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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed May 2, 2006

A group of 6 friends originally booked a week in January at the Sandals Dunn's River. We were unfortunately 'bumped' to the Sandals Ochos Rios (only 2 days before we left), but we were told the Resort was similar quality. We were given no choice other than to cancel and by this time we had all firmed up our work and childcare arrangements.

This hotel was not even close to the quality of the Sandals Dunn's River. We stayed on the Manor Side of the hotel so we had to take a bus to get to the beach -- it felt like we were commuting to work everyday!! And the beach was small and crowded -- not even close to the quality that we've experienced at other resorts.

The food was terrible. The rooms were ok but slightly dated. There were bugs in the room and stray cats wandering around all over the place -- including our balcony! The resort was messy and many of the staff were unpleasant.

Follow-up response to our complaints has been less than satisfactory. Based on this experience, we will never return to a Sandal's resort.

10  Thank Whitticks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8,453 - 8,459 of 8,679 reviews

Reviewed April 24, 2006

I can't wait to return. I was a little nervous cause some of the bad reviews here and we were going for our honeymoon. I'm so glad we stuck with this resort, it was so great. First off, at the airport, you go to the Sandal's lounge and get some Red Stripe beer for the road or at least your walk to the shuttle. This is a great time to meet some friends too. The ride took about 2 hours or so, but I loved every second of it. I sat next to the driver, which was a little scary, cause they drive crazy, but he was not at all dangerous. It was an informative drive and lets you see how poor the country is, but how happy they all seem to be. The roads are a little rough in some spots, but not horrible. You are in a 3rd world country, so it's kindof expected. Besides, they are working on it. Check in went smoothly, they serve more drinks and give you a little goodies bag. Then you ride a shuttle to your room. We booked Riveria side, but they put us in a Manor for the 1st night and we switched the next day. The Manor side is gorgeous and quieter than the Riveria, but we wanted to be on the beach and the Riveria wasn't loud, just more stuff happening over there. I don't think you can go wrong in whatever room you choose really. Besides that, you don't spend that much time in the room anyhow. The shuttle runs all the time from the Manor side to the Riveria side as they are across the street from one another. We stayed in a honeymoon penthouse concierge room, which was great, but don't feel like you may need concierge. You won't drink in your room that much anyhow and it is so easy to set up tours yourself. The rooms are just like a normal hotel room, nothing fancy, but not trashy or worn down as some people seem to have felt. The restaurants were nice. I wasn't crazy about the Arizona or The Reef Terrace, but that's just me. I loved Valentinos. Watch out for the birds if you eat outside, or in some cases inside!! The doors are open to the beach and the birds are hungry and brave so if your plate is left alone, they will eat off it, but that is any restaurant outdoors--I see it all the time at home in Texas too. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. All the restaurants seemed clean and the wait staff is so awesome. As for the tours, you have to do the Dunn's Cruise to the waterfalls. You can take a bus too, but the sail is so nice, plus you stop to snorkel and it is a blast. The crew is so fun on board. The falls are not hard, a couple tricky spots, but there is so much help that you never feel unsafe. We took a taxi to town one day and shopped around, you can talk the prices down some. We sat at Bibibips and had a couple drinks and watched the locals. Everyone said they heard it was not safe to go into town, but I never once felt threatened. I'm 5'3 and weigh 110 so i'm not a big person at all either. The Jamaicans are some of the most warm hearted people I've ever met. I was fascinated by the culture and the way the people are. Even just people on the streets were very nice so don't feel like you can't go to town, it's sad that they have a bad rap. I'm sure there are bad areas, but be smart about where you are going, just like you have to be at home too. We went with another couple too. Oh, if you don't want an alcoholic drink, try the Hummingbird. It has a really tiny bit of alcohol in it I think, but it's so yummy. We also did a massage on the pier and it was soooo relaxing. It was $200 for both of us and it was 50 min. We did it our last day and we had rec'd a 10% off hanger on our door a day or two before so we used that too. I wanted so bad to do the canopy tour where you ride the zip line through the jungle, but some friends did it and it took about 6 hours and they said it was cool the first 3 or 4, but after that it was the same thing over and over. I could go on forever about this place. The people were my favorite--I can't wait to go back. It's always "No problem mon" and "Ya mon" email me with any questions and I'll try to help if I can.

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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20  Thank daisy79Texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2006

My husband and I stayed at this resort from March 25-April 1, 2006 and had an absolutely incredible vacation. It’s hard to believe that anyone could be unhappy here. Although the weather wasn’t the best, that wasn’t the fault of the resort and we just made the best of it. I’ll divide this review into sections and touch on what we liked and what we thought could be improved.

