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“Loved It, Going Back Soon!”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 36 Hotels in Ocho Rios
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Loved It, Going Back Soon!”
Reviewed August 21, 2006

We went for a week, August 7-14. There were 3 bad things about this vacation,:

•the crappy bus 2 hour ride
•lining up early for the sit down restaurants

But, in all fairness, we knew about all of the above, so we sucked it up, and took accountability for our choices, and enjoyed the resort everything else it had to offer!

The resort is fabulous, it's was newly opened in November 2005, so everything is pristine. We had a standard room with a king size bed and a double bed, and a decent sized balcony. There were 3 of us girls sharing; we were quite comfortable in the room. We had a bathroom that was marble and granite, with double sinks, so space was never an issue.

There are at least 4 buffet restaurants, several sit down restaurants, the jerk pit out on the beach, and bars galore. They cater to your every whim. I can't understand those who say the food sucks. I think some people are accustomed to getting a certain type of food, and want that when they are on vacation in other parts. If you are really picky about what you eat, bring some peanut butter and crackers…lol! Oh, don’t eat the scrambled eggs…I don’t know what they are, but they taste terrible. Go for made to order omelets, or fried eggs, We had our choice of lining up early to go to one of the 5 or so sit down restaurants or eating buffet. Although we made reservations 2x, we never quite made them, and ate happily at the buffet restaurants.

Drinks, drinks and more drinks. A liquor dispenser in your room, fridge filled with beer, soft drinks and water. The bars at the resort are well stocked and specialized in making fruity blender drinks. If that’s not your speed, there is tons’ of rum, rye, scotch, beer…etc.

There are 3 pools, pool on standard side, pool on suite side and the kid’s area. We had a standard room, but roamed freely without question in all areas. The two adult pools have swim up bars, which was very nice.

All in all, I loved the resort, and I am already planning to go back in February. Although during our stay, it was mostly couples and families, I would still recommend it to singles for a great time. It’s a nice feeling, being able to eat and drink as you please without ever pulling out your wallet. Two thumbs up!

27 Thank anyap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Highlands Ranch, CO
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2006

My husband and I came back from 5 nights at the Riu in Ocho Rios
(5/28th - 6/1 2006) and below is our review of our trip. I will point out the positives and the negatives.

The resort is beautiful, presentation is nice, the rooms are also nice
and the beds are also decent. Overall the look and presentation of the resort is probably deserving of a 4 star resort.

The other thing I enjoyed a lot was the all-inclusive drinks. Those were
quite fun and were pretty good. My favorite drinks were Pina coladas,
Blue Ocean, Strawbery Pina Coladas and mud slides. You can always
get a drink and you don't have to pay $10 for each every time you want
one so that part is great.

Now I go into the negative things of the resort. I have a few complaints: one was the food, 2nd was the vendors on the beach selling you stuff, 3rd I had a bad experience with a cook at the Jerk Chicken Hut. He wasn't very friendly and made stupid racial jokes etc... Anyway so here goes...

This was was our first time at an All-Inclusive resort and we were definitely very disappointed when it
came to the food. I mean we were not expecting much from an
all-inclusive place but please give us food that's at least cooked and
fresh. The food there is quite unacceptable. Below is a list of
problems. Breads (rolls, croissants, toasts etc) were typically a few days old,
if not a week and this was for the daily breakfasts and dinners (generally stale. All Ice-cream tasted very strange as if they had flour in them and had a chalky taste to it. The desserts generally were not done right, had a weird taste, cakes were dry and generally not fresh. I basically skipped the desserts all together. Most of the main food were blend w/o any seasoning other than salt. The food at this resort reminds me of hostpital food.

We ate at the Japanese restaurant (that we got up early to make reservation for) one night and it was so BAD. The
first course was sushi and it was 10 times worse than the sushi you'd
get from whole Foods. At least at Whole Foods, you can eat it.
Here you absolutely can not. The tempura shrimp and vegetables must
have been kept frozen in the freezer and then they heated them up before serving them to you.
They were cold and soggy, plus the tempura batter was basically some
kind of tough dough that didn't taste like tempura batter at all. This
restaurant really gives Japanese food a bad name.

