My husband and I (both in our early 30's) spent March 9th - March 16 at Sandals Ocho Rios. We were celebrating our aniversary.
I would first like to say that if you are expecting American standards, stay in America. Jamaica is a poor country and you will not be dining at the Ritz but I am sure the 5 pounds I gained while I was there will tell you that I was not malnourished.
I would like to respectively disagree with some of the opinions of the previous post.
The bus ride to Ocho Rios from the Airport was long but doing any research prior to leaving home should prepare you for that. A quick look at a map of Jamaica should give you a pretty quick clue. We did admit that this was not one of the best features of the resort but hey, we did choose to go there. We certainly could have chosen Sandals Montego Bay if we wanted to avoid this part.
When we did arrive, we were greeted warmly and handed a glass of champagne, a cool towel, and a bag filled with lotion, shampoo, conditioner and the ever important aloe. I thought it was a nice touch...especially the aloe which we did need. We were escorted to our room promptly and our room (on the manor side) was more than adequate. (cool, clean and comfortable)
On our anniversary, two Sandals T-shirts were delivered to our room with a note wishing us a Happy Anniversary. They do pay attention to details.
My husband SCUBA dived and said he saw really interesting marine life. The diving instructors seemed very capable.
We ate at the Manor restaurant, Orchids, the various Grilles, and the Italian restaurant at the beach club twice. We ate at the bufet for breakfast and once for lunch. All the food was good, some better than others but I think that a lot of that had to do with our tastes. Staff at the restaurants were friendly and helpful and since we were on vacation, we were not in a hurry. I did, however, witness many people being rude to the staff. It made me ashamed. Our waitress told us that they make approximately 5200.00 per year. It seems like too little money to be putting up nasty guests.
The beach was well groomed. It was not huge. I am not a big "beach person" and would rather spend my time near the pool but I did lounge on the peer with the breeze blowing reading my book one day and thought it was fantastic. (This is where the aloe came in handy)
I did feel that since the resort was now very large, there were activities that happened on the "other side" that I might have enjoyed and was a bit too lazy to get on the quick bus ride to attend. That, however was my choice.
In summary, a vacation is what you make of it. I cannot imaging being fortunate enough to get to go for free and then have the gall to complain.
As for our shuttle back to the airport, we did take a bit of the responsibility on ourselves and we asked Michael (really great guy) at the front desk the day before we left to make sure we were all set.
The bus arrived on time and they actually gave us the option to stop and take a break/get a drink and we said no. The airport was not a problem and at least it is enclosed (unlike the Dominican Republic where you wait outside to be checked in).
We had a fantastic time. We would highly recommend it!
- 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 And Villa Golf Resort
- Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
- Sandals Ocho Rios
- Ciboney Ocho Rios
- Sandals Ochi Beach Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios