Above: the Sandals Ochi Beach Resort (All photos by CJ)
By Alexander Britell
OCHO RIOS — It’s the newest resort in Sandals’ ever-expanding Caribbean portfolio.
But it’s actually one of the brand’s original properties.
Sandals Resorts International officially debuted its Sandals Ochi Beach Resort this weekend, a relaunching and rebranding of the former Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort in Jamaica.
Above: the new Ochi Beach Club
At the forefront of the multimillion-dollar renovation project is the new Ochi Beach Club, a beach lounge that is a new kind of beach experience for the company.
Above: the DJ booth at the Ochi Beach Club
The club is a transformation of one of the Grande Riviera’s beaches into what the company calls a “dynamic beach experience,” and it’s just that, an always-hopping beach lounge that turns into a sand-floored nightclub when the sun goes down.
That means that while it has all the elements one expects from a Sandals: the service, the seemingly infinite inclusions, it’s a new kind of property for the company, with an extra layer of energy.
The rebranding project included a renovation of every room at the property, which is comprised of a beach component and a hillside villa component; the company also added seven new restaurants, an outdoor movie theater and even, in a first for the company: a speakeasy bar.
The latter is perhaps the most innovative concept at the resort — a thoroughly well-executed speakeasy straight out of the 1920s, replete with an impressive selection of high-end spirits and even a password required to enter.
Above: a pool at a Butler Suite
“Sandals Ochi Beach Resort is a game changer for the all-inclusive resort experience in Jamaica,” said Sandals Resorts International Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart. “With this re-launch, we’ve not only enhanced the resort, but did so with a reimagined guest experience in mind solidifying Sandals Ochi as Jamaica’s most comprehensive resort in the region.”
The new culinary options include a jerk shack, a soul-food-style eatery called Southern Table and a seafood restaurant called Sky, among others.
Above: the Sky restaurant
The revamped accommodations also include an “all-butler village,” highlighted by “Love Nest Dream” suites including private plunge pools and hot tubs.
Above: a private pool and hot tub at a Love Nest Dream suite
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Stewart said that while Sandals was the largest private employer in the Caribbean, and was continuing its expansion push in the region, its Jamaica roots were essential to the brand.
“Sandals started in Jamaica and all roads lead back to Jamaica,” Stewart said.