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Hotel Riu Montego Bay
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Reviewed November 1, 2012

Three of us went down from October 7-14 and had a blast. Would definitely return!! Every time I hear that song from Mr. Vegas (Bruk It Down) I will remember this trip and hearing this song by the pool, at the clubs, on the beach... :)

CHECK IN ~ Everyone that worked there immediately felt like family! Very warm and personal from the moment we arrived from the airport (and were greeted with a rum punch) until the fond farewells when we were leaving. We had an early flight and arrived at about 10am, and had to wait until about 2pm to check into our room. It was a bit of a nuisance because we were still fully dressed in travel/Toronto gear and would have loved to shower and change right away...but we managed to get some lunch, look around the facilities, and relax a bit to pass the time. And the drinks helped soften the wait as well!

STAFF ~ Amazing. From the front desk staff to the bartenders, security, entertainment staff, and cleaning/grounds people...everyone had such a pleasant attitude, beautiful smiles, and just a really cool vibe about them. We never felt like anyone expected a tip (and in retrospect, I kinda wish I was prepared to tip more), but they all definitely went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and happy at all times. By the end of the week it felt like we'd made a bunch of new friends...it was like living on a campus, or in an apartment complex where you'd be greeted with friendly faces each day, and genuinely liked the people around you. The male bar staff were particularly pleasant...extremely charming, and made even a lazy day at the pool an interesting one. I love that everyone was friendly to everyone...male, female, they just all made sure you were enjoying your vacation, and seemed to truly enjoy their jobs and the atmosphere.

ENTERTAINMENT ~ The entertainment staff was the bomb! The dancing, the games, pool exercising, and of course the phenomenal evening shows were definitely a perk. It was never corny, always full of vibes! The resort disco was convenient for the nights we didn't want to head into the town. The DJs were wicked, because they always played music to suit the demographic...whether it was funk and oldies (Whitney, Michael, classics), top 40 songs, or newer dancehall reggae and soca, they really knew their audience and kept everyone dancing. I really loved the show our last night there, a presentation of the history of Jamaican dance. That was fabulous and really brought out the spirit of Jamaica to me. Other shows throughout the week at the main stage were also entertaining, a combination of dancing, more theatrical stuff, and instruments (steel pan). Good fun.

FOOD ~ Mediocre at best. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anything spectacular. The jerk chicken on the beach at lunch time was fantastic...but we kept forgetting about it, and often got there too late, or totally missed it. That was definitely the highlight. The other specialty restaurants might have been good...but we also missed our reservations, or were too distracted (rain, tiredness, etc.) to get there on time (oops!) The buffet was truly just average. A few good dishes occasionally, but none that I can even remember now. I really thought I'd be able to wake up each morning and get a traditional Jamaican breakfast of ackee, saltfish, plantain, etc...but was basically met with regular eggs and sausages...this was disappointing. I also expected like a GOOD selection of Jamaican foods at lunch and dinner, but again...just a general selection of stuff. There was oxtail, and curry chicken, and rice and peas occasionally, but not enough. It wasn't awful...but overall nothing you couldn't get at a local Applebees or other restaurant. I noticed that even the fruit didn't have flavour! Like, we were in the CARIBBEAN! Fresh and juicy fruits should have been a MUST! The fruits were bland, the desserts were bland, and overall I think most foods lacked flavour or zest. BUT again, it was manageable. I still would be able to select a few items that I would enjoy, and enough to satisfy my hunger. But nothing really blew me away.

TRANSPORTATION ~ Caught the shuttle at the airport easily, and had an entertaining 5 minute ride to and from the resort. So convenient to have the free shuttle busses also take us to Margaritaville each evening we wanted to go, and return us safely. Took the hassle away from worrying about catching a taxi, etc. I noticed a lot of drunken fools chose not to tip the driver...I think a few dollars would have been nice, for the extreme service it provided everyone in their intoxication. One night we were heading out to Pier 1, and one of the drivers arranged for us to go with another group of girls for a lesser fee, gave us his card and was there to pick us up promptly when we were ready by having one of the door staff at Pier 1 give him a call to return. Really friendly and nice. It felt like my dad, looking out for me. Everyone felt like family in that regard. There were also specials to go anywhere else on the island that you needed to go...safely, and conveniently. For those looking for a "real" Jamaican experience, the taxi drivers at the resort are able to do that for you, and do it with a personal touch. If you're looking to go to Ochi or to Negril...the expensive bus tours may not be necessary because the taxi drivers can do it for a fraction of the price.