The next night we tried the Steak House. I ordered the mixed grill
that had beef, chicken, shrimp, and sausage. The beef steak was so
tough like leather that I had to spit it out. The chicken was actually
raw. After two nights of non-edible food, we gave up on the
restaurants and decided to just stick to the buffet restaurant. At
least here, you can find something that is edible where the other
restaurants you will for sure go hungry, pretty bad.

The Jerk-Hut on the beach was probably the best thing at this resort. Even with that it had a lot of problems. The chicken and sauce were very good, if you get a piece that is cooke. I must warn you that a lot of the grilled pieces were actually still raw on the inside so be careful because you can get really sick from eating raw chicken and sausages. I could only eat about 30% of the chicken that was given to me. The rest would still be raw meat inside, pretty gross.

My 2nd complaint was the vendors selling you stuff on the beach:

This was not completely bad but enough to make me feel uncomfortable
to where I did not want to get in the water or sunbathing in the sun.
Part of it was because I felt bad for the people (very poor and trying to make a living while we're all
enjoying life at the resort, having our umbrella drinks and food while they're
hot, thirsty/hungry out in sun all day trying to sell you stuff). Plus
there's a huge sign from the resort that says "please do not feed the
vendors" so you can't really give them drinks other than money etc...
A lot of times, I'd head over to the pool instead of lying out on the

Overall we had fun on our vacation because we made the most of it but I don't think we'll be giving the Riu
Resorts another try. Some areas were good but overall it has major issues.

15 Thank Traveler1999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toledo Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2006

Jamaica is just not the place to be...but the resort is. The resort was beautiful with jut a few exceptions. I was traveling in a large group of over 30 people for a friends wedding so with a group that large there is bound to be some kinks.

The pools
The pools were beautiful and very very clean, they did have very nice towels to use but often ran out during the day so getting a fresh one was difficult.

The beach
The beach was also very clean, infact raked every morning. But beware of the sand fleas. Not as mich trouble as I anticiapted but a friend ended up with red welts all over her ankles...not fun.

The drinks
The drinks are gret especially at the smaller of the 2 pools there is a bartender named Nola who got me absolutly smashed my first night. I was in bed by 7 and sick at midnight...be careful the rum is potent and I am a drinker! But Nola is lots of fun and very personable. One thing we did notice is that if you drink too many fozen drinks you end up with a pain in your tomach, several of us did anyway so stick to on the rocks.

The food
You either loved it or hated it. Thinga are much different such as ketchup, soda, and general preperation. Remember you are not in the U.S! The ketchup is very very sweet and the ice cream very very rich and melts instantly. Sir Richards was by the far the best with Mamee bay the next for dinner...just make sure you get your reservations early or you will have to eat at 9:00 like our group. You can make reservations for up to 6 people. And gentleman must wear long pants to some of the restaurants.

The rooms
Our room was gorgeous! We had a Junior Suite with a lrge balcony that was perfect. The bed was a bit firm but I slept like a baby. Our only complaint was the housekeeping service very slow..on Jamiaca time and if you were getting married there you would think that you would have a room with a King instead on two doubles pushed together...not fun for our friends.The key cards were also a problem and frequently stopeed working for everyone..not sure why but very annoying because it is a very very long walk for some of us.

The water was ok but I reccend using the jugs so take a plastic bottle! Some of the water in the taps at the bars taste like mildew!

Stayed August 2006
17 Thank stackdds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Ontario Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2006

I don't know how anybody can complain about this hotel. It was amazing everything about it was great. My boyfriend and i spent 1 week at the Riu from August 5 to 12th. We have nothign to complain about the food was good. The staff works above and beyond to make your experience enjoyable.

