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Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Iowa City, Iowa
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9,328 posts
46 reviews
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Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

This resort was pretty much exactly what we were expecting, no surprises. Very big if you're not used to the size, but we new what we were getting because we usually stay at the larger resorts and we like that. We travelled with my in-laws (same last name as ours, we travelled as a family so there was no reason not to think WE WERE TOGETHER), they had a jr. suite and we had a full suite. I emailed ahead and asked to be put in the section above the Mammee Bay and Tushima restaurants because I knew there was an elevator there and my mother-in-law has limited walking ability. So of course when we get there (3pm), the room they were assigned was 1204, meaning third floor directly above the restaurants, everything was good in there room, great. We were put in room 1064, which was all the way across the horseshoe, first floor. Lovely suite, I can't complain at all about the size or layout of the suites, but the location sucked and it had no A/C. We were told the entire resort was full, and there was no other room available to us until the next day. Whatever. The next morning at 7am I went up to the desk just to find out what room we would be put in that afternoon when the rooms were cleaned and ready. After much conferring, a lot of faces made by the staff behind the desk and language that I could tell was aimed at me in a nasty tone, they produced the key to room 1210 (at 7am, so did someone check out in the middle of the night and housekeeping cleaned it in the middle of the night???) Anyway, to keep this short, I didn't mean to go on about this now, it was a beautiful suite, beautiful location, everything worked, and it had an additional jacuzzi out on the deck that was a lot of fun. The first day started us out a bit badly, but we went on to have a great time. The falls were fabulous, Shaw Gardens were wonderful (you really need a guide here to get the full effect). Deep Sea Fishing out of Port Antonio was highly successful for my guys, but a longer day than anticipated and they were all very tired. My father-in-law got sick the fourth day and was unable to eat much the rest of the trip, but the rest of us were fine. I think he had more spicy food than he's used to, he also drank a lot of tap water out of the faucet in his bathroom, and he ate some kind of Jamaican "stew" from a big pot in the dining room that he thought might have been composed of the previous day's leftovers that could have done it. Food was good for an A/I, but not the best A/I I've had. A little blah, but you can always find good stuff if you know where to look. We never got tired of it, there was plenty of Jamaican stuff, and a lot of it varied if you went to different buffets and not the same one every day. We had one full day of rain (the 30th), the rest was pretty much 1/2 & 1/2 sun & clouds.

Anyway, ask any questions you want, I'll try to stay on pretty steady for the next few days.

Washington, DC
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43 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Sand, did you partake of the kids club at all? I remember from previous that you have a young child; did he/she enjoy their activities while you got a break? Did you have any money/tipping/exhchange issues? thanks.

Iowa City, Iowa
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46 reviews
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2. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Our five-year-old didn't use the kid's club at all. In fact, we never even saw where it was. We did see the kids up on stage doing their "Mini-Disco" four or five of the nights. We were disappointed. He went up and did it the first night (of course I went up with him this first time, he's not real out-going, but he would have continued doing it on his own if it had been what he was used to). All they did was dance around. The resort we usually go do (I won't mention the name) had a different activity for the kids each night, they play musical chairs, or break a pinata, or whatever. As each kid is eliminated from the game (yes, not everyone is a winner!), they are given a small bag of treats and the other kids sing him off the stage. The winner gets a tshirt from the resort. After the first time my son participated, and he saw there were no "consolation treats", he had no desire to participate anymore.

Another thing we thought was weird: We couldn't even BUY a tshirt mentioning the RIU in any of the gift shops! We're used to having them passed out as prizes at the other places we go. Here they were passing out bottles of rum like they were water, but we didn't see any RIU tshirts....

As for money, I consider us to be generous tippers considering we're staying at an AI: we had a large suite, so we left a $7US tip every day for the maid, and we left $3-5 at each meal. We tipped the bartender several times, but to be honest we really weren't impressed with the bartending staff. They seemed obnoxiously arrogant, and would often say something under their breath if you asked for something special, like a little more Kahlua in your White Russian.... Again, whatever. We used US$ everywhere, with no problems. We received a little JA$ in return, we just brought it back as a souvenier. We were very generous with our driver from Lee's Tours, but felt he deserved it as he was very knowledgeable. I recommend them highly. However, the trip from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio is NOT recommended due to construction!

Cherry Hill, NJ
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10 reviews
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3. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Sandinmypants,

Glad you made the best of your situation. However, I would like to point out that you could drink a gallon of tap water each day and not get sick due to it.

Jamaica has very good water with systems like here in the US. So, it had to be something else.

