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“Riu Tropical Palace, Jamaica”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #19 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 13, 2011

Review of Riu Tropical Palace, Negril, Jamaica. 14 days encompassing last week of Sept 2011 - 1st week of Oct 2011.
Located in Bloody Bay, Negril, next to 7 mile beach (apparently best sandy beach in Jamaica, don't agree - Bloody Bay better). Shared mini bus taxi from airport to resort, approx travel time 1 1/2 hours along what can best be described as a poor A class Road in places. There is another Riu Hotel (Negril Club which houses Nightclub you can use) that can be walked to either by road or beach, approx 10 mins. Went there for a nosey, didn't like that one, more for younger generation. Tropical Palace has best beach, is quieter (except for when americans arrive), generally age group is late 30's upward. Little to no things for children (go to Negril Club if that's what you require)
Hotel was only 1/3 full due to time of year being hurricane season, benefits were no queing in restaurants or bars, deals on trips/excursions at resort and staff more attentive as not running about as much if full. Spotlessly clean, entertainment on every night normally ceasing at around 2300, by then you've had more than enough rum believe me, however if not there is a 24 hr bar open, free wifi located here also.
Food - Buffet and 4 specialised restaurants (Steakhouse, Italian, Japanese, A la Carte), food in all excellent. Only nause was having to get up at 0800 to book speciality restaurant if you wanted to, however speak nicely to some of staff later and possible to book if you had too many rums night before due to hotel occupancy level at time of stay.
Weather - throughout stay mornings were clear with cloud build from about 1530 - 1700, normally rained then for about 5 - 30 mins max then cleared up as if didn't happen (Jamaican's call it liquid sunshine) seriously not a problem, by time it starts and get out pool it's time to get back in, most people didn't even get out such is confidence it was going to cease imminently and it normally did.
Excursions - we booked prior to going, however due to time of year there were deals on in the resort which we weren't aware of and would have saved some money on, lot of excursions are however toward Ocho Rios area, which means a 2 1/2 - 3 hour mini bus ride to get there and same back, some are a bit closer but not many. Need to factor that in as leave early in day, 0800 to 0830 in most cases. We managed to see various other hotels and locations out and about and to be honest I won't want to go anywhere else on the island, Sandals did not impress me whatsoever although Hedonism from the boat did (obvious reasons).
Beach and gardens- Clear water and soft sand, there are hawkers/sellers walking along beach, but a polite no suffices and they move on their way. Various water sports available for free (certain require deposit) and some watersports involve a cost. Good for diving if your into that, personally wife and I achieve our licenses here and continued diving after. Gardens and grounds are well looked after and maintained.
Rooms - Clean and a fair size, TV, Phone, Safe, Coffeemaker, Fridge, Minibar (restocked daily for free), ensuite, Only annoyance was bed, it wasn't a kingsize but 2 x 4Ft double beds together, did ask for move but would have lost view of sea and ended up in apartment block next to road.
Staff brilliant, always cheerful and attentive, again this may have been influenced by hotel occupancy level, however saying that most Jamaicans met where of same cheerful disposition.
Americans did treat staff badly on occasion, especially those from south USA, still a bit of a racist thing going on there, which did annoy when witnessed. Americans from southern states do go to Caribean frequently, (their equivalent of Spain for UK I imagine due to proximity)
Flight - ok, went for extra leg room but couple in front continually put seat back infringing this making flight more uncomfortable than it needed to be despite being asked not to or even not as much as a form of compromise.
Money - US Dollars is accepted/preferred currency, in shops prices are quoted in US Dollars first, Hotel will cash travellers cheques but only into Jamaican Dollars. There is an ATM in hotel dispensing US Dollars and 2 further one's approx 500m from hotel one in US Dollars and one in Jamaican Dollars.
Ricks Cafe (Excursion) will give you change in Jamaican Dollars at a not so good exchange rate which I swear changes the more you drink there so just take Jamaican if going.

Am I going back, Yeh mon

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank razorfight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,035 - 3,041 of 5,336 reviews

Reviewed October 13, 2011

we went to jamacia on the 18th of september the hotel was ok a bit small but ok there were 2 pools they were finethe hotel was only a third full so you could get a sun bed easy i wouldnt like to be there if it was full the food was ok but for a rui palace i expected better we went to see where bob marley is laid to rest but it was a long way on a little mini bus it took 4 hours to get there and the same coming back,they say you get a private taxi at the airport but you go in a mini bus, we have got a riu class card so when we showed them it they gave us an upgrade free so we had a see view we had room 4109 which was nice it was very close to where you eat.
The people there are very friendly but one night we had room service and he stood there and waited for a tip when they say you dont have to tip it is all in with your price the entertainment it not very good and there is nowhere to walk after your tea so if you dont like the entertaiment you have just got a bar up at the recepcion i hope this was helpful for people.