I thought we were in paradise espeically seeing as the so called 5 star sandals was next door and looked like an abandoned hotel. I felt sorry for the guests at sandals who had to look down at our nice pool, listen to the work out and watch the volleyball. they obviously got ripped off.

The bus ride to the Hotel is not that bad it was an eye opener for me.

All in all we had an amazing time. My suggestion is to go to dunns rivers and get off the resort for a bit experience the locals.

I don't understand why people did not tip..you have to tip the staff because this is how they make their living..we tip at restaurants here in canada and don't get nearly half the amount of service.

We actually drove the 2 hours to go to kingston..that was an experience to last a lifetime.

Riu's are the best i would not stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
13 Thank cocobrownlopez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boisbriand, Quebec
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2006

We are from Boisbriand, in Quebec. My husband, 12 year old son and myself spent the two last weeks of July at the Riu in Ocho Rios. In our opinion, people who say the Riu is hell on earth are wrong. We had a jolly good time troughout our stay.
Once we arrived at the Montego Bay airport, everything went smoothly. The custom officer was friendly and told us about a Reggae festival nearby.

You have to use the services of a bellman to get to your shuttle and you must tip him. My husband gave the grumpy old man a 1$ but he asked for 3$.
HE : The bus ride was not as bad as described by other travellers.
SHE : The bus ride was long, bumpy and tiring. It was dark outside, so we couldn’t see a thing. I was pretty exhausted when we arrived at the hotel.
At the check-in , we were greeted with a rum punch. Service was efficient. A bellman took our luggage to our room in building 3. The hotel is quite huge, and we found it helpful to be showned around by this young man. Later, we were able to grab a bite before retiring to our room .
We were located on the 4th floor almost in the middle of the building 3, facing the pond, the biggest of the 2 pools, and the beautiful Caribbean sea. The room was nice and clean with a small balcony. There is a hanger that pulls out from the wall on the balcony. You can use it to hang your wet stuff. My husband had the brilliant idea of bringing some clothes pegs which proved very useful . Clothes dry really fast with the heat and the wind.
We didn’t use the in-room liquor, but appreciated the cold water, the beers, and sodas. I thought that the bath and shower was a bit small, but the bathroom was nice with two sinks. We had a big king bed, and a nice double bed for our son. The room was large enough, but not what I would call spacious. I enjoyed the view from the room. Going to the pool, we had a splendid view of the mountains. There was no ice machine on our floor, we had to walk quite a bit to obtain it .
We have had no problem with room, room cleaning, or supplying of drinks for in-room refrigerator. Our advice: Rather than leaving a huge tip at the end of your stay, just leave a little something everyday, either money or Thank you! note.
SHE : We ate quite well all considered! Breakfast at the St-Anne offered a vast selection of food, but I was just a bit disappointed about the fruit selection in the morning. I would have liked to eat mangoes, it was seldom offered. I was disappointed with the coffee, I thought that with the reputation of the Blue Mountain Coffee I could have had good coffee, but it was machine made, in small cardboard cups, even at the bar. The coffee pots they gave us at breakfast at least contained very hot coffee, ant they gave you warm milk also.
We didn’t eat at the reservations only restaurants. On morning I got up early to take sunrise pictures. I went by the Bob Marley Bar around 5h45 a.m. and there was already a line- up for the reservations. I don’t know how they manage their things, but I think there must be some organizational problems if you have to get up so early in order to secure a place in a reservations only restaurant. We’ve been in other all-inclusive hotels before, and we made reservations at reasonable hours and with no hassle . So we chose not to go.
I think all in all the food was quite good. A the end of our 2 week vacation, I was a bit tired of it though. Too salty, too sweet, to oily. But I had the opportunity to try a lot of local foods. I was specially fond of the jerk chicken.
The pizza was disappointing, it was made from frozen. When you have an italian restaurant, you’d think that they could make nice fresh pizza! I had read on a trip advisor comment that the food was not good and the pizza was the best thing on the menu. In retrospect, I wonder if the person who wrote that was being cynical.
We liked to eat at the Plantation restaurant at noon. We enjoyed the ocean view from there which was so very gorgeous. It is near the biggest pool, where it’s lively. The house wine is very bad. I was never sure if it was the taste of the wine, or if the glasses had been ill washed and had a residue of soap which gave the wine a foul taste.
HE :If you plan to eat only north american foods you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if like me you like Jamaican foods, you will eat like a king. I was satisfied because everyday there was a vast selection of delicious Jamaican foods to taste.
Our favorite waiters were Dwight, Desune and Decarlo. These young men were very friendly, courteous and helpful.
Make sure you try the foods served at the Jerk Hut. One of the cook Yvan, is a very colorful fellow.
Again , if you are satisfied leave a tip! These people work very hard!
SHE : The beach was nice, but not that big. You can’t expect to take nice long walks. Plenty of chairs for everyone. The vendors never hassled us, . We read differently on trip advisor, but we didn't have a problem with them. Some women were discreetly topless at the beach, not a lot.
HE : If you plan to learn to learn windsurf or catamaran, forget it! Because of the coral reefs, the waves and the wind, you must be at least intermediate level to be able to take off and survive! I settled for kayak, which was o.k.
SHE : There’s a lot of beach activities and pool activities to do. There’s an activity board in the hall to tell you of the activities. The entertainment staff is great and very active. Almost always friendly and accommodating . We specially liked Makarena.
We were disappointed one day, because my husband and son were playing volleyball with a couple of other kids when some guys from the entertainment staff arrived and unceremoniously kicked the kids out so the adults could play. My husband and son were insulted, but these guys didn’t seem to care.
HE : The night shows were incredible. The way these kids dance is something to be seen. Don’t miss the Michael Jackson show.
Every night there’s also a group dance before the show. The entertainement staff love to teach us new dance steps.
Beware of the pre-shows! This is the entertainement staff’s hour of revenge! If you don’t want to make a fool of yourself on stage, hide under the table when they pick their victims!
SHE : If you want to use the water sport for which you have to pay, make your reservation the same day. If they cancel it for whatever reason, they will offer another day to your convenience, but if you cannot then go, they will not want to refund you, even if they cancelled you many times. I was told that refund was not a problem but I had to insist to get my refund, and the girl at the counter was not agreeable. I had been cancelled a couple of times for the glass bottom boat, because they had only 2 reservation (not lucrative), but when I wanted a refund because I was not feeling well, the girl said that since I was the one cancelling, they had a no refund policy. I thought it was not very honest. And I had been a good client!

