Sandals Resorts

Sandals Resorts review: Sandals ochi

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November 6, 2023

Rebecca Hull & Brian Affolter - honeymoon - Sandals Ochi Property

Dates of Stay - October 21 - October 27, 2023

Question Reference # [protected]

To all this may concern,

It saddens me to write this letter regarding an unfortunate experience at a Sandals property, because my husband and I have only positive experiences and have risen to emerald status ([protected]). A travel agent recommended by a former Sandals corporate employee (Sandra Trapani) as the “gold standard” for Sandals booking was contacted for the honeymoon booking. Before their honeymoon they spoke to Donna Cassie (Cassie’s travels) and she raved about Ochi and the ‘bang for the buck.’ Since we have never been to this property we encouraged them to make their own decisions.

Wedding day is beautiful but stressful, and the bride and the groom are exhausted and looking forward to some quality rest and relaxation. They arrive at Sandals Ochi and while waiting for an iPad to check in they are offered a drink. They asked what was in it and the server did not know. Both the bride and the groom have food allergies and little was done to anticipate this besides butlers not offering some restaurant’s specialty drinks. Their butler introduced himself and escorted them to their room where they were asked if they were celebrating anything (a honeymoon packet was waiting on the dresser.) Tired and hungry they order room service and wait for their bags. The man who delivered their bags tried to sell them weed- the first of many staff to do this.

The butler village (Room 7442) is the furthest from the ocean you can possibly get. They have to take a golf cart to go anywhere from their room, and a bus to go to the beach side. In an effort to be transparent the travel agent told them to get a Butler suite but neglected to tell them where it was. They were told the butler can take them around in a golf cart which was interpreted as a luxury in lieu of a necessity. When the butlers got off at 8pm, they spent nearly an hour, two nights getting the bus then a jitney back to their room. They never would have accepted that room if she had been honest regarding location.

The room was tired (which she did explain to them) and they were willing to live with that. Housekeeping walked into their room unannounced not realizing they had checked in. Unnerving for a young couple. There was also a bag of Jamaican treats in their room which contained nuts- my daughter has a severe allergy. Their fridge and coffee was only re-stocked for the first two or three days as well. The room had many bugs in it that were coming in from the louver window in the bathroom (mosquitos and large flies.) My daughter is highly allergic to mosquito bites and I instructed her to hang a towel over the window. On the last day they found a disgusting bag of unknown substance in the closet. Proving that the housekeeping crew was not thorough (photo at the end). There was dust in the room, a sticky stain next to the bed with dust and hair stuck in it, and the bottom sheet under the mattress was covered in dust and assorted hair. One day they came back to a roll of trash bags on the sofa with a wet cleaning rag. On the last day they found a disgusting bag of unknown substance in the closet. Proving that the housekeeping crew was not thorough (photo at the end).

When the couple contacted the front desk in an effort to change their room they were met with nothing but brick walls and excuses. There was little to no effort to help remedy the situation. In fact the desk manager told them, “your travel agent is responsible, she only does this to get her free trips.” I asked if they could move them to Royal Plantation and they were told there were no rooms. I was on the app showing many open rooms as was my daughter however the butler manager said web availability is inaccurate. They were offered a transfer to Negril on Tuesday which meant they would lose a day changing resorts. When asked if there would be a price difference, they did not know. Donna (Cassie’s travel) was less than helpful and should probably not earn her Sandals’s commission.

Our daughter has experienced great vacations in her lifetime. At this point we have a very disappointed couple and each time they speak to someone in charge, they dismiss their concerns. They were afraid to continue complaining as they feared staff saw them as a problem. On the first day they made their way to the main pool area, the bar smells like vomit, flies everywhere, and the bathrooms near the pool do not flush. Their last day the pool was infested with bees. They found a frayed wire by the pool as well. Making that whole area unappealing. Butlers cannot save chairs at the pool or beach either which I guess is unique to this resort. The pool near their room was not lit at night and they asked for it to be fixed. It was not until the last night of their stay.

