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“RIU Palace Jamaica, IRE mon, no problem mon!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica
Ranked #4 of 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 May 2014

Credentials: Iberostar Grand Paraiso Beach, Iberostar Grand Rose Hall, Secrets Vallarta Bay, Secrets The Vine, Secrets Huatulco, Secrets St James, Valentin Maya, Sandals Whitehouse, Secrets Maroma Beach, Paradisus La Perla, Excellence Playa Mujeres and others.

Starters: We travelled to the Riu Palace Jamaica from April 24 – May 1, the weather was perfect all week. It was sunshine and blue sky and a warm 85 degrees or so every day. We were looking for an “adults only” in Jamaica to travel with our adult children as they had not been to Jamaica yet. The Riu Palace seemed to cover the bases for the things we were looking for. This resort is brand new, it has very modern and stylish décor along the lines of the Paradisus La Perla.

Fantastic art work with unique and stunning design applied everywhere, restaurants, lobby; all the bars had beautiful lighting treatments and colorful furnishings that flowed into each other seamlessly. We were very impressed with the modern chic feel to this resort.

The previous reviews are right on as everything was exactly as expected with one exception {maybe two see below and think jerk chicken} the jet airplanes. We found the jets that passed over periodically were actually a novelty. I noticed that most heads would turn to the sky and watch for the 5 seconds or so it took for a pass. It was interesting to watch and not an issue at all for us, more entertaining than bothersome. Here are our observations to add the general 5 star theme most people give the Riu Palace Jamaica.

Restaurants:

Dinner Buffet: Definitely the best overall buffet we have had minus The Grand Paraiso in Mexico which is great too. We generally hit the A La Cartes when travelling but we ended up eating at the buffet 4 of 7 nights, so many great options, cooking stations, deserts, salad bars, lots of choice and lots of flavor with spice.

Italian: The best A La Carte in our opinion, we never ate at the Zen because we couldn’t get in, I will touch on that at the end of restaurants.

Krystal: Not bad but not great, beautiful décor and fun service, if you get lucky, Tyron will be singing and entertaining a great time.

Steak House: Not bad not very good steak, seafood appetizer and salads were good but our steaks were a little tough, yes I know depends on the beef of the day but the beef tenderloin could have been better.

Zen: couldn’t get in but we really enjoyed the buffet so yeah mon no problem mon.

Getting into the A La Cartes was tricky, as others have stated they fill up fast, only open from 7 – 9, you have to go at 6:30-6:45 to line up to get in for the early dinner or get there for 7 to sign up for the later dinner around 9. They fill up fast because they are small, so they should stay open a little later perhaps so they can have 3 seating’s. Again for the third time, we found the buffet was fantastic and had no issues going there for dinner.

Lunch: Buffet all the way, a no brainer again great food at lunch. Don’t listen to the other reviews if you’re looking for Jerk Chicken. The beach Jerk hut over at the Riu Montego Bay has good Jerk but not really spicy, ah ha children over there! The Jerk chicken at the Palace buffet is the real deal with a perfect hot spicy sauce; I had it every day with a Red Stripe yeah mon! Aqua Chill Out bar has burgers, salmon, pasta, wings, club etc at lunch very good but the buffet rules. The Aqua Chill Out Bar has 24 snacks hotdogs, nachos, wings, and salads but self serve after 5PM. The bar here is also open 24 hours.

Breakfast: The buffet, the usual suspects here no issues we really enjoyed it. Not small, lots of options, juice station, pancakes, waffles, French toast, lots of fruits, cheeses, cold meats, fresh breads, egg and omelet stations. Bacon, sausages try the fried salami if they have it out; all really good again the buffet was fantastic across the board.

Room service: good service quick, hit and miss, one night the club was good, next night it was different and just ok and a very limited menu some sandwiches, nachos, salad but not a lot of choice.

Bars: All pretty good, lobby is the best for consistency as most resorts are. Absolute, Appleton, Smirnoff. CC, etc, Red Stripe only, no Grey Goose, Crown Royal not an issue but noted. Don’t even mention good tequila as it’s not to be found at any of the bars, make note management some Herradura Reposado could fill in nicely.

Beach: As other have stated small but beautiful, worked for us to cool off in and enjoyed looking out to the ocean, swimming was very good and soft sand. No issues with chairs any time of day.

Pools: Very nice, warm, and a good set up for pool volleyball. Nice swim up bar and the activity pool beds were comfortable to lounge on. Again, we had no issues with chairs at any time of day at either pool

Staff/Service: Perfect! Wonderful and everyone was really friendly and eager to assist, always saying hello and asking how’s everything in passing. Service was quick, once you order a drink/ or whatever it came fast! The beach staff looking after us did a fantastic job every day, Clive was a riot, Abraham was professional and always there, Natasha was a pleasure and they all were so nice to us, thank you everyone.

Lovely Diana in the lobby bar looked after us in the evenings, always stopping to check that we were good, wonderful service. As well Presley in lobby, always smiling and taking the time to chat for minute and made sure we were good.

