I've just returned from my latest trip to Jamaica - we stayed in the Sandcastles Resort in Ocho Rios and I want everyone to be aware of what is going on there...
My partner& I frequently rent apartments in Jamaica the island's unique character offers an endless list of treasures.. the world’s best coffee, world-class reefs, offbeat hiking&cycling, unforgettable sunsets, pristine waterfalls, fishing villages, endangered wildlife (e.g. manatees) & of course.. Home to the Legendary Bob Marley. Unfortunately, there are some parasites that ruin this paradise island & that is what you can expect to find at Sandcastles, Ocho Rios.
We were considering buying a studio apartment currently for sale & decided on renting a 2 bedroom penthouse apartment A31 during the process. However, the very first time we left the apartment (to get some groceries from the market around 10am) we returned to find our door wide open. It had a broken lock & was forced open all our possessions including laptop, camera, money, bank cards etc had been stolen. There were 5 employees when we left & 4 when we returned, when asked if they had seen anything, 1 maintenance man laughed at us & walked off, whilst the maid stated they had all only just arrived in the block.. despite us seeing her when we left!! Later that day we discovered only one maid was due to work on the block who's shift started at 12pm, the suspicion that we were being watched was pretty much confirmed.
When we notified the front desk & asked to speak to the manager, they weren’t surprised and we were told to go to security but they were simply not interested & the evening supervisor said that he did not want to get involved. As our vacation continued it transpired the day supervisor lied to the police, implying that I had made a false report of the events. This was soon cleared up but I was dumbfounded & left us feeling extremely uncomfortable & unsafe. We continued to witness on many occasions throughout our stay that the security gates were unmanned & people wondering into the resort - I have seeked legal representation and have photo evidence of it all.
Despite trying to contact the owner of the apartment several times when we did get through she would just shout & disbelieve what we were saying (I ended up putting the phone loud speaker whilst the De. Sergeant was stood next to me - he took the phone from me&she soon changed her tone) A local guy advised us to visit the Tourist Board down the road. This turned out to be an informative but fruitless trip - the officer there said that this happens on a regular basis at Sandcastle's & they refuse to renew Sandcastle's Tourist Accommodation Licence as they continually fail to adhere to security regulations. We were left in this apartment for the remainder of our trip (3 weeks) the lock remained broken (despite the owner promising to have one the next day as she couldn’t get hold immediately) & the maintenance manager would run to avoid us.. Feeling absolutely helpless with no money the owner refused to refund the money as she pays Sandcastles for security& maintenance & Sandcastles refused to move us. The management there (or should I say lack of) was ridiculous.. an elderly lady that did not have a clue what we were talking about happened to be the manager for Sandcastles (although paperwork stated she was an administrator we were told she was the top manager & there is no one above her), well after 2 weeks of complaining we saw her again & were greeted with ‘Oh, I didn’t think you were still here’ she still could not tell us who the owner of the resort is.
I do apologise for the lengthy review but I want everyone to be aware of what goes on at this place. Needless to say we shall not be purchasing an apartment at Sandcastles, but we are considering one of the safer 32 apartments at Chrisanns, which I look forward to next month. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS PUT YOU OFF VISITING JAMAICA One Love