THE GROUNDS ~ Very pretty. I can't lie...I definitely didn't think this measured up to the 5 stars...but not because of anything bad. It was definitely quaint, extremely clean and sanitized, and pleasant across the board. We hit up the gym a couple mornings which was nice, the pool bar was definitely our favourite place to be during the day, and our room (1100s) was close enough to everything. Unfortunately, I didn't get to experience much of the beach. The sun was too unbearable the one day I tried (with no shade anywhere), and the one evening I went down to check it out I got eaten alive in about 4 minutes. It was pretty...not as pretty as the beach in Negril that we visited that same trip, but pretty enough. Overall, just beautiful. Breathtaking views.

THE ROOM ~ Again, quaint. Bedspread and curtains kinda old-school, but still tropical enough to be cool. I kept reading that the beds were hard...come to think of it, they were definitely firm...but most nights I was too tired/exhausted to even watch that. Overall, the accomodations were great. We didn't have a view (just the other buildings) and it was still totally fine to chill on our little balcony which was nice. One thing that kept cracking us up (and freaking us out) was that we'd get interrupted by either cleaning staff, a bar re-stocker, or someone. One day we had 3 different ladies stop by to replace towels (each had a different size). They'd give us two quick knocks, and then just like open the door (even with music playing, or conversation going on inside). Fortunately we were fully clothed and stuff...but a few times I was laying on the bed, and then found myself having full conversation with a staff member who didn't seem in any rush to close the door and leave. I would expect that they would be more apologetic for barging in...but they were cool and took their time. If it was once or even twice it wouldn't be a big deal, but this happened like at least 5 times throughout the week! The guy that came to restock the bar too...just often seemed like everyone in town had a key to our room. FUNNY THING IS...between the 3 of us, we only had one key. What's that?! Upon arrival, one of the bellhops said he'd have to see if he could get someone to "cut a key" copy...which I thought was strange. For a room with 3 beds, 2 keys should have been a minimum. This took a great deal of coordinating, and scheduling, and a few late nights of having to get security to open the door if the keyholder fell asleep. Wasn't terrible but definitely an inconvenience at times. Otherwise, everything was really clean, well maintained, and the shower/toilet, everything was great and worked well.

CLIENTELE ~ What I liked about the Riu was that there was a little bit of everyone there, and it was just fine. I've been to resorts where it was "too old" or "too young/annoying" or people with their rowdy children. This was a great mix of everybody, and everyone mingled well. Funnily enough, at the beginning of the week it seemed to be a more mature crowd, many older Canadians and British couples, Americans. Mid-week the crowd got a bit younger, wedding parties, lots of couples, travelling groups in their 30s. And then by the end of the week/weekend I somehow looked around and almost everyone there was Jamaican. Many auntie-types, and groups of ladies. Families. There was a teacher's conference, and it was also Hero's Day weekend, so I guess the locals were out on vacation especially at this time too. Not many kids around...and the kids that were there were well behaved, and often hanging out with entertainment staff and occupied. When some little girls did get particularly splashy and loud in the pool, the staff were quick to kind of take them away from the drinking adults and play with them at another part of the pool. One thing I did notice...this wasn't really a swinging place for groups of singles. Like there were a few groups of single females out to get their groove back...but hardly the same amount of single males to entertain them. "Fortunately" the men working at the resort were entertaining enough to chat with throughout the day ;) ...BUT if you're looking for wild times and singles fun ala Cancun or something on that social level, I didn't really get that vibe from here. This seemed like a definite adult resort...where the fun was controlled, and everyone got along regardless of age or demographic. Really great though.

OVERALL ~ I've been to Jamaica many times before (to visit family), but as my first time travelling as a "tourist" I was extremely pleased with my stay. The Jamaican people left a fantastic impression on me (as a "tourist") and really made me proud and pleased to know that I come from such a great island of folks! Even those trying to sell you some "high grade" and "herb" on the side (outside the gate across the street at the gas station, at the beach, in town) still did so respectfully and weren't too pushy. The Riu Montego Bay left such a great impression on me, and I will recommend this hotel to anyone I know who plans to travel to Mo Bay and do the resort thing.

