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“Amazing time at Riu Tropical 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 #28 of 90 Hotels in Negril
Montreal, QC
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Amazing time at Riu Tropical Palace!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2010

I just recently returned from a 10 night stay at the Riu Tropical Palace with my boyfriend. We absolutely loved the hotel and I thought it would be useful to write an accurate review since there is a lot of mixed feedback about this resort.

First of all, Negril is one of the best places to stay at in Jamaica. The beaches are amazing, it has a very laid back atmosphere and there are some really nice restaurants and sights. We ventured off the resort a few times and we always felt safe.

As for the hotel, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to visit Negril. It is more of a family and couples resort so if you are single, you won't find too much action here. Better to stay at another hotel with more young people and nightlife.

Beach: It was beautiful! Hands down! The water is incredibly clear, warm and has a nice aqua colour. The water was so clean and you can swim out pretty far and still touch the bottom. We walked the entire beach in the bay area, and Riu Palace had the nicest strip. You see plenty of tropical sea life which is definitely a nice touch!

Food: I thought the food was very good. The breakfasts in the buffet were delicious and there was so much to choose from. Lunch was great too. You could either choose from the buffet or the jerk chicken, which was very good. I also enjoyed the dinners. The buffet had lots of selection and generally was good. Certain things were misses though but much better than the food I've had in Cuba, DR and Mexico. We ate at 3 of the a la carte restaurants, the Japanese, Fusion and Steakhouse. The fusion (Krystal) restaurant was by far the best. The Japanese was not bad but I don't recommend the Steakhouse. We didn't bother trying the Italian.

Service: Amazing! The people at this hotel, and in Jamaica in general, are so warm and welcoming. Everyone was friendly and helpful with our requests. The housekeeping always left us lots of towels and our mini bar was always well stocked. The front desk was very helpful for making reservations at restaurants outside the resort and for arranging for a taxi service. I found the staff to be courteous, responsive and always smiling. Andrew at the pool swim up bar was awesome! He always made sure you had a drink in hand! Beware of the Bob Marley shots!

Excursions: there are a few to choose from. They are pricey but it's nice to get off the resort at least once. We did a catamaran excursion with Scuba Caribe. Torian, our sales rep, was great in providing all the info we needed and for ensuring we had a great time. The tour took us snorkeling and then to Rick's Cafe. If you can, you should visit Rick's Cafe at least once. It is definitely touristy, but still a nice place with great views and it's fun to watch the divers. Also, try to visit the Rockhouse Hotel. This is a boutique hotel in Jamaica with villas on the cliff side of Negril. They have a great restaurant situated right on the cliff. It's an awesome place to watch the sunsets and you can't get better views of the ocean than from here! It was one of my favorite places in Negril. We also went to Sweet Spice, a local Jamaican restaurant in the town of Negril which was delicious and Xtabi (also very good).

Overall, the hotel is great. It's clean, right on the beach and the site is not too big so it is easy to get around. The entertainment staff work hard (we loved Sandy!) to ensure that there are plenty of activities for the guests. Of course, since it is more of a family/couples place, there really is no nightlife past 11 pm and the shows can be a bit cheesy but you're not in Jamaica for that. We had a fun time at the nightime beach parties and we loved all the live reggae bands that they brought in.

I have no hesitations in recommending this resort to families and couples. We had an amazing time and both fell in love with Jamaica! Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
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English first
Pueblo, Colorado
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2010

My husband, myself, and our 3 children ages 14, 18, and 20 stayed at the RIU Tropical July 30th -August 8th. Because of the reviews I read, we booked our transfer to the hotel with Big Ship Tours; we didn't want to worry about waiting for other people to arrive knowing there would be a 90 minute drive to the resort. Can't say enough good things about Big Ship Tours, we used the private company the entire week. Everol was our driver, and virtually was at our beck and call whenever we wanted to leave the RIU.

Upon arrival we we greeted with fruit punch, and appetizers in the lobby. We were able to register without any wait. Everyone at the front desk was always very nice; we certainly can't complain. Although we asked for garden view rooms, we had a partial ocean-view. Our kids were in 5221, and my husband and I had 5222. I was surprised we had a king size bed, not 2 beds pushed together. 5221 also had a pullout couch which was a blessing. Our rooms were always spotlessly cleaned, an we had turn down service most nights, with fresh towels. One room needed to have the refrigerator replaced, and one day we locked ourselves out of the safe. The refrigerator was fixed a day after we brought it to their attention, and the manager came to unlock the safe immediately. Maybe were were just lucky, but we can't complain about the service in any area.

As the other reviewers stated, you don't go to this resort for the food. With 3 teenagers, we wanted an all-inclusive in the Caribbean, and there aren't that many to choose from. Yes, the buffet in the main building is the best place to eat on property. The wait staff are wonderful, and could not be more attentive. They truly want to please you. Please tip them. We ate at all 4 of the ale carte restaurants. They are as others have stated, sub-par at best. We thought the Japanese was the best overall. The Italian was just plain bad. You do eat outside at the steakhouse which also serves as the lunch buffet area, but we were comfortable, and it was nice watching the sunset. When we went to Dunn's River, we ate at Scotchies which is very nearby, My travel book said it was the best Jerk on the island, and judging by the large crowd it is probably right. True authentic Jamaican food, in a great outdoor setting. On the way back from YS Falls, we stopped at Sweet Spice; again a real Jamaican experience recommended in my book and on trip advisor. We did not eat at Rick's Cafe after talking with several people. You can walk to LTU right up the street. It is very small, right on the cliff, and had a great meal.

