Historical Traveller Reviews of Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort Hotel
This Place is the Best
We just returned from the Grand Sport about a week ago June 23-30. We highly recommend the Grand Sport to the vacationer who loves the sun and water. My wife and I have traveled around the world, and have lived overseas for 6 years in the South Pacific and Europe, and now vacation exclusively in the Caribbean. We may look at vacations differently that others look for a place where the people are friendly, food is good, lots of sun and close to the water. We like to enjoy the local culture and enjoy some night life but now big party people. We enjoy a resort with an atmosphere and lots of things to do. We have been to 7 all-inclusive resorts in Aruba, Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and have visited much of the Caribbean on our 5 cruises. I tell you this only to say we have see the good and great places to stay, and this is one of the best.
The staff are wonderful, friendly, and helpful; they truly want your vacation to be the best you have ever experienced. Yes the bus ride is rough, but if you did not want to see the country side you can fly from the airport to Ocho Rios for about $65.00 a person each way, your choice. You saw bugs, lizards (geckos) what did you expect you are in the tropics. If you want NY City go to New York, not a tropical island.
All tropical islands have bugs, geckos are natures insect repellent, they get ride of mosquitoes.
You want your fellow vacationers to be understanding of the culture and locals, like you, get a life. Grow up.
If you are looking for a great resort, great food, super staff, and lots to do, this is it. We got the discount package, room with run of the house. We were in a villa with two rooms, one small and one larger.
Our room was 18 x 18 and a bathroom 7 x 18 feet. The place next to us had a living room and a kitchen. The kitchens were built when this was not an all inclusive and families saved money by cooking their meals, it does not mean you have too. We stayed in our room only to change clothes and sleep, which we did very well. So if you got a kitchen you were upgraded, the room next to ours was an upgrade and no one was in it all week, yet we did not ask to be upgraded to it, because we were seldom in our room.
I must admit we did use our simi-private pool, good thing no one was in the next room, because we enjoyed the pool and its privacy provided by the lush vegetation surrounding it.
The beach was just across the street from the property, about a 15 minute walk from the great house. We never walked to it because a bus took you from the great house to the beach and made the trip every 15 minutes like clockwork. You could set you watch by the bus schedule.
There are 4 restaurants and only one has a buffet, the others are la carte and all serve great food, including local dishes. There are bars everywhere, if you have problems getting a drink, you are not looking very well.
We do not return to the same resort for a second trip as a rule, there are too many great places to go and visit. We will make an exception for this resort and both of us look forward to returning and enjoying another wonderful vacation.
Dave & Bonnie
Synopsis - Beautiful grounds, absolutely wonderful food, sweet staff, but trip virtually ruined by the antiseptic feel of the resort, the plethora of boorish, drunk guests who felt that traveling to Jamaica meant treating the Jamaican staff like slaves and who complained regularly about the spicy food (why come to Jamaica?), no nightlife to speak of and a waterbug (giant roach) problem in my "villa." I felt compelled to write this review because I know that many of us who visit this site come from different backgrounds and have different expectations for our vacations - thus, the varying reviews of certain places. I think people like me need to know the other side of this resort. I am an African-American woman who has fallen in love with this beautiful island and its people. My paternal grandmother was from Jamaica. When I was a child, she always spoke lovingly about the beauty of her country. When I come to Jamaica, I enjoy meeting the people and go out of my way to meet the locals. I say this because I've noticed some reviewers have actually written that they view exposure to the Jamaican people as a negative. I do not. And in fact, I view a resort's treatment of its employees as one of the factors in making my vacation pleasant. If I see Jamaicans are treated badly, it hurts me. And I am not comfortable in treating them like my slaves. I guess its that African ancestry. Or maybe just common decency. I should mention too that I view diversity among the guests as a plus, unlike some others who have posted on this site. I also am a typical traveler. I like cleanliness. I don't like waterbugs. And when I am paying top dollar for a well-deserved vacation (especially one that I've struggled to save for), I expect certain standards. All that said, I can see how someone with views different from mine might enjoy Beaches Grande Sport, but I won't be back. I returned from my