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Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

Chicago
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Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

Booking a VERY last minute trip to this resort and don't have a lot of time to research it...... do you think Monday - Friday is long enough w/travel? I think it's all we can do with work right now. We'd be flying in Monday as we have a friend getting married there on Monday afternoon.

I am very confused by the room types - I like to be near the water and beach, but I don't think I can justify the extra cost from the Great House. What is the Great House area like? I've read that area has the most happening pool, which is good. Do the shuttles from Great House and Riviera run 24 hours? Any input would be great.

I am considering doing a private transfer vs. the shuttle only because I want to get to the resort as quick as possible on Monday to hopefully make it in time for the wedding. Anyone have any input on how much time I will save with a private transfer? Or how much time I would save if I did the MoBay club?

Thank you!

New England
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1. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

Hopefully you have an early arrival, the resort is about 1 1/2 hours from MoBay, and that's after you go through customs and immigration. A private transfer may help you arrive at the resort in a more timely manner.

We just booked a room in the great house because we feel that we will only be there to sleep and tidy up for dinner, etc. The ocean view rooms seem to have a nice view and are a little more than the bottom tier rooms that have the garden view, which unfortunately includes a view of the driveway. But what's more valuable to you?

If most of your party is staying in a particular part of the resort, that could influence your decision about your room. It might be an inconvenience to be the ones who are farther away, or you just need to be a little more conscious of "travel times" to meet up.

The shuttle seems to run until 1 am or so, but you can get a ride at any time, I think, if you just ask a staff member to help you.

Club MoBay seems to be hit or miss depending on how many flights are arriving at the same time as yours. I think it's a matter of piece of mind. Would you be ok if you bought the service and didn't really need it? Or if you didn't buy it and had to wait the 1/2 hour in line.

I think the resort is huge, so three whole days (two travel days) will be a nice vacation but I'm sure you might want to go back some day to explore the whole property. It depends on how many activities your wedding party has planned and how much time you will have to yourselves. Do you want to rest and relax or do you want to do excursions?

In any case, you will have an amazing time! Enjoy your trip

Toronto
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2. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

How is the beach at this resort?

Ontario Canada
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3. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

cbayma...is there any way you could arrive on the Sunday? If the purpose of your trip is to attend the wedding, I would be very nervous about making it on time...depending on when your plane lands and what time the wedding is. There is no way to predict how long it will take to get through immigration, gather your luggage, go through customs and then catch a ride to the resort. The drive is 90 minutes depending on traffic....then you have check-in, then it is possible your room mightn't be ready depending on what time you arrive. Your luggage will be delivered to your room anywhere up to an hour after you arrive. Not trying to scare you...but if it were me, I would be majorly stressed trying to make the wedding on the same day as arrival.

The shuttle service at SGR is every 10 minutes from 7:00am - 2:00am.

Bamelin...I'm not fond of the beach at SGR due to it's size, but I'm a beach walker and wader, not an ocean swimmer.

United States
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4. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

"I am considering doing a private transfer vs. the shuttle only because I want to get to the resort as quick as possible on Monday"

Monday is a light day for arrivals compared to the weekends. You should normally plan on customs and immigration taking about 1 hr. depending on the time the plane lands. There will be some wait time for the bus to leave from the airport. Then add 1 1/2 hr. or a bit more for the trip to the hotel (not including any beer/bathroom stops). A private transfer might save 30 min. to 1 hr. between waiting for the bus to depart and the chance that there might be a beer/bathroom stops.

"how much time I would save if I did the MoBay club?"

For the arrival the amount of time varies. It could be close to nothing and then you might save an hour or two. Again, it all depends on exactly when you arrive at the airport (the day of the week and hour of the day). It will save you the most time if you were to arrive on the weekend around 1 or 2 PM in the afternoon and the least if you arrive in the early morning or after dinner mid-week.

"We'd be flying in Monday as we have a friend getting married there on Monday afternoon"

You do not say what time the wedding is. An arrival on Sunday would be advisable if you are to make the wedding on time.

Edited: 07 August 2013, 17:59
New England
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5. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

The beach is three small sections because they used to be three resorts. Like travelpair says, you can't really stroll along for a nice walk. I read water shoes are advisable as the bottom can be rocky. I can't wait to get in there though. I'm a run-in-and-dive kind of girl. I also read you can see a few species of fish and creatures with a snorkel mask so I'm going to try that, as well as the resort snorkel activity. :)

We are all stressing that traveling and wedding guest-ing on the same day could present you with a long and possibly hectic day. The best/earliest arrival I can find out of Boston for us is 11:23 am. I'm expecting to be at the resort about 2:30 pm, then check in and getting settled into our room will probably be about an hour. All in all I think we will be "on vacation" about 3:30 on our first day. That's a generous estimate, but I hate being disappointed with unexpected hiccups when we travel.

