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“Will never go back to the Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #20 of 80 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Woodbridge, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Will never go back to the Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril”
Reviewed April 1, 2014

I can't say that I liked the Riu Palace Tropical Bay - it is certainly not up to Riu Palace standards Our check in was fine and we enjoyed the welcome drink. The people at the front desk treated us really well and we were lucky enough to be upgraded from ocean view to ocean front. It helps being a Riu Class member, so I would definitely recommend it.
This Riu Palace does not come close to any of the other palaces that I have visited, e.g. the ones in the Mayan Riviera, Punta Cana or Aruba. It was so difficult to get champagne or beer at lunch or dinner. They didn't have any in the restaurants and the wait staff had to go to the bar to get them - I don't understand why they wouldn't have the restaurants stocked with them.
The service was sometimes good, sometimes bad - you just couldn't tell what kind of service you were going to get and at times, it appeared that you were putting the wait staff out if you had a request that was outside of what they wanted to do. The worst was the service at the beach - the property was quite large and the bar was not very close, so if you wanted a drink, you had to walk a mile to get one or wait forever tor a waiter to show up. We were very generous with our tips, so I don't think that was the issue. It may have been that they didn't have enough people serving at the beach.
The food was not great. We didn't try any of the a la carte restaurants - we only ate at the buffet restaurant and the quality of the food was not good at all. It was really hard to find something to eat most of the times, so it was really a good way to lose weight. The best part was trying the different fruits from Jamaica like jackfruit and soursop.
The entertainment was mediocre at best - the best show was the steel band show although I do have to say that the sound system in the theatre was poor at best.
Our room was great and it was cleaned really well. It was on the first floor and we had a lot of bug bites by the end of the week, so I wouldn't recommend getting a room on the first floor.
The sports bar was a disappointment in that there wasn't one. One night we missed dinner and wanted to get a snack from their version of the sports bar but unfortunately, they didn't put any food in it until later in the evening. Very different from other Riu's.
The best part of our vacation was the beach, the water and the weather. I think that biggest problem at the beach was the lack of shade. They really need to do something about it.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Christine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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St. Louis Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2014

We recently visited the RIU Palace Tropical Bay mid February 2014. It was a lovely trip. Bloody Bay was amazing. It was so nice to walk up and down the beach enjoying the Jamaican flavor this sweet spot has to offer. It was fun to talk with the Jamaican people - as they offered their wares... parasailing... and good conversation. They truly try to push their product, but a simple no thank you suffices. We walked just a couple football fields down the beach to the other RIU property one day and enjoyed the pool/drinks/food. I suggest doing so. The beach is beautiful and we enjoyed many of our days just lying there enjoying the views. There is a dive shop on site. The boat leaves right from your beach providing either one or two tank dives. They boat comes back to the resort after each dive - We loved that convenience. The food was great and The variety awesome. Breakfast was the BEST. At the specialty restaurants, There are 2 seatings - one at 6:30 and one at 9pm. You can go every night if you wish to one of the specialty restaurants - but must make reservations the day before by standing in a short line at 8 in the morning. The pool was nice - and the pool bar fabulous. The work out gym is great - with plenty of treadmills. The rooms were great - with beautiful views of Bloody Bay. I loved the mini fridge full of Red Stripe... sodas etc... that they replenish everyday. There are no elevators - but we didn't mind the walk up to the third floor as it was well worth the view. We really enjoyed the live reggae music they would play at the resort during the day and for the evening entertainment. We were married on site - and it couldn't have been more perfect. Sophia was amazing in making our day special. I certainly recommend anyone contemplating being married in Jamaica - to visit RIU Palace Tropical Bay - you won't be disappointed! The staff is amazing - friendly - and there to provide you with your every need :) We will certainly return to this beautiful property - you should too!

Room Tip: Rooms away from the main area are quieter. There are no elevators. 3 floors of rooms.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Stlablu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2014

Just got home from 7th trip to the Rui Palace Negril and loved every minute of the trip!
The hotel is getting a little tired looking but still doesn't take away from the overall experience. It is the employees that keep us coming back!
Chad, Andre, Mario, Sharese, Neil, Turtle, Chicken, Sandy, Camille, Mama, Howard....thank you again for making our vacation outstanding! Rusty the gardener has only worked there two months and already he has fit right in making sure we were taken care of! The Bellmen (sorry don't have names) are amazing. From the minute we step on the property these guys make us feel special and make sure we have fun!
We also used Clives taxi service (beautiful SUV) to get us to and from the airport...made a huge difference....no more buses for us!
I had recommended this resort to a co worker and managed to overlap for two days and she now says this is her new favourite resort and will continue to come year over year.
The team is just so special....you can't train the employees to be that way...it is in their hearts!
I hope I didn't miss anyone....they are all awesome! If you haven't been to Jamaica this has to be your first visit...you won't regret it!
Lynn

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank BeachJumper7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2014

My husband and I were at Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril from March 19-24. All in all, it was a wonderful time. We went to just relax and did a LOT of that!

