Located in Ocho Rios on the north coast of Jamaica, Sandals Grande Riviera Resort was a pleasurable experience. It was about a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Kingston International Airport. The drive was quite windy and it was a bit tiring after a long flight, but it was, at least, picturesque. It is set amid a very lush, tropical landscape that opens out onto the pristine white sandy beaches and clear waters of the Caribbean. The feeling was that of being very exclusive, as though in one’s own tropical paradise.
Being a Sandals resort, they cater very much for couples and almost everyone we met was on their honeymoon. We were celebrating a fifth wedding anniversary and it was the perfect, romantic getaway for us. One thing that we appreciated was the many little secluded spots, where we could get away from everything and relax in total peace and quiet. Although there were quite a few guests staying when we were there, the resort still felt intimate. Beaches are divided into smaller sections where water sports are played, where you can have lunch on the beach listening to kettle drum music or where you can lay in peaceful surroundings with no noise. The swimming pools had enough sun lounges to cater for all of the guests, so there was no need to rush out and claim a spot early.
Our room was a garden view room with a nice balcony and very effective air conditioning, which we greatly appreciated. The room was comfortable and included a mini-bar with refrigerator, coffee-maker, flat-screen television with cable, king-sized bed and a hairdryer. Although our room was located quite a way from the central hotel amenities, they did have golf carts that would be ready and waiting to take guests around the resort. This was usually appreciated after spending a lazy day at the beach, when you were driven back to your room, ready to hop straight into the shower before heading out to dinner.
The restaurants were really enjoyable and very intimate. There were a variety to choose from; 15 in all. Our favourites included the Reef Terrace Restaurant, which offered a beautiful view looking out over the ocean and a traditional Caribbean menu selection. We also liked the Bayside Restaurant, which had a relaxed atmosphere and was situated on the large terrace of the Riviera lobby, looking out over the water. For lunch, we usually headed to Neptune’s for some wonderful fresh seafood.
One of the best aspects of our stay was that it was an all-inclusive package. We didn’t worry about paying for any meals and non-alcoholic beverages were also included, as was the night-time entertainment show they put on. Their weekly beach party was very enjoyable, with a great buffet meal, fire eaters, limbo dancers and wonderful, authentic, Caribbean music.
Overall, Sandals Grande Riviera Resort was a very lovely holiday. It is certainly a couples resort, and everything is geared to providing guests with the most romantic and intimate holiday experience.
flickr image by Loren SztajerWrite a Review
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