Mom, Dad and three teens arrived Good Friday 3/29 and returned 4/5. Don't want to step on my review that I planned but thought I would provide some information on what I know.
I had questions on the forum and people were kind enough to reply. I'm sorry to say we did none of the things I had thought we would do except go to Easter Sunday mass. I wanted to go to the Blue Hole and River Tubing but we were told by our airport transfer driver, the guy he was giving a ride to and our church taxi driver that because of all the rain these might not be so good. "Blue Hole might be brown." Because of the windy and sometimes rainy weather, everyone just wanted to enjoy the beach and pool when the sun came out.
I had wanted to go to Bamboo Blu (which is literally, right next door) but the only thing on the menu the teens would eat was a beef filet for $20 and dining is all outdoor which I normally love. But, by Sunday we all had plenty of bites. Not sure if they were Mosquitos or sand fleas since we really didn't see any. My son's bites itched but he is allergic to Mosquitos and had to take some Benydryl. The rest of ours did not itch at all. So, needless to say, no one wanted to eat outside on the beach for an expensive steak that may or not have been worth it.
We did make it to Easter Sunday Mass. Our tour rep, Apple Vacations, told me it would be $9pp for a round trip cab so $45 for all of us. Saturday, I went to the front and asked a guy standing by the taxi rate sign who could take us and he said he could and handed me his card. He said $45, I said I was told no more than $35 (thanks to Glenn on the forum). He picked us up at 10am, arrived at 10:13, he waited, and drove us back. Very nice man, gave him $40. Church was a great service in a very scenic location.
We were upgraded to deluxe which I had not really read about since I had reserved 2 standard ocean view. Deluxe includes: a seperate front desk area that is in the lobby of the deluxe area. They can do check out, encode key cards, information, customer service, print boarding passes (a must do for quickness at the airport) reservations for outside golf, assistance with RIU class/membership. Also, in the deluxe wing lobby, deluxe guests can sign up for ala carte reservations from 8-10am before standard guests have a chance at 10am in the main lobby.
That said, I waited 30 minutes on Saturday for reservations and all I got was Japanese on Monday at 7 and Asian at 8 on Tuesday. If I wanted to try the steak or gourmet I would have had to come back on Sunday to try again. As it was she recorded my time for the Asian on the restaurants copy as 7:15. Luckily, I took the little coupon with me and since it was written 8, they accomadated us.
They give you a map with restaurant times and here is what it says:
St. Ann - buffet - breakfast 7 - 11:30 am (has an omelet station on the left and right. If one has a line try the other. Not that busy before 9, after was a zoo)
Plantation - lunch buffet - 12 - 4 (this one has made to order paninis)
Mammee Bay - lunch buffet 12 - 4
Piccola Italia - paper says snacks but this had salad, pizza, lasagna, fries, cheese and crackers, minestrone, different noodles with sauces, desserts. Noon to midnight
Sports bar - 24 hours - I saw chips and runny cheese and popcorn
St. Ann - dinner buffet - 6:30 - 10pm
Mammee Bay -steak house reservations @ 7 or 9
Sir John - gourmet reservations @ 6:15 or 8:45
Mandalay - Asian reservation @ 6:30, 7:15, 9 or 9:30 (it's all buffet)
Sir Richard - deluxe guest gourmet reservation @ 6:30 or 9
Tushima - deluxe guest Japanese reservation @ 7 or 9
Jerk hut - it doesn't say on the paper but noon to 2 mostly towards the water sports. One rainy day it was in the hallway by St. Ann's and once it was more in the middle of the beach. Look for it! I think I became a jerk sauce addict and am going through withdrawals now.
You can get real coffee in the morning outside of St Ann's, however, a few days there was an 8 oz styrofoam cup, otherwise, I had to use a six ounce tea cup off a table. I brought a 16 oz coffee mug, hubby did not. Let me tell you, it's a long walk for 6 oz of coffee. Sports bar has coffee, presweetened cappuccino and tea from a machine like you'd see in a gas station.
Standard room has an actual key, deluxe key card.
Safe - did not have to pay extra. It was a lock with a key. Very inconvienent for three teens to use one key. Safe is only as wide as an iPad and maybe 10 inches high. I bought each kid a luggage lock so they could stow stuff seperately.
We had room 1137 and it had a true king with a seperate sitting area and a balcony about 8 feet deep. Kids had 1133 with two doubles pushed together, also sitting area but 4 foot deep balcony. They fought over who would sleep on the small love seat or "the crack". I saw that there were roll away beds but kids said that would take up too much room. Both rooms had free decent wifi, clean, and no bugs. We were on the second floor and the nice part was we never used an elevator. Only bad note, really weak water pressure. Also, shampoo is a 2 in 1 dispenser in the shower. Bring your own we forgot ours.
Drinks - no brand names I had ever heard of. My vodka tonic was NOT good and no limes. Stuck to frozen drinks, mariachi, luloomba, strawberry daquaris, mud slide. Alcohal and dessert in one!
Walking - I am a walker and the beach was an 11 minute walk from end to end. Driveway is probably 1/3 of a mile with sidewalk on both sides which is where my 17 year old ran back and forth. Hubby and I went outside the gates to the left. We went about a mile then sidewalk ended and we continued on the shoulder another 1/4 mile. I will admit that was stupid since drivers use the shoulder of the road all the time. There were no other tourists out and about and I wouldn't recommend it.
Asked about standard guests using quiet/deluxe pool. Three different answers: no, yes and not really but no one will kick you out.
We used activity pool and right side of beach closer to the jerk hut and water sports. It was a long walk from our room. IMO standard rooms are much better location to the amenities that we enjoy than deluxe.
Here is a link to a resort map that is pretty accurate:
If that doesn't work just go to www.resortmaps.com then select country and city.
I have a picture of the taxi rates as posted in the lobby but can't figure out how to attach them here.
But, if you have any questions about them or anything else just ask.