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“Beautiful property, not so great food & beach” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Montego Bay

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Hotel Riu Montego Bay
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   | Mahoe Bay, Ironshore, Montego Bay, Jamaica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ironshore
Erie, Pennsylvania
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Beautiful property, not so great food & beach”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Upon arrival at the RIU it was everything I had expected it to be and more. The place was absolutely beautiful and clean. My husband and I were greeted with drinks and checked in very quickly. We arrived Dec 20th and stayed until Dec 27th. Unfortunately there was no time to waste we had to make reservation for the on-site restaurants the steakhouse, asian and italian. As it was majority of the reservations were already taken and our only seating option was 9:00pm for all 3 places. You can only visit each one once during your stay and if you didn't like the Asian you could not replace it with two of the other choices. So for an entire week we ate dinner ate the buffets. We found our room immediately so we could change and although we were given a map the property is so large that it took us some time to figure out exactly where we were staying. Once we were in the room the first thing we notcied was how hot the room was. We immediately turned the AC all the ay up and turned on the fan. Unfortunately the entire stay the AC never truly cooled the entire room down. This was the case in many rooms as we discussed this with other people. The room was immaculate, pillows horrible, bed comfortable, Oceanview suite amazing view! Buffet food was good. not great or fantastic just good. The sit-down dinners (which are actually buffet style too) were HORRIBLE!!! We actually waited 45 minutes to get out main entree from the italian restaurant and then my husband and I decided to leave and eat the regular buffet. The food here was aweful anyway. No garlic, onion or reall sauce it tasted like canned chef boy r d! The Asian food as well was horrible and not well stocked! We heard so many horrible things about the steakhouse that we decided to not attend our final RSVP for that meal either and again decided to eat in the regular buffet area. Pools great, entertainment great, drinks great, beach aweful! If you like to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun, sand and water, Montego Bay is deffinietly not the place to find it. Seaweed is here year-round and disgustingly thick and slimy all the way to shore. The sand is not raked and has trash that is not collected. There are people who harass you EVERYDAY to buy marijuana from these little surfboards they ride up and down the beach area. We stayed mainly at the pool which for me is a HUGE disappointment. Dunns river falls is amazing! make sure you bring your own water shoes so you doint have buy theirs, you will DEFFINITELY need them. Rafting on the Martha Brae VERY romantic! If I had to return to Jamaica I would stay in Negril. The beach is SOOO much nicer, alot of security around to make you feel safe since this is heavily populated with locals. Seemed liked other reviews complained of overhead passing planes but honestly you never heard them at night and I really don't think I paid that much attention to them any way. The jerk hut on the beach was AMAZING and probably the best food I had the entire time I stayed at the RIU. Over all would I ever go back to Jamaica? Absolutley NOT. I have been to majority or carribean islands, I like couples resorts or family resorts, look for a beach, great food and drinks and good entertainment and shopping. This was by far a trip i would reccommend to a friend.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (949)
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English first
Boston, MA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Riu was our first all-inclusive experience. Food is good, especially breakfast (smoothies) and the jerk hut. Get there early as there are long lines. Also unexpected was the reservation-only restaurants booking up so quickly - we tried on the first day as many recommended, and but they were all full. The grounds are nice, and staff is ok. We did not have towels in the room and had to wait quite a bit while they were brought to us. Rooms are fine - decor is a bit dated and a bit of a musty smell. Pool is lovely, thank goodness (read on...)

