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“Excellent Hotel”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #21 of 85 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
England
Level Contributor
78 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“Excellent Hotel”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2010

Just returned from 2 weeks at this hotel which was very busy and had the majority of its guests from the USA & Canada , some seemingly for relatively short breaks as the flight times are much shorter than the UK , this meant the weekends seemed much busier as there were quite a few wedding parties.
The Hotel is very very well run , the staff are the best we encountered any where and we never had to wait for a drink or a meal in all the 2 weeks.
The rooms are comfortable but it can be noisy in the evenings with people returning late and allowing the doors the slam so in that respect you need good neighbours but if you can afford it go for an Ocean view Junior Suite and at best an Ocean view large suite with Jacuzzi which are on the end of each front block .
We found the Restuarants very good , our preference was the Steak House but its personal choice , all are fine as is the buffet , red wine is OK , white was not to our taste but if you ask for Champagne ( actually its Spanish Cava ) you will get it & its quite good.
Entertainment was a bit loud for us but the great thing about this place is that you can do just what you want & it has something for all ages.
Best bit though is the fantastic beach , its stunning and always plenty of room for a sunbed , if you like beaches this is the place for you , the pool centres around the bar & is not really for swimming more for parties drinking.
My only complaint would be that the Hotel does not stay by its own rules , we saw people in the evening buffet dressed worse that I would dress to go to the beach and also a person allowed into a Restaurant after the booking had closed and without a collar or long trousers which is supposedly not allowed , it was strange to see people very elegently dressed for dinner and others who looked very shabby in the same place.
All in all , friendly superb staff who accomodate your every need , great faclities , lovely beach and I doubt you would not find lots of things you will like , we will go back .

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Staffordshire Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 13, 2010

This was our second visit to this hotel. The location is excellent, the beach excellent. The rooms are above average with very good standards. The only thing letting this down is the decline in food standards and unfortunatly (probably due to the economic climate) the decline in the standard of a minority of the "Guests". On one occassion we were confronted with a guest trying to relieve themselves in a corridor at 4 P.M. in the afternoon. On another occassion a group of teenage guests were doing shots at the Steak house restaurant hell bent on making the expierience a nightmare for everyone else. Yes these things happen sometimes but this was actively encouraged by the staff (to everyones dissapointment). There was also the issue of stomach complaints that seemed to plague a large number of guests. On visiting the nurse it became apparent how severe the problem was. I saw more than a few cockroaches during our stay. This is something I would normally associate with Dominican Republic hotels but not Jamaica. The buffet food at lunchtime is repetetive and bland for the most part. The buffet food in the evening is better and on a few evenings was actually very good. The Steak House Restaurant food quality was very good, the Italian quite good. Entertainment is predictable but most guests seem to enjoy it. This is still a good hotel but quite honestly it is a four star (with five star rooms) and with more than a hint of "Benidorm" about it. If you are only interested in a great beach, good rooms, four star service, and will accept average food standards this could be for you. A year ago I would have recommended this hotel to friends. Now I would advise them to choose wisely.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank terry999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2010

One of the best vacation ever! Excellent food, amazing beach!
Traveling with young children is not easy, but at RTB was easier than ever!
Don't listen to the negative comments, ok it isn't perfect but what is?
We loved it and we'll go back.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank chickiola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
north jersey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2010

I read the reviews before we went...and a lot of people said the hotel rooms at Riu Palace in Negril had a musty smell and they were 100% right! Our room had that smell the whole time-and ontop of that, the bathrm stunk like a sewage plant! We kept the door to the bathrm closed at all times!!! As for the musty smell, we constantly had the sliding door open for ventilation. We didnt spend much time in the room anyhow-so it was tolerable...but man, they really should consider installing some type of ventilation/fan system. Aside from that, really no complaints.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank decas0203
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2010

I benefited greatly from all reviews here, so here's my share.
To save you trouble reading through this whole review, the summary would be the hotel is good and Negril is amazing!

Overall architecture:
I never stayed at Riu before, but from what I remember, at other Caribbean destinations, I expected the hotel to be much bigger. Riu Palace in Negril is kind of small! 2 pools that they advertise on their website is essentially one and very small one. The common areas (restaurants, bars and lobby) are jammed in one place which makes the resort seem even smaller. It is beautifully done though.
Rooms:
I didn't really like the rooms. Felt a bit small too me and not very "resorty-like", but they have a mini-bar fully stocked, water and soft-drinks and a coffee machine (btw, I loved Jamaican coffee in the room)

