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“Coming Back Soon, Sandals Ocho Rios a great time had by all...”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Coming Back Soon, Sandals Ocho Rios a great time had by all...”
Reviewed April 22, 2009

Everything you want in one resort....lush green hillsides, exotic tropical gardens, endless alabaster beach, views, room categories galore and a friendly staff that wants to provide for your every need. A wide array of water and land sports, scuba diving with an extraordinary staff, golf, tennis, rock climbing wall, fitness center, lots of activities throughout the day if you want to indulge or a relaxing day at one of the 7 main pools or possibly one of the 93 villa pools. Or maybe you prefer to pamper yourself enjoy the day at one of their two spa's or a massage for two on the pier or even the privacy of your own room. Did I mention food...11 restaurants, drinks flowing like water; everything you could imagine all in one location...we're coming back soon.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank 2Traveling4Fun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2009

We have gone on two Sandals vacations over the past three years. Both Antigua and Ochos Rios have been a time to remember. The beaches were gorgeous and clean. The rooms were amazing, and the staff (I can't even put into words) would bend over backwards for you. These resorts are AMAZING for both honeymooners or couples vacationing.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank lakekat81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2009

This was an amazing vacation! My husband & I were looking for beauty, romance & relaxation. This resort provides it all and then some! We do not golf, but there is a beautiful golf course. There is an amazing view from every area of the resort. The people who work there are very kind and accommodating. The food was fantastic! You will never go hungry there! There are formal & informal restaurants with great food & service! All easy to get to & convenient to all the activities. Every night there are different events you can go to, such as beach parties, white parties, etc. Everything was very clean & the grounds were beautiful! Because it is an all inclusive resort, you never need money unless you do an off-property excursion, which they make so easy to book & plan.

My husband has a fear of water because he doesn't know how to swim, he never gets in water higher than his chest and he doesn't like boats. We met a staff member that works in the Water Sports Department, his name is Winston Wilson. He was speaking to my husband on the beach because he was looking at a Hobie Cat Sailboat. Those of you not familiar, I included a picture. You are basically sitting on a canvas net and the water splashes up through it. You are not strapped on. Because of Winston's kindness and professionalism, he made my husband feel comfortable & secure enough to go out for a sail. Winston sailed while my husband & I enjoyed the ride out far into the middle of the ocean! My husband was calm & happy & he loved the ride! We saw Winston many times during our week there, he greeted us by name and treated us as if we were his family! We felt so welcomed! The trip & resort were great, but it was made so much more personalized & warm because of our encounter with Winston! We will return to this specific resort as much as possible because of him! Thank you Sandals for hiring Winston!!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank shellthe1st
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastern Ohio
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2009

Our week at Grand Ocho Rios was relaxing, fun, romantic, and unforgetable. Our room was right on the beach (an unexpected upgrade from our reservation). The views were beautiful. The room was kept perfectly clean and very comfortable; too bad there was just too much fun stuff to do to spend more time there. We snorkeled over incredible coral, kayaked, swam, and had all the delicious drinks and food we wanted. This is a vacation that we will never forget. We have already agreed we will return to Sandals. But with so many great locations available, we may not make it back to this one..for awhile anyway. If you like relaxation, entertainment and romance, go to a Sandals Resort. You will be spoiled.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank golf1278
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2009

We had a great time here. First off it is not a 5 star hotel so don't go expecting that and you will be fine! It was my husband and another couple that went and we all had a great time. My husband got to scuba dive 3 times, we kayaked, took out the hobie cat, laid by the beach and pool. We stayed 5 nights and didn't want to leave. We booked the Manor side but got moved to the Riviera side, turned out to be the best thing possible since we love to be near the water. We only went to the Manor side for 2 dinner events so I don't have much to comment on that side. All in all the service was friendly and the food was good. We hit every dinner event there was. The street Jamboree, the White party, and the Jamaican Beach party. They were all buffet style and there was plenty of choices and good food. We did try 2 restaurants, Arizonas one night, they set up the tables on the beach, that was really cool and the food was good. Then Valentino's one night, that was good just order about 5 calamari if you want a decent amount since its literally 4-5 peices of calamari per order. That was weird. Oh as for beer all they have is red stripe and red stripe light on tap. So if you don't care for either prepare yourself (luckily I do so it was fine). We did Dunns RIver Falls, just got a taxi from the resort on our own time. I really enjoyed that more than I thought I would. We also did the Chukka horseback ride and swim, that was great as well! I would go back and this was our first time staying at any all inclusive, so the first time experience was a good one!
Point being if you can't have a good time here then you need to suck it up and pay for 5 star...

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Nate_Melissa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
katyb1980
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2009

We stayed in the Manor Honeymoon Ocean View Villa 1 Bedroom and we shared a pool with 3 other rooms. Our room category made us eligible for butler service, and if there is one tip I would recommend over any other, it would be to GET A BUTLER. We had two that rotated shifts, Calicia and Nicola, and they were amazing...friendly, accomodating, polite, and they really went out of their way to make our stay special. They booked all of our reservations for us for dinner and excursions, made us a hot bath with rose petals and candles, drove us around, prepared a private dinner on our balcony with white linens by candelight, brought me a vase full of local flowers, stocked our fridge daily with fresh fruits, wine, and cheese and crackers, coordinated our room service...they offered to pack and unpack our luggage...I could go on and on, but it was definetly worth the extra money.
The check-in at the hotel was confusing but once we got to the room, everything was beautiful. I was nervous given the poor reviews I had read but will highlight our experience:

1. Our room was very clean with fresh towels and a comfortable bed with pillows that were firm but soft. There were minor smudges on the paint in the room, but really, you're in Jamaica! Relax!
2. The air conditioning unit worked great and so did the ceiling fans.
3. We had NO bugs in our room (contrary to what I had read earlier).
4. Food in the restaurants was filling and good, for the most part...you won't like everything at any restaurant you go to, but I'd say 9 times out of 10 we were happy.
5. All of the staff were friendly and accomodated everything we asked for with a cheerful "no problem, mon." We did not tip anyone at the resort and did not feel pressured to.

The only thing I was disappointed with was the spa services...I should preface that by saying I am very picky on massages, and it's hard for me to find a place I'm really happy with. That being said, I went for one massage and was unhappy with it, so I thought maybe it was just the type of massage I picked and paid to get another one that was more expensive the next day...unfortunately the more expensive massage was even worse and I left feeling stressed, rather than relaxed. The spa is a beautiful building and well decorated but I wouldn't recommend getting massages there.
The resort is large but we were expecting that...it feels like the best of both worlds though because you get a garden environment and also the beach too. There are carts to drive you around and we never waited more than 10 minutes for one. Our pool was clean and in a gorgeous garden environment, with birds chirping and the sweet smell of fresh flowers. We felt like we were in the Garden of Eden because it's so secluded and quiet. I admit that the beach is small, but it was never crowded, and I felt very relaxed there...
Overall, the staff will treat you like royalty and the entire resort is very romantic...perfect place for our honeymoon!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank katyb1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2009

In January of 2009, my fiancée decided to surprise me with a trip to Sandals Grande Ocho Rios in Jamaica for our anniversary. We have stayed at all inclusive resorts in the past usually with Iberostar and have had wonderful times. This was an extra special vacation because in the past I had been the person that purchased, researched and booked everything for her! She was super excited because she had saved up a little over $2,500.00 to treat me to the trip of a lifetime at one of the world famous Sandals Resorts!!

I did a quick review on Trip Advisor and found many negative comments regarding Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. I took these reviews with a grain of salt because there will always be people expecting way more than they should or complain just to get free upgrades. If you post a review that claiming the place is run down show an example, if the food looked awful take a photo of it. Show me the dates and the proof and I will stay away!!

