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“Wonderful honeymoon”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #19 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We stayed here for 8 days for our honeymoon. I was a bit hesitant to stay in negril, rather than one of the towns closer to the airport such as montego bay. It is worth the drive to get to the resorts in negril. The white beaches are wonderful. Riu palace was recommended to us from a neighbor. It's worth every penny. It's awesome how you can walk from palace next door to the riu and have access to both resorts. There is plenty to do at either. We took advantage of all of the activities and fun that was included. The only negative thing I have to say or really it's a tip for fellow travlers. I didn't like the process for eating at the restaurants inside of the resort. They have you put in your reservation in the morning only. From what I've been told this is how most, if not all of these all inclusive resorts work. The restaurant food is basically the same quality as the buffets with fine dinning atmosphere added. With that being said, I am also a food snob...so it's really not that big of a deal.

Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
9  Thank Italksalot2u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 23, 2012

Arrived as part of a wedding party with low expectations but encouraged by some excellent reviews. I hoped I would be writing a positive review but I can't. Let's start with some of the positive - the staff, generally very pleasant and welcoming day or night. If you are tipping they love you, if not they tend to do as little as possible. The beach is nice, beautiful clear water, a few locals hassle you but generally all good spirited and respond to a 'no thanks'. The evening entertainment and the entertainment team were lively and funny. The shows were a little bit cruise ship but i still attended most of them.

The negatives, wow, no where as clean as others had indicated on previous reviews. The rooms were musty and very dated. The air con was not very good even when it actually worked and the room keys worked intermittently. Don't eat in the Japanese or Fusion restaurants - these where the two I was most looking forward to. The wife after the first coarse in the Japanese to throw up, old and sweated sushi is good for no one. The fusion was terrible and several couples left before the mains arrived on the evening we ate there. The Italian is great and the Steakhouse did a mean ribeye, so not all bad. The main Buffett Restaurant was OK, it churned the food i.e. what you didn't eat for breakfast got reheated or deep fried and served at lunch and so on..... but it was ok, lots of variety.

Other things to note: lock everything away in the safe, I stupidly left money in my side table - it was stollen, no big suprise there but they had no interest in looking into it even though they could check who entered the room the chose not too. The taxi's are massively expensive as is the WIFI. Most of the venues including shopping malls, clubs and restaurants like Ricks Cafe do FREE shuttle buses, but they don't tell you that - we where charged $200 for 12 of us to go to Ricks only to find out we could have rang them and they would have picked us up for free.

Summary: if you are only interested in a resort orientated sunbathing holiday, a good selection of drinks served with a smile, cruise ship style entertainment and don't mind eating crap or where you sleep, this is the place for you. If however you expect a little quality from such an expensive resort, definitely try elsewhere.

Room Tip: Apart from going elsewhere, I would advise complaining upon arrival if you are unhappy - many guests...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank steve_page2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

I just spent 5 days at the Riu and I can genuinely say that I enjoyed my trip at Riu Palace Tropical bay and would go there again. For those who are debating between the two Riu's (palace and the riu negril) I've been to them both and they are about equal in service, location, and what the hotel offers. The service at Riu Negril when I went several years ago was slightly better than the Palace, but otherwise, book at either you wont be disappointed.

The Good, Bad, and Random:

Good: The beach was beautiful, and you are able to do watersports for free (e.g. snorkeling, sailing, and paddle boats). I would def recommend doing them as much as possible, when you take the paddle boats out you can see very large starfish past where you swim. As well, you can find several sorts of fish right on the beach property. We always bring our own gear and while snorkeling we saw stringrays, angelfish, fish that looked like baby swordfish, and barracudas. If you go deeper out as well you can find starfish that you can dive down and pick up. Note: when the tide is down the starfish tend to move closer to shore as well. Our room was cleaned and well maintained. They cleaned our room usually by 12 and stocked our fridge with water, beer, and sodas daily. We were big fans of the drinks and bartenders at the facility. Please try a hummingbird drink while down there and try it with different bartenders. It was my drink of choice while I was there, my boyfriend preferred the mojitos. The shows at night were great however we often ate at the 9 o'clock meal time so we did miss quite a few of them. The jerk station on the beach was amazing and one should def make a point of eating there! For those who want a adventure: our favorite thing to eat at the place was the pizza at the outdoor dining area. We would get cheese pizza and add the red jerk sauce to it. We had it nearly every day for lunch it was THAT good. As well, the riu's desserts were amazing we particularly enjoyed the various cheesecakes they had.

