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“Perfect vacation in Jamaica”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 16 April 2013

It was our first time in Jamaica and we were really happy to select the RIU Ocho Rios. Follow me on my week. Once we arrive at the Montego Bay airport, everything was really smooth, the bus trip from the airport was 1 Hour and 50 Min. Yes it is a little bit long, but we are in vacation so enjoy the scenery.
The check in at the RIU was different, we don't have to go at the counter, we get in line, pick up our lock for the safe and our key, and here we go. Really quick. Our room was really nice, we asked for a ocean view, our travel agent told us it was only $50.00 each, pretty good , but once we got to our room we were on the third floor, not much of an ocean view, but the garden was beautiful, no problem in Jamaica. So if you want a real ocean view, ask your travel agent to get at least the fourth or fifth floor.
The beach is awesome, if you like to snorkel, this is the place to be. On the left side of the beach, about 50-100 feet passed the swimming marker boey, you will see a huge reef with all kinds of fish, we even saw a nice sting ray appx. 7 feet long, it was beautiful. On the other side of the reef it's about 15 feet deep. Just be carefull of the seadoos, they have a tendency to pass between the reef and the boey.
The food is excellent. We didn't do any A la Carte restaurant. It's true that the buffet is almost the same everyday, but it's the same with any resort. There was so many choice it wasn't a problem to have a different plate everyday.

The RIU animation show is really fun to watch. There are working long hours, they look tired sometimes and i understand that, so please be respectfull to them. They work 6 days a week/14-16 hours a day. But they do put a good show everytime and of course with a smile.
I when scuba diving at New Island in Ocho Rios with Scuba Caribe on the right side of the resort. We when at a depth of 60 feet. It was my fist Caribean Dive and it was phenomenal. It was only $40.00. They bring you with a boat. They do have different location to dive, us we were lucky to go to New Island.
They only thing that bug me a little bit about this Resort was the sellers at the beach. They are not allow to be on the beach, they have to stay in the water, but they are annoying a little bit. If you don't want to buy, just ignored them, they will go away.
The fridge is only refill every second day. you also have 4 bottle of hard liquor in each room. The Resort is really clean, i would recommend to have more garbage bin at the beach. You won't have a problem to find chairs at the beach that's for sure.
One thing my wife and i notice is the Jamaicans are asking more for tips which we didn't see in Cuba/Mexico/Dominican Republic. Another thing, in Jamaica, their not fast to serve you, if you go to the bar to get a drink, be patient, that's how it is in Jamaica.
The Jerk Hut where they serve chicken on the beach is a must. Go easy on the Jerk Sauce cause it's really spicy, make sure to have something to drink cause you will need it trust me. But it's a must.

We didn't really use the pool cause we are more beach lovers, but the pool is really nice as well, good music, good animation, 2 bars, plenty of chairs with palapas.
There is a Casino on site at the Sport Bar, really small, we didn't used it. If you like to dance, and like Jamaican Dance, it's right next to the theater.
Overall it was a fantastic vacation, i would recommend this resort for sure. I heard negative stuff about this place, like overbooking, staff not smiling, not working hard, but for us we didn't noticed anything of that.
One excursion we did was the Catamaran with snorkling and the Dunn's River Falls at a cost of $93.00 US. It's call Cool Runnin's. One little advise don't pay that amount money for this excursion, here's why. We left on a Catamaran at Ocho Rios, we sail for about 5 mins. stop for snorkling for 45 mins (The reef at the resort is more beautiful) after we when for a 25 mins drive to get to the Dunns' River Falls. It take about 75 minutes to do the falls and then we came back on the catamaran for 30-35 drive back with lots of rhum. It's not worth it. As i said the reef at the resort is a lot better, the catamaran drive was just ok, the Dunn's River Fall was excellent. Instead, Check with the Dive shop (Scuba Caribe), i thing you can get to the Dunn's River fall for only $36.00 US. The falls is what you want to see. It's the number one Attraction in Jamaica. Can't wait to go back to Jamaica. Enjoy your trip.

