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“Wonderful weddingmoon!!!!”

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Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 24 April 2008

My husband and I were at the resort from April 9-April 15, 2008. I'll try to be as helpful as possible in this review, as we lived on this site for months before our trip, and other reviews helped us a great deal.

We traveled from Erie, PA, so it took sometime for us to arrive. The anticipation was killing me by the last hour on the plane! Be aware that Jamaica does not follow daylight savings time. We were unaware of this, so when we thought we were about to land, we still had another hour to go! No worries, though, we were soon there and were ready to clear customs.

Be sure to bring a pen with you on the plane. Sounds dumb, but I'm not kidding. Your airline will give you customs forms to fill out on the plane, but will not supply writing utensils. (At least US Airways did not). We were scrambling for a short while for a pen. lol.

When you depart the plane, and head down to the customs area, note that you can go to EITHER line, on the right or the left. There were literally hundreds of people following each other to the left lines, and the right lines were nearly empty. They were all being pointed to the same customs agents, so we jumped out of the long line and got into the much shorter one. We were through there in no time!

You will then go through a security check point, which is fast. No problems there. Eventually you end up in a big lobby. The Sandals/Beaches lounge is to the left. There will be someone there to greet you, and to tag your luggage for the appropriate resort, via a colored tag. The will announce the departure of a bus to your scheduled resort via a microphone, but it's hard to hear, to check when you hear an announcement. They then have you leave your luggage outside the lounge, and direct you inside to have free drinks and relax. We were really leery of leaving our luggage out of our sight, so we sat where we could keep an eye on it. The lounge is VERY nice, but VERY hot! Eventually we just waited outside the lounge for the announcement of our bus.

The announcement came, and a gentleman put our luggage on a trolley thing and quickly took us outside. He took us towards a HUGE area full of buses and little vans. I have no idea how he picked the one he did for us, but he put us on a bus and walked away, after I gave him $2.00 and declined his offer of "some smoke." lol.

About a half an hour later, it was discovered we were on the wrong bus! BE SURE TO ASK THE OTHER PEOPLE ON YOUR BUS WHERE THEY ARE HEADED!! Eventually we were on the right one, and were headed off the Sandals.

We arrived at the resort after about 2 hours (ug, drunken people on the back of the bus couldn't hold it, so we stopped twice.) and were greeted at the entrance. (NOTE: they take all arrivals to the Manor side, which is the side AWAY from the beach. If you are staying on the Riveria side, (beach) they shuttle you across). The guys waited for the luggage and the ladies were instructed to come in and have a seat, to complete paperwork. We were given champagne and information on the resort, along with our room number. It does not indicate on the paperwork which building or which side you are in. Our number was somewhere in the 7000 range, so I approached the desk and asked if this room was indeed on the Riveria side. Just as we feared, the infamous upgrade. They tried to "upgrade" us to the area away from the beach. Not happening. I politely explained that we had reserved a Riveria Luxury Room and we'd like that room please. I was given a "No problem," and another room reservation. Problem solved right? Not exactly. We were taken to a cottage on the Riveria side, which was nice, and we had intentions of staying, until the Ampitheatre started rocking that night, which was nearly on top of the cottage. We knew we'd been jerked around a little, and were ok with it, but when we realized we were jerked around and screwed, I called the front desk. I really got no where with the call, so I went there that next morning, and told them of the issue, and again asked for the room we paid for. We were moved that day, about 12:00 noon into the Riveria building, Room 4227, where we should have been in the first place. whoo hoo! Success!

So, with all of the room musical chairs, our Weddingmoon book was somewhere lost in transition, and we never received it. So, we had no idea of where we were meeting our wedding planner, and at what time. Ug. So, I went to the wedding office on the Riveria side (there is one on the Manor side too) and asked. They called the other side and verified our time for that day. We were finally all set!

This was honestly the only thing that was a bit of a pain in the (--) while we were there. From this point on, it was smooth sailing!

We met with the wedding coordinator, Annette, who was WONDERFUL. She was on top of everything, and we were in and out of there in about 25 minutes!!! You get to choose your wedding location via photos, choose your cake, choose your wedding dinner, choose your flowers, etc. They do not pressure you to upgrade to anything, which I was anticipating. It was great!

Our wedding was April 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm.

The next day, the coordinator came to retrieve us from our room right on time to take us to the location. (you can have go seperately, if you wish, but we wanted to go together.) We met the Minister, who was great, and had a fun time during the ceremony. It was really beautiful. We were married right on the beach. We took a ton of pics with the Sandals wedding photographer, who was really nice. NOTE: if you are more interested in beach photos/garden photos, tell him/her! We wanted more beach pics, and were sooo glad we asked for more. The additional photos turned out to be our favorites.

