I recently returned to Beaches Ocho Rios for the third time, my last two trips here were 21 years and 10 years ago respectively. Even 21 years ago when it was under different management, this was a resort made for family fun. The initial work done when Sandals took this property over 11 years ago, combined with the recent $30 million renovation, have further enhanced this resort’s reputation as a leading family vacation spot in the Caribbean.
When seen from the water, the building’s whitewashed walls and blue trim look like the resort should be on a Greek island in the Med. Built into a hillside, the resort offers great ocean views from many of the rooms on the hill, as well as rooms at beach level that walk out onto the sand. The resort’s horseshoe shape, with buildings running right down to the water on both sides, create a contained environment that will have parents feeling comfortable letting their kids roam on their own.
A Nirvana for Kids
And speaking of kids, they will love the amenities this resort offers. Pirates Island Waterpark has a lazy river, multiple pools and waterslides, a zero entry shallow pool for younger kids, a water crawl cargo aqua play area and plenty of deck space for parents. The Xbox garage is always a popular spot with a plethora of the latest games, though it has moved from its original location near the pool to a spot near the kids club. Younger kids will love the opportunities to interact with Sesame Street characters and older kids will enjoy playing unlimited golf with their friends or parents, greens fees included of course. Note that mandatory cart and caddies are extra.
Other inclusive sporting amenities include: lighted tennis courts and an abundance of water sports including scuba diving lessons and 2 daily dives.
It’s all about the Food
One of the benefits of staying at an all-inclusive are the dining and bar options, and Beaches prides itself on the variety and quality of its eateries. All of the resort’s five dining venues have been updated and expanded, including the addition of new bars and al fresco dining areas overlooking the resort.
Bayside is the resort’s primary restaurant, located in the center of the resort. It is open air, buffet style and serves 3 meals a day. The BBQ Park is located near the pool area and offers a variety of barbecued foods including jerk chicken. Also popular here is the self serve ice cream, pizza and popcorn. Fine dining options include: Neptunes, an ocean front seafood restaurant, Venetian, offering Italian cuisine and Eleanor’s, specializing in fine Caribbean dining. Private candlelit dinners are also offered at an additional charge.
Get out and Explore
Island Routes’ excursion desk offers a variety of optional tours, and the resort’s location in close proximity to Ocho Rios lends itself perfectly for a trip to Dunn’s River Falls or a trip to Mystic Mountain with its zip lines, chairlift and bobsled roller coaster. Other popular family excursions include horseback rides, swimming with dolphins and catamaran sailings.
The Beaches experience begins the minute your clients land and check in at the Sandals/Beaches lounge. Free flowing Redstripe and soda will get the family ready for the ride to the resort - about 2 hours. Bus transfers are complimentary and optional private transfers with free wifi are also available.
However your clients choose to arrive, they can be assured of fun filled family vacation and one which they won’t want to end, as I witnessed when at our departure, several teen age girls were in the arms of the teen area staff members, crying at the prospect of leaving. A true tribute to this resort and the quality of its staff.
For more information go to www.beaches.com or call 1-888-BEACHES.