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“We once vowed never to return - we DID and WOW oh WOW!!!”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 12 June 2011

My dh and I are huge Sandals fans. Over the years we stayed mostly at Royal Caribbean, but did once stay at SGR in 2006. In 2007 we had a "bad do" over our Romeo and Juliet Suite and left within 24 hours.
Our daughter had a huge wedding at SRC in 2010, and in planning our renewal of vows ceremony, we did not want to repeat location. Therefore, we decided to give SGR another try. We did email the manager (he said to me so many times he has had to buy a new hard drive HAH Brian mwah!). We felt very much re assured BEFORE our arrival, that everything was going to be totally in order.
We always travel Butler level, it is a treat we work hard for, and we love and enjoy every pampering moment of it. Over the years we have met great Butler, mediocre Butlers and some who dont want to get sand in their shiny shoes!
TAMON ALLEN : Butler service manager at SGR is the best Butler we have ever met in our lives, and I do not only include Sandals in this, I include Butlers from resorts and cruise ships world wide. This man is perfection in his work, and despite the horrendous weather we unfortunately had, he managed to somehow make every day magical, and bring smiles and fun to our day. I know we too, gave him some of the biggest laughs he has had..and the whole resort now knows who "Mrs.M" is well and truly!
We stayed in one of the brand new Butler villas which was absolutely beautiful. Our daughter and her husband were upstairs from us, so as a family, it was perfect. After they left however, we moved over to one of the two stunning Penthouse suites on the Riviera side. The weather was really awful during our stay, and the penthouse made it easier for us to access our favourite restaurant Gordons on the Pier.
My ONE HUGE grievance, is that Sandals HQ plan to close Gordons on the Pier. It is a beautiful restaurant, and I understand that it is closing perhaps due to complaints from non Butler guests who could not access it without paying a fee. WHY not just keep it, but open it up to all guests by reservation only such as Valentinos or Orchids. The closure of this restaurant and re opening of yet ANOTHER casual dining facility, would be my one reason not to return. I will be writing to Sandals HQ regarding this, and do hope, all who have enjoyed this facility will do the same. PLEASE do not close this wonderful restaurant!!! YES..make it available to all, but please do not close it!
FOOD: Fabulous! Total improvement since our last visit there, and in fact, on many occasions we would say the food was better than at SRC.
ORCHIDS: Perfect!
KIMONOS = FABULOUS! Although it does depend on who is on your table. If you get stuck with a few bores it makes lifer harder for the showman chef. TEX is FAB!
VALENTINO's Chef Colin Wright does as good as job as he can here as he has a busy service with limited facilities. If you have particular requests, then do ask to speak to chef prior to dining. Colin is very helpful:)
The lunch restaurants on both sides of the resort we only visited twice, but both had great variety of foods of all kinds, served piping hot, and as good as one would have in any 5 star buffet restaurant around the world. As we had Butler service, we had the wonderful perk of being able to have anything we wished to eat, brought to us, on any location day or night... Those kind of perks are the ones we work hard for, and enjoy every second of! If we were by the pool for example, our Butler would make up a table for us, and bring all of our favourite foods with champagne..how good does it get huh :)
Many people ask "WHY" do you NEED a Butler.. we dont, but it sure beats the hell out of not having one! I LOVE Sandals Butler Service. From the emails pre stay, to a Mercedez Benz greeting you at the airport. Your luggage being unpacked after a two day journey, and every wish taken care of. There is NOTHING like it.. and Sandals do it better than anyone else for sure! Is it worth the extra? For sure..every single penny!! Butlers quickly become "friends" and we felt Tamon and Stanford, after ten nights, are indeed men we have the honor of calling our friends:)
SPA! The spa at SGR is FABULOUS!! In fact, probably the best of the chain in Jamaica and the girls really are lovely. My daughter and I made a lot of visits to the spa, and found all of the girls VERY pleasant. I thought the prices were very reasonable, and cheaper in some cases than I would pay here at home in Scotland. As well as massages, reflexology and chair massages by the pool, I used the hairdressers for both make up and hair. Rose, I will never forget you for saving me on my ROV day!