Bus ride: Yep, it’s bad. They could improve this by not hustling you out of their lounge to make you sit on the bus while it fills. We were barely allowed time to grab a beer (and the bathroom was broken) before we were hurried out to the bus to sit for half an hour while they waited for more people to come along that were going to either Dunn’s River or the Grande. If they issued “bus tickets” and let you sit in the lounge until your number was called it would be a huge improvement. We had one of the big blue Jamaica Tour buses. The driver drove fast but we didn’t feel unsafe. He didn’t use the microphone so unless you were sitting in the row directly behind him you didn’t learn anything about the country. He didn’t spend much time talking at all. The rest stop half way there is a waste of time. It was very bumpy also, but it was a necessary evil to get us where we were going so we just decided to grin and bear it. Going back we had a white bus. That driver explained to us that he was not allowed to drive more than 50 km an hour or he would be fired. They have a kind of GPS on board that allows their supervisor to see if they go over the speed limit or if they make stops they aren’t supposed to make.

Check-in: Very smooth and quick. As previous posters noted, the women are taken inside to register and the men deal with luggage. The large size bottles of lotion, aloe, conditioner and shampoo are a nice touch. Enough to last 2-3 weeks. Right after you finish the paperwork (and the champagne) you are taken to your room.

Rooms: We had a one bedroom villa almost to the top of the hill. We had the top floor which we liked because of the vaulted ceilings. It was a very quiet area and a very comfortable room. And everyone who has said you need to practically jump to get into bed is right! Only the bedroom was air conditioned but that wasn’t a problem. We had a small view of the ocean. It was furnished with beautiful mahogany furniture. The frig had juice, water and pop which was replenished daily. We left a gift basket for the maid at the beginning of the week with nail polish, lipstick, cologne, etc. She was very appreciative. Just a hint: if you do this, leave a note signed with your name that it’s o.k. for her to take it. Otherwise they are not allowed to take it home. She left us a nice towel sculpture with flower petals on our bed that night as a thank you.

The Grounds: Absolutely incredible. Ponds, flowers, walkways and pools everywhere you looked. It was great to have so much area to walk off all those calories.

The Manor vs. the Riviera: Really, we would have been happy on either side. We went back and forth several times and either walked or took the bus. It was not a hassle and we enjoyed having a larger choice of restaurants and pools. There were advantages to either side but we were very happy with our villa on the hill.

Restaurants: We didn’t eat at Orchids (not my favorite kind of food) or the Manor House (ran out of time) but ate at all the others. We did not wait anywhere. We usually ate early because we liked to have the best table with the view, but even when we ate later we got right in. Our favorite was Valentinos and we ate there twice. Arizonas was fun because of the ambience but the food left a lot to be desired. The Bayside was good. San Gennarro had the worst service as the waitress wasn’t very good and we had to wait between courses. All the other restaurants had wonderful service. We had no complaints about the food or the size of the servings. Dessert wasn’t the best and reminded me of something you’d pick up in the frozen aisle of Sam’s Club.

Drinks: What can I say? If you don’t like what you have, try something else! Ask the bartenders to make you their special. They all have something they make that you’ve never heard of before and they’re very proud of their concoctions. As for the wine, I felt the white and red were barely tolerable but if you ask, they will provide a blush that was actually quite good. No one offered it but were always happy to bring it if asked.

Workers (and tipping): They truly make the place special. They always have a smile on their face and they genuinely want you to have a good time. They could all teach us a lesson on attitude. The friendliest people we’ve ever met. And YES, tip them. Just do so very inconspicuously. The secret handshake works well. We had great service without tipping and didn’t notice any difference afterwards but we just felt that we have so much more than those people who work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for very little money. $5.00 here and there was not going to break us and if you can’t afford the extra, you probably can’t afford a trip like this. We only tipped if we felt we got good service but they really do appreciate it. We were never made to feel like they expected it.

Critters: We saw a few but nothing that bothered us. We had a few little ants in our kitchen a couple of days, but who cares? We weren’t using it. We saw a mongoose, lots of little lizards and a family of cockroaches one night on the dock. None anywhere else. When we were at the market in town a rat ran through and they told us not to worry…it was just the town rat, Chico. We also saw another critter that came out from under the dock but not sure what that was. It just went its merry way and didn’t bother anyone.

