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“Wonderful Resort”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Wonderful Resort”
Reviewed December 12, 2005

Wow! Just got back from 8 days at the Riu. The service was exceptional. Food was very good. I easily got reservations in all the specialty resturants. We were upgrated to the white wristbands. Did not even have to ask. Had 2 rooms together per our TA request. Room was a suite, large king beds with a jacuzzi tub.
Show at nite were entertaining. My daughter fiance entered the Mr. Riu competition and I split my sides seeing him dressed as Celine Dion. Do not worry about staying here. Only problem we encountered was a very disorganized front desk. The resort is just the right size. I like a big resort. I want to walk off my tropical drinks and 5 course meals.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank sweetpeainpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ferndale, Michigan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2005

My stay 12/5/05 - 12/12/05
This property is HUGE! Much too large for my liking. I now know I definately prefer more of the "boutique" type resorts i.e.(The Royal Plantation)
The hotel is quite beautiful. I'm sure once they complete everything, yes you see they're busy with construction while I'm typing this review!(I guess they wanted some of the that holiday$$$)
The RIU company doesn't seem to mind how they incovenience the guest with the early morning (clanging) noise and all the barriers. I witnessed people slipping and falling all over the place. (Focused on the holiday market I guess)
The staff overall are very friendly (that's with most Jamaicans)you can tell many are "still a little wet behind the ears"(More supervision is needed quickly!)
Dining - I've had better food in Jamaica...It must be hard cooking for Soooo many people!!! Most of food was overcooked or under cooked...Who likes crunchy pasta or dry fish?
When I attempted a visit to "The Spa" I was totally turned off by too many young women standing behind the desk and none could answer 1 simple question???
My room was beautiful #1223. The mini bar was stocked with a brand of beer called "Real Rock" Everyone thinks and knows that "Red Stripe" is Thee Jamaican Beer, a gentleman told me that Real Rock = Old Milwaukee, which made me look closer at the main bars...
"No Top Shelf Spirits Served Here"!
The entertainment was very good.
I guess once the construction is over and the management systems are in place...Oh yeah! and they complete all the finishing touches like pen and paper in the rooms- it will be okay for some, but RIU is a bit mediorce for my taste.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank g0meagan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2005

We returned earlier this week from a seven night stay at the RIU Ocho Rios. Prior to taking this trip we spent a lot of time on this site (TripAdvisor.com) trying to get a preview of what to expect at this resort. We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to share their personal observations following their vacations. I would like to give a personal thanks to Liquorman for his reviews. His daily reviews, which were actually sent from the resort, were "right on" in our opinion, and his attention to detail was impeccable.

We have come to realize that everyone’s personal views are a cumulative collaboration of their personal experiences. While my wife and I have many of our own travel experiences, this is our first trip to an All Inclusive resort. We are a 49/50 year old couple who typically travels domestically (USA) and have limited experiences on Eastern Caribbean cruises. We were fortunate enough to meet several great couples while at the RIU the week of November 28 – December 5, and found that our observations of our stay at ROR very closely mirrored their views. Typically these couples ranged in ages between 45 & 55.

We left St. Louis on a charter flight with Champion Air aboard a Boeing 727. Flight was full and the 3.5 hour flight was typical of a standard commercial flight. Processing through customs went without hitches but took about an hour as two other flights arrived simultaneous to ours. There were 8 Jamaican Customs booths open to process the 500 or so arriving passengers. We booked this trip through MLT/Worry-Free Vacations and met their agent after clearing customs who directed us to our bus to take us to Ocho Rios. Our bus trip to RU Ocho Rios took just over three hours including a rest stop and a stop at the Royal Caribbean to drop off guest for that resort. Many of the resorts we passed in route to the RIU were dated, tired looking and were not appealing to those on our bus. If you plan to take excursions to town or Dunn’s River Falls check with the representative of your travel company as to bus rates. We went into Ocho Rios to check out the duty free shops and through Worry Free our round trip rate was $20.00 total for both of us ($10.00 round trip per person).

The RIU property is beautiful and grandiose. It’s beautifully adorned and is impeccably maintained. The housekeeping staff is constantly working to maintain the public areas of this resort. Beginning at 7 am, and continuing throughout the day you will see several workers cleaning, removing empty drink glasses, maintaining restrooms and cleaning the beach and pool areas. We met the housekeeper who maintained our room our first day. She did a great job having our room cleaned before we returned to get ready for our evening meal. We will discuss tipping later but we did give her a small box of chocolate ($5 box of Russell Stover Chocolate from WalMart) and left a small tip everyday on our pillow. Please note that if you chose to give gifts to any employee at ROR they will need to have a statement filled out by you stating your gift, room number, your name and signature. This form is a safeguard instituted by RIU to protect its guest against theft. We will say that we never felt concerned about theft, but did use the in-room safe as a precaution.