Thanks for the memories, Riu! Shout out to Jay in security, Denton and Kayden at the bar, and the others who kept us laughing and informed about what was poppin, and how best to spend our time. Really appreciated.

Good times :)

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank KyaPub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

I went on a WOMEN retreat to Montego Bay Jamaica Oct 16-21. This was my first trip out of the U.S. and it was AWESOME. The staff at the Riu was very kind and helpful. The restaurant and entertainment teams really made this trip memorable. They were so great that they remembered all 5 of our names and greeted us with warm smiles and Rum Punch. Thank you Denton and the ENTIRE staff at the Riu for making this a trip to remember.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Rosalind M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

I’ll bet this review heading’s got your attention!! LOL. The heading of course was the name of one of many cocktails served by the great bar staff and always with a smile. Marie and I stayed at this hotel from 15th to the 29th October and what a great two weeks it was. First I would like to express our thanks to Kay-Dee at customer relations and Carlington the assistant GM whose motto was, if you say NO, it has to be continued with the word PROBLEM as one sentence. This NO PROBLEM attitude to requests was found in every member of the Riu staff we had the pleasure of encountering.
The initial standard room we had was quite adequate but the suite we moved to on our second day was awesome with a great sea view. The beds in both rooms were comfortable and cleaned to a good standard. The buffet restaurant had a good variety of food but the wine was a letdown which was the same in all the restaurants. Perhaps a separate wine list with good and fine wines payable as an extra would be an idea. We tried all theme outlets and found the steak house to be the best. The pool and surrounding area was constantly cleaned as was the beach first thing of a morning. This hotel has a dedicated team looking after children including an indoor/outdoor play area so adults can enjoy their space. We travel to Jamaica quite often and will definitely use the hotel again.

Room Tip: If you can afford a suite go for it or request block 6
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank holidaytom2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

We just returned on Oct. 26, 2012 and stayed one week. I have stayed in all-inclusives in Puerta Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic; Aruba; Freeport, Bahamas; and Cancun Mexico. This was by far the best I've been too, and I thought nothing could compare to Aruba!

We were in Block 4, room 4002. This was a ground floor unit. The only downside for my husband and I (the more "mature" travelers) is the distance to everything from this unit. Will request to be closer when we return. People complained that the beds were hard, well they are hard, just like we like them! The room was incredibly clean and nicely decorated.

We only ate at the buffet, since Hurricane Sandy interrupted the week. THe buffet was incredible! My husband enjoyed the lamb and the curried goat. I preferred the pork and chicken. Absolutely no complaints on the food either in Rose Hall (the buffet) or lunches in Mahoe Bay.

All employees were extremely friendly and courteous. The bartenders and all servers were always pleasant. I think it is just awful how people do not tip! COme on people! The average wage in Jamaica is $58 per week, and gas was $6.70 per gallon. Don't be cheap.

As I said, the hurricane came through, and this hotel was very well prepared. They kept us informed and were very accomodating. On Wednesday, when the hurricane was expected, they had information available when we went to breakfast. THey advised everyone to stay in their rooms from noon until 6:00 p.m., or they were welcome to their safe room, the disco. They brought sandwiches and fruit to the room, and came by later to restock the bar completely. Then they called at 5:40 to inform us dinner was served. We had two other calls during the afternoon to see if we were okay. There were some branches down, but by noon the next day, you never would have known the place had a hurricane.

I will be back! Do not believe what you read from some people. This place was amazing!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Coinlady1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

This was a very interesting week of celebrations, travel and tropical storms. This was my 2nd trip to Jamaica. This is my 10th vacation this year and this actually the most relaxing. We really experienced the service and amenities for the price we paid. Nevertheless, we tip every one who assisted us during our stay. Which was ironic because most people did not tip any of the staff members.

We arrived at our hotel around noon and the of course our room was not available. The sun was shining and we prepared for showers and thunderstorms all week.

