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Sandals Ocho Rios was our vacation destination July 2001. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary and thought we would finally try a Sandal's resort.
We flew out of Toronto on Skyservice July 14th. I was comfy but my husband was a little squished for the lack of leg room. The flight was good even though we landed in thunder and lightening at 7:30p.m. in Montego Bay. We checked through customs quickly and were immediately taken to our shuttle bus to Ocho Rios. Let's say that it was one very interesting drive. We've been to Jamaica before but this was the first time to Ocho and we hadn't had a shuttle drive quite that long. So what if it was pouring in rain and everyone is passing at the same time on the most narrowest roads in the dark, the rain doesn't slow their driving one little ounce. Thanks to a great driver we got there in one piece.
We were welcomed at the hotel with a glass of champagne.....not wine...champagne! It was nice to sit and sip it while the baggage got sorted and we checked in.
The porter carried our bags to our room. The room was very clean and nicely decorated and roomy. Bathroom was clean (we did have a problem with the shower curtain not containing the water as it was not really wide enough to stop the run off on either end of the tub. I would suggest that one should bring one of those cheap shower curtains you can pick up at the dollar store a also bring a few cheap rings to hang the extra curtain up (sorta over lapping the two so water can't escape). Believe me, this would be better than mopping up after every shower....the floor got really wet sometimes.
The housekeepers were wonderful and we showed our appreciation under the pillow every morning (not suppose to tip so use discretion....I hear they can be fired). She left us a bag of Jamaican coffee on our last day.
The grounds are truly beautiful if you like the green tropical look. The gardeners work hard to keep it that way. If you are looking at a plant they will tell you about what it is and even point out some other interesting plant species. Just watch out for the falling bread fruit. Usually one has warning by hearing it fall through the tree. They are the size of a 5 pin bowling ball......yes one did just miss us one day by about 10'!
They have 3 pools. The hidden pool is small and very hidden. Didn't go in that one....think it is a honeymooners hideout when they can get it to themselves! Then there is the garden pool...nice to swim or float around in, lots of shade there if you want it and just as much sun too. There is a hot tub up some stairs by the garden pool it wasn't that hot....95 degrees I think. The big pool is the main pool near the beach. It has a swim up bar and lots of places to fry in the sun. It too has a hot tub in the area and I think that one is around 104 degrees so don't go in it if you are sunburned.
The beach area isn't huge but I didn't find it a problem as there are lots of areas to sit, lay or whatever. It may get to crowded say over March break. But lots of places to go around all the pools. There is a bar down on beach level so you can get all you can drink there. I would suggest you may want to bring a big plastic mug/cup as the cups are small and you really need to get 2 drinks at a time to save yourself some trips. I would do this next time, not a problem, just pour the drinks into your cup and away you go!
I found the food fantastic! Lots of assortment. Breakfast was buffet. A ton of things to choose from, fresh fruit, little boxes of cereal (just like home) and normal tasting milk. There was also a ton of bacon, cinnimon raisin french toast, pancakes (which you can top with syrup or rum syrup), scrammbled eggs, fried eggs any style as well as ommlettes made at the cooks station. Now of course you have toast, muffins and crossiants. That is just some of the things I can remember. You have lots to choose from and it all tastes great!!
Lunch can be had at the buffet, another big assortment...yes it is safe to eat salad and we had no problem with the water either, good food again. You can also get lunch down at the beach grill if you don't want to go far from your beach chair.
Dinner is a la carte. We never bothered to go to the Italian restaurant (the only one needing reservations). We ate at the Arizona and the Terrace restaurant and it was all fabulous and service amazing. One thing I like was that I was able to find something tasty that wasn't going to burn a hole in my stomach. I had a few wonderful spicy dishes but not what I would call hot and spicy. My husband enjoyed all the jerk type foods he could find and I enjoyed looking at the beads of sweat one his face as they heated him up (that is the truth!) So I say 10 out of 10 on the food....definetly better than Cuba!
We had fun with the watersports and did not have a problem aquiring there use. Something was usually available. We had a great time out on the hobie cat (Patrick who works in the watersports area took us out on a ride) we saw flying fish!! Not jumping fish...flying fish!!!!!!!!!
Overall I give this resort a 10 out of 10. The only problem is that now I have been spoiled by this and it makes it hard to choose somewhere cheaper to go for our winter holiday. We will be going back to Sandals Ocho Rios July 2002...it was just that good!!
If anyone would like any additional info about this resort I would be more than happy to answer any questions. Email email@example.com
Thanks to Jenn for this trip report ...