I just got back from 5 nights in sunny Jamaica at Sandals Ocho Rios. It was myself and 5 friends all in our 30s. We had a great time.
We stayed in villas that were like suites - bedroom, living room, kitchen, big bathroom. Since it's AI, kitchen was stocked with drinks and fruit and cheese platters - very nice. We had a porch and our own plunge pool. Oh - the best part - we had a butler! That was really fun. They would restock our fridge every day and make dinner reservations for us and bring us coffee every morning. I enjoyed that - we felt pretty pampered.
The villas are up the hill a 10 minute walk from the beach - I believe this is what used to be the Beaches resort? They had shuttle buses going down to the beach, but we usually walked - we're all very active. Anyway, the property was very nice, in addition to the plunge pool, they had hot tubs scattered throughout the property and we were able to find ones just for ourselves. The pools were very nice, and there were a lot of them. They are doing construction down by the beach which was a little distracting but not bad enough to be annoying.
I believe they were full but it never seemed super crowded. We waited once for about 45 minutes for dinner when we didn't have reservations, but that just gave us more time to drink daquiris and rum punch!
The food was hit or miss. Our motto - when in doubt - eat JERK CHICKEN! We ate it fresh off the grill for lunch almost every day, and it was delicious. We liked the breakfast buffet - lots of options no matter what you like to eat. For dinner, the Arizona restaurant was good, Orchids was good for some options but boring for others, and the casual Italian was mediocre. The grills had good casual food. Drinks were strong.
Overall, we had a good experience. It's pretty far from Montego Bay, so we spent more time that we thought in transit (even though we knew about the bus ride - it still takes longer than they say). The guys played golf, we went snorkeling, rock climbing, played tennis, beach volleyball etc, and did a lot of lounging around relaxing.
We really liked the AI experience (it was the first time for most of us). It was great not worrying about your tab everytime you wanted a drink or if you wanted to try something different to eat. The staff was really friendly, the villas were great, the grounds were very pretty.
I would do a Sandals again - next year, the group is thinking St. Lucia!
I can answer any more specific questions if anyone has any.
Trip Report - Sandals Ocho Rios
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