SGR is such a big resort there will always be an element of it being a little "rough around the edges". But, somehow, it manages to still create a perfect vacation location, and what I would say it has, that SRC has, is variety. I LOATHED Sandals Whitehouse, for me, it cant lace the boots of SGR... looks like a scene from a hollywood movie set all plastic walls and fake facades! SRC I will always love, but SGR.. it has that element of "well its not happening here tonight lets go somewhere else".
JAMIES: FAB some night..AWFUL on others. STAFF overtook the dance floor some nights, and this does get right up my nose. They advertised a 70s 80s night which we were really looking forward to..played around half a dozen tunes, then the staff had "their own house music party". MOST nights it was great, and the bar tenders are fun although i suggest you get a few rounds in at once as it gets pretty mayhem...but OTHER staff..get out..WE are on vacation, not YOU!
Manor house piano bar = always fun, especially I would say for the 30s+ it stays open late, and is a fun place to hang out.
The Riviera side piano bar we went to once, to find it had closed up, and we were met by the two ONLY staff on the resort who were rude.This was the single only encounter we had with arrogant rude staff on the resort. We never returned there so cannot comment on how piano evenings go there but we now know it closes at 12 midnight whereas the manor piano bar is open later.
I DO know about the future plans for the resort, and they are VERY exciting...
Our RENEWAL OF VOWS CEREMONY!
Wonderful! Just fantastic! I so did not expect to be treated like a bride, and in fact, every time they referred to me as "THE BRIDE" - I laughed and said NO...so eventually, everyone on the resort, including the spa staff, referred to me as "MRS. BRIDE".
Claire Nugent and her team are amazing. She had all of my music worked out to a T, and between she, our Butlers Tamon and Stanford, and Phillipa and team at the wedding location, the day was everything we never ever had on our original wedding day.
We chose the Seamist Bluff, which is the new gazebo on the Riviera side. Its a beautiful location, and just PERFECT for weddings no matter what the weather is. We had mostly sunshine thankfully that day, but on the odd moment when it did rain, we barely noticed as we were all too busy partying around the gazebo...
I brought our own music and also wedding cake toppers. We had our original sugarcraft wedding topper from 15 years previous, and also two new "models" of us. I am gluten free and our cake was made with one tier in vanilla gluten free, and the other tier, fruit "normal" flour. WHERE else in the world would a hotel take such care of such detail huh?
Our ceremony was at 3pm, but we were lucky as there were no other ceremonies after us so were able to party on until it was time to go for dinner. We dined that evening at Gordons on the Pier... the whole day and night was magical..
THAT morning...I suffer dreadfully from jet lag, I had not slept a wink and had been crying all night. At 10am, I was begging my family to change the ceremony to the following day. Tamon our Butler, soothed me, wrapped me in blankets for a sleep by our villa pool, then had me sent to the spa for a full hair and makeover. By 2pm, I was a new woman and unbelievably ready to enjoy our day. Rose at the salon performed what could only be described as a miracle on puffy eyes, bloodshot pupils..and tiredness that meant I could not lift my head let alone do my own hair. She took me, and assured me, and step my step....I WAS RE BUILT :)
We were truly unlucky in the weather. There is no doubt this visit was the worst weather we have experienced in the Caribbean at this time of year. HOWEVER...it says even more for the resort, that despite the thunderstorms, lightening and rain, we have come home with nothing but love and afftection for Sandals Grande Riviera.. For sure, you have won our hearts back well and truly!
Too many names to mention, Anne-Marie (shoes honey!).. Jacki who does the chair massages, (she is a darling!!), Shannah who cleans the villa pools. Sweet sweet girl. Brian Roper.. (we wont mention your proposals of marriage!)..Jason guest services manager, Jacques Hotel Manager.. Andrew and O'Neill at Gordons... you two are wonderful...keep protesting "KEEP GORDONS OPEN"! and many many more!
But most of all, our heart is with "MISSTRA KNOW IT ALL" Tamon Allen. You are a gentleman amongst all, and Sandals have in you, the BEST there is! We love you!
Soon come back SGR!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Sunscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,412 - 6,418 of 8,674 reviews

