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“Riu = No Problem” 4 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
New York
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Riu = No Problem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2010

Just returned from a week at the Riu Mo Bay. We are a family of five with three kids 8, 7 and 2. This was our fourth trip to Jamaica and a third time staying with Riu so I consider myself a seasoned veteran in both the island and the Riu company.

For those who have done all inclusive in the past or stayed with Riu I will just sum up by saying that this a standard 24hr all inclusive Riu. It does not exceed any of its sister resorts and it doesn't fall short. We managed our expectations well and had a fantastic family time. I hope my review serves as a one stop shop for anyone to be well prepared and have a great time at Riu Montego Bay.

Location - everyone knows from all the posting that this resort is located near the airport. 2 miles away to be exact. For us the location of this property was the primary reason we chose it because having traveled to Negril and Ocho Rios before we did not want to subject our kids to a 2 hour bus ride from the airport. This was a great 7 minute ride. Of course the price you pay for the convenience as a lot of people pointed out is the low flying planes taking off during the day. The flight path of the planes is directly over the resort. You can expect to see AND HEAR on average 3 planes taking off each hour during the afternoon hours. Morning and evening are a bit less busy and there are no planes leaving at night so there is no noise issue then. If you think this will be a bother then just stay at a resort which is a little outside of the Mo Bay and then it will not be a problem. For us it was not an issue at all and actually was very exciting for the kids, especially my 2 year old son to watch the planes fly so low.

The property is located right in the town and across the street from a large shopping center and a supermarket which makes it another great reason to stay there and be able to just walk there instead of taking a taxi as we had to do in the past.

For those who are interested there is easy access to local restaurants and nightlife outside the resort.

Rooms - Rooms are nice and comfortable. We had a triple garden view room which accommodates 5 people and was great for our family. The room was very clean with a nice size bathroom and a balcony. We stayed on the second floor, but a note for US travelers the second floor is really a third as the first floor is called a ground floor. Each building has either three or four floors and there are no elevators so make sure to ask for a room on ground floor if stairs is an issue. We stayed in building three (there are six all together) and had a view to the gardens. it was very peaceful and we heard no noise from the daily pool and beach activities when the kids took naps in the afternoon.

Pool - This is always a highlight at Riu. The Pool is beautiful. It is actually two identical pools separated by and island. One of the pools has a swim up bar. Plenty of loungers and shade around the pool and we were in less of a busy week so there was no issue to get seats in the morning. I can see the shortage issue during the busy times but as with all these resorts you should consider putting your towel down on the way to breakfast and you should be fine. Because of the proximity of the bar and available shade there is more demand for these loungers but there are plenty more on the beach.

Beach - I would not call it the best beach I have ever seen but it is ok. The water is a nice color not as clear as in some other places but still nice. For me the issue was seaweed which the staff does a good job of clearing in the morning but there is still some left over and with the water not too clear it's hard to predict when you will step into a patch and that is unpleasant to me. Otherwise the swim area is great, the water is warm and the nearby private island which belongs to Sandals serves as a natural wave breaker so the water is very calm. The usual inclusive water sports are readily available as well as local people offering motorized activities at a price.

One thing to note here as some other people commented are the locals who offer goods for sale. Apparently the resort property line runs out at water edge so the sellers walk along the beach and invite you to come over to see their goods. They do not go up on the sand near the loungers and if they call you and you come over they will leave you alone as soon as you say no. Two people spoke to us the first day and then no one bothered us for the rest of the stay.

Food and drinks - the amount and variety of food was your typical all inclusive. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner offered in the buffet and an additional three a la carte restaurants for dinner which you have to reserve.

The a la carte restaurants are Asian, Italian and Steakhouse offering 7 and 9 o'clock sittings. You reserve them in the lobby and I suggest doing it as soon as you get there. We simply said we want to eat at 7 when are these times available for each place and the lady gave us three dates and we were done. If you wait too long to ask then you risk not having any reservations at all or maybe only the late sittings. The Asian restaurant is actually a buffet style but it was very nice. The Italian and Steakhouse is offering starters and deserts buffet but the main course is a waiter service at the table.

