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“dream come true”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #20 of 85 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
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“dream come true”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2003

We went to Jamaica for a wedding, therefore I did not chose to go here, I did not even read a single review before I left. I heard a lot of horrifying stories about the local people, which left us a little skepticle. The plane was long, airport was small and hot, the bus ride was different especially that they drive on the left on very narrow roads. But when we arrived at Riu Tropcal Bay it was truely like a dream. The resort is amazing!!! The staff was unforgetable, the entertainment was great, they are young and try very hard to get the people to open up and have fun! Hats off to Tamika, Allyssa, and Elvis, and Slick. They start there day off very early on the beach and stay very late in the evening to ensure everyone has fun.As said before you get what you give, if you let your guards down and give them a chance you are sure to have fun. Sylvester started the day off right doing water arobics in the ocean. We went to the end of the resort to get our hair braided which is where we had our first experience with the local people, they were friendly and fun! I could go on forever about every experience I had, all I can say is that I would go back in a heartbeat. And thank-you very much to the couple that got married there, it was an amazing experience and I am glad I could be a part of your day! All the best to you both. If anyone can remember the name of the two songs at the end of each show please email them to me . thanks

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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
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  • 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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5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2003

Well...I just arrived back in the states last night (31 March 2003) from the fabulous Riu Tropical, and I must say that my boyfriend and I had nothing but fun there. When we first got there we changed our room right away to ocean front with the help of our luggage carrier (paid him a little something). Ask for Robert! Then went straight to the beach! which was absolutely breath taking. Met two great people who we ended up hanging the whole time with. I mean everyone that stayed at the resort was friendly and most of all the staff was awesome. SOOOO helpful. The entertainment could have needed some help but they were so funny about it, we made it fun! The food was good, but not excellent. I mean we ate one night at sir anthonys and had Lobster! Now that was a great meal. The drinks were not that weak as others make them out to be. Just ask for it to be stronger and they have no problem in doing so. My boyfriend and I just brought bigger cups and they filled them up. The hotel kept everything looking great. We only had to ask for towels once, and our mini bar got filled almost everyday. Goodness, I feel like I've forgotten something. Let me give you one more tip: Dont travel be taxi, on the beach you'll see guys in their boats. They take you ANYWHERE you want to go thats a considerable distance for a much cheaper price. Look for a boat the says King Shonga on it, he took us EVERYWHERE, the coral reef, Ricks Cafe, and places to just jump off the boat and swim. He was our personal taxi, but if you have to go to somewhere thats like and hour or more, go threw the hotel or the people from your vacation package. We never saw any roaches or bed bugs, but you will get bitten outside on the beach, well i did b/c i wear very girlie smelling products. I loved this place soo much, especially the beach, that i feel if i go to any other beach in Jamaica I'll be so disappointed. Trust me when I say that the Riu is definitely a great choice!

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5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2003

Just returned from our trip to Riu Tropical Bay resort in Jamaica. Like many others, we were a little nervous after reading some reviews (although most were positive). The only bug that I saw the whole time was a moth on the wall. Not one cockroach to be found. The room was a little musty but what do you expect in a Tropical rainforest? After a couple of days we didn't even notice it anymore. The food was great overall. Many unique and exotic flavored food. Suckling pig was excellent, marinated steak, pork, chicken, lamb, whatever, all was great. The jerk chicken on the beach was superb! It wasn't open every day unfortunately and opened too late for us to get any before we checked out on the last day. The bloody bay had a good lunch buffet. Nothing too fancy but good food nonetheless. Sir Anthony was very good. The Steak tenderloin with anchovie sauce was great but I think if I go again that I will eat at the Negril restaraunt mainly. The only problem I saw was that I was dissapointed with the seafood. There were many fish entree's that were excellent but there was never any lobster, and very limited shrimp selections (peel and eat shrimp cooked in the same sauce every night). But overall it was all good. The nightlife was a little bit boring but we didn't go for the nightlife, we just had excellent drinks at the bars and relaxed so that was no problem for us. The staff was great. The people were so nice and good natured! The beach was beautiful! We walked up and down the beach both ways and Riu's beach area was hands-down the best in bloody bay and the resort looked nicer from the beach than the others. Many tours are offered. We went to the Black river and YS falls. Very nice. Black river is stunning with mountains and nature all around. Saw many crocodiles that came right up to the boat. Saw an orchid farm, ate lunch ant a club overlooking mountain ranges, and finished up at the beautiful ys falls. It is a must see trip. Our tour guide Nicola was great and we learne. If you leave the resort be prepared to be hounded by the locals trying to sell you stuff. Tours, souveneirs, cab service, whatever. They are a persistent bunch to say the least. That was the only thing we didn't like about Jamaica. Another tip: don't buy bottles of alcohol at the hotel. You wouldn't think it but it was MUCH cheaper at the Montego Bay airport. We bought a bottle of Rum Cream at the hotel for $18 and saw it at the airport for $10. Appleton Rum in a nice tin at the hotel was $21, at the airport $12. A commemorative bottle of Appleton Rum in a nice case at the hotel was $311 and at the airport $160. The list goes on and on. So don't learn the hard way like we did! I would recommend Riu and will go back.