We were in room 1335 which is located on the forth floor of the west building which houses the Junior Suite and Suites. Our room was just a couple of rooms to the left of the center of the horseshoe which makes up this building. It is almost directly facing the ocean and overlooks the pool. If you go to (-) and click on the resort button in the main body of this page you will get a pdf. Map of the property. On the left of this map is the Exclusive Deluxe Rooms. In our opinion the rooms with the best views are the rooms which make up the curve of the horseshoe. Our room, 1335, was actually the "D" in Exclusive Deluxe Rooms on this map. The rooms which make up this curve range from xx17 - xx46. The first digit in your room indicates the building, Exclusive Deluxe Rooms, while the second digit represents the floor. 10xx rooms are on the ground floor, 11xx the second floor, 12xx the third floor, 13xx the forth floor and 14xx the top floor. Some of the rooms on the top floor do have concrete railings on the balcony which do obstruct your views. Our room was partially shaded from the morning sun, which was nice for us. The rooms on the left side of the map on this page do get full morning sun. In looking at this map the rooms we would prefer xx17 to xx46, (1317 - 1346 on the forth floor for example) begin with xx17 nearest the walkway by Tushima Restaurant and going leftward to xx46. We did not view any rooms in the other two room areas of this resort so we apologize to anyone who is seeking information for these rooms. As you can see the standard rooms (located to the right on the map indicated above) are set back farther from both the beach and the larger pool on the right side of this property. I estimate that this building is 200-250 yard farther from the ocean that the suite building.


We won’t go into a lot of detail about the resort but instead advise you to read the daily discussions from Liquorman. You can get these by performing a search for Liquorman in the Ocho Rios forums section. He did a great job in writing daily reviews. There are 7 reviews so be sure to read each one. We will say that the dinner reservation system has improved slightly. We arrived at the resort around 4 pm and on the next day we went to each of the restaurants and booked times for dinner at that restaurant for the week. There are five of these restaurants and we were able to eat at each of them. We were able to book more than one room and we split up with another couple we met our first day and were able to book all reservations in just over an hour. We ate with this couple every night and thoroughly enjoyed sharing experiences of our days there. We would rate the food in the restaurants between a 3 to a 4+, based on a scale of 1 to 5. In comparison, the better restaurant’s food at this property is about the same quality as what you might expect at a well managed Red Lobster. We never really had a bad meal but we were a little disappointed as we were expecting our dining experience to mirror that of our cruise ships experience. For the most part the food was always fresh, the meat was tender and flavorful, but the cooking style and seasoning used was different than what we are accustomed to. As an example, I had a tenderloin steak at the Plantation Restaurant which had a coffee sauce. The steak was good but I personally didn’t care for the sauce. When eating at St. Ann’s buffet restaurant we recommend getting their earlier rather than later as the food is fresher and the lines are smaller. Again the food there was never “bad” just not cooked in a style we are used to. We both gained weight while at the RIU so form your own opinions.

We never personally experienced any problems with any of the staff. In fact we enjoyed the friendliness of all the staff. We are outgoing and on the very few occasions we walked past a staff member that didn’t smile and speak, we would speak to them and ALWAYS received a smile and response. Everyone at the resort was selfless when asked to fulfill our reasonable requests. We had conversations with several on the employees at this resort and discovered that the average hourly wage to be around $3.00/hour. Most employees appeared to work six-day work weeks. One of the security guards we met on the beach worked 6, 12-hour days (72 hours/weekly) for $3.00/hour as he was trying to save up to get married. As far as tipping, we didn’t really notice a difference in tipping the bar staff as they worked extremely hard to serve everyone. We tipped several of the staff simply because we are accustomed to doing back home. Taking into consideration the average work week and hourly wage we felt good knowing our tips contributed in a small way to their standard of life.

In summary, if you are informed about what to expect at RIU Ocho Rios, especially in regard to the dining, transfer to and from the airport and room selection we feel you will not be stressed while in Jamaica. If you are accustomed to 5 star dining then RIU Ocho Rios is probably not for you. In fact from what we gathered from several couples who travel multiple times each year All Inclusive packages as a whole typically don’t offer the 5 star dining experiences you may receive through European Travel plans. We never found any major problems with any of the foods offered. As we have already stated, in general the quality of the food at ROR was average to above average what you could expect at American restaurants the caliber of Denny’s, Red Lobster, Cracker Barrel, etc. We would rate the quality of the room (Junior Suite for us) to be similar to that of a Marriott. In fact we estimate a comparable room at a Marriott would probably run between $125 and $150 nightly in a non-metro market, or $875.00 to $1,050.00 for a seven-night stay. Adding air fare, meals and drinks for a seven night vacation makes us consider this package to be a fair value. We paid about $900.00 each for our seven night trip. We priced trips at the highest rated resorts in both Jamaica and Mexico and these trips averaged in priced between $3,000 to over $4,500.00 for the same time frame. Form your own conclusions.

