My husband and I stayed at SGR April 28 - May 5. This was our second time staying at a Sandals property, first time in Jamaica though. We stayed at Sandals Grande St. Lucian for our honeymoon last year. We stayed in the Honeymoon Palm Breeze Estate Poolside One Bedroom Butler Villa.
Arrival: We decided to travel Saturday to Saturday because it worked best with our work schedules. I was worried about long lines at customs/immigration based on the reviews I read prior to leaving but we did not experience that at all. Our flight arrived in Jamaica at 11:00 am on Saturday and it took us about 30 minutes to get through immigration and customs, wasn't bad at all. After customs you go to the Sandals lounge in the airport to wait for your shuttle to the resort, we ended up waiting about 20 minutes for our shuttle. There is soda and red stripe on tap available in the lounge. The bus ride was about 1.5 hours, and we were fortunate enough not to take the rest stop in the middle (our driver had to be somewhere else). Once at the resort we were dropped off on the Manor side (first stop) and taken to the concierge desk to wait for our butler for check-in.
Butler: As I just mentioned we had a butler during our stay. This is not something we had when we stayed in St. Lucia or what we originally booked for our trip to SGR. Our original room was a concierge category, but I kept checking the room rates online and found that the butler category opened up for a cheaper rate, so I had our travel agent switch our rooms! Our butlers were Denton and Bertram. They were AMAZING and made the trip truly unforgettable. The butlers made the trip very stress free. Our butlers picked us up for breakfast every morning, made our dinner reservations daily and picked us up to take us to dinner (they also get you bread and a drink once seated), made sure our fridge was stocked daily in the room with drinks, a fruit tray, and cheese/cracker tray, reserved pool chairs and towels, booked our excursions, brought drinks and lunch to us by the pool, decorated the bed one night, and drew a bubble bath another night. Overall, the butlers made our experience unforgettable! Thank you Denton and Bertram!!!
Grounds: The resort is Beautiful! As mentioned in other reviews though, there are a lot of steps on the Riviera side and large hills on the Manor side.
Food: I believe this is going to be personal opinion. For breakfast they have two restaurants that are buffet style. We ate breakfast on the Manor side at the Market Place every morning. Nothing amazing, but it was good. My husband and I ate at Reef Terrace, Kimonos, Valentino's, Kelly's Dockside, and Bayside during our stay. We also did a Candlelight Dinner and ate at the Beach Buffet our last night. My favorite restaurant was Reef Terrace, partial because our waited Michael was so much fun! My husband's favorite restaurant was Kimono's. All restaurants offer an appetizer, soup, salad, entree, and desert. As many other reviews have mentioned, the portions are small. If you want more, than just order more. Kimono's and Kelly Dockside require a reservation. In terms of the Candlelight dinner, this is an extra expense, but we thought it was well worth it. They have three dinners set up near the water sports on the beach each night. You choose your menu prior to dinner (and can choose as much as you want).
Excursions: We did two different excursions (these are not included in the all-inclusive), Dunns River Catamaran and White River Water Tubing. Since this was our first time in Jamaica I wanted to do Dunns Rivier since I've heard so much about it. Overall, this excursion was a lot of fun and included snorkeling, Dunn's River and a booze cruise on the way back. Would highly recommend this tour! Our second excursion was River Tubing. I had spoke to a few people at the resort who had done this and they said they really enjoyed it. I agree that it was fun, but it was overpriced for what you get out of it I think. The river was not blue like the pictures showed, and the river wasn't moving that well so you had to use your hands a lot to flow down the river.
Entertainment: We didn't really go to the different events that they had each night. THe one that we did go to was great though. Saturday night they have the Silver Birds Steel Drum Orchestra play in the amphitheater. They were very good!
Spa: We had a complimentary couples massage included with our package. I assumed this was going to be a 50 min. massage, but the complimentary massage was a 30 min. massage. We did our massage in the spa facility on the Manor side. This spa was very clean and nice. It was just as relaxing as spa's in the states. This was my first time with a male masseuse, and unfortunately I did not enjoy the experience. My husband on the other hand had a female masseuse and enjoyed his massage much more. A heads up though, even though the massage was complimentary we were still charged a 12.5% surcharge.
Staff: The staff here were wonderful. We decided that we enjoyed Jamaica more than St. Lucia because of the people we encountered. They all went out of their way to make sure we were having fun! Also, shout out to Chakera at the Soon Come Back desk, we had so much fun talking to you!
Pools: My last comment is about the pools. We were fortunate enough to have a butler and had pool chairs reserved for us when we wanted to go to the pool. I had read reviews on here about people not finding chairs or towels, but everyday there were available chairs and towels at each of the different pool areas. If the towels ran out and someone asked a staff member for some, they always went and got some. I don't believe the resort was at full capacity during our stay though, so this may have played a part.
Overall, our experience at SGR was great! Our only disappointment was how much it rained while we were there (we had two sunny days, the rest were rainy), but this didn't stop us from having a good time! We booked our next vacation to Sandals Grande Antigua for next year, but plan to return to Jamaica in the future!
- 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