None of the complaints had photographs to back what they were saying so I figured most complaints were people with sour grapes. I’m not that hard to please, I simply wanted a clean room, safe surroundings with food that is at least comparable with the quality of McDonalds and plentiful with an understanding it may have a Jamaican twist.

My fiancée then paid extra for the Concierge Service so that we would always have restocked beer, wine and top shelf liquor like Sandals website and brochures boast. The VIP check in would then swiftly have us in our charming cottage amidst lush tropical gardens overlooking the sparkling sea!

On February 21th 2009 we left and the flight to Jamaica was without incident with the exception of three planes landing at the same time and an hour and a half wait in line sweating our heads off to get through Jamaica Customs (they had about a thousand people in line at once with four agents checking them through and most people never filled out the customs card and stood at the agent station filling it out) but it was all good because soon we would be in the Sandals lounge being served champagne and ice cold beer!

We rounded a corner and a baggage person saw us and before we even knew where this lounge was located or where exactly I was, he began grabbing at my luggage saying “I’ll take it, give it to me!” I said no and he continued to persist until I almost knocked him out! I’m six foot four 250lbs and nobody is grabbing my luggage! He then went to a different elderly couple, grabbed their bags, placed them on a cart and walked towards the exit without a word! I began to feel the stress building.

A short walk later and many others trying to grab my luggage we found Sandals / Beaches lobby. A nice guy asked where we were going and asked our names then told us to leave the luggage outside the lobby with him and to go inside and help ourselves to drinks. Yes!!!!! Well we went inside and it was packed! Nobody had drinks in their hands, there were no employees, everyone looked confused and for the life of me I could not see any place to get a drink!! I had been looking forward to this the whole time on the plane and standing in line at customs and there was nothing! I decided to go outside for a cigarette and left my fiancée behind to figure it out.

A short time later I returned and saw this guy walking out with a plastic cup of beer and I asked him where he had gotten it. He told me that in the far right corner near the bathrooms there was a keg of Red Stripe beer but it was sputtering and almost out. I went inside and found my fiancée and we headed to the far right corner and stood in a line. I was not sure if this was a line for the bathrooms or for the beer and just waited. A loud speaker announced that the bus for Sandals Dunn River and Sandals Ocho Rios was boarding. I was so close yet so far and decided to wait in line…. I wanted my beer! I finally got there and saw two dirty taps, I grabbed a plastic cup floating on spilled beer which was all over the counter and the floor and out came warm mostly foam beer. I grabbed another for my fiancée and we headed out to find our luggage.

The man whom had told us to leave the luggage outside the lobby was gone and so was our luggage. In a panic I looked around and saw our bags about 200 feet away on some porter cart. I ran over to him throwing the warm useless beer into a nearby garbage bag and told him they were my bags. He then said to follow him and we went to a waiting tour bus where he told us we needed to tip him and then he told us to board the bus. The bus was somewhat full and they said they were not leaving for another 30 minutes. I stepped back off to have another cigarette and some guy who was hanging with the bus driver asked me if I wanted any Marijuana. I told him no and he told me to think about it and if I changed my mind he would get it for me at the upcoming rest stop.

Well we headed off and the scenery along the entire ride was run down, buildings half built and left to rot away and here and there were beautiful resorts! The Iberostar, The Ritz Carlton, Sandals Royal Caribbean and I could not wait for the Grande Ocho Rios!! After an hour or so we stopped at the rest stop to use the bathrooms, get a snack and a cold beer. I ordered two Red Stripes and the woman behind the bar said “Eleven Dollars”! The ratio to Jamaican money to U.S. money is 80 to one so I was just charged Eight Hundred Eighty Jamaican Dollars for two beers!!! Oh well I’m on vacation, the sun is warm, the beer was cold and I’m headed to Sandals!!! The guy who was hanging around on our bus came over to me and said “You change your mind? You want the Ganja?” I had already watched him sell some Marijuana to four other people on our bus and I said no thanks. He said “Come on mon! This is the best!” I told him no and he walked away.

