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“Why take a vacation if you're going to nitpick everything?”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed December 19, 2012

Long review, but worth the read!!!! I stayed at this resort from November 12-19 2012! It was for a 25th wedding anniversary, and we were with a large group( 44 people total)! Before I left, I read some reviews just to see how others thought the resort was, and to get a general idea of what to expect! Lots of people are just wanting things to complain about!!!

The Drive from the airport was an hour for us, had a really nice driver! Stopped at one of the jerk huts on the way! Delicious, being Jamaican & loving jerk chicken, this was amazing.

Check in: We arrived at the hotel around 8pm, so check in was pretty quick, even though it was a Monday, the resort was really busy! Decided to upgrade and stayed in room 1027 & 1028, which was on the deluxe side of the resort. People on here complained about the walking to and from the deluxe side are just LAZY! Not far at all.

Nightlife: On the resort, their disco is open, not really sure what the hours are but on the first day it was SO FUN! Days after.. died down very quickly. Some of us decided to go to a local party, with our driver and we had so much fun! I loved the amount of bars on the resort, could get a drink at any time of the day and workers were awesome!

Food: The only let down for me was the food, because I was expecting real Jamaican food and flavor, so it was definitely watered down, but we all found it easy to find something to eat since there was a huge selection every day. The Italian restaurant did have the left overs from dinner though (at night time), but when you're feeding that many people it's expected. Jerk hut on the beach was really good, plantation buffet was my favorite and food in town was really good as well! Didn't really like any of the a la cartes, they do make them seem better than they are, and the portions are small!

Tipping: I tipped randomly, but got great service whether I tipped or not. I was friendly to everyone and didn't have a problem at all!

Housekeeping: A few people that left reviews had belongings stolen? I brought my iPhone many people in our group brought iPads & MacBooks and they weren't stolen! The only thing that was locked up was our money. Housekeeping staff were great, brought us anything we needed in the rooms like towels and that kind of stuff. Cleaned the rooms very well. We didn't have any bugs in our room, but a few people had roaches. It's a tropical place, what do you expect!

Random: If you can get a massage, I'd suggest it! It was great, Dunns River Falls a MUST! And there are two pools, one on the deluxe side which is more quiet and relaxing or the pool on the regular side which is more of a party pool! Room wifi is slow, but I wasn't on it for a long periods, simply because I wanted to enjoy my vacation!

Lots of people on here also complain about the beds, the staff, the vendors on the beach, the actual beach, the bees by the bar, the workers being rude, and the resort as a whole. YOU guys really need to loosen up. Why take a vacation if you're going to complain about everything and stay in your room the whole time... My group had a great time, because we made the most of it and realized that we were not at home so of course things are going to be different! Every resort is going to have negatives. Cheers!

Room Tip: UPGRADE! Worth the money!
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank jLoveeee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,330 - 4,336 of 8,710 reviews

Reviewed December 19, 2012

This was my family's (myself, husband, and 1.5 year old son) first time in Jamaica and deflintely not our last. I had been planning this vacation for months and and was amazed at everything from the moment we landed. It took us 1.5 hours to get from Montego Bay to Riu Ocho Rios. Because we went through US Airways we took Tourwise Shuttle. Luckily, no one else was going that way so we had a personal driver. The Scenery was everything I expected, beautiful. I am one to appreciate culture and this is definitely the place for me. Yes, it is a bit dirty, but what do you expect from a third world country? These people here are the most happiest people I have seen. Always "no problem".

Once we arrived at our hotel, We were greeted by a bell boy who helped unload our baggage. We reserved a room on the deluxe so luckily we had our own check in line. The front dest lady was so nice and helpful. They even had welcome beverages for us. I was not sure what it was called, but it was tasty and had rum. Check was literally a breeze. Got our safe key, towel cards, and room key and we done. Our bellboy met us at our 1441 with all of our items. If you are marijuana smoker or want to try it because you are in Jamaica, it is really easy to get.

Our room was 1441. The top floor with an ocean view. We had a step down living room with a flat screen tv. There was also a mini bar that was always stocked. Yes, the patio seating had plastic chairs, but who goes on vacation to sit all day in their room? My husband and I had no complaints about the bed. Woke up every morning normal as can be. Had no discomfort from the pillows or the bed.

The beach was beautiful! The sand does stir up when you are walking in it so it is not as clear. We did go snorkeling and we saw some fishies. The water was warm and for the most part, calm. Plenty of chairs and shade. My husband took a sailing lesson for 20 bucks and took us with. It was beautiful and nice to just cruise with the wind. We also took a kayak and paddle boat out.

