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“Had a great time!”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed July 7, 2013

We were at the Riu Ocho Rios in the last week of June and had a great time. We have travelled to numerous all-inclusive resorts and we would consider the Riu Ocho Rios for a return trip.

Check in
We arrived and they had everything ready for us including a separate check in table for those arriving on the bus. They gave us our room assignment, wrist bands and safe keys in less than 10 minutes. Our rooms however, were not ready but well before we left for our trip I understood that rooms would only be available by 3:00 p.m.so we were ready with bathings suits in our carry-on. If you're a seasoned traveller, you should know this anyway as there are many places we have visited that do not have an early check in unless they have room availability.

Rooms
We stayed in the deluxe area of the hotel and had two rooms, one for us and one for our children who are 23 and 22 years old. They were very spacious, large bathrooms and clean. They had a separate living room area and the balcony view was of the ocean and the smaller pool. The safe was in the closet and perhaps that's one of the few downfalls of this hotel. The lock was removable and had a traditional key. You had to insert the lock to secure the safe and then were left carrying around a key. I much prefer the digital safes and then you don't have to worry about the key. We had no bug issues at all. With the hallways being open, at night you would see the occasional moth but that's totally to be expected on any island.

Food & Bars
Food choices were plentiful. We thoroughly enjoyed the jerk chicken hut on the beach. Couldn't ask for anything more!! The buffets had several choices. Of the specialty restaurants we tried: Sir Richard's (for deluxe guests only), the Asian, the Japanese and the Steak house. I would say the Sir Richard's and the steak house were the best bet. If I return, I would only go to those two. The buffet always had plenty of choice and my only comment would be that the trays would empty quickly and you would have to wait until they refilled. Sometimes they were fast and sometimes slower. Being in Jamaica, you have to understand that you are on Jamaican time. We never had a problem with bar service. We tipped at the end of our meal and there was never an expectation that we should tip. The waiter at the dinner buffet got to know us and would immediately wave us over to his section when we walked in. Yes, we know it was because he figured out that we tipped but at the same time, he prepared our table (for 5) and got our drinks and made our dinner that much more enjoyable so why not tip!? It was the same with the bartenders. If we had a day of drinks at the beach we would always give the bartenders a tip at the end of the day. We believe in helping those who help us!

Entertainment
The entertainment crew really try hard to do their best but its the same sort of 'all-inclusive resort' type of entertainment. We watched the first parts of a few shows but did not watch any right through. We enjoyed the "Miss Riu" night! By the time we've had a day at the beach, a nice dinner and some drinks, I'm only interested in reading my books and having a quiet night in my room so the entertainment is not a priority for me. The band that plays in front of the stage before the show is fabulous. It was great to listen to live music with a drink in hand and have the opportunity to dance too!

Beach
The beach is absolutely spectacular. Crystal blue water, warm and calm. What more does one need? There are lots of beach chairs and we never had a problem finding enough of them. We were a group of 5 and there were always lots available. The vendors in the water are just part of the culture. They were actually quite entertaining and if you just said a polite no thanks...they moved on.

Pools
I don't really use pools while on vacation as I feel that I can go to a pool any time at home but occasionally like to sit in the pool at the end of a beach day. The pools are perhaps where the Riu should really focus. The big pool was often dirty, murky and we went on several mornings before the start of the day and it was still dirty. The smaller pool was a bit better but the pool bar patrons probably have a lot to do with the water issues in that pool. Even still, I did not feel comfortable enough to go into either pool and was quite surprised to see a hotel of this calibre and size have pools with such poor water quality.

Front Desk
I am writing a review on the front desk simply because, aside from the pools, the front desk was another area that this hotel failed miserably. They had a separate front desk for the deluxe guests. One word for this: useless. Most times, we were redirected to the main front desk because the deluxe front desk had computer problems and the person sitting there was often on the phone or chatting with a co-worker before turning their attention to you. The second reason the front desk was an issue was the room keys. The room keys are the electronic cards (credit card type). Either we, or our kids, often misplaced them and we had to request new ones or get our existing ones reprogrammed. We were never, never once, asked to confirm our identification. We simply said we need cards for rooms 1233 or 1234 and they gave them to us. Or we would say "our card is not working", gave them our room number and they would reprogram them without even confirmation of what our names were. We commented on how this was a significant security issue. We had the same experience whether at the main front desk or the deluxe front desk. We kept thinking "what if"...what if someone else requests a key to our room?? Quite possible!! At one point, we had issues with our internet (see next paragraph) and went to the front desk to inquire. They phone the internet service provider and then handed us the phone to speak to them. It wasn't our service provider, but theirs, and they felt it was our responsibility to deal with them!