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5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2003

We vacationed at the Riu Tropical Bay March 14 to 21, 2003. As with most reviewers, we were a little apprehensive, having read several negative comments among some 70 reviews we read prior to our departure. By the way, most of the reviews are helpful and each one can offer useful info to make your holiday more enjoyable, so read on if you have the time. Given the great insight many of the reviews provided us, we felt it appropriate to share as much as we could, so here we go. To preface, we should say that we are a mid 30s, active, easy-going couple from Toronto and as Canadians, we pride ourselves on politeness and a certain degree of open mindedness and tolerance, especially when traveling outside of Canada. I think a great many of the negative comments about this resort and a lot of Caribbean resorts in general should be taken with a whole shaker full of salt. As with all things in life, common sense usually prevails and we have found you are most often treated as well or as poorly as you treat others, no matter where your travels take youenough said about that. GETTING THERE - The transfer from Sangster Airport in Mo Bay was smooth, about 70 minutes each way. The bus drivers appeared to be on a real mission to get you there quickly, if not in one piece, sometimes doing 80 to 90 kms on very narrow roads, but our drivers to and from got the job done. The check-in was painless (other resorts should take notes), just make sure you watch your bags come off the bus, up into the lobby. After you are greeted with a rum drink, head to the front desk, tell them your name, or you will be called, grab your TV remote, your room and safe keys and let the party begin. Our bags arrived to our room within 15 minutes. ROOMS - We were assigned a clean, new-looking, third floor oceanfront room in building #1, the building number seems to be determined by the first digit of your room #. There was a little mustiness in our room, we jsut left the patio door open for an hour, then turned the air on and left it on and the musty smell was gone. We felt very fortunate as we had not paid for an oceanfront room, however, we did book our trip about 7 weeks in advance. By Canadian and American standards, the rooms were not overly large, however, there was plenty of room for your luggage and your clothes (and your mates 25 pairs of shoes) with two closets and lots of drawers. There is a small sitting area with a table and two chairs and a decent size bathroom with a shower/bath (beware - a little high and slippery) and a hairdryer. Hand and face towels were a little scarce, but if you need more towels, just ask and they will soon come. The balcony was large enough to sit in the patio chairs while sipping on a cold Red Stripe from your own complimentary mini-bar, watching the sun go down. While we did not see one, we heard the gardenview rooms were the same size, however, obviously, you will face into the garden, not the ocean. Some guests mentioned that there was traffic noise in some of the units that face out onto the road at the rear of the resort. As travelers accustomed to anything from the Ramada or Quality Inn right up to the Hiltons, Marriotts, Westins etc., we were happy with our room, considering this is a European-style resort. Contrary to other reviews, everything worked and the maid/mini bar service was great, a $5 or $10 tip for both may help in that regard. WE DID NOT SEE A SINGLE BUG IN OUR ROOM. Keep in mind though, we were on the third floor. Regardless, this is a tropical climate, built on or near previously swampy land, so bugs are a fact of life. The 19 TV was fine, with about 20 channels, some foreign language, etc., enough to keep you informed or entertained for the little time you will likely be in yFOOD/DRINK Again, keep in mind this is not Toronto, New York, London, Paris or Berlin so 5* food in Jamaica is not on quite on par with 5* food in any of the above, or perhaps even your own hometown. However, do not be afraid. We were pleasantly surprised with the food. It was tastey and of good quality. Fresh fruit and juices, and everything else you could want at breakfast, including wonderful Blue Mountain coffee; great jerk chicken on the beach and other Jamaican and American fare at two restaurants for lunch; plus an extensive dinner buffet at the main restaurant or decent pizza at the lobby Pizzeria. As others have indicated, you either eat at 6:30 pm or 8:30 pm, (7 or 9 later in the season) and any of the several managers or m'aitre d that greet you seem most eager to help you with any special seating requests you may have. There was lobster one night during our week and there was always beef tenderloin, a few fresh fish selections, lamb, chicken, pork etc. and theme nights for different nationalities of food. All in all, Riu did a great job in terms of variety and quality, considering they were feeding over 800 people per meal. A quick note on the a la carte restaurant Sir Anthonys; it was a similar quality of food to the main restaurant, just a little more quiet and intimate. If you eat at the resort every night, you may want to book one night there, as long as the men do not mind donning trousers in 85 degree heat for a few hours. We found the service was good to great at all restaurants and again, a small tip may get your water glasses filled more often and your table cleared all the quicker at your next meal.Ah, now most importantly, the cocktails. As most of you travelers know, you get what you pay for. If you order a Strawberry Daiquiri at the Hyatt on 7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, you are going to see it made with fresh strawberries, Bacardi and, topped with a little umbrella and a huge spear of pineapple. This will also cost you about $12 US. The Riu does fairly well for an all-inclusive resort with their blender drinks, especially when made by the forever singing and colorful Clarence at the pool bar or the forever smiling and charming Rayon at the small bar adjacent to the theatre. Appleton Rum and Canadian Club Rye (Whiskey) was usually available when we asked for it. However, for the most part, you get local brands and the only beer is Red Stripe/ RS Light on tap, bottled