We ended up spending all of our vacation at the pool, which is the reason for my two star review. The beach is one of the worst I've ever seen. We did some research before booking this trip, and travelers, please note well the comments about the seaweed. The water looks blue and clear but just a few feet in is the ubiquitous, disgusting seaweed - it is the worst feeling not to be able to linger in the water. I tried getting used to it, but it is slippery and slimy and just a horrible feeling. The beach is small and not at all what we expected - we looked at so many pictures online and felt duped when we got there. We're from the Northeast, so a Caribbean vacation for us means a wide, white, clean sandy beach with waves and clear water. The Montego Bay beach just does not have this. We will never return.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

Over all the resort, staff, food atmosphere, environment was friendly relaxing, crazy fun couldn't really find anything wrong! The lifestyle, and people are incredible. The resort is very nice, well taken care of great staff lot to do. food and drinks..i am still missing. Jerk hut on the beach was to die for! The only thing I didn't love was the beach, the sand felt like clay and lots of sea weed in the water. We visited Negril while I still wouldn't trade the lively atmosphere Montego Bay has the beach in Negril was perfect!!! We would love to go again and will continue to book with riu in the future.
I would also like to mention the wedding planner Nakeisha she deserves a million thanks! She made our wedding day perfect!!!! Trust that if you book your wedding you will truly experience a once in a life time dream come true. Nakisha will pay attention to every detail and true,y make it perfect.

Room Tip: Ocean front suites are the true VIP feeling the pictures do not do any justice!!
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  • Stayed May 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

This was our second time at an all inclusive resort. Compared to Mexico last year, this was sub-par. We stayed from Dec. 22 - Dec. 27. The pool and beach were GREAT! The entertainment staff did not do much "entertaining" during the day in the way of games and activities. There were free paddleboats, kayaks and sailboats which was awesome.

There was nothing to do at night except drink and watch lame dance shows. The food was not great. I do not have high expectations for buffet service but it was pretty poor. The food was not well attended, they hardly restocked the salad bar. As far as the other restaurants go - they are a joke. I stood in line in the lobby for 30 minutes only to be told my only option was on Wednesday night at the "Italian" restaurant at 9:00. I was furious that I just wasted 30 minutes of good pool time for nothing.... they could have put a sign up indicating availability.

On several occasions we requested simple things like washcloths and water, it took forever to get anything, but it did eventually come.

Make sure you see Winston at the pool bar - "Winston is always good!" He is the guy balancing drinks on his head with a smile!

Room Tip: Ask for 5220. We got upgraded to a suite, but it didn't have a shower door. This really wasn...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Arlington, Virginia
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

Our New Years stay at RIU MB was a disappointing experience. Though most of the staff were friendly they provided sub-par service. Our poor experience started as soon as we checked in at 4pm and our room was not ready for occupancy. It required maintenance that delayed us another hour before we could unpack, change and head out to the pool and beach. Also, all restaurant reservations were booked for our entire stay. When we pointed out we paid for all-inclusive, the restaurant rep nearly shrugged her shoulders and said sorry. This was just the beginning of a very "Jamaican" attitude and approach to solving issues. Everyday brought new issues with little mindset by the staff to resolve successfully. Though the issues may seem minor individually, they add up and make an overall negative impression. I don't think it is on the customer to constantly have to guide the staff how to make things better. The customer (we) paid good money to come he to relax and spend quality time with each other. In the end, if you are looking for sun and great weather Jamaica is the place to be. However, if you want proper 5 star treatment for your hard earned money, then RIU MB is not the right choice.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
North Carolina
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Stayed at the RIU for 9 days over the Christmas Holiday. I felt the place was great....Ok a few baby little things but not bad...You are 3 minutes from the Airport so plan on hearing the planes taking off every 10 minutes all day. The beds are not the greatest comfort, No one will bring you drinks while you are lounging at the pool, but there is a swim up bar so no problem. The food came with all the choices you can imagine, take advantage of the reserved rest Little Italy, Asian & The Steak House...all will permit shorts not requiring long pants for men. The Excursions were far better than other places I have visited in the past. While I felt they were so much higher in cost, it was justified..(Dolphines, 4 Wheeling, Zip Lining etc)...take advantage of these excursions well worth it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clinton Township, MI
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Check in tips: do not let anyone take your luggage to your room, take your shuttle ticket, or offer to help you unless you plan to start tipping right away! Also, book your restaurants immediately upon checking in as you only get to eat at each speciality restaurant 1x, if there are even reservations available.

