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Hotel Riu Negril
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Reviewed December 16, 2011

I have been to mulitiple Riu's in Mexico and this was the first time I went this resort. First off, bring a large drinking cup with you since their drinks come in shot glasses. There was no entertainment or what there was included the audience which was lame. The beds were uncomfortable, very hard. The food was just ok. Nothing great like I had in Mexico. The beach looked nice but once you got there, it was not good. Almost no sand and the water was not that great. It wasn't all bad though. I thought the staff was pleasant and we did have a great view. The pool the first day was dirty but they did clean it up and it was much better. They have great excursions and did scuba and snorkling which were wonderful. Overall, I think I would try to Riu Palace next door since they had a much nicer beach and the water was much nicer. We had an enjoyable time and may return but disappointing for a Riu Resort

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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2  Thank Jeff R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2011

I stayed at the Riu Negril from October 22 - 29, 2011.

Having previously stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios, also in Jamaica, my expectations for the Riu Negril were quite high. The properties were comparable, but it was evident that the Riu Negril was an older property, and getting a bit neglected.

Having said that, here are my two cents...

BEACHES - nice sand, long beach, lots to do (volleyball nets, ping pong tables, horseshoes, non-motorized water sports, etc). Only downfall: the vendors and locals selling drugs, trips, etc, etc.

FOOD - from my experience, the food in Jamaica is always good... the a-la-carte's were all great (Italian, Steakhouse, and Seafood); there is a jerk hut on the beach, open from 12-4 every afternoon... delicious!

ROOMS - the rooms are a good size, and kept very clean. I was on the ground floor, and had no musty odor, no bugs, no mold... I was quite happy!

PROPERTY - the property itself is large, and has a lot to offer. There are two pools, basically side by side, one with a pool bar, and the other used as the "activity" pool. All of the bars were great, with excellent service. All of the staff, including the entertainers, worked all hours and had great energy and were very friendly. The disco was similar to pretty much every other resort disco I've ever been to... same music night after night, but a fun time to bed had.

Overall, I'd return to the Riu Negril if the price was right... Jamaica is always a beautiful destination, with great locals and amazing food. I would recommend it.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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2  Thank Alexandra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2011

My son and I stayed at the Riu Club Negril November 20-December 4, 2011.

CHECK IN

Check-In and going through the airport customs was a breeze. Very organized. Arrived
at hotel at 11:15 p.m. Only issue I felt uncomfortable with was leaving our return
flight info and ticket with the tour rep. It was left outside our door the next afternoon on the hallway floor. We Were given a room in block 1 ground floor. I usually care for ground level, however, after seeing the 20 step climb to 2nd level and 40 step climb to the third I was quite happy.

Block 1 is about a five minute walk to the breakfast/supper buffet. Block 4 is approx 15 minutes(depending how slow or fast you walk). Lovely walkway. The grounds are well manicured and clean. There were not an overabundence of flowers- probably the time of year, but beautiful none the less.

The entire resort was spotless. Always cleaners washing the floors and cleaning the public bathroom areas. Always enough toilet paper, what a treat. At supper and lunch buffet there was a sweeper picking up anything on the floors. Table clothes at supper are changed between diners. A receiving line with wait staff clapping and friendly smiles as you enter the supper buffet at 6:30 p.m.

The front desk staff are the friendliest I have ever encountered. Always a wave and hello
when you walked by the desk area. Wait staff were also friendly, courteous and efficient.

Our first night at supper, comment cards were passed out. I thought this was a little odd
because usually this is left under your door on your last night. The only issue that arose our first day was that they ran out of beer until about 3 p.m that day-but that never happened again.

The pool bar pool was cloudy and that never changed for the entire two week stay, despite
daily cleaning. The other pool was fine. Lots of palapas at pool and shade at the beach. Watch out for sandfleas.

