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What It’s Really Like to Stay at a Sandals Resort

May 28, 2021

By: Angela Loftin


Have you ever thought about an all-inclusive resort and wonder if it’s really worth it? Or if it’s any different than any other vacation or even a cruise? The answer is YES 100% My weeklong vacation at Sandals Ochi was the best vacation I have ever been on.

So first let’s get the details out of the way. Sandals Ochi is an adults only resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The average daytime temperature is 82° and nighttime is 72°.


The Resort Features:

  • Unlimited dining & snacks at 16 restaurants

  • Unlimited Premium Liquors & Twin Oaks® wines at 11 bars, including swim up bars

  • All tips, taxes and gratuities

  • Roundtrip airport transfers

  • Roundtrip transfers and green fees at nearby Sandals Golf Club

  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving (and all equipment)

  • Snorkeling (and all equipment), Hobie Cats, paddle boards, kayaks

  • Beach volleyball, basketball, pool tables, & tennis

  • Day and night entertainment including live shows

  • Free WiFi (in room and all common areas)


OUR VACATION

Sandals is truly the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever been on. My husband and I stayed for 6 nights and flew US Air. Upon arrival at the airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica we were directed to the Sandals Lounge where we were offered free drinks and snacks while waiting for our complimentary transportation. The transportation was well organized and the staff treated it like a party bus, however, this was probably my least favorite part of the trip. The trip from the airport to the resort is about 90 minutes and I get a little bus sick so for our next trip I will be springing for private transfers which can be done directly through Sandals.

We arrived at the resort and were given champagne to enjoy while we were checked in and we were given a free upgrade to higher room category which included a private pool (the picture above with 4 blue chairs). Sandals Ochi is a large property and while there are walking paths Sandals would never expect its guests to use them :-) Waiting outside of the main building after check-in was a driver and golf cart type vehicle who drove us to our room and helped us get our luggage settled (pictured above). The best thing is anytime we decided we wanted to go somewhere we would just call a number from our room phone and the driver would be there almost immediately to take us wherever we wanted to go.


Our day looked like this: wake up early, get ready usually in beach clothes with cover-ups, and head to breakfast at one of the restaurants. Usually breakfast was a buffet featuring many options and on top of that an omelet & waffle station. After breakfast we were off to the beach or pool where we would hang out swimming, sunbathing, & snacking until lunch. We grabbed lunch at one of the restaurants or quick snack places and then would usually explore the resort a little and then head back to the room for a nap. After our nap, we would get up, get ready for dinner, and head out to a formal dinner. The resort does have a dress code ‘after the sun sets’ and proper attire is required for dinner and late-night activities. After dinner, we either enjoyed some of the entertainment the resort offers (theme nights, parties, etc) or would head back to the pool.

What’s great about Sandals is it is completely possible to have a wonderful vacation with no schedule- wake up when you like, eat when you like, sleep when you like, etc.


AMENITIES

It’s Really All-Inclusive

A very important fact is that Sandals is truly all-inclusive- once you are on property all accommodations, food, snacks, drinks, entertainment, are included and no tipping is allowed. The only things not included are special services like spa services, excursions, souvenirs, etc. Want a snack at 2:00am? Or finish your dinner and decide you want another steak? (this may or may not have happened to me). There are no hidden fees. It is a very strange feeling not paying for anything or tipping but you get used to it!


Premium Drinks

Drinks were already mentioned but need some elaboration- there is no shortage of bars at Sandals with top-shelf liquor, wine, and beer. The rooms also have stocked bars. Some of the bars are swim-up which is awesome and remember is unlimited and everything is included!

Activities

There is so much to do at Sandals besides lounge by the pool or beach but, I admit, I would much rather relax on vacation than ‘adventure’. We did test out the aquatrike and it was fun! Sandals offers plenty of water and land sports to keep you occupied.


Security

A lot of people (including me) have that strange feeling in the back of your mind when you’re in another country questioning if you’re really safe. I felt completely safe at this Sandals Resort. There are people stationed at the gates, on the beach ensuring non-resort guests don’t ride up from the water, and throughout the resort. Each room has a safe deposit box available for use during your vacation.


Food Options

There are 16 restaurants at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort with a wide variety of foods to chose from. Only a few restaurants require reservations, but you’ll want to make those early in your stay because they do book up. We ate at a different restaurant each night and had no issues getting a table. We always had excellent service and wonderful food. It was so fun trying different foods I might not normally try because of the price but since everything was included I didn’t have to worry about wasting money on food I might not like. Our favorite sit-down meal was Kelly’s Dockside which featured fresh seafood and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is an over-the-water experience with spectacular views. We enjoyed steak, shrimp, and a variety of side dishes that were all wonderful. Our favorite lunchtime meal was from The Jerk Shack where we tried the Jerk Pork and Jerk Chicken. There is definitely not a shortage of options at any time of the day!

Excursions

We decided to add on an optional excursion, a Bob Marley Cruise, to the Dunn’s River Falls one day. The pictures above are some from our trip. We took a break on the way to the falls for some snorkeling. Climbing the falls was a little more intense than I imagined so I would not recommend it unless hiking/outdoorsy stuff is your thing- it’s not really mine- but was still an awesome one-time experience! Booking an excursion was super easy through the concierge and they had a ton of options to chose from if you decide to head off-property.


I cannot wait to go back to a Sandals Resort and I, or one of our other wonderful agents, would love to help you plan your Caribbean getaway!


IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, WE CAN PLAN IT!!!

– Angela Loftin –

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