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“Great time at Sandals (Manor side, Plantation Villa with pool)”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed March 31, 2009

My spouse and I joined friends for 6 nights in last week of March at Sandals B&V Resort at Ocho Rios. We stayed Manor side and shared a Plantation Villa & Pool with our friends.

The rooms, our pool, both sides of the Resort, the beach, the swim up bars, the shuttle buses, the Golf course, the Falls Cruise, the restaurants, the staff and service were all great. We did not experience any lengthy waits for shuttle buses between Riviera and Manor sides.

I would note that this is a Resort for couples, many honeymooners. Various age groups but mostly couples aged 20s to 40s, mostly American/Canadian/British. This Resort is not for Singles looking to pick up. No Siree!

I would suggest bringing an insulated mug (eg Starbucks/NFL) for swim-up bar cocktails. The bar staff filled insulated mugs no matter the size. Some guests brought enormous football shaped mini-kegs. It's an all-inclusive, get your value for money!

Much patience is required at the restaurants. We visited 5 of the 9 restaurants and experienced long waiting lines (2 hrs) so we just drank more cocktails at the Bars alongside the restaurants with other guests. Made a lot of friends!

Dress code is everything from very dressed-up to very casual beach dresses and flip flops. No shorts or swim wear at the formal restaurants. They have a 'White Night', entire outfits in white good idea.

If I received a super cheap package to this Resort again, I would return.

  • Stayed: March 2009
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5  Thank TravellerforBusiness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7,902 - 7,908 of 8,681 reviews

Reviewed March 30, 2009

My wife and I went to Sandals Royal last April, and loved it. Sandals Ocho Rios was on sale so we went for a 4 day 3 night trip for the price of our stimulus check. We had a blast at Ocho Rios. The resort is huge. We stayed in a Villa, which is actually across the street from the beach. This seemed wiered at first, however the shuttle takes about two minutes and the longest I every waited on a shuttle was 5 minutes, and that was at 4 in the morning. The food is great, there is a lot of little night life spots, the atmopshere of each spot changes and the guest change....you will always find a spot that fits you because it is so large....snorkleing and water sports and good, but not as good as Montego Bay.....the pool is amazing....it didnt go to Jam. for a pool, however this one is just amazing....the staff is good, and treats you like gold....I was never pushed to tip, however I did because I read a book about the travel industry in the Carribean and it made me decide to tip while there. If you do, your service will be a bit better, but it is awesome to begin with...i just go to cut in line a bit....also, Sandals employees were the only resort employees with atleast a 90% satisfaction rate in all of Jamaica in the book I read...i would stay in Montego Bay instead of Ocho Rios just due to travel time...give it a thought, your paying a lot of money to spend half of your first and last day on a bus.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank micronmike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2009

