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.
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!!!!
- 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