Sandals Ochi Rios

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Apr 11, 2018
My husband and I vacationed at Sandals Ochi Beach from 28th January 2018 to 4th February 2018. We booked a butler suite to help with co-coordinating dietary requirements.
(Apologies for the length of the post, I did experience on-going issues and I wanted to try and capture the relenting nature of it).

Before travelling I sent my preferences as I am a vegan and my husband is a vegetarian. We stayed at this resort in 2017 and did not experience many difficulties with food, just a few things requested before travel was not available. I was not contacted to advise any of my requests could not be met.
Throughout the vacation I experienced issues having my dietary needs fully met and to a ‘luxury included’ standard. My husband would also often be given the same meal as myself despite being able to eat a much wider range of food than myself and repeatedly saying he would order from the menu.

On Sunday 28th Jan 2018 (evening arrival at resort)
Possibly given a non-vegan dessert (see Thursday).
Monday 29th (Beach Party)
Requested we would eat what the chef could make us, inc dessert – received a stew and nothing else (there was a massive buffet for other guests). My husband received the same. Last year we were walked around the buffet and shown what we could eat with an offer to make another dish if required.
Tuesday 30th (welcome back/loyalty party)
During the day, we tried to book a return vacation to Beaches Turks and Cacios for our whole family, including grandchildren, however the UK portal was ‘down’ so we were unable to do this (Booking on resort gives a 12% discount).
Husband given same meal as myself again
Dessert; requested a vegan tiramisu or coffee cake if this was not possible – both myself and husband received a very dry bread pudding with no sauce or ice cream (dairy free) despite being advised this was available earlier in the vacation.
Wednesday 31st
Prior to going to dinner, we tried again to book a return vacation to Beaches Turks and Cacios. They had a special offer of a $100 spa voucher if booked on this day, however the UK portal closes before the US booking portal (not advertised anywhere). We were advised they would honor this offer if we booked the next day.