It is true, the beach is simply wonderful. We have been to several beaches, and this is not only the nicest, it is the largest one we have ever seen. Do take some of the cheap floaties, because the water is perfect. It is crystal clear, with a sandy beach that goes out forever. We walked to the other RIU, and down past the other resorts; they don't hold a candle. The aerobics on the beach each morning at 10 is lots of fun, and actually a good workout.

The pools aren't huge, but they NEVER were crowded. Maybe because it was August, but the resort was not busy. Our kids made several friends quickly from Holland, England, and Canada. They were together whenever we were at the resort.

Our family is very active, and love anything to do with water. YS Falls was THE BEST! Yes it is a long drive, but so worth it. There is a 5 section zip line one of which goes the length of the falls,( the guys who run it are great, and the equipment is excellent). There is a rope swing that the kids loved. Dunn's River is a completely different experience from YS, but again something you must do if in Jamaica. Lots of fun. Rick's Cafe is another must; my 3 kids loved jumping the highest cliff; of course the sunset is beautiful. This night we ate at the LTU.

We went scuba diving 3 days, and had a great experience with Sundivers, a PADI company. The master divers were great, just know the diving in Jamaica isn't like diving in Cozumel.

Overall we loved Jamaica and the people. We tipped the maids, bartenders, waiters, and our driver. These people are so incredibly poor, please help them out whenever you can.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
NJ
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2010

We’ve just returned from 6 days/5 nights at the all-inclusive RIU Palace Hotel. It was our group’s first time visiting this island nation. My sister-in-law booked through Apple Tours so we had easy transfers from airport to resort and back again. The bus drivers and luggage handlers were courteous and competent. The bus drivers were skilled at dodging the people and goats that seemed to materialize out of nowhere right in front of the bus. It did worry me, though, when we noticed both busses used to transport us had absolutely bald tires. My husband and I saw one tread, one tread, on one front tire of the bus that returned us to the airport.

We went to Jamaica to enjoy the sun and sand and family time together. And all three of those aspects didn’t disappoint. Our group ranged in age from 11 to mid-80 with an emphasis on ages 16 through 23. We swam, sunned, played beach volleyball, jet skied, sailed, played pool volleyball, worked out in the gym, as well as participated in the daily “contests” and nightly shows the hotel sponsored. We laughed a lot. The resort was fun.

We didn’t go for the food, and it’s a good thing since as nice as the people and service were on our vacation, most of the food was subpar. We ate in both the dining halls for lunch and dinner. We ate in two of the specialty, reservations-only restaurants (Bloody Bay, the steakhouse and Krystal, fusion gourmet). The selection of food was large, but the quality and taste of it wasn’t. Most vegetables were out of cans, from the taste of them. And we advise that if you want your steak done with a touch of pink running through it that you order it “medium rare.” Just saying! Stick to eating the local specialties (jerk chicken, anyone?) and you’ll be just fine. As a head’s up, my sister-in-law got really sick (roiling stomach, vomit, and diarrhea) after her first few days there; my other sister-in-law and her husband got sick after they arrived back home (same symptoms). The rest of us are holding steady so far.

The all-inclusive RIU Palace is lovely to look at, from the open-air lobby with the stenciled ceilings and dark wood (mahogany?), to the pool with swim up bar and the stunning wide and long sandy beach. Our rooms (20 of us vacationed together) were also pretty and air-conditioned, necessary for us since we visited in the heat and humidity of August. All rooms have in-room safes; however, I just heard from my sister-in-law that the credit card she brought with her, locked into the room safe and didn’t take out at all during the week had $300 of goods charged to it from a local boutique. Figure that one out!

To sum up, the resort is large, but not overwhelming. The all-inclusive activities are fun. The food, if you stick with local cuisine, is okay. The rooms are pretty, but we found (scattered as our rooms were throughout the resort) housekeeping service uneven with some of us getting daily maid service and nightly turn down, while others didn’t. Some of us received daily fresh towels while others received no fresh towels, even with repeated polite requests for them, until our last day. The employees on the resort were mostly friendly and courteous and helpful. I’d recommend this resort to families wanting to spend time together.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Scotland
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2010

Lets just start with some reviews on here in my opinion are a bit off track.

I stayed in the Riu palace Tropical Bay 19th July - 1st August with my partner and planned a chilled holiday and thats certainly what we had.

I will get the Bad points over with first. Yes the beds are 2 Doubles pushed together and they aren't the softest bed I have slept on but the sheets were changed and they were clean. So i was able to put up with it for the 14 nights.

On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by the front desk in a pleasant manner, they were very helpful and any time we had to approach them nothing was ever a problem.

