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“This hotel was paradise in a sunny friendly island”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed January 7, 2014

I have had Jamaica on my 'wish list' since falling under the spell of reggae music as a young lad growing up in West London in the 1970s. The friendly stories and magical names held a particular passion for me, so my first visit to the hotel was made with the fear of potentially 'broken dreams'. I was not disappointed at all - having returned to a grey, drab UK today with my family (two teenagers and my wife) we are all sitting here planning a return trip to this wonderful hotel.

I read the negative reviews and the mealy mouthed comments and wonder if people 'get off' by just being generally negative for the sake of being miserable. Get out there - have some fun and enjoy yourself. This is the place to do it.

The hotel caters for all ages - with a range of entertainments (produced by a hard working in-house entertainment team) and delicious food with varied dishes. Where did some people go to eat to not find this spread enjoyable and well cooked? This was a superb achievement to feed so many people so quickly - we never waited for a table once - even at the Gala Dinner on New Year's Eve - and had no problems booking in the restaurants if we decided not to eat in the buffet each night. You could eat there for a week and still not repeat your menu - the jerk chicken on the beach was amazing. Drinks flowed all day and no sign of watered down spirits (most taken straight from unopened bottles in the bar etc).

Staff we met across all areas were friendly and engaging - provided you made the effort as well. I saw some extremely rude guests snapping fingers and 'barking orders' to staff.

Amongst many members of the team on site we were entertained by Kevan, Slim Jay and Mini Me with stories, banter and jokes which were naturally good fun. The reggae band each night were tight, well rehearsed and had a perfect feel of relaxed style - they covered a range of tunes so well, they really knew their stuff.

Rooms were clean, well provided and whilst you won't find magnetic key cards (?) and flat screen TVs - get out and party - enjoy the sunshine and the friendly people. Get out to Kingston and the local town - see some local life and provide some spending cash for the people there - you will get great deals and have some friendly bartering. We weren't troubled by sellers on the beach or in the water - and a simple "No thanks - not for me" works every time if someone pesters you to buy a carving (a few traders at Dunns River Falls were pushing goods - but please don't forget these are people just trying to make a living).

Jamaica is the place to go - a number one holiday in a number one place! Gwan have fun :)

Room Tip: Keep your mosquito screens drawn at night - get some sprays and avoid getting bitten :) Worked for...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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7  Thank Bryan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,596 - 3,602 of 8,858 reviews

Reviewed January 6, 2014

This was my first holiday to Jamaica and along with the friendliness of the hotel staff and entertainment team it was the best holiday i have ever experienced . I strongly recommend this hotel to anyone family's , couples , singles no matter who you are , you will feel welcome !!!! Another point again the entertainment team are amazing and friendly

  • Stayed: December 2013
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5  Thank EmeliaPip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

I won't be going back.

With that said, I will start with the positives.

The room was clean and had a beautiful view. I don't think there are any rooms
that do not have an ocean view. From the back side of the hotel, you have a
beautiful view of the mountains.

The beach is very pretty. There is plenty of chairs and places to lay in the sun
or under a palm tree. You can also take a decent walk and stay on the property.

The dining rooms were clean and the food was good. The service was good. The
jerk chicken shack on the beach was delicious.

The entertainment and the entertainment staff was great.

We also booked a sailboat ride to the Dunn's River Falls right from the resort.
This was the highlight of the trip. It was $45 each and included the sailboat
ride, falls, snorkeling and drinks. Keep in mind the falls admission is $20 if
you go on your own and it was included in the package. It was a great deal! Fun
staff and music!

Negatives ~ it's sad, because I think this hotel could be fabulous with very
little extra expense, a smile and some elbow grease.

The pool needs attention. There are missing tiles and the pool needs to be
better cleaned. I am not talking about the water. It was clean enough to swim
in. The edging of the pool was filthy and looks like it has not been cleaned in
months. There is mold and dirt all around the pool. The swim up pool bar was
sticky and dirty. Also, the pool has a bunch of 'in the pool' tables that needed
to be scrubbed clean. The edges of the pool around the vegetation had lots of
dirt and bird poop. The pool chairs were nice, but the side tables were all
dirty.

