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“OUTSTANDING-Ocho Rios Grand Riviera May 2012”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 13 May 2012

This was our first Sandals vacation. We celebrated our five year anniversary. Really enjoyed the hassle free all-inclusive. The staff was very tentative and friendly -- especially the photographer staff and food and beverage staff. There were many choices for on-site dining options, and the food was excellent. The gardens were beautiful and very peaceful. We selected the view of the beautiful blue ocean. I definitely recommend this resort.

Room Tip: If on ocean view side the rooms on 3rd floor or above have balcony with table/chairs. Second floor...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Charlotte B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,879 - 5,885 of 8,768 reviews

Reviewed 12 May 2012

My wife and I just returned from this resort on 6 May. We decided to spend the extra money on an all inclusive and Sandals website said they just did a 60 million dollar upgrade. On their website, Sandals said the resort is about an hour bus ride from the airport but the bus driver "held us hostage" at a local little side bar/restuarant for 45 minutes. After the two hour time to get to the resort, the check in process was pretty much the same as any other resort we have been to. We recieved an envelope with information, was able to make reservations for dinner at the couple of restuarants that required them, got our keys and then was taken to our villa. We stayed on the hill side and had a villa.

Upon arrival to the villa we noticed a bad oder like mildew or mold. The room also looked like it was not cleaned from the previous people. We called the manager and she "Caren" came in and did notice the smell and found us a different villa which was much better and clean.

We probably should have we to the resort orientation but decided against it since we didn't plan to do anything other than relax by the pool and dine at the resort. We had a private pool shared with another room which was nice since we could take a late night dip if we wanted without having to go to the main pool. Our maid service was lacking in that we would have to call daily to get our coffee and refridgerator restocked or they wouldn't do it. They were slow at times when we would call to get something but I guess that is just their way. The bed was high and my wife bruised her the back of both her legs from getting out of it. Beds were soft and overall the room was nice.

The resort has many different little activities to do on it to keep you entertained. We stayed at the main "big pool" most of the time. The swim up bar looked like they never cleaned it very well since most of the grout looked black and tiles were missing(wondering about the 60 million upgrade). The hot tub was worse in condition and needed to be cleaned too. Tipping was discouraged but we discreetly did it and got better service. The pool area manager asked my wife and I if we planned on coming there everyday and we said yes so he put out towels for us each day along with flowers on the seats to reserve them for us. We tipped him and never had to worry about towels or a place to layout. Most of the staff was very friendly and we did tip the ones that went the extra mile to esure we were having a good time or if we needed anything.

As for the restuarants we tried, Kellys "on the pier" was not very good. The service is very slow, food was "so so" and the only real good thing is that you are in the bay so you have a great view of the ocean at night. Kimono's, Japanesse hibatchi, was great. Even though the chef was Jamaican, he was very funny and made it a great experience along with great tasting food. Manor House was great and could have ate there each night. China Doll has a nice quiet setting and was a nice place to just relax. There are several other places but we decided to just eat at these for dinner.

We didn't do the free photo shoot since the prices were, in my opinion, too high. We did end up getting some photos, wife wanted them so I didn't want to be the bad guy, because they do have photographers randomly walking around. We had photos of us with a few couples we met and and individual one. $50.00 for 3 5x7's and picture frame. I guess I thought the prices would be similar to our vacation in Cancun but it was more like being in a big city. They had a local craft show on the resort one day and thought we would get some things at a reasonable price but once again, it was closer to department store prices.

Overall, our first impressions were not that great but after being there for a week, we did enjoy our stay but still wondered what they did for a 60 million dollar upgrade. I know I would not go back to this Sandals again because it didn't meet the hype they showed on the website. If all you want to do is eat, drink and sleep, I am sure you can find a better all inclusive to go to.

Room Tip: We had concierge service which was nice. Don't waste money on butler service here, our friends w...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank M B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2012

What a wonderful place for a relaxing vacation. The GM, Brian Roper, and his staff of over 700, were simply AMAZING. Not to forget about the food...superb! If you have the chance to stay in a private villa, with pool, and butler service if you so desire, I strongly recommend this resort :o)

Room Tip: While some enjoy the Beach Club, I strongly suggest the Hillside Villas, nestled in the beautiful fl...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank juiceguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2012

It was our first time to Jamaica and our first Sandals experience. We had a wonderful time at this location. The staff was amaizing and the food was great. All the drinks were wonderful too. The only one thing I would like to see would have been more of a nightlife. There was very little to do after 10pm. However over all a great time and I will return some day. The variety show was a great time and the big welcome/going away party under the tent was a lot of fun too. The rooms were clean. The bathrooms were clean too. One bit of advice put some operating instructions next to the bidet (for us Americans)...LOL. I'm not sharing that story.

Room Tip: The Villa's only have A/C in the bedroom (this was a suprise to us). Call and book over the p...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PontiacJeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2012

Sandals is on it's game. What a resort!!! The glamorous grounds reminiscent of old world sugar plantations to dock side dinning at Kelly's there is something for everyone.
A few gott ya's are in every resort some more than others but nothing too serious more curious.
Reservations for Kimonos and Kell's are booked almost always so do so upon arrival. At Valentinos I was refused entry due to wearing white linen Capri pants since they weren't full length. There is no room service unless you sign up for a Butler! Really now!
On the other hand the Staff are very sweet and engaging. Kenroy made our mornings with his sense of humor and kindness. Leon served up the best Pizza in the islands, Deisha works with a smile that will light the night and cool efficiency at Kelly's Dockside Grill where you will dine with the lapping of the waves.
Water sports galore with paddle boards,water bikes, windsurf boards and kayaks available. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving included,...how cool is that? Kevin runs a great advanced dive with Ike taking out the certified open water divers. The Rinker 45 dive boat is great as it can easily accommodate more than 10 divers easily with dual ladders etc.
For the yoga in you the Beach Club Bluffs top platform over looking the Caribbean Sea and the resorts beach front is the best location for this discipline on can imagine.
All in all this was a blast of a holiday and comes highly recommended, something for everyone at this huge resort. There were all kinds of romantic nooks and crannys, from hammocks to fire pits along the beach and to wonderful lush gardens - a lovers paradise !

