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“Wedding Services - HUGE DISASTER - so is the management” 1 of 5 stars
Review of ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   | Mammee Bay, St Ann, Ocho Rios, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #11 of 40 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
1 review
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Wedding Services - HUGE DISASTER - so is the management”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2006

I got married at the RIU Ocho Rios on June 24, 2006. We were utterly dissatisfied with the service or lack thereof that we received during our wedding. We expressed our disappointment to the RIU Headquarters management when we returned from our honeymoon and they were very uncooperative. The only thing they offered was a refund of the cake that fell over. You'll read more about that below. DO NOT GET MARRIED HERE!!!

For 9 months I meticulously planned everything, only to have it all fall apart because of the poor service I received. Several things went wrong and I will address each one separately.

GUESTS NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER RESORT
First, when I initially met with the coordinator, Chandlyn Edwards during my site visit to the resort in November, I told her that I expected anywhere between 100-150 guests at my wedding. I explained that my entire family is from Jamaica and therefore everyone was planning to use my wedding as an opportunity to “come home” to Jamaica. Therefore, my wedding was definitely going to be a large destination wedding. I also explained that the vast majority of the guests would be staying at the resort for the days leading up to the wedding, but a few would not stay at the resort and would only come the day of the wedding. At that point Chandlyn explained that any wedding guests that do not stay at the hotel would be required to buy a $50 day pass in order to gain access to the wedding. I was concerned because I did not want to be personally responsible for collecting all the money for the day passes. Chandlyn assured me that each guest could simply go to the front desk, identify themselves as a wedding guest, and buy their own day pass without me having to be involved. When we returned home from our honeymoon we found out that 2 of our guests arrived at the resort gate and the guard refused them access because he did not have a list of wedding guests. At no time did Chandlyn or anyone else ever inform me that I had to provide a list of the guests. I corresponded with Chandlyn several times in the months leading up to the wedding and had an appointment with her the morning after I arrived, 4 days before the wedding. Noone ever told me anything about a list, so none was provided. Nevertheless, the two guests that were refused access were dressed for the wedding and one of these guests was to serve as my personal photographer. He even showed the guard his camera and identified himself as my photographer, yet the guard still refused to allow them to enter the resort. That to me is absolutely unacceptable. Whether or not the guard had a list, since they were adamant that they were indeed guests at a wedding on the resort the appropriate thing for the guard to do was to at least call the front desk and get in touch with the coordinator or someone else to verify whether a wedding was in fact taking place. But the guard chose to simply deny them access without doing anything to verify whether they were indeed wedding guests. That lack of professionalism caused us to lose the opportunity to share our wedding day with two of our friends. These friends flew all the way to Jamaica from Baltimore Maryland just to be at my wedding, yet they were unfairly denied access to the very event they had come for. This could all have been avoided if I had been informed that a list was required. I can never repay these guests for the money they needlessly spent to come to Jamaica and noone can repay us for the intangible benefit of sharing our day with our friends. After complaining, RIU did absolutely nothing to make up for this loss, and they refused to even offer an apology for their unprofessional guard staff.


LACK OF SERVICE FROM THE WEDDING COORDINATOR AND RESORT OVERALL
Second, I had originally intended to use the florist contracted by the resort for all my wedding floral decorations, including chairs and chair covers. However, on the morning of the wedding after several negotiations with the florist since my arrival at the resort 4 days earlier, we realized that we would not use the services of that florist, as her cost was extremely high and simply not within our limited budget. Chandlyn was present during this final negotiation with the florist and knew that we would be obtaining our own florist. We did in fact find our own florist to provide the flowers and decorations at 1/3 of the cost the original florist quoted, well within our budget. With the change of florist, we decided not to use the chairs and chair covers that the florist would have otherwise provided and therefore relied on the resort to provide chairs. Our wedding was scheduled for 4pm and when that time was fast approaching my bridesmaids looked over the balcony and saw that there were no chairs set up at the gazebo, which was the ceremony location. As it turned out, one of my friends went and found Chandlyn and told her they were waiting to get some chairs. A while later, another employee brought out some chairs but did not set them up. He simply brought them out and walked away. Chandlyn was nowhere to be found, so my friends then joined together to set up the chairs, put out the aisle runner etc. - all without any help or assistance from Chandlyn or anyone else from the resort. As the wedding coordinator, Chandlyn never presented herself out there to help with or oversee anything. My guests did everything that Chandlyn was supposed to do and should have done. That is simply ridiculous and unacceptable. Again, RIU has done nothing to rectify this.


