Old Reviews – Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios

  Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios  Carie ~ Luisiana

July 2009

Arrival: July 22-29, 2008
My husband and I have been to a number of all-inclusives to include Oasis, Crown Paradise, Secrets, Excellence Resorts, Couples and Breezes. This was our first Sandals associated property and if it’s any indication of the Sandals brand, we weren’t impressed. Overpriced for the quality received and in fact quite rundown and dirty.

Accommodations were pretty typical resort hotel rooms. We were allegedly "upgraded" to the concierge level service but didn’t notice much change in service or amenities. Were given a rollaway, which was nice to separate the two kids. Bathroom was pretty small for the type of resort but similar to a stateside Ramada or Comfort Inn. We had to take a list of what we wanted stocked in the mini bar to the concierge if we wanted anything outside the ordinary. Another peculiarity was there were snacks in the room but a price list accompanied them…so much for all-inclusive. Guess our thousands of dollars didn’t includ gummy bears and nuts. No free internet in room or anywhere on property…disappointing.

Restaurants and Bars:
Our first dining experience was disappointing at best. Very slow service. We ate at the BBQ Park and nothing was good. Fries were cold and limp, ribs were fatty and tough, no flavor in any of our four selections. Eleanor’s was very good food and service was prompt. The Bayside Restaurant was the buffet and was overall good with bouts of average. Food was flavorful, selections were stocked and there were ample choices, to include healthy options. The Venetian (Italian restaurant) was the best by far. Service was incredibly slow and seating limited, so prepare accordingly. Tiramisu was delicious especially with a cappucino. There is no room service offered…something one would expect at a resort at this level. The Appleton Bar was a fun little getaway spot for steel drums and kid-friendly fun. Kids loved the place…much like a small beach bar. Great atmosphere! Pool swim-up bar was loaded with bees…they were everywhere! Desserts were not worth the calories consumed except for the tiramisu mentioned before.

An example of how the grounds were kept: the same three french fries were on the stairs near the spa for more than three days. It almost became a joke on our way to the gym every morning…are the fries still there? Pools were kept clean, although chair areas could have used a more thorough cleaning…used cups and plates stayed around a little too long. The plants are gorgeous and the beach is kept nice. Experienced no poolside waiter/cocktail service, something we’ve totally appreciated at other resorts. No fun cocktails in coconuts like at Excellence Resorts. Water slides were nice and lines weren’t too long but they advertise 11 slides and for our kids (ages 10 and 14) there were really 3 that were usable for those ages. The rest are for tiny tots…good if you have small children.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Gym was decent but not top notch…only large beach towels were offered, hand towels made more sense. Only water fountain, no bottled water. In fact, no bottled water available outside the room, only pitchers and water fountains. Not exactly ultra luxury. There were water sports available and they seemed available most times. Off-site excursions were available, heard feedback from a couple who was upset about their experience so we decided to book on our own.

Other Comments: Beaches claims "ultra luxury" but I can tell you this is NOT even luxury let alone ultra anything. For what we paid I would at least expect internet access to be complimentary yet we were charged $38.99/week. Power outages were frequent and incredibly annoying. Be ready for a more than 2 hour drive to the resort…without music. Thought a nice touch would be some Jamaican/reggae music to get vacationers in the spirit of their stay. Overall, wouldn’t return to a Sandals property…we’ve had much better stays at lower-priced resorts with much better food. Can’t imagine why a couple would come here at all (geared more toward families) when there are wonderful resorts like Couples and Excellence out there to choose from where there are no children screaming in the dining room.

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  Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios  Paris ~ England

May 2009

Arrival: 2nd December-16th December
When i arrived i already knew it was going to be a fanatastic holiday, the people were very nice so we waited for our room, and that was just amazing we had a room facing the beach.

Well the rooms were really good especially because we got up graded and they did not charge us anything.they did this because our bathroom was quite dirty so they treated us by up grading us for free so that was great.

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants were nice we had 3 to pick out of the 2 weeks we were there and the food was lovely, everyday for breakfast i was always pleased with the food everyday for lunch and dinner just fornominal.

I found the pool really fun everyday i was on the waater slides and i felt safe because there were always life guards there. The beach was calm and relaxing, the sea was nice and blue.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went to dolphin cove and had fun with the dolphins, we also went kiaking and went on the see throw boat were we could see everything that lived at the bottom of the sea.

Other Comments:
The whole 2 weeks we were there i had a fantastic time and i would go back some day. the people are great,food is great and so are all the activites. so thank you beaches boscobel!!!!!

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  Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios  Tonya ~ London, Ontario

March 2008

I just came across your website…what a fantastic site! I’ll be sure to visit it before we vacation with our kids again.