vacation more stressed than when I arrived. To start off, the airport transfer bus waited for enough passengers to fill its seats, then, en route, it broke down, so I arrived at the hotel four hours later than planned. When I arrived, I saw that the grounds and the lobby were absolutely lovely. The staff was very friendly too. They greeted you with a hot towel, a cool drink and a bag of toiletries. I was then informed that I had been "upgraded" to a villa. I was happy about this at first, but a little concerned when I saw that this villa was in a secluded corner of the property. I was traveling alone and hadn't come for privacy with a new husband or anything. I was there to party, meet people and have fun in the sun and the sea. I was so pooped from my all-day trip that I put off unpacking for a few minutes and plopped down on the bed. No sooner had my vacation mode started to settle in than a big fat waterbug comes sashaying into my room. I should mention here that I'll probably sound like an ugly American and a whiner here, but I have a deep-seated phobia of waterbugs. Who knows - maybe something from childhood - but I would rather be trapped in a room with a ferocious tiger than a waterbug. Not only are they disgusting, but they fly and they crunch when you step on them. Don't laugh, but I got on the phone and called the front desk for help. I was frozen with fear on the bed. The woman on the other end was actually sympathetic and said she would send someone to kill it, but a half hour later I was still there, frozen on the bed, watching this thing crawl all over my luggage. The luggage tags moved up and down, this thing was so huge. I called the front desk again and was transferred to housekeeping. The woman on the other end said, "Oh, is this the lady with the bug?" I apologized for being such a baby but said I needed someone to come kill the behemoth bug. The woman sighed and said she'd be there. And I have to give this to Beaches - the woman at the front desk talked to me to keep me calm while I waited. Ten minutes later, the housekeeping attendant and her assistant arrived and they killed the bug for me. But here's the clincher. I know this is the tropics and there are waterbugs, and I've heard that you tend to have that problem when you are in a garden area. My secluded villa was surrounded by trees and plants. I told the staff that I might be better off if they could move me to the main building, but no matter how much I asked, they told me they had nothing available. (I later met a guest who somehow was able to be moved.) By the way, have I mentioned that I'm a journalist? After some digging, I learned that the villa upgrade is really somewhat of a joke. This property is made up primarily of these villas and there are few rooms in the main building, which is where a roach-o-phobe like me needed to be. Virtually everyone is "upgraded" to a villa. I felt like I'd been suckered by that upgrade song and dance. I finally got housekeeping to bring me a can of Raid and I sprayed every inch of the inside and outside of the building. Thank God, because every morning when I opened the front door, I was greeted by the sight of a dead waterbug, one that would have joined me had I not sprayed. After speaking with some other guests, I learned that this was a chronic problem in the villas. I know it's the tropics, but other places somehow manage to keep this problem under control. But enough of the bugs. The villa was attractive I have to say, and it was equipped with a full kitchen and even had bottled water, seltzer and Jamaican soft drinks in the refridgerator. If I had been traveling with a husband and kids, this might have been nice (though, I'm sorry, I don't go on vacation to cook). The cleanliness of the room was not sparkling, but more than adequate. My only somewhat negative comment about the interior was that the bathroom was so-so, more on the scale of a Motel 6. I expected a Four Seasons bathroom for what I was paying. Outside, there was a small private pool which I never used, but it was a nice touch. I did discover that the light outside my villa was broken, which meant that to go to dinner or anything at night, I had to walk outside in pitch darkness down two long paths and some steps - a little creepy if you're alone. One windy night when it got a little too scary for me, I called the front desk to see if someone could come to walk me to the main building, but after an hour - and two more calls to the front desk - no one arrived. I finally ventured out because I would have missed dinner if I'd waited too much longer. The food in the restaurants was absolutely wonderful and they served Jamaican food at breakfast, which, for me, is a treat. Have any of you tried festival or callaloo with saltfish? There also was a spa on the grounds. I treated myself to a pedicure and to an aromatherapy massage. The spa is beautiful and relaxing and I recommend it if you're going to stay there. The resort wasn't on the beach, which wasn't that bad (my problem here was mainly with my travel agent, who told me that it was). The resort had regular shuttles to the beach and you could walk