The resort is a 90 minute bus ride from the Montego Bay airport. We had arranged our transfer bus prior to arriving, so getting to the resort from the airport was flawless.

At the resort, we rate the bars as "B+", room as "B-", food as a "B" to a "B+"; the beach as a "A", the pool as a "B", and the entertainment as a "B".

BARS: Bar service was excellent at all locations, but they had no limes on the property the entire time we were there, so our vodka and tonics were lime-less! A couple of times they tossed in a chunk of some unidentified citrus-like fruit, but they were not limes! The lobby bar is open almost 24 hrs a day, but the other bars close down (pool bar closes at 6pm, and the bars by the theater close, I believe, at midnight)

ROOM: Our room had a musty odor, and the air conditioning was less than efficient. It did not pull the humidity out of the air, and the tile floors were usually a little damp and slippery. We were on the third floor in the building closest to the road. No elevators, so the stairs were a hike. Our balcony had an ocean view, which was wonderful!

There is a minibar and fridge that is stocked with water, soda, and tonic water. There is a liquor dispenser above the fridge with vodka, rum, whiskey, and (I think) brandy. Also a small coffee maker and ice bucket.

FOOD: We were very impressed by the buffet in the main dining room for breakfast and dinner. Lots of choices, well organized, clean and well-lit, with seating inside or outside. The desserts were yummy little bites, so you can sample several without wasting food. We never made it to the dining room for lunch because we either skipped lunch due to a huge breakfast, or went to the Jerk Hut on the beach (YUM!!). We went to the steak house one night and thoroughly enjoyed the meal (grilled lobster and tenderloin steak). Our only other all-inclusive experience was a more glamorous resort with almost inedible food, so the good food here was a VERY nice surprise!

The wait staff was very attentive when they were in control, but became less pleasant when we needed something that took them out of their routine (ie: I asked for hot sauce for my eggs one morning, and the server seemed very put out by my request).

BEACH: There are lots of lounges and side tables, but no umbrellas, so the limited amount of shade can get a little crowded in the heat of the day. The sand is soft, but easy to walk on -- not the kind of sand that you sink in. The water is clear and warm with a smooth sand bottom; you can walk out for easily a hundred yards before the water gets deeper than your waist. If you want to snorkel, you will need to go elsewhere. If you are there on a weekend, you will likely see multiple weddings take place. The only bathrooms are either in the main building or in your room.....either option means a bit of a walk!

If you walk the beach, you will be approached by locals selling their wares (everything from art to clothes to Cuban cigars, and even openly asking if you want to buy weed). Several resorts away (the the left as you face the water) is the Hedonism II resort. You will recognize their property line immediately, as the sign says that clothes are not allowed on their beach!

POOL: The 2 pools are small, but they were never crowded despite the resort being almost full. There are a lot of lounges poolside, but shade is at a premium. There are umbrellas, but many of them are the mesh kind that let the sun right through. We loved the lounges that were built in to the pool!! There is a volleyball net that is almost always up in one of the pools, and there were usually a number of people playing in the afternoons.

ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment staff is very upbeat and talented. The nightly shows were all good, but they could improve on the lighting and sound system in the theater. The beach party on Saturday night was very sedate and uninteresting. There is no dance club, so once the nightly show is over, most people head back to their rooms.

OTHER: The issues we had were relatively minor -- we could not open our safe one night and had to wait until the next day to get it opened; our keycards stopped working one day; I made the mistake of eating salad one night and paid for it the next day. Always remember that if you cannot drink the tap water, you should never eat anything that gets rinsed before serving!

The clientele consisted mainly of families with small children, middle age to older couples, and groups there for destination weddings. There were only a handful of children at the resort the week we were there.

EXCURSIONS: The only excursion we went on was a sunset catamaran cruise aboard the Dreamer that included snorkeling, a stop at Rick's Cafe, and the sunset. This trip was an absolute disaster! The snorkeling was supposed to be at a reef, but the boat stopped in an area that was a sandy bottom with very little contours, with patches of short seagrass. We saw 2 urchins, 3 or 4 small tan fish, and one sting ray. That is ALL!! There was absolutely no coral, no reef, no rock formations, and nothing of interest! Add to that the swells we encountered that made me severely seasick (to the point I had to be taken off the boat and take a cab back to the resort), and it all adds up to a collossal waste of time and money! If you want to go to Rick's Cafe for the sunset and cliff divers, get a cab for $20 each way and forget the catamaran!

Jamaica is a beautiful island, with mountains, lush greenery, flowers, glistening seas, and colorful people. We enjoyed our vacation there, and would recommend it to others.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Darlegal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2014

See my video on YouTube, Riu Palace, Tropical Bay, By Dale Tuders. Just about says it! We went there to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary, and I can't imagine a better place to do that. The staff at Riu Palace were the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet, and it seemed like each one was sincerely interested in learning about us. They all seemed to want to hear about our lives and how we were doing, very pleasant!!! They want to make you feel genuinely welcome in their country.

