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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
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Reviewed 23 April 2014

We spent our Honeymoon at the Grande Riviera Resort in Ocho Rios. I initially didn't want to go to Sandals because I felt it was just too expensive but my wife was mesmerized by the commercials and just HAD to go and I'm so glad we did.

I will start with the cons first:
1. The food was great and only restaurant we didn't like was the China Doll; the food there kind of sucked to be brutally honest. All the other restaurants were awesome, especially the Manor and breakfast buffet.

2. The distance from the airport was pretty far (1.5 hours) but I heard they are looking to internationalize the Ocho Rios airport so hopefully our next visit will involve a shorter drive to the resort.

3. Customs was the most painful part coming into Montego Bay. We stood in line for nearly two hours waiting to get through customs. We bought the "Club Mobay" passes which made going through security and customs so much faster going back. Next time we will be sure to get Club Mobay passes with our next vacation package; so worth the extra money.

4. Housekeeping always kept the room in clean and beautiful but the room would smell like a dirty mop when we would return at the end of our day; this stopped after notifying our butlers. Toward the end of our stay, we noticed a dead roach in the kitchen and decided to leave it there for housekeeping to pick up but the next day it was still there and the day after it had been swept aside behind the garbage can; we didn't like that at all.

Pros: The staff was so nice and attentive. We had two memorable waiters, Trenton and Omar, that always made our dining experience awesome whenever we had them. Our Butlers Alrich and Damien were top-notch in their quality of service to us. They made us feel like Royalty and were always so nice and enthusiastic. They would call us on our lazy days to make sure we were comfortable and were always on time for dinner and spa appointments. Room service has a small menu but they custom make anything you ask for.

The beach was just perfect and had so many cozy spots to just plug in, lay out in the sun or shade and relax with a good e-book. The resort was so spacious and had a million places where anyone could just sit or lay and just relax whether in the main lobby, pool or beach sides and in room. The resort was never crowded anywhere at all and there was WiFi at every corner and their were plenty of bars to get any drink you could want although most of the time, most staff members who would happen to be passing by would replace our drinks on a whim. We were going to book some excursions but we were so relaxed and at ease at the resort that we decided not to leave.

All in all, the experience we had at Sandals was the best we have ever had and we have been to quite a few vacation spots and on a number of cruises in our time. None compare in the quality of experience, service and just overall value. We spent about 5k for a week at La Concha Resort in Puerto Rico last year which was not all-inclusive. Our total investment on our Sandals vacation was just over $3800 all-inclusive with top-shelf drinks, you do the math.

If you have not done a Sandals vacation, you owe it to yourself to do so. We already booked our next stay at Sandals for next year and this time, we are bringing the In-laws.

Room Tip: Butler Suites and "Club Mobay" are worth the extra money. The Butlers treat you like Royalty and check on you regularly to make sure you are taken care of. I highly recommend Alrich and Damien at Grande Riviera. I wouldn't bother with the private car service they offer to the Resort, the shuttle ride was comfortable and the driver was fun to chat with. Don't travel in June or October, those are rain seasons in the Caribbean and believe me, it WILL rain.
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Xavier O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cassie C, Review Coordinator at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2014

We're so happy to read that you had such a wonderful honeymoon with us at Sandals Grande Riviera. I know that this was a very special occasion in your lives and we're honored to have had the chance to share it with you. We strive to create romantic and memorable experiences for our guests and I'm so glad we were able to achieve that goal during your stay.

Thank you for your review. We hope to welcome you back soon for an anniversary to remember!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2014

Working as a teacher, sometimes it's just nice to vacation where there aren't any teenagers. So, my best friend and I decided to go to Sandals in Ocho Rios for Spring Break. I'd been to Sandals before with my husband, but never this particular resort. We were very happy with our choice!

LAYOUT: The resort has two basic sections (seaside and hillside) divided by the main street. We stayed on the seaside half of the resort. The seaside is where the beach club is located. There is a shuttle that makes three stops (hillside lobby, Ochi beach club, seaside lobby). There are plenty of pool, restaurant, and beach options.

