Please notice I used the word Hotel as opposed to resort. There are no activities here, limited choices for dining and very small beach with rough sand. However, if you are looking for a lovely room, quiet with little or no activities and loud music all day and no nightly entertainment this is the property for you. The staff are all amazing and most came from the now closed Ritz Carlton so they know what service is all about. You are definitely expected to tip.
We had a ground floor room #0056 with a very nice terrace looking toward the courtyard but still had an oceanview . The room itself was very nice and there is a privacy curtain that you can draw between the sleeping area and bathroom. There was plenty of closet space and drawer space. The mini bar was restocked everyday and they always asked what you wanted in it. Towels were plentiful and we asked the maid to leave 4 towels everyday and she did. Wash clothes no problem unlike some hotels were there are none. We did not use the liquor dispenser but it was a nice touch. Our room was quite close to the Chill out bar so we did not need to use the liquor that was in the room and coffee and cappuccinos were always fresh and serviced with a smile by Copeland at the bar which was open 24 hours a day. The beach snack bar is right in this area also were we had lunch most days and Samantha served everyone with a smile and super efficiency. Food here was always served quickly and always free.
The huge draw back with the restaurants and with every RIU hotel is the reservation system. I have been complaining for years about it along with everyone else who stays at RIU hotels and that is the fact that you have to be in line by 7am and wait for an hour to get a reservation at one of the alacarte restaurants for the following night. You can only eat at either 6:30p or 9p. Unfortunately when everyone arrives at a restaurant all at the same time the waiters and chef are overwhelmed and service is not the best. You have to know going in that you will not be able to eat at any of the alacarte restaurants until the 3rd night of your stay. So buffet it is. The best alacarte is Crystals which has much better food and ambience than any of the other three. There is a singing waiter Tyron who is amazing and should audition for the Voice.
If you want entertainment you have to go over to the RIU Montego Bay which was super busy so get there early to get a seat and show starts at 9pm. That is also were the water sports are but it is just across a private bridge which has a security guard 24/7 so no worries about walking over there at any time. There is just a drainage ditch between the two properties.
When you book please don't book a gardenview room as they face a chain link fence with shrubs on the other side so high you don't have any view at all. For the little extra cost Courtyard is a much better way to go.
The airport runway is not next to the hotel so lets clear that one up. They do fly overhead after take off and there is a bit of noise but if you are in your room you don't hear them. And if by the pool you get used to them.
If you are thinking of a destination wedding at this property I would rethink it as there is no wedding department on site and certainly no private area to get married on the beach so you would have to use the facilities at the RIU Montego Bay.
They had two pools which had built in lounge chairs, also many many umbrellas by the pools along with a huge shaded canopy. There are no palapas or umbrellas on the beach so no shade but you are only steps from the beach to either pool. Swim up pool bar at one and waiter service at the other which was constant so you never needed to get up to get a drink. Front Desk staff were very polite and courteous and helpful at all times. Requested late check out and there was no problem.
If you want to do some shopping I recommend the Rose Hall Shopping Centre which is about 10 minutes from the hotel and the staff at the RIU can get you a reliable cab that will come and get you when you are finished shopping. There are quite a few stores at this outdoor mall and you can bargain in all of them.
Again if you are looking for a new, clean, adults only quiet place to relax, chill out and get away from this horrible winter, this is the hotel to go and only 10 minutes from the airport. If you have a family with children over 18 yrs this is a good place also as they can get busy next door and you can relax with a book. You can take quite a few excursions from this hotel as Dunn's River and Negril are only an hour away in either direction. I have been to hundreds of hotels on 25 islands in the Caribbean so this is a review from a very experienced impartial traveller so I hope it was helpful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 4-storey hotel with a total of 238 guest rooms is located directly on the beach next to the hotel Riu Montego Bay * The vibrant city of Montego Bay is 4.5 km away * The guests of Riu Palace Jamaica may use the facilities in Riu Montego Bay, except breakfast and dinner meal * Airport Sangster International Airport Montego Bay (MBJ) 2.7 km approx. * Main building 4 floors - 238 rooms * Annexed building 3 floors - 51 rooms * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more less
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