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“Best Vacation Ever”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 36 Hotels in Ocho Rios
A TripAdvisor Member
“Best Vacation Ever”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 20, 2006

I just got back from five days at RIU Ocho Rios and I have to say that I cannot wait to go back. It's true that the ride from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios can be a bit of a hassle, but when you finally get there it is completely worth every effort. The hotel itself is beautiful and the staff is amazing. Within five minutes of my arrival to RIU I had a drink in my hand and was checked into my room.

The room was extremely clean and nicely decorated. The mini bar has soda, club water, Jamaican beer, juice, and bottled water. Our room was located in building three, so it had full Ocean view. The view is breath taking. The bathroom is very large and has two sinks which comes in handy when you're sharing the room with someone else. There are PLENTY of towels in the bathroom; which by the way are large in size and made of a nice soft material which is great when your skin is a little more sensitive after sunbathing. Our room was cleaned everyday, we would leave in the morning around 8:30 am to have breakfast and lounge by the pool and by 12pm when we returned to the room it was nice and clean. A safe is provided as part of your all-inclusive package, but I can tell you that the maids will not touch any of your personal belongings. Many times we left money and jewelry on the dresser and it was exactly where we left it upon our return.

The food is pretty good in the hotel. I did not make dinner reservations at the other restaurants, only because I am the type of person that does not like to stick to a schedule when on vacation. I prefer to eat dinner whenever I feel like it. But St. Ann's has enough food and variety to satisfy everyone. They even have a vegetarian station, something which I have not seen at other resorts. The waiters in the restaurant are always very polite, friendly, and clean out the table as soon as they see that you're done and ready for your second serving! There isn't an actual bar inside of St. Ann's but they have enough drinks to make up for it, including wine if you want some alcohol with your meal. The drinks at the bar are superb. They use premium rum and vodka and are not watered down.

The entertainment at this hotel is above average. Like other's have said, it's not Broadway, but unlike other resorts they do not have cheesy shows. They had something new each night. The entertainment crew works their heart out to make sure that you have a nice time and to make sure that you feel welcomed. They work from about 8:30 am until about 1am, and they always have a smile on their face. After the show is over at night, they will accompany the guests to the disco and get the party started. They will dance with everyone, and introduce guests that they believe will have a common interest. It's nice to get to know the other people that are staying at the hotel; I can tell you that we made a couple of new friends thanks to the entertainment crew.

RIU Ocho Rios is the perfect resort if you want to relax, not worry about anything as it's all-inclusive and at the same time have fun when you want to. There are a number of activities you can participate throughout the day, or if you prefer you can lounge by the pool or beach and not do a single thing. Either way, I will guarantee you that you will have a great time.

  • Stayed May 2006
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31 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2006

My son (9 yrs old) and I just returned from spending 6 days at the RIU Ocho Rios in Jamaica this past week. We felt like we were staying at a first class resort. That is how everything seemed to be like. Since the minute you step into the beautiful hotel lobby, you are greeted with smiles and drinks from the wonderful staff. Check in and out was done in a flash. They carry the luggage to your room which is always spotless and very comfortable with balcony and a breathtaking ocean view!! Everything was always so clean from the beach, to the pools, to the entertainment areas. The bars were great every drink I tried was better than the last and the restaurants... all you can eat with lots of variety, with different themes almost every night!

The one thing that impressed me the most was the staff. We never, ever saw anyone without a smile and that alone would just make our day. I would like to express my gratitude mostly to them for making my son feel very special. They really do make you feel like you are the most important person there. They make sure that you have lots of fun with different activities going on during the day such as volleyball, aerobics by the beach or the pool, different shows, live bands playing at night, the kids club where my son spent lots of time etc. Thank you for playing with my son and teach him how to dance reggae, It meant a lot to him!! You guys are the BEST... I don't know how you do it all day and night on the move to satisfy the guests!!! God Bless you all!!!

I highly recommend this hotel whether it is for families with kids or couples or anyone in general. Trust me, it will be worth every penny you pay for your staying there... You will love it!!! I would definitely go back!!

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15 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2006

I travel alot and have NEVER been to any hotel, anywhere that had run out of any of the following itmes:

Soap (from the maid)
Hand towels/ was cloths (maid)
Lemmons, limes (the bar)
Bananas (bar)
Matches (front desk)
Change (desk)

At one time or another thr Riu was out of EACH of these. I shouldnt have to call the front desk to get soap for crying out loud. And, in the Carribean, I should be able to get a banana daquairi, dont ya think?

It was a damn shame, becuase , aomng some other problems, this hotel is absoluetly gorgeous. Rooms, grounds, beach, etc. Staff friendly as in everywhere else Ive been in Jamaica- which here must be some challenge for management as they must be trained how to say no and smile at the same time!!

