My wife, infant (6-mo old) and I visited the Riu the week of Nov 12 - 19. Overall, I think the place deserves 4 stars, but I am trying to judge it on the viewpoint of EVERYONE, not just me. I'll clarify:
The only downfall of this resort is the food. The buffets are pretty brutal. The A LA CARTE RESTAURANTS (specifically gourmet & steakhouse) & JERK HUT are excellent. Actually, more like phenomenal.
EVERYTHING else on this resort is perfect:
1) The hotel is immaculate. Ask for a room near the lobby (i.e. via email, before you arrive) as the property is pretty big and this central location will be VERY convenient.
2) The bartenders are efficient. Very rarely did I have to stand in line more than 3 minutes for a refill. I understand I went in semi-down season, but these guys are pretty quick, and friendly. It helps if you tip (bring about 75 $1 bills for 1 week and you should be OK).
3) The staff cannot be more friendly and accomodating. We needed an iron - got one in minutes. We needed can openers (for baby stuff) - no problem. These people bend over backwards to keep you entertained and worry-free. The entertainment staff is 10/10.
4) The shows were decent. The reggae show was the best.
5) Beach was awesome. I really don't care if a beach is 7-miles, 50-miles, of 1 mile long. I need a clean piece of sand/land to rest, relax, and enjoy. This beach was just fine. A few rocks near the ocean entry, but not a big deal. By the way you can see all kinds of fish just a few feet into the ocean.
6) Pools are excellent. Lots of activity, clean, and manager doesn't even mind if you swim past the closing hours (you are responsible for yourselves).
7) We sat in on the tour operators' 'schpiel', but decided to round up 2 more couples and get a taxi instead. MUCH better, from what I heard around the resort. This way, it's MUCH cheaper ($15/person will get you a tour of ALL the relevant stops in Ocho Rios, and the taxi/bus will be with you for the DAY) and you go on YOUR own pace. We saw the Falls, Margueritaville, and the markets in one day and cost us $15/person vs. the $50-$100 the tour operators would charge.
8) There are babysitters there and they are excellent. My 6-month old was fine with them all day long while we visited the attractions across the town.
9) Reviewers are right about the process regarding booking restaurants. It's disappointing you need to wait in line to book your choice of venue, especially on vacation when you could be on your 5th pina colada instead. But it's worth it, given the quality of the buffet. I can't imagine how it would be if the place was PACKED (in high season). But, whatever.
10) The bus ride to/from the airport is fine. Yeah, it's 2 hours long, but so is the average commute to work in a day. Suck it up and enjoy the Red Stripe. Even my infant didn't complain. Jeez.
All in all, You can't go wrong with this place. Face it - you're going for the weather, rest & relaxation and some FUN. So act like it. You're on VACATION. I can't understand how people can shred this place apart. I have been to Cuba (2X), DR, and Mexico (3X) and this place holds its own vs. every other resort I have visited.
Riu - YA MON. Everybody happy, nobody sad.
- Also Known As:
- Riu Ocho Rios
- Riu Hotel Ocho Rios
- Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica
- Riu Ochos Rios
- Rio Ocho Rios
- Club Hotel Riu Ocho Rios
- ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica
- Rui Ocho Rios
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in northern Jamaica, on the beachfront. Two 6-storey buildings and one 5-storey building. Surrounded by 90,000 m2 / 107,000 sq. yards of lush gardens. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 10 km / 6.2 miles to Ocho Rios. 4 km / 2.5 miles from various shops. 105 km / 65 miles to Montego Bay airport. 600 m / 1,970 ft. from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa, Diners ... more less
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