Old Reviews – Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa

  Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa Ochos Rios   Marlene ~ Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb 23 – Mar. 2
Prompt pickup and delivery. Check-in was slow.

Nothing fancy, but definitely clean.

Restaurants and Bars
The south Beach Grill was absolutely incredible. The presentation of the food was outstanding and the taste was amazing. Service was terrific.

VEry small beach area. Inability to walk any distance due to this. Beach and pool are kept very clean. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel Tour to the Dunn River Falls was enjoyable, but we felt like we were herded like cattle. There was no possibility to stop and enjoy the experience, it was get moving!! Went on the cycle tour. Again, little opportunity to actually stop and enjoy the experience, but beautiful scenery. Also, did the zipline tour. Awesome experience, but again, hurry up attitude.

Tour are expensive, but on top of that, everyone has their hand out for a tip

Other Comments Beautiful scenery, terrific scenery, incredible weather. But……doubt if we will will ever return. Found many of the staff condescending and arrogant. Felt a resentment that we were even there. Some staff literally refused to serve us and noted that colored people were served, but staff would walk right by caucasian people. A couple of other examples… I was told by the clerk in the gift shop to go and find change myself if i wanted to purchase something and I was told by housekeeping to find a cleaner myself in order to get clean towels for our room that was not made up at noon. There was a definite attitude of, if you want something, get it yourself.

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  Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa Ochos Rios   Jaime ~ Chicago, IL, USA

January 2009

Upon arrival, my husband and I were immediately disappointed in the room. As soon as the bellman left our luggage we noticed that the door did not shut completely, therefore making the deadbolt unusable. In addition, there was no chain lock for additional security. Our sliding door looked as if someone had hit it with a hammer around the frame, making it extremely difficult to open and once open, it was impossible to shut without having a windy draft coming from the outside. In addition, we were told that the hotel was out of safe deposit box locks and we would have to wait until morning to lock up our valuables in the room safe! Needless to say, we were less than impressed with the safety of our room and immediately called down to change rooms. After two phone calls and a useless visit from the hotel handyman, we packed up and marched ourselves down the lobby, where we were given a new room. Our new room still didn’t have a working deadbolt, but at least the chain lock and sliding door worked. Our room was also missing an alarm clock. These rooms were old, the furniture falling apart and poorly maintained.

Restaurants and Bars:
The Italian restaurant was wonderful! The food was delicious and it’s the only place in the resort where you can get an espresso. The lobby bar was always very crowded and it was difficult to get drinks in a timely manner. I would recommend going to the tower bars that are just outside the elevators, those tend to be more intimate and have better staff. The restaurant and bar staff was hit or miss. If someone was friendly, you received A+ service, however, the majority of the staff there was unfriendly and unhelpful. This resort would run much smoother if the management ran some customer service training.

Beautiful! After a few days we found a lovely quiet spot and enjoyed our days at the beach. The beauty of the grounds almost makes up for the neglect of the guest rooms.

Other Comments: My husband and I would return to Jamaica, but never to this resort.

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  Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa Ochos Rios   Ryley

February 2008

This being my first trip EVER outside of Canada I was extremely excited to visit Jamaica. I was quite disappointed to find out that the largest hotel in Ocho Rios did not offer any sort of transportation from the airport to the hotel. Needless to say, our cab that we booked did not show and we were forced to go with a local cab driver – I thought I was going to die. This is not a joke, my boyfriend and I literally handed our lives over to a stranger and hoped to hell he would get us to our hotel. The white knuckle ride was over in 1 and a half hours. I was very happy to see the security at the front gate. I must say that Sunset Jamaica was very security driven and I felt very safe in the resort. The food was very good and the maintenance of the pools and all other areas of the hotel were kept up to my standards. The only thing that really bothered me about the resort was the service. I felt that I was imposing upon them by asking for drinks and food. It did feel a little uncomfortable and anyone who says that it’s based on a “no-tip” service is lying. I found that once I started to tip a single on each order I was getting better service, if you could call it that, I had to wait so long for everything!

I will definitely be visiting other Caribbean islands before returning to Jamaica.

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Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa Ochos Rios Craig (42) & Carla (36) ~ Manitoba

March 2007

We just returned from a fantastic vacation at the Sunset Grande resort in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. We have taken other all inclusive vacations over the past several years (Dominican Republic – Punta Cana & La Romana; Cuba – Varadero) and are pleased to add Jamaica to our list!! This was definitely one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken & would go back in a heartbeat!! We visit Debbie’s site whenever we are looking at possible destinations and felt it was important to add this resort review!

