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!
- 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