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“First visit to Jamaica - RIU Ocho Rios”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“First visit to Jamaica - RIU Ocho Rios”
Reviewed March 10, 2013

This was my first time to Jamaica, to give an idea of my background I've travelled quite a bit to Mexico and the Caribbean several times and stayed in some really nice resorts. I've rated the RIU Ocho Rios as average, it was a good relaxing trip but nothing over the top. I travelled with my boyfriend there in November, at the tail end of Hurricane season. The first two days of weather were not great, but as the week progressed it got nicer. My advise is to wait until December when it should be over. Here's my pros and cons about the resort:

Pros:
-Resort was safe and clean which is to be expected (Expedia rated this a five star resort)
-Pools were nice. One was the party pool, the other was quiet
-Beaches were very beautiful, white sand and turquoise water
-Food was great, we loved the 'jerk hut' on the beach, seafood was good and the formal dining restaurants were decent
-Staff was friendly and helpful

Cons:
-Resort is about 3 hours from the Montego Bay airport. We booked through sunwing vacations and took a bus to the resort which was really long. It stopped to drop passengers off at several resorts before getting to RIU last.
-Limited reservations for the formal dining restaurants. I read about this before our trip so I booked our dinner reservations as soon we checked in. You're limited to 3 restaurants with specified seating times. The other options are buffet which was okay but not great food.
-Beach length was limited to the resort property. If you like to walk down the beach, this is not the place to go. We were a bit disappointed with this.

Overall it's a nice place to relax, catch some sun and drink some rum. It's a good place for groups or families, but not so much for couples. We had looked at some of the other couple type resorts and didn't think that was our thing but if I went again I might try a Beaches or Sandals resort.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Jennylee86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cap-Pele, NB
Level 4 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios from March 1 to 8, 2013. This was our first trip to Jamaica and this resort was great. The food was excellent, a-la-carte and buffet, plus the jerk chicken on the BBQ at the beach every day. The beach and pool area very nice - no need to get up early to get chairs. Our group of 4 people had no problems finding chairs late in the morning. The bar staff were quite nice and quick to serve us. The rooms were great, AC working fine... almost too cold, which is just the way I like it. Our only problem for the week - bad weather. We had some drizzle or showers every day, and the sun would barely come out.
The entertainment was very good, especially Reggae night. And finally, our one and only tour to Negril (Margaritaville and Rick's Cafe) was fantastic. It was a long day, but kudos to karandastours (also knowns as Jamaica Cruise Adventures) for their excellent transportation and knowledgeable drive!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank cccvautour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Excellent hotel. Friendly staff, clean and comfy.
Staff go out of their way to be of assistance for us.
Hotel right on beach, which was clean and bliss.
Bar staff were great esp george in dunns river bar, welcoming us on our 1st night and each night of our holiday.
Entertainment staff worked so hard with brilliant shows each night, and guest entertainers on a satnight were good.
Food ok but not to everyones taste.

Room Tip: Basic rooms were fine but deluxe rooms were unbelievable :)
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Susanne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2013

We went on holiday for a wedding, 15 in total and that included 3 children. When we arrived we were greated by a lovely member of staff with a rum punch. They talked us through the processes of what is needed and explained about the facilities of the hotel. We decided to visit the italian as we were very hungry but not that dressed up enough to go to the buffet. We helped ourself to the generous selection of Italian food, where the member of staff talked to us about the hotel and local town, and got us all drinks, he couldn't of been more friendly if he tried. Majority of the staff make you feel so welcomed. We then went to our room to then have our luggage arrive, again a friendly porter, we tipped $3 which we didn't know if this was enough or not but he seemed very happy with that. We explored the rest of the hotel the next day, which is beautiful. So clean and has great facilities. We then met Pauline our tour rep for Thompsons, she is great! What she doesn't know about Jamaica is not worth knowing. She recommended lots of things but never pushy for you to book, like all, the Jamaican's it us "no problem man". We booked Blue Mountain (bike tour), Port Antonio, Dolphins and Ochos Rios shopping, I will put a review on each on TripAdvisor.
The restaurant process is a bit of a nightmare, they really need to look into this. As standard guests you can only book 3 specialist restaurants a week. On offer is an Asian, Gourmet and BBQ. You have to que (very long) to book in and the tables get booked up really quickly. So the night you would like doesn't mean you will get in. Also you can only do this 3 days prior to the booking date. Think this would be better if this was done electronically on a daily basis rather then 1 person between 10am and 4pm to book this for you, this takes up valuable holiday time. Asian is nice it is mainly chinese, but you just need to remember that they are not chinese people cooking this so could be a alot better but is fine. Gourmet Sir Richards, was lovely steak cooked to perfection, BBQ we had a lovely meal but lots of others on different nights didn't like it as much. St Ann's the buffet you can go to anytime is wonderful, they have a specialist theme every night and different dishes available every night. Think overall this is where we had the best food. Breakfast is awesome! Lunch at the Plantation and Mammee Bay is gorgeous bur my Husband couldn't keep away from the jerk chicken BBQ hut on the beach, again fabulous food.
The bars are everwhere offering some of the best cocktails I have ever had. Miami Vice and Dirty Banana are not on the menu but they are great. Again if they don 't have it listed still ask as they will do their hardest to do it for you. Spent some of my best times propping up the bar at the swimming pool!
The reception staff couldn't of helped anymore. We wanted a laundry bag, we ordered this from reception, we walked staight to our room from reception and it arrived before we did. Think they have taken note on the reception and have made a huge effort from previous reports on here.
Fresh beach towells are offered every day, such a lovely touch.
We were on the 4th floor and had a great sea view and view of the huge pond with loads of wildlife. What a view!
The entertainment staff were great, they made such an effort every day. The funniest times were on a daily basis round the pool at 3:30pm they got people involved in activities. Lots of fun for all.
The wedding was done wonderfully, the Minister was great and the staff very friendly.
All in all couldn't of wished for a better holiday.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
8 Thank jetsetter2404
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gatineau, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2013