it in 20 minutes. It would have been nice to be able to see the sea from my window, but the grounds made up for it. The beach was small, but that's generally not something that bothers me. I just need enough room to lounge and to swim. But here's the crux of my problem -- this was my third of four trips to Jamaica. Three of those trips I've taken by myself (and no, it was not to have a "Stella" experience, thank you very much). I love traveling and meeting people, especially those who are curious about the world and enjoy meeting people as I do. In my trips to Jamaica, I've made friends from Montreal, London, South Carolina, rural Virginia, Jamaica of course, and even right here in my area (metro DC). These were people of all backgrounds. But that didn't happen at Beaches. I could count the number of African-American guests on one hand. This would not have been a problem except for the fact that the other guests clearly were not interested in mingling with someone like me. They were rude and unfriendly and I had the impression these were people who felt some sort of grim satisfaction in ordering the Jamaican employees around. They truly talked to them like dirt. And they didn't tip (I don't care if its an all-inclusive that says no tips, these people earn next to nothing). I have not seen guests behave as badly at other nice resorts. I apologize if this offends anyone, but I have to be truthful. After all, reviewers who feel differently than me have been brutally honest too. One night, the resort had a gathering on the beach with a buffet and live entertainment. While on line for food, one guest seemed to make a point of shoving me as he walked by, without excusing himself. This kind of behavior actually was typical of my stay. I commented to someone next to me that some vacationers insist on bringing their ugly ways with them. The man next to me joked that we should all make sure not to go where the shover was from. The buffet offered a mix of Jamaican and American food and I noticed the other guests were avoiding the Jamaican food, and even complained about it. Let me say here that all the food was prepared well - it was fresh and beautifully presented. The complaints had to do with the dishes themselves. One adventurous couple decided to follow my lead and asked me to educate them on each of the Jamaican dishes. They were very cute. After I explained what each dish was, they would place a little bit on their plates. I give them lots of points for trying. I sat down at a table and began to introduce myself to two women, also apparently alone, who were there, but as I smiled at them they frowned and looked away. These are troubled people, I thought. I also wasn't too thrilled that the stresses that I encounter in my daily life - the very stresses that make it necessary for me to take a vacation - had followed me. A fourth woman sat at the table and struck up a conversation with my table mates, who suddenly developed manners. The trio then began to complain about jerk and spices and all things Jamaican and one of the women said she couldn't wait to go into town to try to find a nice Italian restaurant. I thought to myself that it would have been nice if she'd vacationed in Italy instead. They had a grand time, introducing themselves to one another and sharing anecdotes. They didn't seem to find it odd or wrong that they'd behaved so badly. I'd had enough. I got up and began talking to one of the employees. We had a nice conversation and laughed about the ways of confused people. Some of you won't understand the point here. Others of you will. I also need to mention one other experience. One day, I took a cruise to Dunn's River Falls, which I absolutely love. The bus to the boat picked up people from other resorts and the mood was festive. I mean for God's sake, we were on vacation! I felt like I'd escaped from Beaches Grande Sport and lucked up on some normal people. I had a blast, made two friends from Montreal, who I partied with and climbed up the falls with, learned how to do the butterly (a dance) and had such a good time that I fell in the bed when I got back to my villa. I'm not sure why this resort is the way it is, but I'm guessing that Beaches only markets to certain people or in certain geographic areas, because I've never had an experience like this in Jamaica. I guess all in all - and this is certainly a personal choice - I have some issues about a resort that calls its main building the "Great House" and uses the word "plantation" in the names of its other properties. These words are scary ones for African Americans. In fact, it seemed to me that Beaches Grande Sport had struggled to construct a property with a plantation feel to it. But again, this is a personal choice. And I also want to say that I do recognize that not all travelers are like the ones I encountered during my Beaches trip, and certainly there were a handful of nice Beaches guest. So, all in all, if the atmosphere doesn't bother you, Beaches Grande Sport can be a very nice place. But if you care about Jamaican people and travel to meet people - and especially, if you hate waterbugs - don't go.