We boarded the bus and after another hour pulled into Sandals Dunn River. I looked nice with white statues and flowers along the driveway. We let off a few people then headed to the Grande Ocho Rios!!! 15 Minutes away!! I was tired, hungry, thirsty and ready to start my vacation. We were on a very busy road with what looked like a sugar factory to my left, followed by a fenced off shipyard filled with what looked liked chemical tanks and then slowed near some crumbling tall concrete walls topped with razor and barbed wire. Hummm looked like we were nearing a prison when I saw on one of the walls under some overgrown vines as we slowed even more the words “Sandals Ocho Rios”. Some security guy lifted a gate and we drove into this dirty driveway with more razor wire, into a tunnel then past another security shack.

I was in too much shock to snap a photo and my fiancée looked at me more worried than I had ever seen her and grabbed my leg hard. I just told her… maybe it gets better further up the road. It did not get much better as we drove past what looked like dirt parking lots with people standing around and then stopped in front of what I now know as “The Manor House”. As I exited the bus the first thing I noticed was that all the guests walking around that had gotten there before us looked really tired and unhappy. Nobody but the staff was smiling. There were no couples holding hands and it hit me as Uh Oh!! I’ve seen happier people at motor vehicle accidents.

We were told to go inside the Manor House to check in. There was no staff or signs directing us where to go so we stood in line like everyone else. I thought we had Concierge Service? I thought we would be greeted with cool towels and given Champagne? Not that I needed it but it was promised in the brochures and on the internet. Oh well, I’m here to be happy and make the most of it! After about 20 minutes I walked past the line and asked the woman at the desk if this was the Concierge area. She told me no that I had to walk around the ladder into another room. Nice of someone to tell me! We went to the Concierge room and it was not much better. It was crowded and there was some Champagne around if you could find it. We stood in line and were asked for a credit card for incidental damages that may occur. I gave her my Visa card and the woman told me she could not take it because it was also a Debit / Check card! I told her it worked both way’s through Visa she said no. I thought this was complete nonsense! If you don’t have a major credit card they won’t let you check in.

We were told about the restaurants around the grounds and that to pretty much get anywhere you need to walk long distances or take a bus or a shuttle golf type cart that they call a Jitney. They said none of the restaurants take reservations and that it’s first come first serve! This is a total flat out bold faced lie!! Many times I was standing first in line at 5:30pm at the podium half hour early and watched the hostess fill a book with “Smith party of 6 water front table 8:00pm, Johnson party of two water view table 7:00pm and it went on and on! Johnson and Smith are people with Butler Service and they get prime times and picks and everyone else gets what is left over. Much more on that later! I was quickly learning that Sandals should change it’s motto to “The Luxury Included if you have deep pockets and grease peoples palms vacation”.

My fiancée and I walk outside, and some guy in a Jitney asks what room we are in. We tell him and he throws our bags…actually throws our bags onto the back and we get on. He drives like a Wildman around corner after corner, up a very long and steep hill and stops near a stairwell headed up into some ferns. He grabs our bags and walks us up to our room. We walk into a hallway that is filthy with old dishes on the ground. The lights did not function because either the bulb or a fuse had blown. We walk into the room and it has a mild mold smell like anywhere you go in the tropics and he put our bags down and stood there waiting for a tip. Anywhere I go I tip as well as I can but here Sandals said don’t tip because it’s added into the all inclusive price. I tipped him so he would go away and we checked out the room. We were staying in the Villa Plantation with the Semi Private pool.