Room Tip: if you can ask for a sea view or you will be up the side
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank minnie076
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2011

Part of the problem might have been bad luck: we were offered a bigger room on arrival by the very attentive staff, but the a/c and the Jacuzzi didn't work. We went back to a normal room, but couldn't get towels until we stole some from a cart on the corridor next day at noon. There was no hot water during three days of our stay (we are fixing it was the permanent answer). No place to have a quiet time, unless your room if far from the pool. No elevators.No internet in the room and very poor TV service. So, so food, with the exception of the Asian restaurant. And the rather small pool is filled with people who seem to be using all their all-inclusive worth in booze, from 9 a.m. on. The beach is nice, though.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank Daneto60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2011

After having frequented several other Riu Palaces, this one was by far the worst. When I say "Murphy's Law", what could go wrong, did go wrong, I'm not kidding!. Right from the start leaving the airport on a huge bus, it broke down at the ck.out gate. Instead of getting a new bus, they wasted their time getting about 10 Jamaican men to "rock" the bus so the driver could "pop the clutch" to get it going. After repeated tries, he got it to start and told us "you made the right choice". Didn't even get 1/2 mile out of the airport grounds, and the bus stalled again in the middle of a main intersection. Once again, instead of getting a new bus, they recruited men off the street to push the bus. This time it wasn't going to happen. That's when the driver FINALLY relented and called for another bus. Almost about 1 hr. had gone by at this point. We, of course, had to make a couple of stops on he way on their new "super highway". (2 lanes!). When they say it takes about an hour to get to your hotel, well, they "fibbed"! Try 1 1/2 hrs.!!! Upon arrival after sending off 2 emails to the Riu Class team (we're Riu Class Gold members), to inform the T.B. (Tropical Bay), of when we would arrive and what room location we would like, of course, the same as it always is, the rooms were not even Gardenview. After, again, our usual haggling, we finally settled on rooms 4118 & 4119 with a partial oceanview. These rooms are adjacent and have what they call, a privacy door to the outside. We have stayed at other Rius that have this. When we decided to familiarize ourselves with the grounds, we shut that door. Upon our return, we couldn't open the door at all. To make this long story short, we ended up waiting 4 hrs. before we were finally able to get back into our rooms. Let me just clue e-1 in on how to get them to do something. Immediately ask to see the Director of the hotel, NOT the manager of the hotel. Once this was done, we got in our rooms, and he appeased us by letting us have oceanfront rooms of which we wanted in the 1st place. This place was dead compared to all the other Rius we have stayed at. We did go to the Riu Negril 1 night for a show and that place was "jammin'". The buffet was good but, again, compared to all the other Rius we have stayed at, the food was just "ok". The specialty restaurants were the same. Reservations for dinner can be reserved for 2 nights at a time. We find the best way is to seek out the maitre d' and "shake hands" with him, if you know what I mean. ($$$). Believe me when I say they do remember you!! The staff do work extremely hard and, again, giving tips here and there really matters not only to them but to yourselves as well. After reading some of the reviews on this site before we left, we made sure to ask about taxi rides anywhere and what the cost would be. They have a taxi booth right inside the hotel with a chart of how much it is per head 1 way to go to different places. They try to get you to pay the price and give you the tip money you would give the driver saying they will give it to him which is not true. We gave the money necessary but tipped ONLY the driver! We took a trip shopping to the Sunshine Village and then over to Rick's Cafe to see the much talked about divers and the gorgeous sunset. Our driver stayed with us the whole time! It was well worth the $20 per head each way. ($80 total plus tip!) They mention this Times Square "upper scale" shopping mall but it's really not. What makes it "upper scale" is there are a few more jewelry shops in it. Sunshine Village shopping was terrific especially for souveniers, or anythng you wanted. The weather---well, considering it was their "rainy" season, it wasn't all that bad. Yes, it did rain everyday in the afternoon for maybe about an hr. But there was 1 day it started around noon and didn't let up and it turned out to be a violent thunderstorm. The day before we left, it was threatening, but didn't rain. That was the only day there was any activity at poolside. The beach is beautiful and the water was clear and just like bath water. As in previously mentioned reviews, there are "haunts" that keep coming up to you and bugging you to go through them for any excursions and those selling pot and cigarettes. Yes, they are pests but you can deal (no pun intended) with them by being extremely tactful and direct to leave you alone. Or just totally ignore them. When we had to leave to go to the airport, we left @ 10:30 for a 3:15 p.m flight. Got to the airport around noon and needed to kill time til 2:30 boarding. Got to the Gate and it was changed. I'm telling you that this was an EXTREMELY long day to get home (which was at midnight). Would we ever stay there again. An emphatic "NO"! Will we ever go back to Jamaica again? (this was our 2nd time). Again, "NO"! People with kids should not stay at this particular Riu. If you want to go to a more child orientated Riu in Negril, then I would say you should go to the other one, namely, the Riu Negril. All in all we did meet alot of fun people and had a good time. That's it! Over and out!!!