The main buffet offers a lot of variety to choose from and during the day the open air buffet by the beach and the pool offers good option for a quick bite.

Of course there is also the jerked chicken on the beach which for me personally was the lunch choice every day.

There is a total of 5 bars. By the pool, on the patio, two around the stage area and one sports bar on the second floor where you also find an internet room and a small casino room (no tables just a few slot machines). The drinks at the bar are pretty good. The bartenders are very easy going and always ready to adjust the amount of rum according to taste.

Entertainment - there is plenty to do all day if that is what you like. The program starts at 10 with aerobics class on the beach and continues throughout the day with various activities and games all through the showtime at 9:45. The quality of shows varied from the cheesy movie songs theme to a pretty well done African culture show with the fire effects performed on the patio to an outstanding steel drums band which has gotten a standing ovation from the entire audience. I never have high expectations for these shows but we enjoyed them. The entire team works really hard to keep everyone entertained and they deserve a lot of credit for their work.

Kids Club - this is one of the weaker sides of Riu. Their kids club program is very weak in my opinion. There is a small area which is a kids club but we hardly ever saw any kids there and most of the time it was kids with their parents using the kiddie pool. You do receive an official schedule of activities for each day but I never saw any kids actually engaged in any. The one time my kids wanted to participate in the face painting the person in charge had to make sure we came on the right day and then she said yes we'll do it. No other children showed up. So in general the kids program is not great but it exists in case you want to use it.

Service - Overall service is good. I cannot say that anyone went an extra mile but it was satisfactory. We did have to wait for a long time for our luggage to make it up to the room, but our housekeeping lady was fantastic. We did have to remind the front desk twice about sending us a return customer gift basket but then they arranged a cake for my daughter's birthday in the dining room. The ground keepers make sure the grounds are very well maintained, the rooms are clean. We never had shortage of towels at the pool. Everyone was very friendly and polite. The staff works day and night and they work very hard.

Overall this vacation was a good value for the price and we had a great time. Ya Mon :)

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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
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Llandudno, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2010

We stayed at the Riu for two weeks, one week would have been enough. Although the hotel was clean and tidy and the staff were friendly enough the food wasn't great, a lot of variety but pretty much the same variety every night, we tried the Italian theme restaurant to get away from the whole buffet thing but had the same there, it was help yourself and then they would bring the main to you, other than that it was no different to the buffet restaurant in Mahoe Bay or Rose Hall. The drinks were terrible, soft drinks tasted of the syrup that they mix draught soft drinks with, the cocktails were cheap spirits mixed with some sort of slush puppy and the larger (or beer) was not drinkable.. although the bars were busy so some people must have liked it but trust me if you are a Brit you will not like the drinks !! We met some other brits and they all felt the same. Thank goodness for the proper diet coke and coke in the mini bar !!

Hotel is right by the airport which was good until we arrived at the hotel which wasn't far from the runway so you have planes going up and down all day every day but you do get used to that.

The beach was very small in our second week if you didn't get up and have breakfast by 8.30ish you wouldn't get a lounger by the pool or on the beach... also on the beach all day people on canoes would come to the shore to try and sell you things (one offer was for a shell full of weed for $50!) or braiding hair. They are not allowed to come onto the beach but that doesn't stop them shouting over at you which just got annoying after a couple of days when you are trying to relax!!)

I wouldn't reccomend the RIU Montego Bay to anyone, however if you have booked it isn't all bad, they have entertainment on and they do various trips from the lobby and there is a spa (which is very pricey!!) .. RIU just wasn't our cup of tea !