Reviewed 10 June 2011

We went to this resort from June 2nd to June 8th for our wedding and honeymoon along with 5 other family members. I was extremely worried after reading alot of the reviews and knowing how picky I am.

Since we knew that we would be arrving late in the afternoon and wanted to get to the resort as quickly as possible, we hired Moodie Transportation, a private driver, to take us to the resort. Andrew Moodie was fabulous and gave us all the scoop on Jamaica and the culture. He provided us with beers/water for our drive. We ended up arriving at the resort an hour before we would have had we taken the bus from the airport! This was well worth it!

Our room was one the four room villas with semi-private pool. It was not one of the updated rooms but it was very clean and well stocked with plenty of drinks and liquor. The room could definitely use updating but cleanliness means the most to me and you don't spend much time in the room at all. The villa pool was very clean but too cold to swim in. It was still nice to sit on the patio in the morning with a drink!

The resort on both sides is absolutely GORGEOUS and beautiful! The staff is exceptionally friendly and kind. We brought money just in case for tips but never needed it. Everyone jumped when you asked for anything. We have concierge level service but hardly ever used it. We did book dinner reservations at Gordon's through the concierge with no problem even though they say this restaurant is for butler service rooms only.

We thoroughly enjoyed the food! There is plenty to eat and sometimes we ordered two salads or two desserts. The steaks are thinner there than what we are used to but still good. We like medium rare steaks, so you have to ask for them to cook it rare to get it right otherwise it would be too done. Our absolute favorite restaurant was Valentino's and then Gordon's was second. We still enjoyed food at the other places but these other two were stand-outs. Soy, the sushi place, wasn't great and didn't offer much but it is a beatiful setting to relax and drink wine. Kimonos was also good and had some of the best steak during our trip. Don't overlook the bar out on the pier next to Gordon's...anyone can drink there but its almost always empty since guests think you have to eat at Gordon's to go there. O'neal, the bartender, is spectacular and very entertaining!

The beach was small but very clean. They raked it clear of debris and seaweed every morning and it was beautiful. Our favorite pool was on the Riviera side. We spent more time on the Riviera side than the Manor side.

Our wedding coordinator, Vinnette, was superb! Our wedding was beyond what I dreamed for and every detail was in place. We had reservations at any restaurant available for our group, we had breakfast delivered to our room the next morning. Champagne was waiting in our room when we returned that night. They really made us feel special!

Because was had a small group of people with us for the wedding we were concerned about eating as a group, but there was not an issue. The only restaurant that couldn't accomodate a larger group was Valentinos since it is a more intimate environment.

We definitely enjoyed the Sandals experience and would go back in a heartbeat! This is coming from an extremely picky and spoiled woman!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank cdtatum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2011

My husband and I had a 5 year post honeymoon here. We had a GREAT time, even though it rained most of our trip. TIP, don't plan your trip in May & June, per the locals, it's rainy season. If you're at the swim up pool on the Manor side, be sure to give a high five to Bishop & Michael!!! Bishop is best known for his famous "whhyyy not" saying! Michael sings and can do a mean "moonwalk". If you're drinking at the Polo Lounge, be sure to hang out with Omar & Kemar, you're sure to get a laugh!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BeachBlonde80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2011

We stayed in a villa on the hills along the Manor side of the Ocho Rios Grand property and it was amazing. The Villas consist of 4 suites and share an outdoor pool between the suites. The pool feels quite private with the number of foliage and trees which surround each villa and pool. The suite was clean, comfortable and included a well stocked bar fridge, and in-room safe. I opted to pay the extra to get the concierge service and what a deal that turned out to be.

Our concierges were great and treated us like royalty. We booked nearly everything through them (excursions, dinner reservations, pool-side cabanas...) and everytime we did, things turned out great. The only trip we took outside the resort and didn't book through Sandals our concierge team was still interested in making sure we enjoyed ourselves and had a good time. They even called our destination location (Appleton Estates) to make sure we got there okay and were having a good time.

The rest of the staff are fantastic too. Making our room up everyday didn't just include taking our the garbage and making the bed. They also would restock our bar everyday, and each evening we returned to our room my wife was tickled to see a towel animal sitting on our bed. Knowing we were there for our honeymoon, we also found rose petals on our bed with the radio turned on to a relaxing station. And all the while, not once did we tip any of the staff. Sandals says there is no tipping, and there isn't, nor do the staff make you feel that you should. In fact, quite the opposite. I heard on two seperate occasions staff graciously turn down the offer of a tip.

Because we stayed up on the hills and not in the Manor house, we had an option of either calling for "jitney service" or walking down to the Manor House. The jitney service, think of it being an open vehicle shuttle service to and from your suite, was quick and prompt. It was rare to wait longer than 5 minutes for a jitney to come and pick us up from our room. On occassions where we felt like a walk, it was very quick, downhill, and scenic. Staying on the hillside was not an inconveniance at all. In fact, it was a definate advatage because it felt like we had a little piece of Jamaica heaven all to ourselves.

While the food may not have been the world's best, but it certainly hit the spot and kept us going up for seconds. Truly, the food is actually quite good, and your glass is never empty unless you want it to be. Dinos Pizza was our lunchtime favourite, and ranks amongst the best thin crust pizza I've ever had. For dinner, Gordon's on the Pier has the best atmosphere and view of any restaurant but, Kimonos was our absolute favourite.

We thuroughly enjoyed our stay, and highly recommend this resort to anyone.

If you go, and can afford to do it, definately take the catamaran excusion to Dunn's River Falls. The boat trip was a blast with the staff trying to entertain us the entire way, the snorkelling an adventure I'll never forget, and the hike up the falls a whole lot of fun.

Thanks to all of you at the resort who made our stay so amazing.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank Paul_Lylyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2011

Got back late last night from our trip, thought it would be good to reiew while fresh in our minds.

