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All reviews manor side riviera side reef terrace butler village butler service manor house kelly's dockside manor pool great house southern table semi private pool le gourmand polo lounge rabbit hole club level our honeymoon riviera building
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Reviewed March 6, 2012

This was our first trip to Sandals. Before going, I read a lot of the reviews on trip advisor, and most were positive, but I was a little concerned with the negative reviews. We had an absolutely wonderful vacation from start to finish at this fantastic resort. Yes, the bus ride is long, but the trip is well worth it. We booked a room with concierge service because the room had a balcony and mini-bar. We were suppose to have a view of the mountains, but we were upgraded to ocean view at check-in. What a wonderful surprise! We enjoyed having coffee each morning on the balcony looking at the beautiful view of the sea. The food was very good at all the restaurants. You need reservations for Kelly's and Kimonas. They get booked up right away so I suggest checking for availability soon as you get there. Our concierge (Marva) was able to get reservations for my husand and I, and the other six in our party that did not have a concierge room. The pools, lush gardens, ocean, pier, etc. are beautiful. There is an outdoor bar next to Kelly's we enjoyed going to at night after dinner. The Jamican people are so warm and friendly. You will make friends there and you'll feel like you've known they forever. I am going to mention a couple of names, but every single person we dealt with was wonderful. On our first day, we met up with (Steshawn) Shawn by the pool. For the entire week he saved eight chairs with beautiful views of the ocean and right next to the swim-up bar. He served us drinks, offered to bring us food, and we had a lot of fun conversations with him. We spent our time at the Riveria beach resort pool. The new pool on the Manor side is beaufitul, but our rooms were the on Riveria side. We liked being close to the ocean and all the activities, so our next trip we will still stay on the Riveria side. Also, on our first day, we met Josie (her title was Playmaker). She is such a sweetie and so much fun. We played scavenger hunt, bachi ball, pool pictionary. If you go, look her up, you will love meeting her. The tours we went on were a lot fun. One day we went camel riding, Dunn's river falls, lunch at a jerk meat place, and shopping. It was a very fun day. My husband and I went to Dolphin Cove and swam with the dolphins. It is very pricey, but to us it was worth it. I highly recommend this place for a vacation!!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SJF988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2012

I love this place! This was our second stay at Sandals Grande Riviera (2/25/12-3/3/12)and can't wait to go back. The renovation is amazing and love the many secluded locations to relax with your significant other(many of which are fireside and extremely romantic.)

Arrival-Since it was our 15th anniversary we splurged for a butler suite. When we first arrived we were taken to the Concierge suite with 3 other couples. We were embarrassed when they started to hand paperwork to the other couples and announced that our butler had been called and she would be there quickly. We are not fancy people and at that moment a butler seemed like overkill since we were sitting in such a beautiful room with friendly people. This feeling of embarrassment turned to frustration as we sat there waiting and waiting till long after the other couples had been escorted to their rooms. We sat there so long that out of embarrassment of their own, the concierge asked if they could escort us to lunch while we waited for our butler. This was only our second time with Butler service and didn't really know what to expect. We tried to remain positive and then Nadine came and found us. She took us to our room via golf cart and we were elated. We were fortunate to have a villa at the top of the hill on the manor side with an unbelievable view. When I say unbelievable I truly mean it was amazing! We booked into the Orchid Oceanfront Butler Suite and that is what we received. Nadine gave us a cell phone to use for the week and made sure we were all set until dinner. We assured her we were and she left us to relax.

Butlers-After our check in experience we were nervous until we met Israel. He was so nice and had the best attitude. No matter what you requested from Israel he would respond with a confident "My Pleasure" or "No Problem" and we just knew it was taken care of. He would even reserve a beach bed for us daily and bring a cooler of drinks and snacks to us.
Nadine-Nadine is super friendly with a great smile. She is personable, charismatic and fun to hang out with.

Entertainment-Great! There was always somewhere fun to hang out if we wanted to be social.

