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“fabulous family vacation”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Kennebunk, Maine
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“fabulous family vacation”
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Hotel was clean and designed with ease in mind. The beach was pristine every day and the hotel did a great job monitoring just the right amount of cajoling by the entertainment staff. They were great!
The food was plentiful to say the least and better than most all inclusive hotels we have stayed at. Highly recommend the jerk chicken on the beach. My kids and I ate there every day.

Be sure to be explicit if you want a true Ocean view room. Most are partial view! Be sure to ask!

Kids loved it and would go back

Room Tip: Be specific if you want a true ocean view room.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank spaatriversedge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Wilmette, Illinois, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Just returned from a family trip, Dec 27, '12--Jan 2, '13. We had two 20 yrs olds, a 14 and a 10. We won't go back, and it was hardly a relaxing vacation.

Pluses: Fabulous beach. Large pools. Location--near Dunn's River, Dolphin Cove (but then, so are a a lot of hotels). The kids loved the smoothies. The "12-hr" snack restaurant is a good idea-- but the snacks (pizza, pasta) were mediocre. The rooms were decent, AC worked, we had no ants and there was all you could drink cheap, hard liquor (we didn't care).There was daily room service but sometimes didn't arrive until 4pm. The beach crew was good and pay-for snorkeling is close by.

Negatives: The worst thing was the behavior of the non-family crowd. While there were many families, the cheaper price attracts a a lot of groups/couples without kids.They party the whole day and as it gets later they get loud and foul-mouthed. Many of them sat at the pool swim-up bar the entire day, smoking and drinking. One day a fight literally broke out at the swim-up and whistle-blowing staff rushed in. One woman stood on the pool deck and furiously threw f-bombs. Families with little kids took off. Fortunately, that particular group left a day later (btw, they were not young and looked like biker wanna-bes). Yet, there was always a large group of partiers at the swim-up getting wrecked.

Everything was a struggle. We traveled by ourselves and check-in took a long time. They didn't have the rooms we paid for. Impossible to get reservations in the restaurnats and the buffet was pure chaos (people bumping and tripping over each other). They were constantly running out of dishes.You had to search for a table and pounce when one opened. For some reason they won't leave a pitcher of water on the table. Unless you went to the pool at 7am and staked out chairs, there were none to be had. There is music played all day at the beach/pool and "fun activities"--women dressing men up as women to reggae music etc. Our little kids found it funny. Our 20 yr olds asked if they ever turned off the loud music so that you could hear the waves.

Plus or minus depending on your attitude: there are entertainment shows at night. We went once--some people seemed to enjoy them. You are treated to a Michael Jackson dance show at the buffet dinner--interesting for a Jamaican resort. The beach is the better place to go but little kids like pools, and with it the above problems. People are allowed to eat jerky chicken/pork sitting on the side of the pool with feet dangling in the water and then leave the plate, but that means you can also do it. You can participate in the pool-side dance contest. There is beach volleyball and bocce.

I was told that the formula for this Riu is the same as for other Rius. We will find another.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank John T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Spent 24 - 31 December here with partner. Hotel was very full, but I cannot say we spent any time waiting for anything - the huge number of guests only really became an issue if we wanted to watch a show - a seat could be hard to find then. The ride from the airport took 1 hour and twenty minutes. As we travelled with Thompson we got priority check in - all quick and easy. We did have a bit of trouble finding our room - the normal route was out of commission as it was pouring with rain, however an extremely helpful female member of staff led our little party through what seemed like a labyrinth (all became clear and quick in the daylight).
We had a standard room on the fourth floor (you could just about see the sea around next door's balcony). Room was perfectly nice, huge bed which is NOT hard (and I am the girl who couldn't sleep at Ceasar's Palace because the bed wasn't soft enough). No issues with wildlife at all, except we saw some tiny little ants on the balcony one morning. They didn't hurt us, and we didn't hurt them.
Breaking the habits of a lifetime I did go to the Rep's meeting on the first morning. This was worthwhile because the Thompson Rep Pauline is an absolute hoot. She tells it like it is and gives very realistic advice.
I would not describe the food as the best thing about the hotel. It is perfectly edible and you'll never go hungry, but there was nothing I went into raptures over. We tried two of the A la Cartes: Sir Richard (Gourmet) - so so, and Mandalay (Chinese) - quite nice. A gala dinner took place on Christmas Eve, but we were so shell shocked from the journey, we didn't really take much notice (although I did manage to take full advantage of the Champaign on offer). Drink does flow with gusto - get used to the taste of rum, because it seems to find its way into everything. And no the drinks are NOT watered down.
I did not go the party pool, but 'enjoyed' the sound of the entertainment crew whipping the crowd into a frenzy a few times from my room which over looked it. We spent quite a lot of time at the quieter pool, which is very nice although quite cold first thing. The beach is lovely, with shade from palm trees and plenty of sun beds. Beautiful firm and fine sand. Apparently some people (who write reviews) have an issue with seaweed - huh? There is hardly any to be seen.
We didn't do any trips as we were only there for a week, but we did take the Thompson shopping trip into Ocho Rios - which worked out half the price of a taxi. If you can't stand being hassled, this is not for you. Although everyone warns you about the aggressive sellers in the Craft market, we found the shopkeepers in the little mall to be just as much of a nuisance - they follow you round the shop.
If you are thinking about going to the Riu, please don't let some the reviews here put you off. I honestly do not recognise half of what they are talking about. I've been to many all-inclusives including some in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. I would say that Jamaica is the best of the lot and that this is a lovely hotel with extremely friendly staff and excellent facilities.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
15 Thank sheffchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
White Plains, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Family and I just got back from a short trip to Jamaica over the holiday. We were excited to be on vacation and, no less, at an all-inclusive hotel, but let's break down what the Riu Ocho Rios is really about:

Pros:
- Good food, for the most part (especially the island fare -- jerk chicken on the beach and ackee breakfasts are a must). The burger I had at the lunch buffet tasted like a seasoned stone so I stuck to Jerk Hut on most days after that (open from 12 to 4, not a minute earlier or later)
- Feels bigger than it is, which I guess is a semi-plus
- Beach and pool close together, not too far from Building 3's rooms
- Good drinks and friendly service at the pool bar
- Cable TV with US channels (Storage Wars before bed is nice)

Cons:
- Front desk attendants could care less. Had to switch rooms twice with no sort of apology for the inconvenience. Actually, it was like we were inconveniencing them for bringing up the broken TV, AC, phone, etc.
- Rooms smell moldy/musty... pretty unpleasant and it sticks to your clothes but your nose can get used to almost anything
- Building 3 (the largest on the resort I think) is not well maintained... at all. Elevators covered in graffiti and creaky as hell (they smell worse than the rooms, like frat boy BO and mosquito repellent at once), walls peeling and stained, etc.
- Restaurant reservation staff about as flippant as the front desk staff -- told us the steakhouse was booked solid for two weeks but that we could show up when they opened and try to get a table. We did and were seated in the very back of the restaurant. Meanwhile, the entire front of the place was empty -- a bunch of no shows sprinkled with a bit of BS
- Design of the hotel leaves a gaping tower of shade over the beach for most of the afternoon. The water, while clear and pristine from a distance, is actually cloudy and littered with trash

I expected more from a Riu all-inclusive vacation. That said, it wasn't a terrible experience. How bad can it be when you're that close to the sun?

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank NicoleTanika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

We spent 10 nights right before Christmas. The beach is EXCELLENT! The sea is JAMAICAN LOVELY. The pools are usual, very good. The food is TERRIFIC! All A-la carte restaurants are a joke, on my New Yorker's point, not worthy of reservations, they don't know how to serve. Entertaiment is for someone not from New York, may be some people like it, we went only for one show. The rooms are normal. Maid service: DID NOT CLEAN FOR TWO DAYS!!!Thank GD we are clean people. Customer service on front desk:bad, they don't know what they are doing. The water sport center is VERY GOOD, we liked people who trained us for catamaran and the snorkling trip captain. The bars: horrible service, NO VALUE FOR YOUR TIME! The spa : NO value for your time. Decorations of the hotel: usual, good. Over all cleanliness and safety: normal, good. Will we be back? NO. Will we recommend THIS RIU to our clients (we own Travel Agency in Brooklyn) : for budget travelers only. OUR VERY SPECIAL THANKS IS TO PATRICIA ALDRIDGE FROM APPLE VACATIONS! What a worker! KNOWLEDGE, SPEECH IS ARTICULATED, ALWAYS ON TIME. Thanks a million, dear Patricia!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Elvira B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wausau, Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Our extended family stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios and had a lovely time. The staff is very kind, and we had fun. Albeit a response of "No problem" sometimes means you need to ask twice, the atmosphere is laid-back and friendly. We found lots of food choices, and there's a fun theme or "gimmick" every night with entertainment or food. Try the Jerk Shack on the beach at lunchtime. Very tasty! The entertainment staff works hard to engage visitors and they are fun. The beach is lovely and well tended. We enjoyed our stay very much.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoboken, Nj
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2013

I arrived Dec 16th, 2012 to beautiful weather in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Outwardly the hotel was nicely decorated and positioned on the beach. The ocean was great and the hotel activities were blah. I'm 29 y/o female and didnt go to Jamaica to see Jamaicans dressed up like characters in Grease. If you can drive or hop a ride, drive to downtown OR. it's safe.

So why did I give the hotel 3 stars?

Poor customer service with a smile. Never experienced that before til this vacation! I would call customer service/front desk/housekeeping etc at various times prior/post tours throughout the day and would have to either ring the desk 3x before a response OR walk all the way from my 4th floor room to the front desk. I always got an excuse about the staff changing shifts or an apology but for the amount of money I paid I deserved a quicker response than 30-45 min waits, repeated phone reminders or having to leave my room and walk through the humidity to get a response from the front desk.

ANTS ANTS ANTS. all over the place. i left a glass on the table empty of soda and when I came back at the end of the day ants were all over the counters, walls, and floor. really disgusting. i did ask to change rooms but they exterminated the room with bug spray instead. smh.

the beds? omg. soooo hard. everyday i needed to start the day with a neck massage. never slept on a harder surface before. bring a soft mattress pad to lay over the bed or you might regret it. woke up every morning stiff.

all inclusive? sure but the food offered is american style. who goes to jamaica for hot dogs and pizza. ugh.

is the beach great? yes. the entertainment for a young woman? no. hotel room? double no. price for what i experienced? would like a refund but instead I just wont refer this all inclusive hotel to anyone. however, i do plan to revisit Jamaica..had a great time on my tours.

Room Tip: ask if you can have bug spray and ant repellant.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank kfsulady
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

Property: 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 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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