We booked our vacation short notice with Sell Off (Air Canada Vacations was the provider). The flights both ways were uneventful and the staff was friendly and helpful. As we flew into Montego Bay, there was a bit of drive to get to Ochos Rios. Along the way, improvements are being made to the road – twinning the highway between Montego Bay & Ochos Rios so there was additional travel time due to construction. The drive from the airport to the resort ended up taking about 2 ½ hours, but when the road is finished, the trip will probably only take an hour. We stopped about halfway at a place called YOW’s where you could use the restrooms, shop and get something to eat/drink. Be sure and inquire about prices as the refreshments were quite expensive. The drive went fairly quickly as the bus drivers (Jamaica Tours Limited provided the charters) were excellent and narrated along the way. They pointed out areas along the way, talked about the history of the area and even taught us some phrases in their local English language. The weather was awesome the entire week – over 30 degrees celsius each day and most days were full of sun with clouds just passing over. You definitely need your sunscreen in Jamaica!! Amazingly, with that heat, there were very few bugs!

Resort Overview
The Resort itself was in very good condition and kept very clean. There are 2 towers that hold 730 rooms and there are several bars and restaurants that are spread out between the north & south ends of the resort property. There is security at the front of the property that monitors activity in and out of the resort but we felt completely safe when we walked a few blocks to do some shopping. The staff was very friendly and willing to assist however may be necessary. As they say in Jamaica – “No problem Mon” – and they really mean it. There are no problems – only situations that they do their best to resolve. Unlike other resorts that we have frequented, this resort is non-tipping and the staff does not expect tips in order to provide good service. We did tip when we received exceptional service, but we did not feel that it was expected of us. Our room was a standard room with a small balcony, with an ocean view. The resort has 2 hot tubs and several different pools (and swim up bars) that were connected by a lazy river concept. The staff maintained the pools daily with cleaning and chemical maintenance. The one thing that we discovered quickly is that beach space is limited and shaded space is at a premium. Cabanas and umbrellas need to be reserved early in the day (by 7:30am most if not all were gone) if you wish to spend the entire day on the beach. There are two gift shops, one specific to items that have the resort’s logo on them and the other that had a variety of clothing, food and drinks and other souvenirs. We felt the second gift shop was very reasonably priced. We checked out their website before we went & the resort was all that the web page said it was and MORE! www.sunsetjamaicagrande.com

We found the food to be very good. The buffet had a good selection of fresh fruits, meats and cheeses and rotated their selections of local cuisine including Jerk Chicken and a variety of fish. There are several a la cartes, but we only tried out La Diva, the Italian restaurant – which was excellent!! In addition, one of two grills are open all day and late into the night where you can get your burger and French fry fix at any time. The jerk chicken and pork was awesome!!

Entertainment & Tours
The resort held nightly entertainment in their main entertainment centre, local singers, staff & guest talent show, children’s fashion show and a magician. The shows were ok, providing variety and something different each night. One night they even had Crab Racing with para mutual betting – like horse racing! It brought out quite a crowd! We did not manage to visit the disco on-site – Jamaican Me Crazy but it was open from 10pm to 2am each night! There is a casino on site as well for those who like to gamble!

Off resort, we went of the Dunn’s River Safari tour which was fun and entertaining as we went up the mountains to see and hear about some local history of the area. The Dunn’s River Falls was one of the best tours we’ve ever taken – lots of fun climbing as a group UP the falls that are cascading down. A guided tour helps you up the safe path, but be sure & where good shoes with straps or aquasocks!

On Monday night, we headed into Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville which is in the Island Village Shopping Plaza. On Mondays, they provide free transportation from the resort & there is no cover charge for our resort. The sign in the resort also says “free shots” but that was incorrect. The drinks were not free and we paid $13.75 for 2 drinks – a little much for a margarita & a beer we thought! It was a cool party experience though & we’re glad we went. We did not go back to that shopping plaza although we heard others who did and said there were some decent deals there if you’re willing to negotiate with the shop owners. We did some shopping at the other tax/duty free plaza down the street from the resort, called Taj Mahal and we found some cheap blue mountain liquors and some reasonably priced souvenirs. The shop owners barter for a living and can be quite aggressive so be prepared for that before you go. We also went to the Hard Rock Café which was along the way.

We usually do a fair amount of golfing when away on vacation, but this time only went one time because of the location of the courses. We chose to coordinate the transportation & greens fees with our Air Canada rep although you could probably just book directly with the course & organize a cab independently. We played at the Sandals Golf Course which was about 25 minutes away and it was about $120 USD for each of us to play, excluding the cost of the mandatory caddy. We chose to walk and our caddy, Winston carried both of our bags! It had to be over 30 degrees, with high humidity and he never complained once!!

Summary We believe that this resort was listed as a 4 star & from our experiences; it’s definitely worth that rating! We have been hesitant in the past to go to Jamaica because of the bad press surrounding crime and violence in that country. We felt safe the entire time when in Ochos Rios and we are disappointed that we haven’t visited Jamaica sooner!

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