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“Not worth the money.”

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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 15 May 2014

We stayed at the Riu from May 4-11 2014. We flew from
St. John's, NL. For my husband and myself ( including travel insurance) the trip cost us $4796. ( airfare, all inclusive resort) spending money was obviously extra. We had travelled to the Dominican Republic before & had high expectations for this resort based on the cost. We were disappointed to say the least. RESORT:
The resort itself is nice, lots of bars & restaurants, it's very big however it only has 2 pools, only one if you don't pay/book for the deluxe side of the resort., because you're not allowed over to the deluxe side at all. We booked the deluxe side, but had family members who stayed on the other side and they weren't allowed to even come to our room.
ROOMS:
Our room ( we paid for the ocean front junior suite) FYI- if you can see the ocean at all, it's considered ocean front. It was big, however the king bed is actually 2 beds pushed together and there is a gap between them. Yes, I'm serious.
Our safe was broken and when my husband told the front desk clerk about it, he simply said it wasn't. We put our valuables in our family members safe on the standard side of the resort. A bit inconvenient when it was a 20 min walk from our room to theirs. The rooms on the standard side were smaller and smelled damp and old. So much that when we were picked up
At the airport, the smell was noticeable on their clothes.
FOOD:
There are several restaurants , breakfast was served daily 7-11 and it was a buffet style and was quite good. Lots of options.
Lunch was also a buffet, same food everyday. One gets sick of pizza, fries and burgers pretty quick.
Dinner was different at the buffets every night, but unless you like seafood (which I have an allergy too) some nights you were very limited.
ACTIVITES:
The beach only offered paddle boats. No banana boats, no sea doo rentals, no snorkelling. Unless you went off the resort on an excursion, your day consisted of swimming or tanning.
SERVICE:
Like I said prior, we had travelled down south before & were accustomed to tipping. My husband and I are generous tippers, however, the service is not reflected on that. The bar tenders will only serve you however if you're waving a tip at them. Good luck getting served if you're not. We would rate the service overall as poor.
The maids however do a fantastic job of cleaning your rooms and replenishing towels. We had to leave a tip inside our fridge for it to be replenished & in our 7 day stay, it was only done twice.

We would not travel back to this resort. We would go back to the resort we stayed at in the Dominican though.
All in all, our overall opinion of this resort is it's not worth the money.

  • Stayed: May 2014
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1  Thank younglovetravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,336 - 3,342 of 8,919 reviews

Reviewed 15 May 2014

Hotel was really enjoyable. The beach is beautiful and well taken care of. The pools are wonderful. We found our room to be comfortable and kept spotless. The housekeeper ensured we had all the towels we needed. The halls were noisy when the late night people returned to their rooms which woke me up a few times.
Only complaint was the food. My husband and I are "foodies" so to speak. There was lots of variety for sure at every meal. But the majority of items lacked any real flavour. Even the melons tasted as if they sat too long in water. The watermelon was especially water logged.
The Asian restaurant was terrible. The menu needs to be reviewed and adjusted. So much is deep fried of the food offerings.
I give the upmost credit to the chefs as they do feed hundreds of people at a time.
The entertainment crew works really hard and deserve credit for their long hours.
Was there for Mother's Day but nothing was done by the hotel to acknowledge the day.

Room Tip: High up in the deluxe wing but ask for an open balcony not a cement box
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jdell1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

This was our first trip to Jamaica, however our third Riu Hotel stay. After researching the Jamaican climate we decided to holiday there Late April early May. We were not disappointed as we experienced two weeks of glorious sunshine, temperatures into the 30s and only one 20m shower of rain. We're Riu members so we new what to expect from this Club Hotel. Again we were not disappointed in any way shape or form.

We read dozens of previous reviews on here about this resort. Lots of people said the hotel was dirty (it most certainly wasn't) or the food was mediocre (it wan't: we ate well every meal-time) there was a "musty smell" around the resort (don't have a clue what they are on about) or that the hotel staff were unhelpful (these were among the best staff we've experience on our numerous worldly travels).

So having dealt with those points here's a brief summary from our experience.