Internet access
The internet access in the deluxe area of the hotel is included 24/7 but it is not always available. That being said, its a vacation and not having internet access all the time is not something that would ruin my vacation. It was always available in the lobby area.

Overall, it was a great vacation and the resort was nice, large and had a beautiful beach front property. I was worried about the negative reviews and don't think anyone should have any problems with this hotel. If you expect the same food as at home, same service as at home, then you're not experiencing the culture or the benefits of travelling to learn how other people live or what they eat. Yes, there should be an expectation of service and quality and this hotel meets or exceeds that.

Room Tip: The deluxe rooms are only slightly more expensive ($100) and the ocean view, 24/7 internet made it w...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Teresuzza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,862 - 3,868 of 8,756 reviews

Reviewed July 7, 2013

This was our second visit to this hotel and our 6th visit to Jamaica, we've stayed at the Riu Tropical Bay and the Riu Montego Bay but the Riu Ocho Rios is our favourite, yes its big and busy but everything was only a short stroll away and there was always plenty of sun loungers free both by the pool and on the beach, we never struggled and there was 10 of us, neither was it loud or felt overcrowded. The entertainment staff are brilliant, they work so hard and are so friendly as are the waiters and waitresses in the restaurants, nothing was too much trouble. Special thanks to our favourite bar man Gregory at the pool bar, he was fantastic. Our rooms were always clean with plenty of clean towels and we certainly didn't see any cockroaches or any other bugs for that matter, the only things we saw were moths at night. There's plenty of food to choose from, yes its a little repetitive but you can always find something and there's something for everyone, even the picky eater like myself, I never went hungry. Pauline the Thomson rep is great and so funny, her welcome meeting is a must. It surprises me when I read some of the negative reviews, it makes me wonder if they stayed at the same hotel as I did. Anyway we had a brilliant time and will certainly be going back.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank JulieShilton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

I have just returned back after spending two weeks at this hotel and I cannot emphasise just what a wonderful hotel and location to spend an idyllic holiday. The staff were friendly and helpful, the food was so good that the weighing scales are proof of that. We had a deluxe room and this was kept so clean by our daily cleaner. The gardens were beautiful and the gardener had a daily task in keeping it so.The pool area where we were on the deluxe side was quieter than the other block - deluxe side had the infinity pool whereas the other block was more into beach/pool games. therfore you had the best of both worlds. The beach was clean and even the old man who hates sand managed to go down the beach and into the clear blue sea for a swim.
There is plenty to do on site so you will not get bored - however there are lots of trips that you can do. If like me you read reviews with regards to hotels I can honestly say that this was the best holiday I have had to date and it will be a hard one to follow - possibly will book up next year(so please ignore any negative reviews that may read on this hotel because I would find that very hard to believe)
My tip: pack your kettle and supply of coffee/tea all in one sachets as with all Rui hotels no tea/cofee making facilities in the rooms.

Room Tip: Deluxe room - well worth the extra - good views and larger balcony
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank NananneEdinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

I stayed at this resort from 6/11/13 to 6/19/13 with my boyfriend. Check in was super easy, we were offered an upgrade at checkin for an additional charge but declined because we were never in our room anyway. This was our second time at a Riu, and it definitely met expectations. (first time was in Punta Cana). Did not see any bugs in our room at all!

The beach was the best part of this resort. Plenty of space and never crowded. The only thing was the vendors on the beach but a simple no thank you, respect mon and they were on their way. The pool was nice too but didn't spend too much time there.

Jerk chicken was okay I wasn't crazy about it but the food is REALLY good. (even if I did get sick of it by the last night). **make sure you check out the entertainment chef outside the buffet one night**

Go to Dunns River Falls it is sooooooo good, but not through Cool Runnings not worth the extra money. Mystic Mountain is really fun too!