Many people have asked us if we would return to the RIU Ocho Rios. Our response is always that we feel for the cost of the resort, the very clean and upscale property, the friendly staff and the overall Caribbean feel you can’t go wrong with the RIU Ocho Rios. We had a great time the week we were there. RIU has obviously made substantial improvements to service since they opened October 28th of this year. In the first month they have done a great job to improve the dining experience of their guests. We feel that as time goes on they will improve in these areas even more. The Jamaican Government is working on the roads between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and hopefully sometime during 2006 this 105 km road improvement will be completed and will shorted the ride to just over one hour. We concurred with several other couples we met the week we were there that RIU should consider hiring chefs of the nationality representative of the cuisine of each individual restaurant. They should also continue to examine the reservations system and possibly consider adding another seating time, possibly going to 5-7-9 pm as an example. Also both the Mammee Bay Steakhouse and the Plantation Restaurant are larger and could handle more guests per seating. It would be nice if one of these larger restaurants would dedicate its menu to a more local, Jamaican theme.

  • Stayed November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank MoCple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lowville, New York
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2005

Just returned from five days at the Riu Ocho Rios. After reading so many poor reviews, I have to admit I was somewhat concerned. What was there not to like? Granted, the ride from the airport was about two hours. They were more than happy to sell us plenty of Red Stripe for the ride and allowed us to stop and load up more half way there. Just sit back and enjoy the driver's jokes and take in the sights. The RIU is one of the first stops you make when reaching Ocho Rios. We had considered Couples and found the ride would have been an additional half hour.

When we arrived (three couples) we were most impressed with the lobby, not to mention the rum punch served upon approaching the check in counter. I asked if there was rum in the drink and before I knew it a bottle was produced and more was applied. The bottle was then offered to take to our room. Check in was very quick and we were at our room in ten minutes. The room was quite nice. I guess the only complaint would be the tub. We were in a standard room and it seemed the tub was no more than two feet wide. Great view of the pool and the ocean from our room 3054.

The two pools are large and comfortable. Plenty of loungers and no need to get there at 6 AM to reserve a spot. We generally arrived at 10:00 and were able to find a spot near the swim up bar.

The beach was huge. I would guess a quarter mile in length and you would have a difficult time filling the loungers. Nice sand and beautiful blue water.

Plenty of bars and great bartenders. Particularly enjoyed Antonio at Dunns River, Jr and Fitzroy at Rastafarian. Don't be afraid to tip and you will find you will be well taken care of. Avoid the sports bar as there seems to be a mold problem.

Food was excellent as well. Only made reservations at one restaurant, Mandalay. It was done well, but found St. Ann's to be a quite good for breakfast and dinner. The pizza - pasta restaurant was also good. We generally had lunch at Plantation as it is close to the pool. No complaints.

Entertainment people work hard and countless hours. King Kong and Sweetie Cherry were everywhere. I only wish I could find help that is willing to work at their pace.

Made a trip into town to visit Margaritaville. One of the couples on the trip are big Buffet fans. When we arrived we were told he would be in the restaurant the next morning. They returned in the AM and were two of a select few that were present when Jimmy himself arrived. Lots of pictures to show their Parrothead buddies back home.

I found this to be a wonderful resort and will definately consider returning. We had been tossed from Cancun after Wilma, but will never regret our stay at ROR.

Helpful?
7 Thank Drysdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2005

Okay, I am only writing this review due to the fear that I felt about this hotel when reading previous reviews. I think this hotel far exceeded my expectations. First of all the road to the hotel is not as bad as I feared. I would suggest to anyone that they try and arrive in the evening so to avoid the stop and the local watering hole. This should reduce the travel time from the airport to the hotel to 1 1/2 hours. When we arrived we were blown away by the beauty of the lobby, the drinks that were given while checking in and the efficiency of the check in. We were in out room within 20 minutes. The hotel is extremely clean, I swear they clean this place every half hour. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We did not have an iron in our room and there is no ironing board, however the iron was available first thing in the morning at the front desk. The pools are great and the beach even better. We spent a lot of time at the fun pool, either at the swim up bar(with Junior-what a laugh) or at the pool bar with the great group of staff getting drinks one after the other. The food was normal for any resort, they want you to eat at the buffet so that it's cheaper. However, take 1 hour of your time the first day and go book the restaurants. Sir Richards is well worth the wait. The one complaint I had was that we could not seem to get a reservation at The Plantation which was a Caribbean restaurant and when we finally could get in they changed it to another steakhouse(don't bother with either one and if you do I would avoid the steak). Other than that I really enjoyed eatting at the beach and swallowing as much Jerk Chicken as possible. For couples with kids this place is great and the staff is wonderful at keeping them entertained. We had a very restful vacation but if you are looking for good night life do not go here. Most people head to bed when the show is over which is generally at 11:00pm. If you are looking to relax then this is the place.