Here is our review for Beaches Boscobel Jamaica.

We vacationed at Beaches Boscobel and it was FANTASIC! Our children are young, 2 and 4 years old, and they enjoyed everything about the resort. The food was great, lots of options including healthy choices. The waterslides were fabulous and it was great they had 3 different levels to suit all kids, from babies through to teenagers. They even had a baby pool!

While we didn’t enrol our kids in the kids camps, our children took part in many of the activities…the dance party with Zoe, the parade, arts and crafts and exploring with Grover…all big hits! We tried to Bake with Cookie Monster, but there were simply too many kids for it to be enjoyable for our 4 year old (they need to add more sessions). The evening shows were great. Sesame shows every other night, and music programs, magic or fashion shows of the alternate nights.

The beach itself was small, but our travel agent warned us about that. Nice and calm and plenty of water sports, although our kids were too small for anything other than the glass bottom boat ride.

The breakfast with the Characters was fabulous! Well worth it! Lots of pictures with the Sesame street gang, and great food. This resort knows how to cater to kids! The staff interact really well with them, and you never have to worry about anything. Highly recommend it!

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Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios Deanna ~ Canada

April 2006

We just returned from the Beaches Boscobel Resort in Oches Rios, Jamaica, a week ago.

It was a great vacation! We have a 9 year old son and 13 year daughter and for a family vacation, this was the spot. Beaches offers 4 kids clubs for different age ranges and each club has age appropriate activities. Our son woke up every morning, checked the kids club schedule and was off. He couldn’t wait to do the planned activities each day. They had great teen activities as well such as shopping, time at the spa and a boat party. Both kids had a lot of fun.

All water sports, including scuba diving were included, so we took full advantage of it. The beach was small, but nicely kept.

We can’t say enough about the staff at the resort. Every one of them was extremely friendly and would go out of their way to help or make things special.

The food was really good, especially at the Venetian restaurant (an a la carte Italian restaurant). Our lunches we spent near the beach feasting on jerk burgers and chicken. (Did I mention we gained a couple pounds on the vacation).

We would recommend this resort to anyone with kids. We think it has something for everyone.

The highlight of our trip was our tour to Dunn’s River Falls. We booked our tour through Phil Lafayette Tours and I would highly recommend him www.phil-lafayette-tours.com. He took us for the Dunn’s River Falls for the climb, then to the White River for river tubing (this has a blast!). After the water activities, he drove us around Ochos Rios for a city tour and took us to do a little shopping. He was very knowledgable and extremely charismatic. A very memorable day!

Hope this is helpful!

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Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios Carol ~ Canada

February 2006

Just got back from Beaches Boscobel in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We travelled from Jan. 25 – Feb. 1, 2006. Here is my review with both positive and just a few negatives, the negatives did not affect our vacation, just annoyances really and not reflective of the service of this Resort..

Flight: We fly with Sunwing Airlines and it was a fabulous flight, lots of leg room, leather seating. We left about 20 minutes late because of de-icing.

Immigration: One of the biggest hassles. We were second to get there and about twentieth to leave as the machine broke down. Otherwise you are well aware of the fact that you are Jamaica and to relax.

Bus ride to resort: We took Clive’s and it was wonderful, they were waiting outside the resort, quickly whisked us on our way to Ocho Rios. The driver was extremely careful on the bumpy roads. What could have been on Canadian roads an 1 to 1 ½ was a 2 hour ride due to the roads. Our driver pointed out sights along the way, asked if we wanted to stop, we said no as we were in a hurry to get to our resort. We took almost exactly 2 hours whereas the Beaches bus was almost 3 hours. The scenery was breath taking and Jamaica is really a beautiful place.

Beaches Boscobel (the resort): The Staff are amazing, I mean really amazing. Always saying hello how are you and has your vacation been good so far. Every whim was catered to if you ask. We asked for a roll away, some extra patio chairs (came with 2 we need 3) and an extra luggage holder. We got the rollaway, 3 extra patio chars and 2 extra luggage holders with 15 minutes of asking.

The rooms: Large, beautiful decorated with a small living area and pull out couch and a spacious balcony. TV, fridge, coffee maker, CD player (in alarm clock), couch, chair, King size bed and I can go on. We booked the Premium and got upgraded to a Deluxe without asking or them evening telling us we were upgraded, we figured it out later.

