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“Saw something a little different this time.”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #20 of 81 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Bangor, Maine
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Saw something a little different this time.”
Reviewed January 24, 2014

We just returned from our 3rd trip to the RIU Palace. In the past we have always been very happy with staying there. I've written glowing reviews and recommended the Palace to anyone that would listen. But this time we spent 5 days at the RIU and then 5 days at Hedonism II. Seeing another resort was rather eye opening. The RIU still has beautiful rooms, and the most fantastic beach!! It's elegant and spacious. But it couldn't compete at all with Hedo when it came to the food, the restaurants, the wine, friendliness of staff and the entertainment. Hedo was much, much better!
My suggestions to the RIU - please, I beg you, do something about your wine!!!! The option of only one red and one white, neither of which are any good at all, is disappointing. Hedo had a huge selection of wines. The entertainment crew, although they try hard, really are very unprofessional. Over the past few years I've chalked it up to the fact that we were in Jamaica not Las Vegas. But Hedo puts on a Vegas worthy show with highly talented performers, so it can be done in Jamaica. The food in general needs improvement. I always thought it was good. Loved the Italian restaurant too. But after tasting the food at Hedo, including their restaurants, I realized the food at RIU all tastes the same. Presentation is gorgeous, but it isn't very good. The Italian restaurant at Hedo is phenomenal. And the hibachi style Japanese restaurant at Hedo just puts the Japanese restaurant at the RIU to shame. Not even close.
I only agreed to stay at Hedonism this year as kind of a "bucket list" thing. Figuring that next year I'd return for my 10 days at the RIU. But you know....I'm thinking I'd rather go back to Hedonism. And that is something I never thought I would say!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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6 Thank Michelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
College Station, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 24, 2014

My best friend and I usually take a cruise over MLK weekend every year. This year we decided to change it up. I was a bit skeptical, well acutally a lot skeptical, after being burned by an all inclusive several years back. I won't say Riu Palace is the Ritz but I will say it is well worth the visit. Neither of us are party animals so a nice day of relaxing on the beach was perfect for us. The water was absolutely amazing. Probably some of the prettiest water I have ever been in. Crsytal blue and the sand was soft with no rocks. It was like being in a swimming pool. The hotel was clean and pleasant. The grounds were well maintained and most all the staff were very friendly. Only once did we feel like a staff member was being rude about a tip. None asked for it however the bell hop made it clear he was not taking our bags to our room unless we went with him. The expectation was clearly a tip and he withdrew his reach when we told him that we were going to explore but yes he could take them. We gave him $2 and then he was happy to carry them for us. That was the only time we felt any pressure to give a tip. The staff were all hardworking and as a result we did tip for good service. The food was ok. Be prepared for buffets. The best thing we had was jerk chicken. It was amazing and we basically ate it everyday for lunch. Try it over a salad. "To die for!" We also booked fine dining. It was not necessarily fine dining but better than a buffet with kids using their hands. Krystal was the best one we tried. The bar service was excellent as well. They certainly do not skip on the alcohol. I am not a huge drinker so maybe I felt it quickly but you can taste it for sure. Also the spa was awesome. We did the River Rock 80 minute massage. Wonderful!!!! So I would definitely say Riu Palace is worth a visit. We will certainly be going back. One thing, if you get motion sickness, like I do, take dramamine for the bus ride to and from the airport! I cannot stress this enough!!. Enjoy!!!

Room Tip: Ask for Ocean front with a balcony!
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank jalaine c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington, Delaware
Level 6 Contributor
44 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2014

This is our 4th trip back, and just booked our 5th for Spring Break, 86 days, but who's counting! I've said it before but it's the truth, been going to JA since 1998 and hands down this place is the best! From the minute we pull up to the lobby until the sad final moments of our vacation the folks who work there, who we also consider like family, are there waiting with drinks and open arms or sending us off with a delicious coffee creme and hugs. This place is great for a girls weekend or a family trip with kids.

