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“Great spot to relax!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #19 of 81 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 19, 2013

We had a great week at this resort! The bus ride to the resort is an interesting drive. Took a really long time to get through airport then about an hour and a half to get to resort. Once there everything was great. Check in took about 2 minutes and we were in our room within 5 minutes of showing up!

Rooms are nice but nothing too special. The pushed together beds were a bit weird and they are quite hard but not too bad. Had a couple people stop by to welcome us and show us the room. Also had two courtesy calls from front desk during the week to make sure all was well, which it was. We even had a housekeeping manager ask if all was well during a dinner service. Nice to know they care. Our one tiny concern was addressed the next day. (no spoon to stir coffee in room, spoon showed up next day during cleaning) We were in building 4 which was nice and close to everything. Being on the ground floor is a bonus too.

The grounds are always clean and well maintained. I had no problems with bugs but my wife has a handful of bug bites on her arms and legs. The resort isn't too big but big enough to not be cramped.

The beach is the star of the show! We were at the beach every day. It is so close that I see no point hanging out in the pool. I can hang out in a pool at home, I don't have an amazing beach at home! The beach is cleaned every day so there is no debris anywhere. There are plenty of loungers, we never had a problem getting a pair together. The water is so warm and you can wade out about 100ft in the water and still be able to touch bottom.

The service and food are great! We never had any trouble finding something to eat. There is so much good food that you want to try something new every time. We ate at Krystal, Hakuchi, and the Steakhouse. They were all delicious, but Krystal was our least favourite. The food didn't have a lot of flavour and the servers didn't seem very happy to be there. Steakhouse was our favourite.

The entertainment guys and girls do a great job. They keep it very light and fun all day long and the shows are pretty good. Our favourite show by far was the Silver Birds steel drum band. They are amazing and energetic. They do classic and current songs very well!

We went on a few excursions that weren't too far away. We wanted to check out the Dunns River Falls but didn't want to spend the almost 6 hours on the bus to do it and kill a whole day. We decided to go to Chukka to go ATVing. It is only about 45 mins away. It was fun but we both have ATV experience so found it a little too slow being led in a single file line up and down the mountain side etc. I think it would be more fun for beginners. The guides do a great job and take some nice pictures that you can buy from them later. ($$$!) We did go on a sunset catamaran trip that takes you snorkeling and then to Rick's cafe to check out some cliff divers. We had more fun snorkeling than at Rick's Cafe. Rick's is pricey and very busy. We were also rushed at Rick's because the boat want's to leave in time to get everyone home before dark.

We also "rented" a Jetski from a local on the beach. If you decide to get one from a local, don't jump at the first offer, it gets cheaper every day as you say "no thank you" many times! We ended up paying $80USD for an hour.

As for the locals, they are all very nice people but the "vendors" on the beach are plentiful and are very pushy. They will generally leave you alone when told "no thank you" but will be back within the hour to ask again, EVERY DAY. Most want to sell you services or products to start but then it quickly turns to drugs. We were asked hundreds of times if we wanted drugs. That would be my ONE complaint about this trip. If you decide to hang out at the beach, it is better to stay up the beach a bit so you aren't constantly bugged by "vendors"! They all have a saying that they repeat over and over, all day. It does start to get annoying and you have to leave for a while. There are a couple guys that are just yelling to sell cigarettes and cigars from morning till sunset. It gets old fast. They must have some sort of agreement with the "lifeguards" or security because they don't like approaching your lounger, they ask you to come to them to make the deal. It is also the same group of vendors every day. There are MAN|Y vendor sites down the beach that do not come to the resort's beach at all. They stay where they are, just on the other side of the property marker rope. I would have been much happier to go see them, rather than to listen to constant repetition of "do you smoke", or "do you party" hundreds of times while trying to relax at the beach.

Overall, we had a great vacation and the only negative was the constant vendor attention at the beach. I would definitely go back to this resort!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank 00gtshope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 19, 2013

Just back from my first trip to Jamaica and my first time at a Riu resort. I must say straight away that I absolutely loved the holiday and had an amazing time. however, there were a couple of specifics I thought worth mentioning.

Let's start with The Good. The resort is great - beautiful beach, clear, calm sea and clean, golden sand. My top tip is to take some bread from the breakfast buffet and feed the fish in the sea - an amazing experience!

