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Reviewed February 22, 2006

My husband and I stayed at Sans Souci on the week of February 14th and I have to say it was a wonderful experience.

We stayed in a suite in block D. Living in a small apartment in Manhattan, we thought the room was huge; it had a balcony overlooking the main beach as well as a Jacuzzi. The rooms were always clean and the mini bar was always well stocked with water, soda and Red Stripe. The TV had plenty of American channels, more specifically New York, so we did not feel uninformed regargind current events. The best thing about D block is that it is in the middle of the resort, with equal distance to the main beach / bar area and to the Balloon Bar / reception area. If we ever come back to Sans Souci, we will definitely want to stay in D block again.

The beaches were beautiful. The main beach is a more artificial, man made beach, with not too many waves (which my husband was not too fond of) and a roped area for swimmers, with the rest reserved for boats. The au natural beach, however, is a wonder of nature, with breathtaking views of ocho rios and bigger, yet non-scary waves. The only problem is that, being a natural beach and having a river ending in that same spot, there is a mix of sand and rocks in the water and you definitely need to wear aqua shoes to go in. For those of us who did not think of this in advance, they sell them at the gift shop.

The restaurants were good. The Italian and French restaurants are pretty decent, and the portions are what you would expect from an all inclusive. The beach grill was my favorite, definitely order the jerk specials for lunch!!!! The bars were well stocked and the service was impeccable. We made friends with a couple of bartenders and they took excellent care of us during the stay.

The staff was friendly and hardworking. As I said previously, the bartenders were amazing and each one of them made us their specialty drink, usually rum-based. We especially enjoyed Junior, he usually works at the Balloon Bar at night and makes the best drinks!!! It doesn’t hurt to tip them a couple of dollars, since they only make about a dollar an hour at their job.

The only problem we encounter is safety related. I made the mistake of leaving my cell phone in my purse in the room because, as a naïve American, I didn’t think anyone would take it. BIG MISTAKE!!! It was taken from our room and whoever took it made about 2 hours on international roaming calls before we found out it was gone. The hotel refused to reimburse us for the cost of the cell phone or the calls because it was not kept in the safe that they provided. IF YOU GO TO SANS SOUCI, PLEASE, KEEP ALL YOUR VALUABLES (INCLUDING PHONES AND MP3 PLAYERS) IN THE SAFE AT ALL TIMES!

The bus ride from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios was a horrible experience I never want to repeat. It is about a 2 and a half hour ride on a dirt road, and after flying all day it is the last thing you want to experience, especially if you’re prone to car sickness like I am. On the way back we took the Air Link Shuttle and it was completely worth the $100 a piece. I highly recommend it for people traveling to the Ocho Rios area.

All in all it was a wonderful trip, with the exception of the cell phone incident. I would go back to Sans Souci, but not before booking the Air Link flight along with my regular travel plans.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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21  Thank Fearless13070
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2006

We just got back from five days at Couples Sans Souci. I spent a fair amount of time reading the reviews of this hotel (and others) on this website, and thought I would add my own.

We had a great trip, but it started off pretty poorly. All visitors spend 2.5 hours (at least) on a cramped bus traveling to the resort on bumpy roads. At least 50% of the "highway" to the resort was under construction, and the roads are a mess. Much of the time we were driving on dirt roads or on the wrong side of the road just to stay on some pavement. I could feel every bump since the padding on my seat was not very thick. We did not stop, luckily nobody got sick.

Despite the ride, things got better very quickly once we arrived. Check-in was pretty easy and fast, and our room was nice. It was the standard suite, and my wife thought it was just fine. I am pickier about rooms, and was less impressed. The shower didn't work correctly, the safe never worked properly (luckily we didn't have anything really valuable), and the tile in the bathroom floor was patched in several places. I was also told by housekeeping that I could not get a feather pillow, they did not have any. That was a disappointment for a hotel of this caliber. I assumed it had something to do with the climate?

Our room was in the B block, and if you intend to spend most of your time at the beach I highly recommend that you request A or B block, which will save you a lot of stair climbing. We also requested a ground floor room, which was very handy for going in and out. We hardly climbed any stairs, except to go to the Italian restaurant and the Balloon Bar.

My wife and I are in our 30s, and I was surprised to discover that we were relatively young. The majority of the guests were older than us (50s and higher), although I assume that mix changes from week to week.

Beach chairs were occasionally hard to get. People would jut put their towels on the best chairs (those with some shade) and some of them never came back!

The Au Natural beach had chairs, but things were pretty quiet there. In fact, we found it somewhat boring. Yes people are walking around naked, but this aint Hedonism, and if that is what you are expecting you will be disappointed. At least half the women there kept their bottoms on, while their poor husbands were getting sunburned in very uncomfortable places. That HAS to put a damper on your trip.