Food: Outstanding, everything and everywhere we ate we loved. The Bayside (main buffet) was always fabulous. Breakfast was repetitive but good, lunch and dinner excellent always with great variety. Venetian and Arizona and BBQ Grill all very good food, bbq ribs, steak, tacos, jerk burgers, jerk chicken, soup, fries, onion rings, pizza … to name a few were all top notch. Friday evenings at the Bayside buffet was lobster night, they had fish and shrimp other nights and some seafood dishes every night. Eleanor’s was very good, my husband had Duck and I had beef tenderloin, prepared to perfection. My son (12) loved the BBQ Grill and had hamburgers, pizza and ribs. There was ice cream and popcorn as well as drinks or slushies available all day long and was self serve.

Drinks: Again outstanding, top shelf anything you wanted. My husband enjoyed the 25 year old scotch, while I sipped on Bailey’s Irish Cream in the evenings. During the day we enjoyed a drink called a Humming Bird, Red Stripe, Pina Coloda to name a few. All you asked for and more. There was poolside and beach service, not too frequent but often enough.

The Pool: No need to reserve early, however right after breakfast the pool gets very busy. We spent most of our time on the beach as we are beach people and my son enjoyed the beach sports. The will remove towels left for too long on their own but if you left personal effects most people would not take that chair. We had two days of raining then windy days so I think the pool was more packed then usual.

The pool was huge and great (not heated) with air mattresses everyway for floating. The kids pool was a hit with the waterslides and hot tub for kids. Towels are abundant and always one available at the pool and beach.

Beach: We spent most of our time at the beach. The beach was much smaller than anticipated but kept clean and well maintained. We had two days of windy rainy weather which then the beach took a bit of a beating, it took a day or two to clean up but they were efficient. We became fast friends with Gregory as in other reviews. The water sports were great for us, we did everyone expect scuba dive. My husband and son loved the kayaks and water trikes, there were always available and we never had to wait to use them. Banana boats were always available, you might have to wait a turn or two but you could easily go two or three times a day with no more than a 5 minute wait. I think our resort was ¾ full so this would be indicative of most winter vacations. The water trampoline was a big hit with my son and most other kids over the age of about 8.

Overall this is a very kid orientated resort and fabulous which exceeded my expectations!!! I’m sure there is something that I have forgotten to mention, feel free to ask.

The bus ride to and from the airport was the worst part, but bearable after all.

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Beaches Ocho Rios Paul and Wendy ~ Montreal, Quebec

June 2005

We are a married couple in our early 30s with two children. One 9 and one 6. My husband and I have been to Jamaica twice before (married there in 1995 and back again in 2004 without the children) The first time we went we stayed at Couples in Ocho Rios and the second time at Couples Swept Away in Negril. In January of this year (2005) we decided to take our children with us. We spoke to our travel agent and she had suggested Beaches because of the Kids’ Club. Paul and I took a brief tour of the one in Negril and thought it looked great. However, when we booked there was no availability in Negril so we chose to go to Ocho Rios. The trip cost almost $11,000 (Canadian), and with Beaches’ reputation, we were expecting a lot. The brochures and website describe a fantastic resort. I must say, we were disappointed.

GETTING THERE – The flight was full. We booked too late to get first class and regretted it. Air Canada was very accommodating though. When we booked, none of us were sitting together. However, once at the airport they managed to sit 3 of us together. It was the same on the way back. The Air Canada check employees in Jamaica were not as friendly as in Montreal but they were nonetheless accommodating. On our way back from the resort we opted to take a small plane from Ocho Rios to the airport. A bus ride is about 2 ½ hours. It is long and bumpy. The plane ride from Ocho Rios was about 30 minutes. We got to see the area from the air. It was pretty amazing. It cost about $85 U.S for the adults and about $65 U.S. for the kids. WORTH IT!!!

ROOMS – We paid for a beachfront room. We were expecting to be able to walk out of our room onto the beach. That is what we were told by the travel agent we were getting . We were on the third floor facing the beach. The room was dirty. There was actually this brown gunk that was spilled on our patio door curtains that had been left there to dry. I actually had to ask to have it cleaned. We had ants. There was mould on the walls. There were only 2 small drawers to put clothes. We basically had to live out of our suitcases for a week. With the beachfront rooms comes the “concierge” service. The way the advertisement makes it seem, it would be like having your own butler. Well, the one time we called and asked for something (an umbrella because it was pouring rain) we were told that we would have to come get it ourselves because the person was alone in the office and couldn’t leave. There was also no room service. Overall, I was not impressed with the rooms.

FOOD – The food was pretty good. There was an assortment of food every day. There was a good size salad bar and there was always something “kid-friendly” like hot dogs and fries or pancakes for breakfast. The deserts had a lot to be desired for. I wasn’t that impressed but then again I’m a patissière, so my standard for pastry are quite high. The restaurants were O.K. but you had to reserve early for the Italian or you wouldn’t get a table.