People were GREAT at this location. All very friendly and accomodating. But even among the great staff, a few stood out as the best of the best. Vinette Vincent was our Jamaican Angel on the trip! She was our wedding guide (this was a 2nd wedding trip for me and my wife), and she was MARVELOUS! The entire wedding staff from Ishmael the driver to the crew upstairs gave us a very warm and festive feel to our wedding day. After that Vinette continued to follow up with us to make sure everything was perfect for our stay - a very kind and warm person.

The head of the Playmaker crew (I'm not sure on his name - he said he had been there about 6 months - I think Ahman) - was VERY entertaining, great humor and people skills - make sure you meet him when you go.

Mediocre Food - Japanese style steakhouse needs A LOT of work to be acceptable. All restaurants - steaks were hit or miss - though the hits were just good. All fish meals were very nice - this is what salvaged a mediocre grade. Minimum time to allow for a dinner is 1.5 hrs because they serve on 'Jamaican Time'. I understand enjoying the experience - 1 Hour is long enough, 1.25 hours is a decent middle ground.

Drinks - Bartenders were all very friendly. Drinks definitely watered down. Drank amounts that would be obscene at home, leaving me hungover and incapacitated for days - yet couldn't quite catch a buzz. Saw the pours were large, so that was not the issue. Other proof to us was the fact the entire stay there we saw no one really drunk - yet MANY people drinking steady throughout the day at a place where the booze is already paid for. This would normally lend itself to seeing a train wreck or five in a week.

THAT BEING SAID, perhaps not a bad thing the booze is watered down - keeps everyone's spirits good - and no wasted time being hungover. Just want to make sure you know what you are getting.

OVERALL - Staff helped make it a great stay. Thanks again to the Jitney Driers, Playmakers, and Wedding Staff (Especially Vinette)!!!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank dakiursk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2011

What a beautiful place to spend our Anniversary! Upon arrival upgraded free to Ocean front room. Endless amounts of amazing food and drinks. Incredibly nice and attentive staff to help you organize everything or nothing! Relaxing, breathtaking beach and pools. Wouldn't trade this location or any other. Clean rooms, impeccable service. I love island time. Can't wait to go back

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank MCotterell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2011

My husband & I just got back from a week-long stay over Memorial day, and our trip was wonderful. The reviews really are dead-on true. So although we had a great trip, the resort truly was just ok and by no means five-star. We did our homework though so we new what we were getting into and had no surprises. Except one and that was the average guest age. I had zero idea that there were going to be so many wedding and honeymooners at this type of resort. My husband is 35 and I am 28, and we felt like we were baby-sitting. Of course there was a little bit of ALL AGES, but the majority I would say was between 20-25.
There was construction going on but since it was not in or near our building it did not bother us (you just had to walk by it).
The worst thing was hands-down the food, followed by lackluster service. Some of the people were wonderful, but on the most part the employees just seemed as though they did not want to be there and it was so slow- very clear that they were not working for tips (I once waited over an hour for to-go pizza and never did receive because they had not made it and I was not about to wait any longer).
We stayed in the Riviera Building and loved our room! We did not have a beach view and had no outdoor space, but the room was large and newly upgraded. And this building was perfect because all of the major food places, and beach front are right below you, and my husband could go one floor down and have a beer while I was getting ready. Beware that the only beer that they serve at this resort is Red Stripe.
If you want to eat at the nicer restaurant's that require dress pants for men- they will turn you away if you are not in proper attire so pack accordingly-the best restaurants require this.
The Riviera side is a must to stay on if you know that you are going to spend your time at the beach (although the beach is tiny so if that is very important to you this is not the right resort for you). If you want a more lively and contemporary atmosphere you should stay on the Manor side. We probably enjoyed the Manor side a bit better (it was just more us) but found that we split our time almost dead 50/50 between the two. The shuttle back and forth was easily accessible.
Before hand we had decided that we were not going to spend any extra money on off-resort excursions but you can only spend so much time lounging so we ended up doing the Dune Buggy trip and the Catamaran to Dunn's River and both were amazing! If you are planning on seeing Dunn's River anyway, do the Catamaran there- it is worth every penny! Where we wasted the most money was the Trading Post (gift shop) because we were not prepared. If you are doing excursions-pack the water shoes. We spent $45 on water shoes, sunscreen is $20, a hat was $25, etc. So if you are trying to skimp on your luggage, beware that you will be coming back with these items anyway and will be out about a hundred bucks.
So overall we had a great trip, no regrets or real complaints. But in the same token, we were not blown away and did not love it enough to stay here again-might try Sandals Negril, or St. Lucia or a Couples Resort next time.

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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank dkep2001
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 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £98 - £762 (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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