Sand Castles Resort
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Travel Blogs from Ocho Rios
(to be revised later) Several plane flights, one dead cell phone, and a long car ride later, we are in Ochi. First thing I noticed is that the heat and humidity is not as oppressive as SE Asia, Central America, or even Hawaii. Warm, but not so much I would start sweating immediately. Kingston was alternatively industrial port and shanty towns. …
We booked a beach tour through the cruise tour desk - generally not ones to get ripped off we fortunatly could see the funny side of our day. We had booked a tour to a glorious white beach, swimming, with lunch, traditional music, jamacian dancers, entertainment, volleyball, rum punch and soft drinks well that is what we got but it was a 3 min drive from the port and the beach was directly in front of the ...
... on YouTube for his very unique laugh. Look him up! All in all the tour was short and sweet, but well worth it. We stopped for lunch back in Ocho Rios at a place called Scotchies. They serve authentic jerk chicken and pork, and it was fabulous! We got to go near the kitchen and take pictures of the cooking process. When we got back to the resort, it was not as sunny and still very windy along the beach. But we still relaxed by the ocean regardless of the ...
... chop with.
On the way back to the cruise ship my brother got conned into buying some street art. Granted, a pair of really cool red stripe-themed wood carvings. But there were quite a few pushy street vendors in Jamaica. People come up to you with necklaces, telling you they’re free and putting them around your neck. And then asking for “donations.” Or trying to shake your hand, or ask you a question. Any way to get your attention ...
... and Kaisha played on with her BFFs and visited the slide multiple times. The stretching was obviously still working. K and I played in the pool for what felt like hours. He did not see it that way and I got no peace when I wanted to have a break! When playing with his sister in the pool and splashing each other his favourite catch phrase was ‘Do you want a piece of me, do you want a piece of me!’
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Sand Castles Resort Ocho Rios
I had the misfortune of staying there this past week and was very disappointed - mainly by the condition of the hotel and total lacksidical attitude of the hotel staff to accomodate you. Had I not been mislead by the name "resort" maybe my expectations would have not been so great. Now - don't get me wrong I am not some type of traveling snob and I do understand that sometimes you get what you pay for - but even in Cuba where I have stayed in some of the most inhumane conditions I had better treatment from the people that offer their homes and hospitality - not the case at Sandcastles. I had to fight daily to get clean towels for the pool - in which when I would come early in the morning they weren't ready yet and then when I would go in the afternoon they would run out of them - the pool guy - told me well Lady you get what you pay for - meaning that good service is not a priority. (At least not for him) Now to be fair I did complain to management about disappointment of staying there and I was trying to make the best of it - the beach is a joke and it is NOT a private beach for the hotel - you have to go through the gate with everybody else - and one thing they neglected to tell me at check-in is that it was free for Sandcastle dwellers - this was after I paid to get in. The beach was a tiny stretch of sand and water so filled with seaweed it was difficult to go in the water. I managed to find a more beautiful spot away from the tourist crowds and it actually saved my beach experience. The location is good - it's near everything in town and you can basically make it an enjoyable experience. Smiley, the bartender was the sweetest and he gives excellent service and entertainment as well. He sings and is pretty d*** good - I wish him the best. The manager I talked to he was very responsive to my complaints and tried to resolve them as best as he could. If you're looking for a value based vacation - this could be an option but I think for a few dollars more you could stay at the Renaissance Grande and probably have a better stay.
If you are looking for a 5 star posh "resort", this hotel is not for you. If your intention is to hang around a hotel all day in luxury, do not go here. You will be tremendously disappointed. My family and I just returned from an 8 day vacation in Jamaica, 8/16 - 8/23. Even though check in time was 3:00 p.m. our room was not ready until 4:00.
My husband and I were married in Negril and then spent the first 2 days of our honeymoon at Sandcastles. The rooms are pretty old and shabby, but I wasn't expecting luxury for $69 a night. I also thought the beach resembled a prison exercise yard (with all the chain-link fences and razor wire), and I never felt safe even walking on it.
I just got back Monday from Sandcastles. My boyfriend and I stayed for 4 days 3 nights. The hotel is a little run down than the picture shows. The roofs are not that terra cotta that it shows. The property however, was kept clean. We had maid service everyday, which was a plus. The food was ok, it was more Jamaican style than American style. They generally have buffets for breakfast and lunch and a menu for dinner. On the dinner menu there were only 4 things to choose from as your entrees. The people that worked there were nice. They had music entertainment at night. The pool was smaller than I had expected and the jucuzzi that was attached was the same temperature as the pool. The rooms were a little run down and the bathroom was very small. It was located directly in town so you can walk to shopping. It is one of the closer resorts to Dunns River Falls. The beach is not private. It's supposed to be all inclusive non motorized sports, but I don't know what that included. Smiley made awesome drinks. If you are on a budget and not looking for the extra perks it is a good place to go. It is about 1 1/2 hours by bus to the Montego Bay Airport. This was my second time in Jamaica. The first was in Montego Bay at the Wyndham Rose Hall. I would not go back to Sandcastles, unless I was restricted money wise. Personally, I would just stay in Montego Bay and avoid the 1 1/2 hour bus ride all together. If money is not an issue I heard the Ritz Carlton is beautiful. The Wyndam was great! We attended a wedding this trip at the Plantation Golf and Spa Resort by Beaches. If you have the money, it is absolutely beautiful. Food is awesome and the rooms are spectacular. You may even run into a celebrity. We actually saw someone from the Nets. I hope this information was helpful. Oh. We were also at Beaches Grand Sport for a little bit. That place was huge. It was too big for me, but they were very accommodating. The people that stayed at Grand Sport had nothing bad to say except that it was huge.