Everyone who works here is super nice and friendly. They love their job and country and will do just about anything to make you comfortable. YEAH MON JAMAICA

Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
7  Thank lisa c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013 via mobile

Too large, too impersonal, appalling lack of service, dirty pool, 3 in our party but although in a junior suite it was just a double room, took hours to get another bed which was just pushed into the room, not what you want after a long-haul flight and a 3 HOUR transfer!! Also hours before we obtained extra towels etc. The toilet broke twice, miles from anywhere. No atmosphere - you certainly do not know you are in Jamaica, It is just a hotel on a beach. Not anything like other hotels we have stayed in before in Jamaica. I am glad this was not my first holiday in Jamaica, if it had been I would never return. A very expensive holiday and a total waste of money. Shame on you Thomsons.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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3  Thank StChristopher1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

If you are considering visiting Ocho Rios I highly recommend staying at this resort. We stayed there 7/22-7/29. The facilities were clean and well-kept. The staff were "mostly" over-anxious to assist with any needs you may have. The food at the daily buffet was diverse and good. Fruit was fresh and excellent every day. Each afternoon they make Jamaican Jerk chicken on the beach which was always and excellent lunch choice. We were not happy with the steak house (Mammee bay) and would not recommend it. The Asian and Japanese venues were good alternatives to the buffet. Entertainment was fun, but what you expect from most of these types of resorts (nothing above average). The have a fantastic beachfront, with a reef about 1000 yards out which keeps out the rough surf. Inside the barrier reef there are smaller clumps of coral reef perfect for snorkeling in combination with the calm water. The pool bar in the afternoon from 3pm - 6pm turned into a daily gathering place for the guests looking to party early. The bartenders would follow our lead in stepping up the party by making up shots for the guests as well as making up bottles of their favorite cocktails which they would pour into the open mouths of the guests. Rather than remember names of new friends, we would just remember where folks were from.... We were the Philly folks who were visiting with the Jersey crew. We met lots of fun folks from Britain, Chicago, the girls from Baltimore, and the newlyweds from Arkansas.
OVERALL, we would definitely come back to this resort again!
The biggest downside was the long ride in the bus from Montego Bay airport over to the hotel.

Room Tip: We upgraded to a junior suite which was nice, but would NOT recommend the top floor (4th) as these r...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Bill N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

The resort was absolutely amazing. From check-in to check-out our party had nothing but great service!.....and we weren't even part of the deluxe guest option. The rooms were kept fabulously clean throughout our stay. Highly recommend 4th floor and above (there are elevators for those who don't like the stairs). Staff do try to accommodate your requests to the best of their ability, so be reasonable!

Food is a plenty depending on what you want to eat (the main buffet; open for all three major meal times). There are tons of options. For those who arrive at awkward times there is Piccollo, the snack bar (where you can get a hearty meal!) at any time. During the day, there is a buffet with the famous Jamaican jerk chicken (and other stuff) on the beach; in addition to all the restaurants available. There is a variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from and the seafood selections available daily are awesome.

The entertainment staff mingle and talk to all the guests and try to get all involved in games, dances etc. ensuring that a good time is had by all. They don't force you or hound you to join.

There is the notion that staff expect tips. We were never blatantly asked but it was understood that tips were appreciated (as is the case everywhere). Please note that it is common courtesy to tip and I find that you get great service when you are courteous and well mannered and tip those who serve you during your stay (use your discretion; don't be overly generous or extremely cheap!). Have seen guests who are overly demanding and rude and then just walk away without thanking staff!!! 'Please' and' thank you' go a long way here, trust me.

Also remember that things are done, on island time and not North American time.

As for roaches and bugs etc., remember that this is a tropical island. If you carry food up to your room, leave your dirty glasses and plates outside the door, insects will be attracted. The cleaning staff cannot be around 24 hours a day. It's up to guests as well to be respectful of how they treat the resort and it's staff. Don't throw your garbage on the beach and then complain that the beach is dirty. You will see moths in the corridor at night (not to be confused with roaches). There is also the occasional spider, but that's about it and believe me, I am very particular about stuff like this!

The beach is beautiful with turquoise water, palm trees and white sand. Stay clear of the vendors in the water.
For excursions there are quite a few choices. We did the Dunn's River Falls climb, through Cool Runnings which was awesome and is definitely recommended. Take water shoes!

The only downside of our vacation was the distance from the airport to the resort which took almost two hours. Four hours of flying and two hours to the resort plus having to wait at least another hour getting your room and then finding your bearings would make one a little cranky....but it's all good if you choose to keep an open mind and are determined to enjoy the beauty of the island and Jamaican hospitality.

Being a rather fussy traveller and having read all the negative reviews before my trip, I was a little apprehensive......but I can confidently say that I will certainly be returning to the Riu in Ocho Rios.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean view room on the 3rd or 4th floor away from the lobby and entertainment (they're...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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9  Thank ZoeCruz
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: $221 - $438 (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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