3-31/2 Star facility. If you are looking for a 5 star resort this is not the place, go next door to Sandals. At arrival we were greeted well and offered a drink, check-in was smooth with no issues. Luggage was delivered to the room 20-30 min. We stayed in building 4 towards the far end of the facility. Room was clean, plenty of towels, mini bar stocked, extra pillow and blanket in the closet. We were pleased with the overall cleanliness of the facility.
Comments on items I've read in other reviews and response based on my experience.
1) Smells - musty in room, sewage smell outside. - you are staying in a tropical location with lots of humidity. I have not been to a tropical environment and not noticed slight "musty smell" but not overwhelming to the point of disturbing my stay. There was a sewage smell toward the back end of the facility, but was not constant, could pick up on it on occasion and it was only noticeable at that end of the facility.
2) Beach Vendors - aka drug dealers. - This was the biggest complaint we had regarding our visit. You cannot approach the beach area without be greeted by a "vendor". Some are selling trinkets but think it’s just a cover for selling Bob Marley (aka - weed). It is a nuisance but most would leave you alone after telling them no thank you. Only experienced in the beach area, never in the resort areas. Hotel could make a better attempt at keeping the vendors out of the beach area.
3) Staff - Our experience with staff was pleasant. No issues with lobby, wait staff, cleaning, gym, bar…just never really had an issue. TIP! I know its an all-inclusive resort, but the staff is always appreciative of recognition of a job well done. We left a tip for the maid service everyday and did receive better service than some of the other couples we were traveling.
4) Pool – Pool is laid out nice. Plenty of chairs. Enjoy the water lounges! Note for other travelers….Don’t bring your kids to the swim up bar area. This area should be like any other bar….no kids allowed!
4) Shopping – You can buy the same stuff just about anywhere you go. There is shopping across the street from the hotel and free ride to/from is available. Prices are marked high so you can negotiate down to make you feel like you got a good deal. You can probably get items cheaper downtown, but vendors are more aggressive. Hotel had 2nights with local vendors offering paintings, jewelry, wood works.
5) Hotel Entertainers – every afternoon hotel entertainers provide pool/beach activities and evenings you can watch stage performances. These guys/gals do a good job! Maintenance staff (green shirts carrying machetes), ask and for a few bucks, they will snag a coconut from a tree and cut it open for you!
6) Dining – We ate at all 3 restaurants (Steak House, Italian, Asian). Make sure and book reservations early in the morning and a day or two in advanced. This is not fine dining. Not bad, just nothing you won’t experience at any restaurant anywhere else. Is a change of pace from the buffet.
Buffets – They are buffets! Nice selection of all sorts of food, some better than others, but it gets the job done. The chef making omelets in the morning was the best!
Fruit was always good.
Visit the chicken shack on the beach!
8) Activities – we participated in the snorkel / booze cruise. You are taken out for 30-45min snorkel trip on the reef, stop by Margaritaville to enjoy drinks or go out on the street to shop, and then return. Along the way, the crew shows you local scenery and gives history of the area. Trip last about 3-4hrs and was enjoyable!
My wife and I are in our late 30’s and are not finicky travelers. This resort was worth the money we spent. Again, if we wanted 5 star, we would have booked at a different resort but Riu does a good job at providing a reasonable vacation experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC