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“Great time at the Riu Palace!” 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 #30 of 91 hotels in Negril
Ottawa, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Great time at the Riu Palace!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

Great time at the Riu Palace!

I honestly cannot understand how anyone could post a bad review. Let me address some issues:

First, you’re going to Jamaica. It’s a foreign country. It’s a 3rd world country. Do not expect your food to taste like “back home”. It will taste different. You’re not going to a Gordon Ramsey restaurant. Homosexuality is illegal there, and the people are very homophobic. Having been to Jamaica 4 times previously (this was my fifth), not only did I know what to expect; I also did more homework on my destination. So, if you think that because the resort has 5 stars, do not think you’re going to the equivalent of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Remember that the “stars” on your booking website or travel brochure are provided by the resort itself, not by any sort of standard like Michelin. The number of stars typically refers to the amenities the resort has. E.g. pool bar, a la carte dining, room service, etc. It is not a reference to quality. Even the star ratings here on TA are not 100% accurate because they are “opinions” based on personal perceptions and preferences. What is terrific to one, may be deplorable to another (e.g. beach vendors). So, do please keep that in mind. Further, some of the reviews are by the resort itself, or (a bad review) by a competitor. You do not have to have been to the resort to post a bad review.

One of the greatest things about Jamaica is that while the people may be poor, they are still proud, happy and very friendly! Remember, you get what you dish out. A little respect goes a long way!

AIRPORT TRANSFER
We used a private transfer (Joe Cool Taxi and Tours) for 8 of us. Cost was $30 per person, round trip and included a red stripe! Our drive took about an hour and 10 minutes each way, and was early both times.

RESORT
The resort is gorgeous – just no other word for it. Add to that there are staff cleaning everywhere constantly – a very good sign. The check in was quick (with a beverage), and our bags arrived at our room just after I poured my first drink from the mini bar. From the moment we walked in, the resort staff was very friendly and always asking how we were doing and if there was anything they could do.

The pools are indeed small, but we liked them (if I want to go swimming, I’ll hit the ocean!) The swim-up pool bar gets pretty busy mid-afternoon and yes, people will spill their drinks. I noticed the lifeguard testing the water hourly. The pools are cleaned daily, and properly treated so no health worries.

The drinks at all the bars (yes, we hit them all – we ARE Canaidan!) were excellent. Top shelf liquors available, just ask for it. I wouldn’t mind more of a wine selection though. Oh, and don’t forget, you can have a mimosa (champagne / orange juice) in the morning, and plenty of champagne for dinner too!

Room service is a tiny menu, a couple of sandwiches, salads, or desserts is all that is available – nothing hot. But, it is quick – about 15 minutes.

There are no elevators – so if you have stair issues, opt for a ground floor room.

The service is nothing short of outstanding!!

BEACH
Having been all over the Caribbean – this is by far the best I’ve been on. Crystal clear, calm, shallow water. You can walk out 100 feet before you’re up to your neck. Plenty of shade for those who want it, and never a problem getting a beach lounger, or even a little side table. The loungers were all in great condition too. In the early (7-ish) morning, you can see the hotel staff out raking the entire beach by hand, picking up trash and/or debris that may have washed up. A truly fabulous beach. One of the things we enjoyed was seeing the odd sting-ray swimming along. Relax, they’re harmless. Yes, there are vendors on the beach, but they are not allowed to approach past the high-tide line – and they know and respect that limit. They will try to sell you anything from crafts, to jet ski rentals, to marijuana. A simple “no thank you” and perhaps a “respect mon” and there’s no issue. In fact, one of our favourites was the cigarette guy – he’s got quite the voice! “Cigarettes … cigarRRs, its gonna be hot hot hot hot” ! A very pleasant fellow, and not pushy at all. Also, watch for Donovan Dalrimple with his guitar.- a very happy and friendly guy who will play you a few tunes. Don’t be afraid to talk to them, maybe even make a friend. Many of the vendors that I didn’t buy from I chatted with and as they walked by day by day, they’d give me a good morning shout and a wave.

ROOM:
We had an ocean front junior suite, block 4, middle floor. Room was very clean and well kept. Yes, we had two doubles pushed together, no biggie. Mini bar had rum, brandy, vodka and gin. Fridge had red stripes, soft drinks and water. Coffee and coffee maker too. No tea though – there’s tea at the resort, just not in the room. A/C TV worked fine. It seems the clocks have trouble working there – but who cares? I’m on holidays! WIFI is FREE and works just fine!

FOOD:
If you cannot find anything you enjoy there, trust me – its you NOT the resort! The buffet was amazing with so many choices and with the wait staff bending over backwards to help – how can you miss? We hit 3 of the 4 a la carte restaurants. Bloody bay (steak / seafood) was my favourite, followed by Rimini (Italian). The Italian restaurant has a self-serve buffet for appetizers including beef and salmom carpaccio, salads, pastas, and anti pasto. The main course and dessert is sit-down. Hakuchi, the Japanese restaurant, was quite good too. You can have warm or cold sake there too!

Now, for lunch you have to try the hotel’s jerk shack on the beach. Excellent – everyone loved it! There is also a lunch buffet with all kinds of choices including cheeseburgers and pizza.

Food wise though, my feeling is why would anyone go to Jamaica for Italian or Japanese food? Not to mention cheeseburgers and pizza? – but I digress. Suffice to say that I tried all the Jamaican dishes there and all were great!

TIPS and STUFF
My best tip is to simple get off the resort and explore! Walk up the beach to the “original” office of nature and have a pint under the tarps at a homemade bar with the locals – great guys! We actually popped over three times during our time there!

Walk to the road and grab a taxi (red license plate) into town or get droppped off on the long bay portion of 7 mile beach. From there you can walk, explore, meet people (tourists and locals alike), grab a meal and/or a drink.

