 7:30 pm, they brought us to the closest restaurant to eat after travelling for 12 hours. My husband and I had opted not to go for a Butler but the Club Level was a nice touch! They made reservations for us at Kimonos and we were able to secure a reservation at Kelly’s Dockside which we both wanted to try. As a tip: we were told that Kelly’s Dockside is for the butler side guests only and the concierge service receives a small number of reservations each week- make sure to ask for a reservation right away! They also checked in with us several times during the week to make sure we were okay and having a good time.

Room: The room was average but it was clean. It had a large bed and 1 chair in the room with the attached bathroom. We were on the first floor so we had a walk out deck/patio with a table and chairs. I will say that we never received the booklet each night that tells you the activities on the resort for the following day. We always had to walk down to the main building to get one. We only had an “official” turn down one evening.

Beach: My husband and I are not true “beach lovers” so the smaller beach was just fine with us. However, from reviews we read here, we weren’t expecting a long beach. The water is beautiful and they have it separated with nets and rocks beneath the docks.

Pools: We spent one day at the “main pool” on the Manor side. The main pool that you see in many pictures is located on the manor side. This pool was by far the “busiest” they have the most activities going on during the day. Two days were spent at the pool on the Riviera side behind the theater- this was the most quiet pool with the swim up bar. We spent the remaining three days at the Ochi beach club pool. This seemed to be the perfect pool for us activities wise – not enough to overwhelm but enough to entertain! The seats by the pool are reserved very early - if you were not out by the pool at 8-8:30 am there were usually no seats left.

Food: The food overall was great & there’s something for everyone! We had breakfast on both sides at the Marketplace & Bayside. The breakfast was just okay – scrambled eggs looked watery and much of the food looks hastily prepared. There are, however, amazing omelet chef’s at each restaurant! We tried different places for lunch and really enjoyed everywhere- our favorite being Bella Napoli! We were only there for seven nights so we were unable to attend all the restaurants. We were able to go to: Reef Side Terrace, Bayside, Soy, Kimonos, Kelly’s Dockside, Neptune’s and Sabrina’s Marketplace. The only meal I was unsatisfied with was Sabrina’s Marketplace but that was quickly fixed with room service later on. Our favorites were Neptune’s, Soy & Kimonos- definitely a must try for all of them. For Neptune’s, if you don’t have a Butler, you have to be there right when they open at 5:30 or you won’t get in.

Staff: The staff at this resort is outstanding. Everyone smiles and there are “no problems, mon.” If you are unhappy with something, tell someone and they’ll do their best to fix it. You’re on Island time (and vacation) so relax- the staff at SGR is great! There is a no tipping policy at the resort, however, almost everyone tips discretely for different services. My husband and I didn’t tip our housekeeper until the last day and we learned from another couple they left ($2-$3) a day and received extra attention from theirs.

Misc: We didn’t do any excursions off the property; but we did utilize the free water activities -water bikes etc. We had a couples massage on the Manor side as we found that to be the nicer of the two spas. The spa on the Riviera/ Beach side was very small and not as “grand” as the other and there was no price difference- well worth the trip to the Manor side to use the spa. The complimentary photo shoot that you are automatically signed up for we cancelled once we arrived since we had just received plenty of wedding photos back. This did not stop photographers from coming up to you at dinner looking to make a new appointment.

All in all we would definitely go back to the SGR and had a great honeymoon! I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Colleen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2014

My husband and I just returned from this resort today. We had a fantastic time celebrating our honeymoon at this little slice of paradise. A few things to note: Dwayne makes the best omelets at Sabrina's in the morning, Ralston Findley is the resorts best photographer, Jeremy and Richard make a rockin butler duo.... And James is an all star bartender at Jamie's sports bar. Every where we ate was good, with the exception of a very long dinner (2+ hours) at Kelly's. We were also a little surprised at the mediocre quality of food for our candlelight dinner. Our sever Archibald however, made up for that by being a great server with a fantastic sense of humor. We did have a couples massage on valentines day and after paying in advance, we were surprised to hear of the service charge that gets tacked on when the service is given, along with expecting a tip. When never made use of the private pool but certainly made use of the pool at the Great House. I was under the impression we had a room with a larger bathtub, and will make sure of that next time. Over all, we can't wait to go back to Sandals.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Amglino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2014

My husband and I had a fantastic time at this resort. We stayed on the hillside and ended up getting upgraded to a nicer butler suite due to the AC not working our first 2 night there. I will say that our butlers started off a little less attentive than we would have liked, but it definitely got much better as the week went on- little surprises here and there, lunch by the pool, breakfast on our terrace.

We took the booze cruise out to Dunns Falls and it is an absolute must do!!!! Seriously, the most fun experience I've had in a while. We definitely took advantage of the non motorized water sports (snorkeling and paddle boarding) and had a blast doing both! We spent a ton of time at the hillside at beachside pools- the beach side pool was definitely where the party was at and the bartenders def kept the party going! SO FUN!

Everything about this place was great, expect the food. It was just ok- but what can you expect from an all-inclusive resort? My fav place by far was the Hibachi restaurant! The food there was actually so good we ate there twice.

Overall, we had a great experience. We used Jennifer with thetropicaltravelers.com and were so impressed with her service and knowledge! A couples massage was included with our package when we booked, but was not in our voucher booklet- after sending an email to Jennifer, she quickly got it sorted out and taken care of.

Such a great honeymoon!

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Alyssa R
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

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:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $417 - $1,047 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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