TOO MANY WEDDINGS SCHEDULED FOR THE SAME DAY
Although the $795 we paid to have our wedding at RIU Ocho Rios included the assistance of the wedding coordinator, we certainly did not get any such assistance. In fact, my wedding was scheduled for 4:00pm, yet I did not see Chandlyn until about 4:30pm that day, a half hour after the scheduled start time. She had called me once for the first time around 3pm. That to me is unacceptable. I expected to be in touch with the wedding coordinator throughout the day to make sure things went as planned. I was unable to leave the room because I did not want to run the risk of my groom seeing me before the wedding. I suspect that a big part of the problem is that Chandlyn had 2 other weddings scheduled that same day – the first was around 11:00am that morning and the second was at 2:00pm, just 2 hours before my wedding. So Chandlyn simply had no time for me and my wedding plans. As previously stated, from the very beginning I estimated anywhere from 100-150 guests at my wedding. In fact, we ended up with a total of 128 guests. Hence everything I contracted with Chandlyn for was for a total of 130 guests (including bride and groom). Due to the short period of time the RIU Ocho Rios has been open for business, I suspect that mine was perhaps one of the largest weddings held there to date. I think it was poor judgment to schedule two other weddings on the same day so close together, and ultimately, it was me and my groom who paid the price in receiving little to no attention or service from the coordinator. This also caused our wedding to start one hour late, causing our guests to wait in the hot sun. Again, RIU has taken no responsibility for this.


COORDINATOR DID NOT CONTROL THE CEREMONY
Another example of Chandlyn’s lack of service to us is evidenced by her behavior during the ceremony and the reception. For example, my sister who was also my Maid of Honor, had been holding my dress and helping me right up until it was time to walk down the aisle. When she positioned herself to begin walking down the aisle, she noticed that Chandlyn was standing there with the other spectators ready to watch the ceremony. My sister then motioned to get Chandlyn’s attention and asked her to please go back and help me with my dress (the train on my dress was 7 feet long and I needed help holding it up so it would not get dirty before I walked down the aisle). I am appalled that the wedding coordinator would think she could stand there as a guest, rather than check on the bride and make sure everything was okay. In fact, Chandlyn never even bothered to make sure the musicians were cued for my entrance. The result is that instead of the “Wedding March” playing as I entered, the steel band was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as I walked down the aisle!!!!!! I am VERY upset about that. Having the Wedding March played is one of those special intangible things that can’t be replaced or fixed. Every bride dreams of walking down the aisle to the Wedding March. My dream was crushed. Moreover, the entire wedding party was supposed to walk down the aisle to the music of a saxophonist. The saxophonist was there earlier, as Chandlyn had called me around 3pm to let me speak with him so I could tell him what kind of music I wanted him to play. I can only speculate that he left because the wedding started one hour late and he probably had another scheduled engagement to play for. Again, it is me and my groom that had to suffer a loss (not having the romantic sounds of a saxophone) that meant so much to us. That cannot be returned to us. To make matters even worse, right before the ceremony started is when Chandlyn informed me that the saxophonist was gone. I asked her where he was and if he was coming back. She said she didn’t know and asked me if I knew where he was and insinuated that I should know because I spoke to him on the phone! I was very angry that she would make that insinuation because she’s the wedding coordinator, not me. I paid her the $150 for the saxophonist and she contracted with him to perform the service. As the wedding coordinator she was supposed to ensure that the saxophonist was available and ready to perform the service I paid for. Accordingly, she should have kept up with him and knew when he was leaving. Had she done her job she could have explained to him that things ran a little late and sincerely asked him to wait just a little while longer. Perhaps he would have stayed and fulfilled my cherished desire to walk down the aisle to the romantic sounds of the saxophone. Again, the RIU has done nothing about this. In fact, in an email from the RIU headquarters managment, they actually blamed me for this!!


