My husband and I spent our Honeymoon at Sandals and really have nothing bad to say about the resort! This was our first time travelling outside of Canada and could not have picked a more suiting destination for being first time travelers. I will say that this resort is very much for people who are looking to spend quality time with one another; we are pretty young and most days were kind of bored because most people keep to themselves or the group they travelled with, it wasn't a spot for partying or meeting new people so we wished we had gone with a few people, would have been more fun; the privacy was great at times but 7 days of only really being with one person, newlyweds or not haha it was a little dragging (this is our fault, not the resorts lol).. There were bonuses to it being kind of low key and that was that the pools were never overcrowded and if you arrived at the restaurants at the time they opened you would get the best seats, no lines (rarely).. Jamaican people are so friendly and genuine!
Arrival: The next time we go on vacation I definitely want to book with a resort that is closer to the airport. We didn't mind the trip to the resort because it was a sunny day and our bus driver was hilarious and made sure to point out all the things we drove past that we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise; however, the drive back was killer (2hr bus ride when you know you have a long day of travel back home ahead of you sucked). Yes, the gentleman who totes your bags to the bus and loads them will want a tip, big deal, don't be cheap and grumpy about it, they are working hard and deserve a couple bucks! Same with the bus drivers, if you are lucky enough to have a great driver like we did on the way there you won’t mind throwing him 5 bucks. Once we arrived the check in process was a breeze, (no idea what these people complain about on here, I think some people really think they should be treated like royalty when they are on vacation and really ruin their own trip by knit-picking about everything) the woman who welcomed us was super sweet and all we had to do was fill out a couple sheets of paper, mostly so they can make sure to call you the night before your departure to tell you what time the bus comes to take you to the airport (they send up a sheet of paper also telling you when to have your bags ready, etc). The only negative comment I have is that they really should give you a tour or a map when you check in, we should have gone to the orientation but never ended up, so I suggest doing the orientation because we had no clue where anything was. Also with the long day of travelling when we got there we really just wanted to take a snack back to the room and chill out but there was nothing available that was quick and easy so that was frustrating on the first day.
Room: Loved our room! Huge comfortable bed, very nice clean bathroom with a very large mirror, balcony with a garden view (another complaint I read on here was that you couldn't open the doors, I'm not sure how people survive if they cannot solve simple problems like this! If you step out onto the balcony and move the table over a little more to one side then the doors open no problem, really took us like 2 seconds to solve that issue haha) Our A/C worked amazing our whole stay and those blinds keep 100% of the sunlight out so we found ourselves sleeping in every day! No noise woke us up at all, there were movement noises because obviously people are still working while you're sleeping but it was never enough to wake us from sleep!
Swimming: I loved there were many different options as to where you could spend the afternoon to swim. It was never crowded anywhere! The swim ups were awesome, music playing and the water was always warm! The ocean was also warm and so clear it was amazing! Yes, the beach chairs do fill up fast but if you aren't lazy and walk to the different pools or beach spots we always found a couple free chairs somewhere! And the towels were gone a couple times but there were many different places to get towels and they were always picking up the dirty ones and re-filling them and even if we didn’t get a towel one day it didn’t bother us that much, the sun dries you very quickly! The swim-up bar at the Ochi beach club was our favorite. There were a couple times when we had to wait a long time to get a drink but when you’re on vacation you really shouldn’t be in a rush for everything, you really need to get on Jamaican time and that is laid back and kinda slow haha
Food: We loved the food. Bayside was our favorite, we ate there twice for supper and thought it was better than Kelly's where we needed a reservation! Bayside had more on the menu and it was delish. They had the best selection of pastries, yummmm! The Bayside also has the breakfast buffet and lunch buffet which were both awesome, no wait to eat or order and a great selection of yummy fruits. Most places you eat outside the birds will be waiting for you to drop something for them to scoop up (I can see where this would gross some people out and upset them but I am a positive person and it takes more than a little bird to get under my skin, they were doves and actually kind of pretty, I would trade them for pigeons or seagulls any day haha)
Room Service: No matter what time we decided to leave our room, be it day or evening our room was always turned down, and a few times we had a pretty bunny or puppy made out of towels and flowers with a note from housekeeping. Make sure to bring some items to leave for these ladies in your room, they really deserve it! Someone came by every day at 10am to stock our fridge with water, juice and pop, which I didn't really expect because people on here had said they never had their fridge stocked and called about water that never arrived, this just was not the case with our room at all and we just had the basic room.
Overall: Loved the people in Jamaica. I was really impressed by this resort and really wouldn’t change anything, except maybe having a map of the grounds. My husband and I would go on the pier in the evenings, they have lounge chairs and porch swings that were just awesome to curl up in and look out at the horizon, we were always shocked that no one was out there but happy that we always had our spot every evening! We also had a room credit of $175 for the spa and enjpyed a couple's massage, do this! It was great and much needed after wedding planning! Could have fallen asleep and the ladies were soo nice! They will con you into buying products though haha, and it is hard to say no to them!
If you decide to go to this resort I would say that if you go there with over the top expectations of being waited on hand and food and you don’t have a butler suit you might be disappointed. I think you should slow down and take the time to enjoy the place and everything it has to offer, if you stress yourself out over chipped paint, cracked sidewalks, waiting for a delicious meal or not having a chair at the very second you want one you won’t have a good time. Have patience and appreciate the beauty of the place you’re staying! Be grateful because not everyone gets to experience something like that! If you have this attitude you will have a great vacation and you won’t want to leave!
Cheers from New Brunswick, Canada
- 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