It’s a good place to go with children because of the party atmosphere. There’s a lot of families with children of all ages that go there. Music on the beach, music at the pool, nice drinks for the kids.
You could easily believe that marijuana doesn’t exist in Jamaica because we didn’t see or smell it during our stay. (Outside of the hotel, it was a different story, but it wasn’t as prevalent as I would have expected.)
POOLS: The pools are really nice. Some people have reported that they were ill maintained. I have seen people cleaning the pool near my room every day, and the pool area. But I was aware that some vacationers were very careless and were contributing actively to polluting the pool and pool area, dropping napkins and straws in pool, letting down their beverages were they were soon spilled by passers by, letting food and plates on chair and on the ground and other such stuff.
SHE : Dunn’s River Falls, it didn’t seem to me such a big deal as people make it seem. It’s a very nice tourist trap though, very beautiful.
Some people say you don’t need a guide if you’re just in shape a bit. I wouldn’t agree. Some people twist ankles and hurt themselves. Go with a guide, you just have to tip them at the end and you can have fun with the group. You can take a cab from the hotel for 25$. The cab will take you there and bring you back at your convenience. Allow at least 2.5 hours. There is a market on the premises, you may want to visit it a bit. Take your own water shoes with you if you don’t want to rent some, you definitely don’t want to go barefoot.
HE: It’s not one of the wonders of the world. But it’s a fun place to go to sing, chant and get wet!
SHE : Be sure to bring sun lotion, it’s very expensive at the hotel if you forget something and no where else to buy it. Pringles were $5.00 a can at the resort store!!!

