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“Fantastic Time!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Norman Manley Blvd | Bloody Bay Beach, Negril, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #29 of 90 Hotels in Negril
Scranton, Pennsylvania
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Fantastic Time!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

I'm writing this review on the flight back home. Prior to visiting this resort I read a ton of reviews (some good some bad) but let me tell you this place was OUTSTANDING! I'm a fairly seasoned traveller and hands down this was the best spot I've ever been to. Great resort and EXCELLENT staff. The only complaint I can make is towards some of the other tourists. Quite a few were rude to me (mainly Europeans who didn't seem to like an Americans) and also treated the staff poorly. To the people that complain about slow service maybe it's due to you treating the staff like garbage?

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,434 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (694)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Yokosuka, Japan
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

My wife and I have always wanted to stay at a resort in Negril but wondered whether we would receive good value for our hard-earned money. Would we really have the time and energy to enjoy all the things that come with paying a premium price? If not, then it would seem like money not well spent. With the global recession, the prices have come down so we decided to celebrate our anniversary there. In addition, our favorite hotel in the main area of Negril changed their policy to only accepting stays of 3 nights or greater so we couldn't stay there. We then decided on the RIU and we were pretty impressed. The grounds are fairly extensive and beautiful. The staff are friendly and most easily remembered my name. The rooms, while not extraordinary by any means, were comfortable, large enough and clean. The rooms had cable TV with many of the main U.S. channels. There was a free minibar in the fridge with several Red Stripes, water and some soft drinks. There were also 3 bottles of hard alcohol (light and dark rums, I think).The rooms weren't extremely close to the water but my ocean-front room was only about 12 meters from the balcony to the waves. As we arrived at the front the first day, the staff greeted us cheerfully, asking us what cocktails we wanted. The check-in area is huge with big chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and space for 50 people to move around easily without bumping into each other. There were also 3 bars within a one-minute walk from the check-in area. The drinks aren't especially strong and they don't have a lot of major brands of alcohol like Tanqueray, Patron. Same for beer. They had Red Stripe, and, I believe, Heineken, but no major U.S. or other international brands.

We made two huge mistakes which have nothing to do with this hotel but it's good information to know. First, we exchanged money at the airport in Montego Bay. It was a HUGE ripoff! The rate at the hotel was about TEN Jamaican dollars higher! It makes a big difference if you are exchanging a large sum of money. Second, we rented a car (later) from Hertz Jamaica. AVOID HERTZ JAMAICA AT ALL COSTS!!!. I had missed seeing some minor chips in the windshield of the SUV we rented and they weren't noted on the damage form. Upon returning the vehicle, they said the(obviously old to anyone not trying to rip someone off) chips were not there when I had rented the vehicle.They charged me $800 U.S. dollars!!!! Yes, you read that correctly -EIGHT HUNDRED U.S. DOLLARS - because an attendant with no qualifications said the chips would spread and be a danger. They showed no paperwork for anything and no supervisor ever came to speak with me as I had requested. They have not even responded to my complaint, nor my request for photos, paperwork, etc. Do your due diligence and check everything! Don't let the attendant just show you where the damages are. Check inside and out. Sorry for going off on that tangent but it was necessary.

I was at the RIU when the storm that was supposed to be minor, Hurricane Sandy, hit Jamaica. The staff handled everything smoothly. There was no loss of power and they even brought meals to our rooms so we wouldn't have to venture out during the storm. Nothing fancy, but still very thoughtful. They gave detailed information on what the hotel was doing and made sure we were all safe and comfortable. The storm only brushed by that part of the island and there didn't seem to be much damage other than the odd palm frond broken off the tree. The rest of the island was devastated.

Other information - the all-inclusive price does not include the snorkeling or scuba diving as stated on Expedia. You have to pay extra. The property is very well kept and they do a good job of keeping the sand flies away, although the smoke they use can kind of choke you. The wet bar seemed nice but also seemed almost impossible to get to due to the group of noisy people who hogged the area almost throughout the day. There is an outside kitchen right on the beach and the gentleman there cooked up some fairly tasty jerk chicken with a smile and lots of banter. There was also a small hot tub, a gym and a small room with slot machines. The food was good but they served very little authentic Jamaican food and even the Jamaican food they served lacked the real flavor you will find at some of the small restaurants along the main road going into town. They seem to cater to a more European taste. I am not complaining, I understand you have to take care of your main clientele but maybe it would be nice to show them just a little more of what the native flavor of food is like. That is why I rated the food as average. They had a wide selection of appetizers, main courses, desserts, salads and drinks but they lacked the island flavor. I didn't see common Jamaican drinks like sorrel and sour sop when I went to the main restaurant.

