My wife and I just got back from a 7 night stay at SGR, our 3rd visit to Sandals. We previously stayed at Sandals Whitehouse and Sandals Negril and were blown away with our experiences there. While the the resort at SGR was very impressive and there was no shortage of pools, restaurants and activities, there were some disappointments with our stay.
- The pools (especially the Great House pool on the villa side of the resort) were awesome. Lots of swim-up bars and generally no issues getting chairs.
- The food overall was very very good. The Reef Terrace is a great place to eat, especially at sunset. We also enjoyed Valentinos and the Manor as well as the breakfast buffet options. You definitely have many choices at this resort.
- The staff are all very friendly and always willing to help. Donmaur from the photoshop was awesome, as were all of the bartenders and wait staff we met.
- Our room in the butler villas was amazing. It was perfect for just lounging in the room if we felt like it and the bed was very comfortable.
- The grounds were immaculate. We stayed on the villa hillside and were so impressed with the gardens and greenery.
- The beach is very small and quickly fills up. If you are looking for a large beach don't book here.
- The size of the resort actually was a bit restrictive. We stayed on the villa side and if we wanted to go to the riviera beach side we either had a 5-10min walk or wait for the shuttle. We enjoyed the walk but it did feel like we were wasting time waiting for the shuttle getting back and forth. I have seen some reviews talking about butlers taking people back and forth but that was not offered by our butlers with one exception for dinner one night.
- Our butler service overall left much to be desired. Our previous butler experience at Negril was outstanding (shout out to Orlando and Mark at Sandals Negril!) which may have set our expectations too high. Also it seems like the butlers at SGR are spread thin having 6-8 couples at one time, which we definitely understood. We were 'surprised' by our butlers multiple times a day in Negril and often walked in to a decorated room at night and other thoughtful things that just added to our experience. We are not high maintenance at all and don't want to ask for these types of things, but Sandals sells the butler level as having these kinds of things included in the experience. Our butlers rarely surprised us, never decorated the room or drew a bath, and only twice brought us food in the room. We were encouraged or even asked to take the shuttle to dinner on multiple occasions and were also told to order room service a few times. It just overall was not the butler experience that Sandals sells you and certainly did not live up to the experience we had previously.
- Island Routes is a rip-off! We booked a dolphin swim experience because it was 'on-sale' that day. The 'discounted' rate was $140 per person for transport, admission to the park and the mid-level experience (there are 3 levels of experiences). When we got to the site we saw that the price list was between $43 and $53 for admission and experience. Doing the math, assuming a $20 round trip cab ride, thats more than double the price you would pay if you just got a cab and paid at the park (and thats the 'discounted' rate!!) Do some research before booking an excursion through Island Routes.
Overall, we may or may not book another vacation the Sandals Grand Riviera but will most likely not book a butler level given our experience. We can all the services we got from our butlers from the Club Sandals level of rooms. We had a great vacation overall and enjoyed the resort but will probably book a smaller resort with more beach options next time.
- 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