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“Very Relaxing”

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Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica
Ranked #5 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 18, 2014

Just returned from a 4 night stay at the Riu Palace Jamaica.

Me and my wife really enjoyed our stay. This is a great place to go if you want to relax and be treated great.
The beach was small, but very private, so not noisy and no vendors bothering you. Was a nice spot so sit and relax, go for a swim. The water was very nice.
The pools were nice as well. Had a good pool bar, and had activities to get involved if you wanted to.
The rooms were very nice and clean. Had plenty of water as well as alcohol if you wanted to drink in room. We usually had drinks at the bar areas. Maid service was great, did your room by mid afternoon and returned to do the beds and a quick touch up in the evening.

Bars - the best part of the place - the bartenders were very enjoyable. They had a good selection of alcohol for an all inclusive. The atmosphere was pretty laid back, so it was nice to talk and meet people. They do have an entertainment team that you can get to know if you want. They have bands and entertainment pretty much every night. It is on a small scale compared to other resorts, but nice.
If you want to really party it up, you have the RIU Montego Bay right next door that you can go to and stay up all night if you want.
Food was very good. The breakfast and lunch buffets were very good, with a great selection. We also went to the Jerk hut on the adjacent property which was great. Dinner had 4 restaurants, usually 3 open a night. All were very good. They had a Mexican night with appetizers and drinks in the courtyard area one night that we really enjoyed.
I like being at the Palace because you felt like you were in a small exclusive resort that was very quiet, laid back, but still a lot of fun to be had. And, you had the option to walk next door for a much more loud and lively atmosphere if you wanted.
If you are looking for miles of beaches to walk, this is probably not your place. But, if you are looking for a nice, classy place with exceptional service, I would recommend this place.
Plus close to airport which is nice. I live in the city, so an occasional plane flying by overhead did not bother me.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Dave S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,959 - 1,965 of 2,205 reviews

Reviewed March 15, 2014

We just returned from a 2-week stay at this resort. Nice and close to the airport so no long bus ride. We had an ocean view room, but you had to sit on the side of the balcony to see it. The room was clean, new and in the new contemporary design. Fridge was restocked daily with Caribe beer, water and various sodas. A request for Red Stripe, along with a tip was cheerfully accommodated. It would have been nice to have juices as well, as we had at other Riu Palace properties. Patio doors pull closed and you pull the handle down to lock. It is easy to pull the handle down as you close the door and accidentally lock someone out on the balcony. We were locked out by the maid and had to yell to someone on another balcony to get someone to let us back in. This happened to another couple the very next day so be careful. No worries Mon - we are on vacation and have a good story to tell when we get home. Kids would walk along the fence just outside the property and ask people sitting on the balcony to throw them some pop. Some asked for food or a dollar.

This was our first trip to Jamaica and we were so impressed with how friendly each and every person at this resort is. The front desk staff always had a friendly greeting, bar tenders were great along with wait staff and cleaners. The buffet was great and we ate most if our meals there - lobster every Wednesday, great sushi bar, interesting salads. We used the Sunwing rep to book 2 outings. We toured the Croydon Plantation and saw plants and fruits we had never seen before. They had tasting stations along the tour route with fruit and drinks- yum. The tour guides were fantastic - they even sent a security guard on the bus, although we felt safe at all times. We also asked for a taxi driver who would give us a brief tour of the city along with some shopping. The tour was informative but as another reviewer pointed out the shopping is a joke. We were taken to a small store where t-shirts were listed at $58US and everything else was over-priced - they did offer a 50% discount! The taxi driver visited with his friends and filled up with gas and expected us to pay the extra half hour this took. We did take a walk across the road from the resort and did not enjoy that at all - from the pushiness of the vendors to the kids asking for a dollar, we were happy to just shop at the hotel store.

The beach was fine - a very short walk from the hotel and washrooms close. Beach service was available but service sometimes not that great - but you just get up and walk to the bar to get what you want. A steep drop getting in but you soon get to know where this is. Water was warm and blue - very refreshing. It was very quiet and easy to find shade under a palm tree if you needed it. The beach is very small and if you like to walk the only option is to walk to the end of the Riu Montego Bay property, which is not a long walk at all. The water is very calm and there is no boogie boarding. The entertainment staff offer various activities but are not pushy if you do not wish to participate. We did not use the pool. At other Riu resorts, the pool area was hosed down and cleaned every night, but at this resort the same spilled drink stains were there for days until it rained - this is still a new resort so they will get this straightened out. We did have rain on 4 days for the 2 weeks we were there, but always in late afternoon or evening and a nice break from the heat.

You must take a walk to the jerk hut on the Riu Montego Bay beach next door. It is absolutely the best!