GUESTS MISSED THE ENTIRE RECEPTION
Immediately after the ceremony the bridal party left to take pictures. I recently became aware that 4 of my guests left the ceremony and went to the buffet for dinner and completely missed the reception because they were not directed toward the Plantation for the private reception. As the wedding coordinator, Chandlyn should have been instrumental in directing the guests to the Plantation. Obviously I could not do so myself because I was off taking photos with my bridal party. I suspect that the guests misinterpreted the hors d’oeuvres and cocktails that were provided immediately after the ceremony as the “reception.” They clearly needed further guidance and there was noone there to give it to them.


COORDINATOR WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE RECEPTION
Yet another example of the poor service we received from Chandlyn is her marked absence during our reception. As the bridal party was gathering to be announced and enter the reception there was a lot of confusion and we were looking for Chandlyn to help out. Nobody saw her anywhere, so my cousin went looking for her. She did not know where Chandlyn’s office was, so she went to the front desk and asked for her. Apparently not realizing that my cousin was a wedding guest, one of the employees informed her that Chandlyn had just passed by and said she was “hiding” from our wedding because we were upset and expressing our unhappiness. My cousin then asked to see Chandlyn and told her that we needed her assistance at the reception. That is when Chandlyn finally presented herself at the reception, but by then the bridal party had already entered the reception. After that, I did not see her there for the rest of the night. Again, this is unsatisfactory behavior for a so-called wedding coordinator and it contributed to the many things that went terribly wrong at our wedding.


SEVERAL ISSUES WITH THE WEDDING CAKE
I paid Chandlyn $250 for a two tiered fondant wedding cake large enough to feed 130 guests. When we arrived at the reception I noticed that the cake table was set up in front of the bridal party table. However, there was no cake. After more than an hour someone finally brought the cake out and placed it on the table. That is simply ridiculous. Then as the cake sat there we noticed it was melting – the icing was falling down from the sides of the cake. By the time we went to finally cut it, it looked a mess. Perhaps it was because the cake was buttercream and it was supposed to be fondant! Moreover, as my groom and I began to cut the cake in front of everyone, we were embarrassed to realize that for some reason we couldn’t cut into the cake. As it turns out, there was a piece of cardboard covered in foil sitting on the top of the bottom tier of the cake. The baker had placed it on top of the cake and put the icing over it!!! That is unacceptable!! Then it got even worse – we managed to get a little piece of cake from the side to feed each other. As we were doing so, the cake fell over in front of everyone!!!! That was embarrassing, absurd and simply deplorable. Moreover, because it fell nobody had the opportunity to eat any of it. As a result, we had absolutely no dessert for our guests at our wedding. Had Chandlyn been there doing her job, perhaps she could have gotten us some dessert from one of the other restaurants at the resort. At least they refunded this - after 6 months of complaining!


NO CHAMPAGNE FOR WEDDING TOAST
While the staff that served the food at the reception was very nice and courteous to our guests, they faltered in one respect. As we were preparing to begin the toasting portion of the wedding, for some reason the staff did not manage to fill all the glasses in time. Therefore, several of the guests had to toast using the water that was on each of the tables. Additionally, the food service was very slow, so the guests were not served at the same time. While some were just getting their dinner others were already finished eating. There simply were not enough servers assigned to my reception and that clearly was the responsibility of the RIU Ocho Rios to provide a satisfactory number of servers.