We walked out onto the balcony and had no idea where we were. We could see the ocean about a half mile away past the power lines but could never have retraced the route we took to get there. We knew our room was number 7421 but the little map in our room did not show it anywhere. They only had Numbers 7, 30, 31 scattered about. We noticed the rugs were matted old and stained. We went into the kitchen and saw our bar. We had a bottle of Kirov Vodka, Wray & Nephew Old Tom Gin, Appleton Rum, red wine and a bottle of Clan Macgregor Scotch Whiskey. Name brand liquors? I was not expecting Chopin Vodka or Woodford Reserve Bourbon but this was crap! All of the bottles except the wine had the seals already broken and the fluid was filled to different levels. They had been opened and refilled! Did the previous guests drink out of the bottles? What was in them? Were they watered down? I decided not to chance it. I looked in the fridge and there were six bottles of Red Stripe Beer, Four cans of coke, two cans of Coke light and four cans of Sprite. On the door there was four bottles of water, two Tang like orange drinks, two fruit punches, two small cans of cranberry cocktail, a bottle of Champagne and a bottle of white wine.

I know you cannot please everyone’s taste and this was a fairly good selection however I drink Bourbon with Ginger ale, wine and beer. The fiancée likes wine and Vodka with Orange Juice. I called the Concierge area and told them that the liquor bottles were already opened and could I get replacements. I explained that none of us drank Gin or Scotch and could they please replace it with some inexpensive name brand bourbon like Jim Beam and give us some type of Vodka we knew like Absolut, Sky, Grey Goose or even Smirnoff. They said they would have some look into it in a few minutes. The bar is supposed to be restocked every day so we helped ourselves to the red stripe beer.

We walked into the bedroom and I could care less about the bland décor or the holes in the walls but we want to make sure there are no signs of bed bugs or any other biting critters. I lifted the comforter and sheet and found alongside the mattress several pubic hairs on the sheets that fell off and other long ones. There were some signs of bed bug droppings but we never got bit. In the bathroom there were more pubic hairs on the toilet and stains on a folded towel. We then went into the closet and looked at our robes. She had what looked like blood stains on hers and I had either urine or coffee stains on mine. I called Concierge and nobody answered.

We waited around and nobody came. We decided to try to find our way to dinner because we were starved. We walked out into the jungle walkways with no signs and did our best to find the main road. Holding hands, smiling figuring everything will be ok we wandered until we hit a roadway. We found what looked like a bus stop that said “Jitney Soon Come!!” We sat and waited. Butler cars went by with their guests and full Jitney’s went by but never returned. Some couples walked past us down the steep road and one said “You will wait there forever”. It was downhill so we walked following the crowd.

Not knowing where we were or how to get anywhere one nice guy picked us up in a golf cart and asked where we were going. We had picked a place called Bayside. This was nice of him but was very unusual to drive us here. He crossed the highway to the beach side because he was headed that way. At the time we thought this was the norm. It was around 7:00 now and there was a huge line. We were told it would be an hour plus. We then figured we would leave and find a buffet somewhere because we needed food. We found there were no buffets ANYWHERE at Sandals except breakfast. You need to be seated and served everywhere you go!! That to me was out of control! Why do they assume everyone wants or needs to be waited on? So we stayed in line.

We then were seated about an hour later and given a menu. If you want the house wine it’s free. If you want any other kind of wine there is a menu dedicated to it for astronomical prices… So much for all inclusive. I ordered the calamari, chicken Caesar salad and the steak with the “Gigantic Onion Rings”. A half hour passed and I was brought two spring rolls about an inch long and no wider than my finger! I took a picture with my hand next to it so you could compare. In one bite they were gone. We then waited 15 more minutes and received my Caesar salad. I did not take a picture because it was annoying a guy alongside my shoulder. I could not tell the difference between the crotons and the chicken. Both were rubbery and cold. I could not eat it. A half hour later the steak arrived. The two gigantic onion rings would both fit under my fork and were cold. I took a picture with a normal fork next to it so you could see how tiny everything was.