The beach lounges all need to be replaced. Not only are they filthy dirty, most
were tearing on the sides. The side tables were all filthy dirty, too. There was
garbage in the vegetation near the water sports this is just plain laziness,
their are employees working their all day and they can't throw some plastic
bottles in the garbage?

Beware, there are jet ski rentals (not part of the hotel) and a few guys
snorkeling in the ocean (not guests) who are selling drugs. One guest complained
to the life guard and another staff member who didn't really seam to care.

The alcohol ~ imagine the cheapest alcohol you could possibly buy ~ now water it
down.

The fitness center had no air conditioning, it was small and had two working
tread mills for a hotel with 800 rooms.

Rest rooms - who designed this?
There are no rest rooms near the main dining hall. If you need to excuse
yourself, you have to walk down a long hallway and through the lobby. This is
also true for two of the sit down restaurants.
The beach does not have any bathrooms. You must leave the beach area and walk
past the pool, through an eating area, to reach a bathroom. The pool rest room
is inside the beach restaurant. You have to walk through the dining area to get
to the bathroom. It's not close for anyone on the beach. In all the ladies
bathrooms, the hand dryers were not working and the staff put out toilet paper
to wipe your hands.

Some of the common areas were not clean. The elevators were nasty. I noticed
french fries on the floor in our elevator for the three days. The interior had
finger prints on the doors and the walks simply need to be cleaned. The tables
in the lobby never seemed to be clean. It was as if they used only water to
clean everything. A little glass cleaner would have made a big difference.

Only about 25% of the staff were friendly. The rest avoided eye contact and were frowning.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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4  Thank GigiRochelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

I spent the holidays 12/28-1/2 with girlfriends at the Riu.

The pools, rooms, and beach were gorgeous and maintenance was always superb. To tell the truth the maintenance staff was the most friendly and helpful.

I am not sure if it was the Resort or if it is just Jamaica in general as the manager suggested ("It is impossible to find good, customer friendly staff in Jamaica"). The customer service was missing, at all inclusive resorts I usually encounter a lot of friendly faces, they always remember your name and go out of there way to assist. And we tipped excessively, clearly that did not make an impression either.

Water - forget about trying to get water in this resort, even if you have been sick for hours and are dehydrating. They are only allowed to deliver bottled water to your room, you cant get it anywhere else on the resort. I called the front desk for 4 hours trying to get water always with the same response "I will tell them it is urgent". I understand we are on island time but when you are vomiting and dehydrated you want water a little quicker than 4 hours.

I was also disappointed that there was no option to upgrade your alcohol choice, which I already realized before booking but it made a big difference when we realized all the alcohol was incredibly watered down.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank missingmiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

This is our 2nd Christmas in Jamaica and we love it! My Husband and I were with our son and his friend. We were there from Dec 20 to 27th. The check in was smooth and quick; we were in the deluxe section and very happy to be there. Our room 1067 was fantastic; had a call to ensure we were checked in and happy - we were. If we asked for anything such as extra towels we got them - Customer service was great. The whole week we were there I saw the Managers always around ensuring all guests were happy.Our room was close to the beach and the pool. We enjoyed the food especially the healthy juices, and all the fruit in the morning and the great omelettes made by Keisha who was always happy and singing. Our vacation was divine! Thank you Riu Ocho Rios!

Room Tip: The Deluxe is worth it
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank lorgignac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2014

Spent a week at the Riu Ocho Rio's Dec.26/2013-Jan.2/2014 and enjoyed our trip. I would not say it is a "true" 5 Star Hotel, but I would give it about a 4 star rating.