PHOTOGRAPHY ISSUES
We paid $1500 for a combination of the resort’s photography and videography packages. During the ceremony the cell phone of one of the photo/video assistants rang. At the time, he was standing outside the gazebo taking pictures of us (the groom and I were inside the gazebo reciting our vows). The assistant came into the gazebo and answered the phone!! He proceeded to have a very loud conversation and totally interrupted the ceremony!! My groom had to tell him to hang up the phone and get out of the gazebo. Why should anyone have to tell him that? He should have known better and the fact that he didn’t speaks volumes about the lack of professionalism in the service provided. This was clearly a very rude disruption to our ceremony.

Despite the obvious rudeness of that assistant, overall, I was satisfied with the photographers’ performance. The only other performance issue I would note is that they refused to stay until we were ready to cut the wedding cake. They wanted us to cut it as soon as we started the reception, even before we ate dinner! That is not the normal protocol at a wedding and it was ridiculous for them to expect us to do that. As a result, we did not get any pictures of the cake cutting. Nevertheless, because the cake was set in foil-covered cardboard and it fell over, I guess there was no real picture to capture anyway.

The final major issue with the photography/videography concerns the additional cost we were charged. Because the wedding coordinator’s lack of control of the event caused us to start an hour late, the photographer charged us an additional $360 ($90 per hour for the additional 2 hours each of the 2 photographers worked). We objected to the charge, but we were informed that if we did not pay the charge we could not get all the pictures in the package we originally paid for. In other words, the photographer was going to withhold as many photos as needed to offset the $360 cost of the additional time. We realized that these were the only so-called professional photos we would have of our wedding, so in order to ensure that we got pictures for our album, we paid the additional cost. It is not fair to us that we had to pay that additional $360 because it was not due to our own fault that the cost was incurred. It was clearly the result of the poor service we received. The coordinator simply had no sense of control or organization of the event and caused the wedding to start an hour late, which in turn caused the photographers to work additional time (including the initial hour they stood around waiting for the wedding to start). Of course, RIU has done nothing about this either.

Bottome line, if you want a wonderful memorable wedding, do not get married at the RIU Ocho Rios. Ours was memorable alright - a nightmare that unfortunately, we will never forget.

  • Liked — The room was nice
  • Disliked — Very poor service!!
  • Tips/Secrets — Find all your wedding service providers outiside the resort and be your own coordinator!
  • Stayed June 2006
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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English first
Brooklyn, NY
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2006

I just returned from a 4-night stay at the Riu Ocho Rios, and wanted to share some feedback. Before I booked it, I did A LOT of research on TripAdvisor, and the reviews were very helpful. Hope that this helps you decide if the Riu Ocho Rios is right for you... Ya man... :o)

Ride from airport: Our transportation was provided by Apple Vacations and we had to wait for a bus for over an hour. The hotel is about 2.5 hours away from the airport (the roads are horrible and are being repaired), so if you can afford it, book private transportation so that you get to your hotel faster and don't have to make rest and drop-off stops along the way. I wish we had done that, since after a 4-hour flight from NY, a 2.5-hour drive was not very relaxing, though tolerable.

Check-in: Checking in was quick and easy, and the staff at the front desk were helpful. I tried to upgrade to a Jr. Suite but none were available, so I stayed with my Oceanfront room (which was really nice). The lobby is large and airy, and you'll be welcomed with a Tropical Pick Me Up, which quickly became my drink of choice for my entire stay. The strange thing is the key, which comes on a huge keychain (not a keycard) and we only got one. Two would have been much more convenient.

Room: We had an Oceanfront room (#2104) on the 1st floor (which is really the second floor, right above the Pizzaria). The view was amazing, the room was a good size (with a king sized bed), and very clean (no bugs at all, which was a concern after I read some other reviews). We had an extra large balcony and a direct view of the ocean, so I would highly recommend a room in this section, on any floor. The Oceanview rooms have a side view of the ocean and overlook the pool, and they are also nice, but I really liked the view in ours.

