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"!!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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