SHE : Snorkling is fun. There are some reefs in front of the resort with tropical fish, but you can also go a bit further on boat to snorkel for an hour, it’s fun. It’s 15$ U.S. for that. You can do some parasail if you’re adventurous. No life jacket on the boat, except for people who parasail. If your children accompany you on the boat, they will have no life jackets. And when you finish your parasail, they take the life jacket back immediately, when still at sea. When I went, I took my camera with me, the girl at the counter said there was no problem with that, but the boat captain told me ( 3 times, not one) that it was at my own risk, and I could later understand why, a lot of water splashed in the boat, the waves were big, and the ride rough. If you want to bring a camera, bring some protection for it. There were two kids in the boat. No life jackets for them.

HE : There are at least six bars at the RIU. If you get to know the barmen and barmaids, you will have lots of fun. They will treat you well, entertain you, and make you discover superb new cocktails. My favorite bars were the pool bar and the Rastafari bar. If you go there, be sure to meet Latoya,Clive and Kevin.
SHE : To conclude, I would not necessarily recommend the Riu. I liked it, but I didn’t fall in love with the place. I’d just as well try a different resort.
HE : After reading three months of reports on Trip advisor, my expectations were rather low. Fortunately, I was very pleased with my experience at the RIU and not in the least in a hurry to get back home. The place is classy without being pretentious. I found the jamaican people charming, funny and exxxxtremly cool! I would recommend the Riu as a good introduction to Jamaica!

  • Liked — view from plantation restaurant
  • Disliked — too big
  • Tips/Secrets — already un report
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26 Thank sergenic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2006

We stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios from July 31 to Aug 07. We just loved it. The Airport is slow and the drive to the resort is two hours, but we were happy when we arrived at the resort. The pictures we saw of the resort didn't do it justice, the resort is beautiful.

We stayed in a regular hotel room and we could see the ocean from our balcony, great view. Our room was clean and had a new look to it. The washroom in our room was nice and fully stocked with towels and wash cloths. The maid cleaned our room at 10am, we always left her a tip, she is hard working and very friendly.

The beach and pools were excellent. My husband and I both loved the swim up pool bars. Lots of lounge chairs by the pools and by the beach.

Bars are in every corner of the resort, the drinks are good with a large variety with or without alcohol. The bartenders are hard working and fun to talk to.

The kids club was well-supervised, my nine year old son loved it. The staff at this resort are very hard working and friendly. We didn't have any problem with checking in or out. The A/C in the room worked well. We were in building three and it's a long walk to get to our room but we love walking, some of the guest didn't like the walk.

The food was not that great. There always was something to eat and we never went hungry but the food could be better. If your a dessert fan you will be out of luck. Desserts were boring and tasteless. The plantation restaurant and the jerk hut were good for lunch. We tried the steak house it was not special. We didn't line up for Sir Richards, we just didn't see the point waking up at 6am on our vacation.

As for excursions we went to Dunns river Fall it was an excellent time and we would highly recommend it to anyone going down. Also the Luminous Lagoon was interesting to see.

Bring lots of small change for tips (US Dollars)and suntan lotion as it very hot.

All in all we would return to Riu and Jamaica we really enjoyed our vacation there.

  • Liked — There was something for everyone to do at the resort
  • Disliked — Food could easily have been better and when they have a Jamaician theme night in the buffet the food should taste authentic .
  • Tips/Secrets — Expect the two hour ride from the airport and you won't get frustrated
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
22 Thank shyjulkev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunny San Diego
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2006

My wife and I spent our honeymoon here from July 22nd through the 29th and we absolutely loved the Riu. My only complaint is that it’s so large, it just makes me feel bad that so much property was taken up and that the “neighborhood” behind it had their ocean views and breezes cut off. Because it’s so large, there is some walking, but seriously get over it. Do you people never walk anywhere? It’s really only a 5 min walk from one end of the hotel to the other. Enjoy it – walk along the beach or stop at every bar along the way and get a drink. Some of the people staying here definitely could use the exercise anyway.

