I travel a lot, with and without family, and have visited several all-inclusives including 4 Sandals properties and 4 Beaches properties. You already know from the other reviews that you will enjoy yourself and be treated very well. So let me give you some comparisons and tips.
This is not Four Seasons or the Ritz Carlton. Do not stay here thinking you will get that kind of service and food continuously (sometimes yes). You can get better deals if you do things a-la-carte, so if you are just looking for the best deal possible, this is not for you.
Pictures of any resort/hotel are always done to give the best possible light. I never expect any resort/hotel to look exactly like the pictures, and no one should either. That said, Beaches is 90% on their pictures at all of their properties.
Sandals (including Beaches) have the best all-inclusive experience in this hemisphere. So if you’re looking for the best all-inclusive, you’ve come to the right place.
Beaches Ocho Rios gave us the best food and service than any other Sandals resort we have been to. Keep in mind that this is an overall rating and every Beaches property will give you good food and service. Ocho Rios was slightly ahead overall (about one-quarter of a star). Most of the food at Turks is imported. Most of the food in Jamaica is from the island. The fruit overall at Turks was slightly sweet; in Jamaica it was candy sweet. The pizza at Turks was much better than in Ocho Rios, probably the only food item that was better at Turks. I thought the snorkeling was equal to Turks. I did not go scuba diving. Those that did, tell me Turks is better.
Negril and Turks have much better beaches. Ocho Rios is man-made. If you want the perfect beach, try one of the others. However, Ocho Rios’ beach was very pretty too, with crystal clear water. Some seaweed, but most of the swim area is completely clear of it. You will not be forced to encounter it if you don’t want to.
The thing that is unique about Ocho Rios’ beach is that it is 100% private. You never had anyone asking you about para-sailing etc. That would get a little annoying to me at Negril and Turks. Also, because it’s private, it is the only one that offers drink service on the beach.
Two things I did like better at Ocho Rios were the Concierge service and the Sandals Signature Dinner. I felt the Concierge service was better than the other properties. We checked in and out there, they made dinner reservations every night for us, as well as excursions off the property. I do recommend you get this service if you can afford it. The other properties had a buffet for their repeat guests; this property had a multi-course sit-down dinner that was fantastic, with private music and a magician going from table to table.
Because this is the smallest of the Beaches, you see more of the staff and guests repeatedly than at the other properties. This allowed staff (and guests you made friends with) to recognize you and learn your name, likes, and overall make friends.
So, if you’ve been to another Beaches property already, or if this is the best property for your budget, I do recommend you give this place a try. I was surprised at how pleased I was with it. One thing worth saying – do not go here if you have mobility issues. Yes, you can get around using the ramps and the elevators, but since it is on the side of a cliff, you will constantly be going up and down. Try one of the other Beaches if you have mobility issues.
Some tips and comments.
If you have concierge service, make a point of going to the concierge party on Sunday afternoon – bingo with free prizes. Use their restaurant reservation system so you don’t wait in line.
When you go to the restaurants, see what the signature menu item is, and if you like it, order it. They were excellent at all the restaurants. Venetian has a menu-order breakfast if you prefer that over buffet. Visit each restaurant at least once. If you don’t have reservations, get there early so you don’t have to wait.
Young kids will have a blast. Older ones less so unless they enjoy spending time with family or meet new friends (ours did both). Drinking age is 18, but not enforced very well. What that means is if you’re 14 or over, you can get served alcohol. So, you have three choices with regards to your teen: 1) you don’t mind that they drink; 2) you trust them completely and know they would never drink, or 3) you keep track of where they are and what they’re doing and smell their breath constantly. This is true at any of the Beaches. This also explains why you pay adult rates on your 16-year-old at Beaches even though they aren’t supposed to drink.
Go online just before you go and see if any of the cruise liners are going to be in town while you’re there. If you do an off-property excursion, choose a day when the cruise liner is not docked. We visited Dunns River during a cruise ship dock and regretted it. Some other guests did the same thing with the dolphins.
If you arrive and leave during sunlight, the drive is just fine. You are in air-conditioning and one side is the sea and the other side small mountains. I thought the views were great. You stop half-way for bathroom and snacks. I do recommend you purchase Jamaican trinkets at this store too.
The gift shop has sales on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
I wouldn’t pay extra for the dinner on the beach. It’s the same food quality as Eleanor’s, but with a lot more wind. Instead, have a two-person dinner at Eleanor’s on their outside deck overlooking the ocean. It’s included.
I did miss the lazy river, but there are three big slides, 2 medium slides, and 3 small slides that my teens and I all enjoyed. Lie on your back, put your hands behind your head, and arch your backside off the slide if you want the fastest experience possible. Because of the number of slides and size of the resort, we had very little wait to go on one as compared to the other Beaches properties.
We never had problems with seats at the beach or pool. It looked to be pretty full when we were there. Towels were there about 80% of the time – better than Turks. Water pressure and hot water were there about 90% of the time. I consider that pretty good, but Turks was 100%.
The entertainment is primarily for younger kids, but as adults, we laughed a whole lot. We did not experience any overly slow service. Sometimes it came right away, sometimes a little bit longer. If your child needs immediate service, I recommend the buffet. Take your child there, put them in camp, and enjoy a nice sit-down meal at one of the restaurants.
For evening entertainment for adults and older kids this is what I recommend. The Bayside Bar is good for watching sporting events and drinking and eating popcorn. Find the channel from your room channel list before you go so the bartender can input it. Look at the daily schedule. If it shows piano bar, visit the piano bar. Some days the player was only there for 90 minutes, but it was a fun 90 minutes. If it shows music at the Opa bar, go visit there that night. The views from both of these bars are outstanding.
Club Liquid was fun. It is not very large. The music is a little loud, and you should feel free to ask the DJ to play stuff that you know. The selection wasn’t great, but good enough. Some of the staff would be happy to dance with you or your children if you like.
The balconies on most of the concierge rooms are also where you enter and exit your room. Sometimes others would walk along the balcony. You will not get 100% privacy. But your chairs and table are yours. As with all hotels, keep anything valuable, including cell phones, locked in your safe. My family rule is no cell or internet service while we’re there, so we have nice interaction without distraction during meals and recreation.
When it rains, it is almost always for a short while and then it clears right up. The pool bar makes great milk shakes. I enjoyed eating lunch and then having a milk shake for dessert.
The shops on the side are cheaper than the gift shop, but they aren’t great deals. Sometimes, you need to tell them what you want and they will bring it for you later or the next day. I recommend buying your keepsakes at the store you stop on during arrival and departure. You will need aqua shoes if you visit Dunn’s River. Buy them before you go or at the shops on the side of the resort.
Feel free to message me if you have any questions.
- 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