The Bad: For those who are sensitive to sand fleas be pre-warned. I left the facility covered in bites and I must say they are certainly worse than mosquitoes (they last about 2 weeks of constant itching). There are mosquitoes and we did use bug spray at night. The air conditioning was broken after the first day of our trip within our room. It was never really that cool in our room but the fan did its job and we did not feel too inconvenienced or uncomfortable. We also had hot water problems where we weren't able to get hot water for one afternoon. One thing that my boyfriend and I disliked the most at the resort was we did at times feel harassed by the entertainment staff. We are a young couple and like having a good time but we did not appreciate watching the staff members touch male and female vacationers bodily parts in inappropriate places and run away. As a woman, I never felt unsafe but I never wanted to leave my boyfriends side either. We spent some time near the pool reading and were constantly bugged by the staff to dance, they would stand in poses behind us without moving or talking,tell us to stop reading, etc. This happened to us multiple times, when we were having a quiet conversation near the beach, walking to our room, and at times during dinner. We enjoyed the company and the friendliness but we felt that the staff went above and beyond that to the point of being annoying and frustrating. There were times we just wanted to relax and read or enjoy some quiet time as a couple.

The randoms: Food: in general i found someone to enjoy in nearly every restaurant there. It should be noted that often, especially at the buffet, the food was often lukewarm to cold. My boyfriend did not notice this as much, but I tend to enjoy my food hot. The steak house was nothing to call home about. I thought the food was mediocre and looking back it is not one of the places I would eat at again. I had the chicken there and it was over cooked and dried. I actually ended up going to the buffet later that evening to eat. The Japanese restaurant's air conditioning was out and it made dining uncomfortable. However the food I thought was great. I got the steak there and while it was by no means Japanese (it was steak, sweet potatoes and chopped kale) with white rice it was still quite good. Fusion was our favorite restaurant to dine in due to the atmosphere as the food itself. Please try it out, I would recommend the chocolate dessert they have there, my boyfriend and I agreed that it was hands down the best thing we had eaten at the riu.

Other facts, you will be bugged on the beach by venders for things to smoke, for them to sing to you etc. As long as you politely say no, they tend to leave you alone. As well, there is not much beach to walk back and forth on, we did get in trouble by security when we talked a little too far down the beach and ended up on a different resort.

Please note, while we were there the riu corporate was reviewing the facility and several major changes (e.g. how they presented the food in the buffet etc) occurred. I believe that service following our visit will most likely improve. While I did note the negatives, I still would return to this resort in a heart beat. So never fear and book your vacation. You will enjoy it.

Room Tip: We bought an ocean front room. We had a side view of the ocean aka we had to stick our bodies out of...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Location
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11  Thank PHOEBE1419
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

Found a live roach in sushi at Japanese Restaraunt. GM blamed recent heat.
Wife awakes to roach on arm in middle of night. Complained. Rooms prayed.
Locked out of room due to lock defect. Took 45 minutes for entry.
Resort has NO elevators!
Jacuzzi in suite never fixed, despite request.
Suite - not jr. Suite- musty upon arrival.
Steak house poor quality food; haven't figured out so-called appetizer yet.
Italian restaurant wine was lie vinegar.
Complained personally to genial GM whose cordial excuses had hollow ring.
Nice grounds
Superb staff.

Room Tip: Avoid distant building 6. Do not accept a second or third floor room - bless you enjoy climbing stai...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank Lloyd31405
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

It was our first time to Jamaica, but not our first trip to an all-inclusive. We stayed August 27 - September 2, 2012.

Rooms
Upon arrival we were given a room with a non-working safe, a broken toilet, and an overwhelming odor of mold. Following a call to the front desk, we were offered the opportunity to change rooms (free upgrade of view), and were also provided with an opportunity to inspect the new room. The second room was acceptable, and the little imperfections (such as a mild odor of mold, and the fact that the bed was really two beds put together) were not a problem for us. If I expected perfection from the rooms, I would have stayed somewhere more expensive!

Food
We tried two specialty restaurants during the stay: the steakhouse and the italian place. Both were good. The nightly buffet was very good, overall. The variety made it easy to find something to eat each night. Breakfast was very good, and had traditional offerings. For lunch, the best thing going is certainly the Jerk Shack. Check it out each day, starting at noon. We didn't try room service, so I can't comment on that, other than the menu loooked quite limited.

Bars
The swim-up bar was nice, and Andrew is a very entertaining and helpful bartender. El Cubano is a beautiful, 24-hour bar option...and also served as my daily stop for coffee each morning (I have a bad habit of getting up at 5 AM, even when on vacation). The Raggae bar looked nice, but we didn't spend much time there.

Service
The people who work here are very helpful and gracious. Some people have commented on this website that the staff is always looking for a tip. We did not find this to be the case. Of course, we are not cheap, and we tip employees when they are doing a great job for us...so, yes we were tipping very frequently as a result of the great service we received (not the other way around).