Dessert; a vegan version of the crispy banana wrap with vegan ice cream – when this arrived it looked the same as other guests who had ordered this dish. I waited approx 5 minutes until I could speak to a waiter, I asked him to check it was vegan and when he returned he brought the dish back and said ‘it’s only suitable for him’ referring to my husband. I replied, ‘well it’s just as well I didn’t eat it then’. The waiter walked away with the dish; he did not apologise and no replacement was offered.
The chocolate party was also hosted this evening – no arrangements were made for myself and we missed the what was left of the party after dinner waiting for the butler to arrive and to discuss the above issue as I was very upset about it.
Thursday 1st Feb (celebrating our anniversary)
In the morning I spoke to our butler (a different butler from the employee on shift the night before) about the difficulties I was having with desserts, including at lunchtime. I was then advised that the chef had stated they did not have ingredients on resort to make cakes (at this point I became concerned about the cake I had been given on Monday). I was obviously very upset about this, not least about the abysmal lack of communication and I expressed this to the butler. I then went on to make a complaint with the resort directly and spoke to the Director of Guest Services by telephone. This resulted in us waiting in or room for several hours for her to return calls while she liaised with chefs – at a later point she advised she could contact us on the butler phone so we could go out; we did go to the beach area, but waited in a quite lounge for a long period as I did not want to have a telephone conversation of this nature whilst out and about. She advised that she wanted to put things right and I asked about compensation (partial refund as I was not confident about coming back to Sandals - I have had issues on previous vacations) – the Director of Guest Services advised a partial cash refund would not be possible. She further stated she would discuss compensation with other managers and let me know before returning home on Sunday. I protested and stated I did not want to have my last day ruined by discussing all the problems we had experienced. I was contacted again by the Director of Guest Services later that day to advise there was nothing she could do about the dessert situation; I could have a choice of two cakes – a flourless chocolate cake or a red velvet cake. I expressed my anger and disappointment at the level of service I was receiving and stated that other guests would find it unacceptable to be told they had a choice of two desserts for a whole week and this was not 5 star luxury service. I went on to state I paid the same as other guests but received a lesser service.
There was another series of conversations, during these conversations we discussed further the dessert situation. We discussed the cheesecake I had requested and that it was not possible as they could not source vegan cream cheese. I advised that it could be made with tofu and there were plenty of recipes online. After several calls I was advised someone was going to be sent to a local shop to source the ingredients for the base. I must express that I resent having to take time out of my vacation to explain how my dessert should be made whilst staying at a luxury resort with dedicated pastry / dessert chefs.
I decided not to book my return vacation until I had gained a response to the compensation offer.
Dessert; Requested a vegan version of the Mille Feuilles aux Bananes Caramélisées. Advised by chef he only had 20 minutes notice of requirements – given (another) red velvet cake with dairy-free ice cream (very different from 1st version)
Friday 2nd
During the day I received a call from the Director of Guest Services advising of an offer for two free nights, the replacement of the spa voucher we lost by being unable to book the vacation earlier in the week and an offer to liaise with Turks and Caicos regarding catering and to request a complimentary room upgrade if available – paperwork would be available to sign on Sunday and that she would meet with us before we went home. I was also assured that nothing further would go wrong with our vacation and that she would do something special for us the next day (nothing special was done for us). I advised her we would get back to her regarding this offer.
Meals - no concerns
Saturday 3rd (Eat in room as my husband unwell)
Main; vegan penne alfredo for myself and regular version for my husband – my husband found x3 pieces of chicken on his dish. This should have been a vegetarian dish from the menu - there are no other dishes like this on the menu as most food from this restaurant were cooked on a grill. We were deeply upset by this; my husband therefore did not have an evening meal and I immediately stopped eating my main course as I had lost faith in the integrity of the food. We strongly felt that this could not have been a mistake and was a malicious act.
I sent an email following the above chicken incident to the Director of Guest Services to express my dismay and advised I would not accept the offer of two nights’ compensation.
On Saturday we were supposed to be given check-out details and the time our coach would be departing the next day – this did not happen.
Sunday 4th February (last day)
In the afternoon we were informed by our Butler that we were to be met with at 2.30pm by a representative (an employee under the Director of Guest Services – the Director did not meet with us nor answer my email about the chicken incident); our bus was due to depart at 3pm (actually started loading passengers at 2.50pm). The offer made by the representative was the same as the offer above. I expressed concerns that the offer was exactly the same as previously despite the resort not being able to stick to the Director of Guest Services word that no further issues would occur, let alone such a serious and distressing incident. I have to express how upsetting it is to have this as your last memory of a luxury vacation. We should have been sitting in the sun with a drink in our hand not discussing all the problems we had encountered during our vacation. I think it is entirely possible that it was left to the last minute as it would give us little time to negotiate. The representative did verbally agree to up the offer to 3 free nights’ compensation, in addition to all that the Director of Guest Services had offered, but I rejected this offer.

In addition to the above food issues, I did request a cake or chocolate brownie to be made available for lunch as all buffet restaurants have numerous desserts, but none are suitable for myself – unfortunately this never happened.
I requested vegan Ice cream, which the head chef informed me was available on resort and just to request it when I wanted some; unfortunately I was never able to source this on request and only received twice when served with dessert.
Due to the level of reward status we have accrued through vacationing with Beaches/Sandals, we qualified for ‘in room delights’ on this trip; our vegan/vegetarian version of this consisted of two bags of crisps. I don’t know what other guests receive, but I suspect it is not this.

I would like to point out that having to complain whilst at a restaurant or at any time during the vacation is an uncomfortable thing to do and it made me feel as if I was a burden to ask for my dietary requirements to be met, despite Sandals saying they can cater for special diets. I know dessert can be classed as quite a trivial thing, but it is the little luxuries that you look forward to in a vacation. The quality of our vacation was greatly diminished by all the above issues; nearly every day there was an issue or I had to discuss/deal with the on-going issues and we feel the vacation fell well below the standard of care and service a resort like Sandals should provide.
In general I am very unhappy with the way my concerns have been handled; I raised concerns at the resort and for many weeks afterwards – on one occasion it took 10 days for the Director of Guest Services to reply to me, she also advised I could not take my complaint any higher than herself. It is unfair to prolong this issue, further adding to my distress and adding to the time I have invested in trying to get this issue resolved.