The steak I could not cut and I became so enraged and hungry after sawing at it with a knife without putting a dent in it. I took it into my hands and tore it with my teeth like a caveman. I was tired, angry and did not care! My fiancée was humiliated by my behavior, upset that everything she wanted to be so special was going so wrong. She began to cry; we argued and left the table. From sit down to us leaving was two hours. Now we are lost, don’t know how to get back across the highway, not talking to one another, still hungry and ended up at some Riviera House. People were standing around and I asked how to get back across the highway and we were told to get in line for the bus.

Still not talking to each other the bus came and dropped up off at one of those dirt parking lots we saw when we first drove in. We wandered up and down the mountainside in the dark looking for our room and everything looked the same. There were no signs, we were not listed on any maps and I figured we would be spending the night on a bench. In a while a guy in a golf cart asked if we were ok and I said we were lost. He asked our room number and laughed and said “Ya mon you is lost”. He gave us another winding ride up and down hills back to our room. We entered the dark hallway and I used the light from my cell phone to get the key into the door. The air conditioning was no longer working and I could not get it to turn on. The bar bottles were never replaced and I grabbed a beer from the fridge and drank the rest of them on the balcony as my fiancée showered and went to bed alone. Sandals should change their motto to “All you need is love to get through one of our vacations”.

After the beer I went into the bedroom and it was very humid and now it was pouring rain outside like a monsoon. I turned on the bedroom air conditioner and went to sleep exhausted. Around 3:00am I woke to what sounded like someone breaking sticks in our living room. I got up, saw nothing and returned to bed. Soon after I hear a loud crashing sound like someone is breaking through the slats of our bathroom window. This one woke my fiancée also and I went into the bathroom. Nothing there then as I walked back into the bedroom I heard it was coming from the air conditioner. I shut it off and went back to sleep with no air anywhere. At 7:30am I was awake again. This time it was because some idiot was outside my window, with a gas powered weed trimmer with no muffler cutting the grass. I figured nobody would believe this so I took video of it and have it available to post online.

It was very cloudy and humid but the rain had stopped. We decide to go to breakfast because we are still starved from not eating anything the other night. We walked down the mountainside to the Manor House to find breakfast. There was a line out the door and we eventually were seated. The host told us to help ourselves to the breakfast buffet items. We stood in line for everything. There is a line for each item. You want greasy bacon? Get in the bacon line. You want link sausage? Get in the sausage line. You want an omelet? Then plan on waiting in line for 35 minutes while the one cook uses three small pans on a hot plate to prepare them to order for hundreds of people. This place was so bizarre and so unorganized it amazed me. People were arguing with each other about who was in line first and the food would often run out after ten people visited the little catering pan. When they eventually brought out more it was like someone kicked a bag of rice off a truck into a crowd of starving people. It was very sad to watch. People were so desperate to be fed they would walk around to the outdoor dining area, climb over the poolside railing, walk to a clean table, plunk their things down and help themselves.

It was interesting because the way Sandals designed breakfast was for guests to stand in line inside. When you reach the podium they would ask how many and would walk you to your table and say “This is yours…help yourself”. The people go inside to get their plates and food at the buffet and return to their table only to find that some people had bypassed the line, hopped the railing and have stolen their table. This happened all the time, at least one couple every ten minutes would come over the railing. Each time I gnawed on my bacon waiting with growing anticipation wondering if anyone would have the guts to fight for what they had waited in line for, or search for somewhere else to sit. Like everything at Sandals so far it was eat or be eaten.

We slowly found our way around the place and I had pre purchased a couples “scents of love massage” for $250.00. Yes, we will start off the first full day of our vacation with breakfast followed by a massage. I pictured it like on the brochures and the internet. Massage on the beach, the warm ocean breeze blowing, my love and I lying side by side getting massaged. I remember the quotes “Renew your body, mind & spirit” “a sanctuary for mind, body and soul that reinterprets classic European spa rituals with a distinctive Caribbean flair. Utilizing renowned Pevonia® botanical products and custom formulations, we promise you'll discover a sense of ease and calm found only in paradise”. Ahhhh we headed to the Red Lane Spa.

