With the endless food selections, colorful cocktails flowing and the luxury of locking up your wallet for a week, what’s not to love about an all-inclusive resort? It is a perfect travel vacay for someone that doesn’t want to overthink lengthy itineraries, worry about booking reservations or whipping out a credit card for every little thing.
In other words, for someone who wants an easy, yet fun, travel experience.
Just about eighteen years ago, Peter and I traveled to the all-inclusive Sandals Montego Bay for our honeymoon. Being that it was one of the first out-of-the-country trips we ever took, being on a resort vacation not only felt safe, but was super easy to plan too. Now, with a bunch more countries under my belt and a travel blog, we would be returning to Jamaica to celebrate the grand (re)opening of the newly renovated Sandals Ochi in Ochos Rios.
A four night all-inclusive party. Score.
We arrived at the airport and were welcomed into the Sandals Lounge for a local Red Stripe beer while we waited for our transfer. Though Sandals has other locations in Jamaica closer to the airport, this particular resort would be an hour and forty-five minute drive.
When we arrived, we quickly learned that the resort had three sections, each featuring different restaurants and entertainment.
Three times the pleasure. Bonus.
The HOP, a complimentary bus, came around every few minutes to pickup and drop off guests between each location.
We would not be going hungry at this all-inclusive resort, because they had over a dozen eateries to choose from. My plan was to eat at every one of them. Four days to eat at sixteen restaurants, 4 a day. Totally doable.
The first meal was at The Jerk, a restaurant with Caribbean flair, where we indulged on tender jerk pork, potatoes and corn bread. A lively group of musicians played their “drums” in front of a bus the entire time.
Other dinners included Dragon Eel rolls at Soy, conch fritters at the Reef Terrace and a flaming hibachi show at Kimono.
Breakfasts were buffet-style, though we alternated the location for more variety. Once was at Vista Gourmet overlooking the ocean, while another was at their Southern Table restaurant that gave you a glimpse of their large pool. Lunch was sometimes pizza or more jerk chicken, occasionally both.
In the end we only made it to half of the sixteen. Not for lack of effort.
The Pool & Ocean
There are a whopping 105 pools at Sandals Ochi, of course this number includes the public and private ones. But, either way, you will never be deprived of some type of water to jump into.
Why else did you come to a oceanside resort in Jamaica?
The main pool is where we spent most of our time, mostly because it’s where a majority of the action was and the busy swim-up bar. On any given afternoon there could be a couples scavenger hunt in progress or an intense game of bingo.
The ocean sets the perfect scene for paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling or simply lounging on a floating ring. Or opt for an afternoon catamaran tour with Island Routes where you will learn how to dance The Butterfly.
The beauty about the “all-inclusive” part to this resort is that cocktails were included in the inclusive. Bob Marleys and Jamaican Smiles were flowing in abundance at Sandals Ochi. There was no drink menu, people just knew what these concoctions were or ogled one at another table and just pointed to indicate “I want one of those.”
My sister in law who is a diehard Sandals Resort fan, told me to order a Jamacan Smile for her, a mix of strawberry daiquiri, piña colada and Jamaican rum cream.
That can’t suck. And it didn’t.
Plus Sandals had a decent red wine. While eating at Soy I had a glass (or two) of Mondavi Shiraz. A little piece of home in Jamaica.
One evening we got privy to the secret password, Gumshoe, to enter the Rabbit Hole Speakeasy. I had been to another secret speakeasy in Savannah, which was amazing. I was eager to see how this would compare.
In this exclusive swanky lounge mixologists created unique cocktails to suit every palate.
Though the endless parties, food and watersport fun was incredible, my favorite night was catching this sunset with my husband. I can check that one off our Couples Bucket List.
Doesn’t get much more romantic than that.
The actual grand opening party of Sandals Ochi was held on our last night around the main pool. Silver chairs were set all in a row and a dozen catering tents lined one side filled with gourmet dinner options.
This was the place to be in Jamaica tonight.
We were in attendance with Shaggy, the Prime Minister and even former Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock, along with her husband Chris (who are both even more stunning looking in person, if that is even possible).
The grand finale was a bring-down-the-house performance by reggae singer, Shaggy that left everyone singing “It wasn’t me” for days to come.