We stayed at Beaches Grande Resort and Spa June 20 - 27. We had a great week. Workers were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Their attitude is they are there for you. Orchids was delicious for dinner. Be sure to get the chocolate mango cake, yum, yum!!! We had a great breakfast daily at the market place buffet, except for one morning when we tried Orchids for breakfast, and we were very disappointed that morning. If you are a couple (male/female) you can go to Sandals Ocho Rios and Sandals Dunn's River. We ate at Kimonos at Dunn's River. This was very interesting and fun because the chef cooked the food at the table. We had great food and met nice people. We also water skied at Dunn's River and also enjoyed their pool which had a nice waterfall. We ate at Valentino's at Sandals Ocho Rios. It was some of the best food we had.
Guys have to wear pants at Orchids and Valentino's so be sure to take some. The concierge at Beaches can make these reservations for you but be sure to make them days in advance. Also be aware that you have to sign up the day before you want to go snorkeling and if you don't know how you will need a lesson. If you want to scuba dive you will have to answer a medical questionaire which can be found on the Beaches web site. If yes applies to any question you need your doctor to sign this questionaire and say that you CAN scuba. Make sure he does not say you MAY scuba. There is a nature walk on Wed. and Sat. at 8:00. It last about an hour and is well worth the time. Be sure to take a sack to hold all the flowers that Mr. Robinson will give you. I made two lovely bouquets that I enjoyed for a couple of days. We enjoyed our villa and our own semi-private pool. However, it was at times difficult to sit in the living due to air-conditioning being only in the bedroom. In the mornings it was nice as you could open the shutters and get a breeze going. When we left we would close our bedroom to keep it cool so we could sleep well at night. We did sleep very well. The first villa we were in had a lovely view of the ocean but it was beside a housekeeping zone, so I could not get to sleep due to noise. I asked to be moved and they moved me to the mountain area. It was very peaceful and quiet.
Donna Lee even called the next day to see if I slept well. I thought that was so nice. It is not hard to get to the villas, just get on the jitney and tell him where you want to go. It is also not hard to get to the beach. The bus runs every 15 minutes. We enjoyed the beach, pool, food, entertainment, and meeting people. The worse thing was the 2.5 hour bus ride from the airport. They don't drive like we do in Georgia.
The roads are very small and rough. You also will see very poor areas but it is the way most of the people there live. I would recommend this resort to anyone wanting to enjoy a great vacation. There are enough activities and interest to met most people's needs.
Good Times at Beaches Grande Sport!
I went to Beaches Grande Sport last year and really can't complain much about it. The staff makes you feel welcome the very minute you step onto the resort. We had to wait a little bit for our rooms to be ready so they brough us hot towels to wipe our hands and face with and then gave us complimentary rum punch. The resort is not right on the beach, but there is a beach club that a shuttle runs too. The beach is small, but clean and you are free from anyone bothering you and trying to sell you stuff. There are tons of watersports and the staff that runs the water sports are always enthusiastic about helping you out with them. There is also a pool at the beach club with a swim-up bar. The bartenders there were great! They always invented new frozen drinks for us to try. Our room was decent sized. No bugs, we only found one little lizard on our balcony, but he didn't bother us. The maids cleaned our rooms every day and there were always plenty of towels. Nothing was ever stolen from the rooms. The resort is surrounded by barb wire fence to keep out any trespassers. I never once felt unsafe on the resort. The ground are beautiful with all type of flowers. The food was OK, not the greatest, but certainly not the worst. San Gennaro, the italian place, was OK, but the food came in very small portions. The oriental restaurant was very good. The buffet was usually good as well. As for tours, don't miss out on Dunn's River falls. Take the one with the booze cruise included. It was a blast. Check out that spa at Beaches as well. It is a wonderful place to relax. Overall, I would say that resort is 4 out of 5 stars. The staff was very courteous. The resort itself was gorgeous. Had the food been a little better and the resort been directly on the beach, it would been perfect. I would probably return.