Grounds-Absolutely gorgeous. The evenings were so lovely we would just walk the property to look at the flowers & trees. I don't know why people mentioned they felt unsafe walking. We walked almost everywhere. Our butlers actually made jokes about being mad that we never called them for rides.

Breakfast-I am not a fan of buffet's so room service from our Butlers was perfect on our patio. If we ordered from Israel he would go above and beyond to make sure it was not only accurate but he would then set it up beautifully and elegantly on our patio.

Lunch-Mariners was our choice. We loved the jerk chicken and the coconut shrimp.

Dinners-If you have a butler you will have no trouble getting into pretty much any restaurant any night you would like.
Kelly's Dockside- So overrated. We tried it two times since our first experience was just ok. The second attempt was even worse. The location is GORGEOUS but the food was not good.
Bayside-Enjoyed the lobster and the location.
Valentino's-Delicious
Reefside Terrace-Delicious
China Doll-Must have the chicken soup. An absolute MUST!

Overall-The bus ride is not so bad and we hope to return soon. I would recommend Concierge or Butler service in order to have the stocked mini bar and extra service. If you need a friendly face or extra assistance go find Shadine or her sister Duncan at the Soon Come Back desk. They actually remembered us from our first trip and became our friends.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Jennifer J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2012

We like many of you read a ton of reviews and this is our conclusion, we had an amazing time and really what are some missing tiles?

My husband and I went with another couple (we are in our late 20's). We stayed in a villa on the manor side, in what they call the "Tropical Paradise Estate poolside." Our villa backed up to where the parking lot for the lobby was, really could not see a lot of it, just more noise but not bad! The room was plenty big for the two of us, it was clean no complaints. What the most amazing part about the room was the butlers, they really made the trip for us. Many of the other guests who did not have the butlers were told they could not get into the nicer restaurants for at least 4 days. We never had a problem getting into anywhere. The butlers also reserved us beach chairs, put out towels for us and one amazing afternoon brought us snacks poolside.

I am not a big foodie, but I thought the food was good and up to par. Kelly's dock side was our fav for the ambiance and food. Drinks were plenty, no problems ever getting a drink. Lots and lots of rum drinks. Our fav was the BBC, banana, bailey's and chocolate we had strawberry added.

The grounds were very pretty and always they were doing something updating/cleaning the grounds. Both side were very nice. Really it was no big deal at all ridding the bus to the other side. The bus quite picking up from the beach side at 10pm, but they still picked up from the main lobby until 2am from the rivera side. Jamie's turns into a little night club, all the door open to the ocean.

Lots of pools to choose from, the biggest is on the manor/villa side. The resorts was at full capacity but I had no idea. Swim up bars were really cool, always hopping. Everyone gets out of the pools about 4ish to get ready for dinner, but you can still use them. Towels were plenty in the am, but hard to find later in the day. Not a big deal, just had to ask for one and they were brought to you.

We went on an excursion every other day (3 total), Dune buggy, Zip-line/river tubing and booze cruise/dunes river falls all through island routes. Ok, so there were much better zip-lines that were more than 3. We should have done our research a little better, so should you. There were 2 other zip-lines we found out about that were 8 and 5 lines, other guests said they were fun. The dune buggy was ok, my husband thought we would be in razors but were in bigger ones. We had to follow in a line and go around on an orange plantation. Seeing another side of the country was really neat. The booze cruise, the best part was going back and drinking. We all had to hold hands and climb up a manmade fall, we could have gotten up in in no time on our own. I did not know about the snorkeling, was cool but way too many people all trying to snorkel in the same area and it was really shallow in some areas, too close to the reef to use your legs to swim hands only. We asked to go shopping one day, waste of time!!! They took us to the mall of crap for tourists, don't waste your time the gift shops have the same thing.

I would not rate as excellent, only due to the fact the people on the phone booking you need to get it together. We booked with another couple and were told we would be in the same villa, we were not. Upon arrival they had no idea we were even traveling together, but we were not that far from one another and got over it.

All in all we would come back, we booked a trip to St. Lucia for next June. We hope you have an amazing time and don't let the Debby Downers get you down. Have a great time and if you see a missing tile, go to the other side of the jacuzzi (its a freaking tile!).

