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“glorious”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 36 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Peterborough, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“glorious”
Reviewed 4 August 2012

We travelled to the Grande Riviera 2 years ago on my husband's and my first trip other than Florida. We had an absolutely glorious vacation. The staff are wonderful, the food was delicious and the best part is that the buffet's always serve something different everyday. Our room was always kept spotless, drinks always filled and our dive master was the absolute best. The staff all remembered us by name every day, what we liked and knew about our families and actually took the time to ask about them. He had us diving somewhere different everyday and always tried to find something new for us to experience. We recently went to Mexico and hated it. We are returning in 5 more weeks to Grande Riviera and just can't wait!!!! Well worth the money and we have done nothing but tell everyone we speak to about how wonderful Sandals Grande Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort is. And we will keep doing so. See you all soon:)))

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank GaryandNancy_2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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thextravelprincess
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2012

Very pretty property, GREAT food! Great service and a great time. Rooms are typical basic Sandals room but everything else was awesome! Book your diving early, they always sell out. The only downfall was the LONG drive from the airport to Ocho. I prefer the Royal Caribbean Sandals to this one.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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4 Thank thextravelprincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California City, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2012

You will love this resort...from the moment we arrived we had fun. People are amazing and the beach is to die for...our favorite part were the water sports, Shows, and night life...a great place to relax and have fun without having to go out to the city at night.

Room Tip: If you want to be close to the beach...make sure you stay at the Riviera or other...make sure you lo...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank Ilea O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2012

my husband and i came here back in march for some quality time and sandals was a great place to do it. we spent most of our time either lounging on the beach or at the pool reading. the split of the two properties didn't really bother us (the shuttle was prompt!) if you want to be able to walk around the entirety of the resort though another sandals may be a better option. The staff were very friendly and helpful. It also seemed like everyone we met was either on their honeymoon or there for a wedding. I will say I found some of the guests a little... entitled? For example I saw a woman insist that the lifeguard go get her and all of her friends drinks. The lifeguard was accommodating but that's not their job; if you want that you need to spring for butler service; or get up yourself and walk 20 ft off the beach to the nearest bar.

*i found kimonos to be a little disappointing (the chef kind of just... banged the cutlery around on the table instead of little tricks and things that i'm accustomed to at hibachi grills. it also took 30+ min for my husband to get a cocktail delivered)

*the trip to and from the resort, while it did take some time, was actually kind of enjoyable for us. We never felt unsafe with the driving (it was wild, true, but i wasn't ever really fearful) and we got to see some of "non-resort" Jamaica in the process.

*Our room was fabulous and comfortable and clean

*We did the Dunn's Falls excursion and loathed it (very VERY touristy; that was our bad though, we didn't really research it before hand. We were climbing the falls with about 1000 other people... and you all hold hands on the way up!)

*Enjoyed the accessibility of food/snacks at all times; I'm a vegetarian and I never wanted for options or accommodations

*We were in a villa on the garden side and for a "lower end" room I thought it was great. We had a nice sitting area, the bed was incredibly comfortable, and it was very quiet.

*We did a couples massage (spa credit with the booking) and it was quite nice, though I will say I've had more skilled massages and they tried to sell us lotion at the end (which irked a little). They had a great steam room and cold plunge pool before hand which was great.

Overall I'd say it was relaxing and romantic (exactly what we wanted!). I probably sound negative but my complaints are in the few things that irked over a long and lovely week away <3

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank ktrixie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2012

This was our best vacation ever! We went from 7/15/12 to 7/23/12. I had been reading the reviews here for the past several months and I will admit to being a little worried about the negative reviews. After having gone, I don’t understand how people could complain quite so much. Here is my breakdown.

Airport & Ride to/from resort:
The arrival at MBJ airport was pretty smooth. You do have to go through customs but we were through that in about half an hour. Then we went to the Sandals lounge, where the staff tagged our luggage (to show which side of the resort we were going to). The lounge looks very nice but we barely had time to use the restrooms and grab a drink before we were whisked off to our bus. This was fine with me, since we still had a 1.5 hour drive to the resort. You will be expected to tip the person bringing your baggage to the bus. $1 per bag is fine. The bus was air conditioned and held about 12-14 people. The ride went fairly quickly (this is coming from someone who thinks 10 minutes in a car is forever). We unanimously decided not to stop at the rest stop on the way down so we made it to the resort in good time. Please remember to tip the driver…they are not part of the Sandals “no tipping” policy.

