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“Very Good Adult Only Hotel”

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Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica
Ranked #4 of 62 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
oakville
Level Contributor
38 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
“Very Good Adult Only Hotel”
Reviewed 5 January 2014

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.

Room Tip: Hotel is in a U shape and not very many ground floor rooms so request early if you need one and very...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank dreamakerOakville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2014

Just got back today from spending one week at the new Riu Palace Resort. Overall, we had a great time. The staff is defenitely what made our week awesome! The service, the friendliness and their awesome attitudes was fantastic! They work really hard!
My big complaint.....do not purchase the ocean view suites!!!!!! We paid an extra 400 dollars for a view that we had to hang over our balcony and look to the right. There we could see a bit of the ocean. The rest of our view were tall trees.. We downgraded to garden view and the view was stunning!! Management were not concerned about this...for two days they just kept telling us that our suite for 400 extra was an ocean view. Spoke to one of the directors and she did not care and said that it was a Sunwing issue that they sold us false information. Not interested in ensuring that we were happy.
Food was good...could have been hotter. Food should have been labelled!!! Never really knew what the food was...lot of food cooked with seafood, and I don't eat seafood, so a pain to always ask. Most people were going to the resort next door for better selection and better food. We did not check it out, we wanted to stay in the adult only section. We only tried one of the a la carte restaurants "crystal" for dinner and it was excellent.
Finally, no entertainment. You need to go to the resort next door which is jammed packed and full of kids. The point of booking an all adult trip is to remain with adults!!!!
Although....New Year's Eve was fantastic!! Band on the beach....we danced the night away on the beach. Everyone had so much fun!!!
This resort needs some improvements. It is still new so hopefully management takes into consideration all comments from the travellers. It is rated as a 5 star....I would give it a 4.

Room Tip: There is a huge difference between ocean view and ocean front. Gardenview or courtyard is beautiful.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Lindar R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 January 2014 via mobile

Was most disappointed with what the hotel had to offer being an adult hotel. Yes, it's new, staff was great, rooms were lovely but food choices and alcohol selected was horrible. It was no different from the other hotels and cost sooooo much more. Ambiance and decor was good but expected more! Same restaurant from the other riu hotels and choice alcohol was VERY LIMITED!!! Can you imagine no cognac!!! Come on Riu do better! If you have stayed at any other riu hotels in Jamaica well this is no difference!!! Hope for more improvement but until then I will Not be coming back!!

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
9 Thank Donyadmr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2014 via mobile

Following. Up on my first review of the Palace Mobay, we just got home last night and if I didn't have to come home for the kids, I def. would have stayed a couple more days. The staff is great, food was very good, and the weather was awesome . I stayed in an ocean front suit and it was very nice. Beach is awesome. You really can't beat the weather in Jamaica any time of yr.

Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Carl O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2013

We arrived at the hotel on Dec. 23, 2013 for a 7 night stay in a courtyard-view junior suite. Overall first-impression was positive, with the check-in process going smoothly, exceptionally nice staff, chilled champagne given at check-in and very new and modern-designed facilities.

The Good:
1. The people working at this resort definitely made our stay very enjoyable. Everyone, literally, was quite pleasant, nice and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Probably the nicest hotel staff we have encountered and we have traveled to quite a few tropical destinations.
2. The food at the buffet was very well prepared with a ton of variety (probably one of the best buffets we have seen). The food at the a la cartes was also top notch.