Amenities

Gift shops. Nice stuff and well stocked, but expensive, especially sunscreen, mosquito spray, coffee and air matresses(floties). I paid $1.00 at the end of the season for the floatie (waterbed) and it was $14.00 in the gift shop. Also, if you want to send a post-card, buy it and the stamps in town. Stamps are 2 for $3.00, can't just buy one.

A small casino(slots), rarely anyone in there. But one of the few air-conditioned places at the resort, other than the gift shop.

Internet Room

A rip-off. $9.00 for 30 minutes. The computers can be slow and your minutes seem to get
eaten up very quickly. Also, if your card runs out while you are sending your e-mails,
whatever information you had on the computer will remain unless you buy another card. People were using their cell phones and lab-tops everywhere in the lobby areas-free wi-fi. That's the way to go.

You can also purchase a phone card from the front desk for $20.00(cash only). It gives you 44 minutes to Europe and 52 minutes to USA/Canada. You can call from your room which is convenient. There is a $1.62 connection fee each time you make a call and I made a couple of mistakes when dialing, so I was charged for two extra calls I didn't really make. Also you could have someone call you if they have skype-very inexpensive for them to call your room.

Nurse on site throughout the day, $35.00 to visit him.

Spa and outside massage area-quite pricey though. On November 30th, an aromatic massage was $99, on December 1st, the price rose to $120, high season prices I guess. Exercise room/gym, kids club looked very clean with one staff member to supervise- had a small wading pool, a few loungers, play structure with swingset/slide, inside/outside play area and sandbox. There is a hair-salon. The resort is wheelchair friendly.

There was a wedding almost everyday-sometimes two. They were usually held at the end of the beach(quiet), in front of block 4. Photographer on site in the lobby by Thompson Tours
for a fee.

Food

The breakfast and supper buffet were excellent. Lots of choice, hot, replenished when out.
Only thing missing was peanut butter at breakfast. Should you have children, might like to bring your own. It is available at their grocery store. As well, good coffee!. Lunch buffet did not have as much selection, but could always find something to eat. Delicious soups. Jerk chicken hut was excellent, generally was closed two days per week. A La Cartes- not great, ate at steak house. Had two steaks on menu, but one wasn't available. Mine was very undercooked and grissley. Did not eat. Service was robotic and we felt rushed. Don't ask for anything out of the ordinary(ie. had to go down stairs and walk to lobby bar to get my own ice). Luigis-not any better. Meat overcooked and only one waiter, and a girl to help with the beverages. We did not try the Gourmet Restaurant so cannot comment. Better service in the buffet restaurant.

Entertainment

Lots of activities if you choose to participate. If you keep saying no, they eventually stop pestering you. Music very loud, take earplugs if sitting by the pool next to the lunch buffet from noon on-music very loud and annoying. Shows- same old, same old. A couple were quite good(dancing shows) and the house bands and singers playing Reggae pre-show were great. Lots of opportunity to wear off your supper. There is a disco, but never stayed up that late. Lots of audience participation, not my thing, but was funny at times.

There is a couple of book-shelves in the front lobby where you can leave books or exchange. It is near the photo-shop and Thompson tours. The Thompson tour rep also encourages tourists from Britain to leave their leftover sunscreen and mosquito spray for others who may have forgotten theirs. Great idea!

