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“Fantastic BUT....”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Thunder Bay, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic BUT....”
Reviewed 9 April 2012

This is a wonderful resort. We had a villa on the manor side with Butler service. LOVED the manor side. We used 34,000 Air Miles (program US does not have - don't know why - but Canada & UK it does) So this trip cost us only the taxes of $765.00 for both of us. Nadia & LaToya were our Butlers and were WONDERFUL! We would highly recommend Butler Service, there was no waiting and they give you a cell phone so you can contact them easily. We did not know how much to tip our Butlers (tipping allowed for Butler Service) no one would tell us at the resort or when I emailed Sandals directly before leaving on our trip. So in the end after speaking with another couple who had Butler service, they were leaving $50 each so we left $100 each. We just hope it was enough. Reindeer at Kimonos was a young Eddie Murphy, he's very entertaining! Sean at the marketplace for dinner was great and we always ended up at Jamie's bar as the bartenders made the night - they were fantastic. If you remember staff members names at the resort, please write a review on this website and include their names. On the bus ride over from the manor side to beach side I was reading over a staff members shoulder & if their names are specifically mentioned on this website, they get prizes of some kind.

Food, no complaints - it was outstanding.

The Downside - peoples expectations - checking in, a guest was already almost yelling at the staff for something so stupid, I almost went up there and told the guest off but my husband held me back. Also, the way Sandals treat their staff. After speaking with various staff members (but none mentioned above) these hard working people, some working up to 15 hours a day, only make 50 US dollars a week! And Trainees - they apparently don't make anything at all until they are hired full time. Trainees can apparently remain trainees for 8 weeks or longer. I believe in tipping, but apparently if they accept tips and it is found out they will lose their job. Went to Cancun, we tipped everywhere, maid service $5 a day, $2 a drink, meals $5 - not much to us, but to these people it would make a world of difference. Really hope Sandals changes their policies on tipping. Tipping should be allowed if a guest wants to tip.

I am allergic to cats - and every now and then you will see a cat on the resort. These are strays but this is their home. Please keep in mind you are only there for 1 week. They are VERY scared of anyone and they don't mew or meow (I think purely out of fear) I managed to lure one over at the beginning of our trip at 4:00am & Late at night and I made sure to feed these poor critters everyday (you have to get creative, but it is possible) My neighbour was a real jerk and complained about the stray cats - if there is a next life, I hope he comes back as one.

Return trip at airport - get the express $30 each Mobay service. You get whisked through security & immigration and taken to beautiful room with drinks & snacks all included in the price. If you don't get this service, you will be waiting in hour (or longer) immigration line to get out of the country. Well worth the cost!!

That's it, that's my review. Enjoy the resort, you will have a great time no matter what room you stay in. Respect the wildlife & be kind to the employees. Our motto when we travel is leave with no expectations and you will have the time of your life! Now book your vacation - go, pack your bags and have a GREAT time!!! :)

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank Audrey F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2,520)
Date | Rating
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English first
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2012

My wife and I have stayed at Sandals Ocho Rios five times. Cannot praise the resort too highly. The choice of restaurants and the quality of the food is excellent. A huge estate with the options of a quiet corner and reading a book or high jinks and shots by the pool. The staff are the real attraction warm, friendly and with a real sense of fun.
Try the Reef terrace for your evening meal. It is one of the smaller eating places hidden away above the beach. If you time it for sunset the view over the bay is astonishing. Try the cruise to Dunn's river the crew really know how to party! The piano bar down on the Riviera side is the coolest place on the estate. The icy cold AC can be very pleasant after a hot day. Of the trips the nineteen mile downhill bicycle ride through the Blue Mountains is a great way to rural Jamaica. Great resort, beautiful island some wicked people ....

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank DaveWrigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Memphis, Tennessee
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2012 via mobile

My husband and I stayed from march 26 thru 31 . I had the time of my life we had the villa suite with the pool and butler service. We had two of the best butlers in the world Bernadine miller and keone Isreal. They we so sweet and helpful to any thing we need. The breakfast on the balcony was magical. Really enjoyed the restaurant accomendations that the butlers made for us and coming back to find a freshly clean room and the best towel presentation I've ever seen. The weather was wonderful and I was treated like a queen my entire stay. I wish I had stayed a little longer because Sean Paul was there the nit we had to leave :(. But I so in love with Jamaica Im looking to retire there! But if you are looking for a great way to plan a great trip to Sandals. Please contact Travel leaders. They are great people that will work with you and get you a great vacation of a life time. Jamaica is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I going back sept 2012 I look forward to see Kareem's, Josie,Isreal, and Bernadine. They are awesome people. So before you plan you next trip make it memorable by talking to TRAVEL LEADERS and having the time of your life with awesome people.