Beach
The beach at Riu is the best! I walked all along the coast and even higher rated Couples resort's beach faded in comparison. If you never been to Negril, I found water there to be amazing. Very calm, clean and warm! Not a single cloud in our stay. We never had a problem with chairs, there are plenty. They also give you a towel card, but you really don't need it! There is one or two lonely waiters at the beach occasionally to bring you a drink from the bar. The bar is really close to the beach so really no problem, man!
Now, one very annoying feature of Negril's beach that I didn't encounter anywhere else in Caribbean all-inclusives were "beach traders". I was put off a bit that anyone can just walk to the beach without staying at one of the hotels, and constant "cigar, cigarettes, jet skis" voice is not the best soundtrack. They don't harass you though if you completely ignore them.
During our stay, there was a very active group of volleyball players, which I thought was awesome! They have one table tennis at the beach, which was inconvenient. Most of the times there was a line, and it was a bit hot to play during the day and they wrapped it up at night.
That brings me to...Activities:
pretty solid. Besides aforementioned, you could also get a volleyball for the pool (be careful though, I think I got a stomach poisoning from being in the pool). There are free catamarans and kayaks, I think snorkeling equipment is also free, you just have to certify you had training, otherwise be prepared to pay $20 buck per class. Snorkeling in Jamaica is amazing. I saw plenty of beautiful fish. They were other fun water activities that you had to pay for, so I didn't do it, but prices were reasonable. They have a tennis court and free equipment at the front desk. It was a great idea to play at night as it wasn't that hot!
Food:
I never thought I'd say it but buffet there was amazing!!! Anything you'd like and always very fresh! At breakfast they had a fresh juice station. To my health-freak delight, they even had beet and carrot juice with ginger! Try local foods at buffet! I enjoyed goat curry. Someone in our group tried oxtails and they were delicious. And let me tell you, they know their deserts!!!
The restaurants were kinda eh... We liked Krystal for the fanciness of it and food was good. You get into the right mood from the start with a glass of champagne at the door! But what's up with no music? Italian was our runner-up. Steakhouse was o.k., but you would get a huge piece of steak! I read a lot of good reviews for the japanese restaurant, but we really didn't like it.
The restaurant reservation system sucks. Who would possibly want to get up so early to make a reservation for two days in advance? I mean we did just for the challenge of it, but still...
Oh, almost forgot, some reviewers complained about coffee, but they have those coffee machines at buffet where you could make espressos and I thought they were pretty good. I did miss my Starbucks though.
Service:
Service is good, but not great. Our rooms were always sparkling clean. They have a turn-down service too. Service at the buffet could be hit or miss. But in general, very solid. One thing my group didn't like were bartenders. In most resorts, they are the most lively, talkative and fun crowd. You usually didn't have to think hard about your order. They would gladly surprise you with a show. In Riu they were horrible. Drinks were strong but not tasty. I love my fruity-tropical drinks on vacation, and they really lacked at that. We went once to Riu Negril and there bartenders were much more fun!
Entertainment overall was kinda week. Shows were all about harassing and making fun of people staying at resort. This is fun for some, but painful for others. No club but there was a club at Riu Negril which is free for you. Cab ride is not too bad, especially if you get a group of people, van and negotiate hard (or go outside resort)
Tipping:
we tipped as usual, but most people didn't.
Random:
of course people on the beach will try to sell you weed. But they are not stupid and read your signals, so if you don't want it, don't worry. Jamaica, no problem! On our last night, it was rainy in Negril (we didn't know cause we were on a trip), and I got stung badly. So bring a spray and spray yourself at nights!
Overall:
a very good resort, that I would consider going back, but probably wouldn't cause I like trying new things unless I'm 100% satisfied. Negril and Jamaica, on the other hand, are in my heart forever!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank dincola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2010

Great: Hotel, rooms, staff, beach, pool, bars. The place is very nice, clean and taken care of. The staff is attentive and helpful. Beach is beautiful. Pool was great, tables and lounges in the pool, and pool bar. Drink service around pool area. All the bars were excellent, pool bar closed at 6, two others around midnight, and there was a 24 hr. bar up in the lobby.

Need improvement: Restaurant system. When I pay for an All-Inclusive with specialty restaurants, I expect to have access to them. If you don't mind getting up at 7am every other day to wait in line, you probably WILL have access. I did not. RIU needs to change this, and if they read this site, they probably will. Process in a nutshell is this: Every 2 days, reservations are made at theater area from 8-10am, for that night and the next night's dinners (either 6:30 or 9pm seating). Guests begin lining up at 7am. When the limited seatings are filled, that's it. We managed to get 3 reservations out of 7 days. One day at 9:20 we found sign stating all were booked. One day, just before 8, line was about 30 deep. If every other A.I. resort can handle this, why can't RIU?