Complaints: The only thing we would really have appreciated would have been to have the pool heated. It was cloudy and windy with a few sprinkles half of the week we were there and the water was so chilly hardly anyone went in. The Jacuzzi got a lot of use though. And of course the pools at the villas were chilly but I can see why they wouldn’t want to heat all of those.

Do’s: Take the bus to Dunn’s River Resort. We didn’t like it as well as the Grande but it was fun to spend the day somewhere else. Smile and talk to the workers. They love it. Dress up for dinner. DON’T eat at the buffets at night. The restaurants are too good to eat buffet food. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The wind blew so hard when we were there that most of the watersports were closed. We just found other things to do. Walk everywhere possible. (those pounds will creep up on ya)

Don’ts: Don’t stand in front at the Beach Party and make it impossible to see the entertainment. If you want to be in front then sit down. I couldn’t believe the inconsiderate people that spoiled it for all. Keep your noise confined to public areas. Don’t take it back to your room or villa. Many people are there for a quiet, romantic vacation. Don’t worry about things with scales or legs. They won’t hurt you anyways. Don’t spend all week worrying about the bus trip back. When it’s over with you still have that great vacation to remember and the bus ride is just a small inconvenience in the scheme of things.

Finally, leave “perfect” at home. The best way to ruin your vacation is to expect it to be perfect. Your attitude will determine how wonderful it turns out.

(If you would like a link to our Yahoo photo album with approximately 100 pictures of the resort, e-mail me and I'd be glad to send you the link)

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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30  Thank lkmewm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Bismarck North Dakota
126
Reviewed April 12, 2006

Spent a week at SGOR to attend my sisters wedding. Most of our stay was on the resort with only a few excursions off. We would absolutely go back. I booked "bottom of the barrel on our room, knowing we would not be spending much time in it, and we didn't. We were never offered an upgrade on our room so if we received one, we were unaware of it. We were in a Garden Villa (4plex) on the Riviera side. Very pleased with our room. It was Clean, Private, quiet, centrally located in the gardens. Had a sunny balcony with a view of the gardens, and was within walking distance to everything. And what a beautiful walk! Even walked over to the manor side one day, just for the exercise. Very quick walk, but uphill. The buses are always available, and we used them a couple of times as well to go back and forth between the two sides of the resort. Never waited more then a couple of minutes for them. Food and drink was fantastic, Service was always friendly. I enjoyed hearing many of the staff hum or sing to themselves quietly as they went about their tasks.

We really enjoyed the Catamaran ride to the falls. You Snorkel, then climb the falls, then drink on the way back. We rode in the front on the way back WHAT A RIDE! We had the pleasure of meeting one of the Sandals Photographers on this ride, kirundie G. Heck of a nice guy, heck of a good photographer! He took various pictures of us and others in our group, throughout the rest of our stay...From serious to comical, just couples and the group, He just has a way with people and knows his way around a camera.
Beautiful shots, Thanks Kirundi!!

I didn't enjoy deep sea fishing as much as I had hoped too. My own fault really. I have never had a problem with motion sickness, so silly me never thought about taking anything. Well I am embarrassed to admit that I limited out on "Yellow Bucket fish". I was sick the entire time. Couldn't even enjoy my ride on the "high seas" or the beautiful day. My husband took his dram at breakfast and was fine, he even enjoyed a couple of red stripes. But not me, and to add insult to injury, not one nibble on any of the lines during our 3-3.5 hr jaunt. I realize that this is not anything the fishing guides can control. So just a tip to you all thinking about this tour. Take Your Dram! If you can't catch any fish at least you can catch a red stripe or two in the sun and enjoy the ride!

The ocean was nice, more like an ocean bay. You have the reef right there and you need water shoes, there is a line of rocks a few feet out, other then for water sports we didn't dip in to the ocean much. We really enjoyed the pools. Loved the Manor Pool, spent 2 days there, met my husbands twin (Hi Steve!). Wish we could have spent more time at this pool. We tried to spend time at a couple of different pools, enjoyed the one behind the amphitheater. Our group also enjoyed evening dips in one of the many hot tubs. So many pools, so little time!