Just want to point this out so that others not familiar with Jamaica's water don't get spooked.

Would you go back or would you try a smaller resort next time?

Iowa City, Iowa
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4. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

We thought it was odd that, even though people say the water is fine to drink, there's a sticker on the mirrors in the restroom that says "not potable", and they provide bottled water for drinking. We wondered if, for some reason, their water supply wasn't good? I just tossed that out there just in case it could have been the problem, not that I really thought it was. He was the only one of us that drank the tap water, the rest of us were drinking bottled water.

We like the larger resorts, and always go AI because we usually don't spend too much time off the resort, we just hang at the beach every day, spend our time in the water, and don't want to have to search out a place to eat, and drag out a credit card for every meal. The larger resorts have enough places right on the grounds to walk around, eat at a few different places, and not get tired of it. We're just not the "adventurous" types when it comes to eating. We did go to a jerk place, and our driver stopped at Juici Patti, which we kind of figure is the McDonalds of Jamaican patties (we never eat fast food here at home, I'm not sure why we ate it there???) It was good, but we were hoping for something a little more "authentically Jamaican-style" when we mentioned getting a pattie.

We won't go to the RIU Ocho Rios again, however. I think, if we return to Jamaica, we'll probably stay in the Negril area, or we may try the new Bahia in Runaway Bay (this wouldn't be until next winter, and would depend on the reports coming back about their beach/watersports). However, we will NEVER fly out of Chicago O'Hare on USA3000 again, that's a story for another day.

Cherry Hill, NJ
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5. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Not Potable? Egads that's the first I ever heard of that.

Why would they have water coming out of a tap that wasn't drinkable?!?!

I know in some places they are using "unpotable" water for landscapping irrigation, but never coming out of a tap.

As for the big resort, different strokes for different folks. Hope teh GBP works out for you. Sounds like they are getting their act together.

Enjoy!

TIMMINS, ONTARIO
2 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

I totally agree with you on the sketchiness with tthe non potable water sticker on the mirror ... I was not conviced with that . We both have the same view with the RIU Ocho Rios food wasnt good and there was very little jamaican cultre foods .. I will not return to that resort ..

Iowa City, Iowa
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46 reviews
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7. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Actually, as I stated above, we thought the food was good for an all-inclusive, just not the BEST all-inclusive food we've had. You generally don't get a lot of variety at A/I's, and if you visited different buffets at this one you did get a different variety if you looked for it. We had no problem with the food, other than, as I stated above, I believe my father-in-law tried to eat too much of the spicy Jamaican fare, and he's not used to spicy foods even though he loves them. We truly think it was either water coming out of his bathroom faucet, or the big "leftovers"-style Jamaican paella-pot stew that did him in. He said it was very spicy, and seemed to have a little bit of everything in it, pork, chicken, oxtail, goat, different seafoods, vegetables, etc. He had thirds! So, he made a pig out of himself and perhaps got what he deserved?

I don't want anyone to take it the wrong way, we thought the food was quite enjoyable. The pineapple and bananas were wonderfully sweet & fresh, and my husband tried so many different Jamaican dishes, he really enjoyed the variety of local cuisine that was available, so we didn't feel cheated by not eating out of the resort.

exm
New York City
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32 posts
14 reviews
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8. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

A couple of questions:

1. Did you take taxi from the airport (and if so, how much did that cost) or did you have pre-booked transfers (it's $69 round trip for 2)

2. How is the beach and the water clarity?

3. Where do you recommend booking excursions?

Iowa City, Iowa
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9. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

We used Lee's Taxi & Tours to & from the airport to the RIU ($95 each way for 4 adults & 1 child), and for our excursions. Very reasonable, good knowledge of the island history, friendly, on time.

Water clarity is good, we took the sailboat out and could always see to the bottom, even out a long ways from the beach. We went almost to the Dunn's River beach, and it was beautiful. The beach at the RIU is good, very fine sand, little rock. We really enjoyed it, spent no time what so ever at the pool. The pool water was chilly, the ocean water was warmer. (well, actually the pool water became quite warm over by the swim-up bar later in the afternoon, go figure!)

Ottawa, ON
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10. Re: Just Back from RIU Ocho Rios Today; a Brief Overview...

Weclome back.

- How is the gym there? Is there a good selection of cardio equipement/weight? Do you know what is its hours of operations?

Did they have any aerobics or fitness classes?

- How was the weather? Even on the cloudy days, was it hot? I hope so....

Going in TWO DAYS!!!!

Thanks.