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“Our Dream Wedding!!!”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 24 May 2011

We just got married at the Sandals in Ocho Rios. The hotel was amazing! I would recommend staying on the manor side because the staff seems to be a lot more friendly on that side of the resort. The wedding was perfect and Vinette our wedding planner was great. We did have a few mix ups regarding food that did not get straightened out to my satisfaction. We went on a catamaran cruise with captain Micheal and his staff and that was the second best part of the trip...thanks captain M and Anna!!! The only real complaint that I have is with Jamie's Bar...we waited 30 minutes and did not get a drink from the rude bartender. We even offered to give him an extremely generous tip and he still would not serve us! Meanwhile other people would walk up and get a drink so I am very disappointed with that. The playmakers were very fun and I want to say a special thanks to Josie!!!

Room Tip: would not use the villas again unless I had butler
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank sarasgpab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,384 - 6,390 of 8,626 reviews

Reviewed 23 May 2011

After spending a beautiful week in Negril at the Grand Pineapple and the Sandals Negril me and my wife decided that we would return to Sandals Grande Ocho Rios for reunion week since we usually stayed at Sandals Dunns Rivers which is now run by another company. This was our second time staying at SGOR and it was probably are least enjoyable time we have had at any Sandals resort. To even advertise this place as a 5 star resort is a joke.
Since we were already in Jamaica for 10 days before we arrrived at SGOR, transportation was arranged by the very helpful front desk at the Sandals Negril for transport to the airport so we could link up with the Sandals bus going to SGOR even though we had left Sandals Negril(Top notch service and respect!!! What u expect when your spending your hard earned money) to spend a few days with our children and grandkids at the Grand Pineapple resort(In the middle of Seven mile beach,big clean room, great location n service for the price.) also owned by Sandals. The bus driver was kind enough to drive us to the Arrival side where a Sandals rep came outside to us and tagged are bags and the bus came around and pick us up to go to SGOR.
When we arrrived at SGOR we received no wet hand towel or refreshment upon our arrival. First Sandals resort that we have been to that this has happened. Other than that check-in by the Conciegre desk was very smooth. Tamkea and all the other Concierge desk staff should be used as a example of what front end service should been given to guest. You should not have to pay extra for this type of service.
ROOM:
We stayed in a villa on the Manor side. Nice clean room and living room area. Little bit outdated but I had no problems with it. Room had a semi-private pool which you share with the 3 other rooms in your villa which was nice but deck was filthy and pool was not clean and maintained daily. These little things go along way when your trying to running a first class resort.

Spa:
Red Spa is the only place at this resort that was up to standard. Do not prebook your massages because everyday Spa had specials running that were outstanding. MY wife ended up going to the spa 3 times because everyday they had a different package deal special. Service was excellent. A must do.
Food and Bars:
Most resturants were good. The Kimono's and Dino's are not up to par with how they were run at Dunns River. My favorite was the Manor which was the simplest but had wonderful service and food. The breafast was subpar compared to Sandals Negril which had fruit smoothies and a wider selection of food to chose from since me and my wife are not pork eaters. On ocassion if I tipped the right people I was able to get a Jamaican breafast which I think should be offered in the buffet. Not everyone likes to eat greasy bacon and sausages and some type of fish or porridge would have been a nice touch in the mornings. Beach grill food was fresh and always good. All of the bartenders on the Manor side were outstanding. Never had a problem with service. This resort only has low shelf liquor. The El dorado rum unless it was the 12year old kind is terrible compared to the Appleton rum. No Topshelf liqour availble as advertised. NO Grey Goose, Ciroc, Hennesey, Couvoisier, Crown Royal, etc. available at any of the bars like other Sandals. Very dissapointing. Forget about that cheap liqour they put in your room. Thank god they put some Red Stripe in the fridge but it would be nice if the had some Guinness stout for the Jamaican and European guest. Plus cheap liquor at bars seemed to be watered down making it even worse. Bars were not what was expected at a supposed 5 star resort.

The beach is small but OK. If your a beach lover Negril or Whitehouse are a must do!!! The Playmakers and entertainment was very basic and boring. Same shows and format they had when we were here in 2006.