Food was wonderful. The Arizona, the barefoot bistro, the beachside grill, San G's, Valentinos, Orchids, the breakfast buffet that overlooks the ocean, Bay side I think, and the Manor lunch buffet are the ones we were able to get too. We did learn the first night out that the food is served in smaller portions that what most of us "super sized" American's are accustom to. For myself they were perfect portions, as for my husband, he would simply order an extra appetizer, or combine two entrees. Our servers were always happy to accommodate him. And my husband gained 10+lbs if that tells you anything! (smile) Always had great food and great service. We had to wait to be seated our first night only. However, we didn't get down to the restaurant until about 7pm. Every other night we were seated immediately. And depending on the night we had a group of 6-12 to be seated. Our favorite server was Ramona at Orchids on the Manor side. What a beautiful soul. Another employee who enjoys singing and humming to herself! Loved it! Hugged her twice on the way out. and bonus, Kirundie G and his trusty camera were wandering around Orchids that evening taking pictures for folks dining there. He took a picture of our group WITH Ramona, so Thanks to Kirundi, I have a shot of our group with Ramona to remember her by! (Smile)

Our bus trip TO the resort was about 2hrs with a stop in between and a stop to drop off Sandal's golf resort folks. Quiet ride. No Problem Mon. Our bus trip BACK to the airport was 3.5 due to road construction. Also, with a very quick stop in between. Not a problem for us, as where we live we have two seasons, winter and road construction. We made our flight with time to spare. I was only annoyed once during our stay at SGOR, and that was at a guest who was just obnoxious about having to wait 2 whole seconds at the bar for a drink...."hello! helloo!" is what she was bellering, I kid you not, nose up in the air and bellering, and the rudest part is that the bartender was waiting on someone......ME. Hello, Hello do you not see him Handing me drinks! Other then that, and fishing, it was a beautiful and relaxing vacation. One I will cherish in my memories for years to come. Just relax and enjoy. Irie!

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2006

I guess it all depends on what you're looking for in an all-inclusive vacation package, but we have been to several and I expected a lot more from this Sandals property. We spent one week at Ocho Rios for our wedding, and a second week at Sandals Whitehouse (look for that review too!)

First the good...
The main pool (Manor side) is beautiful, and we really enjoyed the personal Cabanas to get some occasional shelter from the sun. The swim up bar is a hoot, and the bartenders were always a lot of fun.

The smaller pool on the Manor side with the BBW grill was also nice and the Jerk Chicken is amazing.

"Daveon", the fitness pro will make you work! But he's a great guy and a lot of fun.

The wedding staff were great, especially Annette. I wasn't expecting much since the wedding itself is free, and even the upgrades are priced reasonably when compared to the wedding industry at home. We received pretty much what we had hoped for.

The not so good...
The resort is split into 3 areas which you have full access to, although there is a inconvenient bus that takes you from the Manor to the Riviera & Beach resort. If your room is on the Manor side, getting to the beach is a bit of a pain.

About the beach... heh. If you're really impressed by the white sand photos in the brochures and website, you're going to be very disappointed. This is the single worst beach I have seen in any of the island resorts. Just my two cents.

The room we initially had on the Riviera side was simple and plain... nothing special. On our first night I was dying of thirst, and since there is no fridge/drinks in the room, I went hunting for a few bottles of water. Nothing. I was told I was out of luck. I didn't think I was making an unreasonable request, but we settled with tap water... breaking the travellers rule to never drink the water. (I'm sure it's fine)

Our new room on the Manor side had a bedroom, living room, kitchenette, large patio and a pool shared with 3 other units. MUCH nicer.

Someone else mentioned the food... We attempted twice to get into Valentino's (Italian) and couldn't get in. Tried once with Arizona's... couldn't get in. We managed to get into Orchid's for our WEDDING DINNER... and it was bland, cold and generally 3-star material. The breakfast buffet was average, with hot food being rare. Hot coffee even more rare.

Before we left for Sandals Whitehouse, we met with the Hotel Manager to express our comments and disappointments. We didn't expect him to do anything about it... but he should know about our experiences. To his credit he listened intently, didn't offer excuses and appologized. He advised us that he would contact his counterpart at Whitehouse to "arrange something special" for us. ** He never did. **

Summary...
If you want a great pool, unlimited flowing booze, and a simple week in the sun... you'll probably enjoy this place. You can get that for a lot less money elsewhere though.
If you want a beautiful island experience, beaches, fine dining, 5-star service... avoid this place at all costs. It's 4 star at best.

We'll never go back, and will discourage anyone we talk to from going to Grande Ocho Rios.

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank jheuer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2006

We went to Ocho Rios to get married & to have a honeymoon in December overall we had the time of our lives but we could have been anywhere together & enjoyed ourselves....Sandals had very little to do with this!!

