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“Nice but not what we expected”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #7 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 29 August 2014

My husband and I vacationed at Sandals Grande Riviera July 20-25, 2014 and had a good time but the resort and room were not what we expected. There are two sides to this resort- hillside and beach side. The hillside are all butler suites (you can stay on this side without utilizing a butler but they don't tell you this). We chose to stay on the beach side because we didn't want t butler. We stayed in the Riviera Grand Luxe CLub level room which was anything but grand! The hillside of the resort looks much better- rooms are larger and look newer. The lobby on the beach side is open so depending on the time of year you go- its extremely hot. Our room was very small, decorated ok but not at all what we were expecting for the amount of money we paid. After looking at our room, we asked to upgrade to a larger suite and also asked to see one of the rooms on the butler side. The staff was very accommodating with this and took us to see a suite on the hillside- the room was beautiful. Large open space and as separate living room. The hotel was not packed; however we were told that if we wanted to upgrade, we would have to pay $200 per night! With that being said- we stayed in our original room and made the best of it.
The majority of the staff was accommodating and friendly, however, my husband and I felt as though other people of different races were treated better. When I say better, I mean the staff was more attentive to them and their needs and went above and beyond to serve them. We went to dinner one night and waiting to be seated for over 15 minutes, while we saw other couples being seated that came in after us.
The food was really good in certain restaurants- drinks all had rum in them but we were also very good. Portions were small but if you wanted more, you could simply ask.
There were not many activities on the resort property and the excursions through the resort were outrageously over priced. We book an excursion through viator which was much cheaper.
Overall, this being our first all-inclusive resort was pretty good. My husband and I had fun but are looking forward to trying other all-inclusives. We are going to Secrets Montego Bay July, 2015 and hope that it meets our expectations.

Room Tip: Hillside has better rooms- its quiet but you can take a shuttle over to the beach whenever you want.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank mickeylover37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2014

Hello and thank you for your review of Sandals Grand Riviera.
We regret to hear that your stay was not as expected and that you were not completely satisfied with your accommodations or some of the service received at our resort. We are respect all of the opinions you have expressed and recognize that one person’s specific experience can only be judged by that individual. We strive to keep the highest standard of quality and service and we deeply regret if you felt that we fell short in any aspect. The resort management team will follow-up in these matters and take appropriate steps to ensure that we do not receive similar feedback moving forward. We hope that you will afford us the opportunity to redeem ourselves by serving you more efficiently on a future visit.

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3,757 - 3,763 of 8,858 reviews

Reviewed 29 August 2014

Heads up, travel time from airport to property 1.5-2 hrs depending on traffic and driver. Had fun listening to driver showing us points of interest but van was a bit worn and seats killed my back. Return trip was awesome because van was newer. Once we arrived the other five couples were escorted to a private reception area and we were told to wait in lobby. We opted out of the butler service so no special check in. Oh well, cannot imagine having to set my day with a butler that is waiting on 4 other couples as well. We like to be spontaneous and that was just fine. If you stay in the Great House be warned it can be quite noisy at times. Our room was right over pool, great view but on karaoke night a bit crazy. Great food all around, especially the food fired pizzas, had one everyday for snack. BUT THE BEST THING WAS MISSAN(?) AND SEAN IN SABRINAS CAFE, those two made us not only feel welcome but like family. I would go back just to see them.

Don't do any excursions on the days cruise ships in port.

Room Tip: If a light sleeper be sure you are not directly above lobby and pool area
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Darrin J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2014

Please avoid this Sandals resort and save yourself the disappointment. Let me preface my review by saying that we have been to other Sandals resorts and loved it...I highly recommend the Sandals Grande St Lucian. First off Sandals needs to stop advertising this resort as their "newest and grandest"...it should be changed to Sandals newest USED, spread out, and minimally remodeled resort! I cannot believe people have given this place good reviews...they must have never been anywhere else. The worst part was the food...it was AWFUL. The only thing that I had the entire trip that was okay was the pizza. This was by far the biggest disappointment because the food in St Lucia was superb. One night we made the trek up to the Hillside part of the resort to try Sabrinas only to be told that it was closed due to low occupancy...That is ridiculous. We were here for a wedding and they were very unaccommodating to our group. We were only able to eat together one night because they would not allow more than 4 people at a table at any restaurant besides Kimonos. 6 of us tried to eat together one night and they only let 4 of us sit together and told the other two they would have to sit somewhere else. The table next to us was open and we wanted them to sit there but the waiter told us "No" that that table is out of service. The beach is quite small and gets crowded very early. If you want a seat you better get there early on or they will all be taken. NOTE: If you stay on the Hillside and want to get to the beach or majority of the restaurants you have to wait for a bus to drive you down the hill, pass through security, cross a main road, pass back through another security post on the other side, and then have a few minutes walk down to the beach...WHAT A PAIN! I could go on and on about other things but I think you get the point... Avoid this resort.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
9  Thank Jodyness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2014

Hello and thank you for reaching out to us about your recent stay at Sandals Grande Riviera. We are sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy some aspects of your stay with us and it returned home not feeling completely satisfied. Comments, both positive and negative are an important tool that we use to constantly improve ourselves and we appreciate the time and effort taken to provide them. We will be sharing your comments about the dining with the resort management team and they will follow up with this matter immediately. We hope to welcome you back to one of our lovely properties and regain you confidence in our brand on a future stay.

