More about Sandcastles Beach Resort Ocho Rios
Sandcastle was the worst hotel ever
I stayed at Sandcastles Resort in Ocho Rios from April 30-May 2. My original departure date was May 5 but my family and I couldn't endure anymore disappointments. First, we requested an oceanic view room. Our view showed huge trees that blocked the view. The buffet was cold both mornings. There seemed to be a washcloth/towel shortage. We waited hours to receive extra washcloths/towels. We requested an iron and ironing board. We had to go to the front desk and retrieve it ourselves. Housekeeping was out of this world. The bathroom window fell apart while we were away for the day, anyone could have climbed in. The stove didn't work and the fridge smelled really bad. They moved us to a new room that night only to find red ants in the kitchen and roaches in the rooms. I complained again and the night manager gave me a can of ant spray and told me that it would be difficult getting a refund if I left earlier because I purchased the hotel on the internet and they hadn't been paid yet. I spoke with the day manager and she gave me a waiver of refund only for the two days that I wasn't staying since I decided to check out two days earlier. I expected a full refund because of what me and my family had to endure. So me and my family moved to the Renaissance Jamaica Grand where we should have been in the first place. Please do not be fooled by the Sandcastle Website. It is total garbage. Some of the employees were nice others didn't make us feel welcome at all. Please stay away from a horrible experience.
Just back from the Sandcastles (22/04/2004) had a brilliant time.After booking up for a week in the sandcastles I decided to look into some reviews etc (as usual I do everything back to front) I read some reviews did some research and was a bit disheartened and sceptical, but left with an open mind. I had read in some reviews that the staff were unfriendly and the place was a dive, can I just reassure anyone who is due to visit, that providing you are friendly and treat the staff with respect (normal) you will get exactly the same back, and yes the Sandcastles is not the Hilton but it has all the facilities you require and the rooms are kept very clean and tidy. A cleaner will enter your room every day with fresh towels and clean your room from top to bottom. We went self catering and the utensils were quite basic but a simple phone call to the kitchen and everything we requested was brought up to us. To be honest we only used the sandcastles as a base for somewhere to sleep and have a drink at knight as we went on a tour nearly every day. We used a tour guide from the beach called Captain Vincent a very friendly and knowledgeable guy and his friend Nick who does the driving is safe and cautious when driving. You can contact Vincent on any of these three numbers ---------, ----------- or -----------. When you first visit the beach you may be approached by another guide as there are quite a few there, they are all probably very good, but I can only vouch for Vincent I found him friendly, reliable, knowledgeable and he won’t rip you off. One other thing before I go, if you fancy a meal cooked for you in your room go to the beach and ask for Errol also known as the Lobster Man or The Man With The Stick. He will come to your room and cook you anything you want, we had lobster as we had it recommended by another reviewer (it was delicious, I’m drooling at the thought). If you want any further advice or tips drop me a line with your phone number and I’ll give you a call) Have fun Steph & Jim
I spent 11 days in Ocho Rios startingt from Easter Monday. From the minute I arrived the whole area was alive. I stayed at the Sandcastle resort with my partner and 2 children, ages 11 and 6. The balcaony was overlooking the swimming pool, the beach was 2 minutes walk, shops, fast food, doctors, you name it you had it and all within walking distance, 5 minutes maximum. Locals like to stare but you will get that anywhere people hasn't seen aliens before. Sandcastle provided evening entertainment every night, which was superb. Money worth spent.
Different Experience - Not your average resort!
This hotel is not for people who are used to the "American Standard" accommodation with all the amenities.
If you travel to a different country, why not try to adapt to its ways of life while you're there? It's really upsetting reading people whining about pity things. Enjoy the sun! Enjoy the food!
We spent our first wedding anniversary at the Sand Castles Resort in Ocho Rios over Valentine's Day weekend. We had a rocky start to get a decent room, but after only a day, we enjoyed the charming hotel. They have great breakfast buffet, the best coffee, and very friendly people, once you let your guard down.
The locals are not that bad either. They are all happy people, most of them living in poverty.
For all the tourist visiting the resort: don't get your expectations high, but do enjoy every day there!
loved everything about Ocho Rios
This was the best vacation I have ever taken. We went to Ocho Rios to celebrate our honeymoon. We were there from the 25th of April until May 2nd. The staff was very courteous and the resort bartenders know how to make a drink. We had a very nice room with a kitchen. But we didn't stay at the room a whole lot. And it is true, please get the Lobster man to cook you a dinner in your room. Also if you are going to do tours go to the beach and ask for Captain Peter he is for the water tours also if you are doing land tours ask for Bonga. These 2 people are very knowlegable. I didn't feel threatened at all by any of the locals. I must have gotten asked 100 times if I wanted my hair braided:-). Anyways I would rate Sandcastles a 4 and we are planning on coming back to stay there again.
its irie man!!
We thought sandcastles was very comfortable very clean and the staff friendly. Liked having exclusive access to the private beach. The only thing I think spoilt our stay was the entertainment at night. IT WAS MUCH TOO LOUD!! After spending all day out in the hot sun and partaking in various activities, the last thing you want until 11pm at night is loud music blasting. There are numerous night clubs in the vacinity if you want that. Can the management of Sandcastles please note this and act on it. When the night entertainment started (particularly during the week) not only was it too loud, the pool area was empty, so there was no one to entertain, except of course those who had no choice but to listen!! Otherwise Sandcastles is not bad, not bad at all.