The outdoor grill was pretty good, there was always something that would tempt you. It closed early though which wasn’t great because the popcorn maker was part of this grill so you couldn’t take popcorn back to your room at night to watch T.V. We did that once and that’s when we realized we had ants!

In the main open air restaurant, there were a lot of cats roaming around. We were actually told that they were brought to the resort for the guests. They bothered you while you ate and some of them were not the friendliest. My daughter got scratched. Cats are nice when you want them but I’m allergic and don’t care to have them around when I eat.

POOL – The pool was very nice but the water was cold. You had to get there pretty early if you wanted a chair right on the edge. Most people just left their towels there to reserve them and most of the time didn’t show up all day.

ENTERTAINMENT – Being that this is a family resort, I found that the entertainment was a little late. It usually started at around 9:30 or 10:00. By that time my kids were ready for bed. We were up at about 8 a.m. everyday.

KIDS CLUB – My children didn’t really want to participate in the activities. They preferred to hang out with mom and dad. The one time they did want to participate was for the beach science. There were supposed to make a volcano. We went to bring them there and we were told it was cancelled because there were no other kids. Well, for $11,000, we expected them to accommodate. When we pushed the subject, we were then told they couldn’t do the volcano because they were out of vinegar. How can a resort with 4 restaurants be out of vinegar.

The kids also wanted to go on the glass-bottom boat ride. The day it was scheduled it was too windy so it was cancelled. I called to find out if it would be rescheduled on a better day and I was told no. They then said, why don’t you take them (there were others scheduled for all guests) yourself. So I told them that the one and only time I went on one of those boat, I threw up. That’s why I wanted my children to go with the Kids’ Club.

For a resort in Jamaica, I also expected more outdoor activities. A lot of times there were indoor activities scheduled. Like movies and parties.

One last note on the Kids’ Club. There was never enough kids to have an age appropriate group so they combined the age groups.

PETTING ZOO – One of the offered attractions is a petting zoo. Sounded good. Well, when we got there it was not so good. It was smelly and dirty. There were a few animals behind bars. The cages were empty of any kind of “habitat”. There was nothing for the animals but a dirt floor. Even if I wanted my kids to touch the animals, they couldn’t because they were all behind bars. The only animal that was in reach was a pig and it looked so diseased that I wouldn’t go near it.

BEACH – The beach was small but nice. There was a big floating trampoline in the water. My kids enjoyed that. It was so windy most of the time though that the ladders were not attached so the kids couldn’t access it. We also couldn’t go on banana boat rides or take out any of the other water “toys” because of the wind.

STAFF – The staff was fantastic. I can’t say anything bad about them. They were friendly and accommodating.

GOLF – The golf was the highlight of the trip for my husband and son. They golfed 2 or 3 times. Their caddy was a delight. His name was Bryan and they asked for him each time.

A must to visit is Dunn’s River Falls. You can’t go to Jamaica without going there. Both our kids climbed the falls fairly easily. They both had a great time.

If you want to travel to Jamaica, don’t go in January. The weather is not that warm. It was chilly 5 out of 7 days. It rained twice but was cloudy 5 out of the 7 days. According to locals, this is typical of January. The other 2 times we went in March. Beautiful weather both times.

Paul and I made the most out of our trip. We did have a good time despite the resort. When we travel, we are used to going to luxury resorts. We were expecting that at Beaches. The children however had a great time, especially chasing the lizards. They have nothing to compare this resort to considering it is their first vacation down south with us. We will be traveling to Mexico in 2006, we’ll have to see what they say then.

We will definitely not be going back to this resort. It was a huge disappointment. We chatted with quite a few other guest and they all said the same thing. They would not go back. We will go back to Jamaica but not to Beaches Ocho Rios.

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Beaches Ocho Rios Joe — Memphis, TN

August 2004

Hello Debbie, my name is Joe, and my family and I just returned from the Beaches Resort at Ocho Rios Jamaica, and let me say it was definitely one of the VERY best vacations we have EVER taken!!

I think a lot of your readers and people who have posted reviews in the past need to take a moment and read my posting, as I will be fair and honest about what we experienced during the week we spent there.

First of all, the resort was renovated 2 years ago, and is no longer called Beaches Boscobel, it is now called Beaches, Ocho Rios. I do not know what it was like during those last years before it was re-done, so I can only speak on what we saw and went through this past week in July of 2004.