The ride back to the airport went just as well. We decided, in advance, to buy the Mobay passes and picked them up at the resort at checkout…best decision ever. We literally zipped through two lines (customs & security), which saved us at least an hour. They cost $30 per person but it was worth it to me just to avoid the lines. We checked out the Mobay lounge, which was nice (and quiet in the adults only area). The snacks were ok. I wish they had something like this for the airports in the USA.

Food:
Breakfast and lunch are buffet style. There are not a ton of food options but more than enough to satisfy even the most picky eater (like me). They always have a desert bar at lunch, which is awesome for people with a sweet tooth. You can go to either side (beach side/ hill side) for the buffets.

There are also two pizza places open, from lunch time to just about dinner time. We frequented Dino’s on the hill side. The pizza is surprisingly good. I didn’t have my hopes high on the pizza (hello, this is Jamaica) but it was delicious. You could also order off the grille menu, which had things like burgers, jerk chicken, fries, etc. Our favorite part of Dino’s was the fact that we could sit in the pool (just like a pool bar) and order/eat our lunch…where else do you get to do that. Dino’s also has self-serve ice cream…yum!

Dinner is always a “sit down” meal. There is no dinner buffet. I wish they had a dinner buffet option but I can understand that it enhances the Sandals image to have the “fancier” dinners. Dinner can take a little while (1-2 hours) but the time seems to go by fast. We did not wait in between courses at all. As soon as you finish one plate, they are bringing out the next plate. The portions are small. The portion size was not a problem for me because small portions over 4-5 courses still left me feeling very full. If you are a heavy eater, you can absolutely order more than one entrée. If you don’t have butler service, you should request where you want to eat dinner as soon as you arrive…they book up fast.

Restaurants:
We ate at most of the restaurants but our favorites were “The Reef Terrace Restaurant,” “Kelly's Dockside,” and “Kimonos” so I will talk about those.
1. The Reef Terrace has an amazing location. You are up higher up, from the beach, but you have the most amazing view of the ocean. We went during sunset, which gave us the best pictures. The food here was awesome and it’s probably the most substantial meal I ate, during the vacation.
2. Kelly’s Dockside also has a great view, since it is located on the pier. To make the most of the view, you should plan to go when they open. The sun sets quickly there and you won’t be left with a view at all if you go too late. The food here is great too. The Mac & Cheese is delicious, as a side to your meal! I did find the service to be a little bit slower here but I think that’s because all the food has to be cooked in a building on the shore and then brought out to you on the pier.
3. Kimono’s is probably the most fun place to eat. The cook does his best to entertain you, while he makes dinner right in front of you. This is another big meal. You get to try a little of everything they make (chicken, beef, fish, shrimp, and vegetables). If you are able, request to be served by Tex. This guy is a character! He is very entertaining and made me laugh a lot. You can look him up on you-tube, if you want to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Drinks:
Drinks are always flowing! These people want you to have a good time so they are happy to get you drinks. My hubby lived on Red Stripe and I drank mixed drinks. A favorite among the ladies was the “hummingbird,” which is a sweet pink drink made with rum, I think (as most drinks here are). My absolute favorite, which I sadly only got one night, was the DG (Damn Good), which you can only get at the Reef Terrace. It’s a signature drink created by Brandon, who was a server the night we went there. This drink is awesome. It was sweet and didn’t taste too strongly of alcohol. Brandon joked that many women were getting pregnant, due to the hidden potency of this drink. I recommend that you get this drink…even if you are not looking to get pregnant. J

Butler Service:
What can I say about butler service? Did we need it? No. Was it awesome? Yes!!!
If you can afford the extra expense, you should get the butler service. It was totally worth splurging on. We didn’t use the butler service too much but they are very helpful in certain areas. For instance, we didn’t have to make any reservations or appointments. Every day, the butler would ask us where we wanted to eat and what time. There was no hassle about getting into any restaurant (even the impossible to get into Kelly’s Dockside). We did hear people complaining about having to wait to get into restaurants…this was not a problem for us, due to butler service. We even called the butler 1 hour before dinner to tell him we would be late (due to an off sight excursion) and he simply moved our reservation time back for us, with a “no problem mon.” The butler will also set up excursions for you (like Dolphin Cove or Dunns River Falls) based on your preferred time frames. As a butler guest, you receive a cell phone, which you can use to contact one of your two butlers. They work in shifts so you have a butler on duty from 7am-10pm. They will drive you around the manor/hill side, on one of their golf carts, to bring you to your room or to the manor house (which is where the spa, lounge, a restaurant, and where the main pool is located). They can also bring you lunch or a snack at the pool/beach. The butler will take care of any room service you should want (room service is not available to any guests under concierge level). The butler level rooms come with a mini-bar including alcohol (alcohol in rooms is also not available to guests under concierge level).