The Bad
1. For our personal taste, the resort is rather small. The entire beachfront is probably about a 30 second - 1 minute walk from one end to the other, so there is really very little to explore. The resort itself is also very small, with only 2 pools (located literally next to each other). Basically in a nutshell, you will step outside of the main lobby and walk towards the beach and BAM! there it is, the whole resort, in one view without turning your head. In other words, not much to explore and after 7 nights, you will probably get a bit bored. This could be a good thing if you like very small resorts with easy access to everything. If you like privacy and potentially a bit of walking and scenery, there is virtually none of that here as it's completely open concept and very small.
2. The water was not clear at all and made snorkeling virtually impossible. If you like to snorkel, go somewhere else, or take an excursion to a decent snorkeling spot. There is also a steep drop off in the water, which isn't really a big deal but worth mentioning if you are a bad swimmer as you will only have about 4-5 meters into the water before you need to swim.
3. A la cartes booking system was ridiculous for a 5-star resort!! There are actually 4 a la cartes at the hotel (despite what was written below by someone that there are only 3). The 4 are the Steakhouse, Krystal (International), Zen (Japanese) and L'Acquedotto (Italian). However, while we were there, only 3 were ever open at the same time on a daily basis. With only 3 open, it made it very hard to get reservations and in fact, there were lineups every morning at 7:30am in order to get a reservation for the next evening (not even the same day). We wanted to try all of the restaurants as to us, food is a very important aspect of a vacation. As such, 4 of the days we had to get up at 7:30am and wait in line for 30 mins until the reservation booth opens up, at which point you'd probably kill another 15 minutes getting to the front of the line to make the reservation. Not an ideal way to start a day of your hard-earned vacation. By 8:30am or so, the spots for all of the restaurants fill up and everyone who tries after that time is SOL. The restaurants are also quite small, and they will have difficulty accommodating larger parties (which happened on at least one occasion that we saw where a family needed 8 spots at an al a carte).
4. Service: while all the staff were exceptionally nice, the buffet service was a bit slower and less attentive than we were used to. For example, on at least one occasion when we went to get breakfast, we weren't offered coffee / water, and no waiter came around at all by the time we finished and left the breakfast. They are also a bit slow to refill your drinks at the buffet and probably don't come around as frequently as they should to do so. Keep in mind the buffet will be your only real place to eat outside of the al a carte restaurants, so you will have breakfast, lunch and dinner here on most days. Your other option is to go to the non-adults only Riu next door, but we didn't want to go to another resort as we had paid / wanted to stay in the adults-only.
5. Auxiliary services: most of the fun activities, such as snorkeling, paddle boating or canoeing is actually run out of the next door Riu. So to the extent you want to do any of that, you will need to go there to do it. Just something to keep in mind.
6. Both my partner and I got food poisoning, with my partner getting the worst of it and was virtually affected for 4 days straight drinking pepto/other medication. I had a minor version of what he had towards the end of the trip. Probably not an indication of food quality / cleanliness, but worth mentioning as something that did happen to us.

Overall I would say our experience was decent to good. It was definitely not the best all-inclusive vacation we have been to, and in our opinion, definitely not worth the price at this point. Perhaps in the future once they work out their kinks, this resort will get better, but right now you are probably better off going somewhere else for the same $. In our view, the best experience comes from independent adults-only resorts, that don't rely on a neighbouring non-adults only for services / additional activities. Overall rating 3.5/5.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank rtan53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2013

Stayed here 14 to 26 Dec 13. The hotel has only been open 1 week so every thing is in perfect condition and with no children it should stay this way. The room is modern, light and spacious, large flat screen tv, safe, fridge stocked with beer, soft drinks and water, spirit dispenser also in room. plenty of storage space with deep draws and large wardrobe. we asked for extra hangers which were supplied within a few minutes. There is maid service twice daily if you need extra towels no problem. Reception staff were always helpful and friendly especially Florence. The buffet was very good chefs were very helpful explaining what things were. The snack bar is open 24 hours, we had lunch in there most days the food was perfect and the service from Denoy and Samantha first class.
We only used one al-a-cart restaurant which was the steak house, again first class service from Jermaine (football specialist) even though there was a power cut for most of the time we were in there the chefs still managed to prepare a perfect meal. (could not see that happening in uk).
The bars were well stocked with local and international drinks and a variety of hot drinks
There was waiter/waitress service at all bars and the service from Natasha around the pool and beach was excellent.
The evening entertainment was at the Riu next door just a few minutes away this was just the usual in-house shows that we have seen many times before, perhaps a few professional acts would help
also it is very busy and a long wait for drinks.
The animation team at the palace were ok but there is a lot of room for improvement, you can always go next door but do you want to.
The beach is small and the sand is gritty, the sea is warm and great for swimming there is a sharp drop about 5m in but there are signs to warn of this and as there are no children so it should not be a problem.
There are plenty of security guards (say hi to Fitzgerald a sound guy) all staff bags are searched when leaving
All the staff at this hotel are well trained and very friendly from gardener to front desk everyone speaks to you. Its just a shame that Riu feels it needs to bring in non Jamacian management as there are staff at the hotel that feel they will only get so far up the ladder.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Leicesterman01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2013