Red Stripe in your mini bar. The RS light was good and is only about 3.5%, great for the daytime. A $1 US tip every few rounds will get you special attention and special treatment from the bartenders most of the time, however, even if you wish not to tip, the bar service was quite quick at most times. As recommended by fellow reviewers, do take insulated mugs, which were great for walks on the beach and less trips to the bar while lounging away from the pool bar area. BEACH/POOL/GROUNDSMost other reviews have said it all, the beach and water are amazing, right up there with Cayman and USVIs/BVIs, with lots of loungers and shade when needed. The two pools are smallish and the poolbar pool is a little murky as they always arehint, hint, however, the pools were never crowded. There are lots of loungers, towel service and freshwater showers to rinse the salt water off after a dip in the warm, clear ocean swim area. The grounds are very clean and well kept. We used the fitness center and were a little disappointed as it is small, with only a few Universaltype weight machines (be careful) and a few treadmills and steppers, most in need of repair. This seems a little sad for this quality of a hotel that is only 1.5 years old. All other facilities were great, 8 Hobie Cats in good condition, paddleboats, windsurfers, a good beach volleyball court (dont hit the deck though, hard surface under 3 of sand), tennis courts etc. The PADI on-sight dive center was also handy and the one dive ($40 US) I did was quite nice, thanks to our divemaster Seaweed. The snorkeling boat trip ($17.50) was OK, but only worth it if you get a pretty calm day. The only slight complaint we had was the 100 meter dash required to get to the closest washrooms from the beach/pool area. This may be due to building code issues? If not, Riu, how about helping us out in this regard.Overall, especially after walking past Couples and Grand Lido just a few minutes to the west, we were very happy with the grounds and facilities at the Riu. ENTERTAINMENTThe shows were a little weak, mostly consisting of laughing at the antics of your fellow guests, however, frequent Caribbean travelers know this to be the case at many resorts. The beach party was fun, the Reggae bands ranged from fair to very good and the disco, while small, is as good a time as you make of it, if you do not mind very cool A/C and thumping- loud Eminem blaring in the dark. STAFFOverall, most of the very numerous staff members were friendly, which brings me back to our 2nd paragraph. If you treat these people with some common courtesy as an equal and not a servant, they will likely be nice to you. Tipping helps, but does not seem to be required. As human nature dictates, some people are friendlier than others, and people do have bad days. However, not one staff member was in any way rude to us or around us. This cannot be said for many guests we saw who, frankly, were treated the same way you or I would treat them, given their rude treatment of the staff. A simple Hi, a Please, a Thank-You seemed to ensure us very friendly service. The GM Steve is there from breakfast until after dinner and he will greet you and every single guest at least once at your dinner table and ask you how your vacation is going. EXCURSIONSYou may pay a little more for the tour group sponsored outings and the hotel sponsored taxis, but again, it may be worth the little extra. We did not choose to do any of the pre-set tours as we find they take too much of your already short time, sitting on a bus etc. We heard mostly favourable things from other guests, just ask around and keep your ears open. A note on leaving the resort, if you do not consider yourself confident and a little street smart, we would not suggest venturing off the resort alone, or even as a couple, especially into either of the two city centers of Negril, especially after dark. We are not suggesting that your life will be in danger, however, you may find yourself, as we did, in some unpleasant situations. We had an initially very nice gypsy taxi driver turn into a real scary, threatening psycho just because we would not commit to hire him to pick us up from Ricks at a preset time. In the markets and Negril town centers, you will be hassled to buy drugs, hire taxis and there was quite a bit of panhandling as well. It seems apparent and a shame that most Jamaicans are not beneficiaries of the islands bustling tourism industry, but you see this in Mexico, DR, and almost every other 3rd world country you visit. It is obvious that this has made some of the locals very bitter and probably justly so. Try to hire red license plate cabs if you see one, or call Jerry at (876) 832-9238/851-9062. He is waiting for his red plate to come through, however, we found him to be very trustworthy, friendly and knowledgeable. He will take you for shopping trips, to Ricks, etc. for about $5 to $8 US each way (or less if you feel the need to pay a little less). Oh, re Ricks Cafe, it is a neat novelty to see a local guy jump from 80 feet off of a tree branch no thicker than your calf, however, the food we had was only average and we had a staff member try to overcharge on beer that seemed to strangely fluctuate in price. Try the Rockhouse, they will pick you up from Riu for free, thestaurant with a better view of the sunset than Ricks and the food and drinks are fantastic. (Seafood platter was A-1) X-Tabi was also great for an afternoon of snorkeling, lunch and lounging on their rock jetties, right on the ocean.OVERALLWe liked the Riu. It appears that they have worked out many kinks and problems that seem to be common for new hotels and are referenced to in many of the negative reviews. We feel badly for those who had problems on their trips to Riu as we have been down those roads before. However, we feel chances are you will have a great experience at the Riu. Just remember, some things such as poor weather, power outages, bugs (within reason) and rude guests are beyond any hotels control. The resort is a little sleepy at night, however, you can make your own fun. We give the RIU an overall 4.5* rating (within the Caribbean rating system) and we will return for another visit one day, likely with a group of friends next time. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a mail.