Overall our stay was not that bad but way below standards compared to other Sandal resorts in JA which we have stayed at. I have choosen to stay at Sandals because of the standard and quality of service it usually gives. I travel to JA at least every 2-3 months since I have properties, family and business interests all over Jamaica. I have been to a lot of resorts over the years since I have friends and family who are key goverment officials in the Ministry of Tourism. Sandals is my favorite chain here in Jamaica (even though I can stay at most other resorts in Ja for alot less) but I do not think I will be back to SGOR again and do not recommend it if your looking for 4 or 5 star service and accomodations. Management only seem to cater to the returning guest t or travel agents they know. Not once was I spoken to by any of the Executive staff other than the Junior Hotel Manager. You must treat all guest with the same respect especially one that was born and raised in Jamaica. They are no better people than fellow Jamaicans living aboard to promote Jamaican Toursim so I think you and your staff need to not just cater to certain people because you think they are good tippers or will return to your resort. With a few minor adjustments I think this can be an outstanding resort since it has golf( course could use some upgrading too.) and is undergoing some renovations that once finished will be nice. We will probably be going to Sandals Royal Hicacos in Cuba next reunion time since it is the only Sandals we have not stayed at and love the beaches in Cuba but would maybe stay at the Royal Planataion and just visit SGOR for a day if we are on this side of the island.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 100percentYardie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2011

sandals grande riviera was a fabulous hotel! We just came back yesterday and would go back in a heart beat! What we loved: all the activities they offer during the day time! from pool olympics to raggae trivia there are plenty of activities. We also loved the water sports offered! aquatrikes, snorkeling, glass bottom boats, sailing, etc. We also highly recommend buying a snorkel kit in the gift shop (expensive $29, but So worth it) you can see so many fish right in the little lagoon at the hotel! We LOVED the pool bar on the manor side! Bishop, Michael, and Kevon are the BEST bartenders! Whenever you asked what time is it? They reply with shot 0'clock and pour shots for everyone at the bar! They also do cool tricks and stuff and you can tell really like their job! We lovedd that they offer so many restaurants at night! All with fabulous food and presented beautifully! We also highly recommend the Island Vibes cruise offered through island routes! its a catamaran cruise that takes you snorkeling, to Dunn's River Falls, and then on the drive back its a booze cruise! SOO much fun! The Jamaican bobsled was also sooo cool! highly recommended! Security at the resort was great!! Okay... So what we didn't like... The breakfast buffet offered the same meals every day (alittle variety would have been nice) it also would be cool if some of the restaurants at night offered breakfast during the day. Be prepared to tip everyone especially off of the resort! (not a big deal, but they definitely expect it!) Also, I would have liked a better night life BUT to be honest you do so much during the day and drink so early your exhausted by 10 pm! lol FYI information the shuttle back and forth to the manor and riviera side is not bad!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Carrollj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2011

I recently returned from a trip to Ocho Rios. The resort and staff are great, but my special interest is in the scuba diving. The dive staff always helps you enjoy your visit. I have been diving in Jamacia since 1997. This year the diving conditions appeared to be improving, both in the marine life and the clarity of the water. A special thanks to Magnum. I was excited last year when he found one seahorse, but this year he found four seahorses. Seahorses have been a rarity for me and to see four this year was fantastic.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DiveTraveler85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2011

Our trip to Sandals Grande Riviera was booked about 8 or 7 weeks in advance when I thought to read some reviews and happened on this webiste. I was quite skeptical about going after reading some of the reviews but the good ones pushed us to trudge on none the less and the trip was also fully paid for already. I'll break it down as best as I can since I know some of thr reviews really guided me on what to expect

Arrival - We arrived at Norman Manly Int'l Airport in Kingston....the drive was 2 hours long and after a flight not the ideal drive to get to the hotel since the roads are very winding and not the smoothest. That being said, I get motion sickness so the drive was difficult for me. When we got there our room wasn't ready and we had another 2 hour wait until it was....this wasn't much of a bother just more of an inconvenience...we ate at the grill and drank at the bar until the room was ready.

Room - AMAZINNGGG!!!!! the view was out of this world....we got an ocean view room and I'm not sure but I think we were upgraded since our room had a small patio which we didn't anticipate...no complaints though!! PERFECT! We were just upstairs the bar and overlooking the ocean!!! was perfect!!

Food - Good food. Sushi was good...breakfast was fab! enjoyed the food.

Staff - they were all quite friendly and it helps to just read their name tags and remember their names....they make the guests feel special so is it so hard to call them by thier names and not think of them as servants?

Manor side vs. Riviera Side - we like the ocean as opposed to the pool so we enjoyed the riviera side. Most of the restaurants are on the Riviera side. The construction on the riviera side isn't complete but the Manor side is done. The construction really wasn't a bother at all to us.

Don't believe the bad reviews, go with an open mind, don't sweat the small stuff and you'll be fine!! the bad reviewers I think are mostly just picky people for the most part.

