I must tell you, if you are looking for a pristine stretch of beach with clear turquoise water, stay on Bloody Bay. This beach was AMAZING. We actually took a catamaran cruise that left from the Sandals Resort, and I was SO glad I booked the Riu, that beach was crummy.
Now, the resort...Riu Palace Tropical Bay was great. It is about an hour ride from Montego Bay, but could be a tad shorter if you had private transport. Rooms very clean although a tad tired - however nothing to complain about. We had an ocean view junior suite with king bed - an actual king bed, not the 2 doubles I have heard others have had. Beverages were always well stocked, but the first night we were without bottled water. I later ordered one from room service and it seemed that after they saw the Wata (name brand of the water!) bottle in the room we were never without it again. Room service menu limited but very fast. Room safe worked well. I may not want to stay in building 5 again, as the doors to the rooms face the busy road and I felt it was a bit noisy, however my husband thought it was fine. The room was cool with the AC and ceiling fan, however, if I were visiting in the heat of the summer, I'm not sure it would be cool "enough", we thought perhaps it was adjusted during lower temps. Also, and this is silly, but I know there are others like me out there, there is no white noise, or noise at all (aside from the traffic) - so take something if you normally fall asleep to a fan or whatever. They were having a bit of trouble with the water in that building on and off, but it didn't seem to impact us. The ATM at the hotel gives you american money, and is located in the casino. There is a $6 service fee.
Although we would get up to stake our claim on beach chairs, we never bothered to stand in line for the restaurant reservations. I only heard mixed reviews on the restaurants, so we just stuck to the buffets, which we felt were very good, but the Jerk Shack is a MUST, and they have bbq sauce if the Jerk is too much for you. Drink service on the beach was sporadic, but I think it is usually because they just didn't have that many servers for a pretty big stretch, but seriously, it was pretty darn easy to get our butts over to the bar and get our own. Speaking of drinks, they are good! They have a drink of the day which is usually a fruity delight. The cups are on the small side, so most everyone had their own thermal mugs - don't feel weird bringing one. Also, bring your floats! That was the best - the bay is so calm and lovely you can float all day...The pool was always lively, and the 3:00 (ish) games are fun. I got, and saw others with bites - sand fleas I suspect, so take a bit of anti-itch cream.
Now, the best part...the staff and general public of Jamaica. The Staff at the Riu was awesome. We loved their smiles, dancing, singing, and service. They had a wonderful sense of humor, and we enjoyed talking to them about their island lives. They are tireless, hard workers who make next to nothing - so a tip now and then goes a long, long way. We had a great time with the staff of the Office of Nature, Margarittaville, Island Routes Catamaran tour, and Mr. Party. Do not miss the Steel Drum Band when they are at the resort - AMAZING, and overall the entertainment was good - the entertainment staff try very hard to get folks involved and have fun. The beach vendors are funny - you can go parasailing, buy coffee, sugar cane, listen to the musicians, or buy weed. (Ha ha, but true...) just say no thanks mon and they are on their way. You can also walk a short distance down to the other Riu and check out the vendors along the way.
We loved Jamaica, and would return to the Tropical Bay. Respect mon.
- 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