Nadine and Morris at the breakfast/lunch buffet were also very nice and service was great. Nadine was kind enough to get us some real aloe for burns and Morris has a smile that is up there with Presley’s. The gentleman {can’t remember his name} working the pasta station in the evening did a great job, a couple of scotch bonnets in the pasta and that was one of my favorite foods the entire week. Pasta is the canvas and he is the artist.

Room: As everyone else has stated exactly like the pictures. Beautiful modern decor, immaculately kept clean by housekeeping, no issues at all, liked the pillows, and yes the mattress was a little firm but still very comfortable sleeping, huge rainforest shower, perfect rooms!

Summary: A very beautiful smaller property, well thought out minus the A la Cates being a little too small. Quiet, relaxing not a party resort as others have said geared towards a more subtle vacation. However still a lot of fun, the White Party in the Aqua Bar is not to be missed, they should do this a few more nights or utilize this bar a little more, a fun open air bar in a great setting.

The lobby has live music most nights till 11ish, lower key but a couple times they really rocked it {the band with bongos one night}. We had a great time with adult children in their early 20’s, they loved it and stayed entertained no issues. We would definitely return, the people, the facilities and the food all were fantastic, we highly recommend this property, if these are the things you’re looking for. I asked and was told the resort was about 80% capacity for comparison, so very well run as we had no issues or waiting for service anywhere.

Feel free to ping me with questions, no problem mon!

Room Tip: Same room minus ocean front jacuzzi, better view more $$
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank lawnchairdude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,052 - 2,058 of 2,376 reviews

Reviewed 3 May 2014 via mobile

Very nice hotel, modern touch and good restaurants. Buffet for breakfast surprisingly delicious competing to other Riu hotels. Stuff on the beach very professional and lobby bar a great place to hang out.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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3  Thank MargaritaTheGypsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2014

My wife and I stayed here for a week in Apr 2014. The place is clean, the food terrific and plentiful, everything is included. There are two resorts: the Riu Palace is all adult, and it sits next door to the Riu Montego Bay, which has 10x the rooms but is for families. The Riu MB has all the entertainment at night and the water sports (which are also included), the Palace has free wifi (which worked most of the time, when it didn't, there are a couple of connected PCs in the lobby if you must get on line).

The staff is tremendously helpful and pleasant to deal with. There are a couple of minor, and I mean minor, drawbacks:
1. The beach is small, but clean and protected. No big waves, and more importantly, no strolling vendors to bother you.
2. If you really want to spend money (such as the gift shop or Spa), you need a credit card AND photo ID, which can be vexing if you are just enjoying the beach without these items. There wasn't any way to check in with a credit card and have room charges, at least not with our tour package.
3. Some communications from the staff could be improved, as to when activities are scheduled on the property.
4. You will have some flights taking off right overhead, because you are near the airport. It isn't a lot of air traffic, but that could be an issue for some people. It wasn't for us.

We booked our trip through Apple Vacations and the bus ride from the airport took forever to collect folks. GIven that you are as close to the airport as you can be, you might be better off just taking a cab.

Room Tip: choose the ocean view rooms, they are a great view and the extra cost isn't much more.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank DavidStrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2014

This was my fifth trip to Jamaica in four years, and I usually stay at the Sunset Chain of hotels but I was travelling with my sister for her birthday so we decided to try something new. I am so glad that I did! I don’t know if I can ever go back to non-five star!! This hotel was phenomenal! Beautiful modern décor, food that was out of this world, but most importantly the staff is top notch! From Errol at the lobby bar making me my own custom jolly rancher martinis, Audley working hard at the buffet dining area, Rochelle always smiling, Momo getting us involved in crazy pool games (Go team Killerz!), Chevroy was our favorite poolside face, Richard *is* the party at the pool bar, and last but not least, late night conversations with Edison at the Aqua Bar. I look forward to seeing you all again!

My sister injured herself while we were out on an excursion (deep bruising on her big toe, she’s fine now) and the staff went above and beyond always asking her if she was ok or needed anything. I wish I could remember everyone’s names and give them the acknowledgement that they deserve because they certainly deserve it! I cannot say enough good things about the staff here at this lovely, intimate hotel, they really were fantastic!

Highlights: Champagne breakfasts, ample cabanas, nightly turn down service; the hammocks on the beach are a nice touch as well. We ate at Krystal our first night and Zen the second. We never made it to the Steak place or the Italian. The general manager of Krystal (Dwight) was fantastic and the dining entertainment always rocked! We ate at the buffet quite a lot and left sufficiently suffonsified every single time (some nights I even went back for thirds!!). My only regret was filling up on dinner so many nights I neglected the mind-blowing desserts. The chocolate fountain on our last night was delicious.