The party side pool was always poppin'! Lots of people having fun. We took our son in the pool and he enjoyed watching everyone dance. He met a little girl his age he was playing with too. Yes, the pool does get cloudy towards the end of the day. I do see the pool boy cleaning it through out the day, so I knew it was clean. The quiet pool was very quiet and boring. We went there a few times but always went back to the other side. Both were very huge.

The food was great! My husband is not a fan of trying new things so I was glad there was always American food such as potatoes eggs bacon, fries and chicken. He did eat alot of mussels and clams. Our son was the same way. He did eat tons of fruit as well. I tried all the jamaican food. Everything was delicious. The service there was great. Someone is always tending to you. We were always so generous and gave a lil more tip. Its sad to see the people come and eat and get waited on and their servers got nothing. We ate at 3 of the ala carte. The Japanese was good, husband got the shrimp, I got the salmon. The mushrooms were so yummy. Then we ate at the Asian one. Again, it was so good. The best one was Sir Richard. Husband. We saw a few people who ate at the japanese restaurant and didnt leave a tip. The server was really helpful and attentive. Really saddens me that some people are careless and dont appreciate any type of service.

The people that work at the Riu are the most hard working individuals I have ever met. They are courteous and always trying to lend a hand. They work from morning to night and deserve all their tips. Someone is always cleaning something. The bathrooms are really clean as well.

All in all this was a great vacation. We enjoyed the Riu, our excursions with Peat Taylor Tours, and hospitality that we recieved from from everyone.

If you are nit picky about every little tiny thing from bugs to bed to food like some reviews I read on TA. Go stay at the Ritz or something for rich stuck up folks.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank Pereyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

I will start this review with I have traveled to Jamaica a total for 17 times and have stayed in a variety of hotels. My reviews vary due to the type of accommodations I choose for that trip. I will compare the likes of a Ritz to a Courtyard and expect the same service.

Location:
This resort is about 1 1/2 hour away from Montego Bay airport. The transfer was very quick. The towncenter is about a 10 minute drive away. Downside from the main road to the hotel is about a 3/4 mile walk (wow!)

Check-in:
Can be lengthy and unorganized depending on day and time of check in. Weekend can be a beast because locals check in at that time too. The pace is slow so accept the welcome rum drink and chill.

Rooms:
Basic nothing special about them. Small bug problem and I don't mean the typical tropical bugs either. Beds a little hard but get drunk enough it will feel like heaven.

Restaurant:
If you are a foodie this is not the place for you. However I did find the food delightful and plentiful.You can never be hungry at this resort and if so it is by choice. Buffet can get very crowded but the staff is amazing. very fast and efficient. The best waiter/waitress are Shaun and Stephanie. Beware Mexican night is not the good. Other nights really good. Jerk hut on the beach always good. Steak Restaurant is a 3 star. Asian restaurant 3.5 star. Gourmet Restaurant 4.5 star.

Bars:
Plentiful and you will get wonderfully drunk (3 sheets). Best bartender is Steven.

Beach: expansive you will always find a place to sit. Beware the beach is not private so there will be vendors in the water selling everything but a roof; please know they are not allowed to follow you up on the beach. A polite no works and the vendors will go away. The water sports are fun. Please know to get a snorkel gear a deposit of $25.00 per set is required but you get it back. The learn to sail a fee of $20.00 will be required. If you know how to sail no fee. Jet skis are not offered by the hotel those are private vendors (at your own risk).

Entertainment Staff:
Hard working all day and all night. Fun games all day and great shows at night. ok maybe not Mama Mia (not so great) lol.

Staff:
Very accommodating. Unfortunately I was suppose to get married but the groom stood me up. The staff helped me saved my money and pride. Always there to help. Also it was by birthday too and the sent a cake up to my room that was great

Overall the resort is beautiful and expansive. You will have a great time

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank dantravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