what a ripoff
My wife and I just returned from a week at sandals and after reading some other reviews I am shocked,I found the staff to be slow and rude,the room I stayed in had cigarette burns all over the furniture, the shower overflowed onto the floor every time I used it, the food was barely edible and I actually got food poisoning,I have to say that I expected an older more refined crowd but what I did find was two people having intercourse at 8:00 p.m. in the bar pool.The beach was a lot smaller than the airbrushed brochure showed,I found the dive facillity great the staff was kind,smart and always helpfull.The sandals resort of ocho rios is for a younger crowd that does not care what they eat how the room looks or how long they stand in line for a lousy red stripe beer. Do not go do not waste your money go elsewhere.
My husband and I went to Sandals from May 9-15 to get married. We booked the concierge level room (mountainview) and with our package, we received free airfare from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. The price for the trip was excellent. The room was very nice and the view was beautiful. The bathroom was a little outdated, but very clean so we were happy with it. The room included a wet bar, which was stocked everyday. The furniture was beautiful--much nicer than the lower level rooms from what we could see. The one thing that was a little inconvenient was housekeeping--everything runs on a late schedule down there, so housekeeping often didn't come until 2 or 3 PM. The wedding was wonderful--I wouldn't do it any differently. The staff was amazingly friendly and helpful--you essentially just showed up for the wedding and everything was perfect. The pictures turned out very nicely as did the flowers, location, etc. The food at Sandals was good--we didn't get a chance to eat at the Italian and Tex-mex restaurant...a little disappointed, but it was our choice. Each night they set up the tables on the beach for Arizona's restaurant...very romantic! The beach was a little small, but still nice. There was plenty of room for everyone to sit and enjoy themselves (and the resort was full when we were there). Watersports were fun--we went snorkeling and kayaking. There is always some sort of activity going on (we did water volleyball, tennis lessons, shopping tour and the Dunn's River Falls trip). The property itself is beautiful and there always seemed to be someone out working on the landscaping.The few things I would change if I could...meals were served somewhat late (breakfast starts at 7:30 and dinner starts at 6 and 6:30). This was only a problem for us because we're early risers. We were up at 6AM the first morning (time change was a problem, too). After a couple days it wasn't such a big deal--we got into a schedule that allowed us to sleep in. Housekeeping came very late. I'd love to have room service, butp. We did have a continental breakfast set up outside our door every morning (on concierge levels only). On our return trip, Air Jamaica express cancelled the flight from Ocho to Montego Bay so we had to take the 2.5 hour bus ride. I was a little annoyed with this--part of the reason we booked the higher level room was to get the free airfare. But it wasn't due to any fault of Sandals.Overall, we had a fabulous time and would definitely go again. The "few things I would change" weren't really a big deal in the scheme of things...we enjoyed ourselves and would definitely recommend the property to anyone who is interested in a trip to Ocho Rios.
We loved it.....