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Reviewed 28 August 2014

My husband and I just got home from the Sandals Grande Riviera and we had a wonderful time. This was our first vacation together and Sandals made everything so easy. We really enjoyed being able to actually chat with a sandals representative before we left to answer any questions we had. The food was good, the service was amazing and the hotel grounds were beautiful. We really enjoyed the red lane spa services offered at the resort and the candle light dinner option on the beach. The only draw backs to this location in particular was the 2 hour van ride from the airport to the hotel and the rooms were nothing special but the view was spectacular. I would definitely recommend Sandals to anyone looking for a couples vacation.

Room Tip: The beach side rooms are very nice with a beautiful view. Most of the restaurants are on the beach s...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank ToriS1023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2014

We stayed at Sandals Grande Riviera from August 2-9th and are still heartbroken we had to leave. We stayed on the Riviera Side in a basic room, which was absolutely perfect.

First things first, we could not imagine staying on the hill side. The riviera side is absolutely superior to the hill side in terms of beach access, views of the beach, and proximity to restaurants/pools/beach. If you’re not set on a butler, choose the riviera side. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks all overlooking the water. There are only 3 restaurants on the hill side (Sabrinas, Manor House, and China Doll). We ventured over there twice and just couldn’t help but think how disappointed we would have been to be staying on that side. Also, you do have to cross a street to get to the other side riding on a bus. The street is a highway with billboards and little shacks that you pass. The bus that takes you from each side is a bus, not an open air shuttle or golf cart, a mini bus. It is of course do-able, but for us, doing it multiple times a day would have been a bummer.

The staff really do make the vacation so much fun. I have been to several all inclusives in Mexico and one huge difference about going to Jamaica was the fact that all employees speak English and are so fun and playful. We enjoyed chatting with all the staff and always heard the reply of “yeah mon” with any request.

The beach was fantastic. We loved that there were three sections: Ochi Beach with the raft where you could swim out and look at the horizon. Clear turquoise waters were perfect for swimming. A little rocky walking into the water but no big deal at all. The center beach surrounded by the promenade was like bath water with very soft sand and clear turquoise waters. The water sports beach had some great things too. We went kayaking but came about 5 feet from being hit by the glass bottom boat (which really made us pretty angry because it seemed the driver was really very negligent, the only reason we realized they were coming at us was because a person on the boat screamed). We also did the glass bottom boat which was really cool, but we got a little nauseous.

Probably the best part of this resort was deciding where to go for dinner every night! There were fantastic restaurant/bar choices! Our thoughts are:
-Kimonos- Overrated, food was probably the worst we had but the experience was fun
-Valentinos- Absolutely delicious. Service (Glenroy) was fantastic and the food was delicious. I was having trouble choosing between the scallops and the gorgonzola stuffed steak, so Glenroy brought me both! :)
-Soy- Our absolute favorite. We are big sushi people and loved everything about this place. We went here three times (twice just to get a roll before going elsewhere for the full meal) and wished we would have done it a fourth instead of going to Kimonos. Natoya here made us feel welcome and encouraged us to come back multiple times!
-Manor House- we both got the blue mountain coffee rubbed steak. It wasn’t that great, but overall we liked our meal.
-Reef Terrace- this was one of our favorite meals, overlooking the water. I got the grilled marlin and my bf got the steak. Both were excellent
-Bayside- We weren’t really expecting much from this place but both loved our meals! Seafood florentine and surf and turf were awesome. This one overlooked the water as well
-Neptunes was pretty good. Can’t beat eating dinner looking at the water with your feet in the sand.
-We tried a couple places for lunch but could not get over the pizza at Bella Napoli and ate that mostly. The 4 cheese was unreal.
-One of the best parts of the restaurants are being able to enjoy a 4 course meal overlooking the ocean! I know some people said the portions are small, and I eat a lot and did not think this at all. I think the key is ordering appetizer, salad, soup, main course, and dessert! :)

Nightlife: There is definitely a “party scene” if you’re looking for it. As 25 year olds, we tried it out for two nights and decided we actually enjoyed taking it easy a lot more. Jamie’s played loud music with flashy lights as a “club” atmosphere. Our favorite thing to do was just enjoy drinks on the boardwalk by the fire pits. We did love the steel drum band on Saturday night. The beach party was really fun, and the chocolate party was pretty good too.