First time visiting Jamaica and would not hesitate to go back. There was a group of 5 of us that travelled together and it was the best trip i have ever been on. The resort was great. Very close to Ocho Rios and a lot of the tours that we went on. Only about a 10-15 minutes bus/cab ride. Everything very centralized so not a lot of walking like some resorts i have been at and hated. The resort was always very clean and maids were very friendly and trustworthy. Food was good, good selection each day. People were incredible, definitley the best crew of all resorts i have been at. Beaches and pools were amazing also. The workers were always smiling and friendly. The entertainment crew was amazing! Very hard workers that seemed to work non stop but always had a smile on there face and always had time to say hello. I never once felt unsafe at this resort. The night life was not the best but after a day out in the sun we would be in bed early anyways so did not really bother us to much.
My only complaint was the beds were hard and uncomfortable but if that is all i have to complain about after a week that is fine by me.
I would not hestitate for one second to return to this resort. A++++

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Happy8787
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

This is my wife and I first vacation at an all inclusive and first time at a resort so we don't have others to compare against save for reading other reviews, however, we have traveled a bit around the world and in country for comparison.

Trip was for 5 nights, 6 days total with 2 days being travel time.

Resort;
- Mini bar and access to alcohol was good but the quality was not good, however, being an inclusive we didn't expect top shelf so it met expectations. Stocking the fridge / bar every other day to me was not acceptable and should be every morning with room service. There was only 2 shots of rum in the bottle and when I had one drink in the room it was all gone, which meant I had to wait two days to get a replacement. Yes, you can go to the bar but that's the reason for having a dispenser in the room.
- Bed was much too hard and our backs were very stiff every morning.
- Room was very clean and thought the staff did a great job keeping the room nice.
- Balcony and view was great overlooking the pool and the ocean
- There was about a 5 minute walk each time to go to eat, which was fine
- We spent the extra money on the upgraded room and access to the premier restaurants. We only go to visit the Japanese one because the others were either booked for a week out or were closed for renovation prior to the big 12/15 travel date increase. This was not acceptable to us at all and would recommend to others that unless you want the upgraded room it's not worth it for access to the restaurants because we couldn't get any and the one we did was not great at all. The meal portion was ridiculously small and nothing special.
- Tips; my expectation was that no tips were required for anything unless you really wanted to so because that's the reason for an all inclusive, right? No need to carry cash? The first couple days no tips at all. The last two days I did $1 tips for whatever. Don't know if it made a difference or not but the people were happy when they saw you leaving them money (big surprise).
- Staff; The hotel desk people were ok but not overly friendly. The staff in general was friendly and was open and you could talk to them as much as you like.
- A/C in the room was just fine.

Off-site excursion;
Day 1 was an all day tour starting at the resort with a service called "know Jamaica" and they were fantastic. The only negative feedback was that they only accept cash for payment and it would have been nice to book ahead of time (like we did) and pay online so our cash could have been used for other things. Otherwise, Jarvia was an absolutely fantastic guide and a lot of fun to be with! We hired them for two days of private tours and it was worth it. Keep in mind that; 1) I can't stand sitting still and need to get off the resort, 2) Jarvia is passionate about his country and loved to talk about it, 3) No question was off limits and it was relaxing to be able to not have concerns about asking something awkward or uncomfortable. If you are concerned about driving on the left-side of the road (we are American's) don't be although I would describe the driving conditions and culture as being more "free form" and much closer to driving on a race track than having a relaxing drive around the country :)

Jarvia (driver and son of owner Marva) picked us up on time and we promptly headed out of town to see Jamaica. We asked to see the country side and had a list of things to see in the area. Jarvia was very knowledgeable and determined the best route to choose and what other things could be fit in to the tour. We headed east and then south from Ocho Rios down to Kingston (about 1.5 hour drive) and then picked up another tour guide from Kingston who knew all the ins and outs of the city. Spent a bunch of time in town and then headed north to Strawberry Hill and then to Blue Mountain. The Hill has great views and is $10/ person to get access; it was worth it. You get a complimentary drink and can tour the grounds for pictures - very nice.

I originally was expecting that the Mountain was going to be a drive and then hiking at the top for some pictures but we ended up going half way up the mountain to the coffee plantation and stopping there for pictures because it would have taken another hour or more to get to the top given road conditions. This was disappointing, however, we were out of time for the day with how long it would take to get back in time for dinner reservations so that was the compromise that was ok. The coffee plantation charges $20/ person for a review of the history of the plantation and the coffee, followed by a cup of coffee and then hike up to the top of their hill. The tour was ok but definitely not worth $20/ person. Maybe 5 or 10 at most and the view that you get is about the same from the previous Strawberry Hill so my advice is to not bother unless you want to stop there for a bag of coffee to bring home. They don't have any coffee processing facilities on site and that's something I wanted to see. Instead it's just the house (very nice) but it's an over priced tour.