My wife and I celebrated our 25th year of marriage at Beaches and we were blown away by everything. As you all know there are some people that even God can't please so ignore the whiney butts that complain about Beaches. The villas are great if you want privacy, your own pool and beautiful surroundings. The rides to anywhere were No problem, mon. The beach shuttle was every 15 minutes not 30. We even walked when our destination was downhill, the scenery was great. Service was beyond compare. I will share one experience. Upon arrival at our villa I noticed no beer in the frig. I called to have some beer delivered and waited about 10 minutes but we just got there so we decided to look around. Well, 2 hours later we returned to find one of the staff still waiting at our door with the beer. He had been there the whole time! The pools, bars(which I know well now), beach, gardens, service, etc., etc., were outstanding. Hey, if you are getting married make sure you are marrying the right person and everything will be fine. Don't b-tch.
Just returned from 8 days trip
Just returned Monday night. This was our second trip to Sandals Ocho Rios, after 10 years. The food is still wonderful, the staff absolutely great. The only problem we had, was we were not upgraded as we were suppose to be, there was a terrible rumbling noise above our room, perhaps the elevator, and the marine life is definitely on its way out. We were very disappointed in the snorkeling trips. Every morning I would see multiple LOCAL boats out in the reefs, collecting all they could, to sell on shore. What a shame this isn't patrolled by the coast guards. We did do the all day Blue Mt. trip, biking down, with brunch and lunch and had a wonderful time! Only disappointment is the marine life is on decline, most likely from population.
Sandals is Beyond Amazing!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Sandals Ocho Rios was one of the most amazing vacation I've ever had (only competition being OTHER Sandals resorts such as the Royal Bahamian and St. Lucia). I have recommended Sandals to many of my friends and family and all have MORE than enjoyed their stays. I have been to 3 different Sandals now and can't wait to keep going back, and will be going back for my honeymoon this Fall. The very best thing about Sandals is their amazing customer service. The people that work there truely love their jobs and it shows! They are the most friendly people you could hope to meet. Sandals ALWAYS makes sure you are happy and are having fun. The last two times we visited a Sandals resort, we received complementary upgrades thanks to our Sandals Signature Membership (like a frequent guest program). We even received complementary couples swedish massages! Oh my loordy! How heavenly! A MUST do! The rooms are spectacular (even the Deluxe- most inexpensive ones), the resorts and beaches are impeccably clean. The food is wonderful, delicious and varied. They have many different restaurants to chose from! It's so wonderful not to have to worry about carrying money around for anything. Tipping is forbidden and included in your vacation price. You don't have to spend another dime once at the Resort unless you want to buy souveniers! Another WONDERFUL thing about Sandals is that all their activities are INCLUDED such as Scuba Diving. You won't find that anywhere else. Their divemasters are friendly and knowledgable and are always interested in making sure you get want you want out of your dives. They also have an onsite tour desk in case you want to plan any off-resort excusions, such as shopping trips or Dunn's River Falls tours. The prices are fair, the shopping is fun and the waterfalls are amazing! There are so many other fun (free) activities that are planned throughout the day on the resort- EVERY DAY. Sand volleyball, water volleyball, games, pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, dancing lessons, water balloon toss, entertainment, DJ dancing, bands, fire breathers, karioke nights, and SO MUCH MORE. Never a dull moment unless you WANT there to be.And in that case, you can relax out on the beach or by the amazing pool and sip on your favorite premium liquor drink or have complete solitude in the privacy of your room. I honestly can't think of ONE thing to complain about when it comes to Sandals. If you don't believe me that I Love Sandals Ocho Rios trip, then check out my photo album on my personal website. http://www.planet-k.com/photos/trips/0701jamaica/Is the scenery not STUNNING? Are the people not WONDERFUL?! Trust me, take my word on this and you will have an amazing vacation! HAVE FUN!
Beaches Grande Sport
from A TripAdvisor Member
Read the reviews and just have to submit my own because of the negative ones- I di not love everything at Grande Sport, byt then again, you cannot please absolutely everyone's every whim!
I was at Grande Sport in Dec 2001 with my husband and totally loved the experience! The staff was ultranice - we did not tip anybody since it was included and everyone was still so friendly, when asked about this, staff only said: Remember to mention my name when giving feedback to the hotel if you think the service was good. I guess they get a bonus or something if a lot of people remember them. It may also have had an effect that we were something exotic to the staff as well - coming from Finland (though lived in Canada at the time).
