Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sandals, Ocho Rios, Jamaica Part I

Grand Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort

If you plan on vacationing in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, keep reading for some insight into the Sandals, Grand Riveria. This property is located approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes away from the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay.

March is a great time of year to visit Jamaica. The weather is perfect with a low in the 70's and a high in the 80's. Flights are relatively less expensive during this time.

On this property, there are two sections: The Great Manor and Riveria Seaside.

The Great Manor offers all-butler villas with private pools. This is a very hilly property. Golf carts are available to transport guests from their villas to the main lobby. If you stay on this side, you will need to take a shuttle bus over to the ocean side. The shuttle ride isn't far. In fact, the two sections are right across the street from each other and well within walking distance, but the shuttle service is convenient. While the butler service gives guests that extra special treatment, several people I spoke to wished they were on the ocean side.

Riviera Seaside is the property directly on the water. This is where the water sports are including sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, wind surfing, paddle boarding, etc. If guests are interested in becoming a certified PADI scuba diver, there is a pool designated for scuba training.

Sandals Grand Riviera Beach and Village Golf Resort has a choice of 16 dining options. I wasn't able to try all of them, but my favorite was The Reef Terrace. This courtyard outdoor dining experience was awesome and romantic. Dining at The Reef Terrace is a must.

Tips for this resort:

1) The Grand Riveria resort is hilly and requires walking. Females should bring flats and leave the heels at home. Also, the sidewalks can be slippery when wet.

2) The dress code for most of the restaurants is resort casual. Valentino's and Kimonos require evening attire, which means dress pants for the men, closed toe shoes, and a button-up collared shirt. They will turn guests away if proper attire is not worn. These two restaurants require reservations.

3) Kelly's Dockside is dining on the pier. This is only available for guests with butler service.

4) Sandals Grande Riviera has a no tipping policy except for butlers and spa therapists.

5) Have dinner early so you don't miss the evening events.

6) Transfers to the golf course are complimentary. Caddies are not included but mandatory. Carts, clubs
and shoes may be rented. Food and beverages consumed at the club are not included.

7) At the time of this writing, there is a charge of $15 a day for WiFi. Concierge and butler accommodations are not charged for WiFi.

8) If you want to be near the beach, be sure you stay on the seaside.

For additional information on this resort or any other Sandals and/or Beaches resorts, please feel free to connect with me. If you've stayed at this resort, what tips do you have to share?

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