We walked in and the lobby looked like a YMCA waiting room. We had to fill out medical forms like we were going in for surgery and then they walked each of us into a changing room. I had to step over two plastic bags filled with towels and entered into a rundown bathroom that smelled like a sweaty locker room. Some employees were eating sandwiches on the other side of the half wall which allowed little privacy. I opened the locker they assigned me and found the robe to be damp with little human hairs on it. The rubber sandals were damp with oil and smelled like feet. I figure they guy that just left turned in his locker key and they handed it to me. I changed quickly wondering how they were going to get us down to the beach.

I walked back into the waiting room with my robe and my fiancée was there waiting for me. Someone eventually came and walked us to a closet size room crammed with two tables. This is our beach, the ocean breeze replaced with stale air in a dimly lit room with a not so pleasant odor. We got on the tables and my face was resting in a worn padded doughnut with a piece of wood poking my cheekbone. They put a towel over it to make it bearable. No way was I complaining anymore and getting my fiancée upset or feeling bad. No matter what everything in my eyes was going to be fantastic! Scratch me with your nails, kick me in the face…it all feels soooo good!

The massage ended and they put our hands together which was a nice touch. Then they said they would be back. We waited, relaxing. Then they came in and put themselves between us and the door and were trying to sell us spa products! Nope just want to leave but it was like I was cornered by two Avon ladies!!! We listened to the sales pitch, again said no and finally left. What a bad ending to a special moment.

We showered and headed to the pool. The oil was still on us and we nearly killed ourselves walking to the pool. It was like they buttered the tiles. Anyway in the main pool there were hardly any people to be found but all of the chairs were reserved with towels and books or whatever. I went to get towels from one of the three closets around the pool and none were to be found. I asked a life guard walking around and he said that they were all gone. For the remainder of our stay there were never ever any towels. I burn easily and only saw three umbrellas for hundreds of reserved chairs. But of course if you had umbrellas available, then nobody wound rent the luxury included cabanas for $75.00 an afternoon. Not one person rented these except one couple the entire time I was there.

Well we waded to the pool bar and tried to order a drink. Service was really slow and people said “Hey you are on Jamaica time!” Jamaica time means, I’m not getting a tip, I have to stay here bartending for eight hours and will get the same pay if I serve 8 drinks an hour or a hundred. The pool was refreshing and cool and we checked out the hot tub. We went in there and there was a drunken female employee called a playmaker. I told my fiancée that I was going to get another drink and asked her is she wanted a refill. My girl said she wanted a Jamaican Smile and as I started towards the bar, the playmaker said “Hey get me the same with extra Baileys”. I thought she was kidding and came back with only my fiancées drink.

The playmaker got upset and said “Where’s my drink, what I don’t rate?” She was obnoxious and got up in my face. I asked if she really wanted me to get her one and she said yes. I went back got her the drink she wanted and she yelled at me saying I got it wrong that she wanted more Baileys!” I was about to tell her where she could put her drink and report her but remember what I said “All is good, kick me in the groin and I’ll smile!” I just told her if she did not like it to get her own. Eventually another female employee came and grabbed her out of the hot tub.

We left the pool area because I was burning from the sun and drip dried towards our Villa. A Jitney picked us up and I climbed in and my fiancée was about to behind me. She dropped a sandal and stopped to get it and the Jitney took off while she was half in and knocked her down. I screamed stop and he did. She got on saying she was ok and he took off so quickly that my fiancée went sideways in her seat and smashed her head on a steel post holding up the tarp covering. These guys drive like animals.
Got back to the room around 3:00pm and still no new bottles of liquor, no room service and the air conditioner was still not working. Now I had no beer because I drank it the night before so I called the Concierge area. I was smoking angry but hid it and they blew me off. I told my fiancée I was going for a walk while she tried to nap and would be back. I went to the Concierge area trying to contain myself!