Remember that, in addition to you, the butlers are serving other guests as well. They will make themselves as accessible to you as possible. Butler service does not apply to the “no tipping” rule, at this resort. They expect to be tipped and they do deserve it. People tend to avoid talking about how much to tip the butlers. The best information I could find recommended $20-$40 per day (per butler) depending on the amount of service received. One butler will service you more than the other one so one butler should be tipped more than the other one, in my opinion. We brought “thank you” cards with us to tip them, which we gave them at the end of our trip. Our butlers were Oren and Marvelous Marvin…you guys are awesome!

Room:
We stayed in the “Honeymoon Palm Breeze Estate Poolside One Bdr. Butler Villa.” It was on the second floor of a 4 unit villa. There was a pool behind our villa, which can only be used by the 4 couples in your villa. Our room was fairly close to the “manor house” and walking down wasn’t a problem but walking up can be a little more strenuous (since it’s uphill). Our unit had a big bedroom, a nice sized bathroom (with a whirlpool tub), a living room, and a tiny “kitchen” area.

Tipping:
I read several reviews (usually the negative ones) that say you see people tipping the staff all over the place and if you‘re not tipping you will get poor service. I’m going to have to disagree. I didn’t see one person being tipped, except for the “off-site” staff like the bus drivers, which is fine because they are supposed to be getting tips. We didn’t tip any staff, with the exclusion of our butlers and cleaning lady (Casandra you rock!), and we received amazing service anyway. In fact, the staff here are amazingly nice. We even had one of the gardeners start a conversation with us just to make sure we were having a great time.

I would like to point out that the staff here work ridiculously hard. You will see the same people working at both breakfast and dinner. Please try to remember that before you complain about slow service.

Photography:
We had a photo session with Kadeem Montgomery. He was a lot of fun…I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. The pictures were magnificent! The pictures here are not cheap. They are close to $16 per picture (I think). You can choose to buy a package deal, which is what we did. We bought 20 pictures on a cd for $180. Yes, it’s a lot of money but those are memories you can’t get back. We also received a frame and a “metallic” wall print (to be shipped) as part of our package deal.

Spa:
I don’t know how anyone can complain about going to the spa. We only went to the manor side spa so I can only comment on that one. We had a couples massage one day and than a “Tropical bliss” couples massage at the end of the week. Both were fabulous! I have never felt so relaxed. Our masseuses were Donnette and Sharlene. They were awesome! My husband and I agreed that these were the best massages we have had on any vacation. You can relax in the “spa lounge” for lack of a better name. It has 3 very small plunge pools, which all felt cool/cold. There is also a steam room. As much as I loved the massages, I was left under whelmed by the spa’s lounge area. It was much smaller than I expected. My favorite spa (for extras like pools, saunas, and showers) is at Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. Still, the spa here is definitely worth the extra expense based on the service alone.

Extracurricular Activities:
We had several water sports staff try to sell us weed. We didn’t partake but I just thought to throw that info out there so you expect it to happen…because it will.

Wow, I am completely impressed if you got through this whole review. Who knew I would have so much to say…
I love this resort and I would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
18 Thank Elle P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 August 2012