The second we got off our shuttle, a lady took our shuttle ticket for our return, and walked us to the front desk to "help" with the check in process (which we were perfectly fine to do on our own). Our room wasn't ready, so she tried getting us to start booking all of our excursions, which we planned to do, but just wanted to relax after a day of traveling! Then she took out shuttle ticket so we were forced to go see her eventually in order to get it back.

The bell boy then insisted that he take up luggage to our rooms. When we told him we didn't have a room yet, he went to the front desk, and got our key (which one would think is nice). He took us to the room, and it still was not ready, he just wanted a tip, by this point, we were annoyed because we missed the whole check in process, didn't have a map, any hotel tips, or anything and write left in our room with a maid staring at us and our luggage in her way.

Food: Breakfast was the best. Cannot say anything positive about lunch or dinner. Very disappointed as we hoped the food would be outstanding and it was not even close. Buffet dinners and lunch got boring, and many of the same foods all around, just in a different spot.

Jerk chicken was yummy. Eating it everyday gets a bit boring. Specialty restaurants are definitely better than the buffet...but still not amazing.

The bread was fresh and VERY tasty. French fries were good :-) You will find at least a few things you will like and probably stick to them the whole time. I had no problem eating even though I wasn't satisfied with the food. So...it couldn't have been that bad!!! Just wished it was better.

Drinks: Plentiful and strong! Wine wasn't great, and Red Stripe got old after a few days...but overall it was great. Bring your own mug/container so it lasts longer :-)

Entertainment: Best part of the resort. The crew is very talented and works hard morning, day and night to keep you entertained. Aerobics on the beach and water in the morning, dance lessons afternoon, pool activities, and night shows all kept the vibe fun! Tip: get seats right after dinner, starts to fill up around 8 and if you wait until the show starts at 9, you will be standing.

Rooms: need updating. Not best bed, murky smell like most Caribbean places. We did not have an alarm clock and others did. Was an average room. Bathroom part was nice.

Beach Tips: get your seats early. We took a towel out to the beach or pool before breakfast. Lots of chairs on the beach.

Water is nice, but lots of seaweed. Beach was typical. Was nice enough for the purpose :-)
Be careful of being approached by locals in their canoes trying to sell drugs and seashells. They come around in the morning and linger. It gets annoying as they will follow you if you don't say "no". There is beach security in the morning that keeps an eye on them.

Resort: was nice and kept up. Bathrooms always being cleaned, service was good for the most part. Grounds are pretty and workers always maintaining it. Layout of the resort is a bit off as all rooms/buildings are to one side versus it being more even,y spread out. But location of everything was fine.

Night life: gets a bit boring after dinner, before show. Shows don't start until 9. Music would be nice beforehand. After the shows, there is the Disco. It gets old after a night or two depending on who is in there.

Excursions/Taxi's: taxis are very expensive. Some people were getting to know bartenders, who them took them up of the resort on their own..showing them the island. You are best off with the excursions you book through the agencies right there. They include shuttle, etc. Just remember and expect to spend an extra $20 and up for tipping, and extras (souvenir, food, etc)

Also, we were very disappointed that anytime we asked for change (for tipping) no one could help us or bounced us back and forth rudely. So if you don't bring your own singles, etc...good luck trying to find people at the resort to help you!

Overall...if you are just coming for a relaxing get away, you will be satisfied. If you are hoping for exquisite dining, and great food, this is not the place. We had fun. But we're more than ready to come home.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Montego Bay

Address: | Mahoe Bay, Ironshore, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay > Ironshore
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ironshore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Montego Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 681
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Opening September 2008 * Located in Montego Bay, on Jamaica's northwest coast * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 2-story main building and 3-story and 4-story annexes * Surrounded by 40,000 m2 / 47,840 sq. yards of lush gardens * 4.5 km / 2.8 miles from Montego Bay * 350 m / 114.8 ft from various shops * 2,7 km / 1.7 miles from Montego Bay airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Montego Bay Resort
Riu Hotel Montego Bay
Hotel Riu Montego Bay Ironshore, Jamaica

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