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“Review Sandals Grande Riviera (SGR)”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 31 January 2012

January 2012

Transportation to and from the airport
Out arrival to Montego Bay was on time. Reception to Sandals Lounge was warm and Red Stripe helped pass the short time until our bus was readied. Once on the bus we waited for almost an hour for a few more passengers. The bus was about the worse 2 ½ hour ride ever. At one point I thought we’d have to get out and push the bus up the hills.

Accommodations:
We had a suite on the 4th floor on the end of the building. Spectacular as it looked over the lagoon and just above the outdoor restaurant. As we are early risers to play golf, the noise setting up breakfast was not an issue. This must be one of the best suites on the property if you want ocean-front.
Had a sitting room and a bath room with a shower and Jacuzzi tub. Never did use the tub.

Butler Service:
This is something that came with the suite we wanted. We did not use this service very much but was underwhelmed when we did use it. Our golf clubs were not always ready for us in the morning and had to store them ourselves when we returned.
The butlers did show us to a table for any meals we asked but we always got the next table available. I expected to have the best table reserved ahead of time. The bed was nicely decorated a few nights when we returned from dinner or the entertainment for the evening. When we drank a bottle of Champagne from the refrigerator it was replaced quickly. All other beverages were also replaced on a timely manner. There was a sparse plate of fruit and cheese in the fridge.

Food and Drink:
We ate in many of the restaurants and a couple of them twice.
The Bayside Grill was where we took all breakfasts and most lunches.
Kelly’s Grill on the pier that surrounded the cove is where we ate twice. They had Great fish and appetizers.
The sushi was quite nice and as expected not overly creative but adequate. We had to ask for wasabi and pickled ginger.
The Teppanyaki was terrible. It had the show you’d expect but the food was not very good and overly salted with regular soy sauce. Luckily we had visited the sushi bar before this meal.
The Italian restaurant was a nice change from the less formal restaurants. Typical Italian but with good creativity.

Golf :
The golf course is in the worse shape I have ever seen it. We had played this course when staying at Couples and Grand Lido Braco. The teeing grounds are somewhat spotty, the fairways wet and soggy with over watering and no earification in recent times. Some of the greens were half covered with grass and very inconsistent. The greens with grass have two or three varietals of Bermuda and could not tell how the ball was going to break. This lead to higher scores with no idea how the break was going to affect the ball. We had Sophia and Michael for all of our 5 rounds. They were great.
On our way to and from the airport the other courses in the area appeared to be in much better shape.

Water Activities:
My Bride of 30 years and I are into snorkeling. We went on an hour excursion to an off-shore reef that was quite nice. The rest of the time we stayed in the lagoon off the beach. A little bit of stale bread form the dining room thrown into the water would bring the fish up close and was a mini feeding frenzy.

Summary:
The overall trip was quite enjoyable and well worth the money we spent. It could have been the best of 7 trips to Jamaica if it had a clothes-optional beach like the others we have visited; Breezes twice (before it became a family resort), 3 couples, and Grande Lido Braco.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank chefbillTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,021 - 6,027 of 8,626 reviews

Reviewed 31 January 2012

Everything was nice, but be sure to now that the beachs are very small!!!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank yves p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

we just got home from our 5th stay at sandals grande riviera and already booked to go back next january. the beaches aregreat, gardens are beautiful, the food is delicious, and my husband loves the golf. the piano bar is soo much fun late at night with lots of singing. the bartenders keep the drinks coming. the staff anticipates everything you could possibly want. then, the best part, the playmakers!!! coordinating games and activites so you never get bored. they are all awesome. made such good friends...josie, lori, analisa, nastassia,and of course, the 'insane' o'dane. can't picture us going anywhere else, it's like going home to see family.

Room Tip: all the rooms we have ever stayed in was beautiful.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Thank Connie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

My husband and I are seasoned travellers, but we had never been to a Sandals resort. We always thought that it would be way out of our price range. Our travel agent "talked" us into it and we got a great deal. Once we got home from booking the trip we spent hours on the website looking at reviews and pictures. We had mixed feelings after seeing all the negative reviews (at the time I believe construction was still going on), but we have learned that for some people nothing is good enough. They expect everything to be like at home. My advice to them - stay home.
Now the review:

Airport and bus ride:

We got our luggage (one suitcase for both of us - I did mention we are seasoned travellers) very quickly and went into the Sandals lounge for refreshments. There was at first a bit of mix up with our reservation, but it turns out they had our first and last names reversed and couldn't locate us in the sytem. We were warned about the baggage guys - but we tip the baggage guys in Canada, why not elsewhere? The trip to the resort is about 1:45 hours long, with about a 15 minute bathroom/beer break. We dropped a few people at the Riviera side first and then got whisked up to the Manor side. There were about 10 couples and we got our room keys and then went on the jitney with a couple of other couples. The first couple got dropped off and we thought that it looked very nice, small villas (4 appartments) with their own pool. Second couple got off the jitney - it was even nicer. When the guy came back - he said "Don't worry - you have the best view in the resort". We thought - sure, he must say that to everybody. Were we wrong!!!