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2010

After reading some bad reviews, we were really nervous about this hotel...especially the beach. Thank God we didn't change our plans because the resort was great!! The beach was very clean while we were there and the water was not stagnant and murky, it was just as blue as the water in negril and ocho rios. The beach is just not a long strip of beach like the other ones and doesn't have the same type of sand , but we were so surprised at how nice it still was compared to what people were saying! We took kayaks out and the water was gorgeous and very clear. There was no seaweed on the beach at all. The food was great, you can always find something to eat..unless you're super picky. The jerk chicken on the beach was AWESOME! Everyone was so laid back and nice...the staff was excellent!! The bartenders are all so nice! James Bond is the best!!! The sports bar is open all night (with good nachos and cheese) and the Nightclub Pacha is good too! Who cares if you hear some planes every so often...its worth it to be 5 min from the airport. I live near Newark, NJ so it didnt bother me at all. We did some excursions to Dunn's Falls and to Negril , also rode some dune buggy's...we booked it through the hotel and it was great! We talked to many ppl who took a local cab ride instead of booking it through the hotel, and they were just as good. We heard so many ppl tell us to be careful because the island is really bad....I was expecting it to be really shady , but it was so nice! I heard horror stories from Mexico and Dominican Republic, so I was expecting even worse...but it was nothing like ppl made it out to be. Also, the pool area is great!!! I got a massage at the spa and it was awesome!! This vacation was so relaxing, the RIU was a great pick!!!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Washington State
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2010

We just got back from Jamaica, it was great!!!

First off before you go to Jamaica please remember the jokes about Jamaican's having 10 jobs isn't a joke. The people of Jamaica are very hard working!!! The waiters, hotel staff, taxi drivers, thiefs, salesman, and drug deals (street pharmacist) are all very hard working!!!!

For some tips....
Nothing is for free, do not take anything unless you plan on paying for it!!!! If they give you something for free it will end up costing you. It is very hard to say no because the people are so nice and the $1-5 you give them is $80-400 Jamaican dollars.
If a drug dealer tries to sell you weed, (which they will) I got sick of saying "No thanks" I just started saying I got some from our guy at our hotel, it seems like they were afaird of selling to people who had a guy....
Tipping.... I know I know it says tipping is included but really whats a $1 here and there. After our 3rd day the bartender was skipping the rude drunks who would splash the bartenders in the pool bar to come serve us.... I gave them $1 about every 3rd-4th round, nothing huge. As a whole the Jamaican people go out of there way to serve you, so whats a buck???
Taxi... Go outside the resort and deal with taxi drivers, or tell the one currently driving about the next trip and you will save money. If you stay at RIU Montego Bay ask for Nicholas or Kieth. The guy at the front might seem like he is hooking you up but he isn't the hotel gets a cut for each taxi he books. They wanted $180 round trip to Dunn's River (which is a must do) Kieth talked Nicholas into doing it for $120 for 4 people on his day off. He took us and along the way stopped at some nice areas for us to take pics, buy gifts, buy beer and just places the bus wouldn't stop

Things we did in Jamaica
We did the Dunn's River which was so great
Snorkeling was only $16 at the resort and well worth it
Blue Diamond shopping was nothing great, go downtown to Bobsled bar area and that whole strip has a bunch of shops that will cut you great deals and the airport has cheap stuff as well. Most people on our return flight had shopped at the airport.
Coral Cliff Casino is a waste of time. All gambling is on video machines, we didn't win one dollar and when we asked the pitboss to call our taxi driver she told me they didn't have a phone..She had one on her hip and one in her hand...... WTF???

BRING BUG SPRAY

As for the resort................. I'm not sure what everyone was complaining about.... We looked at review and did some research, we got what we paid for... RIU is about 3.75 stars. I knew they didnt have waiters and no room service, sure I would've like both but I wasnt surprised...
As for no waiters I'm talking about the bar, but don't worry bartenders are really fast and there are lots of bars!!!! We stayed 6 nights and got to eat in there diners 3 times. semi-waited on kinda like a buffet... There buffets are kind of like Las Vegas, tons of different types of foods. I didn't mind it at all.
Food was good, the bar food they call 24/7 isn't, its sandwiches and stuff like that, drink enough and its good. The Jerk was great, eat it!!!!!!