Room Tip: We upgraded a week before to a butler suite and really we would not go back without one.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank vacationalready
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 4, 2012

My husband and I travelled to the Sandals Grande Riviera the week of 2/21-2/28. This was our first trip to a Sandals. Overall, we were very pleased with our experience. We booked a villa on the manor side with concierge service. We were thrilled with our room. The villa was beautiful, clean, spacious, and we had a private pool! We shared the pool with the 3 other suites in our villa, but we barely saw those guests, so it seemed though the pool was all ours. Our villa was about a 5 minute walk to the main Manor building-not bad at all. The jitneys ran frequently to the villas, so if we were feeling lazy or tired, we could easily hop a jitney to our room. The jitney drivers were very friendly and helpful. We loved staying on the Manor side. The vans to the beach (Riviera) side ran about every 5-10 minutes, so it was not much a wait at all to get to the beach. The Manor side seemed quieter, which was just what we wanted. The pools were beautiful and we had no trouble finding chairs near our favorite pool-near Dino's pizzeria. Towels were sometimes a challenge to locate.

The restaurants were fantastic! We ate at several:

Manor-ate there twice for dinner and it was fabulous! ODave was a great waiter. The steamed snapper was wonderful.

Neptunes-pretty good. Very nice atmosphere eating right on the beach.

China Doll- fantastic! We loved it there and the staff was so wonderful and attentive. Great experience.

Valentinos-good, but kinda of a long wait to be seated. Service was pretty slow, but the food was good. The ravioli appetizer was quite tasty.

Kelly's- we made reservations as soon as we checked in on day one and the first available was for our last night of vacation. It was a great way to end our week. Very good food-service a bit slow.

Dino's/manor grill-we ate lunch there daily and enjoyed both the pizza and sandwiches.

The spa was wonderful! Jaqueline was heavenly. I had the best hot stone massage ever. Definitely recommend spending some time in the spa.

The workout area was nice and never crowded. My hubby and I hoped to run outside, but it was kinda hard to find a decent route that wasn't totally hilly. But, the ellipticals and treadmills were very nice options.

Our only disappointment came from the concierge. What a waste of money! We paid a good bit more for our villa to include the concierge service and it WAS NOT worth if. At check in, we were told that we were not to have to "work" at all on our vacation and to call them for everything. Well, it was quite hard to call at all, as our phone didn't work for the first 3 full days. We had to stop in at concierge several times a day to see if the phone would be fixed. It seemed like a LOT of work all to have a simple amenity in our room functional. Once we did have a phone, we would call daily for ice and beverage service. Both were supposed to happen automatically, but we would either get beverage service not until after 4 each day or not all all. Getting ice was such an ordeal. It's great to have bottles of liquor available in our room, but hard to make a drink without ice. Most days we would call at least 2 or 3 times to request ice before it came. The worst was when it took 6 hours, four phone calls, and a walk in person to the concierge in order to get ice and have more water delivered. Not the kind of service I expected for the price we paid. My husband and I tried very hard to be patient with the concierge, but it got to be really annoying after awhile considering the price we paid. We noticed that the concierge staff (mostly during the day) really catered to the older guests, while the younger guests like us were frequently blown off. The happened when we tried to book a tour and spa treatment.

Next time, we will either save up for a butler or else save the cash and settle for a regular room.

We splurged for a private driver from the airport to the resort. It was a great way to start off our trip. We travelled on a Tuesday and flew thru customs upon arrival at MBJ. It was great. We barely had time to get a beer poured in the airport lounge before our driver had appeared and was ready to drive us. He had beer and wine for us in the car, along with some finger foods. It was fabulous! We took the bus for our return trip and it went smoothly.

