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“Corrupt_ Dont Stay Here Unless You Want To Get Robbed!!!!!!!!!!!”

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Sand Castles Resort
Ranked #14 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed March 2, 2010

My partner& I frequently rent apartments in Jamaica – the island's unique character offers an endless list of treasures.. the world’s best coffee, world-class reefs, offbeat hiking&cycling, unforgettable sunsets, pristine waterfalls, fishing villages, endangered wildlife (e.g. manatees) & of course.. Home to the Legendary Bob Marley. Unfortunately, there are some parasites that ruin this paradise island & that is what you can expect to find at Sandcastles, Ocho Rios.
We were considering buying a studio apartment currently for sale & decided on renting a 2 bedroom penthouse apartment A31 during the process. However, the very first time we left the apartment (to get some groceries from the market around 10am) we returned to find our door wide open. It had a broken lock & was forced open – all our possessions including laptop, camera, money, bank cards etc had been stolen. There were 5 employees when we left & 4 when we returned, when asked if they had seen anything, 1 maintenance man laughed at us & walked off, whilst the maid stated they had all only just arrived in the block.. despite us seeing her when we left!! Later that day we discovered only one maid was due to work on the block who's shift started at 12pm, the suspicion that we were being watched was pretty much confirmed.
When we notified the front desk & asked to speak to the manager, they weren’t surprised and we were told to go to security but they were simply not interested & the evening supervisor said that he did not want to get involved. As our vacation continued it transpired the day supervisor lied to the police, implying that I had made a false report of the events. This was soon cleared up but I was dumbfounded & left us feeling extremely uncomfortable & unsafe. We continued to witness on many occasions throughout our stay that the security gates were unmanned & people wondering into the resort - I have seeked legal representation and have photo evidence of it all.
Despite trying to contact the owner of the apartment several times when we did get through she would just shout & disbelieve what we were saying (I ended up putting the phone loud speaker whilst the De. Sergeant was stood next to me - he took the phone from me&she soon changed her tone) A local guy advised us to visit the Tourist Board down the road. This turned out to be an informative but fruitless trip - the officer there said that this happens on a regular basis at Sandcastle's & they refuse to renew Sandcastle's Tourist Accommodation Licence as they continually fail to adhere to security regulations. We were left in this apartment for the remainder of our trip (3 weeks) the lock remained broken (despite the owner promising to have one the next day as she couldn’t get hold immediately) & the maintenance manager would run to avoid us.. Feeling absolutely helpless with no money the owner refused to refund the money as she pays Sandcastles for security& maintenance & Sandcastles refused to move us. The management there (or should I say lack of) was ridiculous.. an elderly lady that did not have a clue what we were talking about happened to be the manager for Sandcastles (although paperwork stated she was an administrator we were told she was the top manager & there is no one above her), well after 2 weeks of complaining we saw her again & were greeted with ‘Oh, I didn’t think you were still here’ she still could not tell us who the owner of the resort is.
I do apologise for the lengthy review but I want everyone to be aware of what goes on at this place. Needless to say we shall not be purchasing an apartment at Sandcastles, but we are considering one of the safer 32 apartments at Chrisanns, which I look forward to next month. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS PUT YOU OFF VISITING JAMAICA – One Love

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank FrustratedTraveller4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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143 - 149 of 324 reviews

Reviewed January 9, 2010

I'm not a picky high maintenance person when it comes to hotels. I've stayed in everything from moderate 2 star motels to high end 4 star establishments but this was probably one of the most unpleasant places i've stayed so far. To put it simply the furnishings in my room were old and worn and the room just had a...i dont know...dingy feel to it. Add to that power outages, unfriendly staff and a pretty mediocre looking beach. I chose this hotel based on price but If I had to do it all over again I would have payed a little more and stayed at a the RIU or one of the other all inclusives in the area.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Serenity31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2010

Jamaica was GREAT but Sandcastles was not. The upkeep was awful--paint peeling, water damage, doors warped , old,broken, stained furniture, lights not working and a tarp still on the roof. We could not get towels because housekeeping was not finished with the washing. We paid for all inclusive but the menu and services were limited. You had to purchase a remote control for the television!!! The pictures shown online were from a better time and are very misleading. Don't let them fool you. There are some better places just down the street. I wish we had known :-(

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank lovelysurf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2009

well , I stayed at sand castles resort a low/ mid budget complex of studios & apartments sept-oct 2009.
Since the main reason for my trip was to take time out to relax & recoup all my energies, this hotel, pretty much did what it said on the tin. .

This hotel ticked all the boxes. It was quiet, comfortable and most importantly it was clean (low season is the best time to get away from it all, including from other tourists).

The duty manager, selena, was very pleasant and pretty much accommadating as were all the staff at Sand castles, the room was cleaned daily & it was no trouble to ask for any extra towels or anything, the fridge broke down twice but it was soon replaced, nothing seemed to be to big or too smal to cater for.

Although the studio room wasnt huge it had pretty much everything you needed including a large cooker/ oven, plenty cupboards space,dining table and private balcony..
it was compact, but nice,with matching curtains, bedspread & sofa cover... ooooh

sand castles is situated in a prime location for taking all the sights & day trips in and its just minuites away from the famous Evita's , the new bobsleigh experience & popular 'Tropical Escape day spa' and of course the world famous Dunn's river fall. Theres even talk of naming the North coasts new athletic stadium after the miraculous Usain Bolt (arms... 'to the world').

With the hotel being based on ochi rios beach & every amenity just steps away,.. this could very well be the holiday your looking for... suitable for romantic couples, families & Oaps (stairs at entrance may cause problems for the disabled).

