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“Great staff, average beach, decent food - highlight was outing to Negril!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Montego Bay

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Hotel Riu Montego Bay
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Mahoe Bay - Ironshore P.O | Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #25 of 63 hotels in Montego Bay
Montreal, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Great staff, average beach, decent food - highlight was outing to Negril!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2009

This was our second trip to Jamaica, the first was a trip to the Riu Ocho Rios in November 2006 and I would say that the two hotels are very similar - the main difference in our experience this time was that the weather cooperated! We had a beautiful week (March 28 - April 4) this time compared to having experienced 2.5 days of rain last time in Ocho Rios. So, given that we go to the Caribbean to escape our Canadian weather, I'd have to say that this week we definitely had a harder time accepting it was time to go home.

Here is a glimpse of the highlights/lowlights you can expect to experience at the Riu Montego Bay:

Staff (rating 5/5):
For us, the staff at the resort were exceptional. Enthusiastic, funny, entertaining - they were a highlight. The little "improv humor" that's done before the morning beach aerobic's had us in stitches... the pre-shows that we saw were hilarious and the steel band pre show on Thursday was outstanding. The room was always cleaned well and the fridge is re-filled every 2nd day (although we went 3 days at the beginning prior to it getting refilled). The cooks are singing and quick to smile even though it's hot hot hot. Waiters/waitresses always aiming to please and most greeted us with genuine smiles (this scores brownie points for me because it really makes a difference).

Food (Rating 3.5/5)
We found the breakfasts and lunches were good. The dinner buffets had certain issues, for example, overcooked meats (dry/tough/chewy) and lacked variety/selections - however, nothing that would make you go hungry. Just nothing to rave about. The jerk chicken on the beach is a highlight at lunch and the lunch buffet by the beach always had good variety to complement the jerk chicken. The A la Carte restaurants were good. The Steakhouse was buffet other than the main course - we had the steak (which was a thin piece but decent) and the fish/seafood brochette which was good. Both plates came with corn on the cob that we think was seasoned with cinnamon and possibly sugar and was some of the best corn we've ever had. The Asian restaurant was all buffet. It was decent - the spring rolls here were a highlight, however, we again experienced some uncheweable pork here. The Italian restaurant was buffet other than the main course also. Here the calamari was a definite hit (so fresh, perfectly cooked). We had the seafood risotto which was good and the pork tenderloin which was also good. To sum up the food situation - lower your expectations to that of a 4 star and you will be satisfied.

Beach/Pool (rating 3/5)
There is only one pool at this resort but it is a large pool and doesn't seem cramped (although if the resort was full it could definitely become a problem). The pool area where the bar is definitely gets rowdy and probably isn't the best place for children. But there are plenty of other pool areas for families to enjoy. The beach - well it wasn't as bad as I had expected (given I had read some pretty horrible reviews of it on the forums/reviews) however, I could see that if you hadn't done your research you could easily be dissapointed. The sand has a lot of rocks in it (even in the volleyball court area) and the only turquoise water is the first 12 feet when you enter the water. After that, you will probably not want to touch the bottom and just enjoy floating or swimming! Given that we had low expectations we were ok.

Excursion - Negril Sunset(Rating 5/5)
What to say other than this excursion has wet our appetite for our next vacation and it will be hard to choose anything other than a hotel in Negril. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at those miles of powder white sand and turquoise water that was so clear for I'd guess 150 feet. I am going to have to do research on why this beach is this way and why other beaches can't be the same. It's insane. I've never seen anything like it and I think we're hooked! It's gonna cost us!!! We went to Rick's Cafe which was cool - but unfortunately clouds moved in so we never got to see the sunset - but my boyfriend assures me that we will see the negril sunset soon... I'm writing this to hold him to it!

We are already experiencing withdrawal and have found the return to Canada harder than usual but we will try to take a piece of Jamaica into our daily lives and apply their "no problem man" attitude as much as we can.

Until the next time... ya mon!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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toronto
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2009