They learned their butler can bring them food from any side however if it comes from the opposing side, 24 hour notice is needed and to expect non-ideal temperature. Their first dinner, at Kimonos was described as OK. Monday they went to Kelly’s Dockside where service was incredibly slow with food that was under seasoned and underwhelming. They left with the other couple sharing a butler before dessert who also complained about slow service. Tuesday was Valentinos and they were very excited for this menu. Risotto was undercooked and the other two appetizers were clearly microwaved. They quickly noticed they could hear a microwave door slam then extremely hot plates came from behind a wall. They had pasta and clams and the pasta was a congealed cold ball. Steak was tough and well done. They described it as “putrid.” They informed the server they were leaving (and she did not seem surprised.) They went to get sushi which they enjoyed. Wednesday they went to the French restaurant and had a good meal. The French restaurant for breakfast came with a long wait for food and coffee cups sitting empty. The buffet was frequently out of items. Their ‘honeymoon breakfast’ came without cream for coffee, and missing syrup. They also mentioned the majority of fried food they ate tasted like it was made in the seafood fryer.

After much discussion the manager comped them a candlelight dinner. That was a special night, complete with comedy providing them with menus with another couple’s name. The candle was not turned on, bread was stale, and salad was not as expected. Their drinks sat empty until they asked for a refill or did it themselves- no different from every previous meal. This entree was the best food of the trip. The last night they went to the photo studio to purchase pictures taken from the night and when they asked for a list of packages and purchasing options they were told “we don’t have one.” The Sandals brand is suffering at this location.

Dive shop was “ probably” the highlight of the trip. The groom completed a resort course, daughter is PADI certified, and their first dive was spectacular. They wanted to go again and they signed up, showed up, only to be told it was canceled. They were told if the boat went out the following day they would get a call at 8am. They were called at 8:40am for a 9:30am dive. They scrambled to get over to the beach side in time but probably should not have gone. Many of the participants got violently sea sick because of the chop forcing a rescue boat to come out. My daughter is a trauma nurse, and the dive instructors had zero empathy saying “get him some ginger ale he will be ok.” Folks were lying on the dock and she went to the bar and asked the waitress for some burger buns (hoping to help the seasick patrons). The worker saw her request as insane and argued with her. She eventually got very stale buns -not shocked. Why was this deemed safe to go out in?

They enjoyed their massages their butler booked. They were told they could change to 90 min upon arrival if they wanted. My daughter told the masseuses they would like to do this, and they had to ask for approval. They were able to have the longer service however one of the massage therapists was noticeably sick and coughing the entire time - needing to leave the room at one point. Again laughable they were given a locker at the spa but told to take valuables as the locks are broken. They started to roll with what they termed “shenanigans” and I do believe the assigned butlers made this trip bearable. Again, they wanted to enjoy this themselves and if every issue was brought to the attention of staff, that would be all they did. With not being taken seriously and noticing palpable tension from staff, they chose to laugh off issues the rest of the trip.

So what is the moral to the story? We have referred hundreds of friends to Sandals properties. Our good friend Sandra Trapani once worked in corporate sales. We are loyal customers and we personally enjoy our vacations with Sandals. I suppose that is why I find the need to inform you that this Sandals vacation was a miserable fail. Would I love these two to get another vacation free of charge, of course I would. Would I love them to recoup some of the honeymoon funds spent, yes of course. Do I expect anything - honestly, no. Are 100% of Sandals guests happy 100% of the time, of course not I live in reality. However this was compounded by frustrations day by day, until it basically became a joke.

If you would like to speak to me or my daughter we would be happy to clarify any of the issues listed above. She completed the survey sent to her email as well.

Candace Hull - [protected] [protected]

Rebecca Hull Affolter - [protected] [protected]

Thank you for your time.

Candace Hull

Claimed loss: Honeymoon disaster

Desired outcome: Travel credit or reimbursement

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