We traveled to this resort for the very first time with 3 other couples all of whom had never been to a Sandals property before. Every person that we came across in Jamaica was very nice....things really are "no problem man" I will be returning to Jamaica for sure.
When we arrived at the airport in Montego Bay we had our own Sandals lounge where we could grab a little snack, a cold beer and change into some lighter clothes if we wanted. We sat in the lounge for MAYBE 10 mins before we were asked to head to our bus. The baggage guys already had our luggage on a cart so we just decided to let them take it and we gave them a few bucks. The bus ride I found to be nice because we arrived during the day so it was a nice way to see some of Jamaica as you drive to your resort....yes it is over an hour but I personally did not mind the drive. We stopped for a washroom break and you could buy a cold beer so this allowed us to stretch our legs and reload for the remainder of the drive. Upon arrival to the Sandals property we were promptly greeted with a nice fresh towel and a welcome cocktail. One of the front desk associates went over the check in and gave us our package and then we were guided to our rooms. Check in is normally 3pm so some of the couples in our group did not have their room ready so they had to check back closer to 3pm. Bring your sandals and a change of clothes in your carry on so you can at least change if this ends up happening to you. I found right away that the staff was very nice and would not even let you lift your baggage because you are on holiday's
ROOMS: We booked to stay on the Riviera Seaside because we wanted to be at the ocean and central to the activites. Our room was the "Garden Of Eden" The bedding was nice the room was clean, we had a balcony facing a garden view, there was a free safe in the room, a mini fridge that I thought for sure being a Sandals premium resort it would have some beer in it but NO!! I was a little surprised at this because this was a Sandals property...the ultimate in all inclusive right?? We had asked a few people about getting some beer in the fridge but we never did until we came across the guy that loads the fridge. We asked for a few beer and we got a couple for two days and then nothing for the rest of the week as he said they are hard to come by?? It's just always nice to have a couple cold ones if you decide to head back to the room a little early and relax on the patio. I found that our room was cleaned everyday and promptly but we had one couple in our group that did not get their room cleaned 2 times and when it was cleaned she did not reload the sugar at the coffee station so they didnt have some for the next morning......little things I know but this all makes up the experience as a whole. I know in our room we always had fresh towles, turn down service and the bed was always made.
PROPERTY: The property was well manicured and the gardens and pathways are very beautiful. They have several hot tubs and some nice pools. We spent most of our time on the seaside but we did venture up to the Manor side to spend a day at their big pool. It was nice but I like being by the ocean or sitting in the pool and looking out to the ocean and the manor side does not offer that. They really have lots of areas to choose from depending on what your feeling like. I am not a smoker but I did travel with a few smokers and it seemed that they were always looking for an ash tray. The property is gated so if you want to go from one side to the other you just have to catch the bus and it will take you up the hill and around the bend to get to the Manor side. I believe the bus only ran from 7am until 2am so if your one to party it up to the wee hours you might want to say on the seaside so that you dont have to worry about making the last bus so you can get back to your room. If you are a beach walker do not come here as there is just a tiny stretch of beach and you can walk it in 3 minutes.
NIGHT LIFE: The evening entertainment was great. I found that there was more shows I really wanted to see compared to other resorts that we have gone to. I found that they had some nicer options such as the beach party, the white chocolate party and the steel drum band. The playmakers really do a great job. You could also head to the sundeck on the Riviera side that overlooks the ocean and sit on the nice comfy benches and enjoy a cocktail or you could head down to Jamies and dance the night away--- I loved this disco because it was open to the outside so you could dance bare feet in the sand or in the ocean and it was great. Jamies really took on a nightclub atmosphere come 10pm so if that's not your thing you can take a walk and find a nice fire pit to sit by or grab a beach cabana to lounge in while looking up at the stars. There really is options for all.
FOOD: We found the food to be very good, some portions to be small so I would suggest ordering an appertizer, a starter soup or sald and then your entree just to ensure you leave with a full belly. If your a guy and you want the steak and the chicken entree then you can ask for both and they will bring it, your not limited by what you can order so order away. I found some meals came to us luke warm but the flavour and presentation was there and the food was really good. I did not like that there is no option for a buffet dinner so all of your dinner meals had to be a la carte and you cant make reservations so it's first come first serve sort of seating. The only 2 places that require a reservation is Kelly's Dock Side and Kimonos. We tried to get in to Kelly's but it was fully book for the rest of our stay so if you really want to eat here book it the day you arrive. We got in at Kimonos and found the food to be good but our chef did not put on the show that we have seen at other Japenese Steak houses.....no fire or knife throwing or shrimp tossing. She basically just banged around the flipper and had us do the entertaining with singing and dancing. I was hoping to be the one being entertained. We found that we would go to the resturant for opening and get in to ensure that we could get a seat. I had heard from others that if you decided to head to a certain place to dine for 7 or 8pm but they already had a waiting list they would not allow you in so you would have to go and try somewhere else. We just found it was easier to do an early dinner. Dinner service is also on Jamican time so the early dinner worked out well anyways because we still had the evening afterwards to enjoy before it was time for bed. We ate dinner at the Reef Terrace two times, Neptunes two times, Kimonos, China Doll, and Vallentino's. I enjoyed all of my meals. For lunch they do offer a buffte but we never did the buffet because we were normally in our bathing suits so we opted to enjoy some of the grill and pizza options. We had awesome made to order pizza, coconut shrimp, chicken or beef quesadilla, jerk chicken, rice with beans, jamaican patties, nacho's, burger, fries. Breakfast was a buffet and it had your typical breakfast items.....we ate well everyday. The beer is cold the wine was nice and the drinks are plentful, if you want your drink stonger you just ask because in Jamaica it is "no problem" They have your premuium liquors and a nice selection of fruity drinks.
FYI: Unlike other resorts where you go to the gift shop or the spa and you can just pay cash for your service right there well Sandals does not work like that. They may ask for a credit card at check in as they will charge everything to your room and then at the end of the week you can pay up your final bill. We did not give our credit card number (I refused) because we pay cash. So if I wanted to buy something from the gift shop I had to go from the gift shop get the girl to right up a tag, take it to the front desk, pay cash, they issue a receipt and then I take that back to the gift shop and show the lady and I can leave with my purchases. The only people at this resort that seem to deal with the cash is the front desk so just keep that in mind. I did a spa treatment and they added it to my room so I went right after my treatment and paid the front desk for that service so that it came off the tally for my room. At check out my balance was 0.00 because I paid cash for things as I got them. This meant a trip back and fourth everytime I made a purchase at the gift store but at least I was able to pay with the cash and they did not have access to my credit card. Upon check out a heard a couple disputing a charge on their room for a golf trip that they did not take so this just confirmed my decision to not give them my credit card number.
Overall this was a nice trip. We had great weather...7 days of pure sunshine, the food was tasty, the people were great and the resort offered lots to see and do.
I would not put this Sandals property as the best of the best. I have been to other 5 star resorts and I can honestly say that I have had comparable top knotch service, wonderful food and beautiful rooms with a fully stocked bar fridge and liquor counter so to me these are little touches that Sandals should have had covered. Also the internet was not included and was $50.00 for the week so this was something else that I would have thought Sandals would have had in their ultimate in all inclusive package. I will return to Jamaica hands down but I don't see myself rushing to head back to a Sandals when there are lots of other 5 star hotels to try. Maybe down the road I would like to try the Sandals in St. Lucia.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Destinology, Holiday Gems, Booking.com, Travel Republic (UK), Priceline, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Sandals Ochi Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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