Excursion: We went to the Blue Hole with Yardie Tours instead of doing the (tourist-trap) Dunns River Falls. After reading some forums online, people compared Dunns River to a Six Flags where they just herd you up a waterfall. We instead went to the less-visited Blue Hole which was AMAZING. We went under waterfalls, in little caves, jumped into turquoise waters. We also floated down the white river in tubes which was really relaxing and fun. It was a much more authentic experience and my boyfriend compared it to something he did when he was in Hawaii. Definitely look into this.

Overall, there were many times we looked at each other on this trip and said “this is so nice” and took a deep breath to enjoy it all. We will absolutely be visiting more Sandals resorts, and would even love to come back to Grande Riviera!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank mandaw2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2014

We went to Sandals for a friend's wedding for 3 nights. Our flight landed at 10:00 am and we reached the hotel around 2:00 pm. Our driver took his time showing us points of interest and we stopped at a bar/restroom as well. After waking up at 4:30 am, I was not in the mood for this and would have tipped the driver better if he had just taken us straight there.

We stayed on the beach side on the 5th floor in a club level room. You have to make repeated calls to have your fridge restocked. The room was clean and fine. The hotel does not have central air so you're hit with a wall of heat when you open your room door!

The food, in general, was gross. I tried to stick to thoroughly cooked items as well as lots of bread! At the wedding, what was described as New York strip looked like school cafeteria Salisbury steak. The pizza by the pool was the best thing I ate while at Sandals.

The beach is very small and rocky when you first walk in.

Because we were on the club floor, we had concierge lounge access. I'm really not sure what the benefit to staying on the club floor other than wifi being included.

The wedding was gorgeous and the DJ at the reception was incredible!

I would stay on a top level floor since the music is really loud there!

Room Tip: Stay on the beach side. Club level includes wifi and it's on the highest floor which is the mos...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank ReneeColumbus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2014

Hello Renee,
Thank you for reaching out to us about your recent stay at Sandals Grande Riviera. We were happy to hear that you had an enjoyable experience overall and had a great time celebrating your friend's wedding at our resort. Still, there are a few aspects of our vacation package that are in need of improvement. Regarding your concerns about the food and dining options, it is surprising to note that some of the food served was not to your expectations. This aspect of our operation is usually considered exceptional and very often received compliments from our guests. We are therefore sorry if you were not similarly impressed. Your feedback and suggestions have been brought to the attention of our Management Team on property. We hope that you will return and afford us the opportunity to redeem ourselves by wowing you with our amazing service and fabulous dining experience.

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Reviewed 27 August 2014

My husband and I stayed at Sandals Grand Riviera 8/1/14-8/11/14. We were joined by some of our friends, another couple for 7 of our 10 nights. We had a wonderful time, this was our second stay at a Sandals Resort, and we will most definitely continue to choose Sandals for our vacations.
Accommodations - we stayed on the Hillside of the resort, which was a shuttle ride away from the section of the resort that was directly on the beach/ocean. We loved our villa with semi-private pool, we were able to share the building with our friends as requested. The room was clean and comfortable. We had butler service, which we did not use as much as some of the other guests we talked with, but our butlers were great and completed all of our requests. Staying on the Hillside was nice, never waited more than 3-4 minutes for a shuttle to the ocean side, the drive was only a couple of minutes.
Food - we loved just about everything that we tried. For breakfast, we typically ate at the buffet at Sabrina's, yummy fruits and pastries, omlet station. For lunch we typically ate at Dino's (pizzas, burgers, sandwiches) and The Mariner (sandwiches, burgers, delicious coconut shrimp). Our favorite dinners were : lobster night at Sabrina's, Soy sushi, Neptune's, and Kimonos, but all were delicious. We loved Kimonos so much that we ate there twice during our vacation, we requested Tex both times, he was hands down the best and most entertaining hibachi chef we have ever had! We also received excellent service from Miguel and Vivian at Neptune's.
Drinks - the pools all serve up delicious frozen drinks, typically my husband and I stick to beer and wine, but these drinks were great and just the right amount of sweet. Our favorite pool bar was at the Great House pool, it was the largest and on our side of the resort. Late night we spent a few nights at Jamie's, it was always fun but very hot, especially if you want to dance. Ethel's piano bar was fun, Oliver, the piano player was very entertaining as was the bar staff Brian and Joe. If Joe is working, make sure you ask to hear the bamboo song, hilarious. The polo lounge was a nice place for a drink before dinner or a late night nightcap, there was an excellent bartender there as well whose name I cannot remember.
Entertainment - during the day we enjoyed sailing, took lessons one day and were then able to take the boats out on our own, lots of fun. My husband and I are scuba certified, we went on 2 dives while there, the diving was better in St. Lucia, but still nice and great dive masters. We had a great time getting to know the playmakers, Jason and Jerry were so much fun, these guys kept us entertained during our days at the pool and beach, we enjoyed watching their talents during the shows at night as well. The staff talent show and beach party were great.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Jmdenn
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
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £303 - £819 (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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