With regard to the level of compensation I am requesting, I have looked at answers you have given on your website and I think a ‘do over’ – full 7 night compensation is appropriate? I also would like to strongly advocate that I do not miss out on the comeback offer available to returning guests of 12% off a future booking with Beaches/ Sandals. I am aware that this is only available whilst on resort, but I hope you agree it was impossible to book a return trip, not least because I was unable through no fault of my own on two occasions, but also because negotiations for compensation were carried out in the last 30 minutes of our vacation (actually 20 minutes as the bus started loading early). We are not a rich family and save very hard to pay for our vacations. I don’t think it is right or fair that if you have a problem-free vacation you can take advantage of this offer, but for myself who has not enjoyed a care-free vacation, my family should miss out on the earned discount of a ‘valued customer’. This discount makes a huge different to us affording the vacation to Turks and Caicos that we had planned and I feel it is a separate issue to the compensation, which is solely for the problems we encountered, it should not preclude us accessing this offer available to all returning guests.
In addition to the above, the other conditions the Director of Guest Services offered should stand; a senior member of staff liaising with Turks and Caicos to ensure there is not a repeat problem with catering and a complimentary upgrade if available. I do feel the Spa voucher should be honored, but I would not press this point.

Any help you can give would be greatly received and opinions regarding what level of compensation is appropriate.

Kind regards, Magenta

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
You might be able to squeeze a third night out of them but from experience- they will never give you a free stay. You still had use of the rest of the property and the inclusions. I have had clients that had far worse stories then this - how about the resort starting to close a week early before a planned renovation and half the resort and restaurants not available to them? I was able to get a third free night but no way a free week. And we’ve never seen a cash refund.

When you also ask for something unreasonable they tend to not listen either so I really would tone down what are asking for.

Did you use the app while there to make them aware of all the service issues? Guests that use that tend to have better outcomes at the property.

Here are the company contacts for Sandals:

Click on the company contacts tab above and read the information on how to use the contacts and start writing but be reasonable. You need to cut that letter down to a page and a half and most and only state facts. Using a bulletin format helps.

Let us know how you make out.
Sep 19, 2015
Two free nights is appropriate; a full seven nights is too much. I am a vegetarian who hates certain things like tofu, so I am a picky eater while having dietary restrictions.

Certainly it is not good to find chicken in a vegetarian dish, and the banana dessert issue is uncertain. There may be difficulties getting a lot of vegan supplies in Jamaica as I suspect there is not a large amount of demand for them.

Many years ago I went to a restaurant in New Orleans and said I was a vegetarian -- they offered a dish of escargots...... sigh
Likes: Neil Maley
Apr 11, 2018
Hi Carry and Neil, it was an old post on here that mentioned a 'do over' holiday so was wondering if that's possible given every day of my holiday was marred by food issues. Not looking likely.
Thanks for the advice, I've taken it on board and submitted a shortened complaint to the general manager asking for an additional day than the original offer. I'll post how I get on.


Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
From my perspective, if it was so awful, why would you even want to go back let alone stay an extra day? It would seem like you could find another vacation much better suited to your needs.
In that regard, I would deem your request as just trying to get some extra days out of them.
‘The quality of our vacation was greatly diminished by all the above issues...’
I’m sorry if this is too blunt for you, but I would like to hear from you why you want to repeat such a dismal experience.
I’m not trying to be argumentative or dismiss you, I’m just confused. Is there a reason you could expect another week to be any different from your previous week?

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Mmb makes some good points. The food situation is not going to change. There are actually other all inclusive resorts that work much better as far as food when you are on a strict regimen or have allergies.

However- I have never in 16 years see anyone who received any type of refund if they wer not happy. So you might only get another day but you will not have a different experience with the food.
Likes: Lesliehyde