In all I felt my thompson two week holiday to sandcastles was decent value, (soon to be even better value with the daily flights rumoured to start soon).

Highlights to my holiday:
(A) undoubtedly the exciting, jamaican concert celebration for Usain Bolt & the other amazing jamaican atheletes who seem to have put their success down to eating lots of the parishes best yams..... lol.. the event was made even better by flying in the Berlin bear moscot to do a few jamaican dances, like,o the world & something called Gully creeper... ( it was a great experience)...

(B) I have to also confess to enjoying the' Bob Marley' experince trip ( its a must)!!! another favourite was my treatments ( on the rainy days) at the Tropical Escape day Spa accross the road from Sand castles resort.. It was so relaxing & serene I kept going back again & again. I had the manicure & pedicure special offer at half price to Sandcastle guests, then went back for a wax treatment and finanally a sweddish massage just before flying out the following day... Its the only way to travel...lol
The decor, ocean waves music ,herbal teas, & naughty platter treats make it a must visit if your in ochi especially in rainy season ( sept- apr?).. The management & staff are great too.

Ok now, lets get to the nitty gritty, things I didnt enjoy about my stay can be summed up pretty neatly: the mosquito's and the so called : pimps,( beggers) what ever you want to call them ...I think mosquitos kinda fits their description too...

Anyway, although they are a thorn the tourists side it seems the jamaican tourist board are taking tourists complaints seriously and have doubled the amount of tourist police in & around ochi so your pretty much safe & can enjoy your hols... Just take it easy man... ;)

Keep posted for my review on my holiday in cuba, havana earlier this year feb'09 and also just booked a cruise to egypt in dec '09

Hope you found my review helpful, happy holidaying :)

from: An experienced traveller but novice writer, x

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank Tempted2travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2009

I just arrived back from my vacation where i stayed at Sandcastle Resort; I checked in close to midnight because i drove from Kingston Airport ..upon my arrival i was greeted with a complimentary drink, slow but good customer service from the front desk a bell man to take my luggage to my room as there is no elevator. I had a studio apt with ocean view the room had everything that you would need..ac a bit old but so what....My room was extremely clean and room service was available everyday. The resort is close to clubs,restaurant ,supermarket,pharmacy and atm. If you are looking for somewhere to have fun then this is not the place for you but if you are looking for a clean reasonable place for yourself and family just to sleep then I would definately recommend Sandcastle.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank AD6TorontoCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2009

We were booked in C3 a beautiful room. We left the room 1 pm and returned 4pm. A key was used to enter the room because the police said ther was no forced entry.My mini laptop,camera, i-pod, 2 cell phones blackberry and G1(we didn't use our new york phones because we got a phone to borrow in Jamaica) portable DVD player my daughter's diamond ring and diamond tennis braclet, and gold erring,my niece DSI game. All these were stolen. The only thing they did was to move us to another room and upgrade the room. They said insurance will contact us . Nothing else and the front desk staff were so rude except for about three members. I dont' want to name the ones that were nice, but some were. Most were very rude. This is an inside job and I am taking this the furthest I can because I want my things that were stolen. I will never go back to this place. Quite a few people has been telling us not to go back ther because we are lucky we got out alive. They say this is a common thing there and because they know we have to return to the US they dont' do anything about the security and thieft. Please people dont go to sandcastle when you go to jamaica. You have to work too hard to buy your things to go ther to have people thief them. BEWARE OF SANDCASTLE THIEVES!

  • Stayed: August 2009
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6  Thank LILLYPODBROOKLYN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2009

I had to post another review...people beware. I stayed at Sand Castle hotel in February of 2009. I must say the time we spent there (9 days) was great. We occupied 3 rooms on the second floor. Room service was not available but that was not an issue because it's located next to everything. I went back with my mom and and sister from August 20, 2009 to August 26, 2009. Well let me just say this the room was nice...this time we were on the 1st floor. However guess what happened. One day we went out on the road to eat...when we got back my cousin wanted to go on the internet so I told her to use my laptop...I told her where it was and lo and behold it was GONE!!! We started checking our stuff and they had taken a laptop, a diamond bracelet, an i pod, a DS game system, a digital camera, a portable dvd player and a blackberry phone. We informed the hotel management and can u believe they gave us some cockamamie story about management not being available!!! W e called the police and the police told us to not stay there because every week they get a different complain about guests being robbed there at Sand Castle Hotel. People the person who robbed us had to be an employee. I say this because 1. u cannot enter the compound without an arm bracelet to show that you are a guest unless you are accompanied by a guest of the hotel. 2. the locks were not broken and we still had our keys in our possession. 3. My cousin said one of the male employees joked with her about swapping my laptop (a HP mini) with his regular full size one. The situation only got worse because no manager could be found for days. Someone must have alerted the media because they showed up and wouldn't you know it "managers " appeared out of the blue. These so called managers have never been seen since we were there at the hotel. The so called managers got very upset that we granted an interview to speak about the situation! The worst part about the trip is that we were told later that we cannot place a claim to have any of the items stolen refunded BECAUSE when we signed the papers to stay at the hotel there is a disclosure that says THE HOTEL WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY PROPERTY STOLEN!!!!!!!! People please do not stay at this hotel...As u can see I did not lie...the first trip was goo but the second was a disaster. The funny thing is that I read a lot of reviews that were written by previous guests and some of them were about people getting their property stolen but we decided to give it a chance...never again...STAY AWAY FROM SAND CASTLE HOTEL...unless you want to be robbed...we're just glad we were not in the room when it happened...don't risk it people...I am from Jamaica so it pains me even more to have to say this about my own country.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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5  Thank whyter1092
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 #14 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $97 - $247 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Sand Castles Resort 2*
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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