There are lots of tour options available from the different reps. Most involve a very long bus ride(if they tell you bus ride is one hour-tack on another hour) Convenient taxi service in lobby, but cheaper up the beach. We took a taxi to Ricks Cafe-arranged through our Sunwing rep-he was 1/2 hour late. Was supposed to be from 4-7 p.m. When he finally arrived I asked him if he would be picking us up 1/2 hour later(7:30 p.m) because he was late. He replied-No- I'll be picking you up at 6:15p.m. He said we would be ready to come home by then and guess what, he was right- what a tourist trap. If you are into lots of people, expensive food and drinks, it's the place for you!.If you are into jumping off the cliffs then definitely a must, but I was not. I guess I was expecting to see more of a show from the locals, but the only ones jumping were young children and tourists. Sunset was not that great that evening, but that was the luck of the draw.
There were tourists from all over the world here. The resort had a good vibe about it, nobody was drunk or foul-mouthed. A family friendly resort. There was a reggae marathon held the last weekend we were there. Runners arrived from all over the world. Lots of Jamaican families as well. They were a pleasure to have at the resort. Civilized and the children were very well behaved-unlike a resort I was at in Santiago de Cuba last year(read my review entitled "Don't go, stay home- Costa Morena). Even though there were many positives about this property we would not return. The rooms were not fancy or updated, but they still had some nice features. Double sinks in the bathrooms, long narrow tub, a shower with good water flow and never ran out of hot water. Fresh bath and hand towels daily. Even washclothes. The maid did a great job cleaning, nothing was taken. There was a mini-bar stocked every two days and a liquor dispenser as well (rum, gin, brandy and vodka). I took my own clamato, so enjoyed a cocktail out on our patio every afternoon. There was a towel rack on the balcony to hang your wet clothes. Tv- okay- but not great. Remote had to be re-programmed a couple of times.

Now for the negatives and for me they were big ones.
I had read in other trip advisor reviews that the air conditioning was not great. Well, that is putting it mildly. After having maintenance come and fix it a couple of times(even cleaned the dirty filter), it still did not work. It took me about 10 days into our trip before I finally figured out what was going on. On returning to our room every afternoon- around 4 p.m., the room was nice and cool. It continued to be cool in the evening. However, every night I would wake up in the middle of the night sweating (and no they weren't hot flashes). The room was like an oven. We had not adjusted our control in the room(that was there for decoration purposes). The room would have no air on all day either and magically at 4 p.m or so, it would work. Shame on whoever is shutting the air off when it is needed the most, at night!. I even saw
a girl(choosing to get eaten alive by no-see-um mosquitoes) sleeping out on her balcony
on two occasions. I did not have a good night sleep for the entire two weeks and not just because of the air. There were ceiling fans which when on were very noisy and I didn't care for them. There were several holes in our screen door which should have been fixed before check in, especially for a five star hotel.
The resort apparently does not allow smoking in any indoor areas, including the enclosed hallways outside the rooms or in the rooms themselves(thats a good thing). This was told to me by the front desk staff. The problem arises when someone smokes in their room or in the hallway, the fire alarm gets tripped off. It is especially loud and shrill, especially though the night. Once it went off at 2:00 a.m and the next at 5a.m. The lights even went on in our room on one occasion. There is not one sign indicating that you should not smoke in these areas nor was it mentioned at our tour rep meeting. More sleepless nights!. One evening from about 4-10p.m there was a loud sound coming from our bathtub, like sewage was going to back up. We were told that it was air in the pipes because there were more guests staying in the rooms aboce us(using the showers). This is what happens. It only happened the one evening. If anyone else had issues with the air conditioning and fire alarms, write a review!. Maybe then the director of the hotel would consider another way to save money then shutting off the air all day and all night!.

Beach

Although not the worst I have swam in, it is a far cry from 7 mile beach. I did not do my homework prior to booking so I have no one to blame but myself. The beach in front of blocks 3 & 4 is according to the signage- a sanctuary for fish. No swimming signs were posted in that area, even though many ignored this. The ocean was clear for about the first five days then the bottom could not be seen at all. Seaweed and squishy sand start at about waist deep. The water is generlly calm because you are in a bay(Bloody Bay). We had a couple of rough days where a lot of seaweed and debris were washed ashore. There were lots of sea critters, stingrays, star fish, barracudas, Jelly Fish(take packets of vinegar in case you are stung) and sea urchins(wear water shoes). The beach is nice just past the Hotel parimeters heading toward the Riu Palace. The ocean is clear and the bottom hard and ripply-very nice. The walk along the beach the first week was very serene and beautiful(towards Riu Palace again), then after the second weekend we were there, there was a lot of garbage and waste thrown in the bushes. What an eyesore. The locals had a beach party. Not the hotels fault though. What a shame.The disturbing part was that I encountered a nude man and I won't say what he was doing but if you are walking up the beach with children, keep your eyes open. It was not a pretty site. There are vendors and a few bars/restaurants on the beach that locals and
tourists enjoyed hanging out at. You can get fresh lobster aswell.