After reading many, many reviews about this resort prior to booking and prior to actually going on our vacation, I thought it would only be right to share my thoughts with everyone else. We traveled with 6 couples and I have to say this was the best vacation we've ever been on. We traveled with the same group two years ago to the Majestice Elegance in Punta Cana and this resort and the Sandals reps were by far and away much nicer. Everyone raved about this place...no complaints, which says a lot in itself.
The service was top notch. All employees were friendly and went out of their way to assist us whenever we needed it. The resort is very large and spreadout. We stayed on the Riviera side which I would recommend if you want to be in the middle of the action. The food exceeded our expectations in every way. Our favorite was Valentino's, must make a reservation. Following in order of preference...Reef Terrace, Kimono's, Bayside, Neptune's, Kelly's Dockside (outside in the sun and very hot). The pizza was also very good as well as the jerk chicken at the Sandtrap Grill and the Coconut Shrimp at Mariner's. Nothing like sitting in the pool, having a drink at the swim up bar along with a few pizza's lined up on the side. Best part about the food and water was that no one had any stomach issues. Don't miss the beach party!!!
There were many things to keep you occupied, pool tables, shuffleboard, bocci, volleyball, beach games, tennis, water activies, amphitheatre at night, though it was a little small. There was also a daily activity sheet left in your room every night for the next day and a different drink of the day.
Be prepared to be hot, hot, hot, it only rained for about 15 minutes on one day the whole week. Basically everything is outdoors and open air. If we want air conditioning, you go to your room or the Piano Bar, or a couple of the restaurants.
No issues with bugs at all, not in our room or at the resort.
Overall, we all had an excellent time and would like to go back again. But knowing this crew, we'll probably check out a different Sandals next year just for something different. But I would go back to Grande Riviera is a second.
The bus ride from the airport took about an hour and a half, but it was well worth the extra travel time. The roads are also paved, not dirt, so it's not too bad.

Room Tip: Riviera Ocean View is definately the way to go if you want to look out at the beach and ocean and li...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank edmo33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gordonsville
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2012

This was my first time vacationing at an all inclusive resort, and I was very impressed by some things that Sandals had to offer and then other things left me disappointed. My rating would have been 3 stars had it not been for a few Sandals staff in particular (Allerine, Maurice, Claire, Patria & Michael) :) But I'll come back to that.

Arrival:

Getting off the plane the customs line was really long but it moved pretty quickly. We were directed right away to the sandals lounge, but by the time we grabbed drinks they were ready to load us on the bus. I think there was some confusion as to how many people were going to the resort because we sat on one bus for about 30 minutes before they moved us to a smaller bus. The driver was super nice and acted as a tour guide as we drove to the resort. We stopped along the way for a bathroom break and then straight to the resort. The driver let us know before we left the airport that tipping was expected, but we'd come prepared to tip, so it wasn't a big deal.

Check in:

Check-in was wonderful. We were greeted by the sandals staff with smiles and cold wash cloths to wipe our faces. It was really humid the day we arrived and so those along with the welcome champagne was a relief. Claire is the wedding coordinator at Sandals and I was surprised that she was waiting at the desk to greet us the second we arrived. She was very professional, and made me feel at ease right away about the wedding plans we had set for later in the week. She also introduced me to the only other person that I've met with my name (Patria) and throughout the trip, they both made sure to wave, speak, greet us each and every day. Maurice was the bell boy that helped us to our rooms and scheduled our reservations at the restaurants. He was super nice the entire time we were there. Whenever we saw him out and about at the resort he always stopped to make sure we knew where we were going or point the way.

Room:
Here is where sandals begins to loose stars with me. We were oceanside, right over the beach and the second we walked in the room all we saw was the incredible view. I believe we had a slightly different room (4216) than most on the ocean side because we had a long extended balcony (shared with 2 other rooms) that looked down right over the lobby bar area. The rest of the rooms seemed to only have a single balcony space. First stepping in the door, the view had me in awe, and the room was decorated nicely, but as soon as I looked to my right I was shocked at the condition of the bathroom. The far right wall had about 15-20 hairline cracks spidering up and throughout the entire wall as if an earthquake had hit. The sink had mold growing under the entire rim going all the way around. The sink stopper was broken, leaning slightly to the side and wouldn't go up or down. The back of the bathroom door looked as if it had gotten a quick white wash paint job just before our arrival and was painted a different shade than the rest. The bathtub was clean and worked...so no complaints there.

Our t.v in the room only worked some of the time. It turned on when it wanted and turned off after watching it for about 15 or 20 minutes and wouldn't turn back on again for hours at a time. The t.v. isn't a BIG complaint that I have, as we were almost always too busy to watch it, but these problems are not what I expect in my room when I'm paying all inclusive prices.

The cabinet door to our fridge was broken and hanging slightly off the hinge, so every time you wanted to open and close it, you had to force it up and on track so that it wouldn't swing out and bang your knee as you're walking by.

One of the switches on our bedside lamps was broken, so in order to get both lights on we had to unscrew the cap from one and put it on the other just to turn it on and off. After a couple days of doing this I finally just resorted to unplugging it whenever I wanted to turn it off.

Overall the interior of room would rank down there with a 2 star hotel, the view is the only thing that saved me from complaining to the front desk. It was clean and a place to rest our heads after really long days, and that's what really counted.