We flew from Manchester UK (10 hours) in Thomson dreamliner. Plane was great, plenty of room in the seats etc. It certainly wasn't Emirates standard, but nothing at all to complain about.

Passage through immigration was torturous and took us about 2 hours. They seemed to have a few officers processing a line of holidaymakers that almost overwhelmed the airport terminal. Be prepared to stand a good long while.

Once on board the coach everything was plain sailing again with a transfer time of about 90 minutes.

Check-in at Riu was exemplary, we were booked into the adult only section (and if there is one point you need to take away from my review is that this was worth its weight in gold) and the check-in manager (Anna Maria) upgraded us to a Junior Suite.

Accordingly our room was fantastic, the house-keeping was faultless, the drinks bar and optics were re-stocked every 2 days.

The adult only pool, complete with swim bar and separate infinity pool was never crowded over the 2 weeks, and finding a pair of loungers, no matter what the time was effortless. Conversely when we did venture down into the non-adult only section of the hotel there were about 5 times as many people in the pool and not a spare lounger in sight. Unless you are travelling with kids, please take heed.

The beach was one of the best beaches we've been on in the world (that includes Hawaii) as its simply stunning. Nice clean white sand that stretched out from the shore a couple of hundred feet or more. Quite simply there are no rocks here to step on or fall over. The water was as clear as gin and very very warm. There is a reef a little further out past the marker buoys (a couple of hundred yards) so well worth taking a mask and snorkel. The adult-only rules applied to the beach too which made our-end a true paradise...(I've got nothing against kids, I just couldn't eat a whole one).

Not one person hassled us on the beach and we spent most of each morning sunbathing there. No locals walking up and down it and, despite previous reviews, no-one in the water on jet-ski bikes or otherwise. Quite simply the problem is non-existent.

The pool staff keep the large pools very clean, we had a couple of windy days and the guys kept on top of the debris at all times.

The restaurants were really good. We're quite discerning diners but, again contrary to previous reviews, had no trouble whatsoever. Breakfast was superb and if you can't find anything suitable you're simply kidding yourself. The fresh omelettes were great.

I ate steak most lunch-times, either rib-eye or tenderloin (fillet). Why anyone would pick up burger and fries or a hot dog when fresh succulent steak is on offer is beyond me, however I guess everyone is different. The salad bars are fantastic too with everything fresh and topped up regularly.

The main (St Ann) restaurant is very good for evening meals but the real gem here is to book the specialty restaurants. we ate 12 nights out of 14 in the specialties. THE best by FAR was the Japanese (again many poor previous reviews????). The Asian and the Steakhouse were a very close joint-second, with the Sir John and Sir Richard after that. The only one we didn't try was the Italian, again just pure choice. If you live on Pizza that's the one to head for. Overall the food isn't Michelin star but for a resort this size it's more than adequate and we've certainly experienced far far worse.

Another HUGE bonus for us, perhaps due to the time of year was absolutely no flies anywhere. none at breakfast, none on the beach, none at lunch, none at dinner and certainly none in the room. We took plenty anti-mozzie stuff with us as my wife usually gets bitten before she gets through the airport however this holiday was FLY FREE.

No other bugs seen anywhere in the hotel either, which was quite a strange experience as again previous reviews suggested infestations.....

The many bar staff were again superb. We tipped them a dollar or so every now and then and really benefited from their humor and general attention. After a couple of days they remembered your drinks etc.

We aren't big fans of hotel evening entertainment but the live band were enthusiastic and the permanent entertainment team equally so. The couple of "shows" we watched were actually very good.

Overall, we've never experienced such happy and helpful hotel staff as here. Perhaps its just the Jamaican way, but it was very well appreciated.

Unfortunately we probably wont be back in Jamaica as it's our policy to travel far and wide and we have a rule never to visit the same place twice. That's a bit of a shame because it now ranks easily in our top 3 holiday experiences.

one final tip: invest in and take a bubba-keg (google it). Mine was invaluable: filled with ice and water each morning for the sunbathing, then with beer at lunch-time :-)

I simply cannot recommend this hotel highly enough.