Misc. Watersports had plenty to do, however it was windy when we were there and they understandably did not allow sailboats, kayaks, etc.
Buffets were repetetive, except for Chef's night and Mexican night, both very good.
Breakfast was average, good omelettes.
Nightly entertainment was fine. Broadway? No. Negril, Jamaica? Yeah.
Could use a restroom nearby the pool/beach.
If you don't want local smoke, say "no thanks" and it's enough.
Tips appreciated, but not expected.
Jerk chicken hut was a great quick lunch (now open 7 days).
Jet skis were a blast, and the boat/snorkeling/caves/Rick's trip thru ScubaCarib (onsite) was fantastic.
Bus trip (tropical-tours thru apple) was scary. Full size bus passing on curves and nearly swiping pedestrians for almost 3 hours. Our ride to airport was fine though, 1.5 hours. I would look into private taxi next time.

We had a great time, met some great people (locals and guests). The only thing that would keep me from returning is the crazy reservation system. Too much money to be eating in buffets.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DanoD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2010

We normally do Sandals Resorts for our Caribbean vacations, and when our travel agent said that Tropical Bay had been overbooked and that we had to stay 2 nights at RIU Ocho Rios and 5 nights at Tropical Bay, I thought we had made a mistake. But I'm happy to say that we had a great time and will go back (and not only because RIU offered us a complimentary 7-night stay in future as compensation :)).

Food was great, but I'll admit that I'm not a picky eater. We ate at the buffet 2 out of 5 nights and were happy with the variety. The second night was seafood night: shrimp, king crab legs, oysters and mussels as cold appetizers, accompanied by a live trio playing Bob Marley favourites. There was also a Jamaican night, with my personal faves of curry chicken & goat, callaloo and akee & saltfish. We missed Mexican night. My son (8 years old, with a typical 8-year old's food preferences) always found something to eat: the resort provided hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pizza and nachos at every dinner. He even ate some broccoli and carrots! Ate at 3 a la cartes: Krystal (fusion), Rimini (Italian) and Hakuchi (Japanese). All 3 offered enough food that we were stuffed after the appetizer. My fave was the Japanese, where I had the best miso soup ever: real tofu pieces in a flavourful mushroom broth. I eat at Japanese restaurants almost every week, so this was a nice surprise. A huge variety of 'antipasti' at the Italian restaurant (lasagna and ravioli were available at the antipasti bar!) meant that we were full before our entrees. Entirely our fault, though. Don't order room service! We ordered sandwiches, thinking we could keep them in the mini-fridge and them eat them on the 6:30 a.m. bus ride to the airport, but found them to be totally unappetizing. We were told that the resort pre-makes the room service food and then stores it in the fridge until needed.

Rooms were good. Yes, the rooms smelled a bit musty, and there was the occasional tiny ant making its way across the floor, but there wasn't really anything to bother us. It's true that the 'king' bed was 2 doubles pushed together, and that they were firmer than we might be used to, and that the pillows were a bit flatter. But I slept like a baby, which I don't do at home. On the plus side, there were two sinks in the bathroom, both with plugs, which I've never seen before. It's handy when you need to wash the occasional T-shirt. The shower is hand-held, and there was always plenty of hot water.

Service was terrific. Most staff offered a ready smile and greeting. Plates were whisked away, wine glasses magically refilled, room service prompt. I never saw a staff member just standing around. I was most impressed, however, at how staff interacted with my son. They always greeted him with a smile, a fist bump, or a high five, sometimes even before they greeted us. One member of the entertainment staff (forget his name - sorry!) played ping pong with him all morning, and was very patient. Though Tropical Bay is primarily for adults, I was impressed at how much the staff genuinely seemed to care about kids. There was always a ready supply of beach towels - you could exchange yours at any time during the day, and always plenty of sun loungers on the beach. If you prefer to sit by the pool, however, try to get there early: it was busy there all day, every day. The only thing lacking seemed to be bananas! I enjoy blended banana drinks while I'm on vacation, but there was nary a banana to be found all week, at both resorts. Strange. One bartender joked that they had sent all the bananas to Canada :)

In all, a great vacation. My suggestions?
1) Bring an insulated mug. I saw a number of people with mugs, I assume to hold alcoholic drinks, but I would have loved to fill my mug with coffee at breakfast and then have pastries and coffee on the beach.
2) Bring your own beach towel. The resort allows only one beach towel per person, and I like to have two, particuarly on colder, windier days. We had a couple of those days, and I and some others had to swipe our spouses' to wrap ourselves in. It created some surprise when they returned from the bar :)
3) Tip when you can. Though I'm pretty sure we would have received equally good service if we hadn't, a couple of dollars a day got us twice as many towels in our room and a beautifully constructed towel elephant.
4) Men: don't forget your pants! Although Tropical Bay gives you a brochure outlining the restaurants and their dress codes, the resort may need to do more by way of gentle reminder. The couple in front of us was turned away from the Japanese restaurant because he was wearing shorts. They were dressy shorts, and she was beautifully dressed, but they were turned away nonetheless. Just remember to bring at least one pair, because the host(ess) does enforce the dress code.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank calliope_8
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 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#14 Family Hotel in Negril
#16 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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