We stayed at the Negril Club Riu Hotel Jan 15 – 22 with a group for a wedding. We have travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean ( Mexico, DR, Costa Rica, Cuba, St. Lucia,Barbados, St. Thomas. St. Martin) we always do our research by reading the reviews, asking questions and reviewing the forums. Given the bad reviews and negative comments I was impressed with the hotel, food, grounds and staff. Take the negative reviews with a grain of salt, go and have fun! Below is a summary and some detailed comments from our trip
• Lots to eat and tons of variety for food 24/7 ( Anyone who can’t find something to eat should really stay at home) loved the casual dining and the fact that you could take the food out of dining area and eat anywhere – No one we were with got sick from the food
• I did my research and I took my own towels, got up early to get chairs ( I don’t like to play the chair game but when in Rome...) They really could use more chairs on the beach and around the pool
• Staff in all areas are friendly and do their best to make your vacation enjoyable - including beach vendors (these reviews painted a tainted picture of the beach vendors – go and meet the people they are really lovely...Ciiiiiiigarrreeetttts...cigars, cigars, cigars)
• Rooms, grounds and beach are cleaned daily - these staff work hard around the clock to keep this place clean
• Weather was hot both day and night with some clouds during the day – sun rise was at 6:30 AM and sun set was at 5:45 PM – leave the hair straightened at home as it is humid day and night
• Illegal substance ( gonja mon) is readily available and being consumed at the resort, on the beach etc etc..if this turns you off then you might want to pick a different location for your vacation
• Your vacation is what you make it...go and have fun, meet the people, embrace the culture, no worries mon.
Read on for more details on this resort........
• Rooms are nothing fancy but they are functional and cleaned daily
• We are not in our rooms much so we do not need a fancy room, however we do like to have a room in a central location – some were in building 4 which is a ¾ km walk from front lobby – if you have mobility issues ask for a room in building 1 on the ground floor. I emailed the manager 2 weeks before our departure date and asked for this and that is what I got – no problem mon
• Water in shower is HOT and powerful!!! ( there is a tub with a built in shower) we had fresh towels daily. Bring your own shampoo and conditioner. Hair dryer is also powerful!!
• Stocked fridge and liquor dispenser is an added bonus – fridge was filled every second day – but heard from some that their room was missed, no problem man, just ask the maid to get it restocked
• Beds and pillows were perfect..we shut off the air at night and put on the fan, if you need another blanket there are blankets in the closet – if you need anything else just ask the maid, no problem mon.
• No bugs in room or bed – and I would have seen them if they were there believe me!!!
• Room safe was easy to program – USE IT – we did not have any issues with theft or things going missing with any of the folks we travelled with, no problem mon
• Breakfast was served daily from 7:00 to 10:30 in the buffet – everything you`d want in a breakfast buffet including a smoothie bar, bacon & eggs , made to order omelettes, croissants, fresh fruit etc etc
• We got 2 or 3 carafes of coffee and took them to the beach every morning for our own coffee club – no problem mon
• Loved the Jerk Chicken available at 11:30 daily
• Buffet was open at 12:00 – there was also days where they set up a lunch buffet on the beach
• Lots of variety at lunch buffet – loved the nachos, pasta bar and wraps but they also had fish, soup, salade bar, cheeses, fries, burgers etc etc – again if you could not find something here stay at home!!!
• I liked the fact that you could take food out of the dining area and eat where you wanted
• This was casual dining so if you like to be waited on for lunch this is not the place for you
• We loved the buffet and found lots of variety but there were also 3 ala cart restaurants
• We did the steak house which was good and the rest of the time went to the buffet
• Others went to Sir Andrews and Luigi`s and found it was good
• Buffet has 2 kinds of soup, salade bar sushi, carvings, Jamaican bar, a variety of meats, always different potatoes
• Assorted bread and even really good variety of desserts – try the choc cheese cake!!
• Service was excellent and even though it was busy the wait was not long, dirty plates were cleared instantly, water is filled regularly
• By the 3rd night the waiters were bringing us our red and white wine without us asking!!
After 11:00 Pizzeria
• Open from 11:00 PM to 7AM - Amazing pizza here as well as Jamaican Patties, hot entrees, dessert and salad bar
• I`d read many negative reviews about the beach, so my expectations were very low, however I was pleasantly surprised
• Beach was raked daily and empty glasses were picked up regularly throughout the day
• YES there was a sewer smell at time during the day by the beach bar area but it did not scare us off the beach!!
• Sand was not white and fluffy like Punta Cana but it was not hard and granular like some beaches
• There was LOTS of room on the beach for spreading out and enjoying the sun and sand HOWEVER they could have used about 200 more loungers
• There are not beach huts for shade but there are trees scattered here and there for those that like shade
• If you are looking for beach bar service this is not the place for you – sit close to the bar and get your own – there was rarely a line up
• If you are looking for a pool or beach guy to get your chair for you – go somewhere else as you are on your own to get your own chairs
• YES we played to towel game and got up early to reserve chairs but we were also there from 7:00 AM til 3:00 PM and then moved to the pool bar til sunset time – if you do not want to get up early to reserve that special spot, go up to the bar area and bring down a chair – there are always chairs to be found but not right in front of your nose
• SUNSETS - 3 out of the 6 nights were AWESOME!! See pictures I posted!!!