Room Tip: Our friends we met were located on the fifth floor and said they didn't have much pressure in th...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Andre L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 April 2013 via mobile

I went to this hotel as part of a wedding group in November 2012. My friend and I had an overall good stay here and of course tons of fun with our friends. The hotel is clean, the food is great especially the banana fritters, and the entertainment staff are very entertaining.

There was a few cons though: we did not have hot water for three days in our room after repeated attempts by hotel staff. The pool also had a few broken floor filters which was a bit dangerous and wet paint along the poolside whuch eventually landed on my swinsuit despite attempts to avoid it.

I would recommend this hotel again but be prepared for a two hour bus ride from the airport...
We also had rain for three days and overcast for almost the remainder of our days.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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1  Thank TravellingNicole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2013

First thing you'll want to do is disregard any comments on poor customer service, issues with the food, or any other negative comment (aside from slow check in). Check in aside, the staff at this location were wonderful to our family (we had our two year old with us) and all of the friends we made during the week stay. The deluxe suite is the way to go, just bring the bug spray if you intend to sit on the balcony at night! As for the food, the buffet was great quality Jamaican and international food and could appease any age group. Service in the restaurants and at the bar was prompt (always refilled our drinks before we could ask), and staff were patient, friendly and engaging with our daughter who knew many of them by name. GO TOMORROW!

Room Tip: Deluxe suite is the way to go. Heard less great things about the generic rooms.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank CdnMade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2013

Stayed at the RIU Ocho Rios JR Ocean-view suite from April 5th - April 12th 2013.
These are all my honest opinions of the resort and the people we met down there.

This trip was me and my girlfriend’s first vacation together. Me (25) her (21).

First off, you land in Montego Bay and have to take a shuttle bus to Ocho Rios, which is an hour and a half away. I have a bad back and still didn't find this an issue. It was an amazing ride as we got to see a lot more of Jamaica and the drivers were very educational as they talked about the Jamaican history & culture.

Once arrived, check in was very quick and easy...even with all the people arriving at once.
We purchased the Ocean view suite on the deluxe wing which was wonderful but the Ocean view rooms do not necessarily mean you see the Ocean. Our room was on the second floor and couldn't see much of the Ocean. Then requested a higher room and received one on the third floor two days later which was excellent.

One thing I think most travelers should keep in mind is when you are very frustrated and annoyed with an issue, it makes it harder for anyone to help you solve your problem. Just remember Jamaica No Problem!! You can have it your way in Jamaica just pursue it.

The staffs were great and kind there, from the checkout desk to the waiters & chefs. Somebody is always available to help you and for a hotel of 800+ rooms it is very impressive.

Hotel & Rooms:
The hotel and rooms were spotless...can't believe some of the reviews I hear about bugs or how it smells in the hotel. This place is top notch so don't be intimidated by the "bad" reviews, most likely written by just negative people that always complain.

During the day the entertainment staff always had something going on at the beach. As well as at night they would start with a kid’s show and then the main show for the whole hotel. One night they did a Michael Jackson theme show which was very entertaining. After the show they have a live reggae band that plays for an hour or so.

We went to Margarittaville on Saturday and Monday night in Ocho Rios. It was really fun both nights.
Ali - a bartender across from the main bar in the entertainment room at our hotel hooked us up with free wristbands to Margarittaville and informed us about what was going on in the city every night. Make sure to tip him well and mention Matt & Lira from Canada. Great guy!
Do not be shy or worried about travelling into Ocho Rios or even when Jamaicans approach you. Jamaica NO Problem! Always remember that. The city is perfectly safe, as well as leaving the property. People are very kind and very approachable.

The beach was amazing and the water was breath taking (No wonder everybody gets married there). The beach on the right side ends with your hotel but to the left side you can walk down the beach and off property premises.