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
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6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2006

I just returned from a wonderful relaxing stay at the Riu in Ocho Rios. First things first - To those who complained about every little thing - You're on vacation in Jamaica. If you want a great steak dinner - stay home and visit your local steakhouse. If you don't want a 2 hour bus ride to get someplace beautiful - why are you spending your time and money to do it - tell me you didn't look at a map before you went. Don't want to stand in line for reservations? Don't - I never went hungary!

Ok..I feel better - now on to the review! I arrived mid-morning and did not have transportation set up to get to the hotel. I asked a few of the airport employees and they sent me to Sun tours. I paid $20US and was on a bus within minutes. From the time I stepped off the plane to the time we left the airport was maybe 20 minutes total. Our driver asked if anyone wanted to stop, and since no-one was real interested we went straight to Ochi. The Riu was the first stop so I had it made. Once at the hotel, check-in was painless and I was handed a drink before I was 10 steps into the lobby.

My room was in building 2 (2120) The only complaint I had was that the room was set back a bit over a roof, but still had a great view of the pool and a bit of the ocean looking towards Ochi. The only reason I didn't have an Ocean Front room is that I requested to be moved to a room nearer to the rest of my family. The room was a good size, very clean, and comfortable when I arrived. The mini bar was stocked and the A/C worked fine. Hint: The A/C shuts off automatically when the patio door is opened. The bathroom was large and clean but watch out the first time you get in the shower, the tub is curved a bit and until you are used to it, you can find yourself looking for a handhold. (Or maybe that was just the rumpunch) I had no problem getting anything I needed in the room. I left the housekeeping staff a buck or 2 every day, and always had plenty of towels, soap, and the mini bar was overflowing! I asked one of the ladies if they had any hand lotion one day, and she pulled out her purse from her cart and handed me her personal bottle. I made sure to buy 2 the next day in Ochi and she was very appreciative when I gave them to her.

Food: Food is a touchy subject in this forum, but I will say I was fine with the food that was available. Breakfast at St. Anne had every breakfast food you could possibly want. For Lunch The Jerk Shack on the beach is second to none. The hot sauce will leave you wishing you had a Big Gulp full of Red Stripe near at hand. I do wish that there was at least 1 resturant that was Jamaican themed. For this I took a cab into Ochi and had all of the local food I wanted. The advice about walking up to the gates and catching a cab out on the street is right on. $1US into Ochi versus 10-30US in the lobby of the hotel. Drinks are readily available and I never had one that I felt was watered down. HINT: Bring a large insulated cup - the small plastic you get at the pool/beach bars won't last you long in that sun.

The pools and the beach were both wonderful. The pool on the Suite side is very relaxing and a little quieter. The pool on the other side had activites going most of the day, but it was great fun to participate and I met people from all over the world while trying to paddle a kayak around the pool! :) Both pools have swim up bars and loungers built into the pool so you can spend hours just relaxing! The beach is great too, there is plenty of loungers, but not an abundance of shade. The snorkling is great right off the left side of the beach. If you need gear it is $25US deposit that you get back when you return. Rinse your gear before you put it on as the cleaner they use tastes like jetfuel! If you are looking to stay out of the sun there are a few palm trees to hide under or just stay near the pool under an umbrulla. The vendors on the beach are forward, but not rude in any way. After the first day there, they know you by sight and don't bother you if you're not interested. Once they know you're not going to buy anything they're just looking for a friendly conversation. If you're not interested a polite 'no thanks mon' will do. I learned a bit about the local history and customs from talking to the vendors, and every one of them was great to talk to. One of the vendors - Rupert - gave me a great tour of the local area, and took me to several great resturants that most tourists never see. I was treated wonderfully by all of the locals!!

The entertainment staff is the heartbeat of the hotel. They are there from 8 or 9 in the morning until 11 or 12 at night. I never once saw them without a smile. They make every person feel welcome and at home. Alisha, KiKi, Superman, Slash, HotDog and all the rest make sure that you have a smile on your face all day! Try the beach aerobics, or the dancing, or one of the pool games - it's a great way to meet people and you'll be laughing the whole time! The shows at night are not broadway, but they are great entertainment, and the performers really put their hearts into every show. I know that having drinks brought to your table would be nice, but if you tip your bartender every now and then he or she will have your drink waiting on the bar by the time you walk up to grab it. Kevon (TallMon) was the best, and he knew everyones drink in our party and kept us entertained for hours with his bar tricks and stories.

We did Dunns River Falls, and that was a fun way to spend a morning. Be carefull in the shopping areas as the vendors are fairly aggressive. They still take no for an answer, but it might have to be several no's before they leave you alone. I would still recommend finding a local to take you to see the sights and learn about Jamaica outside of the hotel walls.

My brother had his wedding on the beach on Saturday afternoon. It was a very simple service, but tastefully done. The atmosphere was perfect, and the only thing that could have been better is if the large topless german lady would have stepped out of the backround on a few pictures! :) By the end of the week the whole staff knew us by name, and was willing to do anything in their power to make our stay the best.

