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. …
... make moving here easier than Panama, as I could stay and work to support myself long term in Jamaica. Getting to know the congregations here has been an absolute delight and understanding the challenges they face in the ministry has really impressed on me how fully Jehovah is backing their efforts.
The group consists of 12 publishers and 3 pioneers, and they have the Watchtower and Congregation Bible study separately in ASL, while all other parts are ...
... restaurant to enjoy a full day of access and activities. The icing on the cake was that we were the only guests there the entire day, so the three of us (Diane, Grandma and I) were being waited on hand and foot by tens of staff members exclusively.
To start off our day, we were served ginger beer (non-alcoholic Jamaica specialty) on a private pier cabana overlooking the ...
My mind has been blown. Everything I have every thought I knew about the extrinsic boundaries of beauty found in nature need to be reevaluated.
The Dunn's River Falls located just 8 kms outside of Ocho Rios are stunning. For an entrance fee of $2000 JBM ($20 US) for foreigners or $600 JBM for residents, you can spend the day climbing the falls, basking in the downpour or relaxing on the beach.
Included in your entry ...
... ich nicht lache, was wir aber bis dorthin noch nicht wussten, es ist jedesmal das selbe, unaufgefordert aber sehr freundlich und hilfsbereit ziehen Sie dich gleich mit, jeder versucht seinen Profit daraus zuziehen. Am Schluss erwarten Sie ein selbstverständliches Trinkgeld. Mit einem Handschlag drückte ich (Natascha) ihm seine Blüten wieder in die Hand und verabschiedete mich freundlich aber schnell, in dem wir davon liefen!
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Historical Traveler Reviews Sand Castles Resort Ocho Rios
There is no truth in advertising!
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.
The Sandcastles Resort was decent.
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.
You will get complementary drinks at check in. Our stay at the Sandcastle resort was really nothing to complain about. The rooms were always clean, complete with air condition, a small fridge, and a cooking area. The staff were always on hand to help out and always provided clean towels whenever we asked. The staff at the front desk was courteous and friendly. The restaurant on the property serves Jamaican as well as American food. By my standards, the food served was excellent. The waiters were very efficient and courteous. There is mediocre entertainment by the pool area at night. The music is very loud so you may not want a room close to the pool. Ask for one in the back, closer to the beach if noise bothers you. The entertainment consisted of performances by local, aspiring entertainers. Overall, we were pleased with the hotel. The beach is close by. The "locals" did not bother us on the beach. After all it is there country. If you stay here, you will be within walking distance of shopping areas, a movie theatre and local restaurants. The hotel served our purpose... a comfortable clean place to lay our heads and a nice pool for the kids.
The pool is small by American standards. However as I said before, there is a nice beach close by. We were able to enjoy a glass bottom boat ride given by Andre right on that beach. Security is good. They check everyone coming in. One night we left our porch door open which faces the pool and a staff member called at 2:00 p.m. to alert us of this. We were asked to close the door.
We only slept at the hotel since we were hitting the road every day. It was an awesome trip!
P.S. If you want to see the real Jamaica, try touring with, Don. You will not spend a lot of money. He has been giving private tours for several years. Not to mention that he is a very safe driver. You will not feel rushed and clustered on a tour bus filled with people. He took us on several tours including Dunns River Falls, Rafting on the Martha Brae River, Rose Hall Great House, Green Grotto Cave and several others at prices much lower than the ridiculous ones at the hotel. He even took us into Montego Bay to shop. He never raised the price even when we wanted to stay longer at a particular spot. Don would just tell us "No problem, mon". Give him a call at 1-876-828-4334 and tell him Claudia recommended you. You will see a side of Jamaica that few visitors get to experience. Let down your hair, stop the fussing about the Sandcastlel and cool runnings mon...everything is irie in Jamaica!
Do not go to Jamaica to get couped up in a hotel. You can do that right at home!
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.
On our first night, there was an electrical fire in our air conditioner. We reported it to the front desk and asked to be moved to a new room, and we were told by a very rude woman that she was too busy to help us. It took over 3 hours before the problem was resolved.
Apparently a fire in a guest's room is not a priority situation at Sandcastles.
On the next day, I needed to make a couple of phone calls back to the US. I made 2 one minute calls and 2 five minute calls from the phone in our room. There were no prices listed anywhere. When I later received by credit card bill, I had been charged US$40 for EACH of the one minute calls, and US$60 for EACH of the five minute calls. That's just blatant robbery! To top it off, the only reason I had to make so many calls is because the front desk refused to connect any of my incoming calls to my room.
Stay away from this place!!!
Just got back from Sandcastles
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.
No problem, man.
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.
We Loved Sandcastles...had a blast!!
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.
If you are not picky this place is for you
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.
Great potential but badly managed
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.