Good for the money
We stayed at Sandcastles 21/4/04-5/5/04 we had basically booked it as a cheap package with flights so we could spend a week in my mother-in-laws timeshare. All together we had a week at at Sandcastles and to be honest we weren't expecting too much given the reviews. We arrived late at night very tired and were treated courteously by the staff. I have to say if you are polite and friendly to them they reward you with kindness, this was true throughout our holiday. The room was very clean and looked freshly decorated, the water was hot and the bed was very comfortable, we had plenty of hot water and our fridge was new. Downsides? The cooker did not work and looked dangerous and although I reported this it wasn't fixed, they did knock $50 off our bill though. This really wasn't a problem as I didn't want to cook but would have liked hot water for tea etc. The T.V was ok good picture, remote didn't work but not a problem did'nt have far to walk! The first night we ate in the hotel as we were too tired to explore. Food was good and tasty, and the atmosphere was so romantic on the balcony with the band playing. The menu was limited though only a few choices. The band was excellent, though very few stayed up to listen to them.
Next day had a look round the grounds and explored the beach, Sancastles isn't very big, most of the apartments look on to the pool which is a fair size and has plenty of loungers to relax on. You can get soft clean beach towels for a $10 deposit, not bad as they are good quality. The beach is public but the public have to pay get in so there wasn't many locals there but hey it is their country and Jamaicans are wonderful people on the whole. The beach was nice quite big not too crowded with lots of shade.
All in all I liked Sandcastles, it was quiet and basic and very clean. Not the place to go if you don't want to explore and like all in entertainment but perfect for a base from which to explore the island. We did a few tours, I can recommend the Black River/ YS falls/Appleton tour. It was tiring but so informative and we really got to see the country. We also went horseriding and did a Dunns River/snorkelling cruise with "Captain" Pete, although there are others on the beach who offer tours, shop around and get a reciept. We were well looked after on both our trips with Pete. Finally a word on Ocho Rios, a great vibrant little town clean and colourful. We were approached frquently when we first arrived which gets a little annoying but you just need to smile and say "no thanks" remember these people are so poor and hardworking they rely on tourists to make a living. The people are so friendly though I miss that vibe, they will chat to you even if your'e not buying anything. We were selfcatering so we ate out alot, our favourite by far was Coconuts we tried other places but kept coming back it was awesome. Also good (but expensive) was the Ruins so romantic and beautiful, well worth a visit.
Hope this is helpful. I would visit Sandcastles again as it was fine for the money (why go to Spain when you can visit Jamaica) but if you want the all inclusive experience go elsewhere.
Don't go on your life
I have been back from Ochio over a week, its taken me this time to get over what was surely the worst holiday I have ever had. This was our honeymoon & I read the reviews after we booked Sandcastles. We actually had no problem with the hotel, o.k. the rooms werent great but they were cleaned everyday with fresh towles. No the problem was Ochio its self. We were hassled & hussled 24 hours a day. You were not safe anywhere. O.K. my husband has dreadlocks & was continually called rastaman or Bob Marley - very original, but the problems we had were shared by other people. We were quite simply hussled from the moment we arrived to the last minute. As soon as you arrive on the beach you are approached to book trips with a guy called Peter, dont book them. I would suggest you take a pen & paper & write the prices down & tell him you will get back to him. Apparently he does two trips at a discount but each one costed approx. 50 dollars each & certainly were not worth it. There is a guy called Buffalo Bill on the beach who will take you to various places & his rates are best or even a guy called Charlie who takes his time to approach you. Dont be fooled by the line 'you must book now so the boat can be booked' Just say no, although I really dont think the word 'no' is in the Jamaican language. Believe me we are quite chilled out but the hustling just never stopped. Ochio is teeming with taxi's & yet we were approched literally every few yards for a taxi - as though we were completely blind & couldnt actually see one!!! Oh and every few yards we were approached to buy weed & apparently each one was the best in Jamaica. In some cases we were just asked outright for money. It just never stopped. The only time we got peace was at Evitas restaurant & the Falls restaurant - both walking distance although a little expensive for what you get. We understand that Jamaicans dont get social security & have to make there money somehow but Tourism is apprently the number one income for the country. If tourists continue to be hassled in this way visitors will soon stop going. We were looking forward to a chilled honeymoon spending quality time together, but people had no problem approaching us & just staying there. 'Why didnt you just say no thank you' I hear you say? We actually tried every approach believe me & non worked. If I can save just one person from this nightmare than Ive done my job.
Loved it, will go back
Working for the airlines,I travel to many places,so when I read the reviews,I was a little hesitate about staying here....but I guess the people who gave this 2 or 3 stars are used to the ritz!!!!I went with my 3 kids ages 11,10,and 8 and my 74 yr old mom and my 21 yr old niece ..my only regret is that I wish that I took my 6 yr old daughter,she would have loved it as much as here brothers did....The food,drinks,pool and beach were great...OH and we cant forget the dunns river falls. My kids would stay up until 11:00 playing volley ball in the pool...Yes it is true when you go to the market, you get hagged by the jamaica people and always wanting to braid my hair,but after going to brasil,and 5 yr old kids begging for your scraps of food in a bowl that was so disgusted,hagged to have my hair braided is the lease of my worries,and they will haggle you,I asked a jamacan where is the craft market...wrong thing to ask!After showing me, he actually wanted a tip,I said "are you kidding me,in the states I would have wrote it down you,and you want a tip buddy,I dont think so"...you just have to be stern with them and when they say one price say no way,I can get it cheaper over there,you will be able to get your price(in reason)......Well I will be booking for next year and this time,my daughter will be coming along....HOLLIE
This hotel was nice and friendly, it had a family feel about it. We did have a problem with no hot water for ome of the time but our oom was changed and our request for a matching type room was met as oon as was able. The hotel food was nothing to write home about and to be honest it was hard to find any really nice food in the entire area, except Margaritaville which also had a hot tub, swimming pool and slide. It was a great day out. 15 of us all arrived together and we were well taken care of and all our food arrived within minutes of each other.