Beach: The beach was beautiful, very clean and with comfortable loungechairs. The water was clear (no fish swimming anywhere near the shore, but this isn't the DR). Very warm water, so much so that we didn't want to get out of the ocean. Some spots are rocky, so some people wore water shoes, but they aren't very necessary. The water did get murky after a storm, but for the most part, it was great.

Food: Barely edible... This was by far our biggest disappointment. Perhaps we were spoiled by our stay at Sandals Regency in St. Lucia or by the two cruises we took, but the food really didn't meet our expectations. Almost all restaurants serve buffets (same food in each restaurant), and it's hard to get variety. Breakfast was fine, but for lunch and dinner, the meat was overcooked, and the fish was too spicy and overfried. Also, Riu requires reservations in the steakhouse (Mammee Bay), the Asian restaurant (Mandalay), and the "gourmet" restaurant (Sir Richard) - (and trust me, the quotes are there for a reason). You have to wait in line for an hour to reserve these restaurants, and when I'm on vacation, I'd prefer to spend that hour on the beach. This policy is idiotic, and the restaurants are hardly worth it. Also, if you're not in a Jr. Suite or a better room, you cannot eat in the Japanese restaurant. As if paying what we paid wasn't enough... Bottom line, don't expect great food - this isn't the place for it.

Service: The service was subpar. Our room was always clean, so the maid service was great, but in restaurants, the service was another story. Again, maybe I'm spoiled by past experiences, but I expected better. Most employees aren't friendly and don't smile or say "hello" when you speak to them. The waiters get annoyed if you ask them for anything, and apparently, asking for water or a napkin during a meal is asking too much. I know that this isn't the Ritz, but if the resort prides itself on being 5 stars (though 4 is more like it), this should be improved.

Entertainment: The shows were OK, nothing too impressive, but reasonably entertaining if you're bored. They also have a casino (10 slot machines in a separate room) and a game room (airhockey, 5 game arcades, and 2 mini billiards tables), all of which you have to pay for.

Excursions: We took a trip to Dunns River Falls, which are nice and worth seeing. The ride is about 10 minutes long, so the hotel is very close to the falls. We booked a $25 per person trip and decided to do the "dry walk" - not to actually climb the falls. I recommend bringing or renting water shoes, since the area by the falls is very slippery. Also, the beach that the falls go into is rocky and not very clean, so don't plan on swimming there. The "highlight" was that our driver left us at the falls and didn't come to pick us up at the agreed upon time. We ended up waiting alone in the parking lot for 20 minutes and when he finally came back, he blamed us for not being there an hour earlier.

Weather: We stayed at the Riu from 11/25-11/29, and it rained every day. Our friends were there 3 days earlier, and the weather was the same. We must have caught the last few days of Hurricane Season, so if you can go later in December, I think the weather would be better.

Overall, we really needed a vacation and enjoyed our stay. We would rate this hotel 3.5-4 stars. Your vacation is really what you make it, so if food and service are not very important to you, this is the place for you.

  • Liked — Beach, room
  • Disliked — Food, service
  • Tips/Secrets — Book an Oceanfront room - really worth it!
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2006

WOW

What can I say. I am a travel agent from ---.ca
I was honoured to be part of such a wonderful fam trip on the msc lirica as well as the Riu Ocho rios. We stayed in the deluxe wing ( this is a must) jr suites, oceanview and japanese restaurant is exclusive for these members only. YES it rained a bit, however , can not take nothing away from it. Jr suites are spacious, spotless and the service is next to none. Beach is great, not the best ive seen however is big and wide (4 out of 5). Service at the rius are always impecable. No Problem man. It is divided into 2 sections the main building and the deluxe wing ( worth the upgrade) great 24 h sports bar that appeals to all ages. St annes restaurant is the grandest restaurant. We were lucky to enjoy the jamaican theme night with amazing jerk pork ( Mouth watering).
Mammee bay restaurant is a casual restaurant semi open air for lunch ony. There is a japanese restaurant for deluxe wing guests only. Pacho disco is always a hit and is lively until the last person leaves. The entertainment is taken place in a prime location and big enough area to fit all. Please visit the Riu Ocho rios, I know what im talking about. YA MAN. Your visit here will be your best.