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Islandflower69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2012

My Family and I enjoyed the stay for 7 days at this resort. The service was good when you got it. By that I mean there were times when they dropped the ball on small stuff like quick check-in with the "Extra" service package, missing on some things like confirming your plans at times...
The food was excellent and was served in European servings....you can eat as much as you want so the small portions were fine. Enough restaurants to satisfy everyone's different taste..The food itself was served warm but not hot.
The staff was extremely friendly and managers were very attentive when made aware of any issues.
Overall, the place to me was very good and friendly right down to the guy who trimmed the trees...
I do recommend this place for couples and more...

Room Tip: Ocean view room are really nice in the main building, Garden view is fine too.....Rooms on the other...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Lawrence G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2012

I just returned from a honeymoon stay at Sandals Grande Riviera Beach in Ocho Rios. I am providing my honest review from my recent experience...some things that are important to me may not be to others and vice versa.

We arrived to the airport in Montego Bay on Monday. We found the Sandals office at the airport but didn't have time to eat or drink anything because we were quickly shuffled outside to the bus that would take us to the resort. This was ok with us though because we were eager to get to the Resort. There are people at the airport who wheel your bags to the bus saying, "your vacation has started and so we will help with your bags." Then they tell you it is customary to tip them for wheeling your bags. This was not totally unexpected. I think we tipped $5. The bus unfortunately had a very unpleasant odor like that of sweat and dirt. I had a hard time with that. It is a two hour drive to the resort and they do stop off at a small place that sells jerk chicken and soda's/alcohol and has bathrooms. It was rainy and my travel agent hadn't informed us that this time of year (beginning of May) is Jamaica's "wet season." So needless to say, it rained every day of our honeymoon. Not the passing showers that come and go. Periods of HEAVY rain. But, it was my honeymoon so I tried to look on the brightside.
We arrived at the resort and found that we had a room booked on the Riviera side. This is the side with the beach. We weren't on the beach but further back near the ampitheater. When we arrived we were greeted with cool towels that smelled like lemon pine sol. We were grouped together and given an envelope with our room number, keys and some papers re: spa deals, etc. Unfortunately, we weren't given a resort map, which would've been really helpful in the beginning. We eventually asked a staff member and they told us they were at the front desk. Again, why not just include it in the beginning? We were shown to our room.

We had a regular room. No butler service. No frills. But the room was extremely clean and the beds comfortable. The beds are high off the floor and I bruised my leg pretty bad getting off. The bathroom was adequate. Toiletries are provided by the Resorts 'Red Lane' spa. The tub is a deep tub and it's a big step to get into it.
Housekeeping does a fantastic job keeping the rooms clean. I had no issue with that at all.

There were several restaurants on the grounds. It can be confusing because the resort is big and they are open at different times. The food was really good at some spots and just ok at others. The Japanese restaurant was good. The Italian restaurant, Valentino's was good but I ordered the Coffee Creme Brulee and they gave me a coffee flavored egg custard that tasted like I had eaten scrambled eggs and took a swig of coffee. This was not the only "Creme Brulee" that tasted like custard. No a big deal really but I LOVE CREME BRULEE and was very disappointed. But the food was good for the most part and I didn't get sick from eating anything. The Bayside Grill had very good smoked salmon in the morning buffet. They have standard buffet items: scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, bagels, muffins and made to order omlettes, but we tired of the same thing everyday for breakfast. The pastries were like ones you would get in mass quantity at BJ's.

The pizza place on the Riviera side was good. Our server Leon was sweet and engaging.

We spent most of our time swinging on a two person swing overlooking the ocean. The cushions and beach lounge chairs were really gross. They were stained and dirty. From tanning lotion or sweat I don't know but I was grossed out.

There are couples of various ages. We are in our 30's but their were older couples and the 20 somethings that liked to drink and lay in the sun. I think this resort is mainly catered to them. No one came around offering drinks. If we wanted something we had to go to the closest bar. Which wasn't a huge deal but sometimes I just wanted to stay where I was. There was definitely no one picking up used glasses etc on a consistent bases. They were everywhere.

Probably my biggest issue was the "complimentary photo session." We booked a session with a guy named Valen, in part because he accosted us on our way back to our room. We set up a time and cancelled because I wasn't feeling well. He called our room several times to reschedule. We rescheduled but then decided that we didn't really want a photo session and we asked WHY?! We ended up taking different routes back to our room to avoid these photography guys because they do stalk you. I don't like being harassed like that. Pictures started at $18 each and they had packages starting around $100. We didn't really feel the need to spend our money on this though a lot of people were doing these sessions everywhere.

Overall, this was not my type of vacation. It is really for people who want to sit in the sun, eat, drink and maybe do some small water sports. They do offer off site excursions and we did the Dunn's Falls one, which was awesome, but it is sketchy outside the grounds of the resort. That is probably why it is surrounded with barbed wire. We were a little apprehensive to leave the resort.

All in all, I wouldn't return to this resort, but I don't think I would return to Jamaica either.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank LizPNH
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:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £301 - £756 (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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