Room:
When he opened the door our 2nd floor room/apartment (#7401-building 49) my husband and I were amazed. Living room with flatscreen TV and a walkout to a big balcony - with the best view of the resort. We saw a couple of the villas, but mostly greenery - and the ocean!! What an awesome view. Attached was a small kitchenette with a sink and a fully stocked bar - which was replenished daily. Our bedroom had a 4 poster king size bed, nice armoir with another flat screen TV and a big armchair in the corner. The bed was at least 3 feet off the ground and we stored our suitcase under it. The bathroom was bright and also fully stocked with shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel, lotion, etc. Room was always clean and we always had enough towels. We left the maid something every day - but she didn't always take it. We had a concierge room - use them - especially for booking restaurants or the spa.

Restaurants:
If you want to go the to restaurants that take reservation (only Kelly's Dockside and Kimonos) - do so early to get a decent time. We got Kelly's at 6 p.m. and we were there for about 2 hours. A great meal and nobody rushes you!! We had Kimonos for 8:30 one night - but we cancelled - just a bit too late for us. We ate most of our meals at the Manor side - and never had a bad meal. Breakfast was always good at Market Place (most mornings I had smoked salmon!!) There is something for everybody. Lunch - when we did eat it - was at the Burger/Pizza place. Always very good - and we always finished with and icecream cone. The Manor house, China Doll and Market Place for dinner - alway good. One night we went to the Riviera side for dinner - and it got a bit confusing in there. Everything was a lot tighter in there and the villas weren't as nice and it seemed darker in there. We finally found the Reef Terrace and had a good meal. We were very glad that we stayed a the Manor side though. From our balcony we could hear the music from the Beach side - and it is about 1 km away.

Pools. beach and bars:
We had our own pool a the room - but actually never used it. We spend all our time at the Manor house pool. We always found a spot and towels, but you don't want to wait too long in the morning. Some people 'reserved' a spot, but didn't show up for hours. Didn't like that too much. We never went to the beach - it is not much of a beach. The pool bar was usually very lively and Nashawn and his boss (his name doesn't come to me right now) were awesome. It looked like they had fun interacting with most people. Our favourite spot - before and after dinner - was the bar in the Manor house. Ricardo the main bartender is awesome. Second night we were there - we hardly had sat down - our drinks were in front of us. We tried to slip him a dollor or two - but he said - "you know you are not suppose to tip".

Concierge staff:
They are the best - especially Tibby!!! The first morning we go into the concierge lounge (to book restaurants) she comes up and greats us by name!! We were very impressed. We had seen her for about 20 minutes the afternoon before at check-in. All the staff is very friendly and make sure that everything is to your liking. One night we were having our nightly cocktails at the Manor bar Nicholas (the concierge manager) comes up and asks how things are going. We told them that we are very impressed with all his staff, but my husband has a sweet spot for Tibby.

Jitney:
You can call a jitney from your room to the Manor house and it usually comes within a few minutes. In the morning my husband walked down the hill (yes it is a fairly steep hill) and the one time when a jitney didn't go by and picked us up - it took all of 7 minutes to get to the main building.

We have enjoyed our trip very much and will most definetly be back at a Sandals Resort.

Room Tip: Quieter rooms are on the Manor side Use your concierge - if you have one.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank wallynewcastle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

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.

Room Tip: Riviera Seaside if you want to be near the ocean and central to the water sports and nightly enterta...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank gurlly16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

We stayed on the beach side of this resort and loved it. It's about a 3 minute ride from one side to the other,so it's easy no matter where you are. I laughed when I read the reviews that said it takes 15 or 25 minutes. Where were these people going?
The food was very good, and the room, though small, was very pretty with a new, beautifully tiled bathroom.
My only real complaint is that they're always running out of beach towels. It sometimes took trips to 3 towel stands to get them.
One huge plus here is that there's an abundance of chairs at the beach, and plenty of shade. This was a real issue at Sandals in Antigua, and is the sole reason we won't return.
The staff was wonderful. Every day many people came up to us and said hello and asked if we were having a good time. I disagree with reviewers who said they asked for tips. The bus driver did, but he is NOT a Sandals employee. We actually offered tips to a few people who we felt went out of their way for us, and they all refused them.
We have done a lot of traveling, and we loved this resort. No, it's not the most deluxe place we've ever stayed, but it was the most fun.

  • Stayed: January 2012
    • Value
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8  Thank Beentheredonethay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

The Resort was amazing, the service was incredible, the staff were the friendly people I have ever met. I could walk around for days and not see the same thing twice. Always amazing events going on at night, and activities durning the day. The Beach was great, over 90 pools, and a dozen big pools. one right on the beach with a swim up bar. The Playmakers where great. I would go back in a heart beat. This was my wife and I's best time of our life. The only complaint I had was the beds, not that they were bad, but just a strong firm bed and I am use to a plusher bed.

Room Tip: Both sides of the resort are good, but the Beach side has more restraints than the Rivera side
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Donna D
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 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £66 - £791 (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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