I now know why everything is IRIE. Call me at ---.CA or visit us online at ---

Have a great stay!!!!!

  • Liked — spacious and clean
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — VISIT IT YOU WILL HAVE NO REGRETS, 5 STAR ALL THE WAY
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1 review
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2006

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.
BD

  • Liked — Pool
  • Disliked — Food/waiting in line for restaurant reservations
  • Tips/Secrets — Relax. Enjoy. You're in Jamaica, not the Beverly Hills RITZ Carlton.
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2006

stayed there 11/09 to 11/13. on the whole, not bad, especially consider the price.

i would evaluate it as follows (10=full points):
1. facility: 9;
2. service: 8;
3. entertainment: 6:
4. food: 5;

couple of notes:
1. don't recommend the japanese restaurant (tushima) nor the asian restaurant (mandalay);
2. dun's river fall is only 5 mins from the resort, so you can wear swimming suit and beach shoe there; climbing the fall is like swimming, so get ready;
3. better bring your own beach shoe, to buy would cost you up to us$40/pair, to rent us$5-10;
4. some jamaicans don't like jamaian dollars, so give usd for tip makes big difference;
5. service is better than i expected: i asked for a separate bed and got it in 2 hours and asked for towels and got them in half an hour;
6. the mini bar (with a refragirator) is nice, you get spring water, pepsi, and beer there, among other things;

thanks for reviews already up here. they are really helpful.

mh

  • Liked — facility
  • Disliked — food
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2006

Just returned from the Riu Ocho Rios (Nov 20-27 2006) with a group of friends. The weather did not cooperate with us as it rained pretty much 4/7 days with only small windows of sunshine the last few days. Paid close attention to what the hotel had to offer since we spent most of our vacation indoors at the resort. Wanted desperately to give this property a perfect rating however some minor problems

Hotel Property: It was a huge property well kept and gorgeous. However, as we did experience alot of rain, it was a little distressing to see leaks in the new ceilings in the lobby. Good job by staff to post signage around the leaks in order to prevent unsuspecting guests from slipping. Staff could also be seen around the property trying to keep the floors dry since when they are wet they are soooooo slippery. Be careful! Only 2 main elevators in building 2 and one was out of comission for a day or two (somewhat of a bother). Gym was alright, but only 2 treadmills which had to be signed out, one eliptical machine which was broken when we were there, a stepper, 2 bikes and a rowing machine.

Rooms: Upon arrival in awe at how lovely our standard rooms were. Clean, brand spanking new. Bathrooms spotless!!! We had booked 4 rooms; 3 on the 4th floor of building 2 and 1 on the 5th floor. 3/4 rooms at one point or another experienced bug problems, nothing horrifying but ants nonetheless (ick!!!) Wear slippers in your rooms! Since our vacation was quite damp we spent alot of time in our rooms making use of our in room bars (wink) and utilizing the satilite TV; some of the channels you get: HBO, USA, Showtime, ESPN, WGN and I believe all the standard American networks

Staff: Generally impressed with the staff at Riu, however did have one incident of an entertainment staff member being rude to one of us after enquiring about a merengue lesson. The rest of the entertainment staff is great, very impressed with all the hard work they do to keep us happy especially because the weather was so poor. Many talented dancers. Other minor nusances: took forever to get new towels after calling to front desk. On check out day didn't get our requested wakeup call and found out many other guests didn't get theirs either. Good thing the rooms are all equiped with alarm clocks.

Food:We got a chance to eat at all the restaurants excluding the Japanese restaurant which wasn't available to us. Buffets at St. Anne's, Mammee (lunch) and Plantation (lunch) had something for everyone. Make sure you pick up a few beef paties when available they are good! IceCream however not so good. Jerk Hut is only open on non rainy days so we were just excited to finally have it open, but the chicken was yummy. Impressed with Mandalay, and Sir Richards but best meal by group consensus was at the Steakhouse. Order the mixed grill you won't go back to your room hungry. Experienced tummy problems on prior trips to Cuba and the Dominican, so i'm happy to report no such problems here in jamaica!!