Room Tip: Top floor for best views, you won't regret paying extra for the adult-only section
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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16  Thank Craig H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

We truly enjoyed our stay at this Hotel and wouldn't hesitate to book another stay here. We had a little trouble when we were checking in. They said that the room we wanted wasn't available till the next day. However the supervisor found us the room we wanted, go figure!!! Kudos to that supervisor!!! We were traveling with a group all checking in at different times and that seemed par for the course for everyone who was checking in. Almost all in our party had to be moved to different rooms the next day after they arrived. What gives with that??? We stayed in the adult side of the resort and were very pleased. It is a 5 star resort!!! The hotel is spotless as were the rooms thanks to the hard working staff. The pool area was clean and we really enjoyed the infinity pool. We spent many a hard day at the pool!!!! The beach is beautiful with lots of lounge chairs to go around. The food was very good, and lots to choose from, at the buffet. The food and service at the Sir Richard restaurant and the Asian restaurant was excellent. The Steak house restaurant's food was very poor, cold and the service was extremely slow!!!! Our reservation was for 7:00 and we just got our food at 8:40. Very disappointing for us carnivores!! The entertainment was just ok and the area that we were to sit in was small for the amount of people. I was really bothered by so many smoking all around us and we didn't seem able to get away from it. They could have the lower section by the stage as non smoking. I would go back to this resort for we have found that none of them are perfect. All the staff were very friendly. We also took in the spa facilities and there also the staff were exceptional as were their magic hands!!! Yeah Mon!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Christine K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

A hotel of sophistication and class. Beautiful scenic property, clean, comfortable, comfortable, nicely furnished ,Wifi ready rooms is a vacationer's dream. I was very impressed with the professional entertainment productions showcased each night... A totally gleeful presentation. The Riu chain of hotels will always be my first preference for hotels in Jamaica, as none other has it right, as they do , when it comes to food and beverages. They start my mornings with freshly extracted juices (your special blends if requested are available), assorted fruits, pastries, , cheeses, vegetables, pastries, etc. I was more impressed when I saw a wide range of local fruits and produce on the buffet line and more importantly well cooked and received by guests. Each course throughout breakfast, lunch or dinner was something to savor. Riu you've got it right. Looking forward to my next visit in June.

Room Tip: Garden view
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Carrol M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

We enjoyed the RIU at Ocho Rios in late April. It was a great all inclusive for the price. This had to be one of our laziest vacations in a while; spending most of our time on the beach or in the adults only pool. Like most all inclusive/cruise meal plans that we have experienced, the food get a bit old towards the end. Lucky for us we knew about Bamboo Blu which is a great little beach front restaurant adjacent to the west side of the property (it took us 3 minutes to walk there). Our favorite meals were the lobster and snapper. We also enjoyed the live music before and after the stage shows every night. The performer Sheldon was very entertaining with his card tricks, thanks again for the good laugh.

Room Tip: Adults only was bliss.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank TravlerKay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

Would like to give this 3.5 stars..
The good: beautiful beach, very clean, mostly pleasant staff, activities, nice room, the shows. Drinks - yummy!

The 'could improve': Upgraded to an oceanfront room and when we got to the room, it had a cement wall on the balcony. This meant when we sat in the chairs, we were staring at the cement wall. If we were sitting in the room…..looked out to cement wall. After one night they moved us to another room. Be careful of this if you are upgrading to ocean front. The food. Bland. Yes there were many many choices on the buffet, but nothing was really that good. The specialty restaurants were good but we had difficulty getting reservations and we tried to make them on our first day there. coffee-- very good! I wasn't expecting gourmet food, btw, but really felt this is an area that needs improvement.

They have vendors from many of the nearby activities who sell you tickets. WE did the horseback ride from CHUKKA tours which takes you right into the water. It was awesome and I would highly recommend the experience. However, we paid $10 more per ticket to book it at hotel, rather than directly thru the company…and they would have also come and picked us up. Check that out before hand.

Would stay at Riu but next time would try NEGRIL. There isn't a very long beach here for walking. Beachfront Massage - best massage I ever had!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BuffaloCc222
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
Amenities:
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 Romantic Hotel in Ocho Rios
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Ocho Rios
#8 Spa Hotel in Ocho Rios
Price Range: £183 - £284 (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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