The Riu Ocho Rios was a great place. Beautiful beaches, good food, friendly staff and clean facilities. The only two things that were a little of a let down were the disco and the room key. We as a group of seven ladies enjoy a night of dancing and good music. Unfortunately the disco was empty practically every night. One reason may have been the music the DJ played. I didn't find it to be a good mix and even the transitions between songs was poorly done. I think this aspect needs to be improved as there is no other nightlife on the resort. The other thing was the room key...I found it to be out of date to have an actual key versus a card. We were offered one key per room for double and triple occupancy. We had to request additional keys be made. The locks didn't work so well either and one key even worked on two doors - not comforting.
Other than that I have no complaints. A shout out to the staff, Yumar, Brady, Peacock, Pim, Richard, Choy, Johovan, and the bartenders at the poolbar (close to the Plantation), and I'm sure I'm forgetting some names. Thanks to all those who partied with us at Margaritaville, your presence was appreciated.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank mamathai10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MANCHESTER
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2013

The Positives;
arrival at the hotel is well organised and we were in our room and perfectly happy with everything. We had booked a de luxe room and it was worth every penny. We found the room well presented and was very clean with a great sea view. We asked for more coat hangers and within the hour they were in our room.
This hotel is very nice. We loved the open areas all around the hotel, which allowed you to eat or just sit and take in the view of the beautiful ocean from morning till night.
There are numerous areas to eat / drink, and you absoloutely cannot go here and have a 'dietry problem', every conceivable type of food is available. And this hotel is so well organised that if you cannot see it, then just ask, and i can guarantee they will sort it out for you. Nothing is to much trouble.
The pool areas are delightful. You either can be around what I would call the family pool, where the entertainment team join you each day for 'fun at 3', and there are aqua aerobics each day in here. this has swim up bar.
or the quieter pools around the de luxe area, which are really lovely pools, with jacuzzi and swim up bar. Both pools have lots of sunbeds.
at night the entertainment is very good. Varied to try to cater for all tastes, but I would certainly rate this as very good.
The beach is just wonderfull,
lots and lots of beds that stretch for quite some way along the gorgeous sandy beach. This coupled with the turquoise warm sea, is just delightfull.
You dont get bothered with 'sellers', there are just the odd one or two with bits of jewellry etc but they are not invasive at all.
The jerk chicken hut on the beach is very popular and turns out the jerk daily.
The service at the reception is good. I had to go to them on a number of occassions and found them very polite and helpfull.
The shops on site sell some nice things, ok, so you pay a little premium as they are in the hotel, but i didnt think the prices were excessive. Check out the beach shop, they have some lovely things.
Overall the staff at the hotel are vey helpfull, smiley and make you very welcome.
The negatives;
Tipping ; after spending a lot of money to attend a family wedding here, and although I do accept without exception that when abroad, the staff rely on tips to supplement there small incomes, to have to tip constantly all day long, the waiter at breakfast, every time you go to the bar, the maid in the room, lunch and evening meal times in restaurants, this was just to much, we spent a lot of money tipping and no where else i have ever visited expect this constantly all day and every day.
The airport in montego bay ; The manners of the staff who work in this airport are disgraceful. i felt sometimes like i was being treated like a criminal. We were 7kgs underweight in manchester as we flew out. After using all suncreams/toiletries, leaving goods in the room we did not want to bring back, we were apparently 'overweight', flying home. OH NO WE WERE NOT. We stood our ground, and after the ridiculousness of having to move things from one case to another !!!!!!!!!!!!! we were checked in to fly home. The people who work in montego bay airport need training ' its not always what you say, but how you say it',
So, !!!!! alltogether. This was a wonderfull trip for a wonderfull event that went very smoothly.
This hotel is really great.
Would i go back, unfortunately no, directly because of the way we were treated, I am not prepared to fly 9.5hrs, have jet lag both ways, spend £1000's, to be spoken and dealt with like that.

Room Tip: the de luxe rooms are really huge and worth the extra money, we had room 1322 and it was perfect
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
12 Thank Brookdaleparkgirls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rocky Mountain House, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2013

My husband and I choose the Riu Ocho Rios as the place to go to do our vow renewal ceremony. Sixteen of our closest friends and family were there with us for a week. Two of our guests are certified trained housekeepers here in Canada, they are trained to look for things left undone in the rooms, but had no complaints on cleanliness and upkeep (very rare for that to happen). The rooms were wonderful, beds comfortable, scenery breathe taking. There was plenty of food choices, if you couldn't find something to eat that was delicious, it was because you weren't wanting to. The people were so friendly and helpful. We started talking about when we would be going back the second morning we were there. We hired a local tour guide to show us around and he told us that the Riu is a better resort than Sandals. We are very happy with Riu Ocho Rios, all our expectations were exceeded.

Room Tip: Ask for a room not on ground level so you can see the ocean. Ground level rooms views were blocked b...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank BrendaW-B
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 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 On the Beach 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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