We booked our trip through a travel agent, definitely the way to go with an all-inclusive trip like this, we had not ever done this sort of trip before, and it was very smooth. The agent was fairly knowledgeable, and handled everything we asked for, including a last minute mix-up with our wedding vows ceremony we planned while we were on the trip. This sort of planning usually requires 2 weeks notice and the agency and the Wedding Coordinator from the Hotel did it in less than 48 hours, and it was a very nice ceremony, we have a ton of pictures for memories!

We flew straight to Montego Bay, the customs line and staff were not pushy, and it did not take us long to meet our Resort Receptionist and get going with the trip. The bus ride from Montego Bay to the Resort is kind of long, and the roads are very bumpy, but the bus driver was friendly and talkative, and we learned a good deal about the country, the towns and the people on the way. They are building a new highway that will make the trip faster and less rugged, but it will probably be another year before it’s completed.

The resort was very nice, and clean, the receptionist was friendly, and everything was handled in quick order. We were told when we got off the bus "you’re on vacation, mon, relax!’ That was the attitude for the rest of the time we were there, it really set the tone for the trip.

The food was very good, I can see how some people might think it was boring, but there was such a wide variety, I don’t see how anyone could not enjoy it. Lots of fruit, juice, plenty of different dishes, it really was a great food assortment. 5 different restaurants to choose from, and I did not hear one person complain about there not being enough of anything.

The bars were well stocked, and the bartenders were very nice. Those guys and gals were working their tails off to make sure they got your drink to you, and if you had to wait a minute or three, so what, you’re on vacation, relax!

As far as the rooms not being made up before noon, you know what, I could care less. We had a pretty nice room, nothing extravagant, but I didn’t go to Jamaica to sit in my room, and we didn’t. 2 days the room was made up early, and 3 days the room didn’t get made up until sometime in the afternoon, but we didn’t go to sleep before 8 o’clock on ANY day we were there, so I didn’t care. Some people don’t like the idea of having to re-use a towel for 2 days, we re-use towels at home, you’re drying off a clean body, big deal, get over it!

There were always a lot of towels available on the beach and by the pool, and if they ran out, we brought a couple of towels with us, so it was no big deal, we were on vacation to relax, not complain.

The staff was very attentive and very, very friendly. From the Resort Manager to the Food Service Manger, to the Sales Manager, to the Tour Agent, to all of the Water Sports guys and gals down on the beach, we never had anyone not treat us like we were the most important person.

Now . . . some things I would recommend to anyone traveling to Beaches, Ocho Rios. If you like to snorkel, bring your own equipment, they have plenty for going out on their boat, and doing their guided tours, but they will not give you any gear to just go out on your own.

If you are a diver, or intend to dive while in Jamaica, try and get certified before you go. Their cost might be a little cheaper, but you will spend the majority of your trip on the boat or in the room studying for the certification exam. We met a couple and the Dad and Son got their Diving Certification there, but they were in the water a great deal for about 3 straight days, and they were studying the rest of the time. It might be fun, if that’s what you want to do, but it may not be as relaxing if you do it that way. The Washing Machines and Dryers are kind of expensive, and there are not a lot of them, but you don’t need to bring any soap, they have it there.

The gift shop was nice, but kind of pricy, consider exploring the market out in town, there was a much bigger selection, and you get to meet some of the real Jamaican’s not working at the resort, it was an experience. Dunn’s River Falls is a must, it was a lot of fun, and worth getting wet and meeting new people. Trust the guide, my wife and son took their expensive camera’s and they didn’t get a drop of water on them!

Chukka Ranch was a blast, lots of different activities, book it through the Tour Agent at the resort. The Canopy Tour and the guides who were with us made for a wonderful day, and we had a freak thunderstorm roll in and everyone got wet!! My biggest advice is leave your job, and your worries at home. I cannot stress enough just how much fun we had, I cannot wait to go back, it was a vacation to remember!!

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August 2003

Like one of your other reviewers, we too used to be fans of Sandals and Beaches resorts….until we went to Beaches Boscobel! This resort does not live up to the standards set by other Sandals/Beaches resorts. The service was totally inconsistent, some of the bartenders were okay but in general the staff (especially the wait staff) had a very "indifferent" attitude, like they could care less. We also found the beach to be very disappointing and not at all like the one in the brochure. There was no water skiing and very limited spaces for scuba diving. In general the resort looked and seemed and bit worn, certain areas were roped off and out of order, the main fountain did not work and was dry, the overall maintenance left much to be desired. The hot water was very sporadic and no-one at the front desk seemed to care. The kick you out of your rooms at 6:00 on the morning of departure – which is a real joke as during our entire stay our room was never made up before 4:00 in the afternoon! The plates and silverware were consistently dirty in the main buffet restaurant. All in all definitely not worth the money and certainly not up to Sandals/Beaches standards! We complained but only got the run around, we’ve lost all confidence in Sandals/Beaches and won’t be going back to any of their resorts.