Walk down the whole beach (you can easily walk the entire beach) on the way you will run into Jimmy first (Picture below) he will be about 3 buildings down the beach. A great true Jamaican man from the mountains. Have a chat with him and make sure to mentions us. Truly a great friendly man, gave me lots of Aloe Vera plant because he just has a great heart.
At the end of your walk you will come to J-R who usually sits on the rock wall and can make great personally bamboo cups for you. He is so creative and we loved talking to him. He sells his stuff cheap because he is a giving caring true Jamaican and be sure to hook him up some extra bucks. Again, mention Matt and Lira and feel free to share your story with me! Another gentleman is there with J-R, forgot his name but he is so nice as well, please be kind to everyone and help out.

The water is SO BEAUTIFUL! You can rent out snorkeling gear for $25 deposit that you receive back every time. There is a reef right off the deluxe side of the hotel and you can see so many fishes!! Amazing spot you can visit every day for free!

The food is spectacular!! I have been to Cuba, Dominican, Mexico and Jamaica by far has the best tasting food. Why? It’s because they import nothing and everything is grown pure and natural. That's why Jamaica has so many great athletes with such a small population. The oldest living woman also at age 124 years!!!
They have about 3 buffets going on during the day at all times, it’s amazing. One of the main buffets is even open till 2AM and you still have a sports bar that serves food 24 hours a day. There is no shortage of food there with the buffets and they were all amazing. They also have a jerk hut that serves burgers and jerk chicken from 12-3 and that is incredible. Best tasting Jerk Chicken! If you like spicy food and want the ultimate flavourful chicken make sure to add the Hot Sauce! And if not then just add the sweet sauce which is also really good.

The Al la carts were alright. We went to the Japanese, Gourmet, and steak house.
The buffets had amazing dishes always and they were better if anything. I didn't need to have any Al La carts... the experience of being at a nice restaurant was great for that.

Drinks & Bars:
Drinks and bartender's were fabulous. Try the baby makers!!!.... We really got into those and obviously lots of funny comments for getting so many lol. The amount of bars and delicious drinks are endless. We didn't even get to 2 or 3 bars in the hotel.
The place is more of an older crowd ... 28-40 average age and us being young still had the time of our lives and as much fun as you could think of.

Sunwing & Excursions:
We traveled with Sunwing and if you do you will have Mama Sandra as your sales rep. Amazing amazing girl and will assist you with any excursions and situations you may have. As she stated “In Jamaican you never have a problem, just situations!" ahaha so true! Remember these words and stick by them, you will find that anything can be solved in Jamaican. That's what makes Jamaica so great!

We first took the Martha Brae tour set up through Mama Sandra. This is an incredible relaxing ride down a river on a bamboo boat. Very peaceful and romantic, if you like beautiful water and greenery this is an excursion for you! Pictures attached.
Tony from Jamaicanblisstours.com (Jamaicanblisstours@gmail.com) was our driver and let me tell you the best driver in all of Jamaica most likely. The one and only driver that will not speed and act courageous on the road. It was quite refreshing on how much he cared about safety compared to all the other drivers. On top of that, he was the most informative person that talked about Jamaica and its history. I learned so much from the ride he took us on (45 min drive to Martha brae). (876)776-4634 is his JA number. He can also take you on any other excursions so be sure to give him a call or E-mail. Mention us as he also visits Toronto!

We did the Cool Running's Catamaran to Dun River Falls. Something everybody should do! You travel on the Catamaran to go snorkelling at a place they take you in the ocean. Then you go to the Dun falls which you climb a 900+ foot cascading waterfall (Incredible, so beautiful!!) Then you party on the catamaran back to the pickup with booze and music! Lots of fun for under $100 per person.

The vendors from just off the property line at the hotel beach will definitely try to talk to you about taking a ride on their ski doo's or buy merchandise. Don't be worried, let them know you are not interested and they move along. We did rent a ski doo from one of them one day, and it was fun! No problem mon and nice (irie) and cheap. They offer all the same excursions but I would just go by your gut feelings but you can trust most of these people...just depends on your comfort level. Like I said when you embrace no problem life style... approach them, talk to them and then move along...NO PROBLEM MON!!