Our room was a Plantation Villa, we were upgraded apparently!! The bedroom was nice enough, comfortable large bed. The living area was dated & hardly had any furniture in it, the kitchen was horrid and old but we never had to use it so this was not a problem!! The bathroom was small & old (the bottom of the bath was yellow & there was holes on the wall where towel rails must have been!! Not exactly luxury!!)But we didn't have any intention of staying in so we tried to let it not bother us!!

The grounds are very well maintained & very nice to walk around, we stayed on the Manor side with the huge pool....we liked it this side better than the Riviera side...as the beach was very small!! The cocktails were lovely & we enjoyed doing the aqua aerobics in the pool!!! We met so many nice people around the pool from all around the world.....

The days leading up to the wedding the weather turned really bad (torrential rain) which was a bit of a nightmare.....Sandals didn't cope that well with this!! They still tried to do outside buffets.....and shut many of restaurants which angered residents!! Also with us staying out in the villa we had to rely on lift from the jity to get to and from the main building.....at times in this weather we felt a bit stranded waiting 45 mins to be collected.....

Our wedding coordinator Arlene was lovely she set our minds at ease she was very efficient at all time....I booked to have my hair done on the day (which was a bit scary as I had no trial with the hair dressers) but I shouldn't have worried they do wedding hair day in day out...you just look through the books & choose something you like...you just have to go with the flow.......your on Jamaica time!! The service was lovely totally stress free like we wanted!! Arlene really looked after us.....it rained so much on our wedding day....that she booked us in again a few days later when the sun was out to have a photo shoot (which was great we got to dress up twice!!) So all in all we enjoyed the day....it was very romantic!!

The food overall was fine.....plenty of it whenever you want it!! We always had breakfast & lunch in the buffet but eat at all the different restaurants at night....I have no complaints it was very romantic eating your dinner outside looking over at the beach what can I say!!

We did a couple of extra things at the resort we had the couple massage which we loved & and was well worth the extra money. We also had the candle lit dinner for 2 out on the pier.....this was lovely and very special. We booked to swim with the dolphins we had always wanted to do this & we loved every minute it is expensive but well worth it. We also did the cruise to Dunns River & climbed Dunns River Fall....this was a great day out & very cheap!!!

All in all we had a brilliant time....maybe our expectations were very high I think the only disappointment was the accommodation I expected a little more luxury for the money.....go with an open mind & you will have the best time ever!!!!!!

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
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15  Thank Jayne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Markham, Ontario Canada
116
Reviewed April 3, 2006