Helpful?
9 Thank Shannonbree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, MD
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2005

We just got back last night from the Riu in Ocho Rios. We had a wonderful time. Let me preface by saying we had never been to Jamaica and this was our first all-inclusive vacation. We had also never been to any of the Riu hotels. We definitely are not picky people and my boyfriend actually had to be talked into going at all!! I will try to give some details that others have not mentioned. Also, I had read many of the reviews beforehand and my boyfriend had not read anything or seen any of the pictures beforehand. So, I will let you know his thoughts too.

AIRPORT TRANSFER: probably the worst part of the trip. It was nice to see Jamaica for a while..but, after about 1.5 hours..you really wanna already be there! If we go back again, we are definitely going to charter a small plane to fly from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. It costs about 90/person one way---BUT you are there in about 30 mins.

FOOD: it was okay. We actually liked the buffets more than the speciality resturants. Jerk chicken on the beach by "chicken little" was awesome. Getting reservations for the specialty resturants was still an issue. I would highly suggest just going to the resturant about 10 mins before the seating to see if they have any available seating. This works most times.

JAMACIAN PEOPLE: wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!! The most pleasent, helpful and cheerful people we had ever met. I cannot say enough about how amazing they were. They really try to please the guests.

RESORT: Georgeous and spotless. They clean this place constantly. We saw a lady clean a bench for at least at hour--no kidding!

EXCURSIONS: We only did one excursion. We did the Canopy Tour and absolutely loved it. We traversed through the rainforest strapped only by harnesses. It was a bit scarey for me, (you are about 50-100 ft high) but what a view!! We had a blast and recommend it to everyone. It was 70/person and we booked it the day before we wanted to go in the front lobby area.

POSSIBLE ENHANCEMENTS: When I asked my boyfriend what he would change, he said: more bathrooms in common areas and more of a varity of beers. Definitely not big deals.

We had a great time. Very, very relaxing. Enjoy!!

  • Stayed December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank beezinz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2005

We went to the Riu Ocho Rios November 18-Dec 1 2005.We were the only 2 people checking into the resort upon our arrival.After checking in the front desk staff told us to "stand over there",in the middle of the lobby.After being ignored"over there",for 15-20 minutes,the bell boy came to escort us to our room.He was quite personable. The room itself was very nice, but we soon discovered that we did not have a key for the in-room safe.Naturally, we phoned the front desk to request a key,only to be told that the Riu Ocho Rios,did not have any keys to give us because the keys did not work.Needless to say we slept with our money,passports and airline tickets in bed between us the first night.Somehow the following day we got a key to the in-room safe.The fridge-mini-bar was to be restocked every other day.It wasn't until 4 days after our arrival,that we had anything restocked,after complaining,first.When the fridge was restocked,it came with gallon jugs of water,somewhat inconvenient to carry with you.The water also seemed to have an off taste to it.Toilet paper also seemed to be in short supply.The restaurants were very disappointing.All food was over cooked.Hot food was always cold.Sadly the buffet menu was not changed...same food,day in day out.The buffet was the only type of restaurant to eat in,with the exception of "Sir Richards" which had table service.We were disappointed again by slow service and overcooked food.You have to make reservations for the specailty restaurants only between 10 am and noon,and only allowed to visit one specailty restaurant per week.The music at the bars is so loud that you cann't relax.Overall we were extremely disappointed with the Riu Ocho Rios.Any request we had quickly fell on deaf ears.For a resort that advertises itself as a 5-star,the Riu Ocho Rios is definitely substandard.We had thought, before going on our vacation,and reading Trip Advisor reviews of this resort,that all of the negative comments were just from whiners...these negative remarks are 100% true.We decided, after one week, of not having a good vacation to leave the Riu Ocho Rios,and booked into Sandals Royal Caribbean resort.What a great choice we made.We were greated with smiling,friendy faces with prompt,courteos service and good food.

Helpful?
6 Thank torontomember
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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