The hotel is pretty good - we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a beachfront suite in Block 4 - yes, the beds are very hard! The room was good and everything worked well. We did have a problem with the bathroom one day which was fixed straight away following a phone call to reception. Fridges are filled daily and the standard of cleaning is high.

The food here is very good - and I am the sort of nightmare fussy eater who struggles to find food I like in buffet restaurants. Breakfast is amazing - the range of dishes on offer is vast - everything from porridge, fresh fruit smoothies, pastries, omelettes, pancakes, bacon to smoked salmon and Bucks Fizz. I can't imagine how anyone could not find something good to eat here. My only complaint would be that the food is hardly ever hot unless you arrive at just the right time.

Most of the staff at the hotel are wonderful and I can't believe some of the previous reviews have criticised staff for being rude. I didn't encounter any of that (except in the lobby bar where the staff seem aloof and uninterested in serving drinks) - most of the staff were pleasant, helpful and friendly people. But then again, I did encounter a few rude guests, pushing in at the bar and barking orders at the bar staff - so maybe you get what you deserve in the courtesy stakes. Jamaica is a poor country - compared to these workers we tourists are privileged - a few dollars here and there goes a long way to supplement their pay.

I loved the beach hustlers - some real characters and a touch of reality in your tourist bubble - certainly nothing to worry about or feel threatened by. A polite acknowledgement and 'no thank you' is all you need.

The Bad. As others have said, there are drugs everywhere - drug use is not just tolerated - it is actively encouraged! During our stay, two couples who looked like they'd just escaped from the Jerry Springer Show seemed to think it was cool to sit in the pool getting loudly pissed and smoking spliffs all afternoon, apparently unconcerned about the law - or the fact that there were many families and children also using the pool.

If you take a stroll out of the hotel, there's a small craft market a few minutes away - I would have loved to spend an hour or so browsing, however this was just not possible due to the pressure selling and demands by stallholders. It's such a shame as I'm sure they would sell more if they backed off a bit! Quite intimidating at times.

We took a trip by boat to Rick's Bar - not a place I'd recommend unless you like being mugged as soon as you get off the boat. Very aggressive and unpleasant staff grabbing dollars out of our hands before we even had chance to count them! Not nice.

The Mediocre. As others have observed, it's not as straightforward as it could be to book a la carte restaurants. We tried the steakhouse - good steaks, but very limited menu - and the Krystal. The Krystal looked really impressive, staff welcomed us with champagne and it had a classy atmosphere. The food however was a bit of a joke - I know that nouveau cuisine is notorious for tiny portions, but this was like toy town food. A good experience, but overall the buffet was far better.

Talking of mediocre - the Entertainment team worked hard, but I'm sorry to say that the programme was sadly lacking. Daytime pool games were naff and often a bit too 'adult' for a family resort and were little more than drinking games. The staff obviously couldn't be bothered with the daily bingo, so it rarely went ahead. And the evening shows were mostly rubbish - very poor quality for a resort of this calibre. The daily kids club was pretty poor too - one of the children in our group came back with a plaster on her hand where the woman running the club had cut her hand whilst snipping some threads on a bracelet she'd made - and the children all had fake tattoos applied - it didn't occur to her to ask our permission, or whether there were issues around allergies. This woman was also pushing my daughter to pay her to braid her hair, becoming unpleasant to her when I said no. Very unprofessional.

Despite the few negatives I've mentioned, I had a fantastic holiday in paradise. Wish I was still there!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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16  Thank JillyKT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2013

I asked for adjacent suites with sea views and that's what we got! Suites were above average and Room Service slow though. Otherwise staff were excellent. Buffet was very good. A la carte restaurants were above average.
This was our first all inclusive experience so we got there with open minds, and we actually had a lovely time.
Beach was fantastic.
I loved that there was motorised sports so a plus plus.
Jamaica is beautiful.Would go there again anytime!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank NSRAlberta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We were 3 families (10 people in total) that spent a glorious week at the Riu Palace, Negril from January 3 - 10. Our room was on the first floor of building 6 (room #6109) and we had a beautiful view of the ocean. It was a quiet location, with virtually no foot traffic nearby. Although it was hot, we were able to sleep without air conditioning at night and listen to the sound of the waves on the sand. Bliss!
The food was very good. Our waiter (Junior) at the buffet was exceptional, so much so that we never even ventured into one of the a la carte restaurants. Why bother? The food was great in the buffet and we had amazing service from Junior. For lunch we preferred the buffet rather than the jerk hut (good too), but the selection at lunch was great. Try the patties! In the evenings we sipped on chocolate martinis at the bar near reception and had great service from Sharon.
The pool bar was lots of fun as well and definitely worth a visit, but it's the beach that is the best part of this resort. Unbelievable stretch of white sand and the hotel is situated on the absolutely nicest stretch of Bloody Bay by far. There are plenty of sun loungers so no need to get up early to claim a chair.
The only reason we didn't give this resort a 5 is the safe in our room didn't work and although we asked 3 times to have it fixed it never was. The drain our bathroom was quite plugged as well. Other than that, the hotel was excellent. Other members of our family have been back 3 times, they love it. And so did we
We would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: If you are looking for a quiet location, choose building 6 and ask for Ocean View.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank welovetotravel00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