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Beaches Boscobel Lisa — Blackstone, MA

July 2003

Hello Debbie,
First let me say that we are Sandals Fans! We are returning Signature Guests with 7 stays under our belts. Last January 2002 we decided to go to Beaches Boscobel because we have a 1 year old and we needed a family resort.

Let me just say it was the worse vacation that we ever took! We not only requested a crib in the room from our travel agent, but I personally called the resort and asked for them to have one ready for us, because I knew my son would be exhausted after the four hour bus ride to the resort. They did not have the crib ready and it did not arrive until two hours after we had checked in. This made for a very stressful start.

The food at the resort was horrible. The buffet was constantly the same. In the evening the deserts would be presented as whole cakes and pies and they would then cut them up to serve at lunch the next day, the same went for the entrees. They advertise a certain number of restaurants, and their hours, but do not honor this if the resort has a low capacity. We went to the Arizona restaurant three nights before it was open. They have a fancy Caribbean restaurant, but you cannot go if you have kids and the Italian restaurant was only open when the others were not. We asked about this and they told us that the resort was less than 1/4 full so they were not about to open all of the restaurants, even though the literature you receive upon check-in states they are open. There was a self-serve ice cream and soda area, however you could not get near the machines because they were infested with bees.

The final straw was our air conditioning unit. Initially when we checked in every once in a while we heard a bang. It didn’t bother my husband because he can sleep through an earthquake, but needless to say it kept me up most of the week. As the week progressed it became worse, until one night we returned from dinner and our room was stifling hot. We went to the desk and they told us they would send maintenance. One hour later, we went back down to the desk and asked them to move us. We were told that maintenance was on their way. Another hour went by and we again went back down to the desk begging for them to move us. It was past my son’s bedtime, and we were hot and tried. We asked to have another room just for the night, just to sleep. They told us again that maintenance was coming and that they couldn’t move us, keep in mind the resort is less than 1/4 full. Maintenance came and said it was fixed. It wasn’t, at 3’oclock in the morning my husband went down and really complained. They offered to move us then. We waited until morning because my son was finally asleep. It was our last night there and we were so exhausted we could not enjoy a thing.

This is not what we are accustomed to. We paid over $3500 for the week and even added a day before we left because we have enjoyed the Sandals resorts tremendously.

The day we were leaving they scheduled the transport to the airport so that we would be at the airport 1 hour before check-in. It had rained so much in Montego Bay that the roads were washed out and a four hour ride took six. We nearly missed our flight and were told that if we did, we would have to go back to Beaches Boscobel because it is the only resort that allows children my son’s age and pay for the four hour trip. We never prayed so hard. We made it, only because half of the plane was stuck also.

We wrote to Beaches and they said "they were sorry we were inconvenienced". 3500+ and that is all they said. We will never return.

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May 2003

I just returned from a vacation in Beaches Resort on Boscobell in Jamaica All I will say is it was the worst vacation I ever took. Not only did they constantly run out of food and drinks, they charge the locals a small pittance for a day rate while we tourists pay top dollar only to have them run out of things constantly. While our room was pretty with a beautiful view, it had a terrible ant problem that prevented us from totally enjoying it. As for management, they were no where to be found. I would not reccomend Beaches Boscobell to anyone anywhere any time as they have proven that they only seem to care about collecting the money and not much more. When they ask you if everything is ok, all they really want to hear is a yes because believe me, first hand having experienced it, they do nothing about complaints. I dont know if youl post this or not being that its mostly negative, but in all honesty there was not much positive to write about the place. this is a million dollar company that seems to be able to get away with charging ridiuculous amounts of money to go to, and they present such a perfect picture on their tv ads but when youarrive it makes you wonder when their pictures were taken. There is no resemblence whatsoever. And this is supposed to be a brand new resort, atleast that is what they are advertising it as. The truth is its a fifty year old, former playboy mansion that they renovated and converted. And it shows. The beach was super small compared to the web pictures on the official web site, the water activities were constantly breaking down, they ran out of food continually, the beauty salon had a roof leak so while getting our hair done they had to move chairs around so we wouldnt get wet, the little food they did have was totally unedible, and the service was terrible. The only bright spot I saw were the pools, they were nice. But then again how can you screw a pool up. Its water. that about sums up my summer vacation. Hope this was helpful.