Room Tip: Rooms in Bldg. 4 are close to the pool and restaurants. We were originally in rooms 4118 & 4119...
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Nancynu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2011

Stayed 22 September for 2 weeks. Nice hotel, rooms OK, grounds well maintained, pools are small and can get crowded, especially one with pool bar. Beach is brill and sea crystal clear and warm, yes there are sellers on the beach but did'nt find them a problem, a polite No Thanks is all you need to say. Staff are very nice and helpful with the exception of pool and towel attendants who on a couple of occassions were quite rude. Food was just OK, typical buffet, can't comment about a la carte, only used the steak house once and that was quite disappointing. Entertainment OK but take ear plugs as it is so loud from 8.30pm onwards. There is nowhere in this hotel to have a quiet drink and a chat once the entertainment starts, you can't escape the noise. Not a bad hotel, the beach and sea are the major plus points, having stayed at other Riu hotels in the Caribbean this one falls short of the standard set by the others, this is not a Palace Hotel more like a Clubhotel.

Room Tip: Stayed in room 1319 which had a lovely side view of beach and was in quiet area.
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Barry F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2011

We stayed at the Riu Tropical Bay from September 19th for two weeks. This is a lovely well maintained hotel with clean rooms, great housekeeping service and an amazing beach.
Staff overall are very nice and they work very hard but I felt that the staff at reception could be very rude at times and if you asked for anything, this was a major inconvenience for them.
Food is very good and we ate at the steakhouse and fusion restaurant a few times which we also found to be very good with good service.
Watch out for sandflies on the beach (after it rains) but otherwise no bugs to be seen!
Saturday and Sundays are big changeover days for this hotel and my only complaint would be that the buffet on our last two days was very poor, with little effort to replenish any food once it was gone.
Do not listen to the bad reviews; this is a great place to stay, there are just a few minor improvements I think they could make in order for it to really be a 5 star hotel. I have stayed at the Hyatt on a few occasions on holiday and the Riu Palace is not in the same league.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank pauliep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2011

We stayed at both properties of Th Riu- The Palace and the Club.
The staff at the Palace were amazing!!!!! they went out of their way to help you. They grounds are well kept and the resort very clean. Entertainment was okay!!!! Drugs are sold on the beach (not ideal for kids to see). Food fairly good. NO Sand Fleas!!!!!!!!!. Kids enjoyed playing BingO. Water on beach crytsal clear.

The Club- Red Ants on Balcony!!!! Upon arrival room not very clean!!!!! I don't think they change sheets on bed> we had sand in our bed for the three nights we were there. Daily activities fun!!!!! Jerk chicken on beach amazing!!!!! Water on beach cloudy, and lots of sand fleas. The Palace fogs for bugs, they didn't seem to have any, The Club tons!!!! to the point it made eating in the open air not enjoyable. People at Club more friendlier then at the Palace!!!!!, . Cockroaches on floor in hallway at Club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: We had a nice room close to the beach!!!! Not overly big though!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank hopeforlife123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay

Address: Norman Manley Blvd | Bloody Bay Beach, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in Negril
#12 Spa Hotel in Negril
#14 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#14 Family Hotel in Negril
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#21 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range: $239 - $580 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Renovated in summer 2008 * Located in Negril, on Jamaica's west coast * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 1-storey main building and 2-storey buildings * Victorian-style architecture * Surrounded by 47,000 m2 / 56,500 sq. yards of lush gardens * 7.5 km / 4.7 miles from Negril West End * 6 km / 3.8 miles from various shops * 80 km / 48 miles from Montego Bay airport ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Tropical Bay Hotel Negril
Riu Tropical Bay Jamaica
Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril
Riu Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica
Negril Riu Tropical Bay Hotel
Riu Jamaica
Riu Tropical Jamaica

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