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“Ya Mon! Incredible Vacation~Irie!!”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 29 February 2012

First off this was our second visit, the first was in Feb. 2009. The resort was amazing then.....now it is truly incredible. We visited Feb. 20-27th, 2012.
Arrived at Montego Bay, proceeded thru customs etc then to the Sandals Lounge - was barely there long enough to get a beer! We boarded a bus and were off, we stopped about 45 min into the trip and stopped for some Red Stripe(local beer) and a bathroom break, was there about 10 minutes. 30 minutes later we arrived at the SGR!
Before I go on, we stayed in the Riviera Cottage Banyon Grove Hummingbird Honeymoon Hideaway on the Riviera Side . That's what we booked, and that's what we got. We traveled with another couple and requested thru the travel agent that we be close together. Our rooms were in the 2nd building from the Rivera Lobby, we were in room 2030 and they were in room 2029. No concierge or butler service for us!!
We arrived on Monday Feb. 20th, in time for the street party, it's held on the Manor side of the resort and it's when all the food stations, tables and entertainment is held out side in front of the lobby - it's great fun and amazing buffet style food service. Take it in, it's well worth it! As we walked up to find a table to eat at, a young man(waiter) noticed us and showed us a table with available seating~his name was Odave. He usually works at the Manor Restaurant, he invited to us to checkout the Manor the next evening. So we did~when we arrived we were shown to a table that he had decorated with flowers~it was very lovely! We had jerk shrimp, soup, steak and lobster and amazing desserts!
I have to be honest; while I will say we walked all around the Rivera side, we mostly stayed around the pool that's by the water sports beach. We did go on the Hobey Cats(sailboats), and the Glass Bottom Boat. It was there we met some terrific staff - bartenders - Bishop, Omar and Andrew!!! They work long hours but aim to please; and they certainly did - we went and bought the fixings for Ceasers and showed them a Canadian favorite!! We also met a few very nice couples - that are travelers like ourselves ~ low key, friendly, like to relax and are kind to employees, as well as being happy to be on a vacation that some people can only dream off.....
so with that said......we didn't tip anyone other than the housekeeper(we would leave a note with her name, what we gave her, and our names and room number) at the start of the week, we received AMAZING service - the staff at many times are working by themselves or with only two people resulting in a bit of a wait for a drink or for a course during a meal.....did we let that ruin our holiday????? NO WAY MON!!
We ate at the Manor(as mentioned earlier), the Reef Terrace, The Mariner's Beach Grill, Bella Napoli Pizzeria and Soy Sushi Bar. There was nothing that I can complain about - it was all delicious! On our last evening we ate again at the Manor, it was my husband's birthday, they brought out birthday cake with candles....earlier that day the housekeeper decorated our room for his birthday as well - it was a very nice touch!!
Back to tipping...at the end of the week: I tipped one of the lifeguards (who helped me daily/early in the morning set up the umbrella-they are very heavy to move-just they way I wanted it), I tipped Odave after our dinner on our last night at the resort, we had turn down service most evenings-if we wanted it-so I tipped her on our second last evening there and as mentioned, we tipped the housekeeper daily. We had for the most part exceptional service all week from people who make approx. $65 USD weekly and they did that without any tipping on my part!!!!
As for evening entertainment - it was very good - of course there is the usual games and that type of stuff but after that they had a variety of different entertainment that was some of the best we have seen at resorts. There was a Reggae singer(can't remember his name), the Silver Bird Steel Drum Band - they were AMAZING - loved every minute of that hour!! A talent night - there were some very talented guests staying there!!
All renovations are complete, this resort is the total package! We have stayed at 7 other all inclusive resorts in Ochos Rios and Montego Bay in Jamaica; Punta Cana and Puerta Plata in the Dominican and in Varadero Cuba. We too read the reviews on this site, but decided to keep our plan to travel here and we are so glad we did!!
We were amazed how guests would treat the staff - not in a good way: they would not use their manners to ask for drinks, ketchup, etc etc. they would be yelling at a bartender because there were no bananas for drinks - the resort ran out one day, was it the bartenders fault - I don't think so, they would leave their wet towels on the loungers, even though the bin was 5 steps away, they would leave dirty glasses/plates etc, wherever they felt like dropping them, in the flower, on the towel racks, etc etc. We feel resort are paid to serve us NOT as personal slaves for our enjoyment!!
We did 2 excursions: the Martha Brae River rafting - very quiet, relaxing and peaceful, as well as climbed the Dunn's River Falls, we ate at Scotchies - one of the best Jerk Restaurants in Jamaica and went to the Taj Mahal for a couple hours to shop. We had the bell boy call a cab in the evening before, we spoke to the cabbie and made arrangements - it's much cheaper this way, he will make the arrangements for the excursion entrance as far as times etc. Sandals contracts JUTA tours to be the taxi service, so you are getting a reputable driver that will take care of you!
I welcome any questions about our stay at this resort... just ask and I will try to answer!!!
With all that being said, we would highly recommend this resort!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank watergirl306
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,884 - 5,888 of 8,558 reviews