As far as other review saying staff was rude??? I highly doubt it, I didnt meet a rude Jamaican!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Planes, by your 3rd drink you'll never know
Bed.... The beds were hard and the sheets did suck but who cares your in Jamaica
Beach... Yes its man made and does have some weeds at the bottom but again who cares, it was little patches..... When you go to Bobsled bar across the street is ____ cave and they have great beaches, it cost $5 but its nice
In room bar and frig, we left $5 each day and got a case of Red Stripe (they deliever everyother day)
Safe... We called front desk and they came and reset it for us and we had lots of money in our room and never had anything come up missing.
Clean, the resort is very clean
Pool, the pool is very clean
Nightly shows.... kind of cheap but they try hard and it was fun to watch

My only complaint is the sugar... thats right their ketchup and coke suck!!! Yeah I know who cares, but I love my ketchup and Coke.............

Please don't listen to the idiots who complain about this resort.... I heard people complain when I was there...... I didn't get it

We loved it

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled on business
    • 5 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
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Oklahoma
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2010

This resort was very nice. I have stayed at Riu in Negril and it had only been open a few weeks. The Riu in Montego Bay did not disappoint me...however I usually stay on Gloucester Ave. also known as "the hip strip" when travelling to Mo-Bay. The Riu was quiet in the evening. If you needed taxi assistance it was a bit much because of the distance from shopping and restaurants. $20 one-way to "the hip- strip. There was the Blue Diamond shopping center across the way that was free to get a shuttle from the hotel. I am so accustomed to staying within walking distance to everything that this was an inconvenience to me. I am a beach person also... I wasn't impressed with the swimming area of the beach because the water was murky. Food was good the first night but it became so repetitive that I decided not to eat on the resort after that second night. Rooms were very nice. One problem with the rooms is that wall outlets for charging things such as cell phones or laptops was scarce and in weird places. The in-room refrigerator was nice and was restocked every two days. The in-room bar was also a nice perk as well.
If you don't mind walking alot and climbing stairs to your room this is the place for you. No elevators to any of the rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor. Enjoyed my stay and room but the location wasn't great for me. The pool/lounge area was absolutely beautiful! Staff overall was very friendly and helpful.
This is a beautiful resort and I will stay again but maybe in my older years.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2010

We went to the Riu for a wedding with a group of 50 people. It was the off season so thankfully it wasn't too busy. Even so, we had trouble getting seats by the pool and had to wake up early to do so. I can't imagine how hard it would be during the high season.

The beach was nice, albeit small, though there were no umbrellas to shade from the sun.

We found the service to be pretty good with the only issues coming during the wedding. The co-ordinator was late with the flowers, she was chatting with a friend in her office with the flowers when the ceremony should have started already, and then she couldn't get the music playing, they ended up borrowing a discman (yes, a discman) from another guest to play the music to get the wedding party down the aisle. Due to the delays, the wedding started nearly an hour late which meant that the photos were cut short by nearly an hour.

The photographer was terrible, the couple only got 12 photos, and you couldn't even see any beach or water in the photos, they were terrible and were basically discarded. The couple had hired Dustin Hall Photography from their area to take the photos and they were very thankful they had done so, they turned out great.

The hitches on the wedding day were the only major problem.

The food was a little 'watered down' in terms of real Jamaican food. But the Jerk chicken on the beach was amazing. The restaurants had to be booked at the start of the week if you wanted to eat there and we found that people booked and never went so while we ate at the main hall and wanted to eat in the restaurants, seats sat empty, and we were not allowed in. That's not the resort's fault though, it's the guests.

I went kayaking and the paddle broke, and I got back to shore and was told they didn't have another one, they only had one. that sucked.

Despite the problems, I enjoyed my time at the resort, and found the beds to be VERY comfortable, makes my bed at home feel like a cement floor

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, CA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2010

After suffering bed bugs at this hotel and asking around about other complaints, one of the staff let me in on a little secret - for 2 years the Riu stored the linens from an old hotel they took over and then used these disgusting, rough and infested linens in their new hotel. The front desk and on-site doctor were not surprised when they saw my bed bug bites. They did apologize by switching my room to an ocean front and sending me a bottle of champagne, but anyone who has suffered unsightly, itchy bed bug bites know that this was not a fair trade off. When I got home I sent a complaint e-mail to their corporate department and other than the standard e-mail saying they would get back to me within 30 days I haven't heard anything - its now been 90 days since I returned home. Don't stay here. They take zero pride in their hotel. You have been warned.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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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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