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“Bad start but things got better”

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Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Boscobel
Certificate of Excellence
North Carolina
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Bad start but things got better”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

Our family of four (boys 12 and 10) stayed at Beaches Ocho Rios from March 30 to April 4, 2013. While the trip started poorly, things got better and we conditionally recommend the resort for other families.

A bit of background: My wife and I have stayed at some of the nicest resorts in the Caribbean so our expectations are high. This was our first time traveling to the region with kids. We tried to prepare ourselves for a different level of resort and type of experience but still had a day or two of culture shock.

We landed early afternoon in Montego Bay. It took an hour to get through the line for immigrations. Baggage claim and customs were a breeze and then we were off to the Sandals / Beaches “lounge” to wait for our bus. About 30 minutes later we were off on the one hour and forty five minute ride to the resort. From touchdown in Montego Bay to arriving at the resort was three and a half hours.

Our first impressions were not good. The pictures on the website certainly show the resort’s “better side.” My wife likened it to driving up to “South of the Border.” Registration was a mess with lots of people trying to check in and very little organization. Our room was not ready so we were escorted to BBQ Park to “have lunch” (at 5:00 pm) while our room was prepared. When we return to the lobby, we were taken to our room – which turned out to not be the kind of room we had reserved. We had reserved a room with two doubles and they gave us a room with one king instead. Because the resort was completely full, we had no recourse and our concerns were met with blank stares. Perhaps this is too high of an expectation, but we would have expected an apology or an attempt to make things right in some way – instead they were completely tone deaf. Overhearing conversations in the lobby, we were not the only people encountering the same type of problem. We were given the option to change rooms on the third day but were settled in by then and declined. We did not receive a tour of the property – which would have been helpful.

While not the layout we had requested, the room was reasonably nice – think mid-range Hampton Inn. We were on the third floor of the main building. Comfortable bed and furniture. Nice TV. Decent bathroom (though the shower had weak water flow throughout and often times did not provide hot water.). The sleeper sofa was very uncomfortable – the cot we added was better. The porch was roomy with a small table and four chairs.

Overall, the food was good.
• We ate most of our meals at Bayside (the buffet restaurant). The quality and variety were better than you might expect at a buffet. The desserts were particularly good.
• We had an absolutely terrible experience one evening at Neptune. Awful, inattentive service. Couldn’t find a waiter to take our order. The food took over an hour from when we finally ordered – and when it arrived, it was mediocre at best and wasn’t even what we ordered. There were kids with their heads on their tables throughout the restaurant so I know we weren’t alone. One of the singular worst dining experiences of my life.
• The Venetian was much better. The service was excellent. The food was good. Night and day experience from Neptune.
• We did not eat at Eleanor’s because they do not have a kid’s menu.
• We were disappointed by the lack of fresh seafood at each of the restaurants.
• You can eat healthy if you want to but it would take more willpower than we have.

We spent a lot of time at the water park which was a lot of fun. There were two “fecal incidents” during our stay that shut down the fun for several hours a plop. While they advertise nine different slides, there were really only three that had enough action to satisfy kids the ages of our children but they provided hours of fun. We spent less time at the main pool mainly because we were not able to find an available chair during our entire stay (and that was with going to the pool each day at 8:30 to try to reserve one). The main attraction for us at the main pool was the swim-up bar which was a lot of fun. The boys loved ordering smoothies and chocolate milkshakes throughout the day. They also gave the self-serve ice cream and slushee machines a serious workout.

We enjoyed our time on the beach and spent more time there as conditions improved during our stay. Unfortunately, many of the ocean activities were not operating due to relatively rough seas. We only had one day when all activities were open. From talking with the guys working at the beach, it is reasonably common for the seas to limit activities.
• The beach and the swimming area in the ocean are quite small.
• We took two snorkeling trips and really enjoyed them. You have to sign up the day before and the trips fill up. Fortunately, they added a few trips when the other ones filled up.
• The glass bottom boat ride was interesting and worthwhile. The guide did a good job of providing information on what we saw under the sea as well as the resort and adjoining properties. Again, you have to sign up a day in advance to get a spot.
• The banana boat was fun. While there was almost always a line to participate, it was manageable.
• The use of kayaks and paddle boards were limited due to the water conditions. We could only use paddle boards one day.