The straight goods: Yes you have to go next door for the big nightly entertainment, and we did enjoy the Bob Marley tribute, but the sheer size of the monster hotel next door made me want to stay in the little oasis of heaven that is the Palace. I regret not seeing the steel drum band at the evening show but with my sister’s injury it just wasn’t a good idea. We caught the band when they played at the palace during the afternoon and they were superawesome! I wish they played there every day! We did go next door again for Spa Services and I’m glad we did. When the spa service I had requested was unfortunately unavailable, the Spa staff went out of their way to apologize and try and offset the situation by providing me with exceptional services (I had a wrap & a scrub & my sister had a massage… HEAVENLY!). If you do use the spa, remember to bring your bathing suit with you so you can use the hot tubs/Jacuzzi – we forgot but we enjoyed relaxing in the Jacuzzi area while we waited for our session regardless. Amazing to find a spot of tranquility at such a big resort!

Yes the beach drops off pretty quickly so if you like “sitting” in the ocean you might be disappointed. With my sister’s injury we spent most of our time at the pool anyways and it didn’t bother us. Yes planes fly over head but the amount of complaining that people do on TripAdvisor makes it sound a lot worse than it is. This is also offset by the fact that it’s 10 minutes from the airport (no two hour bus ride like it is to Negril) so if you are particularly fussy, you might have a problem. If you’re a go with the flow kind of person you might even consider making it a drinking game (every time a plane flies over head, have a drink!!).

I am sure I am forgetting more fabulous details about this hotel but I don’t know if there is anything that hasn’t already been said by other reviewers. Oh, one other thing to note: When I travel, I am usually polite and make pleasant conversation with people, but I don’t really make friends… We did in fact make friends with other guests while at the hotel & are even talking about having a reunion trip next year. Why am I mentioning this? Well because I figure when people are making their decision about whether or not to spend the extra money to go to this hotel (let’s face it, it’s not cheap by any means) you should consider the caliber of other hotel patrons that you will be spending your week with. Me personally, I don’t want to deal with super drunk people having to be hoisted out of the pool because they can’t walk themselves, or screaming children throwing temper tantrums while I am on vacation and I felt that this hotel, for the cost, helped reduce the occurrences of both of those situations & I appreciated that. If you want a place to party, stay at the regular Riu or another chain altogether, but if you want a classy, relaxing place to stay, this is the spot!

I do have to thank TripAdvisor for the tip of “tip the room attendants and ask for your room fridge to be filled with Red Stripe rather than Caribe”. I personally don’t drink beer but my sister was so happy! It’s a small tip, but appreciated none the less. One last note: We didn’t have an ocean view room because we would prefer to spend $$ on excursions etc rather than a view from the room & it suited us just fine. We had friends who stayed in one of the rooms that overlooks the courtyard and as nice as it was, I don’t think vacation lacked because of our room choice. But then again, we’re not particularly fussy.
Thank you Riu Palace, and all your fantastic staff. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Room Tip: if yer not fussy, don't pay extra for ocean/courtyard view. Take the money you would spend, and...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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10  Thank Meaghan E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2014

The service in the hotel was fantastic. The rooms very contemporary and clean. The only negatives are 1/ the lack of evening entertainment - after visiting the sister Riu during the day I certainly had no desire to venture there in the evening. A piano bar would be a fantastic addition. 2/ the hotel management still need to find a solution to bookings for the speciality restaurants. We failed to have a meal in the Steak House for the 2 week period we were there -due to the need to arrive no later than 6:45 or miss out. Perhaps if they restricted the number of visits per party and introduced a booking system at the beginning of the stay this may help. However, the food in the main buffet was varied and excellent so didn't have too much of an impact on the stay. A huge positive was that there are plenty of sun loungers available which is a nice change.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank jayt752
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2014

The Riu Palace is just beautiful. The rooms are spacious, thoughtfully laid out and comfortable (although someone's comment about the beds being a bit hard was true - took getting used to, but quite comfy.) The buffet selections and variety at all three meals were truly excellent, plentiful, creative, and delicious. Getting into the specialty restaurants requires either being ready early to queue (each only seats about 20-35 people), or for no trouble at all, snack away and relax with a drink til an 8:00 dinner - no problem then. ( we did manage 3 of the 4 over the course of 5 nights). There's always a stunning place to sit with a drink.
We were looking for quiet and no craziness, and that is exactly what we found. Music and activities available at the pool or a bar each night if you wanted it, and if not, you can chill and relax with ease.
As everyone commented, the staff is truly outstanding, friendly, helpful, and eager to please. The beach, though small (and yes, sudden drop in the water 15' out), is perfect for chilling - never had to look for an open lounge by the beach or the pool.

Room Tip: facing the interior courtyard is preferable to the side overlooking the sister hotel (for view, for...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank gappel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2014 via mobile

I can't say enough wonderful things about this resort. With less than 300 rooms this place can offer the personal service that the larger Riu resorts just can't match. The facilities are great. Touch ups here and there but who goes to stare at their room details. The staff is amazing. Nadine and Ryan were my servers for the most part and they always brought a smile to my face. Bars are great. Pool and beach area is beautiful. If you prefer more night life and action, you just need to walk 2 min and you can enjoy what the Riu Montego Bay offers. The place is enormous in comparison but just as friendly. I would stay at the Palace again in a heartbeat.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
7  Thank Jennifer 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

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 63 Hotels in Montego Bay
Price Range: £274 - £391 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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