Finally, I need to say something about the food. I thought it was fine, but not great. I guess it all depends on what you’re comparing it to; it beats Cracker Barrel or whatever, but it was a far cry from a higher-end restaurant in any major US city. What they lacked in quality, they tried to make up for in presentation and service. The two main restaurants did have pretty good service and the (small) servings always looked nice. I found the quality of the cuts of beef was not great, and the meat was consistently over cooked. The shrimp and salmon were chewy, not fresh. But as others have said, this is not the Ritz Carlton, and you get what you pay for.

But overall, it was a pleasant vacation. We never left the resort, except on boats to snorkel scuba dive. The employees were generally very friendly and helpful, and an under the table tip was always a big motivator. I do recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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17  Thank Mark P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2006

My husband I stayed at Couples San Souci from February 6-13, 2006. This was our third trip to Jamaica but first one to Couples. We have always stayed at Sandals resorts over the past few years to avoid small children. We booked this trip through Sunquest and expected the spa treatments that were advertised in their printed trip brochures. Upon arrival we learned that the treatments are no longer included in the trip price. Sunquest did not inform us or our travel agent of the change when we booked. We did not let that disappointment ruin our trip. The resort, while a little dated is very clean, comfortable beds and great towels. The service was outstanding and the food better than most Sandals. As well, we also enjoyed the entertainment very much.
We stayed in D Block - had lots of water pressure and hot water. Room service never took more than 20-30 minutes and was always exactly what we ordered. We enjoyed the Italian & French restaurant equally. We were never disappointed with serving size or menu options. I think this resort has the best chefs and particularly pastry chefs in the Caribbean. They are lacking a wine list. It is either white or red. We would have been willing to pay a little extra for a bottle of good wine.
Beaches were nice and private. We were never once bothered by vendors and appreciated that very much. Pools were clean and well maintained. The mineral pool was outstanding.
The spa was a little overpriced in my estimation. We booked a Couples massage that we had in a stone outbuilding right over the sea - heaven, as the music was the waves crashing against the rocks and a soft afternoon rain falling. Our massages were wonderful but ended up costing us $180 USD for 50 minutes - as well as a tip. We pay $60.00 CDN for one hour here.
I would definiely return to this resort but would either fly from Montego Bay or wait until the road is complete - it has a long way to go.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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16  Thank Traveler5413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2006

Architectually, the most pleasing hotel and grounds of Ocho Rios. Well staffed and trained to provide excellent service from the beach groomers to the maid staff and waiters.
We really dislike the 2-1/2 hour journey from the airport and would prefer a Montego Bay resort such as Half Moon.
However, Sans Soucis offers good food, service, ambiance, pleasant beaches and nearby inclusive golf at a price Half Moon cannot match.
Some of the rooms are terrific, some are barely adequate. Choose carefully.
Spa services offered and a good fitness center. Private massage cabanas overlooking the ocean with the sound of the breaking waves. The beaches and grounds are maintained perfectly.
Golf is ten minutes away at the Sandals course. Book a seat on their shuttle that goes every hour in the morning. A pleasing, hilly course, but not to the standard of Half Moon or White Witch.
Enjoyed every meal over six days. Good quality with lots of choice in two different restaurants and the beach bar that serves hamburgers, etc..
Late dinner seatings in the Cassanova restaurant could be a little disorganized, but guests seemed to accept the delay in seating and enjoy their evening.
First stayed here 18 years ago when Sans Soucis was a much smaller resort. It may have lost some of its intimacy, but service in every respect has actually improved to a very high standard.
In an island where 90% of the reorts are to be avoided, there are definitely a handful better than Sans Soucis, but try finding one with inclusive golf at a similar price! Good luck!!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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14  Thank Go30438
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2006

we are in our mid 40's and travel a great deal staying in better hotels and resorts. i say this only to give you a better frame of reference.

beautiful grounds with an aging hotel facility, yet fairly well kept. the room in the 'b' building on the second floor was very nice. bathrooms were old and not kept up and the shower pressure was terrible.

the 'textile' beach, although quite small, was nice with lots of lounges and a fair amount of area that was shaded by the trees. no need to rush to save lounges.
the nude beach (changed the name from clothing optional about a month prior), is not great. a mix of sand and rocks on the beach and only rocks in the water, however the setting is great and the bar area, pool, short order 'kitchen', help make this area more enjoyable. i understand from management that they are intending to improve this area. once they do that, it will be fantastic.

restaurants are all very good, certainly much better than most all inclusives.

the service is fairly good but with so many new staff recently hired, it will take time to educate them fully on the level of service that the resort wants.

the spa services were pretty good but we found them a bit over priced for what it was.

i would not return until the road from montego bay is completely finished (2+ hours is just simply too long) and until the nude beach has been renovated.

  • Stayed: December 2005
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19  Thank ab0000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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