• BUGS – again we were on the beach for 7 days (7:00 AM til 3:00 pm) and we got a few bites but not many (did not have bug spray on) – some people did get bites, however it seemed they were drawn to some more than others. I usually get eaten alive but I did not get many bites at all and neither did my hubby or kids.
• WATER – water is very calm in the bay and in the morning you will see sting rays touring the shore line – water was warm the entire time we were there. It is not as clear as it is down the beach - way but who cares, it’s wet and warm
• BEACH AREOBICS – daily on the beach at 10:00 with the ever so fit Batman ( it’s worth checking it out ladies as this guy has a 8 pack!!) no problem mon!!!
• Lobby bar, 2 bars in the entertainment area, swim up bar, beach bar – all served the same drinks and service was good whether you tipped or not - no top shelf liquor, they do have diet pop
• Yes – there was a foul smell at the swim up bar and at times at the beach bar
• Swim up bar got rowdy in the afternoon and the pool water was nasty..join in the fun, but if you don`t like the rowdy behaviour or the murky pool water I`d suggest you move to the beach or the activities pool..no problem mon
• There were up to 3 weddings a day at this resort so they have this down pat
• Weddings take place in 3 different locations on the beach, the one we attended was at 4:00 and was at the far end of the beach
• After a quick 10 min ceremony punch was served, pictures were taken and dinner was served at the Steak House – we then had the disco for a private party from 9 – 11 ( it only opened at 11:00 for the public)
AMENITIES / ACTIVITIES/SECURITY
• Towels – we never had a problem with towels and we did use the ones at the resort but we also brought our own. You will get towel cards that you need to hand in when you check out
• Water Aerobics on the beach – did I mention the instructor Batman??
• Bands on the beach and dance lessons – one day there was a steel drum band on the beach, they had reggae lessons and set up a beach buffet. One night there was a beach party with fire dancers and bonfire.
• Another day they another band set up and vendors, games food etc.
• Lots of activities around the pool and at the beach if you wanted to join – if you didn`t , no problem mon
• LOTS of areas to sit and visit and chill – main lobby was huge, entertainment area provided tables and comfy chairs and bars in close proximity
• Internet – free wifi in the huge lobby area or you could go on the computers that were available for a fee – we brought our Ipod touch to go on the internet at any time
• Check in was very fast and efficient and check out was the same
• Ask for a second key if you need one for your room
• Gym – there is a gym with a treadmill, free weights and elliptical
• Security – we had read the reviews about the shooting and lack of security and can honestly say that we felt very safe the entire trip – there was security on the beach, by the rooms, in the common areas. If you left the beach you were asked for your room number( not sure why and what they would have done if you never came back??!!) I ran by myself in the AM but not off the property but did see some people running on the beach off the resort
• Shopping and Vendors on the resort – there are 3 small shops on the resort where you can buy toiletries, sunglasses, sun tan lotion and even bathing suits and towels. There is a small jewellery store as well.
• Currency – we took American money and used it at the resort for tipping and off the resort at the vendors and Rick’s Cafe , no problem mon
We only did one trip – the Snorkle trip to Rick’s Cafe
• We paid $45 a person for this trip which included a ride on the catamaran along Bloody Bay and over to 7 Mile Beach then on to the Cliffs to snorkel at the caves and then on to Rick’s Cafe
• beer and rum punch was included on the trip as well ( no food so take snacks if you need to)
• Snorkel equipment was provided
• We left at 1:00 and were back at 6:15 – but we had to be at the water activities hut by 12:15 to get ready
• The catamaran can not come into shore so you need to take a little shuttle to get to the boat (you need to get in the water to board the small boat over to cat) this was a bit of a comedy show as the crew had issues docking the small boat against the cat
• The small boat also takes you into Rick’s as the bigger boats can not dock there – again this was a comedy show with them trying to dock and tie off
• DO NOT expect to see alot of sea life and if you don’t like to snorkel in rough water then stay on the boat – some did
• Rick’s Cafe is a must do – YES there are locals asking for money for the divers but just ignore them. You can go there by cab or ask Mr Party to take you there on his boat. YES it is a tourist trap but what a great place to meet some locals, check out the cliffs, listen to local music and have a red stripe
Some tips to reduce any ‘situations’ that may occur:
• Bring your own towel in case they run out and your our face cloth if you use one ( we bring loofa and throw them out when we leave)
• Bring a lanyard for your room key
• Bring an insulated mug to keep the drinks cold and sand out
• Reserve chairs in the AM if you are going to use them for the day, if not give them up for others that are looking for chairs
• If there are no chairs on the beach or at the pool use the chairs from around the bar area
• If you want to be waited on hand and foot this is not the place for you
• If you like casual dining, friendly service, warm days and nights, spectacular sunsets, safe and secure environment then you will love this place
• Don’t worry about a ting, every lil ting gonna be alright in Jamiaca mon!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Newly renovated in November 2015 * Located on Jamaica's west coast in Negril * Located on the beach front * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Main building and four 2-story annexes * Surrounded by 45,000 m2 / 56,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * 9 km / 5.5 Miles from Negril's West End * 7 km / 4.4 Miles from various shops * 80 km / 48 miles from Montego Bay airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Hotel Negril
- Rio Negril
- Riu Negril Jamaica
- Riu Resort All Inclusive Negril