Our holiday was amazing. There's always some low points but you're on holiday, relax!! On arrival at the airport there are locals waiting to try and help you with your bags into your bus/taxi! They do expect tips and can be quite in your face about it, but as simple as a Jamaican dollar is all they want. Our journey to the hotel was fab, the bus not so much but the driver told us all about the scenery and the history of the island. Upon arrival at the Riu Palace we were greeted with drinks and a smile- what more can you ask for? And we were upgraded. However there had just been a storm and everything looked grey, my boyfriend and I were pretty worried we had chosen the wrong place. However after we woke up the next morning and the skies had cleared - OH MY GOD. The view. I can honestly tell you, you won't find a beach/view like that anywhere else! It was fab!!!

And it just got better, the staff every morning for breakfast were so kind and helpful. Remembering you each day - by our second week our usual drinks were already on way to a table by the time we had got to the door! The food was brilliant. Couldn't fault it and out of all the people we met, there was no illness/tummy upsets etc! The evening meals were great too! Expect to have to wear formal clothes to the a la carte restaurants - we did see one guy being told to change! But the a la carte restaurants were amazing! Don't think I could fault any except for that the Italian didn't really have much choice, but the choice it had was yummy!! Lunch was also great, jerk chicken stand was amazing!! However take a trip outwith your hotel and get the taxi to stop at a road side jerk stand - our taxi man was apprehensive about us wanting to do this but you will not taste real jerk chicken until you do!! It was amazing and the locals were so welcoming!!

The staff - I cannot fault. Service with a smile! Everything about the hotel is "no problem" and anything really wasn't a problem to them. The towel man at the pool was ace, he invited us out to a local football game - so friendly!! The pool bar staff were also great!! Completely up for a laugh and good fun! And the same for the night time entertainment!! Some nights it got repetitive but when it did we headed over to the other Riu hotel just down the road and went to the "night club" the for a change of scenery! Which was fun!!

The excursions are great but be aware there are excursions to be bought not just from your rep! We went to ricks cafe and snorkelling on an excursion by the people who worked at the hotel but not for the hotel or Thomson and it was a great day!! All I would say about that trip though is eat before or take food! The food at ricks is pricey and spicey!!!! But a MUST do!

We also went to bob Marleys grave which was very interesting! Lots of facts to be known and things to see! Plus everyone sings bob over there so you feel you must! We found it funny that there was a peephole in the wall of the sit of his grave, locals would try to sell you weed through it!! Another great thing to do is dunns river falls! Only downside was coming out and all the locals want to grab you to try and look at there stalls to buy something! We were warned to not pick up anything and you are told you just keep walking!!

Lastly, our rooms were spotless!!! Not one insect in sight, the cleaners were fab and our mini fridge and bar was filled up on a daily basis!! the 24hour room service was so quick and efficient and the hotel manager, who was from England constantly made sure you were having a great time. Oh and there was NEVER a problem with sun loungers. The beach is cleaned every morning and the place is seriously paradise!!

This is honestly the best holiday I have had, I am so very eager to return and I would definitely not stay anywhere else! But reading reviews is hard to comprehend how great an experience you will have, we read reviews and thought "oh sh**" but if you go with an open mind you will be extremely extremely happy with your choice!

I would recommends his hotel to anyone who's going (and have done). ENJOY your time and tell Jordian the pool bar waitress we say hi from Scotland x

Room Tip: Rooms higher up facing the sea have the most amazing view!
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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15  Thank Coolhundred L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2013

Hi, We have just returned from the Riu Palace on Bloody Bay. Jan 4-11 2013. A true 5 star and not to be confused with the dilapidated Riu Club down the beach.