FOOD: The food was great (which is typical for Sandals) and with two sections there were plenty of options. Our favorites were Valentino's and Soy. We really enjoyed every meal we had.

ROOM: Our room was ok. There was nothing wrong with the room itself, however, the location definitely had pros and cons. We were close to the spa and gym, which was awesome! However, we faced the ampitheatre which is where they have entertainment most nights. As a result, the sound was aimed directly at our room. As teachers, we go to bed early and get up early so it was a bit annoying. However, it wasn't so bad that either of us were kept awake.

STAFF: I have to commend Kareema for her amazing personality and dedication to her job as Loyalty Manager, as well as give a shout out to our travel agent, Amy McHugh from Dream Makers Vacation Services for her commitment to her clients. Our check-in was a little rough. They accidentally checked me in as the wrong person. It was no big deal... I was traveling with my best friend and not my husband so they only had one name to go by... and it was easily fixed, but having stayed at Sandals several times, I knew this was out of the ordinary. I emailed my travel agent, Amy McHugh from Dream Makers Vacation Services, just to be sure everything was ok. She immediately contacted the resort to double-check and the next morning Kareema came and found us at the pool and personally apologized. Both Amy and Kareema then checked on us several more times throughout our stay. Kareema even called me from Jamaica after we got home!

One more note regarding the ENTIRE Sandals staff... We were both really impressed by how the staff handled two girls traveling alone at the resort. While we did get some questioning looks and side comments from other travelers, the staff was very professional, courteous, fun, and tolerant. They didn't know whether we were friends or something more, and it didn't matter to them. They treated us like everyone else. I think this speaks volumes for this staff and the respect they have for others.

OVERALL: We had a great time! We've rebooked for next year and are bringing more friends.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank geneticist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2014

My Wife and I have stayed 9 different Sandals Resorts & recently stayed here and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves never felt more relaxed & comfortable the accommodations were great the entertainment and food was superb but most of all the very professional and courteous staff particularly a Ms. Nadeisha Jones went way out of their way to see that our every need was taken care of she / they went above and beyond their necessary duties !!!!
The restaurant manager Jesse Alexander saw to it that our dinning experience was especial & romantic as it was down to smallest detail, a true professorial in his field
Mike & Maria M

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mike M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We were in the Romeo and Juliette one bedroom suit with privacy to no ends. My wife was totally blow away by this resort and our room. The 7 days we spent there we will remember for the rest of our life....wait we are going back next year so we will remember them both for the rest of our lives. If you are looking for a place to take your love and be pampered and have privacy this is the place. Food on the resort was exceptional. Drinks made with fresh fruit and mid range liquor. Room was perfect and our butlers were amazing. The property is split between beach and Villa and is very large and beautiful decorated with tropical trees and plants. Never seen so many flowering trees. The Jamaican people are exceptional and very friendly. A Must for love birds

Room Tip: Romeo and Juliette suits. The best available and priced right
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KenO60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

I have been meaning to right this review for quite some time now. I think the reason I am writing it now is I have read some reviews recently that were way off the mark of what I have witnessed at Sandals. This was my 4th stay at a Sandals Resort. Most recently my wife and I stayed at Sandals Grande St Lucia in September 2012 and now stayed at The Sandals Grande Riviera in September 2013. Please contact me if you have any questions on this property or Sandals in general.

The People --
This is what makes Sandals what it is. From the people at the airport when you arrive to checking out when you leave. Everyone was amazing. There are a few that I would like to mention personally.

