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

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!

Room Tip: It is not necessary to have a butler, but if you can afford it do it. They made our experience that...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Danielle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,757 - 5,761 of 8,625 reviews

Reviewed 6 May 2012

My husband and I got married on April 21st 2012 and had a 4 day stay with 54 guests. Overall, we had an AMAZING time! The facilities were lush and the very recent renovation definitely gave the rooms a more modern look and feel (fresh paint, flat screen televisions, etc.). The food selections were great, the activities offered were awesome and the service provided by the staff was nothing less than terrific.

Our wedding ceremony from the planning to the completion could not have been easier. If we had gotten married in the states I'm POSITIVE our experience would not have been as enjoyable. When I say they handle EVERYTHING I am not lying! We met with the wedding planner the day before (her name was Latoya and she was fantastic) and the wedding ceremony and reception went even better than my husband and I could have imagined (photographer, Delmar, videograpger, Rasaan, DJ, Keemar ALL great)!

I can see that the vast majority of the reviews lie within the excellent/very good range and I think that is spot on. Here is a short list of pros/cons:

Pros: activity selection, eateries, staff service and friendliness, a TRUE all inclusive, wedding planning staff, the private rehearsal dinner for all 56 guests our party

Cons: resort is about 2 hours from the airport (but the resort will pick you up and take you back), service was slow at times in the evenings in places that had plated dinners. Can't think of any more cons!

Overall, our stay was a solid 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. I was especially impressed with the fact that having a party of 56 total people that everything went so well over 4 days. Sandals Grande Riviera...Kudos!

Room Tip: The rooms that have a beach view have great sun rises and sun sets and are unobstructed views
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank missshs09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2012

We stayed at SGR from April 07-April 12. We were married on April 11, 2012. I will start this review by saying overall we had a good time but with that being said not positive I would stay at this resort again. I visited this resort years ago when the villa side was still Beaches which it no longer is and the resort has been renovated nicely since then. When we arrived at the airport and taken to the Sandals section when they prepare everyone for the ride to the resort they informed us that they will call our resort and at that time we needed to come out and stand by our luggage. About 10 mins later they called our resort and they had our luggage on a cart so we went and stood by it and then they started unloading our luggage saying they werent ready yet. The staff at the airport site were not very helpful but we figured we wouldnt let that ruin our trip.

The bus ride to the resort was uneventful as we were ready to get to the resort and start our vacation. When we arrived to the hotel they gave us cool towels which smelled like lemons..reminded me of pledge. They used to smell like cherries which I much prefered. They ushered us into the conceriege suite and then into a ballroom becasue it was reunion week which I had no idea when I booked our trip. Once we were in the ballroom we were never given instructions or any introduction to the resort at all which was upsetting to us as this was my husbands first visit and alot had changed since I had been there last.

Check in:

They informed us and another couple that our rooms were not ready so we went and had lunch. By the time we were done we were ready to get showered and start our vacation and our room was ready. We stayed in the Honeymoon Bougainville Villa. Our room was on the top floor which we requested. It was a nice room. Housekeeping could have been better as we had to request towels or washclothes almost on a daily basis. Also you have to request ice from room service because there is no where you can walk to in order to get ice. It does take a little while to get the ice so request it before you really want it. Turn down service was nice, I know some complained of it being too late but we were usually in our room by 10:30 sometimes earlier and it was done before we returned.

Food

The food was pretty good. You have to make reservations for Kelly's and Kumonos...I wasnt overly satisfied with either of the food here in fact I had a steak after I left Kumonos. My husband an I wanted to try 2 meats at Kellys and the waiter argued with us about this...this is an all inclusive and I have already paid for the food so if I want two portions there should be no arguing. We only went to Kelly's and Kumonos once and that was plenty for me. We really enjoyed the food at the Manor restaurant...best dessert at the resort. We had the bread pudding...yum is all I can say. Neptunes had really good swordfish. We ate at Reef Terrace on the day we got married and the service was great along with the food which was the snapper but on the second time we ate there our food was very dry. Breakfast is the same thing served every day so be prepared if you are staying a long time like we did. We were so sick of the same breakfast everyday. The egg line was often long and they managed to bust my eggs every morning.They should change this up for people staying longer periods. We did not eat at China Doll or Valentinos for dinner so I cant give a review of those but we heard about bad service at Valentinos. Leave something on your table if you both go up at the same time to get food because many times early on in our vacation they would have our table cleared and someone else seated there...and then the waiters would get mad because we got up.