We booked through Sunwing for the first time for this vacation package and were pleasantly surprised with the cute perks on flight from Edmonton-Regina to Jamaica. Sunwing only offers OceanView rooms and we were thankful for the perfect view overlooking Bloody Bay.

We decided to book a private taxi to arrive at the resort before the bus, but unfortunately our driver was very slow and the Sunwing transfer arrived before us, but the cold drinks we prebooked to be included in our taxi ride may have been worth the extra arrival time.

If your looking for non-hotel excursions message me for Singh's number, he is a taxi driver with Riu Club that we ran into, and EXCELLENT, safe, with a clean modern taxivan.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Our check in was fast and pleasant. Great service from all the employees.

The room was clean, comfortable and hubby loved the stocked bar. You can request to change the bottles to accommodate your preferences.

Provided toiletries were basic hotel variety.

Beds were the usual caribbean/european hard with thin pillows. (note beds are 2 double beds pushed together, we didn't mind the separation and slept fine)

Housekeeping, bar and turndown service was excellent with requests accommodated immediately.

Food was excellent all inclusive variety. Jerk chicken on the beach yummy, can't go wrong with any of the restaurants. Order the french kiss at any bar but the upstairs piano bar made the best and has the best coffee, cappuccinos & lemon drop martinis.

** This is THE best beach on Bloody Bay. Period. Lots of chairs to be found on beach and at the pool. Towel service excellent, entertainment crew just the right mix of daytime fun. Grounds are meticulous, zero bugs etc.

Peddlers on the beach are just there....pleasant and ignored easily. They rarely veer off the beaten track to approach you and security wanders often. Note that weed is offered - often, and is just part of the culture.

Night time entertainment is wonderful. Do go catch the shows, the effort they put in is amazing for the guests.

Souvenirs can be found if you walk down to the beach vendors and a better haggle rate than shopping at touristy shops in Negril. Note the airport also has everything you would want as well and an excellent variety of shops.

LOWLIGHTS:

There really isn't many. We did walk down to the Riu Club resort and have to say we are not sure who does the ratings as it is considered a 5 star as well...it is RUN DOWN, dirty, etc etc etc. As seasoned travellers we would consider the club a 3.5 star at best, be warned and spend the extra if you are coming that far - Book and stay at the Palace.

One day they sprayed insecticide/pesticide and should have warned the guests the day before and posted signs the day of. If you were not on the beach and at the pool or wandering the resort, it was surprising and overwhelming for a short amount of time. A little unsettling.

They could improve the desserts at the a La Carte restaurants, most had no taste. (ie tiramisu at the italian)

Some morning buffet servers were quite slow with coffee/drink requests.

Skip the bbq lobster on the beach. We did go to try one after reading reviews and regret the money spent, though we haggled for a good deal. It wasn't as tasty as we were expecting, rather order the lobster at the steakhouse, that was excellent and the buffet offers it occasionally as well.

Overall a wonderful experience at the Riu Palace. We will be back to this perfect sized resort, no question. This resort/location is in our top 3 Caribbean destinations.

Room Tip: We were in 3214, perfect view and we laughed that the closest bathroom off the beach and pool was ou...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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15  Thank travelbugyogi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Jamaica - no problem. The employees of the Riu Palace Tropical Bay are incredible and do everything they can to make sure you have a stress-free and worry-free time while you are at their hotel. They work incredibly hard, have great attitudes and really go out of their way to provide great service. We had a group of 18 people at the hotel, ranging in age from 14 to 84 and we all had a great time. The rooms were spacious and delightful, the beach is the best I have ever seen and the pool area is great fun, providing plenty of activities throughout the day.

Room Tip: We had a junior suite which was very spacious.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank Sherry G
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 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#21 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range: $302 - $528 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 24-hour All Inclusive Riu Palace Tropical Bay Hotel opens year round and is located on Jamaica's west coast in the tourist area of Negril on the island's longest and most beautiful Bloody Bay beach. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Sangster Montego Bay Airport MBJ (80 km) and Negril (6 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 416 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa area or get in shape at the gym. 2 outdoor pools and 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main buffet restaurant, Italian and Japanese, Fusion restaurants and Steakhouse, as well as 4 bars. ... 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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