Just got in from a seven day stay at the Riu Palace. Attended destination wedding and celebrated daughter's 30th birthday. Daughter was treated like a celebrity by staff and guests alike. Service quality varied dependent on team. Extraordinary food service team led by Richard Mattews,Latoya James,Carlington Grant and Kajelia Spence. Super attentive, responsive, and accomodating manager leadership. Richard and Latoya, the Gordon family wish you the very best !!!! Food was generally delicious with plenty of variety. Breakfast and lunch my favorite meals. Kadeem conjures up fresh natural juices and shakes every morning. Looked forward to my watermelon juice every day. Shenekia Rose very efficiently managed the "sweet station. grilling french toast, chocolate chip pancakes on daily basis. Egg white omelets deftly prepared and turned over by Kasheema Scarlet with plenty of chopped onions, peppers, bacon bits, diced ham, cheese. Waiters/Waitresses provided terrific service with plenty of courtesy and smiles. Of special note: Ryan, Rashea, and "Tina" . Fresh grilled jerk chicken some of the best I've tasted thanks to Kemoy Perry who made sure my serving of wings were always "very well done" and chopped to my liking. Great smile and ever steady while also grilling hamburgers, franks, fries, onion rings etc. Special shout out to Tyron the "Star Search" and waiting to be discovered singing waiter in the Crystal "fusion" restaurant. His singing "blew us away" as he delivered daughter's birthday cake to our table. Keisha Edwards (room service), literally made us feel like family: a true "gem" she is. Can't leave out the outstanding environmental services team: Chantoy and Thelma thank you for your dedicated hard work. Last by not least, Riu Palace entertainment team and pool bar service: Damian, Richey, and Natasha who were relentless in their efforts to serve and satisfy all guests. Special gratitude for making my daughter's birthday her most memorable. (Her words, not mine)!!!!!

Opportunities for improvement:: Reception/Registration was slow. Staff appeared stressed and untrained. One hour later,( only two persons ahead of us on line), escorted to a room with double bed accommodation and broken ceiling fan) after reserving king bed. When finally situated, electrical wiring did not allow lights to go out without affecting TV reception. Spent two nights with lights on, and third with all electricity off. 3rd day, maintenance service arrived partially corrected electrical wiring, stating problem related to faulty wiring during construction. Lighting not fully corrected throughout stay. WiFi down for hours. Elevators and/or elevator lighting not operational. Slow service correction. Staff not equally informed or transparent when providing information/answers to questions. Leak in room, not fully fixed after several attempts to correct. Also related to poor construction. Can't blame staff for lack of trying.

Beach water is cloudy, not clear as advertised, with dangerous drops for non-swimmers. Clean pools with daily tested cool water makes up for lack of beachfront.

Overall rating: 4 The staff largely make up for operational inefficiencies and "growing pains". Thank you Riu team!!!! You really made the trip for me and my family!!!!!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rebecca G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica
Address: | Mahoe Bay. Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint James Parish > Montego Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 62 Hotels in Montego Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica 4.5*
Number of rooms: 289
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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