The “Players” (modern version of Julie McCoy, cruise director on the Love Boat) do a good job of creating fun and activity. We enjoyed the “Beach Olympics” and various water volleyball and water polo games. The evening activities were mixed – we really enjoyed the steel drum band one evening.

There are people and noise everywhere. After a while, you get used to it and settle in. This is not a place for relaxation or romantic time together. This place is for families with kids, not couples or singles.

The vast majority of staff we encountered were very friendly and showed great hospitality.

A few other things:
• The property the resort is on is very small. Things are really crammed together.
• Wireless internet is available for a fee. $43 for up to five devices for a week. Reasonably price but in today's world, you'd think it would be part of the all inclusive price.
• The two hottest commodities that always seemed to be in short supply: Chairs (by the pools or on the beach) and towels (beach and bath). There’s lots of reserving and hording because of the scarcity.
• The X Box and arts and crafts rooms were helpful diversions.

Our first impressions and experiences put us in “what have we done?” mindset. We encountered several instances of very poor service. That said, we ended up having a pretty good experience. Our family had fun together. We did things that we had not done before. We enjoyed the “splurge” that all-inclusive allows (it’s nice to not have to negotiate with your kids about how many ice cream cones or smoothies they can have). We probably will not return to a Beaches resort again, but we will have generally good memories.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank RandomNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,977 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 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 (920)
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English first
Findlay, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

My family and I just returned from a week long stay at Beaches Ocho Rios. We were all pleased with our stay from start to finish. The staff was very attentive and incredibly helpful, no matter what he request. Our room was clean and large enough for all of us. The food was exceptional daily! Although we did not have specific diet requests, I saw several of the chefs out in the dining room speaking with other families... Great personalized service.
My kids enjoyed the teens/ Tweens club activites. The team members were great at recruiting kids to join activities.
There are some things I would like to see improved; there was a daily shortage on towels and beach chairs. We found that people would lay items on chairs the night before and then never use the chairs the next day. I am not sure how than can stop that from happening, it did make me chuckle when it rained overnight and those items got wet.

Our service at all levels was truly exceptional
Wait staff- Tyrol Juanita and Carlos
Concierge staff- Eric
Teen Club Staff- Rennex and Chloe

I would definitely recommend for families!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Buford1923
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dawson Creek, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

Our family of 6, including kids aged 9,11,13, and 14 recently spent 10 days at Beaches. We all thought the great part about this trip is the wonderful people of Jamaica, in particular the hospitality and entertainment staff at Beaches! We have been all over the world, and have never met friendlier more welcoming folks. A big shout out to the entertainment staff, by the end of the trip, they had us feeling like family. Thank you Jamelia, Ashianna, RENNEX! Fabian, Dyce, and Kemar, you guys rock. Also Whoorms at the swim up bar, Marsha at the lobby bar, and Lennox at the buffet restaurant, all great people, thanks for a great vacation. The food at this resort is great, never the same except for the basics, great Jamaican flavor and variety. One word of caution: if you are looking for a fancy 5-Star resort, this is definitely NOT for you. Good food makes this place a 4-Star, otherwise its an older building and needs some maintenance, without the great food this place would be a 3.5 However, having stayed in some 5-Stars, I will say I choose the friendly folks and great food of this resort over fancy digs any day! P.S. if you can be there for Easter, go for it! The kids entertainment is unparalleled, especially Easter Monday with a kids Easter Festival that is outstanding by any standards. Entertainment staff, you rock!

