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Reviewed March 20, 2013

Everyone gives different reviews based their expectations going into it. We are just a young couple, both 22 years old who were looking to get away for a vacation. This was our first time at a Riu and we didn't have any expectations going into the vacation because we booked it like a mystery type vacation. Once we got to the airport for departure, we learned we were going to Riu in Ochos Rios and everyone around us told us good things.

Yes, it definitely was a long drive from the airport to the resort but we felt it was well worth it. Luckily, we didn't have a big group arriving at the s ame time so it was an easy checkin. We asked for a king and were told it was a king and arrived to our rooms to see two double beds pushed together. At first, we thought this was their "king" bed but we weren't going to let it ruin the vacation. We both slept well! The room was clean and stocked when needed. The only problem we had were a couple little ants in our sink once in a while and a little rinse of the sink took care of that.

We always participate in the games and make the most of our vacation and the entertainment staff knew us by name. They were there when you wanted them to be and you were left alone when you didnt want them there. There was always the deluxe side, which offered a quiter more relaxed atmosphere. As this was a spring break for some canadian universities, as per ours, the resort was nearing capacity and we had to be up early to find seats and place our towels down. This isn't new to us because it's the only time we can travel and we are used to it. Everyone does it. The beach was great to walk down, quiet areas and louder areas as well as people selling things. No big deal, they weren't pushy!

This was our first time to Jamaica and didn't know what to expect foodwise. We thought the food was amazing and everyone else agreed. We did mostly buffets because there was a lot to choose from. Food seemed to be always stocked and fresh. Based on that we are considered picky eaters, we were extremely grateful for what was offered and enjoyed it all. Some people have different tastes and might expect differently. We were pleased! We also liked how there were food options til 2am or the sports bar 24 hours if you need a small snack. No problems with the drinks or the bars.

Nightly entertainment was what was to be considered at a resort. Yes they announced everyones country, and you cheer but it show.s nice cause then you can find people from your own country and possibly same city and get to know them. Some nights were better than others but we were never bored there no matter the show.

Everyone's review will vary based on what they hope to see in their vacation but we enjoyed every minute of ours, but the first day of rain, and can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank danaandbryan13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2013

Entertainment staff and bartenders were some of the nicest we have ever encountered. We had no problems with anything at the Resort. Food is what you would expect so are the beds. Rooms were very comfortable. Everyone was always willng to help. Would recomened to anyone.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank IllinoisJoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2013

We returned to the Riu Club Hotel, and found that the experience, was a big disappointment,The booking in was a shamble,and the receptionist that dealt with us was rude,and unhelpful, we first went to this hotel in 2007, and it was great! But this time we found the food was dull, and repetitive, and when they put on show meals they ran out 2 hrs before closing time,all that we can say about the good side of our 14 day stay is that the cleaning staff and waiting staff, were the only worth while part of our trip,take a tip and stick with the RIU PALLACE HOTELS

Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Roger G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2013

My first shock when trying to order a drink is that they don't carry clamato juice. I was informed they don't carry any top shelf liquor at all. The wine is awful even in the specialty restaurants. They are definitely short staffed....had one wait person trying to take care of too many people. The lobby bar is so close to the other bars that you can't carry on a quiet conversation in the evening. We have stayed in Riu Palaces before and they are definitely worth the difference in both quality of food and and drinks. The rooms are pretty similar....they all have outdated bedspreads. The beach at this location is super. The deluxe side is quiet and the other side is definitely for the party people. Would I return, only if it was super cheap and we brought our own wine.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank sunseekerduo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2013

Before travelling I'd read a lot of reviews both good and bad so I didn't set my expectations too high, but I do not understand how this hotel can be considered a 5*, as the quality is 3.5*. I have travelled around the world and stayed in everything from 1* hostels to 5* luxury so I have a lot to compare it to.

The journey from the airport took about 90 minutes including a 15 minute restroom stop, but we had no other drop offs. This meant an entire coach of British tourists arrived at the same time as an entire coach of American tourists and check in was organised chaos. There was one lady offering drinks to the American queue and only about 6 people from our coach were offered a drink. We were told to take our cases to our room or find a bell boy, which was impossible when over 100 people arrived at the same time and there were only 2 bell boys on duty. Not a 5* service at all. This was my fourth stay in a Riu hotel and I'd emailed asking if it was possible for a sea view room, I understand this is not always possible but we were placed in a room as far away from the sea as possible, and upon arrival it had the strongest musty smell which was disappointing. We unpacked all of our valuables into the safe after 17 hours of travelling we wanted dinner and bed, but we then found the safe key did not work, so we had to re-pack and go to reception. We waited in line for 25 minutes to be seen despite there being only one person in front of us and 2 staff on reception, and the woman on reception tried 7 different locks in front of us, all of which were broken, with no apology or smile.