We had a wonderful vacation and loved this resort. The only negative I can think of is the airplanes going over head as they take off from the runway. They are so loud you cannot hear another person talk. Yes you do get used to it, but we came to relax and found them very annoying.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Adele F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2014

Well I give you the run down on the good and then the bad. The good - This place has a peaceful touch of tranquility that you won't get at the Riu next door. Some call it boring but the option of going to the Riu MB next door, getting your fill of loud excitement and then being able to escape and return to the Palace is a gift. The rooms were pretty good, although I have seen and heard of a rush job to finish the hotel on time and there are some minor imperfections in the building but hardly noticeable at all. The food was good but not a great variety like next door, although in going to get that variety you have to deal with the herds of people whereas at the Palace, it feels like you being sitted at an ocean front restaurant with your very own personal server and room to spare around you which I loved. Never a crowded feeling here. The beach although smaller suited our needs and the swim area was good, but it dropped off after 12 feet out and I kinda always like being able to walk out a bit in the ocean and still be waste deep. The hotel itself give you the impression of a touch of class as soon as you walk in, And the acua bar that's open 24 hours serves a variety of great mini dishes which put the Riu MB sports bar to shame. The grounds were well kept and the 2 pools, although smaller than next doors, served the purpose for the amount of people here. The hotel has around 220 rooms compared to 1000 plus next door...so you really embrace the feeling of being catered to by the great staff. Which is my next point...the staff here really made this trip great. Avian and Presley and the aqua bar would always call you by name and serve you with a smile and were always making sure your drink was filled, Great job guys. Clive was a server who would attend to you when your relaxing on the beach and needed food or drink. Clifton and Sparkles next door always had a trick up their sleeve when getting you your drink and all the other staff members just did a fantastic job of making you feel like a king (or queen). I always said...you can stay at a hole in the wall and if the people you surround yourself with are awesome then the trip is awesome and vise-versa,,,you can stay at a palace and if the people or staff sucks then it can ruin your trip. So thanks again guys for making our trip. Next... I know a lot of people say don't wander off the resort for safety reasons and telling you from our own experience...our best and most fun times were off the resort. We ate at Sparkeys just 3 min down the road and had Donna the local join us for some drinks and a ton of laughs and songs. Great time. We also went to Pier One until 5 am dancing and had an awesome time. It really is about your own attitude when you mingle with the locals. Stay cool and bring out the sense of humor and fun within you and they will love you, Trust me, We also went on a couple of road trip to Dunhill Falls, highly recommended. The staff are fun there. And also went to Negril to Margaritaville (beach was so nice there) and then to Ricks Café, which we were very sadly disappointed with. This is a beautiful restaurant (ranked like 7th in the world) but found the staff there terrible, awful, lazy and unfriendly. They stood around checking the girls out by the railing when they should have been serving the customers. Worst service and most unfriendly staff on the island. The bar itself is very cool though. The tour bus was fun and the directors of the trips kept you laughing.
Now the Bad - There wasn't a whole lot I did not like about the hotel. Be prepared to tip everyone all the time. The tours were tip after tip for this person or that person. I did not mind tipping the bartenders at the resort and the staff, but when you take these tours they take you from one guide to the next and at the end of the tour, they all want a tip from you. Tip what you can and don't be afraid to tip a low amount as not everyone is as rich as others and they understand that. The food variety at the Palace wasn't great but the food was good. We tried out one of the fancy restaurants and enjoyed it. The beaches have palms trees on them but there isn't enough shade and by day 5 when your crispy and craving a umbrella on the beach , it is not allowed. Security did a good job but going inbetween the resorts but you may still run into the odd dealer that sneaks in. Not a big deal really. All in all we had a great vacation and highly recommend the Palace to anyone. And remember ...there are no problems in Jamaica only situations and when a situation happens you just say no problem mon!

Room Tip: Ask for a Garden view with an ocean view.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank jojoeeee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

This time, at the Riu Palace in Montego Bay. I stayed here 5 days and 4 nights in an ocean front suite on the 3rd floor (really the 4th floor if you ask me, but they count the ground level as 0, 2nd floor as 1, 3rd floor as 2, and 4th as 3). I will condense my review by focusing on three of the most important areas. Accommodations, Food & Drink, and Service.

I am from Chicago and this has been a particularly brutal winter season. Record snowfall, and arctic like temperatures at home made this vacation to Jamaica all the more appreciated. No delays leaving Chicago's O'hare airport on American Airlines despite the snow storm. Arriving at MBJ's Sangster airport was no problem either. Going through customs was a breeze and it was not more than 30 minutes before we were on our prearranged transfer to the Riu Palace; another 5 minutes later and we were already arriving at the resort.

There are two Riu properties at this location. The Riu Montego Bay (which I have visited in the past) and the Riu Palace which is the subject of my review. The Riu Palace is an adults only all-inclusive resort. It is brand new having opened 3 months earlier in December 2013. From the moment I walked through the main entrance I was treated as a king. They have the royal palace element down packed! We were greeted with a choice of champagne or red stripe beer. It was roughly 12:30pm and normal check-in is at 3pm, however the hostess invited us to leave our luggage with the bell boy, and have some food and drinks while we waited for someone to check if our room was ready for an earlier check in, and it was.