We flew in on the red-eye from LAX. We must have been among the first couple of planes in that day and customs was a breeze. People complain about being herded like cattle there, but I think we received worse customs treatment getting back into the US. If you can, take the red-eye get some sleep on the plane and you’ll have no problems. Yes, you do have to have a porter take your bags to the bus, but it’s no big deal. There were like 10 busses out there and if we didn’t have the porter I would have had no idea which bus to get on. Tip the guy a buck a bag, you only need a couple of them anyway.

The bus trip was fun. I have no idea what people are complaining about. The time flew by with all the sights and people to see. Have your camera ready, there are a few funny sights and signs on some of the houses. My favorite was the “Reggae Pot” store sign, I forgot to take a picture of it on the way back – serious short term memory issues after a week there.  You stop about half way for beer, jerk (for lunch – we were there too early, but it’s never too early for beer and you can take it on the bus.) Go around the back of the building there and you can find other things as well – a little pricy but you don’t really have to look hard. The beer prices there were a little steep (3 bucks) but you don’t have to by that much alcohol anyway. Remember though, no bathrooms on the busses. Yeah, it’s a little rough but that’s all part of the fun. They drive like a bat out of hell and I really want to move there and become a taxi driver or bus driver just for the fun of it. No real lanes and they are passing people all the time. I’ve never seen a big old tour bus pass so many cars.

The hotel was incredible. We got there about 11:00 and of course our room wasn’t ready. Big deal. Take a swim suit in your carry-on, change in the bathrooms and go out and enjoy yourself. They have these things called free drinks that you can get as much of as you want. Why do you need to be in your room first thing? We were upgraded from a regular room to an ocean front jr. suite. What a surprise and we considered ourselves very lucky. The rooms are amazing, tile, granite and marble everywhere. Just watch your glasses and bottles on that marble floor, they don’t mix well and you feel like an idiot asking the maid to clean a room she already cleaned. Our maid service was fine. If we didn’t get enough towels we walked down the hall to the cart and either asked the lady for some or just grabbed a couple. You don’t need to bother the desk, ask the people who actually give them out. We left a couple bucks on the bed each morning we left and everything was smooth. I even came back one day to find extra towels hanging on the door. Brought them in, came back again and there were more there.

Yeah, there is a basement smell, but after the first couple hours I didn’t notice it again until we got home. Mini bar was always stocked, we didn’t even use it that much though. I saw the dude who fills it and he offered to sell me a bottle of rum for “only” $10. I just laughed. If you really want to get a bottle of rum from the hotel, just grab it from his cart while he’s in a room.

Pools are nice, didn’t use them a whole lot because there was this big, beautiful, warm ocean there. The water is very salty and thus very easy to just float around in. The reefs are pretty cool. I would suggest taking your own snorkeling gear. We ventured out past the swim zone (watch for the boats and jet ski’s) and the further out you go, the better it gets. Lots of fish, rays, and further out some nice brain coral. Remember these are living reefs. I actually saw people in a catamaran, somehow stop the boat and walk around on the reef. Stay off of them so they remain at least somewhat healthy for the future. We got a paddle boat one day (don’t forget deposit money – it’s $25 Vendors weren’t bad, just say no thanks and they move on. They are actually fun to watch. Some are pretty aggressive in trying to get people over to them, but just ignore them and they’ll go away. As the afternoon wears on they’ll start arguing with each other which is great. These guys get into it with each other but it’s all just for show and fun to watch how many times they have to get the last word in. We sat on our balcony for over an hour one day just listening to them and watching from a distance.