The maids made sure our room was turned down daily and I was surprised on the 5th day of our stay to see the towel folded into the shape of a flower on our bed since none of the other maids had done that. It was nice.

Activities:

I loved all of the water sports that sandals offered. Even if you don't want to spend lots of money on the excursions you never get bored taking advantage of each of the activities there. We took advantage of them all and the Sandals crew was very patient and helpful with everything we chose to do. We did do the Dunn's river falls excursion and I felt that it went really really fast. This is not Sandals fault. The falls was a great experience, we got some amazing pictures and our tour guide was more than helpful, carrying our camera up the falls and taking pictures of us with it. We wanted to do the zipline excursion as well, but all of them are waaaaaaay overpriced. For the price of two of us going on two excursions we could have a whole other weekend vacation somewhere else, so we saved our money and plan to zipline somewhere near our home.

Wedding:

As I mentioned earlier, Claire was the wedding coordinator, and she made sure that every need we had was met. We were very indecisive on some of the wedding choices and she made sure that we had time to pick exactly what we wanted. The wedding planning person I spoke to on the phone before arriving (Noel) was very snippy, rushed and rude. Claire was the total opposite, accompanying us on our wedding day, staying for the ceremony and even sending us a card to our room later. At the wedding ceremony is where we met Allerine (our photographer) and let me just say that she was our favorite person there. Even though we'd only selected one of the smaller picture packages, she took us around a good portion of the resort grounds, taking time to pose us perfectly and set us at ease. My hubby hates getting his picture taken, but he warmed right up to her. She kept us laughing, smiling and in good spirits for the rest of our trip. There wasn't one time when we saw her that she didn't stop to speak and talk to us about our day. The pictures she took were BEAUTIFUL and I could see the thought she put into the details. Some pictures I wasn't even expecting and was pleasantly surprised when it came time to view them.

Unfortunately Allerine was busy with another couple when we went into the viewing room and so we were setup with a staff member who wasn't sure about anything. Every question we asked her about pricing she wasn't sure of and had to go ask and still ended up giving us incorrect information. She told us that we had to decide on the picture we wanted right then and there and the rest would be deleted. Fortunately we met another couple who'd been given the option to purchase their photos online at a later date so the next time we ran into Allerine I was able to get everything straight. She got us set up to view and order our photos online and made sure that everything was right before I left the photo shop again.

The photo pricing is crazy ridiculous at sandals. $20 per photo!!! $355 for 18 pictures $650 for 36 pictures. The online pricing is slightly better $14 per picture...but that's really not much better. Especially when we just wanted digital copies.

(SIDE NOTE) With the google chrome app you can copy your pictures directly from the Sandals snapshot site onto your computer for FREE. I figured this out myself, when i got home.

We chose the beautiful beginning wedding package as we did not want to spend thousands more on the tiny upgrades that Sandals offered, but we didn't even receive everything in the package we chose. We never got the free 5x7 photo we were suppose to get. Our honeymoon breakfast in bed is not what we ordered, but we ate it anyway. And we never got the honeymoon turndown in our room. We came back to the room about 2 hours after the wedding and nothing had been touched. A maid did stop by at 6 for the evening turn down and she asked us when our wedding was. When i told her that we'd gotten married that morning, she did apologize and said she would come turn the room down when we left for dinner. When we got back to the room later that night, the bed had been made, but that was about it. Our breakfast dishes were left on the balcony table and our old cups, drinks were still on the dresser... Not a huge biggy...I just expected a little more for our 'wedding night'.

Even though we were getting married at Sandals we did not bring our real wedding rings with us on vacation, and thank God we didn't. We brought a cheap fake set of rings to exchange at the wedding and with them being fake, I didn't think to put them in the safe. I put them in the top drawer the day we arrived. The second day when we came back from breakfast, the rings were gone and someone had been through our luggage and accidentally dropped some kind of foreign coin. I reported the incident to Claire, our wedding planner, and she said that she'd speak to security, but that was the morning of our wedding and with things being so hectic, I'm not sure she had a chance to do it. I never heard anything from security and had only paid $50 for the fake rings, so I let it go...just relieved to have not brought our real rings with us. It was definitely my fault for not locking everything up when we left and I consider it a lesson learned. Thankfully not a costly lesson.