Accommodations:

The room was awesome! Very clean, open floor plan with no separation between the living/sleeping area and the bath. There is a jetted tub, double sinks, separate shower, and private toilet. You have your standard Riu minibar, stocked with Rum, Vodka, Gin, and Scotch. The fridge has an assortment of sodas, water, and carib beer. The ocean front room was situated directly in front of the beach with a great view of the blue ocean water. You can also so the pool area and the Sandal’s private island across the way. Beds were comfortable, I used the jetted tub which was very relaxing, flat screen TV with plenty of channels to watch. Free WiFi which was quite speedy. I was beyond satisfied with the room; it was very comfortable. There were two chairs and a small table on the balcony which I also made good use of.

Food and Drink:

The food in the buffet was amazing. There was a great selection for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; lots to choose from. For breakfast they have an omelet station along with plenty of buffet selections and fresh juices. In the afternoon there is some AMAZING jerked chicken, and in the same area as the chicken I found some fried plantains which I enjoyed eating together. Red stripe beer was on tap during lunch. For dinner there was everything you can think of, steak, lamb, pork, chicken, and the freshest fish EVER. Tuna, Salmon, Snapper, and catch of the day. I really enjoyed access to the great fish. On Wednesday, there were LOBSTER TAILS! No reservations were needed for the specialty restaurants and there were 4 to choose from. First come, first served for the restaurant seating and there are 2 seatings per restaurant, per evening. I enjoyed dinner at Krystal, the fusion restaurant. I had the snapper and it was probably the best prepared fish I’ve ever had. Drinks were pretty good. The red stripe beer tastes great and its on tap at all of the bars. The bartenders are willing to make anything you can come up with, and the have a menu of some pretty standard cocktails. One thing I did not appreciate was being told by the guy in the Vogue lobby bar, that mint is “out of season” when I ordered a Mojito. As outrageous as that is, I did not protest, not really trying to challenge anybody while I’m on vacation. So I say, I’ll take a caipirinha (basically a mojito without the mint). The guy then says, lime is out of season too. I settle for a red stripe and leave. Later at another bar on the property, I ask for a mojito just to see what happens and the guy (a different bartender) says “No Problem, Mon!”. I never understood why the first guy made up this story about not having lime or mint, but it was weird. As a result, we avoid the main bar when he was working. The drinks were otherwise great and made with high quality alcohol.

Service:

The service at this place is FIVE STAR. I can not say enough good things about the staff at the Riu Palace in Jamaica. Everyone is kind and polite with a smile on their faces. I met some awesome people here that I genuinely consider to be a friend now and I look forward to visiting this place again just to see them. The person that stands out the most is NADINE. I looked forward everyday to seeing Nadine around the resort. She is a great person, and when I tell friends and family about this vacation, I mention Nadine. She was very concerned to know that we were having a good time. She remembered where we like to sit, and on our last day she made us mimosa and sent us off on our way back home with a hug and wish of safe travels. I have to say, Nadine could RUN this place. The whole hotel. She is management material. She is such an asset to the Riu property. The entire staff is great! Another one of our favorites was Yvette who makes a mean margarita! I enjoyed chatting with Yvette and seeing her around the resort as well. I want to go back NOW!

Just be prepared to have a GREAT time. The resort is quiet, but remember you have full access to the Riu Montego Bay next door.

I would definitely stay here again.

Enjoy!

Tell Nadine and Yvette that Reggie say Hey Mon!

Room Tip: The beach goes from shallow to DEEP in about 5 steps from the shore. There are signs warning of the...
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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10  Thank ReggieD3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2014 via mobile

The place is nice, besides the size like everyone says you have options to go to the bigger sister resort next door. The food wasn't amazing but it's not horrible. Staff is super friendly! I loved andrei at the pool bar & fabion at the lobby bar(he makes the best drinks)

  • Stayed: March 2014
    • Value
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Thank ReNita W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2014

The rooms were very large and clean. Staff friendly and attentive. While we were there they did a different specialty restaurant (or two) theme at the buffet restaurant. So you didn't have to make special reservations, we give you an A+ for this idea! Could wander over to the Riu adjacent to this one, never ran out of things to do. We're ready to go back!

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank JoAnn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2014

Just returned from a week at this new resort. First, the staff and food were great.Being new, the rooms were nice and clean. But beach lovers or walkers or joggers need to go elsewhere...The beach is very small, the sand is more like dirt--rocky and sparse--the water is cloudy.(all man made)
ALSO, know that there is practically NO shade at the beach. No huts, No unbrellas, NOTHING.
The pool area looked nice, if you like pools.
There really is no where at the resort to take a nice walk, unless you go walk around the hotel next door. (even so, not really very appealing to just walk around the buildings.) We had LOTS of rain, so there is basically nothing to do when the weather is lousy.
So if you're looking for beautiful beach time, make another choice.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank peony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica

Address: | Mahoe Bay. Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Price Range: $298 - $606 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica 4.5*
Number of rooms: 289
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 4-storey hotel with a total of 238 guest rooms is located directly on the beach next to the hotel Riu Montego Bay * The vibrant city of Montego Bay is 4.5 km away * The guests of Riu Palace Jamaica may use the facilities in Riu Montego Bay, except breakfast and dinner meal * Airport Sangster International Airport Montego Bay (MBJ) 2.7 km approx. * Main building 4 floors - 238 rooms * Annexed building 3 floors - 51 rooms * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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