Please, leave the hotel. I’ve seen a couple people saying how great it was that you don’t have to. What’s the point of going to a foreign country if you aren’t going to actually see it? We took a bicycling trip down the Blue Mountains which was great. It was $60 per person and well worth it. Cleeve has the best horn on the island. It’s great how much they use their horns. They pick you up EARLY, drive a while and feed you breakfast as a nice place on the beach. Then you load up again, go up the road (crazy windy one lane fun) and there’s a bunch of bikes waiting for you. You bike down hill, with a couple SHORT uphill sections, learn about coffee production and processing and when you are done, they take you to a waterfall with a nice pool. . After the ocean though, that water is COLD, so be prepared guys! But the waterfall is beautiful and there were a couple of local kids jumping off the falls etc. While going down the hill you are cruising through small villages and get to see a lot of locals. Don’t buy the coffee from the lady on the bus. It’s definitely cheaper elsewhere. Ask your driver where to get the overproof rum and he’ll stop at a “supermarket” on the way back. While there ask for the Dragon stout. One of the best I’ve had and I’m a huge stout fan. They definitely need to crank out more of this than they do.

We also went up to Nine Miles where Bob Marley was born and lived. Lots of great culture there and being in the mausoleum is very powerful. I would recommend hooking up with a taxi driver and going without a group as it is a much more intimate and rewarding experience.

For taxi’s, definitely walk out to the road and flag one down. I know, walking again. The red plates are the registered ones, but I don’t know what the difference is, there’s no posted prices. It shouldn’t be more than 10 bucks into town. If you head in to town and find a cool driver, see what he would charge to take you other places.

We went to Dunns River on Saturday. Go on the weekend or when you notice there’s no ships in port (you can see them from the beach) and it’ll be a better experience. You don’t need a guide, just be careful and watch the other people. The rocks with the red stuff on them are the slippery ones and you can tell where they have people scraping that off. Dunns and the Dolphin cove are within walking distance so you don’t need to be shuttled between the two. Dolphin cove was pretty expensive. The tour charged us $180 to swim with them, you can probably get a better deal just going there yourself. But the look on my wife’s face when she was getting towed around by them and petting them made me want to give them more. The cove is pretty touristy but I guess all places like that are. They don’t let you take cameras to the touch and swim area. They say it’s for the health of the dolphins, but it’s really so they can sell you their pictures. Those are steep, $16 a piece. After we bought ours, we saw some guy just purchase a CD so you should probably try that and just take it home and develop them yourselves.

We also went up to Nine Miles (got our own taxi) where Bob Marley was born and lived. Lots of great culture there and being in the mausoleum is very powerful. I would recommend hooking up with a taxi driver and going without a group as it is a much more intimate and rewarding experience.

Went to Amnesia Thursday night (Lady’s are free) and it was interesting. There was us and one other group of tourists and the rest seemed to be locals. I thought they were going to be spinning reggae only but it was an eclectic mix. The weird thing was that nobody wanted to be on the dance floor. These people were groovin, but all to the sides and man the back of the house was crowded. We had a great time. Then we took a cab from there (white plates but it was cool) and went hoping to find Margaritaville. He dropped us off and said it’s in this complex, but we didn’t find it. Didn’t look too hard though and followed the sound of music to Oceans 11. Kinda tough finding a cab back at 2am, but we went back out to the highway and eventually flagged one down. This place is safe people. We heard warnings about “Oh my God, you’re going to Jamaica – it’s not safe.” We never felt in danger. We live in SoCal and have frequented our neighbor to the south many times and felt so much safer in Jamaica.

For the Hotel though, the food was great. Breakfast was good every morning and although we had to wait in line, that’s what happens. When you have 800+ rooms full of people and a lot of them just happen to go get food at the same time that’s the way things work. I’d rather wait a minute or two for fresh food than get cold crap that’s been sitting around. I’ve never eaten so much bacon in my life and my wife loved the omlette bar. It’s also nice that you can have a red stripe off the tap for breakfast. I got up the first morning at 5:30 to get in line for Sir Richards. Not my first choice of things to do, but that’s they way it is so deal with it. People stopping by the sports bar for coffee? I got two strong and spicy bloody Mary’s. Get a buzz on early and often! We got into Sir Ricards and it was really good, worth one early morning. Have to have long pants, jeans are fins and I still wore my flip flops and they didn’t say a thing. The other nights we either ate at St. Annes, wonderful food, don’t know what all the complaining is about, or went to Mandalay. We never got a reservation for there, just showed up at 9:15. It is a buffet, but it’s great! The deep fried tofu surprised me, and the sauces for it were awesome. The rest of the food was really good too. I thought the red wine was fine, no worse that “two buck chuck” for you Trader Joes fans.