Service:
The customer service was very below par for a Sandals resort. I am so unsatisfied with the service and especially coming from a Sandals resort. To all of you who tip..stop because its hurting the rest of us who choose not to. I understand you want to pay them for a good job and if thats the case then stay at a resort that allows tipping. I paid a lot of money to stay at Sandals and I refuse to tip at an all inclusive and one reason why I choose to stay there. The tipping has made the service very poor if you choose not to tip. We had a guy scream at us on the beach becasue we messed up a towel animal he had on a beach cabana that we were not told we had to rent until he screamed at us. When I pay the money I paid to stay at a resort I refuse to be screamed at. It just seemed like most of the staff had attitudes and didnt really want to help you with anything. One our last day we were waiting to check out and my husband had medicine to take and wanted a pop to drink so he went down to the breakfast buffet to get a drink and asked for a pop. The waitress said where are you sitting and my husband informed her that we had already eaten and checked out and was just waiting to leave for the airport. She refused him a drink and said this is only for people eating here. He said ive paid for my vacation I have already eaten and theres no where to get a drink. I would like a pop she argued with him for 5 minutes and then someone said just give him a drink. That was completely uncalled for. On an occasion you would get a nice staff member but that was only on occassion. Our villa was located on the top and the jitney drivers on several occassions dropped us off below the villas and at the wrong villa. One occasion the jitney driver took us to the wrong side of the villas to the ranch style and told us this is where the room number we have is located I argued with him for 5 mintues until he realized we werent getting off and then decided to take us to the right villa. They also decided the second week we were there that they were going to be closing portions of the resort down for photographs and needless to say they only told the guests on the first day of closures. When I say told the guests it means on a regular size piece of paper typed up at the desk. No large notification. This was when they were closing the whole beach club down. They offered two free catamaran cruises the next day but decided to cancel them the day of for rough waters. They closed the grill down on the poolside during the day and told us that we need to go to the other side of the resort if we wanted food. I am sorry but people should have been notified of this when booking for should have recieved a phone call before they arrived to let them know of the closure plans to see if they wanted to reschedule. No such efforts were made.

Resort:

The grounds are beautiful as I figured. The hot tub on the villa side at the large pool was only hot one day and we asked about it and so did several guests and the lifeguard said oh I will check on it...never saw him do anything about it and the hot tub was colder than the pool. Its called a hot tub for a reason. There wasnt much to do after 9:00 and often times everything was just dead so we would go back to our room. I would like to have seen more nightlife and more things to do at night. The games werent very organized and often very boring. You dont win prizes in the games you only win points and you have to play so many games to earn enough points to get a prize. The game makers were the most friendly of the staff. The villa side is quieter which I preferred especially at night. The beaches are small but I was fine with them and the beach is located across a busy road from the villa side which I also didnt mind and knew when I booked the trip. We did have a hard time on many occasions getting a jitney ride. Our villas was towards the top of the hill and even when we called for a ride we would tell them we were at the top they would still go to the bottom of the villa. We would see them come close and go back down to the resort with no one on their jitney as we were waiting for a ride. This was very annoying.

Wedding:

We were married at the Reef Terrace which was a beautiful setting. We would have liked the beach but Sandals doesnt provide a private setting for this...its in the middle of the watersports which we didnt like and a little sad over this. I got my hair and make up done at the spa...beware the spa employees will try to sell you everything under the sun so if you dont want it and things are expensive just say no. My hair and make up turned out great so that was nice. Our wedding was beautiful as we just did the wedding package that came with the stay. We did hire a private photographer to take pictures off site who was fantastic...contact me if you would like his information or have any questions about getting married here. It was just my husband and I for our wedding which we loved. The cake was pretty good. The special gift you get for getting married is a chocolate covered apple which we didnt eat so I cant tell you if it was good

Overall we made ourselves have a good time. I dont think I would stay at this resort again just becasue of the terrible customer service. I talked to two managers and one who was the director over customer service who said she would be in contact with me...I am yet to hear from her. Everyone has different experiences on their trip so if you are planning to go here and you want to see for yourself go and try to enjoy yourself you may have a better experience than we did. We didnt have a horrible enough experience to ruin our trip but at times it did put a damper on things. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Room Tip: 7421 is the room we stayed in and I would reccommend it.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Shyla T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2012

We visited for 10 days starting in mid-April. The bus ride was routine considering the heavy rain for the most part. The reception at the hotel was quite efficient and friendly. We thank Kamaka and Shadine for laying the groundwork. Both were right on top of their games.

We had a sweetheart of a housekeeper who's name was Deveta. She exemplified all the service people we came in contact with. Deveta was quiet, efficient, and expressed a ready smile that would light up the night. We miss her already.

