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“Sad to say - Sandals is in decline” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sandals Ochi Beach Resort

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 36 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Certificate of Excellence
massachusetts
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Sad to say - Sandals is in decline”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2009

This was our 4th Sandals visit and probably our last. We didn't really understand the difference between the Manor and Riviera sides of the resort before arriving. We were booked for a Manor side "Plantation Villa Suite", which turned out to be a former time share building on the opposite side of Main St., Ocho Rios from the ocean. Due to the distance from the beach and water sports activities (and the millipedes that shared our villa), we requested a change to the Riviera side of the resort. Our request was accommodated, but we had to take a downgrade in accommodations to make the change. We gladly signed the waiver form stating that we agreed to a downgrade (giving up a couple hundred $US) just to get closer to the beach. After signing the waiver, we asked the staff at the Soon Come Back desk if we could apply the difference in cost between the Plantation Villa Suite and the downgraded Riviera side accommodations to our next Sandals visit if we booked right then. This seemed like a very reasonable request to the desk staff, but their managers didn't agree. We thought that Sandals "Select" returning guests might have been granted this small accommodation to maintain an established long term relationship, but even the SGOR General Manager didn't take the long view on the subject.

So, enough about shoddy treatment of returning guests. Regarding SGOR:

- The food was fine. Not 5 star, but you shouldn't expect that anyway.
- The beach was not that great. A confined area with a somewhat rocky bottom.
- The front line staff were wonderful - tried as hard as they could to be helpful.
- The grounds on the Riviera side are beautiful - not so much on the Manor side.
- Morning fitness classes that used to be free are now only available through the Red Lane Spa for extra $. Red Lane staff seem to be getting more aggressive in marketing their services.
- The facilities are getting a little long in the tooth and in need of refreshing.
- Maintenance staff who don't interact with guests seem unmotivated. A glass was dropped and broken during dinner one night at the Reef Terrace Restaurant. Broken glass was still evident the next morning so we mentioned it to kitchen staff. The broken glass was still there in the afternoon. This is in a area with bare foot traffic.
- Complimentary use of an internet connected PC, or better yet, complimentary wireless internet access, would be nice guest friendly touches, but as with the exercise classes, Sandals is wringing every last $ out of their guests

All in all, a generally mediocre experience. We won't "Soon Come Back".

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank scottydog47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2,452)
Date | Rating
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English first
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2009

I have read the bad reviews on here for this resort, but thought that people were being far to picky. In this case the negative comments were deadly accurate. This review will make me sound overly critical but this review is fair and very accurate.

Just got back from Sandals Grande, Ocho Rios. Maybe some of their other resorts are "Luxurious" , but this one should never be used with the word LUXURY.

My only comparison for a Luxury all-inclusive was at an Iberostar Resort in Mexico. The Iberostar was far superior to this Sandals property and so much less expensive. Sandals in my opinion is a rip-off. I will list the details below:

CHECK IN:
Very unprofessional. Rushed in to dirty room and rushed through the check in with barely any info provided. We had booked this trip 11 months ago and were never notifed they had changed our room reservation. We were supposed to be on the Manor side at the Monor house. They gave us no explanation as to why were moved to the Bamboo building on the Riviera side. When i asked and complained, they gave me attitude and called the new room an upgrade. Far from it. Avoid the Bamboo dump at all costs.

THE ROOM:
In a nutshell, FILTHY. Dirty carpet, dirty bathroom, mold and mildew on everything in the bath. Noisy celing fan, noisy fridge, noisy AC unit. Pretty much any electrical device had issues. I have stayed at nicer "DAYS INN" in DETROIT.

THE SERVICE:
Bad service was the norm rather than the exception. Most workers actually seemed like you were bothering them when you asked for a drink or a meal or pretty much anything. The service at the a-la-carte restaurants was a little better. Most workers move at a snails pace and give you dirty looks when you asked for the most basic things like a drink at the bar.

THE FOOD:
Breakfast- Buffet style. Not great but was OK.
Lunch- Mediocre at best
Dinners- Most dinner meals at the a-la-carte restaurants was very good. Good food and decent service.

THE BEACH:
Dirty, trash and cigarrette butts. Towel station empty except early in the morning. Even then they did not fill them until after 9am most days.