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colorado
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3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2003

We just returned from a week at the RIU Tropical Bay. The beach is beautiful, the weather was lovely, but unfortunately this hotel is not what it is rated. You get what you pay for, and this had a favorable price tag as compared with others we checked into. We did not see any bugs, the staff was willing to help, the food was basic buffet and recycled from one meal to the next, the beach had lots of topless and even nude bathers one day, the drinks contained very little alcohol, we had to call for towels every day, even beach towels were sometimes not available, almost everyone had to change their rooms once they got there. They will try to put you in an awful one so be assertive. The room did smell funny, but it got cleaned on time each day. We saw a drug deal take place in front of us the first 30 minutes we were there, and even hotel employees were suggestive about marijuana. This place just was not the wonderful resort we were told about. Perhaps if you have never been anywhere else you would find it great--but we have traveled quite a bit and should have spent extra bucks to get the quality we were used to. The entertainment was practically non-existent. Jamaica Air changed its flight schedules and never told a bunch of us that were at the airport waiting for hours for our plane home. All in all, you get what you pay for!

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1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2003

Beautiful to look at but the mildew smell in the room was almost unbearble. The so called entertainment was a little show with some kids not what I consider entertainment no reggae bands nothing. We had to leave the property just to experience a little bit of Jamaica. The food was tasteless. The Sun was fantastic but that was not the Riu's doing! Back to Jamaica? Yes. Back to the Riu? NEVER!

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5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 28, 2003

Ten of my friends and myself just returned from a 7 night stay at the wonderful Riu tropical bay. I was a little skeptical before going from reading many of the other reviews. As soon as i entered the resort i was never once skeptical again. From the moment we got there till the moment we left we have never felt so welcome at one place then we did here. The staff was exceptional. i would like to give the entertainment staff two thumbs up. Yes some of what they do might be a lil cheesy but you can see the effort they put into it and how much fun they have making people feel welcome that i couldnt say a negative thing about them. especially elvis and kamika. they were extremely friendly and welcoming. THe food was delicious. we ate at every restuarant and never had any complaints. i would recommend bringing a cup if you want aabigger drinks during the day but i found the small cups to be fine also it is an all inclusive vacation so if u finish quick....just go get another. The bartenders are also extremely friendly and entertaining. they were always smiling and singing. The rooms were very nice also. we never encountered any bed bugs or cockroaches in the week we were there. and the inroom bar is definatly an added bonus to when u are relaxing in your room. All in all i would highly recommened the RIU to anyone goin to jamaica the bloody bay beach area is absolutely beautiful and breathe taking. by far nicer than the 7 mile beach around the bend. i plan on going back to jamaica within the year and will not even question staying anywhere else. I look forward to seeing all my new jamaican friends from the riu. They are really what makes the trip so welcoming.

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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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