Jarvia stopped periodically and had us meet some locals and try local fruit and food and we were very happy to have the opportunity to do so. Sitting in a car all day driving around and snapping pictures from a window can be very impersonal and it was nice to talk with people.

Day 2;
This was more of the commercial site seeing tour in the area. Again, Jarvia from Know Jamaica picked us up for a private tour and this time we wanted to see local artisians and not the mass-produced junk that the cruise ships get to see but real artists.

We stopped at a couple places east of town and a cruise ship had just arrived so it was full of retired folks walking around. After quickly looking at the wares it was time to get out of there and we stopped at two more places; 1) The first was a pottery place on the north side of the road (coast side) and we bought some pieces there. Don't know the name of it but the owner was extremely nice and friendly and took the time to spend with us on throwing clay on a wheel. 2) The 2nd stop was on the bank of the road (south side) to a private local who was a specialist in wood carving and preferred iron wood. This gentleman was the best wood carver I have ever seen and made us extremely sad that we didn't have more money with us because we would have bought many pieces from him if we could have. He is a very nice older fellow that has a small little shack on the side of the road and is a gem that if you are into wood carvings, should absolutely make the time and buy something from him. If for no other reason, I would go back to Jamaica just to spend some time with him and buy more carvings.

Afterwards we went to a local jerk shop (food was great) and then to the Coyaba Garden. The Garden was nice but the tour was below average. Tour guide was not happy to be there at all and the information was canned / recited; made it uncomfortable and boring. Would have rather just walked around on our own.

Lastly, went to the Dunn River Falls and climbing the falls was fun and had great views, however, we got mixed up and didn't get assigned to a group to get led up and decided we would attach ourselves with another group who didn't mind because we asked. The tour leader, however, was not nice at all and after he saw we had attached ourselves to "his" group, was negative towards us, wouldn't help at all, wouldn't hold a camera for a moment, was confrontational, etc, and even better at the end, stood in our way and demanded a tip. I wanted to tell him to $#%& off but since you are in a foreign country did what was expected and left. On the way out, please make sure you leave with a group and don't get "trapped" in the craft village which was another negative experience. We left on our own from the previous group and basically got mobbed by all the locals, who at the end of the day were looking for any money and it was non-stop harassment and more confrontation.

My advice about Dunn's Falls is stick with a group, if you bring a camera up the falls make sure it's water proof or keep it in a plastic bag or don't bring one at all. Lastly, stick with a group and run for the exit on the way out and avoid the booths because they are horrible.

Our last day at the resort was spent on the beach relaxing and had the lunch on the beach (great). We spent most of the day either on the beach or in the water. The jet ski guys are obnoxious and would bother you frequently (they are illegal) as well as asking you to buy weed / ganja from them all the time.

To sum it up, the resort was decent; the tour guide was absolutely fantastic and the tour was great, the commercial stuff was not good and the beach vendors were annoying but tolerable so we would go to another resort and Jamaica but it would be in another location as going here once was enough.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kerry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2012

Just back yesterday and a great holiday. This is a perfect holiday for couples and families.Just lie at the pool and drink your Red Stripe. Met great people from the States and Canada. The entertainment is first class. The staff are brilliant. Went to Dunns River Falls and 9 Mile Village to Bob Marleys birth and burial place.Must do both. Would definetly go back.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Bryce C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2012 via mobile

I was very hesitant to go to Jamaica for a holiday and had to be convinced to attend a family wedding. I'm very glad I went and stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios. Very clean, staff was exceptional, service was 5 star beach very nice. Vendors in water understood the word no. Stayed in the deluxe section while other members of family stayed in hotel section. All had same experience. Tipping not expected but appreciated. Only drawback was found the food a little greasy. Visit Adrian at the beach bar, he makes drinks like he would want to drink them.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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1  Thank Ollyrob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios

Address: | Mammee Bay - St.Ann, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $211 - $440 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios 3.5*
Number of rooms: 856
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in northern Jamaica, on the beachfront. Two 6-storey buildings and one 5-storey building. Surrounded by 90,000 m2 / 107,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 10 Km / 6.2 Miles to Ocho Rios. 4 Km / 2.5 Miles from various shops. 105 Km / 65 miles to Montego Bay airport. 600 M / 1,970 ft. From a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Hotel Ocho Rios
Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica
Riu Ochos Rios
Rio Ocho Rios
Club Hotel Riu Ocho Rios
Rui Ocho Rios
ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica

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