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“Relaxing Vacation but mixed feelings for this resort”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 20 April 2010

I must have read the trip advisor reviews twice a day for a month before we left for our trip which made me nervous because several of the reviews were not good. My fiance and I got engaged 1 week before we left for our vacation to Sandals Grande Ocho Rios so we were very excited to get there and celebrate, so we went with an open mind and would see the resort in our own way and not by the reviews we read. Unfortunatley some negative reviews were true...but most were not.

We arrived on Easter Sunday...the 1hr 45 min bus ride to the resort definitly put a damper on our first day in Jamaica. We were told at the Sandals lounge at the airport that we had 20 minutes until our bus left so we were looking forward to relaxing a bit, esp after standing in customs for 1 hr. Not 5 minutes later it was announced our bus was leaving, only to be brought outside to a hot bus with broken a/c and sat there for another 20 minutes. Being able to view the island itself was nice for the first half hour then it just got boring. We stopped at the pit stop half way to the resort which was ok. We finally get to the resort and were greeted with a cold towel and champagne. As returning Sandals Select members, we were wisked away into a private room and given a Sandals beach bag filled with goodies and t shirts. This definitly made up for the awful bus ride. We booked a garden view room on the Riviera side which was beautiful, located right in the main building that was on the beach with a beautiful balcony.

The beach is wonderful and there are lots of watersports included, we snorkled 3 diffrent days and took a water trike out. Snorkeling was awesome, on the 2nd trip they took us far out into the ocean over a ship wreck which was amazing. We decided not to do any excursions because we did not want to deal with another bus ride around Jamaica. But there is plenty to do right at the resort. The Playmakers always have something going on.

The weather was gorgeous everyday, at least 80 and sunny. The weather forcast had called for rain that week but never did it actually happen. Bring lots of sunblock! We used all of ours and had to buy more at the gift shop.

This resort has two sides, Manor and Riviera. This wasnt really an issue for us as we stayed on the Riviera side to be near the beach so we didnt spend alot of time on the Manor side except for one day. We spent a day at the Manor pool which was fun, definitly a must! Tons of events going on and music playing. Try to find the hidden pool slide, its a blast!

The food was not good in our book, along with alot of the guests we had met who said the same thing. San Gennaro and Arizonas are the only places I can say I liked. But the breakfast every morning at the Bayside was definitly the best part.

So in the end we had a great time (i mean come on your in Jamaica!) If I had to do it again I would have stayed at a resort closer to the aiport and looked at the menus a little more closely.

ps. try to make a trip to Margaritaville Ocho Rios. Sandals will call a taxi for your its $28 round trip. Definitly a good time. Jamies Sports Bar on the Riviera side was the place to be at night. Tell Lynvall The Deputy says hello and make sure you get inducted into "Booze Camp"!!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank slc22284
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7,073 - 7,079 of 8,554 reviews

Reviewed 19 April 2010

Stay at Sandals in Ocho Rios from April 1 - April 6, 2010 with my wife. First vacation out of the country together and first time to a resort. Good and Bad...
Bad: (1) This Sandals is split in the middle by a major road which is not evident by looking at any of the maps. You CAN NOT walk to the beach from the upper side of the resort called "The Manor" - you have to use thier shuttle system. It is fast and comes often, but it was still dissapointing not to be able to walk to the beach and walk back to your room.
Bad: (2) Food - The food was mediocre. I'd rate it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Buffet breakfast and buffet lunch with several restaurants to choose from for dinner. We were expecting more from the reputation Sandals had as a resort with so many different restaurants, it was fine and sometimes good - but never great and never did we want to repeat a restaurant.
Good: (1) Room was nice, well-kept and clean all the time. (2) Alcohol flowed freely without any limitations.
Great: (1) The people working there are the nicest, most fun people you would want to meet. They make you laugh and enjoy the time spent there. Everyone from maids to bartenders to front desk - great folks, really great people!

Overall experience 3.75 out of 5 stars. You don't do much at resorts but eat and drink and relax - since the food didn't impress us, that is why I'll score this resort lower. We won't go back to Ocho Rios but we may consider another Sandals in the future - depends on price.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank PaulfromAustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2010

This was our first trip to an all inclusive resort, and needless to say we were extremely satisfied with the experience. The staff and ammenities were great, the food was amazing. The real kicker though was the location, Jamaica is beautiful! One of our favorite nights included eating at the Arizona restaurant which is located on the pier at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. We ate right as the sun was setting and all we could think was wow! Overall this is the place to go if you are looking for a beautiful location and a very relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cdub0626
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2010

We've just returned from our one of the best vacations.
Beautiful place, very good food, good quality drinks, nice entertainment.
The staff was very nice and friendly. If you are not satisfied with your location - ask for Charlene Reed, the manager - she will try to do her best to accommodate you. Spa girls were awesome, Simone (?) did a massage for my husband and he was in 7th heaven. Also, if you want to learn how to dive - ask for Lincoln. A very knowledgeable and patient instructor. I liked most of the waiters and waitresses - they always have smiles on their faces and sung and danced when served us :)
We liked the place so much, we are already planning next vacation there.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank motusenka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2010

We had been on other "romantic" trips, but this one was by far the best. The layout of the Sandals resort was geared toward couples. Even enjoying dinner at one of the nicer restaurants was couple-friendly, allowing us to either join up with other couples or just cocoon ourselves in privacy. The pace of the resort, the quality of the entertainment, and the availability of places in which to do nothing was amazing! We were made to feel at home and that no request was too much. We enjoyed how upbeat and patient the staff was. We had an incredible time and are already considering where to go next!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank BecketFurth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2010

Wonderful getaway! The watersports team was great. If you can't have a good time here, then you need serious counseling.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MajorAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2010

This was our first time staying at an all inclusive resort and it was a real delight. It was a bit of a long bus ride from Montego Bay airport but well worth it. All of the staff were very friendly and worked hard to give us a memorable vacation. We chose to stay in one of the low end room to save some money for excursions. The room was fully adequate, not a 5 star room but that wasn't what we pair for either. The many pools were excellent and the swim up bars were different. Drinks are included and the bartenders top notch. The breakfest buffets were outstanding and usally so filling that we skipped lunch. All dinner venues were excellent. We snorkled quite a bit, both from the resort boat and from the beach - very enjoyable. We enjoyed too many activites to list them all here but the resort delivered what their web site promised. We did 3 excursions - Horse and swim, Dunns river falls and the bamboo raft trip. The bamboo raft trip was nice but nearly all the way back to Montego Bay and used up a bit too much of the day getting there and back. The excursions themselves were very enjoyable, we like the Horse & Swim the best. While there is no tipping at the resort, that isn't true for the excursions & everybody is expecting a tip. Bring along some small bills for tipping - change was available at the check-in desk.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MrGoodBeer
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:
#3 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#5 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £77 - £776 (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 And Villa Golf Resort
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Hotel Ocho Rios
Sandals Ocho Rios
Ciboney Ocho Rios
Sandals Ochi Beach Resort Jamaica/Ocho Rios

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