THE POOLS:
The upkeep on the pools is low. We visited almost all and they were all dirty and in need of repair. The big Manor Pool which is the one in all the pics you see of this resort had broken tiles all around the pool deck area. The tiles were very slimy too.

BOTTOM LINE:
Closer to a 2.5-3 star resort than a 4-5 star luxury. I would never go back to any Sandals based on this experience. If they are willing to put there name on a dump like this I will never give them my money.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Lumpy076
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2009

For our sixth Sandals vacation, we spent 9 days at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios and had a fabulous time. The resort was beautiful and the staff at the resort were very friendly, especially our butlers and maid. One of our favorite things to do is to sit by the main pool with the swim up bar daily, it doesn't get any better than that. And, the restaurants were superb, especially Valentinos and Orchids. The fitness center was very well set up and equipped and the spa experience was great, as always. Where else can you go to that you can arrive, lock up your wallet in the safe and not take it out until you go home?? We had such a great time that we booked our next Sandals vacation before we left to come home.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Minscar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2009

We absolutely loved this place! The food was top notch in every restaurant, the service was impeccable. In fact the service was so good we tipped anyway despite the no-tip policy. It wasnt just in the restaurants, all of the staff on the resort were fantastic. They made every part of the day enjoyable, including the evening events. Dont miss the talent show, beach party or any of the others for that matter.

One thing we do recommend if your not staying in a special honeymoon cottage is to make sure you are on the beach side called the "riviera". The resort is split with a shuttle between the beach part and the upper half. We were initially on the upper half called the "Manor", and our room overlooked the pool from where they blast music all day long (quite annoying.) We also didn't like the fact we had to take a shuttle to get to the beach. They were super accommodating and transferred us down to the beach side at no charge. I think this could have been a different experience had we not. Either way dont expect miracles in your room. They are what they are, and are somewhat dated.

In any case, we took full advantage of all of the free watersports like sailing(free lessons), wind-surfing(free lessons), kayaking and pedal-boating. We had so much fun on the resort we could barely bring ourselves to leave it. We did go to Dunns River Falls on a safari tour, that took us through some old plantations, towns and finally up to the falls. The tour was just okay but the falls were well worth it, as they were quite spectacular(dont worry, not very challenging either). We went mid-week and there were very few people which was nice. There were lots of other tours that people seemed to enjoy like the blue mountain bike ride, ATV tour, and many others. For us it was all about just hanging out at this amazing resort.

Tips:

- Try the different restaurants, despite the fact that that you will be tempted to return to the first one you go to, they all offer different menus and are all a unique and fantastic experience
- take advantage of the watersports, trying windsurfing or sailing a catamaran for the first time can make for some great laughs and good times
- go to the different events, even when we were tired and were thinking of going back to the room we were so glad we didnt
- dont bother converting into jamaican dollars, they all prefer American.

Caution:

The street merchants you will come across may be extremely aggressive. They can grab you by the arm and put things in your hand and try very, very, hard to make sales. We took the approach that they were just trying to make a living, so it wasn't that big a deal. Some other tourists seem to be horrified. We still found them to be a good way to pick up souvenirs at a decent price(always negotiable, and the price gets better as you walk away). They also all sell the same stuff, so you can always wait for a better deal. One tip if you want to avoid the "super-aggressive" ones at Dunns River Falls, make a left as you come out of the falls and dont go straight into the gift shop area. You will bypass the merchants and make your way back to the parking lot.

Have a great time, we will definitely go back!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank WandererfromVan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2009

My husband and I had never been to a Sandals before and to stay at one for our honeymoon was the best decision we have ever made.
Right from the beginning it was non-stop perfect from the beach to the food to the best playmaker ever Jill!!! She was so helpful and nice and we really miss her!
We will definitely go back to another Sandals again, maybe for our anniversary!

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank melak_23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 10, 2009

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios is a fabulous place to stay. The staff is amazing. DEFINITELY get butler service!

Stayed September 2009, traveled on business
Helpful?
2 Thank Candice923
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2009

If you have a chance to stay at this resort, I would take it. The services offered are outstanding. We were pleasantly surprised with the grounds, they were magnificant. The food was very good and the staff made this resort a load of fun.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank beebails
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 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa 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 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

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