Drinks, drinks, and more drinks. They have a bar menu, but when you get tired of that just ask the bar tended for their special, with lots of rum. Give them a buck and the next time it has even more rum. I think Georges Special (he’s usually at the bar across from Bob Marley) was the best, but honestly I think I killed enough brain cells that week that I wouldn’t know the difference. There’s definitely not a shortage of bars. We brought our big cups to have them fill those up, but really didn’t bother unless we were going out to the beach. Oh yeah – there’s a bar at the beach for all you folks who can’t seem to walk. The glasses seemed to be the normal size for most places, probably 8 or 10 ounces, and the service is quick enough that you are never hurting for a drink. If you are that concerned, order two, or four, or six. Make sure that if you bring your kids, they have some sort of etiquette though. There’s people waiting for alcohol and these kids come up and expect immediately to be served and were ruder than most of my fellow Americans that I saw. We would tip a buck a lot of the time, they were appreciative and after a couple of days a lot of them knew what I wanted. One guy even brought me over my rum and coke without me even asking for it. The entertainment was OK. I’m not really into watching those --- sexy people dance around though. But the Reggae night was really good. All the entertainment staff work their buts off. I don’t know when they have time to work out, because they obviously do. We were a little surprised at the night life. The disco sucked because it was packed with teens and smoky and everything else. If you are going there expecting a huge party every night you will be disappointed. But like I said, Reggae night was great, great music to go and boogy down too, but I did get tired of hearing the same played out Marley covers. I really did like their version of Night Nurse. For the teens, I don’t know what the legal drinking age in Jamaica is, and I don’t think the bar tenders do either. I saw one kid order a drink and the bar tender gave it to him, but said “next time bring your parents.” I just had to laugh. He probably spent a lot of time giving praise to the porcelain god that night!

Problems? No Problem Mon. Ok there were a few minor issues but you are on vacation. Deal with it. Get a couple drinks, sit on a beach chair and it puts it all in perspective. Oh my God, I don’t have a clean towel. Don’t shower that day and go for a swim. Big deal. With everybody talking about the topless sun bathers, I was a little disappointed. I only saw a couple. ;( Get over yourselves. You are in a foreign country with people from all over the world who don’t get their panties in a bunch over a little bit of skin. I had more of a problem with the banana hammocks that the 250lb guys were wearing. If you are going to wear one of those, lose the kegger and get a six pack.

We didn’t really have serious towel issues, maid service issues, or really anything. The only thing was I lost that --- safe key and it cost $50 to have the lock drilled out and replaced. My stupid fault though and I can only blame myself. Also no late night food. You get the munchies and 2am and there's only cold sandwiches in the sports bar. Sneak out some pizza, put it in your fridge and re-heat it in the microwaves in the bar. All those other poor hungary saps will be sooo jealous! The biggest problem I had was the fact that they didn’t have the courtesy to let me stay another week for free. I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever suffered such severe depression as I had on the day we were leaving. Unfortunately our bus ride was fast, I was hoping for one of them 4hr rides everybody complains about.

Yes I will go back to Jamaica. To the RIU? Yeah, probably, especially if we bring our kid next time. Otherwise I would look for a much smaller and more intimate place where we can hang out with the locals more. But the resort is beautiful, and the convenience of free food and unlimited booze is a great draw.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — BRING TIPS!! have fun, relax, be irie
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
44 Thank vmik
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
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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