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Beaches Boscobel Scott — Minneapolis

April 2003

We traveled to Jamaica from March 17-27, 2003. We have three boys, 16, 14 and 12. We are not particularly sophisticated travelers, but have done cruises, Hawaii, Cancun, (Palace Resorts) Dominican Republic, (Bavaro Resorts) Orlando, etc. This time we stayed at both Beaches Boscobel and Beaches Negril. We have never had a better vacation.

Beaches Boscobel
We flew Northwest Airlines into Montego Bay from Minneapolis. No problems, although the flight was very early in the morning. The transfer to Boscobel does take almost two hours, and the roads are bumpy. Sit in front of the shuttle if you are prone to car-sickness. Checkin was fine. The bellmen really work hard in moving your luggage around an area that is serviced only by stairs. The room was nice, clean, and in excellent condition, with a nice deck overlooking the pool and main areas.

The resort is actually set on a hillside of sorts, with the rooms, restaruants and bars terraced into the face at different levels. The view from the upper levels is great. The walk down to the beach was great exercise, although there was also an elevator. The resort had been entirely redone, and was beautiful. The layout is designed to bring people together around the pool area, where the main buffet restaurant is also located. The evening shows and activities would be around this area, which was nicer than going into an indoor theater area for the shows. It also ensured a bigger crowd for these events.

There are plenty of things to do near Boscobel, if you like to get off the resorts. There is shopping in Ocho Rios. The excursion to Dunns River Falls is fun. The kids and I also played golf, which is included except for the caddy, tip, clubs, etc. King was our caddy, and had been my caddy on a prior trip. The caddies really know the course and the breaks of the greens if you listen to them. The pool area and activities were great. Compared to some other resorts the Beaches resorts were very kid-friendly. The BBQ grill was very convenient. The popcorn, slushes and ice cream that were always available were appreciated by the kids, and adults as well. All-inclusive is certainly the way to go with kids this age.

We didn’t pay much attention to the activities for younger children, but the petting zoo and children’s pools with slides, etc. seemed well done to me. All ages did seem to be having fun. We went on a snorkeling excursion, which was included, which was good. There is deep sea fishing available right off of the dock, at $100 per person for 4 people for a half day. The fitness center and other public areas were in good condition.

The staff at the resort got the kids involved in all the activities, including tennis, soccer, basketball, water volleyball, poolside games and competitions, etc. The biggest highlight was the activities staff. I did not expect my kids to get involved in things, as we usually do our own thing, but we were surprised at how many activities the kids were involved in and enjoyed. We have no real negatives on this resort to report. If I had to look for one, it would be the size of the beach. We do like to go for walks down a long beach and that is not really the type of beach they have anywhere on the Ocho Rios side of this island. After three nights, we traveled to Beaches Negril.

Beaches Negril
Our plan had been to spend three nights at Boscobel and a week at Beaches Negril. We wanted the kids to see more of the island, and on a prior trip we had also done both sides, staying at Sandals in Ocho Rios and Negril. We expected the weather to be better in Negril than on the Ocho Rios side, but we got 10 full days of sun with no rain or clouds this trip. We were not looking forward to the drive between the two resorts, but the Beaches staff made it fairly convenient. The resort let us go back in the late afternoon, so we didn’t miss a day in the sun. We took a shuttle back to the Montego Bay airport. The driver helped us locate the shuttle to Negril (actually a van for just our family only). There was very little wait and we were off to Negril. Perhaps our expectations were low. But every time things like this worked the way they were supposed to, with no problems, we were pleasantly surprised. And everyone we met in Jamaica was friendly, right down to the people waiting with and dispatching the shuttles. The road to Negril has been greatly improved, and is a lot better than the one to Ocho Rios.

Again, the reception at Negril was great, and there was no waiting to get a room. The layout at Negril is different, with rooms facing either the garden side or the beach side, with balconies for each room. The only negative that I would have for Beaches Negril was that the room showed its age somewhat, perhaps in comparison to the one at Boscobel. The main room was fine and nicely done, but the bathroom did look somewhat dated. The kids had their own room here, rather than the suite we had at Boscobel, and that was nicer. The staff put the two rooms on the main floor, next to each other but not adjoining. This worked very well.

Our first exposure to the resort was to walk down to the beach, where a beach party was in progress. At Beaches Negril, EVERYONE seemed to get involved in the activities. The beach is great. Every day we would get a cabana to center our activities around. (At Boscobel we centered around the pool.) There was always beach volleyball going on. Everyone enjoyed water polo in the pool. Like Boscobel, there was a water trampoline that got a lot of use. The beach is truly fantastic, and stretches for miles-better than Cancun, as good as Punta Cana in the D.R. The guard staff at the ends of the Beaches beach property would take our room numbers when we left for a walk, and just wave to us when we came back. (In fact, the staff seems to keep track of you for safety purposes. When we were picked up for a tour, the staff not only got the name of the driver who picked us up, verified by ID, but wrote down his license number as we were leaving. That made us feel like they were doing more than making sure no one got on the premises for free food!)