We got upgraded to a villa suite with a semiprivate pool not too far from the main building. I really enjoyed taking a little dip in the morning, and late at night! The suite in itself was not that amazing but the fridge was stocked with soft drinks, and it was kept clean, with sufficient towels (beach towels separate, and not limited to one per person).
The resort grounds are beatiful, lush gardens all over the place and if you would be in a villa further away, just a quick call to the reception and a golf cart hastens to your door to take you to the main building. There are also several pools and hot tubs all around, a big one that no one seemed to use but us close to our villa, but surrounded by trees - almost felt like it was just the stars and us.
The beach - well, the name of the resort isn't meant to be read grande beaches - sports are I guess it what grandness can be associated with!
The beach is tiny and the swimming area is even tinier with boats close by. Anyway, water's warm and the waves not too big and there's a lot of sun shine to the beach, which isn't true in the neighbouring Sandals Ocho Rios ( the folks there huddle together on a little strand of sand where you can get some sun after 12, too...) But the shuttle takes you to the beach from the main house - it's not a bad walk either. There is a pool and a hot tub (big one) on the beach, beach volley ball, a restaurant and a bar. Snorkling is nice for beginners like me but I suppose the fish and the coral however stunning to my eyes, would be quite boring to someone who has seen proper corals! There are hobie cats, canoes etc. iwth staff to help you.
The food: it is available continuosly! The main house pool grill serves you good fries and nachos and burgers all night. Fruit is on the menu but not too often available... For early morning golfers, no breakfast but from the pool grill, which wasn't that great for cereal and yoghurt eaters like us... But at least we got something, in some places nothing would have been available!
For gourmet food, you might want to stay put in your hometown and eat in the fancy bistros, but the food here was quite good, if not remarkable. The restaurants are open on a weird schedule, closed on various days, but you can always get something to eat. The beach restaurant is not that amazing in quality but it is a nice "trip" with the shuttle and eating by the ocean! STick to the pastas ans you'll have a lovely meal!
The main house restaurants are nice, not very remarkable though. I think Orchids was best in quality and variety! Did not get sick and did not hear of anyone who did except possibly from drinking too much... ;-)
The breakfasts were possibly the very best - food stations. French toast, omelettes etc. either in a buffet or a la carte in Orchids. And lots of fruit, all fresh.
The bars - we're not drinking types but enjoyed wine with meals and an occasional cold drink on the beach, you could get good non-alcoholics too and not all of them came out of a machine. The main house bar had brand name drinks so if you're not of the experimental type, you could have your Baileys even though more exciting stuff was available too.
Sports - I liked the rock-climbing wall... THere would have been instructed classes in Pilates and what have you, but we mainly stuck to water sports and GOLF! The Sandals Golf course was immaculate! It was quiet when we were there so you could get your tee times any time you wanted. Once we played with my husband early in the morning, we were first players to walk in the misty fairways and there was no one else on the course for almost two hours but us... Wow. And it was fast too, obviously I know it is in the interest of the caddies to get more rounds in during the day but it is in my interest too - get your golf and beach and shopping all in one day!
When we were there, the Dunns River tour was still included, but that was ot be discontinued as of Jan 2002. At least my travel operator mentioned this quite clearly in the brochure! It was actually not that amazing so never mind you did not get there (btw, there are tours still I'm sure... they jsut cost you money...).
To sum up, Beaches Grande Sport is a real all-inclusive where you really do not pay for extras! Only caddies, spa services and souvenirs cost you money and is anyone really expecting them to provide you with a I love Jamaica bag to go as well? I'd rather get my included drinks, good food, sports etc. The overall experience was absolutely what I ws expecting when booking the trip!
I like to enjoy myself and that was easy at Grande Sport...