Overall I would recommend the Riu in Ochi to anyone that is looking to relax, have a few drinks, meet some great people, and have a terrific vacation. I did bring a bunch of $1US and tipped fairly regularly. It is not expected and the service was wonderful if you tipped or if you did not! Please feel free to email me if you have questions!

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
38 Thank ehkid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2006

I have traveled extensively in the carribean and found the Riu one of the finest hotels I have ever visited. The staff are very friendly and and all-inclusive is the only way to go if you have ever been shocked at your bar tab on the cruise ships.

The food was less than I expected but there are always selections for every taste. Their reservation system for dinner is such a waste of valuable vacation time that most, like me, opt for the buffet dining.

They serve only Jim Beam and Smirnoff as brands most of us americans are accostomed to and no domestic beer. I found the house beer to to taste much like Corona so I was fine.

The in-room liquor cabinet stocks rum, gin, brandy and vodka and is refilled every other day.

Do Not forget to bring a large insulated mug! The cups that are served at the pool remind me of the cup you would take cold medicine from. The worst part is getting two drinks from the swim-up bar only to wade back to your lounger needing another refill. You won't regret this tip!

Dunn's River is a must trip and will never be forgotten.

The vendors are more of a hassle than I have seen on any island. The shop owners will start a conversation to get your name and then carve it into a sculpture to force you into purchasing it. Shoppers should stay to busy markets in safe numbers.

Jamaica is not the place to venture out alone!

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2006

Listen I can't believe people can complain about the Riu for the price!!! We had friends getting married and they stayed at Sandals and paid $2000 more, we could not wait to get back to Riu.. and then they came to visit us at the Riu, well to make a long story short we are all going back to the Riu in Sept........ can't wait.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2006

We just returned from from the RIU. May 4th thru the 10th. First of all if you are worrying about the weather, Don't! The weather channel said rain, and humid everyday for us and we never saw any rain .

We used Clive's Transport Service to and from the airport. (---) No problem! They were prompt and got us to and from the hotel safely.

The RIU is a beautiful hotel. Upon arrival they greet you with a smile. The entrance is spectacular. We had a regular oceanview room, fifth floor, which overlooked the main pool and the beach. This was in the main building. It was beautiful and extremely clean. Fully stocked with in room bar, sodas and gallons of drinking water.

The resort is huge, but you soon learn your way around. There are many restaurants to choose from. However you do have to wait in line for reservations in the morning if you choose to do this. We didn't want to as we were enjoying the beach so much, but got lucky one morning after the reservation lines had cleared, and still got a reservation (without standing in line) at the Asian restaurant. It is still a buffet but had good food, it was a nice change from eating at St. Ann's buffet or the Italian restaurant which we did for most of our trip. They do try to change the menu at St. Anns nightly so there is always something you can find that you will like. Including french fries. The breakfasts are great and the fresh fruit is bountiful. I would assume that the food can get monotonous at any all inclusive resort. But we came for the sun, sand and water.

The nightly shows are entertaining, and the entertainment staff are highly personable and talented. The beach party was great. Watch for Superman, he is a fire blower! The Michael Jackson Show is a bit hokey, but I loved every minute of it. These entertainment kids work from sun up to sun down and always have a smile on their face. The rest of the staff at the hotel works very hard to make sure you are having a good time. Please be sure to tip them. We took $100 in ones, and tipped our maid everyday, tipped our bartenders, and waitstaff at night. It is not required to tip there. However it does mean a lot to them and will improve your service.

I had a massage at the spa on the beach which was wonderful. Ask for Sharon, she does a great job.
We also used the free kayaks and paddleboats on site. Went parasailing thru the service at the hotel. It was incredible. I highly recommend it. We brought our own snorkling equipment with, and there are plenty of fish to see right on site. We even had a sting ray come swimming by. Booked a private tour with Phil Lafayette before we left the States. He took us to Dunn's River falls, tubing on the White River, and a drive thru Ocho Rios. He is a very entertaining and knowledgeable man, not to mention Philharmonic... He showed us different aspects of the island. You will have a great time if you book a tour with him. He will come and pick you up at the RIU. (---)

The beach is beautiful, and yes there are the vendors, but they are very kind people. Do not be intimidated by them. A kind no thank you will work and move on if you are not interested. I did choose to talk to them more to get to know them. They are very nice people. Just to name a few, there is Chris, who plays music on the swimmers rest. He also sells CD's of what he plays. A very nice guy. Mary, I did buy a sarong from her, she also braided my hair, and we also purchased a coconut carving of birds that you could hang from your deck at home made by a man named Martin. You can walk down to the end of the beach where they also have tables set up with their crafts to sell if you want.

To sum this up. I would definitely go back to RIU. The drinks are plentiful and refreshing, have a "Blue Ocean" for me. We are still trying to perfect them at home. Like the song goes, "I want to go to RIU!"
Irie, Irie!!!!

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
23 Thank Tanner29
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 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Spa 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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