Room: It had everything we needed, the aircon worked but it stunk when we arrived and it was full of mosquitoes. Despite spraying 50% deet every night we were bitten while we slept. The beds were not very comfortable and the top sheets were not changed for the entire 2 weeks we were there (I knew because my sheet had a black stain along the bottom from the day we arrived).The floor was always sandy despite us cleaning our feet before entering. One day we were on a trip from 0800-2230 and returned to our room to find the door unlocked and left open, which was either by the cleaner or mini bar staff. Luckily all of our valuables were locked away but it could have ended badly. Shower is small and wasn't very powerful. Minibar had a good selection of drinks and was refilled every other day. Because of the shape of the hotel sound travels so we were always interrupted by people walking in heels or shouting as they returned from a late night.

Beach: The beach was nice, it isn't the best beach I've seen nor is it the worst. It's just a shame so many people treated it as a giant ash tray. I also found large shards of glass in the sand on 4 different occassions. The snorkelling was good around the reef, we saw huge string rays, a 5ft barracuda, puffer fish, an eel, and many others.

Food: The variation was brilliant. I'm vegetarian and often struggle trying to find food but there was a huge selection. The only problem was that because there was so much choice the quality tended to be poor and the food was often luke warm at best. Breakfast was by far the best meal of the day, and the salad selection was excellent at other meals. The fruit tended to be a bit under ripe. We ate in Sir John's which was a nice change to be served at the table rather than a buffet and the food was nice. We went to the asian buffet twice, the first time was extremely disappointing as many of the trays were empty and the food that was out was cold. You'd think since they have set dining times they would ensure the trays were filled up for people arriving but clearly not! The second time we went we were in the earliest slot which made a huge difference, the food was piping hot and tasty.

Bars: The service on the whole was good, drink selection is brilliant and the bar staff will make you whatever you want.

Entertainment: I appreciate the staff work extremely long hours and its hard to please everyone but every day it was 'Everyone from England shout heyyy' 'everyone from Canada should hooo' 'everyone from America shout heyyy' and always ended in a game of Canadians vs Americans whether it was a dance off, arm wrestling match, or popping balloons on their partners... Not my idea of 5* entertainment. If you like Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On you're in luck as they blast it out at least once an hour, every single day. That said they were all very good dancers and some of the shows we saw were good (if you could manage to sit through another Canadian vs American game before it started).

Pool: We never went in the pools as they were always very cloudy and we never noticed people sitting at the pool bars getting out to use the bathroom. The duluxe pool was much nicer, but it was difficult to find beds there. There were always beds available on the beach, it was sometimes a struggle on the none-duluxe side.

The gardens were beautifully maintained and the pond was lovely to sit by and feed the birds, turtles and fish. The gardners would cut down coconuts for you to drink which was a nice touch. Some staff were extremely friendly whereas others were just rude.

This hotel would be nice for a week and I can understand the attraction for Americans and Canadians with such a short flight, but considering the amount we paid and the length of time it took to get there from England it was not at all worth the money and not what I expected for a 5* hotel. I realise my review makes the hotel sound horrible, and it wasn't, we had a lovely time but it was far below the standard we expected. The weather was cloudy, windy and rainy for a week which meant there was very little to do in the hotel and so we went on a lot of trips, so feel free to send me a message if you want to know anything about them. The main problem with the hotel was it was just too big, and so the standards of customer service, food and entertainment was far lower than it could have been in a smaller resort.

We booked a trip through Pauline the Thomsons rep which cost $112 each and we could only go on the one day. It was meant to be a 16 hour trip so we were up early ready to go but the bus didn't turn up. Long story short the message was not passed on to the company that we had booked so it did not come to pick us up and would not return for us despite being only 15 minutes away, which was extremely disappointing as we were looking forward to the trip. We were refunded at 3pm that day but it meant we were without the money for the days we'd had the trip booked and then had no time to rebook to go elsewhere. Not the top class service I've read everyone else received!

Overall this hotel is in my opinion a 3.5 star, but I guess it depends on your standards and what you expect from your holiday. Would I go back to Jamaica? Probably not. Would I stay in a Riu again? No.

Room Tip: I don't think you really get a choice
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Nixxypies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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