Much like roughing it
Here is not the place to get into an argument over who had the best or worst stay at the Sandcastles. My husband and I spent our honeymoon at the resort and we did not find it to our liking. While the grounds are beautiful, the hotel is poorly managed and not living up to its potential. If you are looking for a much better stay, spend the extra money and stay at the Jamaica Grande down the beach.
We agree with the previous poster here - this resort is NOT THAT BAD. We spent two weeks there and only just got back. It's not perfect, sure, but the room was nice and large, with a good view and all we needed during our stay. Room cleaning was NOT every other day as was reported, in fact we were pretty impressed - they even do your washing up for you! :)The beach was nice, and safe too. True, the guys trying to sell you things can be a little annoying, but hey, that's the way of the world outside North America and Northern Europe - get used to it!!This resort is RIGHT near Ocho Rios town centre, so is actually a great base for a room-only package. There are plenty of local shops and restaurants where you can get decent food for not too much money (particularly if you go to the places the locals go to). Night life was ok, with the Island Village complex just 5 minutes SLOW walk away, with bars and duty free shopping, a cinema and reggae culture museum.As an added bonus, Ocho Rios is pretty handy for most of the tourist attractions that Jamaica has, and getting about is pretty easy - the hotel can arrange taxis for you, and there's plenty of packaged tours available if you want the convenience.So just chill out and enjoy, is what I say.
To all of you who tried to ruin our vacation before we left with all of your horrible reviews, you didnt succeed. My boyfriend and I just returned from Jamaica yesterday, a ten day vaca and wish we could have stayed forever. Sandcastles was an older, but beautiful resort...The pool was a bit small, but did you all forget that their is a beautiful beach and ocean right outside your door? The people at sandcastles were very friendly, the maid service was right on top of things, SMILEY..the bartender, Martin, Tracey, Dave, Rusty, Tony etc...they took care of us every day....All service was with a smile. We werent happy with our first room, but asked to change it and were switched to a room with a cathedral ceiling and a drop ceiling fan...much better. Obviously we ran into hagglers on the beach...but we knew this before we went...You learn how to deal with it. The beach was gorgeous..very safe..There were guards at all entrances..The shows were entertaining at the poolside..The food was good...Definitely recommend the all inclusive plan, you can still go off to eat if youd like.. recommend Evitas or The Ruins. but the breakfast, burgers, and dinners are good and you can the drinks are included also...and they do know how to make a drink..Ask Smiley for "take it off" or the "Smiley Cooler". We went to Jamiaca to relax, party, and see some of its beauty, which is exactly what we did. You can book everything directly through the hotel or on the beach...highly recommend the Cool Runnings cruise to Dunns river..The crew is fantastic, look for Mickey, the catamaran ride is awesome...the beauty of Jamaica from the water is spectacular ,and most definitely the Sunset Cruise...Also look for Hope on the beach for a longer snorkeling trip...The boat is small, but your captain and guide..Lee, will take good care of you....take good care of them. If you are used to 5 star resorts, then maybe this isnt the place for you..But if you arent high maintainance...want to meet great people, an....this is a great place. We met some of the best people from all over the country, and in some instances all over the world...They alll loved it...more so because of the people who we were all surrounded by. There is plenty to do in Jamaica...If you have any questions, you can contact us....and a big F ....U to the a-holes who wrote the previous reviews...if you were looking for pampering..you should have stayed at the Wyndom...Who stays in their room on vacation in the caribbean anyway??? Feel free to email us if you want any other truthful info.
Tip , tip,tip, to get anything,anything
charlie the beach concierge's is the best thing about this place, he can book you trip around the island if you wish. the hotel acomadations are very limited, the night life also very limited, but anything is better than sub zero weather back in nyc.
I stayed in this hotel during a vacation over Thanksgiving and I was not impressed. The feeling overall in Jamaica is very relaxed and this place is no exception. I opted for the 1 bedroom suite thinking that it might be luxurious and I believe I had the worst room in this hotel. The curtains in the "living room" were waterstained and I was not impressed with the cleaning job done on my room. I went with my boyfriend and instead of giving us a king sized bed we had two twin beds pushed together. When I complained I was told that there were no more rooms available. The TV didn't work the first day I was there and they told me it was a problem with the cable provider. If you stay here do not opt for the all inclusive special, the regular rate includes breakfast - which is a pretty good deal. There is only one restaurant there , I found it better to go out and explore different restaurants for dinner - this is also cheaper. I went to the bar a few times and there was never anybody hanging out in there, this is not the place to go to socialize. The beach across the street was fine but there were a lot of people trying to constantly sell me water activities and tours. There was a large hotel down the street, if I had to do it over again I would have stayed there.
My wife and I returned from Jamaica yesterday where we stayed at SandCastles Resort in Ocho Rios. Upon arriving we were given the hotel room where the floor was very dirty and the room had an ant problem. There was also a stinch to the room. The room was cool looking with a loft for the bed and a kitchen but just lacked being taken care of. Every lady we spoke to at the front desk for help with directions, city atractions, money exchange, etc... was of no help and sometimes rude. The beach is nice but a joke because there are 30 salesman to every tourist. If you want to be downtown Ocho Rios this is the place but trying to get help finding things to do...Forget It!! They cleaned our room every other day which wasn't bad for us but seems to be on the low quality hotel side to us.