We went into Ocho Rios for the day with a driver Kevin. kevintaxiservice@gmail.com
He was great and very informative of the city while making sure we were taking care of all day.
Definitely give him a shout if you want to schedule any taxi services. Ocho Rios the city is awesome...love the look. They have a cool turtle park you can walk through... Go to Mother's or Juici Patties for Beef patties...haha we loved them so much there! Bought Blue mountain coffee (amazing), jerk sauces, Jamaican shirts, booze were some of the things we got from there.
Buy souvenirs from vendors you like and that inspire you. Gives you a good feeling to help out and you get the things you like.

Check out:
Easy as pie. Took us about 2 minutes and then we were still able to eat and do everything there while we waited to be picked up from the hotel by the shuttle.

Jamaica is an amazing country and the ocean was like no other and I can't wait to go back!
The people are so great and I love the culture of Bob Marley! One Love, One Blood, One Destiny, One Heart! It's the way I love to live and I think everyone should take note to what he preached. Love and happiness is a great thing in life and we could all appreciate it more. The overall experience was of a lifetime.

The RIU was a 5 STAR and just remember vacations are always what YOU make them. People get confused from a 5 start ALL inclusive to a 5 start hotel.

Please contact me if you want to ask any questions because I am sure I missed a lot still!
Any people I mentioned above please don't hesitate to mention Matthew & Lira to them and say HI from us. Follow up with your stories I would love to hear them!

My e-mail is bizkits99_nookie@hotmail.com

Best Wishes to all!
Lira & Matthew

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Matthew J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2013

just got back 4/12/13, it was awesome. maybe im just a redneck from oklahoma but this place is top notch.staff were very nice, rooms very nice,and every time you look around the staff is cleaning something.beach was incredible, plenty of room.before we left i seen a bunch of negative reviews on this hotel,but after goning there i have to disagree.maybe there is just a bunch of snobby people out there that just can not be pleased no matter what. if you go ask about the blue hole,its a place just outside ocho rios.it wont be at the excursion desk.it is way better than dunns river falls, way less touristy.very cool guys up there.

Room Tip: bring you a bubba cup.(big cup so you dont have to make a bunch of trips to get something to drink)
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank joeyStigler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2013

We have just got back from a two week stay and have enjoyed every minute. We were upgraded to the deluxe wing and had a lovely ground floor room with a big terrace (some rooms have small terraces). Our room was 1050 and was very close to the pool and had a sea glimpse! I dont usually like ground floor rooms so was initially disappointed but as we took a 2 year old i think it worked out for the best! Quick to get to from the beach and no worries about a balcony. The best weather in Jamaica seems to be in the morning (if you like scorching hot and no clouds) and this room was east facing so i could sit on the terrace from 7am with a book and enjoy the morning sun. I have to say though that the corridors echo very loudly and was woken most nights after midnight by very inconsiderate guests returning to their rooms. Literally shouting and whooping and messing about - the only downside to being on the ground floor and close to the exit!

The room was decorated in a traditonal style and was big with a good seating area. The bed was luxurious and very clean. The bathroom was nice but the bath area was dated - some cracks and a bit of mould etc. 4 star.

Having a toddler we didnt get to sample the 'posh' restaurants (he was too tired by 630pm and couldnt predict in advance what we'd be doing) but there were big queues every morning for booking a table. The main buffet restaurant was excellent. The food was beautiful. varied and there was lots of choice, really couldnt fault it. The pizzeria and steak house were also top notch (go to the steak house for lunch - no reservation required and close to the beach). The Jerk chicken hut is also great for lunch, VERY tasty. Breakfast was also top quality.
5 star

This is where i think it lets itself down as a 5 star hotel. I dont mind not having premium brands but there was something about the drink quality that just wasnt great. It was readily available and the mini bar and drinks dispenser is great but compared to other 5 star hotels i have stayed in
this might be a disappointment for some people.
4 star.

We didnt use the kids club but we did use their park - we could get our little boy off! He loved the little paly area and buckets/spades and football. Not much else for little ones but he loved what there was.

Hotel/grounds 5 star
Hotel is huge and has really beautiful grounds; having driven past other hotels while we were there, this hotel was definitely at the top of the pile. Very grand, lots of seating areas, live music and exquisite gardens. It has some shops on site but mainly selling gifts, it could do with a little supermarket of some sort as the town is a taxi ride away.