Stayed March 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank J and A B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
99 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

Early in our engagement, my wife and I discussed where we might spend our honeymoon. Cindy decided to leave it up to me, with the understanding that I would pick a place that held no memories of either of my prior marriages (I had outlived my first two wives). So, having never been to Jamaica or to any Sandals resort, I decided on the Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios.
At first, Cindy wanted the entire thing to be a surprise for her; however, I had to tell her we were going to Jamaica, as she needed to furnish that information on her passport application. She had been to Jamaica once before, but it was a one-day stop on a cruise. She had never stayed at a Sandals resort, either.
It turned out to be the best choice I possibly could have made for our honeymoon. We enjoyed everything: the restaurants, the Red Lane spa, the outstanding service from all the employees with whom we came in contact, the pools (including the small private pool by our villa), the beach, etc., etc. We definitely would recommend the private candlelight dinner by the beach for other honeymooning couples; we reserved ours ahead of time.
Two employees whom we especially would like to recognize are named Ramona and Ingrid. When Cindy and I arrived, we had been up since early in the morning, so both of us -- especially Cindy -- were exhausted. I went to the Marketplace restaurant and was greeted at once by Ramona, who not only filled my carryout dinner order but added desserts for both of us. She then turned things over to Ingrid, who made sure I got the assistance I needed to get back to our villa with the food. Both Ramona and Ingrid were helpful to us at other times throughout our stay.
We have nothing but the most pleasant memories of our stay at Sandals Grande Riviera. We would recommend it to any honeymooning couple.

Room Tip: We enjoyed our honeymoon bouganvillea hideaway villa (I think I have the terminology correct there...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank CharlesGies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Windham, Connecticut
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

My husband and I stayed at Sandals from march 18th-march 25th. This resort is amazing! We stayed on the villa side and we loved it because we got to see the whole resort. The Jitney's are always coming up to the villas so there wasn't a wait to go down to the Manor House and the buses over to the Riviera side came every 5 minutes or so.... which is no time at all. We loved our room, we stayed in the Orchid honeymoon villa with butler. Now.... the butlers were the best! I totally recommend everyone get a butler because they reserve your restaurants, will reserve chairs at the pool or beach everyday if you want. People say they run out of towels, well our butler went around searching for towels for us and found us the last 2 available. The butlers will do everything to make your stay wonderful, we had the best butlers at the resort... Moria and Ray! I just want to take a second to shout out to Moria and Ray.... THANKYOU so much for making our stay wonderful and romantic and becoming our new friends :) The resort grounds are beautiful... always maintained and the flowers everywhere are gorgeous. The food was good at the restaurants and everyone was very nice and welcoming. The beach is very nice and the water is a pristine turquoise blue. My husband and I rented a cabana by the pool one day... which was awesome and we will do this at every stay. We did a few excursions, which our of all our favorite was when we went with the two local fisherman Gary and Bob. They took us to Dunn River Falls and that is a MUST GO excursion. The waterfall is out of this world and climbing it is so much fun...make sure your bring a water camera. Lastly we did the dinner on the beach and was worth every penny. It was so romantic to have dinner with no one around and right on the beach. The food was amazing too! Well, my husband and I will definitely be coming here again in the future and I hope this review helped people decide to come to the Grand Riviera. There wasn't a thing I would have changed about this trip..... pure bliss!

Room Tip: butler room all the way!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
11 Thank C R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MN
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2012

My husband and I stayed here 3/24/12 - 3/31/12. We had a basic room on the main floor of the Bamboo Grove bldg and it was very nice. Clean with every thing we needed and a nice garden view. Our travel policy is to book the lowest price room in the nicest resort. It has always worked well for us and SGR was no exception. For any of you who believe you must have a butler or even a concierge to have good service that is not true. We made reservations for Kellys and Kimonos, the spa and a boat trip without any problems. We just knew to do it right away. The grounds are impeccable. Look on the daily breeze for the nature walk if you are interested in learning about a lot of the trees and plants in Jamaica, our guide Norene was wonderful.
We thought the food was very good, we ate at nearly every restaurant and never had a bad meal. Our longest dinner was at Valentinos and that was just under 2 hours. There is always somewhere to get something to eat and personally I do not enjoy buffets for lunch or dinner so I was happy to have so many other options.
The service was always good, except for one bad experience at Kellys. Our waitress did not greet us, was rude when I asked her about the appetizer, failed to tell us that the steak plate was extremely hot which resulted in a 2 inch burn on my husbands arm, The final straw was 5 minutes after we finished dessert she informed us (and the other tables) that when she came back she expected us to be gone as there were other people coming in! If I had that kind of service in the US I would have immediately spoken to the manager which I should have done here, but everything had been so lovely up until then I let it go. So even in a wonderful resort with some of the greatest people in the world wanting to make your vacation so enjoyable you will encounter someone with a bad attitude. Let it go!!
We love Jamaica for the beauty and for the people and will be back. This was our 2nd Sandals and will definetely visit another of their properties hopefully in St Lucia next. With so many bad or so-so reviews I worried about staying at SGR. What I always come to realize is that there are people that are just never happy no matter where they stay. It's too bad because this place is wonderfu......

Room Tip: Don't be afraid to book the Bamboo Grove rooms.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank BabsMN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrow, ON
Level Contributor
36 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2012

we stayed at Sandals about 3 weeks ago. Beautiful grounds. Good food. Met some really nice people. I won't go on as everyone else has pretty much said it all with thier reviews. The only advise i can give you is if you didn't pay the extra to have booze and beer in your room, just slip the guy who stocks the rooms 20 bucks, you'll get what you need. 20 bucks, 10 redstripes was good for us. There isn't any bars at this resort that serve bottled beer. We did get sick of drinking the draft. There's my tip. Cheers

Room Tip: all the rooms are nice. Just depends if you want to be close to the pool or the beach
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Heather M
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

Property: 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 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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