Hello my good people! I know it’s been awhile, but for good reason: your favorite travel consultant has been TRAVELING! Yes, I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite Domestic Destinations, Ann Arbor Michigan, as well as go on a long-awaited trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. While in the DR, I had the opportunity to tour SIX resorts and will begin posting about my experiences shortly. Hopefully it won’t take me 6 months to write up those reviews….

When I last left off, we had just toured the all-butler, all-fabulous Sandals Royal Plantation, and had boarded our bus for the final stop of our whirlwind week in Jamaica, Beaches Ocho Rios. We would be checking in and staying two nights at Beaches before heading back to the USA. (sadface).

What a view!
What a view!

Staying at this resort was an amazing way to bring our trip to an end. Beaches Ocho Rios is currently undergoing some renovations, and soon it will feature some of the same amenities as the other Beaches and Sandals resorts. We didn’t have the exclusivity of being escorted into a private lounge as we had at our other resorts, and conducted our check-in from the lobby. Minor details.

My friend Michelle and I were escorted to our rooms over in the French Village; she arrived to her suite first and I marveled at its size. Because I’m human, I couldn’t help but wonder how my accommodations would compare to hers. Our guide took me to a singular door near the Red Lane Spa and said “here we are!”. Clearly, I thought I had drawn the short straw and would be sleeping in the broom closet. So you can imagine my relief and surprise once I opened that door and saw a full staircase headed up to my Caribbean Oceanview One Bedroom Concierge Suite! The suite was SO big and I couldn’t believe it was just for me! I had a living room, king size bed, en-suite bathroom, walk-in closet and even a kitchenette. It opened up to a terrace with ocean views (hence the name) that shared space with four other suites. I was very pleased with my accommodations and am thankful to the Sandals/Beaches family for taking such good care of us travel professionals!

(Tour of my Suite!)

Since our resort tours were mostly completed, we had a gamut of free time at Beaches Ocho Rios. During our first evening there, we tried out the Bar B Q Park (yum!) and spent some time at Pirates Island Waterpark trying out the slides. (7, total). We felt like kids again! We were treated to an excursion at Dunn’s River Falls by Island Routes (knocked that off my bucket list), which I will write about in a separate post. We had a chance to check out some of the motorized water sports…I had a good fortune of being submerged into the Caribbean Sea from a banana boat and I blame Will…(inside joke). I took a picture with Elmo; we saw Sesame Street characters all throughout the resort. We danced to a live reggae band and my friends were crowned Mr. and Mrs. Caribbean (or something similar) at the dance contest. I bought souvenirs at the on-site shop. There was honestly so much to do that I didn’t have a chance to experience it all. There are still a number of things I need to do at the resort; for example, I didn’t try out any of the specialty restaurants for dinner, because two days just wasn’t long enough. There were more water sports to try. This ended up being many of my fellow agents’ favorite resort, which I think was partially due to our camaraderie by this point, as well as the excellent accommodations and amenities.

Speaking of which…

Accommodations: I already mentioned my incredible suite, which is one of the highest room categories available. The Beaches and Sandals properties recently standardized their room categories, so I believe a few of the buildings have been renamed. However, there are three main areas of the resort: The French Village, the Greek Village (which has three tiered levels with a large shared balcony area), and the Caribbean Village/Main Building. Since Beaches is a family resort, rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests. One major difference between this resort and the others we visited is the lack of Butler suites. If that is a MUST for your next vacation, then this wouldn’t be the resort for you. (Oh and call me – I can hook up that Butler suite very nicely for you! :))

Dining: At this point in the trip, I was content with quick meals. Which is why I did not try any of the specialty restaurants at Beaches Ocho Rios. The Bar B Q Park was visited frequently by yours truly (the food was SO GOOD!), plus the morning breakfast buffet at Bayside. We did dine at The Venetian for breakfast on the final day. Other on-site restaurants are Eleanor’s, Neptune’s and Josephine’s Creperia (opening soon). I had ZERO complains about the food.

Pools/Beach: We spent a LOT of time in the water at this resort! The main pool has an incredible swim-up bar and we became good friends with the bartenders there. There was a large hot tub right next to the main pool. As I mentioned earlier, we took full advantage of the water slides available for use (making up for our lack of water slide time at Beaches Negril, I guess). We also were able to explore several different motorized and non-motorized watersports at no extra cost and with very little wait, which was a HUGE plus. Those who love the water will adore this resort.

Atmosphere/Extras: FUN. That is the word that comes to mind when I think back about the two days I spent at Beaches Ocho Rios. I had SUCH a great time at this place; it’s truly designed for the whole family and there is something for everyone. The Sandals Golf Course and Country Club is nearby and greens fees are included for resort guests. Dunn’s River Falls and Mystic Mountain are only minutes away. Just because it’s a family resort does not erase the romance — we had the opportunity to see a beach wedding and it was as lovely as you would imagine. (it IS Jamaica, after all!) Singles, families, multi-generational groups, weddings – there is something for all of you at Beaches Ocho Rios!

And there you have it! My Sandals/Beaches reviews are officially completed!

In case you missed any of the prior posts, here is a comprehensive list:

Beaches Negril

Sandals Whitehouse

Sandals Negril

Grand Pineapple Negril

Sandals Montego Bay

Sandals Royal Caribbean

Sandals Carlyle

Sandals Grande Riviera

Sandals Royal Plantation