We were drawn to Valentino's Restaurant a second time thanks to Junior, the maitre'd, and our waiter Prince. The former was quite entertaining and the latter most efficient. But most of all it was a real at-home environment in both cases. Thanks guys.

At the Bayside, everybody was pleasant but like everything everywhere, the cream rises to the top. And for us it was Arlene the maitre'd, and Lennicka our waiter. We had the opportunity there to dine quite often and it was our pleasure when those two were on duty. Arlene's ready smile and genuine hugs literally set the table for for our dining pleasure. Lennicka's quiet dignity and moxy quickly took care of anything we needed.

A downside to our trip was a PhotoShoot that consumed crucial parts of the resort for a whole week and then some. One facility after another was shut-down for extended periods that caused us a fair amount of inconvenience.

The staff led by Kamaika and Shadine will call us back for sure.

Room Tip: Go for the even numbered rooms in the Riviera building for ocean views.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2012

We stayed at the Grande from April 16 to the 22 and it was our first time in Jamaica. We booked the lowest room catagory which was suppose to be a room up in the Manor House. We were very curious to see what the experience would be like since we have twice stayed at St Lucia Sandals La Toc and had incredible experiences, but we were not sure if it would be the same at a different Sandals or if the magic was that particular St Lucian resort.
Well we were not disapointed! We had a wonderful time! To start with our travel agent Ruth Demuth from Tripguy and Sandals updgraded us to one of the villas and we had a private pool! OK technically it was not private, since we shared it with 3 other couples. But I never saw them the entire time we were there and so I imagined it all for myself! We started feeling the Sandals love when we landed in Mobay and had a cold drink and friendly conversation with Sandals staff at the airport lounge. The skycaps carry your bags to the bus and expect a tip, but were so warm and friendly and were happy to talk about their country.
The bus ride took about 2 hours and included a stop at a little spot for MORE drinks and a smoke. By this point I was so impatient to get to the resort I never left the bus and the driver became my hero when he revved the engine to get the drinkers back on board!
We arrived to a cold drink and cool cloth and as I mentioned we were bumped up to a villa room. When we arrived we were thrilled by the spaciousness, cleanliness, and even a little snack and anniversary card from Ruth and Sandals. Great way to feel special thats for sure!
The resort is very large and the landscaping amazing! If you get the chance take the garden tour which is offered most mornings at 9am. Damian, a young gardener gave us our tour and he shared so much information about what they can grow in their tropical climate it was fascinating to this cold weather gardener! But as he became more comfortable he also shared about his growing up, his Rasta beliefs, and even taught us a little patois!
He was just one of an amazing staff. They really are the reason to go back to the same resort!
We had fun doing the glass bottom boat and snorkeling as well as the hobie cat. The trike was one of those once in a lifetime things I was dying to try. I did have a secret fear we would end up in Cuba because they are VERY cumbersome to steer and bring them back to shore. Plus my husband kept banging his knees on the bar as he is so tall and we were both killing ourselves laughing. But we did make it back without causing an international incident so it was a success.
Milton at the Manor house Marketplace was wonderful to us every morning and we never had a bad meal at the SGR. If you like steak you will defintely want to try Valentinos as they had a gorgonzola stuffed fillet that still makes my mouth water! Food was available anytime day or night. As a matter of fact one night around midnight I swam up to the little grill on the Manor side, sat in the pool on a bar stool and ordered a burger. The waiter was very amused serving me in the dark while my husband sat shivering next to me. (we had just left the jacuzzi.) The waiter pointed to the chairs on the patio but I told him it was the height of luxury to sit in a pool eating a burger. Laughing he turned to my husband and said "Mon you need to teach her what luxury really is!"
The whole week was like that~ Simple little adventures and good laughs with staff and other guests. I even scored free private golf lessons AND got to drive my very own golf cart when Dave Reid the head of golf heard I had never been but always wanted to try.
This trip to SGR convinced me not only of the wonderfulness of SGR but also that Sandals takes it commitment to its guests seriously. If you are looking for a place to go to relax, explore, have fun, and laugh A LOT then you should check out SGR.
The beach is small and interupted by all sorts of steps and stairs. Funny story about that. It seems that when Sandals bought up the property around the area, the guy right in the middle did not want to sell. So Sandals built all around him (hence all the stairs). But he does sell shells etc from his side so you can just lean over the stairs and buy some. He does not bother you in anyway and certainly the beach is private if small.
We will be back!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank HerMajesty00
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 Luxury Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $115 - $1,381 (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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