Beach
The beach was very nice. Water was calm and generally clear, even during thunderstorms. There are plenty of lounge chairs around, and plenty of shaded areas as well.

Other Items
Yes, there are peddlers on the beach. They are usually respectful and polite, and they will listen to you if you convey a firm, but gracious, "no, thanks." There is smoking permitted in outdoor areas of this resort. I prefer no smoking at all, but this was never really an issue for us. Yes, there were occassional groups of loud people here and there...sometimes at the pool during the day...sometimes talking loudly and drunkenly on their way back to their rooms at night. It's not really our scene to behave like that on vacation...but in the grand view of it all, it was never really a big issue. The sounds carry down the hallways, and even seem to amplify! The pools are a little small. Sunscreen will cost a small fortune, no matter where you buy it...so pack it in your checked bag so the TSA won't confiscate it!

Overall
I would consider staying here again. After traveling through Montego Bay, I have to say that Negril is really more the speed we were looking for. Better beaches, and less congested. I prefer our vacations to Cozumel over this location, but they both have their charm. Oh...the trip to Rick's Cafe was worth it. The scenery there is beautiful, and the cliffs/views remind me of Coconuts on Cozumel. I thought the price of this resort was on-par with the service/location/food offered by the resort.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank cmw720
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

Just came back from a 6 day stay here. This resort has the best beach hands down. The water was perfect. Outside that the resort is average at best. First off they advertises five restaurant but only the buffet and one of the specialities were open. We basically ate at the buffet all week. It wasnt bad basically cruise food. The highlight of the resort food was the lunch jerk hut. We was hoping it would stay open for dinner but it didnt. The service was good basically tip driven. The resort never offered shuttle service to the other resort. Needless to say we didnt make it to visit the other Riu resort. Overall we had a great time on the beach but once we left the sand it wasnt anything special

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank natibeat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2012

First off let me tell you about myself so you can get an idea of where I'm coming from and my age and person..

I'm a 26 yr old male from London who set off from gatwick with my partner for a 2 week break with Thomson to the riu palace tropical bay in negril.

We are both layed back and not snobbish at all, also been to Jamaica 3 times before this trip and stayed in montego bay and Ocho rios.

We are the kind of people who think your holiday is as good as you make it.

First off Hotel! Small for a riu and 100% not a palace!! No hot tubs in the spa, room service has only cold food and is not nice at all! Rooms are nice as in all riu hotels nothing worth calling it a palace! Staff are your usual under paid always looking for a tip kind of people. I'm a strong believer in good service deserves a tip not tip get served! This hotel is not worth the extra money over the standard riu a 5 min walk away from this one which is 3 times the size with lots more going on and even has hot tubs which the palace does not even though they say they do in advert! Trust me they don't.

Beach. Very nice and probably the only thing this riu has over the cheaper one down the road. In my opinion The beach is a 8 out of 10 and the other cheaper riu a 6 out of 10 and that's just because this one is wider and better kept. The water is just as clear at both!

Negril! Complete rubbish apart from its beaches! You have to travel at least 2 hours out of negril to see anything worth seeing. The town is run down and dead compared to montego bay or ocho rios! Even the water park in negril is closed till may 2013 and that's a fact!

Now here's the most important part of my advise!

If you don't mind americans and are looking to stay on the resort with not much to do but sit on the beach and relax then this place ain't that bad but you can do the above anywhere. But for me all the loud Americans that flock here ruin this hotel. It's 95% Americans at this riu and for me that ruined it as there over the top loud and tip the staff for any and everything so for us Brits that means unless we tip too we get bad service and not even a smile from the staff sometimes! The other cheaper riu has a lot more Brits and is probably only 60% americans! I know this as we walked down to the cheaper riu most days to use the hub tub and to see Paul the singing bar tender who is a legend!

On a sum up! Tropical bay palace is a below par standard riu trying to be an overly priced riu palace and I think thats purely because Americans are this hotels main custom and they don't mind paying a little extra to be with other Americans so they can sit at the pool bar all day and drink.

Trust me, stay at the standard cheaper riu in negril or better still stay at the ibrostar in montego bay which we stayed at for same money years ago and is worlds better.

This is my first ever review and is only because I feel soooo tricked after spending extra to stay at this fake palace for two weeks...

Trust me or you'll be writing your own if you know what an all inclusive 4-5 star hotel is ment to be like.

For all the other people writing good reviews about this place, you just have not been to a proper hotel before in Jamaica so would think this one is good when it's not! Not your fault.

Hope if you make the right choice! Wish I had a time machine lol

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank Ant J
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
#7 Family Hotel in Negril
#12 Spa Hotel in Negril
#14 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#21 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range: $286 - $564 (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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