Before I begin, if you're thinking about touring Ocho Rio's instead of paying big bucks from a tour operator look up Christopher Linton at his website: Chrisjamaicatours.com
Chris will personally guide you on a tour created just for you. We went to the BLUE HOLE, which is a must if you have any teens. Jump off waterfalls, crawl into a cave, swing off a rope into a pool of blue water. He also took us to the Ocho Rio Market where Chris went looking for and found a Rasta Man for the kids to take a pic with(just tip him). For lunch, Chris took us to a local fishing village where we went to Dave's Restaurant. Chris ordered up some Caribbean Lobster, fried plantain, etc. It was delicious!
Wish we had found him earlier. We will definitely call him up if we go down again!

Now for my Resort review:
Check-in: Quick, but we had requested 4 rooms close together and same floor as we have kids/seniors on the trip. We were given rooms all over the place and had to get it straightened out. We had to change 1 room the next morning, but ended up with 4 Ocean view Rooms. Be sure to get a room on the 5th floor in the main building(2519 was our room). The 2nd number is the floor.
Beach: Great location! Only steps from the main lobby. Negative: No garbage bins. You have to take it to the bar or wait until someone comes buy picking up cups. Naturally, people leave garbage behind, bury or drop chicken bones. The worst part is that the beach is littered with cigarette butts. PEOPLE…BUTTS DON'T DEGRADE!!! Enough beach chairs for everyone. Wish there was a towel hut on the beach. Only one by the far end of the pool.
Restaurants: St Ann buffet is great! Service here is also excellent. Mandalay Asian Restaurant was not good at all. The food in the buffet was better. Pizzeria Piccolo was very good. Great for late night eaters. The Jerk Hut was excellent for lunch(on the beach). Best jerk chicken. Had it every lunchtime and missing it now.
You definitely have to book your restaurants as soon as you arrive if you want to get in. You don't have to worry about booking at St Ann Buffet, Pizzeria Piccolo, Plantation Beach Restaurant. We only got into 1 restaurant for a group of 10.
Rooms: Very clean! Had to move the side table once to see if there was an outlet and saw no dust bunnies. Enough towels everyday. Water and pop was always in the fridge. The maids always left a towel sculpture. No problems with roaches, as we never had food in the room. Definitely bugs OUTSIDE the room, but expected as you are on a tropical island.
Entertainment: Excellent every night!

We did not visit the Spa, so no comment but women from the Spa approached us on the beach, but when you tell them you are not interested they are off with a smile.
When you are swimming in the ocean, you will probably have some local guy snorkelling come up to you trying to sell you "stuff". If you say no, they will go. If you decide to buy from them make sure security is not around as they will stop you. It is illegal for them to sell on the resort property.

Room Tip: There are 2 buildings. Rooms starting with a 3 is in the farthest building.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank Joanne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2014

Spent Christmas 2013 in Jamaica. The RIU was excellent. Check-in was smooth. All staff are really friendly. Grounds are immaculate. There are a lot of beach and pool chairs. Did not have to get up early to save chairs. The food was good, I wouldn't say excellent, very predictable. The a-la-carte restaurants are good. Make sure you book as soon as possible (your first day) they get booked up fast. The steak restaurant is really good, Asian restaurant was amazing - highly recommend it.
I don't go away to exercise, but like to use the gym. The gym was not worth using; very small. Limited free weights, not many cardio machines. Cardio machines all face a mirror, would be better if along windows facing the beach or pool. Saw more people jogging on the beach every day. Tennis courts are good, bring extra balls. Very humid, so play early in the morning.
There are three gift shops onsite with good prices. Snacks are expensive, so take Pringles, crackers, breakfast bars.
Would definitely go back to Jamaica, and stay at a RIU, but closer to the airport (Negril or Montego Bay). Bus ride was 1 1/2 hours to hotel.
Lots of great gift stores at the airport, I found prices for t-shirts and beach bags more expensive than the resort.

Room Tip: Travelled with my husband and one adult daughter. Our room was on the second floor which was great...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank SuzieQ053
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
#6 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: $220 - $388 (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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