Most staff were very friendly and didnt expact a tip. We tipped because we like to but there didnt seem to be an expectation. Our maid was lovely and the room was immaculate (poor lady had to deal with lots of chocolate stains and spilt drink!). Some staff (particulalry in the shops) never smiled, and i mean NEVER. They actually verged on rude and made me not want to go in. I dont expect everyone to be happy all of the time, but you definitley got the impression that not everyone was a loyal employee of the hotel..'.just a job'. A lot of staff were very friendly though and couldn't do enough for you.

Pool 3/4 star
We dont sit round the pool all day but we went in everyday for a little while. It was ok and looks lovely but its rough round the edges and definitely not a 5 star. There were scummy bits in the corners, concrete falling off and loose/chipped mosaic tiles. If there is one area that needs improving, this is it. If you like to sit round the pool all day - reserve a lounger early!!!

Beach 5 star plus!!
Now on to the best bit! The beach was perfection and filled the brief of Carribean paradise perfectly. There are lots of sun loungers, always enough, and the palm tress offer adequate shade.The sand is powder soft and the sea is a clear turquoise...everything i expected and more. We did the trip to Negril beach and stopped at others on the way - nothing compared to the beach at Riu. They definitley dont use this as a selling point enough. We spoke to others at Negril who travelled to the Negril beach everyday from somewhere local as their beach was dirty and unpleasant. I would go back to this hotel purely for the beach.

Local area
This hotel is in a great location - 5 minutes from Dunns River falls (must go), Dolphin Cove (must go - the 'Encounter' was brilliant) and Mystic Mountain. Having spoken to guests from Negril and other areas, we were definitely in a good location - they felt miles from anywhere. We journied out to Kingston and Spainish Town so i would wholly reccomend seeing the 'real' Jamaica (make sure you leave the sun lounger!) but i have to say that Kingston was a little scary! A woman came screaming up to me to take my gold chain off otherwise someone would rip it off. We were with some Jamaicans whilst in Kingston (family friends) so we felt ok, but not sure we would on our own. The Bob Marley musuem was brilliant though and so was Port Royal.

Overall, this hotel provided us with a fantastic base, lovely rooms, excellent food and a PERFECT beach. Although not 5 star in every way, we would definitley reccomend to friends and will definitely return.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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8  Thank liberty81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2013 via mobile

We came as part of a wedding group, so we were part of a group of 60 (all be it coming at different days through the week).
A week before we left Canada I was asked if I could be relocated to the Montego Bay riu as they had over booked.
As we were in a wedding party this wasn't an option for us.
We were held up on the transfer coach as another group had been deferred to the riu Montego Bay without being informed of the move.
Once we arrived on resort our friends had, had nothing but problems with room availability.
With some being sent over to the hotel next door for the night, others didn't have beds, air conditioning wasn't working, no hot water and even rooms having to be sprayed as they had bugs.
More than half the party were moved from room to room.
Our room was spoilt with cleanliness and the fact we have two beds rather than one that two can fit in.
The place is just too big, too busy and needs a really good clean and spruce up.
The restaurants on site are ok, the jerk hut is great but the Japanese is terrible and the buffet is just just crazy busy.
This is our first stay at a riu and will probably be the last, to say that I'm disappointed is an under statement.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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1  Thank Craig B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios

Address: | Mammee Bay - St.Ann, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Ocho Rios
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#7 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £164 - £280 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios 3.5*
Number of rooms: 856
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in northern Jamaica, on the beachfront. Two 6-storey buildings and one 5-storey building. Surrounded by 90,000 m2 / 107,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 10 Km / 6.2 Miles to Ocho Rios. 4 Km / 2.5 Miles from various shops. 105 Km / 65 miles to Montego Bay airport. 600 M / 1,970 ft. From a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Hotel Ocho Rios
Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica
Riu Ochos Rios
Rio Ocho Rios
Club Hotel Riu Ocho Rios
Rui Ocho Rios
ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica

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