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the lower terraces overlooking the Ocean. This resort is kind of old and cobbled t...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Dan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan City, Indiana
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

We went to this Beaches resort in February and it was wonderful. The staff was so kind and provided excellent customer service. I actually read some of the reviews on here before we left and I got a little nervous. But, it was all for not. If you have kids, they will love it. The kids pool is so fun and the staff is so sweet to them.

The beach area has great things to do. We took out the water bike a couple times and went on a hobie cat and the glass bottom boat. We never waited in line or had any problem.

Our little one got really sick once we were down there and we had to take him to the nurse and the doctor. I was terrified to see a doctor in another country, but he was so wonderful. They took great care of us.

The only reason I didn't give the resort a 5, was the ride from the airport. The van driver we had from the airport to the resort was just plain scary. The driver on the way back was much better, but 2 hours is a really long time to be in a van before getting on a plane. We will definitely visit a beaches resort again, but next time, it will be closer to the airport.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank brookek12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Potomac
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

We have three kids (Boy 9, Girl 7, Girl 2). We had previously gone to Club Med in Punta Cana. Had a good time, but wanted someplace with better food as well as the kids camps. We picked Beaches because of the kids camps so that adults and kids could have a vacation. Camp for 2 year old was terrific. The 7 year olds camp was a different story. There is only 1 counselor for every 15 kids and set activities for the day which kids have to do. Camp heavily focused on Sesame Street which is much too babyish for a 7 year old. My daughter was forced to go bird watching with someone dressed up in a Big Bird costume. The camp told us that she couldn't participate in the older camp because she was 7. The 9 year old's camp was watching TV between set activities. He eventually just checked himself out and went to the Xbox Lounge. Lounge is great for rainy days, but I didn't want him sitting in there when it was so beautiful. Met tons of parents during the vacation with kids who were not in the camps because of the same issues and not enough kids were in the camp to make it fun. Club Med (where we had gone previously) was better because there a tons of counselors, lots of kids and kids can pick their own activities for the day.

The food is better at Beaches, but only in the restaurants. The main buffet is fine for adults, but if you have picky eaters it doesn't always have plain pasta and Pizza. Those staples are available at the restaurants, but service is very slow and uneven. My 2 year old couldn't sit long enough to go to restaurant so she pretty much ate fruit, bread and cheese at the main buffet for a week.

There was a water main break in the hotel and we lost hot water for 2 days. Staff was nice, but no one seemed inclined to provide accurate information. They kept saying everything was OK, but it wasn't.

Room Tip: Rooms on the back side are cheaper and balconies still look at water.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank R0riG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

Had a great stay. Felt like family. Staff was great, learned a lot from Tyrol our favorite server. Rennex and Chloe were great always showing kids and us a good time. Both always were happy to see us! Love Gavin aka Poppy making us omwlets ever morning.... We missed him the one morning he wasn't there! And Eric our stocker/concierge was great....super friendly and went the extra mile for us on a couple occasions!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ezbball34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pincourt, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

Very disappointed with this resort! The beach, or lack of, is absolutely pathetic! We stayed at the pool the entire vacation! The food was alright... The rooms were clean... I wouldnt recommend for couples or singles. Its caters to families with children and thats it!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Lisa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club

Property: Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club
Address: St. Ann, Boscobel, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Mary Parish > Boscobel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Boscobel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club 4*
Number of rooms: 223
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•Minutes away from the newly renovated Ian Fleming International Airport•Kids Camp with certified nannies to pamper the kids •Supervised Xbox® Play Lounge with flat screen plasma TV’s•Kids can enjoy fun and games with Elmo & friends in our Sesame Street Caribbean Adventure•Adults-only El Dorado bar located on a terrace overlooking the Caribbean Sea •A state of the art “Liquid by Beaches” Disco •Pirates Island Water Park offering eleven slides for all ages•Voted Beaches Resorts ‘World’s Leading Family All-Inclusive’ 14 years in a row ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Beaches Boscobel Resort And Golf Club
Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club Hotel Boscobel
Beaches Boscobel Hotel
Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
Beaches Ocho Rios

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