We were at Riu for one week starting March 27, 2009. I am shocked that any of these reviews had negative comments. Maybe when the hotel was very new (last Sept/Oct) they were still experiencing some issues, because I certainly had no issues in March. The hotel and vacation was absolutely amazing. The hotel and rooms are spotless, the gardens are beautiful, and the hotel is constantly being cleaned. The entire resort was spotless. Pool was amazing. I have never seen such a beautiful one. And ample lounge chairs. You can always find a few empty ones, any time of day. And yes, Montego Bay beaches can not really compare to Negril, however, the beach was very clean, the water was a beautiful turquoise. Yes, there was some seaweed 15 ft out of beach, but it was still beautiful. And the bus ride was 10 minutes instead of one or two hours. With small children, the shorter bus ride was worth having a little seaweed. And some reviews complain about the food? If you want 5 star restaurant quality food, go to a large city and go to a high end restaurant. Don't go to a buffet that is catering to hundreds of people. You can't expect it to be the same quality. That being said, the food was the best we have ever had in the Caribbean. Lots of selection, including healthy options. And lots of options for children. There is food 24 hours a day. If you can't find something you like, there is something wrong with you. Excellent choices and very good food. You can not beat the Jerk Chicken being grilled on the beach. I also heard reviews that complained about the service - honestly can not understand it. Everyone employed at the hotel was professional, courteous, and friendly. If you have to occasionally wait a minute or 2 for your waiter to bring you a drink, I don't consider that an issue. I had no meetings to get to. Relax! Entertainment was also very good. They had programs for children all day and each night at 7:30pm. Then an adult show at 9:30pm. The entertainment staff seemed to work around the clock and still had time to rehearse for the shows at night. Entertainment staff included some very well trained dancers and the quality of the shows was excellent for this type of resort. My 2 children ages 3 and 5 had the best time of their lives, and so did my husband and I. And yes, drink cups are small. But it is so hot there that drinks are hot within 2 minutes, so you are better off with smaller drinks and going back to refill. The wait for drinks was not nearly as bad as some people say in their reviews. One minute wait at a maximum. Chill people. You are on vacation. Agree with another review I read, "leave your grumpy pants at home" and you will be fine. I have never had a better vacation. They had everything for both adults and children. Food was great. Entertainment was great. Resort was great. So clean you could probably lick the floors and not get sick from it! We don't usually like to go to the same place more than one time when we travel, but in this case we may make an exception. I don't think we could have had a better vacation. We will probably break our rule and go back there next year.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brampton
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2009

My husband, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and my self travelled to Jamaica staying at the RIU Montego Bay. This is the 11th time for my husband and myself and the 1st time for my mother and sister-in-law. We had a fabulous time in Jamaica and at the RIU Montego Bay. I can't believe the reviews and complaints some people have. The food at the buffet was great. You have a choice of basically every breakfast meal imaginable at the buffet every morning. Lunch and dinner buffets were also great! We didn't even find a need to go to the a la carte restaurants as the buffets were more than adequate and this way you can go to dinner at no desgnated time. Our rooms were clean and well stocked every day (pop, alcohol and towels). The resort itself is nice and clean also. The people working on the resort are amazing! You get more flies with honey than vinegar. Tip the bartendars and you'll never have to wait in line! Beach was nice, although there is some seaweed at the beginning, but definitely nice considering the beach was man made for the resort. Overall, the RIU Montego Bay will give you a bang for your buck. Looking forward to our next vacation to Jamaica!

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dayton ohio
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2009

Ok, I am not one to write a review. We travel fairly often and this is my first review, but I have to stick up for the hotel and their staff and let everyone know that this place was absolutely wonderful. First up, the hotel is breathtaking. Everything is so clean from the lobby to the restaurant and our room. I will say it is very humid and with running the air conditioner constantly in our room things like magazines and books seemed to feel damp. I would also recommend bringing your own small blanket. The blankets in the room smelled a little from the humidity. I just used the sheet and they were changed a couple of times through the week and were very clean. Also the pillows were very nice, not hard like I had read. The only complaint I really have is that the "King" size bed is really two doubles pushed together. They are made up separately and then pushed together. I would of definatly preferred a real king size bed but because of that you basically have a bed to yourself! The bar was stocked every other day but we ran out one day and simply called the front desk and when we returned back to our room it was stocked again. They fill it with diet/reg coke, orange soda, water, red stripe and tonic water. Many times I would just take my soda from my room to dinner. You absolutely MUST take your own cups. We read this but forgot. I spent $9 on mine from the gift shop. Whether you are at the bar or dinner they are all very small glasses. I had to get up to refill 2-3 times at dinner. I would recommend one with a lid and straw or something that would close.
The bathrooms are spacious and clean and they give ample towels every day. We had more than needed. Our kids loved coming into the room each day to see what the maid left for us on the bed. They would design some type of sea creature or animal out of towels and fresh flowers. The maid was wonderful and we left a tip for her during the week. I feel they go above and beyond in every way.
The pool area was very clean. People seem to go very early and save lounge chairs. I would recommend saving your chair before breakfast. There are always plenty on the beach but it gets hard to find them together by the pool after 9 am.
As far as the food goes I would say it's pretty good. I am very picky but I had plenty to eat. Breakfast is awesome and if you read any complaints about breakfast they just can't be pleased. I would say don't wait too late because then things are picked over a little. The breakfast bar has pretty much anything you can think of. Lunch had some different things every day but always the same constants like pizza and fries which I think our kids ate their weight. Some days I loved it, some days it was just okay, but I never went hungry. The chicken on the beach is very very good though and you could eat that everyday if you preferred. Dinner was always different too. If you don't like one of the reservations restaurants you can always just go to main buffet and find something you like. I did that the day of our Asian restaurant. I took our kids and headed over to the main dining room when I realized that if I didn't like sushi I wasn't going to like that place. My husband was in sushi heaven though! The steak house is by far the best and I would recommend the ribs as your main dish. I ordered the sirloin and my son ordered the ribs and they were by far the best at the table. I ordered the prawns at the Italian restaurant and it was good but I could of eaten three of those dishes. There just wasn't a whole lot of it. There is always a place to go eat though. We even made a late night run to the Italian restaurant at about 1 am. That is where they have the evening food bar. I have been to other resorts like this and the food here is very good in comparison. Everyone can find something they like because there are so many choices.
Our kids were traveling with us and we put them in the kids club occasionally depending on the activities. I have nothing negative to say about that either. Roxie was great and did many different types of activities with our kids from tye dying t-shirts, making bracelets, feeding fish in the ocean, and my son's favorite play station! There is no cost except for buying the t-shirt for tye dying and they were open all day except closed during a lunch break. It gave them a break and us parents a much needed break too.
The entertainment was so good I couldn't stop saying enough about them. They go out of their way to make sure you are having a good time. They have wonderful dancers and really made us laugh. My five year old looked forward to the entertainment nightly. You know they are entertaining when a five yr old swims in the sun all day with no nap and can sit until 11pm and watch a show without falling asleep! They work long days there and still give it their all nightly.
We went into the Hip Strip once for shopping. I would recommend to shop around before buying. You can buy up to 9 t-shirts for $20 so don't go less! Also go off grounds for a cab ride. Just walk across the street. We paid 15 each way for a group of 8. The hotel charged way more. Make sure you negotiate everything off grounds whether it be taxi's or goods. Just go in with a number you want to spend and don't budge. They will usually meet it.
Overall, I will say this trip was wonderful and perfect. I can't say enough about the hospitality of the Jamaican people. They make you feel so welcomed on and off the resort. The staff at Riu were amazing and I would definatly recommend this resort to couples or families staying with their kids. So anyway, don't be scared about any of the bad reviews. You know some people just can't be pleased and they probably complain about everything. If you go with a great attitude and want to have a good time you will! I will definately be back!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MARYLAND
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2009