Lydia, Karian, Shadine, Aquana – Club Sandals --- What can I say, these ladies were so much fun!!! From the first moment we stepped into the office to get checked in to the time we had to say good bye. They were always happy to see us. My wife and I shared a lot of laughs with these ladies.
Alex, Millard, Janel – these 3 people worked the Ochi Beach Club pool. WOW – so much fun. Alex was always trying to get people involved with some crazy cheer or chant or game. I would walk up and say YEOW – and he immediately turned around and said – What up – Yeow!! Millard made wonderful drinks and Janel was an amazing server for my wife and others that were sitting outside of the pool relaxing.
Sasha, Karah, Tashawna, Raquel – Playmakers --- We got to know these 4 ladies by doing the fun activities they always had going on. Sasha was the manager and she was always smiling and went out of her way to say hello. She was a lot of fun!! Raquel was fun also – she made us laugh the day we were at the main pool and at the beach party. Tashawna was horrible at volleyball (we gave her a hard time, but she laughed) – but she could put on a show at the amphitheater and the beach party. She was getting everyone to dance!! Now about Karah!! She was our favorite!! We saw her every day at the Ochi Pool. She would get right in the pool and play games with all of us. We took her to lunch and also had her as our guest for the Repeat guest dinner. It was nice to have her getting everyone involved and playing some games, beach volleyball, poker in the pool, bar games, etc. She has a very infectious smile and attitude. Always fun and upbeat. Can’t wait to see her again next year. I have to say that all the playmakers were fun at the beach party – Boom Boom and Joe were super funny.
Claudette – Red Lane Spa – My wife wanted me to mention her as she had a massage. She said Claudette took her time in identifying my wife’s tension areas and offered things for her to do to help later. My wife said – AMAZING massage.
Denise – Soon come Back – She got us to sign up again – but it didn’t take much persuasion. She was very helpful in looking for the best deal and time for our return. She didn’t rush us in picking a date and made sure we understood all the things we would be getting in our return visit.
Jason -- Club Sandals Manager -- there is not enough good things I can say about Jason. He is one of the reasons we are going back!!! He was always available to hang out or have some lunch or just chill and chat. We got the chance to sit with him at the repeat guest dinner also. Made a lot of memories and can't wait to see him again and hang out.

The Grounds -
The place was awesome. Everything was bright and green. It was nice just to walk around at times and look at all of the plants and flowers. There were many different walk ways on the property. Sometimes you would just start walking and end up somewhere you didnt even knew existed.

The Food --
The best part about this property is you have so many options. We didnt even get to eat at all of them. Kimonos was good and provided some good entertainment. We ate at Bayside every morning for breakfast. The views were awesome and the buffet was very good. Kelly's dockside was very good and had great ambience as well. It was right on the pier. The pizza provided a great snack in the afternoon. Mariner's was very good for lunch and a snack also. The late night food was AWESOME. Try the jerk chicken for sure with some curly fries.

The pools --
Since we were staying on the beach side we went to The Ochi Pool everyday. It was nice and cozy and the staff was awesome. It was also right next to the beach if you wanted to go dip in the ocean for a nice change. We did go to the Manor pool for a little bit. It was fun also, but not the same for us as we had already staked our claim on the Ochi pool. you can't go wrong with any of them, They are all wonderful and have the playmakers walking around trying to get people to have fun and open up.

The rooms --
This is something I would put some thought into. There are two sides to the resort, but it is very easy to get back and forth. I would reccomend looking at the map before you book and see what you are thinking you would like to do during the day and also where you want to eat. Both sides are amazing. We prefer the beach side as the views can't be beat. You also have the Concierge on the beach side, but the butler rooms are on the hill side. It is true that you don't spend a ton of time in your room, but I would book the one that you like the most you won't be disappointed.

I have read a few other peoples reviews. A couple of misconceptions -- first there is no tipping on the resort at all. This does not mean that the driver of the shuttle to and from the airport does not want a tip. It also doesn't mean that your guides for excursions don't accept tips also, but on the property you don't carry cash and everything is charged to your room at the gift shop and any excursion charges.

I can't wait to return!!! My wife and I and the other couples that are returning in September are counting down the days unitl we return home!!!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Jason E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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