The rooms were cleaned daily and the gardens were immaculate.

The pool area was a bit small but it was very clean and the pool bar was well stocked. It was about 50 steps from the pool to the beautiful beach, which was what made our hoiday. This is the best beach I have ever seen. Very clean, no mess on the sand and crystal clear water. Paradise. We even had a stingray that came and visited most days.

Restaurants - the buffett was always full of things you could eat, although we only ate there 4 night. The speciality restaurants were amazing, we tried all of them twice. Our favourites were the Japanses and Krystal. Very good food, and it made u feel better getting served a 3 course dinner. Could not fault any of the restaurants. The queue that everyone says there is to book the restaurantes I never experienced, I never had to wait longer than 2 mins to book. And if you miss the booking time, speak with one of the maitradees in the main buffet (Green waistcoats) they can book you something, if there are tables available.

The Jerk hut was open daily for Lunch one word yummy. Not good for the diet though lol

The staff were so helpful and the entertainment team really did there best, we never participated in anything they had going but we did have a laugh with them.

When wandering along the beach towards the public end the jamaican traders did approach you but with a simple No Thank You they didnt bother you again.

I didnt feel pressure to tip anyone but I did tip when I thought was necessary.
The hotel was very busy during our stay with the ATI weekend in Negril and I never once thought the hotel was over crowded.

Not a lot of kids at this hotel which suited me as i'd left mine at home. lol

The free WiFi in the lobby was a big help.

Every thing was No Problem Mon. I really enjoyed my holiday and have memories of a truly gorgeous beach and very nice hotel and superb Sunsets that will last forever.

If I can help anyone with questions please feel free to email me and I will give you my honest opinion.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamaica
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2010

Decent looking hotel. I actually stayed here once before and loved it, this time . . .not so much. The food and drinks are awful - very bland the service is not good. Granted the hotel was full the weekend I was there so maybe they were overworked; On more than 1 occasion when I arrived for a meal close to the cut off time for the restaurant they were removing all the food and utensils while they saw you trying to get something to eat, it's not like it was just me, several others trying to get food, as this was the only restaurant open and they just went about clearing away everything while you are in the actual process of trying to get food - ridiculous. if there were other restaurants open, then fine, you could just go to another one but there was no other. Then there are periods of the day when no restaurant is open at all, seriously!!! My room was musty, I had the frond desk person hitting on me - I was not amused and I never had enough soap, they give you one little bar which is soooo not enough. Negri is great the beaches are amazing but I was not happy this time around at this hotel, as I said I stayed here a few years ago and had a different experience.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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marlton,nj
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2010

My husband and teenage son and I stayed at the Riu Tropical bay from July 28 to aug 4. The property was very well maintained and the staff very helpful. I am a member of the Riu Class club and asked if I could use some points for anything but I really never got an answer. The buffett food was fine , the specialty restaurants were good. We ate in the steakhouse and the Krystal twice. The Italian was not great and we didn't try the Japanese. The beach was the best I've ever been on. You could snorkel right off the beach and we even had a sting ray that hung around the area. This is an older property that has been referbished and I have to say that the air conditioning was powerful. I think that maybe a game room would be a nice addition since there was really nothing for teenagers to do at night except watch the show. No dance clubs or anything like that at the hotel. This is the 3rd Riu we've stayed at and I would probably go back with adults.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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owego
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2010

We arrived on July 28, we were suppose to have a oceanview suite with king sized bed for our anniversary. We got 2 fullsized beds pushed together overlooking the highway. We requested a new room with none available until the next day. So we settled in , no hot water for a shower!! Then we ordered room service 5 items to choose from 3 salads a cold sandwich or nacho's YIKES!!! Next day we did get a oceanview room with a king bed, however the bath tub had 2 holes in it, door did not lock alarm clocks do not work . We requested a wake up call one morning due to booked fishing trip$400 paid, they never called and we missed the charter fishing boat, money was not refuned. TAKE A ALARM clock.FOOD even though there are 5 restaurants there they are not always opened. breakfast and lunch are buffet at 1 restaurant, supper 1 nice speciality restaurant and buffet. You need reservations for the speciality restaurant but you can only make reservations at 8 am- 9am at a desk for two days in advanced and they only take a small number of reservations. BARS- drinks varied on taste at each one. They ran out daily on mango/banana/ strawberry purees and othere needed to make the pretty tropical drinks. No top of the line liquor. Swim up bar closed everyday for a hour around noon. For goodness sakes have you ever heard of such a thing. Pool was very small and full of kids bouncing balls off the back of your head or spaying you with a water gun.Beach was beautiful and clean, nicest I have ever seen. No bar service at beach you have to go back to the resort to get a drink of water. Many local (farmers) selling locally grown goods and jewelery, clothes or playing music are non stop at the beach . They continually are in your face, No sercurity like the other beaches. Entertainment was poor except for the Reggae bands. Too many games, adults want to relax not play musical chairs. You can't say no to be on stage they are very pushy!! However the staff is very very nice and always willing to help.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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:
#10 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#13 Family Hotel in Negril
#13 Spa Hotel in Negril
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#17 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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