We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

Aurora, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

Hi all! Well as the title states, my wife and I are headed on a (delayed) honeymoon over the xmas holiday to the SGR resort. We're staying for 5 nights in a honeymoon poolside villa...I did not book concierge or butler service.

I've been reading up on the Ocho Rios forum and have had many questions already answered...TONS of great info here!!!

Here's my questions, any and all help is greatly appreciated!

#1 - airport transfer - my wife can get motion sick easily, and I'm also anticipating a to-be-determined level of irritability b/c she gets that way when flying. With our package, the group shuttle is free, but I'm leaning heavily towards contacting Reggae Tours to arrange a private transfer. Someone help me out; would I be wise to just book the private car?

#2 - the room & concierge service - as I stated above, we're in a honeymoon poolside villa w/out any concierge or butler service. Will the time frame we're going (12/24-29) be so busy that we'll need the concierge to do all of the booking for us, or can we manage just fine w/ a little planning ahead? The only other perk I see is the booze in the fridge...do we not get any booze in the room at all if we just booked regularly w/out concierge/butler service?

#3 - things to do - we know we want to relax by the pools and beach, and we'll probably mess around w/ the free watercraft rentals or whatever, and we will most likely book a snorkeling excursion. What else?? My wife is a kindergarten teacher, and I've seen some mention of a visit to the local schools. What's that all about? Do we need to book things in advance of traveling, or can we decide last minute or the day before to do an excursion?

#4 - golf - aaahhhhhh golf. Oh how I love my golf! But I'm not planning on bringing my clubs. Two reasons; (1) its expensive to check them on the plane and (2) we're only there 5 nights and I'll likely get permission to play only once if I'm lucky. Of course, if I golf, my wife gets to go to the spa. I get it...its a honeymoon, not a golf trip :-). All that said, are the rental units decent? What about shoes? Should I bring golf balls/tees/glove/etc with (I'm assuming pro shop items are crazy expensive)?

Ok, I think thats it for now. Surely, more will come to mind later, but I'm also going to keep reading through the forum and hopefully will find more answers.

Thanks!

Eric

United States
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
Level Contributor
4,142 posts
102 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

This is my favorite resort, so you picked a great one! :)

Airport transfer-depends on how motion sick she gets. All the road to Ocho Rios are paved, so besides being on the wrong side of the road, and cars passing you when we wouldn't necessarily do it in the US, and I don't think the motion of the road is too bad. We always take the free transportation. I get an upset stomach when I fly for unknown reasons, but I've never had an issue on the shuttle.

Concierge/Butler-I personally don't ever think this is needed. We booked Concierge the last time simply because it was a great deal, and it is nice to have the liquor to bring down to your private pool. However, right now I think Concierge is about $1000 more. Is it worth that for liquor in your room? I don't think so. And you can call the front desk and make reservations just as easily as with Concierge. You will only have pop, water, and juice in your fridge without being C or B level.

You can decide the day before regarding the school visit, and I can't remember what day it was, but it leaves around 9 or 10am. And I don't golf so I can't help you there either.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
303 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

ewat84 - From our stays at SGR, although we have had butler and concierge, SGR is one resort where you should be fine without concierge but it all depends on how important it is to have alcohol in your room. You can always take your own insulated mug to take something back to the room with you and I have even heard of guests getting a bottle of wine from the bar to take back but not sure how often this actually happens. Also try to make any dinner reservations as soon as you get there. If you are offered an upgrade at a reasonable price may be worth considering but if it is $1000....not so sure.

We have taken the complimentary shuttle as well as used Reggae tours. Reggae tours did a great job for us and the transfer was about $90 one way but check that figure with them as it has been almost a year ago. If you decide to take the complimentary shuttle, sit as far forward as you can but skip the very front seat. As BSB mentioned above, the traffic coming at you from a different direction takes a bit of getting used to. Also try to sit on the side of the bus, opposite the driver (left hand side when facing forward) You will get a nicer view of the coastline along the way. There are some very nice viewpoints. Which ever transfer you decide to take, the road is smooth, some curves but not too bad.

Beings that you are there just 5 nights, you may only want to plan for one or two excursions, including golf and the school. The resort is large and there is lots to do, you may not get to all of it as it is in that amount of time. The school trip sounds like a great idea for you.

We do not golf....sorry, can't help you there. Have a great trip!!

Innisfil, Canada
Level Contributor
540 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

We will be visiting on Saturday so hopefully I will have more information on my return regarding the school trip.

For now, here is a link for Pack For a Purpose.

packforapurpose.org/docs/countries/jamaica/s…

It states that "Guests visiting the island of Jamaica can also get involved and "give back" while on vacation with the Reading Road Trip. Through this voluntourism initiative, visitors can volunteer, for a nominal fee which includes the cost of roundtrip transportation, 2 hours of their time at one of The Sandals Foundation's adopted schools and interact with children and help them with their literacy skills". Not sure if this is the same one that BSBgirl is talking about or if this is different but the link will give you a little bit more infor.