We stayed at this resort for the last week of March to continue our visits to each of the differeny Sandals resorts. I had done a lot of research and while I had seen the negative reviews, was hoping that it wasn't as bad as many of the reviewers made out. To be honest, it wasn't that bad but it also wasn't one of the better Sandals we've been to. No issues at the airport and the ride from the airport was just what we expected, 1.5-2 hours and a chance to see the countryside. Our room was also what we expected, the St. Ann's Plantation Villa 1-bdrm suite. Unfortunately, even as return guests, we were not upgraded which was disappointing. We were told that the resort was fully booked but it was hard to imagine considering the low number of guests visible throughout our stay. We spoke to other return guests at the special dinner, and they confirmed that even after 15 stays, they haven't been upgraded since their 3rd stay. Not a big deal since the room we booked was adequate, but something to keep in mind for those thinking they will be rewarded for loyalty to Sandals. We only used the pool area once or twice, and although it was a bit dirty when we arrived, we found a simple call to the Concierge Desk resulted in a cleaning bright and early the next day. A tip with this room - bring a nightlight. The blackout blinds are very effective, so much so that it is completely pitch black at night, making bathroom trips a bit dicey. And keep the wooden slats closed in your bathroom whenever you're not in the room. We had a visitor one night that may haunt me for weeks to come... We made the trip to the Riviera side to see the other half of the property and the trip between is really not much. Half the time we took the shuttle across and the rest of the time we walked. And the road between the 2 halves is not the chaotic interstate that other reviewers have made it out to be. It is a simple street, and there is a crosswalk right there. Mind you, I learned in the past not to assume that international crosswalk etiquette is the same as at home, so we always kept our eyes open when crossing. The beach on the Riviera is ok, quite narrow but there is always space to find. One thing we weren't aware of is the Beach Club area. This is almost a separate area from the rest of the Riviera as it used to the beach access for the old Beaches Resport, or so we were told. There is a pool here as well as the dive centre and a couple of restaurants, and the beach continues to the rest of the Riviera property. I do have to say that I was quite taken aback at the pool at the beach club. It really looks run-down, and a lot like a community pool that hasn't been well maintained. In fact, we nicknamed it 'The Y'. We tried most of the restaurants as well as several of the buffets, and the food everywhere was quite good. For bars, we never had any problems although the service at the Manor swim-up bar can be a bit slow. We brought big thermal mugs with us so our bar trips were not as frequent as other guests, and we overheard some comments that they wishes they had brought some too. We also went on the Bob Marley Party Cruise. Not sure why it's called Bob Marley except that you can have your picture taken with a rasta hat and dreads, but the cruise was fun. Be forewarned that the bar will not open until after the snorkelling and Dunn's River Falls stop, so not until 1pm or so. Gravol is recommended because the water was incredibly choppy, and those that hadn't dosed themselves beforehand did not fare very well. We took advantage of the "Stay at One, Play at More" program and spent a day at Sandals Dunn's River, where we had stayed 2 years ago. SDR is definitely a nicer property and this return trip sealed the deal. If you plan to go for the day and want to stay for dinner, make sure to go to the Concierge Desk a day or 2 ahead and ask for a day room to shower in. It's not guaranteed that you will get one, but it's much nicer that having to use the spa facilities. The trip back to the airport is the same as the way in but everyone is much quieter. You should expect to be catching your shuttle 5 hours prior to your flight time (2 hours for the drive and the Jamaican-recommended 3 hours before your flight). Overall, the trip was good but I don't think we'll be going back to this Sandals again. Live and learn!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Hali-traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2009

Just got back from a 2 week stay at the Grand. I read a lot of reviews befor we went and the folks that were not happy probably wouldn't be happy anywhere. The resort is older but in good shape, and a vacation is what YOU make of it. The staff from the gardeners to the upper management are extremelly friendly and accessable. The kids (playmakers) are a hoot, always ready to make your stay fun. Of all the reviews I read there was very little about the golf course. the course is 18 hole, and in good shape for the dry season. the fairways are hard and you get a lot of carry on release. You cant drop a ball on the greens(too hardand fast). The caddies are very knowledgeable and friendly. The food at the resort is good to excellent and plenty of it. the drinks are premium and not watered down( you can get a double or triple if you want. The beach is small and cut into 3 sections.I guess the only thing I didn't like was the no tipping policy, some of the folks there deserved a tip.

10  Thank chunkyman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2009

My husband and I hadn't taken a vacation since our honeymoon seventeen years ago. We did a lot of research on the net and chose to spend our second honeymoon at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. We absolutely made the right pick!
I can't adequately express in words how stunningly perfect this holiday was! The cleanliness, the service, all of the staff, everything about the resort was a perfect 10! We wouldn't hesitate to stay at this resort again and again! We met many couples there that had been to this resort three or four times. We now completely understand why they keep returning.
My only tip would be to have all of the photos taken by the resort photographers saved under your room number. This will make it much easier at the end of your stay to browse through the pictures when looking for the ones you wish to purchase.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Halfgassed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2009

We had a wonderful 7 day stay at Sandals Grande. When we weren't relaxing by the pools, we snorkeled, sea kayaked, sailed, or golfed. We also took a Zip Line tour with Chuka tours that was a lot of fun.

We stayed at the Riviera, because we love being by the ocean. The Manor side of the resort has a nicer and bigger pool, but the Riviera side has a good beach and two smaller pools. We also purchased the candle light dinner which was a very romantic high point of the trip.

The only downside to the trip is 1.5 hour ride from the airport, but it does give you a chance to see the Jamaica outside the all-inclusive bubble.

Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
7  Thank captainlew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2009

Our son was married at Sandals - what a fabulous vacation/celebration! I really have no complaints about ANYTHING at Sandals, Ocho Rios. The food, drinks, room, service were all wonderful! We have travelled all over and honeswtly can't wait to go back to Sandals's for our next island vacation!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank Joy F
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 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $382 - $1,055 (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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