From the wait staff to the bar tenders and waitresses/waiters, entertainment staff, housekeeping and room service personel (Jon ROCKED!!) I can't say enough, they are friendly and attentive and will do whatever they can to make your stay the best it possibly can be!

Make sure you visit Jodeen, Elton, Mr. T and Karon at the lobby bar, Kenneil down at the pool bar, Kumar, Chad and Winston in the dining room and of course Jason and Neil with the Entertainment staff, I promise you you will not be disappointed! Oh and Garfield makes a fantastic omlette!

Some basic tips to make your stay even better....don't forget your insulated mugs, lots of sunscreen because you need to reapply often, smokes (if you smoke) cuz they are over $10 a pack there, benedryl cream for the "no-see-umms" AKA sand fleas and mosquitoes, and a "floatie" if you wanna lay in the "wata" all day, they do sell them there but you can imagine the cost of an imported floatie that most just end up leaving there for someone else to use. If you like coffee try the espresso martini OMG they are to die for, just don't drink too many at night if caffeine keeps you up because these things pack a punch! And probably THE most important tip is go there knowing you aren't in Manhattan and things don't happen in a New York minute, patience goes a long way. And as for the locals strolling the beach selling their goods, just remember they are trying to make a living just like we do and a simple no thank you works just fine.

I know the whole topic of tipping is a controversial one because most think "all inclusive" means just that, all inclusive, however these people work hard (for very little in my opinion) to make your stay a great one, and are happy while they do it, they work 6 days a week and some are there 12+ hours a day, a measley couple bucks here and there, or some cool little gifts/trinkets from your home town make a HUGE difference.

Any questions feel free to inbox me!

Room Tip: We've stayed in all different rooms and don't have any complaints, if there is any mobility...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
8 Thank Walkinthesun09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2014

20 of us stayed at the riu in the first 2 weeks of October 2013

The hotel was out of this world from the moment we walked into the reception area we knew we were in for a treat. We stayed for 14 nights and had 18 guests as we were getting married there.
All of our guests had no complaints what so ever.

This was our first All inclusive and it was such an experience going with a big group and not having to choose restaurants and work out the bill at the end of each meal was a treat in its self. I want to go back same time this year 2014.

I am so surprised to see complaints on here about food/cleanliness etc because the hotel was spotless room cleaned every day. and the food was just out of this world around the clock!! I think maybe the complaints come from the Americans as they are known to have such higher expectations than us English.

The food was amazing they had every thing you could possibly think of, and fresh every single time. The staff clear away your dirty plates straight away and are there for your every need so make sure you tip a dollar here and there. They really make the holiday even though they are probably low paid they make up for it in tips and are very grateful.

The weather was perfection we all got lovely tans and got sun from 7am till 6pm. maybe a spot of rain for 10mins each day but then it was scorching again. we did the beach every day as it was so stunning, the sea was like having a bath crystal clear and nice and warm.

The wedding package was also excellent the wedding planner Sophia was there for our every need it was definitely the right thing to do getting married in Jamaica the pictures of us with the sunset are priceless.

I cant recommend this hotel enough there is not one thing I could say they could improve on, the staff are just so friendly and laid back and make sure your looked after. I would be happy to visit year in year out. Negril holds lots of happy memories for my husband and I plus all our guests want to re visit.

IT TRUELY IS HEAVEN ON EARTH

its worth every single penny!!!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: we got a free upgrade when we arrived as we told them it was our wedding venue, we got the best room...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank stacey p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Bend, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2014

First time out of the USA. Loved it! We took our 17 yr old son along..nice resort. Good food. Clean rooms and friendly staff. Very clean beach and such hard workers! Even the beach peddlers didn't bother me. I would stay here again if we come back.