Room Tip: best bet for ocean view - Riviera Side
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank KBhaggan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2011

For reference, we are in our mid 30's and this was our 3rd trip to Sandals and 4th trip to Jamaica. We read ALL the reviews and were nervous to stay at this property. We wanted a fun and relaxing trip. After our room change, our vacation was AMAZING and I didn't want to leave. We had such a GREAT time and we will definitely return to this property! Don’t be nervous, you will have an INCREDIBLE time!!!

TRANSFERS: We booked round trip private transfers through Reggae Tours which cost $162 and well worth it as we didn't have to wait on everyone else to get to the airport to leave for our resort. The drive was an hour and a half. Our driver was Nicholas and he pointed out various landmarks and made it into a scenic tour for us.

ROOM: When we arrived at the resort, we were promptly greeted by our concierge Georgia. She had wonderful smelling cold towels and a fruity drink waiting for us. We were quickly checked in (Georgia informed us that we had been upgraded to a beautiful ocean view room) and taken to our room on a jitney. We were originally booked on the hillside/Manor in category HV1 Honeymoon Bougainvillea Hideaway Concierge Poolside One Bedroom Villa. We arrived in our room and at first glance it was a nice room. We checked out our view which was of a barb wired fence, pregnant feral cats, and several power lines with the ocean barely peeking through if you stood on your toes. Then I went to the bathroom and there was a moldy tub/shower. The pool was very dirty and our refrigerator was broken. We called the concierge desk and requested a room change and were told the property was fully booked and it would be the next day before we could change OR we could pay $1400 and be placed in a butler room. No problem, we slept the first night in the that room and they changed us over to the Riviera Side category PG Riviera Honeymoon Concierge Room with Private Balcony. Much better room! Our maid, Nichola, kept our room tidy and stocked. NOTE: If you prefer a newly renovated room book a room in the Bamboo Grove or Banyan Grove on the Riviera side. We saw these rooms and they have been gutted and are beautiful!

ACTIVITIES: This isn't a beach property. The beaches are sectioned into three parts and they are pretty rocky and full of seaweed. We spent three days over at the Manor pool with bartender Bishop (WHY NOT!!??) in a cabana with floats reserved by our concierges. Each morning our cabana was decorated with various flowers and towel animals. We had lunch at the grill and Dino's 3 days. Bishop offered to bring us lunch one day. He was so kind and funny always singing. NOTE: Manor pool is the party/activity pool and not quiet, if you want a pizza from Dino's order about 45 min to an hour before you actually want to eat it, Manor cabanas #6-9 are reserved for concierge guests free of charge based on availability (reserve these the day you arrive for the days you want and specify you want a pool float or you will NEVER get one).

Then we discovered the brand new Riviera Beach Club/swim up pool bar. This is a well kept secret! There were so many relaxing, hidden, private areas to read, nap, and admire the ocean view. We spent the next 3 days here enjoying some quiet time. We had lunch at the grill next to this spot and that's the best jerk chicken. Note: This is the place to go for quiet time. The cabanas on this side are for Butler guests, BUT you can purchase them for $70-$125 per day, which includes massages, lunch, drinks, two pool loungers, and butler service.

We attended the White Party and Chocolate buffet and it was yummy with a good band!

RESTAURANTS: We ate at Reef Terrace two nights, Soy and Kimonos, Bayside for breakfast and dinner, Marketside for breakfast, Valentino's, Gordon's, and off property at Toscanini's our last night. The food on property is good. It is NOT 5 star, but it is good and plentiful. The breakfasts were good with made to order omelets, pastries, smoked salmon, bacon, and fresh fruits. We never had an issue getting into the non-reservation restaurants. Our favorite meal was actually off property at Toscanini's Italian restaurant. Our concierges arranged our dinner reservation and transportation was included. Incredible meal and the owner Lella was very knowledgeable and friendly. We felt as if she invited us over to her home for dinner. A must try!

SPA: A therapist came to my room and arranged a package of treatments with me. She phoned the spa and made my appointment. I had a body scrub, facial and hot stone massage with Karen S and it was blissful.

STAFF: I wanted to mention some of the staff members who went out of their way to ensure we were treated like royalty. Georgia and Nicholas Ellis (concierge mgr) on the Manor side made all of our reservations, even off property, reserved our cabana and made sure our room got changed. They followed up with us daily to remind us of parties and special events. Caren Simpson-Kerr, Director of Guest Services, called us one day to ensure we were happy in our new room and gave us a tour of the property and some of the renovated rooms. Caren has a beautiful soul and is one of the reasons we will be back to SGR! Duncan, Shekira and Ann-Marie at the Soon Come Back desks-We had the pleasure of having breakfast with Duncan and Ann-Marie one morning and learned about the Sandals Foundation. Great girls! Our wonderful Riviera concierges Marva and Keriann-They made our stay wonderful, answering our many questions and taking our photos:)

RENOVATIONS: This resort is currently undergoing major renovations. There is a new pool being constructed on the Riviera side, there is major construction going on with rooms and the roofs are being repaired. We were on the 5th floor of the Riviera Building and could hear them banging on the roof. The construction NEVER bothered us and we never heard it past 6pm. I heard the renovations would be completed in 6 to 8 months. Once they are finished this property is going to be even more beautiful.