Food:

Here is where you just kind of have to go with the flow. No complaints whatsoever about the bartenders or bars. The drinks were in abundance, never stopped coming, and were really delicious. The food left something to be desired at most of the places. Most of the time our food came our lukewarm or cold. I'm not sure that the burger were really burgers and the ham was definitely not ham! LOL I can't think of one dish that I can rave about. Kelly's and Kimonos were the two places we had to made reservations at, and I was the most disappointed with these two. The services was excellent, the cooks, waiters and staff were very accommodating, but the food was the problem. Our well done steaks at Kelly's came out rare, the salad dressing was basically water with a little color added... A Kimonos...even though the food was cooked right in front of us it was still lukewarm....hmmm..... I've been to some really nice japanese steak houses and was expecting lots of tricks and a good show from the chef, but apparently Sandals has a set 'program' that the chef follows with hardly any tricks, no fire, and set portions for everyone.

Everywhere else was so/so. It was food, nourishment, sustenance....that's about it.

Beach:

If you're looking for long stretches of beach or a spot where you can go and chill out with your special someone on the beach you can forget about it here. The three teeny tiny beach spots that Sandals had is enough for a stretch of beach chairs and that's it. You get up and you're pretty much in the water. It was all set up beautifully, but it was very disappointing not to have a big beach space to enjoy. We saw so many stretches of beautiful beach on the way in, I was thrown for a loop once we got to Sandals. I understand the resort only has a certain amount of beach front property but still....disappointing.

Misc.

There seemed to be a towel shortage EVERYWHERE EVERYDAY ALL THE TIME. Towels are set out on the available chairs early in the day and then after that...good luck finding one. We ended up walking all the way down to the water sports office to request a towel almost every single day. There are towel stands at all the swimming and beach areas, but they were always empty or full of dirty towels. I heard several other guest complaining about trying to find towels and a few days we just ended up using our clothes to dry off to avoid the long walk down to the water sports office.

Sandals has a daily newsletter that list all the daily activities, and that was very helpful in planning our what we wanted to do that day. Unfortunately we didn't start receiving the newsletter until we'd been there for four days so we missed out of the all white/chocolate party and a few other things we would have liked to have done. We did take advantage of all the other things they had for the rest of the week, so no worries there. We made every day fun.

At the end of our trip we met Michael, another of Sandals excellent staff. I don't even think he was on drink duty but he saw us on the beach with empty glasses and went and got us more. He also encouraged us to get involved in the upcoming games, and for the rest of our stay made sure we knew what was going on. If we hadn't met him we wouldn't have know to request the newsletter, and once we did we started receiving it daily. We found a couple of more private pools thanks to him and he always had a cheery smile and friendly word whenever we saw him.

The gift shop/credit card/ debit card policy..... Grrrrrrr.....

So one thing we weren't prepared for is not being able to use our debit/credit card on property. We don't have or use credit cards at all, so we only brought our debit/credit card and a small amount of cash. Come one Sandals...you can do better on this. This policy was so confusing I don't even think most of the staff understood it. The only thing you can use a debit/credit card for was to pay for their high priced excursions, but if you wanted to buy a $4 key chain you either had to charge it to the room and pay with a credit card at the end of your stay or pay cash. There are NO atm's anywhere on property! What?! Really!? And the nearest atm is about 5-8 miles away....ok...no problem right...? WRONG...the first time we asked for a taxi we were told by the front desk that it would be $16 per person just to go to the atm and back! $32! WHAT? We declined. But the next day we still wanted to get stuff from the gift shop so we asked again and was told that it would be $8 a person. Um...ok.... Still not thrilled about having to pay $16 just to go to the atm, tip the driver, all to spend the money I get out at the Sandals property I'm staying at! They can definitely do better on this. So...that $4 keychain is bought and paid for, but the $100 plus dollars I spent on one excursion is still pending on my account 4 days later. Hmmmmm......

So much more I could say about this property, but that skims over the most important parts. So...why with all the little complaints did I give it 4 stars overall?

Even though this property could use some tweaks in each department, it still makes for a great honeymoon spot for young couples. The staff made the vibe of the resort and the enjoyment of our vacation a real pleasure. Would I recommend this to family and friends. Yes...absolutely...IF they were laid back and not a stickler for perfection. We're pretty easy going, and just being in Jamaica made everything else ok. I'm not a complainer, so wasting a few minutes each day to report all the little things I found wrong was not so important to me. To someone else....
Judge this review for yourself.

We had an amazing time here. The people we met I will always remember, but when we return to Jamaica I think I will look at a different resort. There's always something better our there... :)

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ThatRoweGirl
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

Property: 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 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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