This review is a little dated from 2013, but still was a good, positive stay. I also wanted to include dive photos and video to help show the dive/snorkel conditions.
Couple things to note:
1. If you are staying at Sandals, use a specific Sandals Travel Agent. These individuals are specific for Sandals and ours was a godsend. They will help immensely in understand the resort and local community. This will help extensively for planning and preparation.
2. Purchase travel insurance. Things happen and it is well worth the money. If you are a diver, purchase DAN for yourself and FAMILY! Keep in mind if you get flown out, unless you have family, they stay there. There are a few of the negative reviews that resulted from accidents/injury/loss (that were not responsibility of Sandals) that would have benefited from travel insurance protection.
We stayed for 7 days in a hillside butler suite. Really liked the service and food is very good. Last time we were at Sandals in St. Lucia (La Toc) and big difference upgrading to butler level rooms. Trip from airport was 90 minutes.
Excursions were great--ziplining and dolphin encounter.
We also did the Reading Roadtrip where you can bring a couple books and read to a class of 1-2 graders. This was very rewarding and the kids were great. Another program that is worthwhile is Pack for a Purpose (www.packforapurpose) to donate school/medical supplies in the area. We went a little extra and donated a full carry-on bag with school supplies. Sandals staff was extremely thankful we provided it for their local programs.
Scuba was great. First time diving with my Advanced Open Water. Had at least 1, if not 2 dives per day. Dive shop staff kept all my gear and setup/rinsed after each dive. Also did a night dive and a deep dive. Both were fantastic and deep dive was just me and Divemaster before the normal morning scheduled dives. No night dive pics as camera goofed up on water entry. No flooding, but the memory card barely came unseated. Easy fix to beat camera on solid object to barely set card in slot. Thankfully shock-proof camera.
We had one issue that Sandals managed very well. I came back from a dive to the Great House. My wife was at one of the pools above the main pool. I went to set my octopus down (needed to record my dive off my computer) with her things and I heard a yell from behind me. She was coming down a curving staircase when she slipped and slid down about 15 steps. She came to rest at the bottom against the railing. Both of us are in the medical profession (she's an NP and I'm a medic), so I went through the standard assessment and it looked like soft tissue injury. A manager came over and we walked through the process of notifications and she was able to walk to the nurse's office. Sandals management was very helpful and thankfully, she only had bruises. Over the last two days, the management staff contacted us multiple times to see how she was doing. Everything went well, except for this little mishap. Could it have been prevented? On our end, maybe coming down a wet staircase too quickly was a contributing factor. It would have helped if there was traction tape or a roughed surface on the stairs.
Even with this event, we still plan to go back to Sandals. The staff handled the event very well and we really enjoyed the stay and activities.
- 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