There’s something very special about Sandals Grande Riviera in Jamaica. Even after spending a blissful seven nights there, I couldn’t quite work out what it was.
Maybe it’s the fact the property is breathtakingly beautiful, the butlers were attentive yet relaxed, or simply this was the last stop on our mammoth four-month journey.
Whatever it was, we finished with a spectacular finale. We couldn’t have asked for any more during our stay at Sandals Grande Riviera.
When we arrived at Montego Bay Airport we were tired, and despite the beautiful scenery, just wanted to go to bed. But first we had to take a two-hour taxi ride to the resort through the lush, green Jamaican landscape, peppered with small towns and villages.
Arriving at the Sandals resort we were greeted with smiles from all we met. The staff seemed so genuinely pleased at our arrival, that we instantly dismissed our British stiff upper lip. We greeted them in return with affection, giving our butlers Simone and Nadia, big hugs. We learnt quickly that affection and big grins are a huge part of the Jamaican experience.
Our room at Sandals Grande Riviera was lovely. Comprising a small lounge, balcony, compact kitchenette (stocked with plenty of alcoholic beverages, this is an all-inclusive resort after all) and a reasonably sized bedroom and bathroom.
On the first evening, our butler Nardia helpfully organised reservations for us at one of the hotel’s 15 restaurants.
Our initial impression of Sandals Grande Riviera was that it was a place where dreams are made – that is, if your dream is to be taken care of.
Service at Sandals Grande Riviera
During our 4xfour adventure, we’ve been lucky enough to stay in the most wonderful hotels and resorts. Including award-winning hotels in South Africa, luxurious urban hotels in Asia and slept on board the Indian Pacific train in Australia, but we’ve never had butler service, like we did at Sandals.
The butler service was fantastic and highly recommend for couples looking to unwind and well, do nothing. Both Nardia and Simone couldn’t have done more to make our stay enjoyable. They provided us with mobile phones, which offered direct access to either of them 24 hours a day. It took us a few days to get used to the fact that at Sandals everything is catered for and you’re supposed to take advantage of having a butler on call.
It was always our intention to relax and unwind when we got to Sandals and this we did. Not too difficult with 101 pools spanning the 100-acre resort, with the mountains on one side and the sparkling Caribbean Sea on the other.
We stayed in the private, secluded Riviera Villas & Great House set on a hillside in the resort and chose to get the complimentary minibus service to the Riviera Seaside & Ochi Beach Club. I’d recommend this to those looking for a relaxing and quiet break.
The Beach Club was great with a party atmosphere, and regular day and night activities. We also enjoyed the beachfront lunch barbecue.
After spending a few days completely immersing ourselves in Jamaica’s laid back lifestyle, we decided to get out and see a few of the sights and activities on offer.
We enjoyed a Dolphin Cove experience where we swam with dolphins and other marine life, zip-lined through the rainforest canopy and experienced a true Jamaican sport – the Bobsled. Who can forget the famous 1993 movie Cool Running. The ride was exhilarating and speeds along stainless steel rails on a 1,000 metre thrill-ride through the forest.
I had envisaged just sitting on a beach or by the pool while in Jamaica, but soon discovered if you’re an adventure seeker or adrenaline junkie, then it’s the place for you.
Our stay at the Sandals Grande Riviera Resort exceeded all expectations. The resort was beautiful, the rooms lovely, and the dining beyond compare. Yet, it was the staff that I will remember most, they were always happy and always ready to greet you with that unforgettable Jamaican smile.
A most fabulous end to a fabulous four months and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sandals for making a dream come true.
All trips were organised through Sandals and their tour operator associate Island Routes .