All in all, we were happy with our trip and would definitely recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Request a villa on the Manor side for a very private and romantic setting.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Diana H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 4, 2012

My husband and I, as well as another couple (all of us thirty-somethings), just returned yesterday (3/3) from 7 nights in absolute paradise!! This is the third Sandals I've stayed at and was in absolutely NO way disappointed in anything about this particular property!! Before we left, we read the reviews of the property and when we got there we could not fathom what in the world the people who thought negatively were talking about! We chalked it up to some people complain...that's what they do. My best words of advice before I get into the specifics are....relax, enjoy yourself, and understand that these folks will do just about anything except take your vacation for you! If you are a miserable person, this resort does not have the power to change you. If you want to go and have a good time....this resort can provide that....NO PROBLEM!!

Arrival.....flight was delayed 2 hours (not Sandals fault). Immigration in Jamacia on a Saturday is not fun (took an 1.5 hours....again, not Sandals fault). Yes, there is about an hour and 45 minute drive from the airport (just distance from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios...not Sandals fault). We got there later in the evening and were greated by Concierge and were whisked directly to our Villa.

Villa....ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! Even better than the pictures!!!!! Wow! We had an ocean view (Villa 13) and our friends that we traveled with were just on the other side of our patio. We opened our patio doors and had coctails next to the semi-private pool just about every day we were there!

Marketplace (Restaurant)....we were starving when we got there and it was suggested that we head to the Marketplace for a quick bite to eat. We got right in and the food and the drinks were fantastic.

The Manor House Pool is huge!! There aren't a ton of chairs so try to plan to get up early and get yourself a seat! I suggest a couple chair clips or something personal on the chair so they don't get swiped! The pool bar at the Manor House Pool is gigantic and we never waited for a drink!!

Breakfasts were typical buffets....pretty much everything you could want, including eggs and omlets made to order. Food was good...no complaints!

Lunches - options for typical buffets but we usually ordered something from the grill or Dinos (pizza) for lunch and took it back over to the pool with us. The restaurant that is Neptunes at night (on the Riviera side) has a delicious variety at lunch time as well.

Other dinners:

Neptunes - Very Good! Right on the beach...nice atmosphere!!
Valentinos - DELICIOUS!! Very fancy! Loved it!!
Kimonos - Very Good! - need reservations- we liked Kellys and Valentinos better
Bayside - Very Good!
Reef Terrace - Very Good! - Much like Bayside
Kellys Dockside - EXCELLENT!! Best meal we had!! Make reservations right away. If they are full, call back each day to see if anyone cancels!!!!

We could not have enjoyed our Villa more!! We loved the fully stocked bar and used the semi-private pool area every day!! The jinty service that takes you from your villa to the Manor House was so-so at some times during the day, but the walk was not bad and we usually didn't wait for a jinty. I wouldn't have changed anything about our room!! It seems like the rooms on the Riviera Side and the ones at the Manor House (in the midst of the action) might have been a bit noisy! We LOVED having a bit of seclusion when we wanted it!

If you have mobility issues....this property just might not be for you! We don't mind walking and the fact that the resort is spread out is something that we really enjoyed about it! If you have mobility problems though, understand going in that you might have to wait a bit for accomodations!

The bus from the Manor House to the Riviera Side was quick and efficient! We never had any problems going from one area to the next! We spent most time on the Riviera side in the evenings for dinner or going to Jamie's Sports Bar. The beach is fine...we spent one afternoon there. Never visited the pools on that side. Most of our days were spent on the Manor side and we loved it!

The staff were amazing!! I've never seen happier people than the Jamacians that work on this resort! They work long, hard hours, for not much pay, and REALLY seem to love it!! We met some really great people there and learned a lot about the Jamacian culture!! We've traveled a bit and the Jamacian culture is the one that fasinates me the most!

The Catamaran Tour to Dunns River Falls is a blast!! Take your Dramamine!! The people on that boat love to host a party!! Try not to have a good dinner planned if you keep drinking after you get off the boat....they get you started and it turned into a rough night for us since we just kept going!!

Room Tip: Our Villa on the Manor Side was better than perfect!! Our room catagory was Bougainvillea Concierge Poolside One Bedroom Suite....again, wouldn't have changed a thing!!!!!!
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Dawn K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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