Jamaica: “The Home of All Right” is a gorgeous slice of paradise overflowing with culture, music and amazing food. From catamaran rides, to Dolphin Cove, to Mystic Mountain, adventure lies before any age. VIP Vacations Inc. was invited to Jamaica once more, for Sandals’ grand opening and remodeling of what used to be known as Sandals Grande Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort. These “luxury included” all-inclusive resorts around the Caribbean, unveiled the refurbished Sandals Ochi Beach Resort last April, with celebrity appearances, concerts and of course a ribbon-cutting party. This new and improved property features 500 rooms, seven new gourmet dining options, a new Ochi Beach Club, eleven bars, and a variety of cuisines throughout the resort.
Upon arriving in Jamaica, you are immediately greeted by Sandals employees waiting to shuttle you from the airport to the resort. If you choose Sandals Ochi as your final destination, beware that the commute from the airport is a bit long, a little less than two hours. However, once you step foot on the resort you receive superb treatment and service and can begin your relaxation right away. The interesting and unique aspect of this specific Sandals property is that there is an all-villa, butler –only area built into the hill as well as the Caribbean Riviera side sitting on the beach front. Either option provides you with a unique experience as you are free to move from one side to the other for different restaurant options, pools and ocean access. We requested to be placed on the Caribbean Riviera side close to the ocean and were provided with a Beachfront Club Level Room. All of the rooms have a modern layout with mahogany furniture, marble bathrooms and neutral décor throughout. Our room was incredibly spacious for two people, with a gorgeous bathroom and a picturesque view of the ocean from your own window.
There are over a dozen restaurant options to choose from, never leaving you bored or tired of the same meal. Over the course of four days, we were able to experience different cuisines and even chose our favorite restaurants to go back to for seconds. One restaurant in particular we enjoyed was Neptune’s, Mediterranean Seafood. You are seated under a cabana, near the central pool area at small tables in the sand. The energy and environment of the pool close by, combined with the beach and crash the waves in the distance made this meal memorable. The food was delicious with quick service and friendly employees.
The atmosphere at Sandals Ochi is geared towards young couples with intimate hammocks and seating along the beach and rooftop bars. While spending time at the pool, the PlayMakers (entertainment staff) blast chair thumping music while getting everyone to “keep the party going.” A brand new area , the Rabbit Hole, is a speakeasy night club that you only can access if you know the password of the day. Once you enter, it looks like an Alice in Wonderland movie with live entertainment and themed drinks taking you back to the 1920’s, while you can dance all night with friends and family.
If you are looking for a fun excursion to do around the island of Jamaica, Mystic Mountain near the Dunn’s River Falls is a must. First, find yourself twisting down the mountainside through the forest in a bobsled (Cool Runnings Anyone?). Then try the Tranopy Tour Explorer, as you soar 700 feet above the rain forest in a chair lift overlooking the treetops of Mystic Mountain. Lastly take flight through the rain forest, while you glide platform to platform on zip lines. This 3 in 1 experience is a great way to get off property and see something different and unique to Ocho Rios and Jamaica as a whole.