The beach is not anywhere near as good as the one on the seven-mile main and that's why I've selected 'average' for location. The hotel is just too far from the main drag and the beach is lacking. By the way, the walk takes about 2 and a half hours into town if you are so inclined. There was no trouble from the natives except for the 'taxis' always beeping their horn to ask you if you need an overpriced ride into town. Taxis cost about 100 JM dollars (about $1.20 U.S.) for natives from that location but I gave one driver double. The fare for foreigners is usually sky high from what I've been told by the guard at the gate. Ask a native about prices, distances, reliable drivers, etc before venturing out. Back to the beach - the sand is not as white as on the main 7-mile beach, the water not as turquoise, and in the water it seems the bottom is composed of clay or something. It feels like you are standing in quicksand or mush. Very displeasing. If you are going for the beach, I don't recommend this area. I did not like it at all. It will definitely deter me from staying there again. I do recommend the hotel but my wife and I mainly went for the beach so that part was very disappointing. Still, the RIU was really nice.

Room Tip: None of the rooms are right on the water . The closest ones are about 10 meters away and many views...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Huntsville, Alabama, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

Three relatives and myself visited the Riu Tropical Bay for 6 nights at the end of October. Hurricane Sandy had just hit the island the night before we arrived, but hotel generators were working non-stop until general power was restored so we didn't feel any major effects.

THE PROS
Room: Nothing fancy, but definitely nice and clean. The two queen beds pushed together was a little weird, but we were so tired every night from partying, eating, and exploring, that it really didn't matter much at all. The fridge and bar were always well stocked with WATA (we thought this was so cute), red stripes, and cokes for my Appleton rum!

Staff: From Andrew at the swim bar (you'll know him from his songs!) to KO, Jason, and the rest of the enterainment staff, to the chefs at breakfast that remember how to prepare my omelette after the first time.... we recieved nothing but the best hospitality and friendship. They make you feel like you're visiting family rather than a random tourist on a vacation. Always helpful and willing to go the extra mile to make your experience the best...this was definitely the quality that I liked best about staying at the Riu.

Beverages:
If you're looking to float away belly up to Patron shots galore....this is not the place for you. No Patron, Hennessey, Ciroc, 1800, Belevedere....no where. BUT...the drinks that they do offer are tasty and plentiful. If you need an extra shot (or 4) in your vodka lemon, the bartenders are more than happy to pour until your heart is content. And really....who needs all that fancy nancy liquor when you have rum punch made with Jamaica's own Appleton rum? Best dang drink I've ever had - 2 of these will have even the most expereinced drinker floating on cloud 9 :-) And of course, Red Stripe beers were in abundance as well.

Beach:
Unfortunately, the beach was cluttered with huge dunes of seaweed from Hurricane Sandy most of time we were there. But the resort did a great job of trying to clean up as much as they could before vacationers hit the beach in the morning. You can't blame Mother Nature for being who she is! I guess one cool thing is that we saw an abundance of cool little souviners for picking, such as as starfish, conch shells, and sea shells.

THE CONS
Food: The food for room service is a joke. It seriously needs to be revamped. The selection is not appetizing at all and portions sides are ridiculously small. It works to soak up the liquor a little after a night of partying, but don't count on skipping dinner and planning to get full from room service later. The lunch/dinner buffet are definitely the best options for dining during your stay at the Riu....but still only average at best. We only tried the Japanese and the "modern-esque" restauarnt (can't remember the name of it) while we were there, but were not impressed by these either. And reservations are KEY...I would recommend making reservations for each night when you first arrive at the hotel, as reservations fill up very quickly. I enjoy eating like the locals when I visit any country, so I very thoroughly enjoyed the jerk chicken shack on the beach, the beef patties at the lunch bar, and the stewed and curry chicken and cabbage offered at BREAKFAST (didn't matter to me, I gobbled it right up!). Don't worry, there are a multitude of "normal" items served during each meal as well (hamburgers at lunch, eggs and toast at breakfast, etc.)