We will not return to this property but if you do some things to take to make your
trip more comfortable would be:

1) Coffee-maker, especially if you like to have a coffee in your room before breakfast. I took my own. I asked why there was not one(especially in a five star resort) and I was told that they were only offered at the Riu Palace and that was one way they could call it an upgrade there ??.
2) Clock radio. I was told they had them but had to send them back because they were
defective. The alarms would go off in the middle of the night. Oh No! another way to
prevent you from getting a good nights sleep.
3) Ear plugs- so you can get a good nights sleep, especially when the fire alarms go
off and for when the party goers return home yelling and screaming, going down the
echoey hallway outside your room in the middle of the night.
4) Water shoes
5) lots of sunscree and insect repellent, very expensive in the gift shop.

The hotel does what I call Quality Control but basically just check-offs with very little or no follow-ups.(eg. Our supper was interrupted one evening by front desk staff(a very
nice girl) doing a questionaire about any concerns or improvements that could be done.
"yes I said there were a few".
1) Air conditioning situation- she offerred to move us, but I thought that would be
futile and is too much work, especially with only four days left.
2) The saving of pool and beach loungers. When there is signage not to do this. No
enforecement. On two occasions chairs were reserved then the people went into town or
over to seven mile beach for the day. How inconsiderate. There were lots of chairs
and this practice is totally unacceptable.
3) Fire alarm situation- Also front desk staff on one occasion called every room in the
hotel to see if there were any problems, just another check-off!!.

Anyway, all in all, we would definetely return to Jamaica, beautiful weather and people.
Just would not return to Riu Club. A note in closing, the airport in Montego Bay has
great shopping and restaurants(ie. coffee and spice store, duty free liquor etc).

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank Judy_Anne_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2011

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 9. We thought the hotel and grounds were beautiful, the food was perfectly acceptable, our children made lots of friends there and our rooms were nice. The resort is not located on the 7 mile beach, it has its own man made beach which is very stoney and the water isnt clear, this would be our only gripe as it was advertised by our travel agent as being on the 7 mile beach (which by the way is amazing) we got a taxi to drop us off at Margharitaville on the 7 mile beach twice, they have water trampolines out in the sea and we loved it there! There have been alot of negitave reviews about this hotel but for the price we paid we thought it was very good....if you are really picky then put your hand in your pocket and spend the extra £2000 on Sandals or Beaches. Oh and the people who work here really made our holiday - they are always so helpful!

Room Tip: Request a room in block 1 facing the sea.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank clectaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2011

This was our first trip to Jamaica and we went for the Reggae half marathon, which was the best race ever i must say! We were there from 12-01 until 12-08. We will return same time next year but will stay at Sandals. You really do get what you pay for. Actually, though this trip was very pricy so I expected more.
The bus ride to the resort was 1.5 hours and that was after we sat on a bus at the airport for an hour.
The staff at this resort were rude and certainly not accommodating for any means, except the beach bartenders, They absolutely rocked!
The pools were cloudy and smelled. The food was horrible. I sure did not eat my moneys worth.
The rooms stunk. They were rundown. we had dirty sheets on one of our beds and bleached out old towels. There were bugs in the hotel and in the rooms. The air did not work and the beds were so uncomfortable that we didnt sleep all week. We were eaten alive by bugs. There was no internet in the rooms but it was available in the lobby.
when we would voice complaints to staff they really didnt seem to care.
I would not recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank JulieW440
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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