Okay, I had read some terrible reviews on this resort after already booking here so as you can imagine I was a little apprehensive. However after arriving on October 15 2012 around 2pm we checked in really quick, there were staff with trays of appetisers and fruit punch which was a nice touch. We then headed to our room which smelled a little damp but I put it down to the fact that its a humid country and with the air con on a lot it's gonna be tht way so I didn't complain. The room was nice but that's it.the tele was a bit of a relic but I wasn't there to watch it. The bathroom was nice and clean and stocked daily, however the toilet had a bit of a flushing issue (I found myself constantly repairing it). We had a safe (which was free, you just have to ask how to use it) and an iron,the minibar didnt get stocked from what I saw but I was never in the room long enough to need more than one drink anyway.one thing I noticed is that plug sockets are a rarity! If you have 2-3 in a room and you each have a phone an camera to charge you have to do it in shifts but it wasn't a big issue.the air con in our room worked GREAT it was like a fridge. The air con in our friends room next door though was a load of crap!
The staff are REALLY nice, they remember your name and always speak to you in passing. There were a few staff members that stuck out.paul in the lobby bar who sings along to music during the early evening and is truly talented.yanieke who tends to work various bars is lovely, she really listens to how you like your drinks (and I'm fussy with mine) marsha who seemed to be in the bar above the pool a lot was efficient and always happy to help.kemoy (a waiter/glass collector) was funny and always good to chat to.the only exception was a staff member called dolton/doulton he was ignorant as he never responded to ANYTHING you said, he never looked at you other than to give you a nod indicating he was serving you an generally had a bad attitude. The restaurant staff deserve medals as they clearly aren't enough of them.the table clearing is slow but u can't expect them to work any faster. Theyr all extremely polite and well mannered which is what you expect when dining.
The food at times was really nice, there wud be a signature dish for each night which wud be accompanied by the general buffet which didnt differ much.there were night where there was curried goat, roasted duck/chicken, there was a Mexican themed night (which was nicely followed by some Mexican themed entertainment, the buffet food was edible but very samey I found myself eating the same stuff. The breakfast ommelettes were nice but don't eat the bacon it's dry, curled up and tasteless.the fruit an veg always tasted nice (I recommend you get a staff member to show you what parts of the jack fruit to eat cus its yummy). Lunch for me always left something to be desired.the shadows rest food hall is HOT and makes eating there a chore as you constantly sweat in there. The food is ok but again it gets boring. I never ate from the beach jerk bar as every day I went there i was too late.here the strange bit....i got there most days around 2ish.after the third day (at 2:30) I asked why I cudnt get any food, and what time they closed , I was told 3pm and I assumed they had had a busy afternoon.on the fifth day I asked again what time they had closed....my response? "Ahhhhh, 2 o clock, 2 thirty, sometimes tree o clock" clearly they had no management checking on them so they closed whenever they liked! This so called 24 hour all inclusive they boast is a load of lies as it closes at certain times.
Entertainment was brilliant, there was always something to watch and the staff put EVERY ounce of energy into everything they did. They seem to be there all the time too. There was one night where they had the same singer in doing the same act only a couple of nights apart but he was good and felt no need to complain as I'm sure there was reason. The one thing I really didn't like was that we realised on out last night (Monday) the club was closed, we assumed the bar woul stay open later than its 12midnight closing time to compensate for that but it wasn't and was told "you have a bar in your room" I was livid as on your last night you want to make the most of it! Although previously that night there had been a beach party which I didn't stop laughing at. Shadrick (I think) was HILARIOUS, he really can put on a show so definitely see that.
The beach was nice. It's man made and very obvious. Two years previous I had stayed at sunset beach where the waters were crystal clear the whole time and full of sea life which kept me so entertained with snorkelling all holiday. At riu.....NOTHING! The water was rarely clear an got dirtier looking the more people were in it due to the sea bed being made up of this sloshy, dirty, mud like stuff that felt disgusting when you stood on it (note that I got like this halfway out to the rope that stops you swimming too far).
I don't think I would go back again as I think tere are other places in Jamaica that offer something more but if I had to I think I could still enjoy more time here as its not as bad as some of the reviews by its not as good as some of the fantastic ones either.just go here with a relaxed attitude and the hopes o having an easy week and you will be fine.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.