Nighttime entertainment: I thorougly appreciated and enjoyed the performances of the entertainment staff each night. They work their butts off to put on a great show. But after the show ends at 10:30, there is ZERO entertainment at the resort. None, zilch, nada. A disco/party room would be essential to add back to the property. Not just for young people like me, but I mean, who really wants to go to bed at 10:30 while in Jamaica? Nobody! An option to dance the night away without having to pay to go off of the resort is KEY.

In summary....it was a nice hotel but I would probably not stay there again. But also, I wasn't in Jamaica to do a hotel critique. I was there to dance, drink, make new friends, and enjoy the beautiful scenary. And I did all of the above successfully!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clearwater, Minnesota
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

Just got back last night from here.This was our second trip to this resort, stayed here in 2007, had such a good time decided to go back. I was worried after reading some of the reviews before we left, thinking the resort had went downhill since our last visit. I will say the food wasn't as good as the first time,breakfast was excellent!! lunch favorite, nacho's and cheese, (always brought a plate up to my room for a "midnight snack") pizza was surprisingly good as well. Dinner was ok, repetitive most nights. Best thing ever was the Jerk Chicken! As far as the rooms, the first time we were in building 6 oceanfront (phenominal!!!) this time we were in building 3, second floor oceanview, view was still nice,was a little noisy with the nightly entertainment but no complaints. Rooms were very clean, did find one roach crawling on the wall midweek, no more after that. The maids were great! The people on here that complained about the service...did you not tip?? Never had a problem with towels..etc. Would even chat for a bit if she was there when I came up to the room. They even come knock on your door at the end of the evening to offer to "turn down" your bed for you and to see if you need anything. I will say the beds are hard as a rock, and not really a fan of beds pushed together. As far as "musty" smell, it's the carribean it happens, bring a candle (I never travel without one) problem solved! Now onto the drinks the most important thing! Must have a French Kiss!! Delicious!!! Andrew the pool bartender is the best! Always singing and always seems happy to be working, I would be to if I had his job!! He was there the last time we visited, was glad to see he was still there. The beaches are awesome!!! Vendors were not allowed on the beach when we last visited, they were kinda annoying at times, but if you say no thank you they move on. I will give you a tip, BRING A FLOATIE FROM HOME!!! one of the ones that look like a chair, you will not be sorry!!! The guys that run the scuba shop will blow it up for you. My significant other was quite resourceful asked for a piece of rope from them and found a rock for an anchor and I was set!!! Nothing beats just floating and relaxing with a drink in your hand! Almost forgot,bring a big insulated mug from home you can get them at any convenience store,less trips to the bar,and keeps your drink cool,great for when you walk the beach!! There are beach vendors between the two resorts, barter barter,barter!! If that isn't your style you can always take a cab and go into town, although the beach shop by the pool and the hotel gift shops (there are 2 of them) have some of the same things you will find in town but a little more pricey. The sunsets are picture perfect!! If on the beach at sunset wear pants and some type of shoes other than flip flops, will keep you from getting bit up by bugs. I highly recommend this resort! The staff is great! The food could be better,but really no complaints. We will be coming back!!!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Rock Island, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

We spent a week in Negril at the Riu Palace which included our wedding as well. We had about 30-40 people along with us, and EVERYONE had an EXCELLENT stay! I did my research prior to booking and was worried about some of the reviews people wrote about the resort, but it was so much better than what I could have imagined. Here goes it:

Room:

Our room number was 4206 and was ocean front. We had a humongous balcony that looked over the pool area and was just feet away from the beach - so beautiful! It had a damp smell, but clearly that was from the humidity and our obvious location! Anyone who said it wasn't tolerable is probably a jerk anyway. Our AC worked perfectly, and the room was very clean and decorated nicely. The refrigerator was stocked with Red Stripes, soda, and wata everyday, and there was also a variety of liquor always stocked up in your room.

People/Service:
The people in Jamaica are just amazing anyway, but the people at the Riu Palace were incredible! They work so hard to make your stay so enjoyable and succeed everytime. We took our 16 month old daughter with us for a few days and she was a hit - everyone was so nice to her and loved having her do her "faces". They are kind people who deserve to be tipped - so don't forget that! I know it is all-inclusive, but they aren't paid well and are still always smiling and happy! Talk to them and get to know them and you will find that to be a huge highlight of your trip. They really help make the experience a memorable one and there are many people that work there that we will never forget! Big shout out to Tracey, Indera, Ann Marie, Solen, Sharon and Renessa - you ladies are lovely and made our week! We hope to see you next year! DON'T FORGET TO TIP THEM PLEASE...IF ANYONE DESERVES IT, IT IS THEM!