That evening, we had a special dinner at the restaurant of our choice on the resort. They had a menu printed up with our names on it. It was so cute. We kept it. :)

We went to the photo shop, in the Riveria building (there is one on each side) that evening to ask when we should view our pics, and they gave us a time and date, a couple days later. They were a bit pricey, but awesome! Advice: get another resort photo on disk, for $15.00 during your stay there (the photographers are all over the resort), and they will give you a release to reprint the photo, and it isn't specific as to which pics you can reprint. They don't put wedding photos on cd, nor give you a release. At least you can scan and reprint you wedding photos this way, which is what we did. Kinda sneaky, but hey, right?

Anyways- the wedding was wonderful and completely stress free, which is exactly what we were looking for!

The resort itself is beautiful. We were on the Riveria side most of the time, which is closer to the beach, and we loved it.

The restaurants get crowed fast, and the wait times are long, because Jamaicans are living at a lot slower of a pace than Americans. In other words, GET THERE EARLY, and I mean like when they open. We were first in line a bunch of time for places. We learned our lesson the first night with this! lol. The food is mostly wonderful. Valentino's was our favorite. The portions are A LOT smaller than we are used to here, so be sure to order a couple of entrees, especially for dinner. Don't worry, they won't bat an eyelash. :) (P.s. San Gennaros was our least favorite in terms of food. The sauce reminded me of spaghetti o's sauce, lol. However, the ambiance was WONDERFUL.)

For whatever reason, no one is really up and at em' in the morning hours. We took full advantage of that fact and had awesome breakfast everyday! The resort is so quiet during this time. Very peaceful. (Breakfast at Orchids is the best!)

Lunch was mostly buffet style at a restaurant on the Riveria side for us. Still good!

Basically, if you leave any restaurant hungry, it's your fault. There is never a lack of food in any of them. :)

They do offer additional tours outside of the Sandals all inclusive rates. We opted to take the Party Catamaran boat to Dunn River Falls and the Canopy Tour. I was SOO excited to do the Dunn River Falls tour. The husband wanted to do the Canopy tour.

The party boat to the falls was just that, a BIG party! It was great! Drinks flowing, and Jamaican music pumping! Workers were on board the boat, and they got everyone pumping along to the music and dancing! It was SO fun. We stopped about half way there and snorkeled, which was GREAT, and then continued to Dunn River Falls, which is 900 feet of waterfalls that you climb with a tour guide. AWESOME.

The Canopy tour is a zip line through the mountains. EK!! A little scary at first, but fun. You will roast doing this, because there is a lot of walking involved. TAKE WATER. There was a couple who had a book bag with water in it. Smart people. I was drenched with sweat by the end of it. lol.

The last night, there was a pool party which was SOOOO fun! The husband won the game they were playing, which was a version of Simon Says, and walked away with a bottle of Rum! Definitely attend the parties. They’re so fun. The night of our wedding there was a beach party/buffet, complete with a band, sward jugglers and fire breathers! I took a picture with him. SO FUN!!

Over all the Jamaican people are VERY friendly people. The only people we found to be rude were a few of the tourists. Such a shame!

There is a shuttle that runs between the two sides of the resort, and it comes about every 15 minutes or so. From the Riveria side, the stop is right next to the big black gates, next to the Red Lane Spa. (Check your map.) From the Manor side it comes to a little area with swings, you can’t miss it.

Another HUGE help is the daily activity sheet you get each night/early morning. The housekeeping staff slips it under your door. Read this! It totally helps to plan your day, and tells you where all of the activities are for the day and at what time.

I read some complaints about housekeeping not keeping up, and stealing things on this site, and I was a bit worried. However, our room was SPOTLESS all the time, and nothing was ever missing. We used the safe that was in the room for valuables, and I highly recommend it. Why tempt people? We locked up passports, ids, jewelry we weren’t wearing, etc. (p.s. don’t wear rings, etc on tours. We were told they are easily lost.)

There is also an area in the Riveria building that has the menus of all of the restaurants. It helped us decide where to try and when. Be sure to check that out.

There is an island bird named Skippy, who likes visitors. Also, there is a HUGE fish (who actually likes to be pet) in a small pool outside the Riveria area. I pet him whenever we walked by. The last day he tried to taste my fingers. Lol!!