After reading some of the reviews I was a bit skeptical. Once you get there you realize that only a GRINCH could write something negative about this place. Upon your arrival- you are greeted with refreshing fruit drinks and warm hospitality. THE KEY TO A GOOD VACATION IS A GOOD ATTITUDE. LEAVE YOUR CRANKY PANTIES AT HOME and be prepared to embrace beautiful surroundings, good food and Jamaican hospitality. The entertainment crew gives 200%. Big up to Michael Jackson, Ebony and Hotdog. For some good fun-do yourself a favor and participate in the activities. Whether you choose to lie on beach listening to Bob Marley, kayak or play beach olympics you will have a memorable time at the RIU.
As far as the food goes- try the Jamaican dishes- Ackee, calaloo, rice & peas, escoveich fish, dumpling etc. You will not be disappointed.
The premises are immaculate. It feels like you are walking around a lilac paradise. The RIU is beautiful at every angle.
I read comments about the sheets but I always carry my own flat sheet on vacations. Just a habit.
RIU is great for families & couples and even solo guests. After going there with my family I know that I could go back by myself and have a great time.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ottawa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2009

I think that anyone bashing this place either had really bad luck or are just looking for something bad to say. Experience was unreal. Drinks were good, service was great, rooms were cleaned and stocked. Brand new gorgeous place. Went down with 4 friends (all guys) and had a great time. Met a lot of good people. Entertainment at night was kind of lame but I still sat on the patio and watched while I drank and interacted with other people. Beach is great with a lot of activities. I think the best part of the beach was playing volleyball because they really get you into it and make it fun. I highly recommend this place

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missouri
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2009

We got in on the Grand Opening prices, which made the Riu the best value we could find. All of the staff were so friendly and helpful and the entertainment staff was hilarious. There was so much food and drink that a person could founder if they weren't careful! LOL The Riu Montego Bay is absolutely the most relaxing place I have ever been, I didn't want to leave! We ventured into town a couple of times and people there are just as friendly. Word to the wise though, just because it is a poor country does NOT mean things are cheap! The hotel is about 2 miles (give or take) from the Hip Strip and it was $40 (US) for a round trip cab ride! Also, selling marijuana seems to be the prevalent career choice for Jamaicans, so don't be surprised if you have to decline it several hundreds of times while you are off of the resort (on the resort there is never any mention of it). They aren't pushy about it, once you say no, though. We had the time of our lives! I would recommend this resort to anyone!!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Montego Bay

Address: Mahoe Bay - Ironshore P.O | Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Spa Hotel in Montego Bay
#19 Top resorts Hotel in Montego Bay
#20 On the Beach Hotel in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Montego Bay 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Opening September 2008 * Located in Montego Bay, on Jamaica's northwest coast * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 2-story main building and 3-story and 4-story annexes * Surrounded by 40,000 m2 / 47,840 sq. yards of lush gardens * 4.5 km / 2.8 miles from Montego Bay * 350 m / 114.8 ft from various shops * 2,7 km / 1.7 miles from Montego Bay airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Montego Bay Resort
Riu Hotel Montego Bay

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