TIPPING: We brought money to tip the staff that went out of their way for us such as our concierges, maid, servers, and drivers. The service we received from some of the staff was okay while some was exceptional and we thought they deserved the tips


OTHER TIPS: Take some bug spray. If you stay on the manor side, there are jitneys to take you from the manor lobby to your room and back AND there are buses that take you from the Manor lobby to the beach/Riviera side. If you have mobility issues, the Riviera side is the best place to be because there are elevators in the Riviera Building and the Bamboo Building.

Room Tip: Book Banyan and Bamboo Grover for a new room!
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank UGAtraveler76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2011

First thing's first...when we called in January 2011, we asked when construction would be finished because we wouldn't book til it was done....they LIED and told us April...when we got there May 4th, the construction was EVERYWHERE! It seemed like every Tom, Dick, and Harry had access to that resort because of the construction. Any people planning on going soon, the construction is no where near complete! On our 3rd day there, our room was robbed! Someone broke the french patio doors, got into the room, and stole $800 out of our safe. What did Sandals do about it? GAVE US THE FINGER! More or less called us liars...saying that it was merely allegations that we even had $800 in that safe and anyone broke in. The latch lock was hanging by a thread...there were hand prints and fingerprints all over that door! We took pictures of the damage and promised them that the photos would surface on Trip Advisor. My boyfriend will post the pics with his review! Management didn't even want to fix the door that was broken by the thief to get in! I never felt so violated in my entire life! To know that we had been being watched by someone for 3 days....knowing the times we would leave and come back to the room every single day! It took hours to get them to fix the door! The doors are NOT secure and anyone can pull them open with it being locked! If they had not fixed the doors, we would have left with 8 days remaining on our vacation there! They say they are not responsible for anything taken out of the safe...well, one of your employees or construction workers did not know whether the safe was locked or not but they still had the gull to break in there and steal. In the last year, we've spent over $10,000 on the same resort and even donated money to their "Sandals Foundation" and they still managed to dump on our heads! Well, we are done with Sandals and we are done with Jamaica!

My camera got misplaced on our second day there...a "good samaritan" picked it up and brought it to the main desk. They put in a safe and I did not get it back for 3 days! They would not even let me identify my own camera! A butler (whom I believe is a possible suspect for our robbery) had to identify it 3 days later. By the time I finally got it back, I was ready to go home because we had been robbed...and I didn't take another picture for the other 8 days we were there. The sewage backed up into room for 2 days before anyone came to fix it. The water began gushing out of the bathtub faucet with full force with all the knobs turned off one evening....took them 3 hours to get it fixed. We went into another couple's room on the Riviera side...they had a waterfall in their room...the air conditioner was steadily pouring water out from it onto the carpet...not to mention the fact that the floor was very soft in several areas. I noticed that there was an abundance of caterpillars, ants, and lizards IN our room.

I think the food improved a good bit from last year but the service was not good at all...nothing to brag about. We weren't attacked by too many people this year to buy drugs...although for the beach party, they had some mighty happy people toking it up on the beach. And we didn't see anyone snorting cocaine off the bar this year.

It's a very beautiful place. We wouldn't have gone there twice in less than a year if we didn't enjoy it the first time. We got close to a lot of people working there...many of them were no longer there this year. In closing, I do not recommend butler service to anyone. You can't trust anyone there, including the management. We are now officially done with Sandals!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank cbrouss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Ochi Beach Resort

Address: Main Street | P.O. Box 771, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $114 - $1,336 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Ochi Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 529
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•Situated on over 100 acres of lush hillside gardens overlooking the Caribbean Sea•529 villas, luxury rooms and suites with fantastic mountain and ocean views•94 pools (7 large public pools), 22 whirlpools•16 dining options including room service for butler serviced suites•2 luxurious Red Lane Spas•Complimentary golf at Jamaica’s most elite and popular golf course, the Sandals Golf & Country Club (Transfers to the golf course are included)•Over 5,000 sq. feet of first class meeting and conference facilities•Recently completed US$60 million renovation/refurbishing exercise•Voted Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand”, 18 years in a row•Voted Sandals Grande Riviera ‘Jamaica’s Leading Resort’ ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach And Villa Golf Resort
Sandals Ocho Rios
Ciboney Ocho Rios
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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