The restaurants and the public areas here were very good. The Japanese restaurant was very enjoyable, made that way by the chef who cooked at the table and his pleasant attitude with the kids. The adults only restaurant was excellent, and the kids had plenty of options. The Western themed restaurant was also good for dinner. We never had a bad meal at any of the restaurants on the whole trip. My oldest would eat at least one omelet every morning for breakfast, lunch, supper, and then eat again when the grill opened again at 10:30 p.m. There was plenty for the kids to enjoy. Compared to some other resorts there were a lot of foods that would appeal to a North American crowd.

We spent a fair amount of our time snorkeling in Negril. We took several trips, and the snorkeling was some of the better snorkeling we have seen at a resort. We saw skates, rays, sea snakes, turtles and really a lot of fish. At some resorts it seems like it is hard to sign up for these types of trips because they are free, but here there was no hassle and numerous opportunities.

We also went on an excursion (not with the resort) on a catamaran that was to be snorkeling on the reef, sail to the cliff area near the Pickled Parrot, snorkeling in the caves and cliff diving if you wished, and then dinner on the boat while you watch the sun set off the cliffs. My wife was thinking this would be very romantic. Actually we were the only family on the boat. Everyone else there was a senior in college on spring break. Apparently they had been told that if they could drink all the beer on the boat they would get a refund of their purchase price. At first we were a little horrified, because it simply hadn’t occurred to us that there were any spring breakers around, as there were none at the Beaches resorts. It turned out to be a good trip, however. Everybody was friendly and just having a good time. We looked the other way when a few "Jamaican cigarettes" were lit, but our youngest asked what it was anyway. Oh well, live and learn. The cliff diving was fun, and the whole boat cheered when the 12 year old jumped off the cliff which was reportedly 37 feet high. The dinner on the boat was simple but very good, so we had a good experience. The sunset at that location was fantastic. And we were useful–the spring breakers relied on us for sunscreen.

Overall, the trip could not have been better. Our kids met a lot of other kids, many of whom they are now e-mailing and keeping in contact with. The activities staff at Beaches Negril was, if anything, better even than the staff at Boscobel. We are talking about very high energy people. And it wasn’t always real structured energy. They would even just play pool with the kids, or show them local crafts. They organized dance lessons or games, in which adults participated too. All the kids at the resort seemed to be having fun. Our 14 year old kept getting called on the phone by a group of girls his age. He even was offered free hair braids by the beach braiding ladies at the request of some of these girls. He did not get the braids, and ignored the attention until later in the week, when he got to know these kids too. Our hats are off to the people at these resorts. The greatest accomodations in the world, with the best meals, would not have been much compared with the attitude of the people and this place, which made it an exceptional vacation.

Our long beach walks also took us to the Beaches Sandy Bay. We ate at the grill there, but did little else. This resort was much smaller, with much less smaller pools and public facilities. If you were looking for more peace and quiet, this resort might be for you, but we came to the conclusion that we preferred Beaches Negril.

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Beaches Boscobel – Ocho Rios M. Mock

April 2003

Our holiday at Beaches Boscobel did not live up to the advertising, promises and photos (specifically of the Beach) in the Beaches Brochures. Beaches advertises that ALL Suites include in room stocked bars, Suite Concierge Services etc. We booked the Luxury Family Suite and did not receive any of these services, when we questioned this we were told, our suites do include those items but not the Luxury Family Suite?!? There was no water skiing although they advertise water skiing, no Juice Bar (yes they promise one in the brochures), no hot water for showers on two evenings, the resort is advertised as NEW which it most definitely is not! It is an old Playboy Mansion (remember the 60’s) that has been given a facelift and we all know that even good face lifts are like NEW! The beach in the brochure clearly under the heading of Beaches Boscobel appears to go on for miles. The actual beach was approximately 100 yards wide. They must give incentives to locals because even in January over the New Year when the resort was supposedly full there were obvious "local" people who paid for a day pass to enjoy our all inclusive holiday that we spent $7,000 for! no offence to the local people but it is not fair to pay top dollar for an all inclusive and find out that you could actually come and go for a pittance if you were a local. All in all very disappointing, not worth 1/3 the money. We will never return to a Beaches Resort. We have tried for 3 months to get some type of refund and finally we were offered 2 complimentary nights to be used against our next visit! What a joke. Don’t waste your money folks, there are better resorts out there.

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