I was told that the housekeeping and the person that refills the in room bars don’t arrive until late in the day and they would be to our room soon. They also told me a maintenance person would be over to check out the lighting and find out why I had no air conditioning. Nobody apologized for the problems and I found this must be a Sandals company policy. The entire time I stayed there not one person said they were sorry for any of the inconvenience.

I returned to my room and found that my fiancée was not napping because housekeeping had arrived and at around 5:00pm the person came with a few more beers and some unopened liquor bottles. Maintenance never arrived until the day before we left. That evening we had the same problems at dinner and while waiting in line people with Butler service were walked right past us and immediately seated at premium tables. With no entertainment anywhere we went to the “trip the light fantastic at our hopping nightclub” and the disco closed. It was only open the night before we arrived and remained closed through our vacation. A bartender said they had water problems. We returned to our room to sleep.

At 3:00am, my fiancée and I were awakened by that same crackling sound we had heard the night before. I could not take it anymore so I went to the air conditioner and dismantled it to find that it was frozen solid. I took a picture then pulled the hair dryer from the bathroom and melted the ice which flooded the floor causing me to heap our bath towels against the wall to catch it. So much for a restful nights sleep! I could go on and on but this letter would turn into a book. Instead I’ll hit a few more highlights.

Sandals brochure boasts “Laze beside umpteen pools”! Yes you can laze beside them but can’t go into the water because most were closed for repair or treatment! We tried to use the pool at our villa and instead of having a concrete patio surrounding the pool we had worn wooden planks filled with jagged broken pieces and nails sticking up through the boards which hurt when you found them with your bare feet.

The beach was eroded so badly that plastic pipes, sandbags and concrete chunks had taken the place of the “Pristine stretch of untouched sand on a strip of prime real estate dubbed the Caribbean Riviera”! You can see pictures of it on Trip Advisor taken by other tourists.

They never replaced our urine / blood stained Sandals robes and claimed they were out of them. We tried to purchase new ones and were told they had none, but we could purchase Red Lane Spa robes. We declined. The grounds were dirty and many areas smelled as if the kitchen staff were dumping grease behind the bushes. The odor of wild cat spray is everywhere.

Not that I’m better than anyone else, but because Sandals is offering 50 to 60% off, people that normally could not afford this place are there in droves. I saw camouflage swim suits with confederate flag tattoos on people. Cannonball jumps by 400lb people that would scream “Yaaaaahhhhoooo fetch me another one of those beers while I climb this tree with lindy lou!! Go git cousins Ernie and Jeb and some bacon fat! We’ll slicken up the slide so we can go faster than aunt Martha after she had Taco Bell!! Then we will put on our fancy eatin clothes and get some grub!! It was far from quiet. No wonder Sandals gets rave reviews about the food. It’s better than Cream of Possum or Catfish Stew!

I have to admit that I’m very angry that my fiancée wasted over $2,500.00 on a disaster. I also understand that Sandals is going through problems like employee layoffs and such. I like to be fair and wrote to Sandals explaining what happened. I wanted to give them a chance to make it right and I held off on posting my photos, videos and experience on Trip Advisor and other popular sites to warn people of what they are getting into and suggesting alternative vacation resorts until I heard back from them.

I sent the letter to the CEO of Sandals (the founders son). I got a reply back from customer relations. They said housekeeping has set schedules and they can’t change that. Sorry about no air conditioning, they have strict rules about the speed of the Jitney’s (although nobody adheres to them), they get nothing but rave reviews about the food (hard to believe when all I heard was people telling us to avoid certain restaurants or were complaining that they were hungry), that they were sorry about the dirty dishes on the floor and other things but they don’t offer refunds. They said I should have spent my vacation complaining until it was right. They never addressed the robes, the filthy room, the open bottles of booze and lack of replacements, the spa experience or anything else. Next time I will stick to Iberostar.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
32 Thank Smithbrother
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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