1st things first. We reserved dinner seating at the Italian Restaurant and Steakhouse. Since we we celebrating my birthday we also had the reservationist at the hotel set up a romantic dinner at the Marguerite's Lobster Heaven the the actual day. So we wandered around the resort and checked out the offerings and began drinking. The nice thing was you could not walk 3 feet without encountering a staff member or representative of the hotel. The uniform were distinguishable and overall the staff was courteous. Which gave the resort a nice feel.

We stopped by MoBay for lunch which was terrible. I was disappointed from jump street by the food offering. The drinks were ok but no there was no premium brands available you could purchase overpriced Appleton Spiced Rum from the hotel store.

The EXODUS lounge/ bar was always a good place to chill any time of day. The CASINO staff were always friendly and helpful. This is also where the ATM is located here. This area is connected to the sports bar. Which was open 24 hours and supplied snacks (popcorn, nachos and sandwiches that you could take back to your room.

Once we finally were able to access our room it was a clean, simple room with a dark wood trim am marble accents in the lavatory. The quiet garden view from the third floor was adequate for our stay. The minibar was fully stocked with rum, vodka, brandy, and gin (no mini bottles). Coke products, Red Stripe, Jamaica brands of soda and spring water. Cool towel. Soft
bed and hard lumpy pillows. The housekeeper kept our room clean.


After a walk on the beach and enjoying the swim up bar we went to the room and layed down before dark and when we awoke it was MIDNIGHT. The drinking thing can be overwhelming and if you want to indulge please locate Meggie. She will hook you up. So much so.. we missed dinner and could not wait for breakfast.

The next morning was my birthday. Breakfast was my on my mind. Morris was our waiter and it was great to be in his care.

I was, however, disappointed to see there no where no traditional jamaican breakfast dishes available. Everyday a combination of brown stew chicken however available I would imagine leftover from dinner.

I cannot lie, I wasted tons of food. I was searching for something I liked beside the cheese and cold cuts and cucumber blended juice. I was really difficult the food was not seasoned; it was bland and every staff member agreed.

The spa massage was AWESOME! I had the Stress Soft specialty massage for 80 minutes. Oster, was great massage therapist. I prefer a male but she really had strong hands. I fell asleep for the last 20 minutes. It was so relaxing. Afterwards, fell into the sauna for some heat and unwound in the the jacuzzi. I loved the towel and robes.

After dining away from the resort on the Hip Strip we returned in time for the show at EXODUS. "The Ideal Couple" which was a lot of fun and then there was a dance contest among the male guest. The hotel then gathered all of the guest and who wanted to go to Margaritaville and put everyone on a bus and brought us back a 2am. MoMo (Monique) is pleasant and she is on the entertainment crew and personable.

We had sunshine everyday except for Wednesday, The day CAT 1 Hurricane Sandy was due to hit Jamaica, we had breakfast and then all guest were asked to retreat to their room. The staff would deliver a box lunch to our rooms. Direct TV provided California local news watching or listening to the tube could be confusing. After a couple hours of heavy winds, off and on again rains combined with power surges we grabbed a red umbrella and walked around the resort while Sandy was kicking butt on the other side of the island. On this night we had reservations for the Italian restaurant. They did not open on this evening so we dined buffet style; still not traditional jamaican flavored/seasoned foods were prepared.

The World Series and Thursday night NFL game on the NFL channel were not available.
We caught tonight show at Exodus and I joined in the longest CONGA Line.

The next day I awoke early to hit the gym which was packed. This was my 2nd. day using the facility and 3 of the treadmills were not working again. The Spa administrative staff, often displayed a screwed-face with apples in their mouths while answering questions or tending to fitness equipment. After breakfast we spent half of the day at the beach which was lovely and the other half of the day pool. I got the best tan.

We finally, ventured into the MoBay building where the Steakhouse was featured. Garrett our waiter was inattentive and distracted as the restaurant was not crowded. We refrained from tipping due to our poor experience and called it an early night for packing and in preparation for travel the next morning.

The last day of our stay. I had the best breakfast. Ackee and cod fish, I tried a freshly prepared omelette with everything and it was a great way to end our vacation in Jamaica.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 5210 which was very clean and quiet.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank dMoniqueRenee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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