Do the “One Love Pub Crawl”!!!! (look it up on trip advisor) Just email Lenbert at bananaznegril@hotmail.com for a pick up date/time! We visited 7 “off the touristy-beaten-path” bars and had a fabulous time!!

DO tip the staff! You tip your bartender / waiter / cab driver back home don’t you? Why wouldn’t you there? All inclusive typically means room, food, booze. There is only ONE resort that I am aware of where tipping is prohibited (but you pay big $$ for the resort!) A dollar here and there goes a long way.

You can do a la carte dining every night if you like. Even if they’re “booked solid”, they only hold the reservation for 15 – 20 minutes. So if you want to dine at 630-7ish, just walk up about 645 and ask for a table. We got into the “booked solid” steakhouse with 5 of us, no problem. We also noticed empty tables at other restaurants too. I supposed people book their dinners, then either forget or change their minds (or spend too much time at the bars LOL).

There is much more, all positive !

Room Tip: block 4, middle floors are best - go for ocean FRONT.
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (620)
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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London
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
710 helpful votes 710 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

This hotel has excellence awards for outstanding service from First Choice and Thomas Cook. The service is excellent in all restaurants, bars, reception, entertainment. All restaurants were tried. The Krystal fushions is outstanding and there are hardly any of these in the world. The Japanese restaurant is good, Italian fair and the steak house poor (overcooked steaks here) they just cannot seem to get it right! The main restaurant is really good with a wide selection of food and at night the displays are really beautiful. You must try the jerk chicken served on the beach at lunchtime and the lobster served by the pool.

The hotel is old and a lot of the things don't work or are broken. I reported three such things - loose tap, ceiling fan that had packed up and faulty safe. All were rectified immediately.

The maid service is poor. You leave the room in the morning and put out the green sign to have the room cleaned. Come back 8 hours later and the room is not cleaned. There seems to be a continual shortage of towels. Some days you get no flannels or face cloths, other days no bath mats and there is always a shortage of towels and you have to use damp towels from the day before. Tip - whenever you leave the room put out the green sign and when you are sleeping put out the red sign. They do not hesitate to call and clean the room in the afternoon or late in the evening!

This is not the place to come if you want a good night's sleep. You will be woken up 24 hours a day by cars and vans driven past the hotel tooting their horns. In the evening the fire alarms go off (usually in the 4th block) and are not switched off until early hours of the morning. At 0400 be prepared to be woken up by early morning alarm calls (which you have not ordered), the hotel phone ringing, trolleys being pushed from the store rooms to the hotel blocks with the staff shouting at each other. The walls are paper thin and you can hear your neighbours talking, coming and going and even flushing their toilet!

There are lots of weddings here and they are lovely to see.

Room Tip: It seems most rooms are noisy.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

I just returned from the hotel and the trip was fun, the food was great, but the entertainment was EXTREMELY disappointing. One night the had a musical tribute of songs from around the world. It was entertaining until the DJ decided to mess around with the US song by skipping, causing the dancers to walk off of the stage. I know somw may have thought this was funny, but I did not. I was insulted and felt they disrespected my country. I have stayed at RIU hotels on four occaisons and this was my last stay. If they think it is fun to ridicule America, then I will take my dollars elswhere. Sadly, the resort was great other than this one issue and the fact the showers are small.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Jamaica! We stayed April 8-15 and had a great time at the RIU palace Tropical Bay. The staff are all very friendly and will go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable. A friendly tip always goes a long way but dont feel compelled they are all willing to go the extra mile for you. The grounds are very well maintained. The food is amazing with a great variety. Everything is on Jamaica time so don't rush plus you are on vacation. We were unable to make reservations at the steakhouse but no big deal. The room was clean and the bar is well stocked. We requested a room in block 6 and got the room we wanted. We also got extra towels and pillows with one call to front desk. Now that's satisfying the customer! Well done RIU Palace Tropical Bay :)

If you want some REAL authentic Jerk Chicken not the watered down jerk hut on the beach go to 'bourbon beach' in Negril about 10 min away from the resort right across the times square mall.

Room Tip: send email to front desk prior to your trip and they will hook you up. go for block 6!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

The people are very friendly and can't do enough for you. The water and beach is beautiful! The grounds are beautiful and everything is spotless. It does help to bring your own travel mug with lid for the drinks. The only suggestion would be to have a reggae band playing on the beach every afternoon.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richibucto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Just got back from this trip. I would definitely return, the food, entertainment, resort, workers were awesome, thanks Riu Palace Tropical Bay! We traveled with friends who were put at Riu Nigril, which I do believe was part of the resort. We were allowed to go there by taxi, however they were not allowed to come to our resort. I was so hurt and disappointed, we were having breakfast on our 2nd day there and there were a couple of workers in the restaurant who were distracting our friend and stole their wallet with their vacation money. We were sitting and within 2 minutes the wallet was stolen from his pocket. The wallet was found down the hall short time later.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Baltimore, Maryland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

April 1-5th, stayed at Riu palace in Negril Jamaica, Hotel was opened airy and beautiful, Staff was wonderful, beaches were always cleaned, drinks severed on beach, Rooms top of the line. The only down side is having to make reservation at one of the resturants on site, if you didn't want to eat at buffet every night, they start taking reservations in the lobby at 8:00am, but what they didn't tell you is that you can make your reservations for your whole week you are there, with that being said all of the 6:30 dinner times are always gone leaving you only the 9pm dinner option, for the number of rooms at this resort they need to make more seating for the 6:30 dinner times to handle all the people or limit it to only making one reservation per day, giving others the chance to dine at 6:30.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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
#12 Spa Hotel in Negril
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#18 Family Hotel in Negril
#19 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*
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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