Room Tip: We were in bldg 5. Lots of walking but I needed it! Quiet room on first floor. Marie did a great...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sue J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2014

My wife and I stayed here in 2006 when it was simply called "RIU Tropical Bay". The upgrade to "palace" is appropriate! Previously, the room was starting to show its age. This one was nicely modern with a warm decor and ceramic tile throughout. Whereas we had previously slept in a room with two double beds pushed together, this time we had a very comfortable king-sized bed. As before, there was a safe in the room. There is scotch, rum, vodka and brandy "on tap" in the room! We never had trouble with hot water. We did have some issues getting the staff to supply wash cloths, and a couple days went by when we had trouble getting our fridge re-stocked. Also, while we had an "ocean-view" room, the building was right along Norman Manley Blvd. We heard the sound of cars and motorcycles rather than the ocean. People are very liberal in their use of horns in Jamaica. :-(

Overall, the staff is super friendly and will bend over backwards to accommodate you and make you feel special. We did have one hostess in the steak house who seemed to have had a bad day. That can certainly happen, but the guests shouldn't know it!

Regarding the food, that also seems to have improved. Previously, if you wanted to eat at the a la carte restaurants, you had a small window of time the morning of to make reservations. If you slept in (duh, we're on vacation!) you missed out. That process is now much more relaxed, and you can even reserve a table a day in advance. We mostly ate dinner at the a la carte restaurants, and Krystal was our favorite (we ate there twice). This is a fusion cuisine, though they incorrectly called it French. Everything there was wonderful right down to the place settings. We also liked the Italian, which had a nice salad and antipasto bar that included beef and salmon carpaccio among other items. They did serve a beef dish with a peanut sauce, which, while tasty, was not Italian. We enjoyed the Japanese restaurant (but don't get the white chocolate and ginger "custard" for dessert) and the steak house (surly hostess notwithstanding).

We enjoyed the hot breakfast every day, though often felt rushed to get there. We would have liked it to have been served later than 10:30. I like to work out in the morning before breakfast, and they had a 10:00 water aerobics class, so if you took that, you missed breakfast. Who wants to eat breakfast before working out? Maybe make the class earlier? You can get continental breakfast until 11:30, I believe.

I ate the jerk chicken and sausage grilled on the beach almost every day for lunch. Yum! The lunch buffet is abundant and varied. There's a sauté station where they have lobster, calamari, snapper and salmon. The line for this can get long, but it is worth the wait!

Bloody Bay is an idyllic setting. The surf is gentle and we really did not notice any tidal changes. We took advantage of the included paddle boats, kayaks and sailboats. On our last day there we felt adventurous and splurged for the parasailing ($120 for two - cash. And they do expect a tip!) which is not under the auspices of the resort, but the watersports people will assist you getting set up. This was a hoot!

Overall, RIU Tropical Bay is an ideal resort to base your stay in Negril. We did make an excursion to Zimbali Retreats one night for dinner, which we highly recommend. http://zimbali-retreats.com/
We went into town one day (get a cab in the street rather than the over-priced one from the hotel). Negotiate the price up front and do not pay more than $5 US. If they refuse, 30 seconds later another cab will come along (blowing his horn of course!). There is a fair just over the river north of town. You WILL be harassed to come look at their wares! There is indeed some nice stuff there, but if you can't say no (politely) to hawkers, it isn't the place for you. You may just want to go to Time Square a little further north, but that is all touristy stuff. We thought we would save by buying some duty-free items in town rather than the airport, but our hearts sank when we saw Coco Mania at the airport for $7.50 after paying $15 in Negril (this was a negotiated price -- it was listed at $17!). Liquor is the only deal at the airport. Eat well before you got ($20 for a Wendy's salad? Sheesh!)

Room Tip: If your room is in the building along Normal Manley Blvd, request another room.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank WIEireannach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seaford, New York
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2014 via mobile

I stayed here last year with friends. My only big complaint is having to make reservations, since they're not always available to make and the restaurants are empty. Besides that, the food is good, the pool is nice, the beach is nice. Great location.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
6 Thank Jessica D
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

Property: 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 Family Hotel in Negril
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#14 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#15 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#21 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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