Just a side note of advice, pack light! We packed very light, (two carry-on bags only) and STILL over packed! Ladies, take two bathing suits. You’ll be glad you did. It sucks to have to have to put a wet suit on. Lol.

This was over all a WONDERFUL vacation. Don't let the Negative Nancy's of the world steer you from vacationing here. It was breathtaking. Our stress free wedding was a HUGE bonus for us. We will try another island next time for variety, but Jamaica is wonderful.

Ya mon’. No problem.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank Erica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8,101 - 8,105 of 8,635 reviews

Reviewed 22 April 2008

My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. We had a good time, but only because we made the most of our trip. I will NEVER return to this resort, let alone recommend it. We paid over $4,000, and I feel completely taken advantage of. The first day, we were supposed to be greeted in our room by a bottle of champagne with a menu for breakfast in bed the following morning, as well as flower petals in the bed. The resort apparently forgot about us, and we did not receive our champagne til our last day there. We never receieved breakfast in bed or flower petals. Unless you pay extra for butler service, your refrigerators are not stocked with alcohol and you are not allowed any room service. Staff were INCREDIBLY rude, at restaurants, the front desk, gift shop, etc. A server at a snack stand completely ignored us when we tried to place an order. I almost accidentally bumped into another server after turning around in one restaurant. His response: he stepped back, rolled his eyes, sighed very loudly, and motioned for me to continue past. On our day of checkout, we were not assisted with our luggage. The man at the desk mumbled every word and talked so low we could not understand him. He handed my husband a paper to sign and said nothing else. We were not thanked, asked to come back, or wished a safe trip home. Reservations for restaurants were not allowed, and waits were anywhere from 30min - 2hrs. The buffets were only fully stocked one day out of the seven we were there. Food quality was very poor - meets were very tough and gristly or contained large portions of fat. Service was incredibly slow. You were made to feel uncomfortable having to ask anybody for anything. At first we thought we were being nit-picky til we talked with several other couples with similar complaints. Please save yourself the trouble and book your vaca/honeymoon somewhere else.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank sweetpea3507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2008

Like many other travelers, we were a bit nervous about our trip because of the bad reviews. However, we were very pleased with our vacation and would not hesitate to return.

We stayed on the manor side in a 3-room suite with semi-private pool. Our room was clean and the bar was stocked daily ;) We had no trouble with the jitney service, although we mostly preferred to walk since we were eating sooo much. Speaking of food, it was good. Not 5-star fantastic, but good. I enjoyed all my appetizers (single serving portions, not US restaurant style which can feed a table), and dinners (again, not large portions, but I was always full after dinner). If dinner was not enough food, you can always order more. On our first night, my husband couldn't decide between two entrees, so the waiter just brought him both! Drinks were great, service was quick, no complaints about the bar service.

There are many options for pool-side lounging. The large manor pool, with the volleyball net and swim-up bar; a smaller pool area next to the Manor grill (perfect for lunch by the pool). I prefered the smaller pool only because there were umbrellas. It is HOT in the middle of the day and being fair-skinned, I needed some cover! I never used the pools on the riveria side, but the beaches over there were great. There were always chairs available, and the swim-up raft was great!

We were able to go on two excursions (Chukka Tours, additional cost). The first was the ATV safari. Four miles up a mountain on a four-wheeler (be prepared to get muddy!), and four miles back, followed by cliff diving off a 15 foot ledge. Our second excursion was the ocean safari, small little boats that can best be described as a jet-ski sitting in a life raft. The excursion lasted around 1.5-2 hours and also included snorkeling. Both excursions were great, and we would love to do them again.

Our next Jamaican vacation will probably be in Negril because we would like to see another part of the island. However, I would have no problem staying at the SGOR again.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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11  Thank 313traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2008

Sandals continues to provide great service in great locations. We have been to 5 different properties on 3 different islands and have never been dissapointed.
The Ocho Rios property is huge, really two resorts in one. We stayed at the Riveria near the beach. Lot's of great restaurants and activities.
Service in Jamiaca has improved dramatically over the last 10 years and Sandals is clearly the leader.
The only negative that I give this resort is that the facility is getting a little old and needs some refurb. Nothing serious however.
For those that enjoy Hobie Cat sailing, this location is perfect for the beginner or the more experienced.

Would we return? perhaps but there are still of number of other Sandals locations that we want to visit.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank Yell0wBird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2008

It was our greatest vacation ever! We liked it so much we booked another vacation for next year when we got home. It was by far the most plesant experience we ever had.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank jlnl924
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: RM374 - RM4,291 (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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