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“Great time at Sandals Ocho Rios”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 36 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Great time at Sandals Ocho Rios”
Reviewed October 30, 2005

My husband and I just returned from our trip, which was Oct. 17th-22nd. We had a wonderful time at the Sandals Ocho Rios Resort and it was our first time out of the U.S. Much like other reviewers, I would agree that the airport is a bit hectic and the bus ride to the the resort is not much fun. The ride is very long, and after a long day of travelling, you just want to get to your destination. One suggestion is to keep a close eye on your luggage from the time you claim it at the airport, until it is in your room at the resort. We talked with a surprising number of couples, who had not arrived with their luggage. It was misplaced and they had to take taxis into town to try and buy some clothing! It took about 15 minutes after our arrival at the resort and we were in our villa, drinking red stripe beer and enjoying a cheese and cracker plate that was in our fridge. We had the plantation villa suite w/ private pool & butler service on the manor side. Our accomodations were wonderful, beautiful and peaceful. It took us a full day to adjust to the slow, relaxed pace of Jamaica and find our way around the resort. It is a large resort, but we never had any trouble getting around, shuttles were plentiful and easy to access. We enjoyed a couples massage, which was a first for us and I would strongly suggest that everyone try something at the spa as it is very nice! We did the Dunns River Falls tour one day and the Canopy Tour the next. The Falls Tour was neat, but we think we took the tour with someone who did not work as an official tour guide. A woman met us on the trail down to the falls and asked if we had a guide. We said "No" so she said she would be our guide. She took pictures of us and led us right past other large guided groups. At the top, we thanked her, tipped her and as we walked away we noticed that all of the other guides were in uniform with name badges. Ooops!! Oh well, we had a nice tour and didn't have to wait in any lines. Ha! Ha! I loved the canopy tour, it was very exciting and we paid $30 for the pictures afterwards and they were great. The ride up the mountains for the canopy tour gave a great view of the rural Jamaican lifestyle. The beach at Sandals Ocho Rios is small and divided into three areas, so beach lovers might miss out some. We attended a talent show one evening which was fun and their were events planned daily for anyone to attend. The pools were wonderful and seemed to be located everywhere. Of course the Manor side pool was incredible! Great hot tubs too! There were even hot tubs located among our villa's up on the hillside. The food was not so great. Our favorite meal was at the Reef Terrace. The service was good, our waiter was very friendly and entertaining. We had a beautiful view of the ocean and there was even a cruise ship way out at sea. San Gennaro's was bad enough, that we got up and walked out. Bad food and service. We had dinner at Orchid's twice, mostly because the food was o.k. and it was close to our villa. Almost every night we ordered room service around 11pm. Several times we had breakfast at our villa poolside. The room service was very good and efficient. I would comment that the dress code was not as elegant as I had believed it would be. Daytime dress was very casual, people walked around in towels and swimsuits. Evenings my husband wore black suit pants and nice shirt and I wore a nice dress and we were dressed up compared to other guests!
The Butler Service was well worth the extra money. Our butlers, Marvin & Denton made our stay much more relaxed and more special. Our fridge was always stocked (we drank them out of Red Stripe one night!), they made our dinner reservations and either walked us to dinner or came and found us at dinner to see that evrything was o.k. One night the wait at Orchid's was one hour, but our reservations by our butler let us walk right in an be seated. Very nice bonus! They also booked all of our tours, all we had to do was call Marvin or Denton, tell them what we wanted to do the next day and it was taken care of for us.
Overall I would say that most of the reviews discussing the airport, travel to and from the resort , etc. was right on. The resort itself was very nice and we would definitely go back!

P.S. We spent around $350 tipping. Tipping definitely occurs and in some places it is expected.

Helpful?
30 Thank fergy310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed October 24, 2005

My husband and I were married at Sandals Grande in May. We had a wonderful stay. The staff was great! Our wedding was perfect as was the photographer. We loved San Gennaro, the service at Valentinos was great but we liked the food at San Gennaro best.

The grounds are large and well kept, if you want to party and meet people head to the manor side, when you feel like quiet time the riviera side is great!

We stayed on the riviera side but we preferred the manor side. The staff are wonderful, we fell in love with Patsy our housekeeper. The spa was great too!

The riviera side could use a few upgrades however if you adopt the laid back Jamaican attitude when you have no problem mon!

We can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed May 2005
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Helpful?
11 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
68 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2005

We were returning Signature guests and felt like Royaly.

This was our second visit to this property the last was in 2002. The expansion is SUPER, the property well maintained and recently painted and refurbished.

It was well worth the 2.5 hour bus ride over (and yes,it's at least 2.5 hours as I timed it each way, road construction is horrible only because you end up stuck behind a cement truck going 25 mph).

Forget about it, the resort makes you feel like home, staff is very warm and accomodating.

Okay, snorkeling is better than SCUBA diving although you can do as much as you like, the tropical fish are just more abundant than those at the 60' level.

Food: in 2002 I thought food was fair and actually poor in one instance, this time food was good and actually great in one instance (Reef Terrace). I met the Executive Chef who advised he liked the Reef Terrace Chef (who also doubles as the San Gerramo Chef the best) and I would agree. The Exec Chef is recently hired (2 mos ago) and was trained at the Amer Culinary Inst. I thought the food was also great at the breakfast and lunch buffets.

Mountain bike tour was a blast and you get to see the country the way it really is (very poor), but felt safe and the view SUPER.

We will plan on visiting another Sandals resort, this time in St Lucia as we've been to Jamaica twice, but would not hesitate to recommend this property to our family.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
30 Thank Jeff E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Wayne, IN
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2005

Knowing what to expect up front really helped us to enjoy our trip more throughly.
When you arrive at the airport, you are immediately checked in at the Sandals Resort Airport Lounge( FYI, Don't leave the lounge to smoke, you can't come back in) where they have draft beer and soft drinks while you wait for the shuttle, which came very quickly. The air conditoined shuttle ride is about 1 and 1/2 hours with one pit stop on the way--take cash for snacks and beverages. Yes the ride is bumpy, winding, and bit scary, but also very informative and really didn't seem that long. Take dramamine if you get car sick normally!!

When you arrive at the hotel, they sweep the ladies off very quickly and give you champagne and a wet towel. I'm really not sure what happened to the men. They then give you your assigned rooms and you are escorted to the rooms. The Public spaces of the hotel are gorgeous, however the rooms are not up to par for the "luxrious" status. Maybe Holiday Inn status. They just need to be updated a little more and need jet tubs.

Take note of which restaurants are open. Certain times and days several of the restaurants and events/tours were closed, which did cause some confusion at first. Suggestion: plan ahead if there is something you have you heart set on doing. And iof you plan on spending your last night at Montego Bay Sandals Resort, make sure you tell them the first day, so you can reserve a room. (makes the last day of travel less tiresome and you get to see another hotel with a better beach).

The Activities: We were able to go on the bottomless glass boat, go snorkeling, kyacking, and agua cycling. My favorite was the snorkeling. They did not charge us for snorkeling gear. If want to see fish but not get in the water go on the glass boat. The aqua bikes look easier than they are. All of them were fun. And the staff was very helpful and courteous. We also got to be aprt of a "Couples Game Show" at the ampitheater. Which was a lot of fun. The piano bar by the Reef terrace is very cool inside and comforatable. One night they had a sing along. Which is way better than Kareoke if you ask me! If you want to have fun join in the activties. They are all included.

The Facility:
Rivieria side has a "lagoon" not a beach really. But I really enjoyed it because there was sand, but there was a deck and barrier to allow water in, but not big fish (Sharks). And you can see the surface 20 ft or more below very clearly. Great for people who are normally scared to get into the ocean. My Favorite Restaurant was Valentinos--Guys must wear closed toe shoes. And Bayside restaurant--Rack of lamb out of this world!!!!! Meals for large groups expect to take 3 or more hours.

Manor side has the very large pool (with swim up bar) which is beautiful and has a lot of cabanas around the perimeter for relaxing. The marketplace restaurant has a great lunch lots of wonderful things--buffet.

Drinks and food: If you are beer drinker, be prepared to drink Red stripe or red stripe light--only choices!!! If you like rum you will be in heaven. my favorite drink was miami vice--half straw daq/pina colada. Food good not great. Appetizers are small. Order multiples. You are not going to find Lobster or a great beef filet. But the food was tasty. **No room service**

Concierge Service: If you are expecting this service to be "serving your every whim" think again or try the next step up Butler service. Concierge just meant daily stocked bar in your room and finger foods by your door. The rooms weren't much nicer than the other, and they really didn't help you out to much and scheduling events/ activties. However I did like having really cold Beer in a bottle. The rest of the resort was draft beer only.