I had read numerous disappointed reviews of this resort and because my husband and I are generally easy going folks, we tried to keep an open mind and go with the flow.
We arrived in Montego Bay and were pleased at the organization and efficiency in showing us to the lounge for refreshments and toilets, our luggage all tagged,and then on to the large air-conditioned coach. Though the ride was long, we had a lovely driver who gave us all sorts of interesting tidbits about Jamaica and pointed out places of interest along the way. We stopped halfway for a drink and bathroom stop and had another hour until the resort. Our luggage was all unloaded quickly and organized. The men dealt with that, while the women went to a lounge for a briefing, received a nice goody bag of toiletries (don't bring shampoo,conditioner, aloe gel,or body lotion - there is enough for the whole week) We were shown to our cottage but the key didn't fit and so we had to go back and forth three times until we could get in the room. The room was clean, but shabby, musty smelling, not fancy, but adequate. After a full day's travel (it was 10 o'clock by now) we were tired and hungry. We went down to the Bayside terrace and had a great fish dinner. Went back to the room and it was so noisy that I had to put in earplugs. We were right beside the amphitheater and it was like there was steel drums right in the room. However, this and the last night were the only nights it was that loud, so we were fine the rest of the time. Our room was always kept spotless, and there were fresh towels daily. We did not, however, have any hot water during the entire week. So you kind of had to take a deep breath before you went in - because it was cold and went to lukewarm at the most. (is this 5 star?)
We found that for an all-inclusive resort, you had to pay out for a lot of extras. There was a briefing the first day and it was totally about all the extra 'tours' and activities that were available- which was a great selection - but were all expensive. For example, a bike ride from the top of the mountain down to the bottom and to a waterfall, was $200 U.S. per couple. We didn't partake of any of them. We did do the snorkelling on the reef, which was good. Not a great deal of varieties of fish but still fun. We took our own snorkel gear, but they had lots for everyone for free. You just had to sign up for a time and go out on the boat. There was really no beach to speak of. You could be in the middle of the docks - but not many people were in that, or there was a little square area of beach to the left of that. No walking along a beach for miles, that's for sure. There were loads of lounge chairs for everyone, you never had to 'save' a chair. We spent a lot of our time at the pool by the terrace and amphitheater. We found it wasn't crowded, had a swim up bar, aqua fit in the mornings, and a hot tub.We went to the gym everyday, and it was large, clean and the attendant was helpful. There were tons of sport to do if you were so inclined.The staff were awesome. Everyone was so friendly, and went out of their way to please you and were very polite. We found them to have a great sense of humor and had some great laughs with several of the staff members. We saw a fellow in the piano bar who looked just like Sugar Ray the boxer, and he was quite a character. We never did hear anyone playing the piano, and it would have been nice to have some music of some kind playing in its stead.
We were at the south part of the resort, close to the water and we stayed there the whole time, except to go to try one of the restaurants up at the manor. The shuttle service is frequent and no big deal, but we couldn't be bothered to 'pack' for a days outing up to the 'other side'. We had everything we needed down there. The manor pool did look gorgeous, but the people said it took forever to get a drink and was crowded and noisy. It is the one that you see in the photos.
The resort itself is huge and there are lots of good photo spots. In fact, they have a team of photographers that are out everywhere and will take a photo of you anytime. They give you numbered stubs and you go whenever you want to the photoshop, where they display all your photos on a computer and you can choose which ones you like. Nice for honeymooners etc. We also saw lots of weddings but I would not want to have a wedding there. None of them were the romantic vision you see in the ads. You couldn't even see a sunset if you wanted, just because of the way the resort is situated. I think you had to go out on the catamaran to see that.(again, big bucks)
Our biggest disappointment was the food and the restaurants. The portions were very very small. I am not a huge eater, but when there is crab cakes for an appetizer, and you see one crabcake -about the size of a loonie on a bed of lettuce, there is hardly enough to taste any crab. A lot of people were ordering 2 starters,2 entrees,2 desserts per person! I am a dessert person, and I did not find one dessert that I liked. The buffet restaurant that we had breakfast every day, was very good. It had everything, and the choices changed daily. You could get eggs cooked to order, there was lots of fresh items and it wasn't hard to stick to healthy choices if you were watching your weight, as well as lots of tempting local specialties and gourmet items as well.
The problem with all the 11 restaurants was that you could not make a reservation, and basically, if you didn't like to eat at 5:30 - 6 pm, you were going to have to wait 2 hours for dinner in a line (and then, the dinner would be served cold) We figured this out after a couple of days, and from then on, we arrived at each restaurant exactly as it opened so we would get in. But when we are on holiday, we don't enjoy being 'forced' to eat at a certain time, and not that early. We were leaving the pool at 4:30 just to get ready for dinner, and skipping lunch because it was going to be too close to dinner. I wouldn't say the meals were outstanding at all. They were trying hard, but it just wasn't great.
We had no problem waiting to get drinks at the bars, and we tried lots of tropical rum concoctions.
We had a day and a half of heavy rain mid-week and because the the rooms and common areas are so spread out, we were sort of stranded when the downpour came. The bars didn't open early to accomodate all the guests hanging about, who didn't know what to do with themselves with no sunshine or outside activities. It would have been nice if there could have been some umbrellas available at the doors that we could have had a loan of to get back to our rooms at least. It was very hard rain, and the pathways were at least six inches deep in water. The poor 'activities' staff were frantically handing out boardgames to all and sundry to try and pacify the disgruntled guests.
My husband went golfing once and found the course to be in very bad condition and he did not enjoy it. He had played at the Wyndham Rose Hall course on a previous visit and found that one to be far superior.
While he golfed, I checked out the spa, and though I never saw a spa that looked like the photos, I was treated royally and had the best pedicure and massage I have ever had. The girls were all wonderful and it was very relaxing. There is nice open cabanas down on the dock, and they do couple massages which looked very nice (but again, they were very expensive -almost $300 U.S.)
I would suggest buying all souveniers at the airport. The prices at the hotel are quite high, and there is a huge selection and cheaper prices at the airport. You arrive there in plenty of time to check out all the shops.
Because you have to be at the airport 3 hours ahead and there is a two hour bus trip from the hotel to airport, you pretty much lose a day at the front of your trip and a day at the end of it.
All in all, we paid a huge amount of money, to stay at the supposed 'best' - a Sandals - and it was definitely not 5 star quality. There are a lot nicer places to vacation, for a lot less money. We would never recommend this resort to anyone, nor would we go back. Sorry, we did give it a shot!

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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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:
#3 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $372 - $1,042 (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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