Reviewed 28 February 2012

If you decide to stay at this Resort and treated well, you better pay some money and get Butler Service, or Concierge. Otherwise you will be treated like crap. Our room was "Upgraded" to the Romeo and Juliet room. Which pushed us further away from everything. Our hot tub didn't work the whole time, and we had little ants all over our sink area. The hot tubs in the main pool areas didnt work while we stayed there. And if you want to eat at any of the nice restaurants, you better book it before you go. We were told we couldn't eat at any of them, but yet we heard other people booking their reservations, when they got there after us. So unless you slip them money under the table or pay extra for Butler or Concierge, you will not be treated very well. I suggest going to Montego Bay. They treat you much better there.

Room Tip: Try to stay on the side where the beach is. Otherwise you have to take a bus.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank leslie l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort. After reading the mixed reviews we were a little concerned, and chose to stay on the Riviera side (definitely a must if you like the beach or want to be able to go back to your room during the day without a 5 - 7 minute bus ride). Here is a summary of the Pros and Cons of our trip:

Pros:
1.) Large resort with lots of pools, swim-up bars, and although not continuous, not a bad beach.
2.) Lots of restaurants so we were not dining at the same place every night.
3.) Evening entertainment was very good, and there was 2 buffet parties which were fun.

Cons:
1.) There are 28 different categories of rooms - although the lowest category is expensive (~$3300 per couple per week, no airfare) it is NOT truly all inclusive (non-alcoholic mini bar, no room service, cleaned late/last in the day).
2.) The service is very hit or miss. Some people were very helpful when we had trouble, but the majority were not. For example, getting through to the front desk usually took multiple tries at different times of the day. Getting coffee in the morning with breakfast usually took a few requests. When we forgot our golf clubs on the bus, the front desk said we could go and get them! Some days our mini bar wasn't restocked with water - after we called, the water still did not arrive.
3.) Finding pool/beach towels was a daily frustration of 10 - 15 minutes depending on how aggressive you are - why is this so hard? The shelves with beach towels were always empty, and you had to ask a Sandals employee to obtain them. In other resorts we have been to (Iberostar & Palace Resorts), this has never been an issue.
4.) Lots of mistakes - mistakes with the type of tour we booked, mistakes with date of the tour...
5.) The spa price seemed to be different depending on who we asked. When we told them we had a spa credit, the price increased! We eventually booked it successfully by calling the spa and going around the Sandals representatives.
6.) There is an overabundance of sales representatives (spa/photographers/return to Sandals people). It is frustrating being intercepted multiple times per day for a week for a photoshoot in which you have to pay for the pictures.
These photos were free at the Beach Palace Resort (Cancun) last year when we went.
7.) Reservations for restaurants (as there was no come and go buffet) were frustrating as they were difficult to obtain at restaurants in high demand (i.e. Kelly's) and those restaurants that did not accept reservations often required a >1 hour wait when you attempted to walk up for dinner.
8.) Our phone didn't work in our room, and after we asked for it to be fixed multiple times it never was. We even spoke to Jacques (one of the assistant managers to no avail).
9.) Lastly, paying so much for an all-inclusive and being told that the best pool and beach seats were not available to your room category was priceless!

All in all we had a good time after choosing to overlook these things as we were already there. However given everything and the price, we would not recommend a Sandals to our friends and family as we have stayed at far better all-inclusive chains (both resort, beach, price, and service).

If you want long strips of beach, this resort is not for you.

Room Tip: Riviera side is closer to the activities and beach, and does not require waiting for a 10 minute shu...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jeeter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SRICS, Manager at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 29 February 2012

Warm greetings from Sandals Resorts International! You are very important to us and we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Please e-mail us at (customerservice@sandals.com). We look forward to hearing from you. Warm regards.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2012

We traveled with two other couples to this beautiful resort. The views of the Caribbean were absolutely beautiful and the weather was awesome. We tried many of the restaurants during our 5 day stay and we fell in love with the calamari appetizer, the tomato basil soup and the lobster served at the Market Place Restaurant.

The Manor Pool with the swim-up bar, huge hot tub and dolphin statues spurting water was the most amazing pool we have ever seen. One of the men in our group said he would book an oceanview room on his next visit. All of us fell in love with this resort and all the employees that we came in contact with. Way to go Sandals.

Room Tip: We really liked the rooms in the Riviera Bldg. They have more room in them than in the Bamboo bldg.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank pjstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2012

My wife and I got a room that would not have been our choice (second floor, not so great view). We inquired about getting a different room higher up and with a better view. The receptionist got on the phone right away and we were given a different room right away with a specatular view. Everything else was just what we were hoping it would be. Food good - drinks were great and our glasses were seldom empty. We recieved great service and would come back here again.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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3  Thank Brian W
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 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $131 - $1,312 (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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