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“The "Good, Bad and Ugly" of Sand Castles”

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Sand Castles Resort
Ranked #20 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed January 6, 2012

THE GOOD: It's a relatively good bargain (but not for you if you want the pool boy to bring you an umbrella drink). Well-maintained gardens: pretty even, if you are into tropical plants. Convenient location in Ocho Rios: walking distance to attractions in the area that kept me occupied for several days: beach front, shopping, movies, restaurants, craft market. No problems with security during stay, rooms cleaned daily, breakfast ok, with slow but very attentive waiters. Privately owned suites have more amenities and furnishings and are WAY better maintained than hotel run-rooms.

THE BAD: Have to go around property to beach because hotel does not have direct access to the beach front even though it is very close. Back access from property to road parallel to beach has limited hours; minor inconvenience- it takes about 3 minutes to go around, so no sweat. Unlike other hotels nearby, SC does not offer beach chairs, so I had to rent one daily. Hotel rooms had only one key, so sharing a room required dropping off the key at the front desk to give roommate access when we had different schedules, which would be no problem if the front desk was manned full-time, but that was not the case....sometimes patrons had to wait for about 5 - 10 minutes (although it seemed like an eternity) before someone came out to the front desk. You're supposed to ring a bell to alert the staff in the inner room, but there were clearly gaps in coverage. Stayed in a hotel-managed room. Hot water hot or miss, same thing for wifi access. Tried to call hotel several times while away from premises, phone was either not picked up (probably because no one was at the front desk at the time), or transfer was botched.

THE UGLY: Management response to problems with room requiring significant maintenance: APPALLING.

Room Tip: Book a privately owned room.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Les_Bots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 - 115 of 323 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2011

Lovely hotel to stay if you want something small. It's like having your own apartment in the city. Most suites are equipt with dishes, cups, a fridge. It's like being home away from home.
There is a Jamaican restaurant just outside the entrance of the restaurant and the food is excellent.
The drinks at the bar is very expensive. So buy at the supermarket. This hotel is located close to everything. Worth the stay!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank JinX13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2011

We stayed here as a family of 2 adults and 2 children in 2010 our accomadation was basic but provided us with what we needed. Staff were very helpful, cleaner named jenifer could not do enough for us. Swimming pool a bit small but beach is so close it did not bother us. Great location lots of great places to see and eat.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank KelcoBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2011

After reading these reviews 2days before I set off I was very tempted just to cancel my whole holiday!

I am delighted to say I had a wonderful experience at this hotel. My room was very modern and decorated to a high standard (although I did privately rent through a owner). Location is spot on. The security are fantastic - one of my friends stayed in another hotel she couldn't even get passed the front gate without being stopped from going any further without authority from me!

Through the back gate is more or less entry straight onto the beach.

I can't wait to go back to Jamaica - I will definitely be staying in this hotel again.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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2  Thank Sarah202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2011

Stayed at Sandcastles at the end of August. Obviously the season was coming to an end so it was very quiet. Nonetheless the rooms were clean, the staff were very polite and friendly. The breakfast was enourmous (the sort you would have at home and home cooked), I would recommend the ackee and sltfish with two boiled dumplings, a piece of yam and 2 fried dumpling and a green banana!!! you won't have to eat again until 8pm. We were so impressed by the breakfast that we decided to have dinner, which was also enourmous and very tasty. The view from our apartment (D16)of the beach, the caribbean sea, and the ocean liner were stunning. It was in a very good position for shops and restaurants. The swimming pool was clean! It is not 5 star accommodation but we had a comfortable stay. Big up to Mister Cox! see you next year!

Room Tip: D Block overlooked the sea.
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Sistajean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2011

So I saw all the bad reviews for Sand Castles, but decided to stay there anyway. I have been to Jamaica many times, and I knew that Sand Castles was a great location. Everything is in walking distance, and it is right on the beach.
First, let me start with a positive. The view from our room was breathtaking. That's about it for the positive.
Upon check in we let the woman know about all of the awful reviews that we saw on trip advisor and she assured us that thoes issues were with guests that book through private owners. Let me just say how wrong she was. It took about an hour to get to our room because it was raining and they had no umbrella (can't control mother nature, but no umbrella?). The first room that they took us to had a leaking roof (good thing that it was raining). We were assured that we would get put into a different room, that took another half hour. The room was clean, but very out dated. We stayed in D30. Our view was spectacular. It looked right onto the beach. The room was spacious.
The day after we checked in we found out that there was only one key for the room, so we had to wait for the woman to clean while we were there the first day of our vacation. The woman who cleaned let us know that the last occupant took the second key home with them. So now there is someone out there with a key to our room.
Housekeeping took our towels everyday, but never left us new ones. We had to call daily for new towels. The towels looked dirty so we ended up using our beach towels and used their towels on the floor of the bathroom because the showers leaked. Anytime that we went out we had to leave the key at the front desk, so that we didn't have to stay and wait for them to clean. The one day housekeeping failed to lock our door after they cleaned. Now after reading about all the theft we made sure that we checked all of our belongings. Luckily nothing was taken. We also had to call and ask for an iron daily. They didn't have enough irons to keep in the rooms, so after we used it we had to return it.
Upon check out we were not even asked how our stay was. I turned in the key, and all I got was a "thanks".

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank jensalmon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2011

I'd stayed at Sandcastles 3 years before so knew how brilliant its location was, so wanted to go back there when staying 5 days in Oche before going on to my friend's wedding at Half Moon in Montego Bay. However, I got no responses to my emails or phone calls (no manager available and the promise of a call-back didn't materialise). I then went on Owners Direct and found an apartment at Sandcastles through Palm View Apartments. This worked out really well for me and my 2 friends as it was independently cleaned and kept in good order by the owner's representative. I do think Sand Castles itself was in need of refurbishment so understand what the last reviewer was saying, but it's in a fantastic spot, with access to the lovely Turtle Beach and has beautiful courtyard gardens. Another 2 friends stayed at Rooms on the Beach and had a lovely view and thought it was great and we went to eat at Hibiscus Lodge and thought that was fab - but it was way past the market in the down-town area so not very central - and as my friend had restricted mobility that caused some difficulty. My advice if you want to stay at Sandcastles is find an independent owner rather than go through the hotel itself.

Room Tip: Book with an owner-occupier separately from the hotel
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Walkingfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sand Castles Resort

Address: 1 Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $100 - $258 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sand Castles Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 174
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Also Known As:
Sand Castles Hotel Ocho Rios
Sand Castles Ocho Rios
Sandcastles Ocho Rios
Sandcastles Beach
Sandcastles Resort Jamaica
Sand Castles Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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