You will hear "no problem" a lot. And do realize they are on a different time as us--Jamaican time. Which means they will take their time! The people were probably the friendliest people I have ever met. Everyone went out of their way to please us and make sure we were accomodated, except our conceirge. I would go back again in a heart beat-- the whole adventure was wonderful!

knowing what to expect is half the battle

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
32 Thank Happyredhead1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2005

I would like to start off by downgrading all of the bad reviews of this resort. I firmly believe that people who gave rated this resort as bad were expecting too much or had high class expectations.

The resort is good for honeymooners. More than I had expected. We just got married but have been together for over 9 years, so the lip-locked honeymooning wasn't our style, but we made the best of it because we enjoyed it as a honeymoon/vacation with 2 of our great friends. If you want a honeymoon with your significant other, this place is it for the price.

The workers treat you absolutely like a king and queen. (Personally I think that the women get better treatment. :-)

They have activities every day to keep you occupied if that is what you want. The playmakers make it happen. Watch out for Gary, he'll convince you to have a blast! There are contests for coffee and rum. Plus you meet many great people. The bartenders at the Manor house are wild. Fritzroy to name one. If you go say hello to him from the Wolanins, if you mention Ohio Champagne he may know who you are talking about.

Prepare to eat and drink as much as you want; and just as a tip, when ordering appetizers order a couple because they are a single serving.

We loved the resort, you get your exercise too because there are a lot of stairs to walk up and down. But it is worth it.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me, I would be happy to give more details.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
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Helpful?
25 Thank gwolanin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2005

After reading some of the reviews posted on this site I was somewhat apprehensive about staying at SGOR, I had NOTHING to worry about! I don't know where the people that have written bad reviews stayed but I think they went to the wrong hotel! SGOR was FABULOUS! Why do people write complaining about flights, immigration at the airport etc? that has NOTHING to do with Sandals!!!
We stayed from 7/9-21/9 & every day was an absolute pleasure. We had a Riviera garden view room which was great because we're beach people as opposed to pool people. There is a huge beautiful pool on the Manor side with swim up bar etc. The Riviera side obviously has the beach, watersports & the majority of the restaurants, we NEVER had a problem getting a table & we were always seated immediately upon arrival with the exception of Valentino's, on one occasion we had to make a reservation but that was cool. A word of advice, if you treat people graciously & with respect it will be reciprocated & people will be willing to do anything for you. I noticed a lot of rudeness & stuck-up attitudes & i'm not talking about the staff. The food was great we tried every restaurant & found the Reef Terrace (caribbean) & Orchids (asian) to be our favourites, the Manor(caribbean) was good too. Breakfast is a buffet which has everything you could possibly want including made to order omelettes, or you can go to Valentino's or Orchids for a la carte. We did that one morning & had the place to ourselves, lovely! All drinks are premium brands & there are a variety of cocktails available, there are menus at the bar but they are willing to mix up anything you can think of, try the lover's leap & sunset serenade yummy! Monday is beach party night & it is wonderful. They set up a huge buffet on the beach with jerk stations & loads of cakes & desserts - hooray! There is also a stage with entertainment such a fire eating man, limbo & a reggae band, don't miss it! There are loads of days out available from the tour desk: river rafting, Dunn's River, Blue Mountain bike ride, horseback riding to name a few, prices were pretty reasonable. Once you leave the property tipping is at your discretion for drivers & tour guides. Have a look at the taxi stand as well there are other tours available from them, Kingston & Green Grotto Caves for example. On Monday night you get a free transfer to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. I must warn you that this is offered to most of the local hotels & we found ourselves surrounded by other tourists hence the drinks were quite expensive.
If you have booked this hotel you have nothing to worry about & I envy you. I cried when we were leaving & we are already booking again for next year!

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
32 Thank LondonPerez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
near Cincinnati
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2005

The resort was terrific. Only complaint was the slow orientation. We arrived on Friday evening and were not given vital information about restaurants/dress codes until Saturday morning at 10 a.m. After we attended the session, things went great. I would definitely return.
We did 3 tours: Blue Mountain Bike Tour (fantastic!), climbed Dunn's River Falls and Rafting on the Martha Brae. Only complaint was so much time on the bus/van. Activities were fun!
If anyone is going in the near future, I am interested in something from the craft market in Ochos Rios. They make such beautiful things and it's alot of fun to discuss price with the local crafters. I have an item I wish I would have purchased. Please respond to this posting or e-mail.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank countrytime
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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