Room Tip: Try for the third floor, beach-side, Great View!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank CDaleT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
59 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2014

From the second I pulled up to the property I felt so welcomed. The bellhop immediately took our bags. As I approached the front desk, my welcome drink was in hand. Dwight at the front desk was quick, polite and friendly. He immediately gave us our key and off we went.

The room was GREAT. Although considered garden view, we could definitely see the ocean. It was clean, comfortable and roomy.

The layout of this place is great, very nice and compact. Not too far to get anywhere.

The pools were very nice, and clean, which is super important to me.

The ocean…….ahhhh, the ocean. I just love the ocean there. GREAT beach, beautiful water. Clean. Terrific sunsets. It is a great beach for walking too. You can go either way. Loved that aspect.

The drinks were GREAT, the food was FABULOUS and changed often. The bartenders and wait staff were all very attentive.

We've decided we are going back and we NEVER go back to the same place. I hope they NEVER make this an adults only like they are doing with lots of the other Palaces. This place is super special. Even my children agreed!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank TravelbyeLori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Princes Risborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2014

Spent 11 nights here mid march. Have stayed in Jamiaca before in Montego Bay at the Iberostar which was fabulous. Negril out wayed by far. Firstly, the beach. Absolutely spectacular. We chose this hotel as we are beach lover rather than pool people and this doesnt disappoint. The sand is so soft and the water so clear. We parasailed and the water even out that far was crystal and you could still see to the bottom! We walked the beach every day as it was so lovely. The vendors didnt bother us. I have read a review from someone complaining about them. They arent allowed to harass you and i didnt for a minute think they did. They arent allowed more than about 4 meters up in the sand, so if you sit in the front, so be it, your choice. We politely said no thank you and they went on their way. As for the singers, give them a chance, they are nice, they dont expect tips, if they dont get one, doesnt mean they wont sing again. Mr Miserable complaining of not being able to sleep on the beach because of them .... is that all you have to moan about. It was FUN. As for the pool, we did want to sit there on one of the days but the noise level from an inconsiderate American man bringing his OWN music system to the pool bar and turning it up as loud as he could, then hogging the pool bar with a group of another 30 meant we couldnt even sit around it! They were totally obliterated abusive and annoying by midday which is SO inconsiderate to other pool users, especially those wiht family, who SHOULDNT have to move elsewhere. So Mr Miserable, try sitting there if you thiink the guitar vendors on the beach were a pain!!! Hotel: Staff brilliant. Elaine on front desk, so helpful. Stunner (selling trips) is a nice lad and can sell well, keep up the good work. Damian in breakfast room, really lovely boy. Drinks: never a shortage, top shelf options which is great as i only drink Smirnoff or Absolute. Agree that cocktails were too sweet and not quite like a real cocktail but were plentiful, varied and refreshing actually. Loved having Bucks Fizz for breakfast everyday! Food: This would be my only complaint about this hotel. We thought (and we arent usually fussy) that for the first time on one of our trips the food was repetitive in the buffet restaurant. There was no 'speciality' of the night which there used to be we heard (German, Spanish, French etc). All salads, puddings, meats etc was the same every night. There was just usually a different main. Depends what you like eating. We chose to eat at the restaurant very night instead. Krystals - absolutely love this place. Food wow. Very relaxing. Italian - had a great first visit, the second our steaks were undercooked and the chef wasnt at all pleased we had complained :-(. Got to sayy the appetiser starter selection in their is second to none though. Steak house was ok, have had better. I thought it crazy to have no choice of starter? Fish platter & Chicken Ceasar to share, no options?? Jerk Chicken Hut at lunchtime on the beach, dont miss it! We ate only once in the lunch buffet as the chicken at Mr Jolly's was amazing! The cleanliness of the hotel is second to none, love the turn down service - Jaysell was brilliant and left us some chocolates at the end of our stay, was very appreciate of the tip we gave her for this. Room was cleaned daily to a very high standard. Would say we were impressed with the whole package in general.. It wasnt the cheapeat holiday we have had, but worth the money.We have had a fabulous time and still raving, wish we were still there!
Trips: I agree with the other reviewer who commented on the Catamaran trip to Ricks Cafe. Very poorly organised, wasnt impressed with the staff an going on's on the boat, wouldnt recommend. We wish we had of gone in a taxi and enjoyed more than the 55 minutes at Ricks Cafe that was all you got there. Trip to Half Moon Bay $80 per person - save your money! Total waste of half a day. Mystic Mountain - Zip Lining, Bobsleding & Chair Lift. Wow what a great day out. Not cheap, and be prepared for the 3-4 hour journey BOTH WAYS!! We left the hotel at 7.30am and got back at 8.30pm.
If you are thinking of staying here, its a great place for a great holiday.

Room Tip: Higher floor gives better viewing to the sea if you are remotely towards the back.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Denise A
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
#13 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#14 Family Hotel in Negril
#14 On the Beach 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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