Food:
The foods at the Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner buffets were amazing! I'm not sure what the deal is with some people - probably just haters, I guess - but, there were so many choices and it was all good. There were also 4 specialty restaurants, The Steakhouse, Krystal Fusion, Rimini Italian, and the Japanese one. The food at all of the restaurants was good, but the two that stuck out the most to me were the Krystal Fusion and Italian restaurants. Krystal had this awesome smoked salmon appetizer with avocado inside - still thinking about that. And, the Italian restaurant had a "salad bar" that was more like a dinner buffet than anything. The Steakhouse was also excellent, but we only ate there on my wedding night and I don't think I ate enough to really give an accurate review. The Japanese restaurant was, in my opinion, just okay. I love sushi, and theirs was okay, but not the best I've ever had. My husband loved his meal there, he had the beef, and my chicken was just okay. There was also a snack bar up in the lobby for "after hour" eating and of course, the round the clock room service - the Mexican toasties were pretty good! We really didn't have a chance to actually be hungry because there was so much food...and good food! Like I said before, I just can't imagine anyone possibly hating everything as there were so many choices! I feel like I probably have an extra 10lbs to prove how good the food was! :)

Wedding:
The wedding was beautifully coordinated, and I really didn't have to do much! Ann Marie helped us out all along the way, and when we got there we met ot go over everything - and it was INCREDIBLE! Everything felt like a fairytale...from the picturesque beach scenery to the beautiful steakhouse reception, it was just magic. I remember looking around a few times that night thinking how lucky I was and how I felt like a millionaire! Everyone had a great time and it went off without a hitch! Definitely the way to go if you don't want to plan silly details and want to have the most beautiful wedding ever! For brides reading this: Pick the 4:00 time slot so that your pictures are sunset-filled, I chose the included bouquet #161 as it is tropical and so beautiful. We also went with the Caprice package, and if you do so, you won't be disappointed! It included an awesome gift package, massages, champagne toasts everywhere, a mani/pedi/hairstyle, and so many other amazing things! Seriously, there is no other way to get married in such a beautiful place for so cheap! Why people do it differently is beyond me, mon! :)

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

Was staying in Kingston and just went for a mini break following the death of a family member.... I'm from the UK.... This was my 1st time here and went for a long weekend.. All I can say is thanks to ALL that work there.... The staff were absolutely brilliant.... The hotel was very clean as was my room... The beds comfy... Did have a few cockroaches, but hey what do you expect being in a tropical country. I had a problem with the toilet and as soon as I reported it, it was dealt with straight away. The air con also broke down a few times during the day but this was something they were aware of and most nights it was back up and running again, which was good for me as I was out on the beach all day until it was time to get ready for dinner.... I wasn't too keen on the food, although there were lots to choose from, the problem was I just found the food way too bland and there wasn't much of the Jamaican food to choose from... breakfast and lunch were my best meals... I would highly recommend this hotel and will definitely visit again.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Wolcottville, Indiana, USA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

We have been at the Riu before in 07', an Brezzes in 10' there were some changes but all things change. we were here for 8 days. Our room was great! no air problems, was on 3rd floor of building 5, i could'nt do steps, upon request they moved us to a Bridal S. by steak house. We went w/20friends, and had a great time. 3 of us did however get alot of sandflee bites, toward end of stay one of the locals on beach told us to put RUM on our legs & arms. guess what? It WORKED they left us alone. Who nu it was good for other things LOL.. U hear alot on negitive things on here, but it just depends on what your there for. a good time or to complain.
Barb

Room Tip: as at the front dest for them to call Sherriall for a taxi to gosomewhere. She is great!! dont ask a...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay

Address: Norman Manley Blvd | Bloody Bay Beach, Negril, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#13 Spa Hotel in Negril
#13 Family Hotel in Negril
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#18 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#21 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Renovated in summer 2008 * Located in Negril, on Jamaica's west coast * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 1-storey main building and 2-storey buildings * Victorian-style architecture * Surrounded by 47,000 m2 / 56,500 sq. yards of lush gardens * 7.5 km / 4.7 miles from Negril West End * 6 km / 3.8 miles from various shops * 80 km / 48 miles from Montego Bay airport ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Tropical Bay Hotel Negril
Riu Tropical Bay Jamaica
Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril
Riu Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica
Negril Riu Tropical Bay Hotel
Riu Jamaica
Riu Tropical Jamaica

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