Outings: Booked our off site adventures through our Sunquest Rep. Our Ocho Rios highlights tour pretty much got rained out except for shopping. We talked to the reps on our return to the hotel and they booked us the next day on our own private bus to do the sights we missed out on-no charge!

I fear this review is getting quite lengthy. Overall would still recommend this property. Minor problems but nothing that you can't get over if you keep an open mind. Last tip: if you are prone to insect bites like myself-Bring insect repellant!!!!! Even with it i managed to get eaten alive.

Hope this was helpful.

  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania
1 review
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2006

I recently stayed at the RIU Ocho Rios and absolutely loved it. I am a travel agent and have visited several all inclusive properties on my travels. I have done sight inspections for major properties in Jamaica and by far this was the most fabulous property I have seen thus far. Before my stay at the RIU, I considered Sandals Dunns River to be the best, after visiting the RIU in Ocho Rios, I must say I feel that Sandals doesn't even deserve to be in the shadow of the RIU.
The open air lobby is quite extensive and beautiful. Check in moved rather quickly and the little bit of waiting I had to do was supressed by complimentary rum punch and cold compresses from the spa that had a peppermint and eucalyptus smell to them that rejuvinated the mind and spirit. After check in the bellman was more than helpful in assisting us to our rooms with our luggage pointy things out to us along the way. I was placed in a Jr. Suite and was more than impressed with the room. The air conditioners were working great which was a welcome relief to the intial heat of the country. The room was well furnished and the italian marble accents were exquisite. My balcony overlooked the deluxe pool and I had a nice view of the ocean. A fabulous way to wake in the morning. As an agent I asked to see a standard room along with a regular suite, the girl at the front desk was more than happy to meet my requests and left me inspect the respective rooms at my lesiure. Honeymoon couples, I would seriously recommend the Suite. Wonderful. Standard rooms are quite suitable as well, I didn't find a problem with any of the rooms.
The hotel offers many dining choices and all were fabulous. I am not a seafood eater by any means so I always worry when travelling to the Caribbean as that seems to be a staple with the cuisine. I had nothing to worry about at the RIU. Restaurants catered to every palate. The bars were numerous and more than happy to quench any thirst. The bartenders lightened the mood and made everyone feel welcome and at ease. They truly gave you the impression that they indeed do love their jobs and that kept the fun going long into the night.
The entertainment staff was exceptional, putting on different shows all week long. They were very cordial when you saw them out and about during the day. Shows varied but were all very good.
The beach was wonderful. You didn't have to set your alarm to arrive on the beach before the crack of dawn just to ensure that you got a chair. The beach chairs were quite numerous and there was so much room that no one was crowded. Likewise with the swimming pools. Plenty of chairs and plenty of room. The deluxe pool was a little more on the relaxed side. It did offer the famous swim up bar and the bartenders there kept the party going. The swimming pool on the other side of the resort offered alot more activity such as volleyball and more fun and games throughout the day.
Gift shops at the property were reasonably priced and offered those little things such as sunblock and the likes for those travellers that may have forgotten to pack them.
Public restrooms were always kept very neat and clean. They are scattered around the property.
I was very pleased with the RIU property, the staff, the food, the beach, the pools, the rooms, and the cleanliness. Columbus hit the nail on the head when he quoted "The finest land mine eyes have ever seen".

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — the electronic room keys keycards
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios

Address: | Mammee Bay, St Ann, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Family Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#9 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios 3.5*
Number of rooms: 846
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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Also Known As:
Riu Hotel Ocho Rios
Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica
Riu Ochos Rios
Rio Ocho Rios
Club Hotel Riu Ocho Rios
Rui Ocho Rios
ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica

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