You schedule may not permit, but you agree that if you can, arrive as early as possible prior to the wedding so you can relax and enjoy your trip! :)

Something's that I've learned about the resort from reading reviews are:

-where your room is located really makes a difference to some people. Chose a room you will really be happy with. If you settle you may be disappointed. If you like to see or be near the ocean, chose a room with a view or in close proximity to the beach. If you like the pool chose a room in the manor house or a villa with semi-private pool.

-make dinner reservations the first day. Only two restaurants require them, but they can "fill-up"

-the butler only restaurant has a bar that anyone can visit. If ou don't eat there, at least get a drink out there.

-take the resort grounds tour the first or second day

-butlers, pool drink runners/butlers, and spa people CAN accept cash tips. No one else is permitted to accept tips, it is a cash free environment

-Porters at the airport can be pushy about tips, be clear about carrying your own bag if you like, but be prepared to stand your ground. If you let them help you, be proactive with the cash so you don't feel hassled for money. Also the transfer bus driver can accept a tip.

-bug spray and extra sunscreen are a must

-pools are open at all times, so go ahead for that late night swim!

-Scuba requires paperwork, doctors notes and extra fees

-sign up for the loyalty program. It's free and you can earn $ off your next stay. We got $250 off for our trip in April!

-give respect, get respect

-have a blast and make it your own vacation. Each of us like different things in a vacation. Try it out and enjoy yourselves, then decide if its the right vibe for you and return or try another resort. Each Sandals is really a unique resort.

:)

Chicago
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6. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

Thanks for the responses!!

We unfortunately can't leave Sunday.... my SISTER is getting married in Michigan on Sunday!

So, we are just going to head there Monday and plan on not being there in time for the wedding. We talked to their friends and they don't mind, everyone is staying the whole week and hanging out/partying, so we will arrive and get to share in that. The wedding is at 2pm (just found out) and our flight doesn't even arrive until 1:20pm. I just hope to make it there for the "after party"

I am still torn about the rooms. I am one who loves to see/be near the ocean but spend all my time at the pool and pool bar. I think an oceanview in the Manor House would be fine, since I could hang at the pool (and save several hundred dollars).

We won't be doing any excursions, just enjoying the resort for a few days! A really quick trip, unfortunately, but oh well!

Tully, New York
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for Ocho Rios
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7. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

cbayma, If being near the beach is very important then the least expensive room would be the Riviera Bamboo Grove. It is on the backside of the Riviera Building. No oceanview but maybe a two minute to the ocean. There are number of pools within a short walk of the building as well, but the Manor pool is the largest and on the other side.

I have experienced the immigration/customs procedure with anywhere from about 10 minutes to over an hour to get through. Then you would have to wait until there are enough people to fill the bus for the trip to Ocho, could be 10 minutes or 30+. You would save between probably 30 to 60 minutes because you leave sooner and don't stop unless you want to.

Use the link to the right of your question to see lists of PT drivers. The least cost would be $70 - $90. I have used them and have been on the road in minutes and a direct shot to the resort no more than 90 minutes. There are a number of them listed.

Have a great time and enjoy.

Chambersburg...
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8. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

Its a big resort but i would say no matter which room you book, you can still get to the places you want to be in very little time.

as for the monday -friday question. just remember both monday and friday will be more travel days than vacation days so if thats all good to you then i would say better to go for a short trip than to not go at all.

United States
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9. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

@cbayma I am still concerned about your arrival time. Even IF you do Club Mobay and a private transfer, I would allot at least two hours to get there. It all depends on traffic, and if you're stuck behind a slow truck and can't pass, it just is what it is. Even with that, at best you'll be at the resort in 2.5 hours. Once you check in, get to your room and change clothes, it's going to be 4:30. And that would be rushing. Is your friend doing a reception? I just don't want you to miss everything. If you don't do Club Mobay or the private transfer, I wouldn't plan to be there and checked in and ready anytime before 5:30.

I personally would do a closer Sandals if I only had 5 days, but because of the wedding, you don't have that option. SGR is my absolute favorite, so don't get me wrong, but it's a lot of travel time for only 3 full days to enjoy the resort.

I think the Great House room is fine, and I really like the Great House area. However, you are aware that the ocean is across the street, so while you may have a view of it, it is going to be in the distance, right? As long as you're ok with that, you're good. The pool there is great, there is a second pool that hardly anyone is ever in, the Polo Lounge is there which is our favorite bar, and several restaurants. The late night grill is also nearby.

Shuttles are not 24 hours, but we are night owls and have never had an issue. I think the official stop time is 2am, but I'm pretty sure we've taken one later than that. They will find a jitney to take you across, too, if the busses stopped. Jitneys run 24 hours, but there are fewer of them running at night.

10. Re: Sandals Grande Riviera - a few questions

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