We have been to this resort once before - but it was a long time ago. We opted for a butler suite this time around. We've never booked this level before so I will let you know about my experience when I get back. We had SSG points that we used toward the cost of the upgrade so it really wasn't that much for us and we thought we'd splurge and see what it was about. From what I understand it is easier to get reservations for the restaurants that tend to book up quickly - wil let you know when we return!

If your wife experiences motion sickness I would probably consider the private transfer. That way you will be in charge of when/if you stop along the way to the resort. If she can handle it with some gravol etc then it might not be worth the extra cost.

Have a great honeymoon!

Chicago
Level Contributor
645 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

My husband always packs his shoes, tees, balls, etc when not bringing clubs. Have a great trip!

Ocala, Florida
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay
Level Contributor
2,199 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

My husband always brings his own clubs --- but we stay 10-12 days and he plays every day. Mind you the "free" golf could run you over $100. You have to pay for a cart if you don't want to walk, the caddy is mandatory whether you walk or not --- then there is the club rental --- if you can, bring your own shoes, tees and balls --- balls are very expensive. Then you will need to tip the caddy also --- above and beyond the caddy fee. Drinks and snacks are not included. It costs us $40 each way on Jet Blue for his clubs---but it is worth it for us.

They visit the school on Thursday mornings usually. We met another couple last September that went and they really enjoyed it.

Aurora, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

thank you for all of the replies!

great information on the airport transfer - I'll discuss more with the wife and we'll make the decision soon hopefully. I'm leaning toward trying the free shuttle on the way there, and saving the money to spend on other things.

great point about not overextending ourselves on excursions, and making sure we leave time for simple relaxation! I really think we'd enjoy the school trip; I'll continue to look more into that one.

I've seen that its best to ask about upgrades in the week or two prior to a trip, so I'll see what offers they give at that time about upgrading to concierge level. If we don't do it, I doubt it will ruin the trip or anything like that. I know for sure we've got a small stockpile of mini liquor bottle at home, we'll throw those in the luggage if we think we'll need any alcohol in the room.

keep the info coming please!

Eric

Tully, New York
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
Level Contributor
760 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

About the airport transfer. For me the pros were there wasn't a wait at the lounge other than a cool drink. You tell the driver when you are ready and if you want to stop at a local shop or not. You arrive usually alone so if you are not C or B you won't have much, if any line. About the only con would be if cost was really an issue.

As for concierge/butler or not, again the cost issue, though butler is much better than concierge. We have done all three. During a visit someone told me there was a liquor store a short walk from the resort and that the prices weren't too bad. I can't confirm that.

Aurora, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

My wife agreed that we'll just pick up some Dramamine and give the free transfer a try. If we find that we do not want to use it on our return to the airport, we will look into a private transfer when we get there.

I've been jotting down notes as I read through all of the ocho rios forum. Things like which restaurants to try, different things to pack, how much spending money to bring, etc. Some really great info!!

I'm so glad I did a little searching for travel forums and found this place! I'm kind of embarrassed to say it, but at almost 30 yrs old I've never been out of the country before, nor to an all-inclusive resort. Needless to say, I feel at times like I bit off more than I can chew! Most of my vacations are at a family lake house in Minnesota, only thing to worry about up there are the mosquitos! :-)

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
303 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

Once you get to the Sandals lounge at the airport, they will take care of you. If you have questions, just ask. Once at the resort, the only things you will need to worry about is Red Stripe or Dirty Banana....coconut shrimp, jerk chicken or pizza for lunch...pool or beach....which great place to have dinner...I think you get it....nothing too stressful!! Go and have a fabulous time!! :)

(Not sure if you have seen these tips on TA but here are a few things to make the airport less stressful. You will get an immigration form on the plane. Have a pen with you to complete it prior to getting off the plane. If you are unsure, there are usually other passengers who have filled these out multiple times and would be happy to answer your questions. After immigration, collect your checked luggage and go through the green line at customs, nothing to declare. At this point, you are just a few steps from the Sandals lounge at the airport. Also, remember that the baggage handlers at the airport and the bus driver are expecting to be tipped-not employees of Sandals-bring a few small bills...no change)

United States
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios
Level Contributor
4,142 posts
102 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Honeymoon to SGR in Dec - Lots 'O Questions

I agree with funnsunlady, and once you are there, you no longer have to worry about anything! You can sleep on a sun lounger all day if you want, and that's just fine! If you sit at a bar, a lot of times your drink magically is refilled and your glass is never empty :) No worries, just enjoy it!

I don't know if you're on it already, but there is a fan page on facebook you might want to look at; Fans of Sandals Grande Riviera.