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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
Ranked #8 of 35 Hotels in Ocho Rios
Reviewed 28 May 2009

We've just returned last week from RIU Ocho Rios and after reading the previous three reviews I knew I wanted to post my experience. Wow, it couldn't be any more opposite from what I'm reading.

I found the staff to be extremely friendly is all areas. Never felt like they had their hand out for tips but smiled (genuinely) when we did slide some cash into their palms. Our service was the same whether we were tipping or not.

Food in buffets...mostly good. Beef always seemed tough to me but with so many other things I didn't care. Mexican night in buffett was superb. Desserts delicious..coconut ice cream to dreamy creamy cakes...oh boy..between the plentiful food choices and wonderful rum cream....is it hard not to gain weight on these trips. We only hit one ala carte, the Steakhouse and it was very good.

Lots of rain and yes tile is always slippery ...just like at home. Use caution....just like at home. They couldn't POSSIBLY run around the entire resort with a squeegy moving water around when it rains. Even at pool with wet tile due to splashing...just be aware and you'll be ok.

Rooms were nice...clean, air works fine, love that the screen doors are tight so you can leave glass door open at night and sleep in balmy Caribbean air with the sound of the ocean and not worry about bugs. We booked into the top floor so no worries about anyone trying to come in during night either. Our housekeeper was great and left us "towel art" occasionally. Fridge was restocked every other day I think but with so many bars on property it's not a concern for me. I will say, pillows were lumpy and water pressure was low. Turns out neither of these things are deal breakers for us.

Shows were typical of AI resorts...some good, some not so good. I don't expect Vegas. The audience participation shows never dissapoint...some people are just hilarious without even trying. If you've been to AI's before you know that the staff works from sun up to sun down and when they're dancing in those shows at ten o'clock at night many times I'm impressed at their talents.

Disco is typical..we only went one night and it was lively to say the least. Music choices that night were mostly hip hop..perfect for the crowd that was there.

We did stop on the way from airport. I would've preferred to skip it but some people are older and may need to use restroom facilities. No pressure to get off bus and buy a drink.

One previous poster said something about the bartenders "not knowing how to make many drinks" hm-m-m-m this is one of those times where I ask myself "were we at the SAME resort??" Not only do they know every drink in the world, we even have a special drink we dreamed up and they would stop and listen to what was in it (4 ingredients into the blender) when they were very busy and make it for us smiling all the while. Once they had it, we'd go back and they never had to ask ingredients again...just remembered....HUNDREDS of guests being served daily at the swim up bar. They were not only capable bartenders but FUN to boot. So many laughs while always busy and hot. Great customer service.

I also traveled with another female companion, my sister, and we didn't feel as though any inappropriate comments were made. Maybe a "hey baby" or "princess" now and again but nothing creepy.

Beach was a little short. for me....we like to take LONG walks..but it's clean and water is warm and clear. If you don't care about a seriously long stretch of beach to walk you'll be fine. Tons of chairs at beach and pool chairs didn't get scare until about 10 or 11 am but I expected this since the sun is out and hot by 7:30 AM. Love, love, love the people of JA and met a few locals on the beach walks. We'd chat and move on but it's always interesting to me to get a little insight of someone else's life, especially when it's quite different from my own.

Feel sorry for those that spent their hard earned money at this resort and had such a bad time but am genuinely confused how that happened. Therefore, I would highly recommend RIU Ochi for fun in the sun...great, friendly staff...laughter....and lots of memory making. Any questions, feel free to email me and I'll try to answer. Enjoy!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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5  Thank peace_luv_sun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2009

All-

Like many people, I read many of the reviews for this resort for months before I traveled there. Most of the reviews seemed to be positive. My overall experience at the Riu was quite wonderful (May 21-25,2009). I'm very picky and selective. I stay at top notch hotels in the US. I've tried to breakdown my experience honestly. One thing that travelers need to put into perspective is that you are on VACATION! Try to relax and leave most of your worries at home. I feel like many people come with serious expectations and need to lighten up some. Here is my perspective.

Jamaica Tours:
When I arrived in Jamaica, it was raining heavily. Jamaican Tours was found easily in the airport and they took us immediately to the large coach bus. We waited in the coach bus for at least 1 hr for them to start the trek to Ocho Rios. They were gathering other people at the airport to take at other resorts. I mean we could have complained. But, it was raining hard. So what was the rush to get to the resort! I was on vacation so I just relaxed on the ride, which stopped at least 4 times to let people off on the way.

Resort
The resort is BEAUTIFUL. It's CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. Like previously mentioned, people were always cleaning something. The hallways, tables, floors, etc were wiped down constantly. The resort was sold out the weekend I went. We were given our room with no major issues. They served us rum punch when we arrived and provided us with pool towel cards and a safe lock(which never worked). We really didnt care that the safe lock didn't work. My boyfriend brought his own lock and we just used our valuables to secure our items. Again- you are on vacation. Don't sweat the small stuff. The resort has 2 large pools that are look very clean. Plenty of beach chairs on the pool and the beach. There is never a problem with getting chairs. The pool bar opened at 10am. Also- the place does have a sports bar area with pool tables, games, etc. We went in there to watch the Lakers game and had a blast.

Entertainment
The entertainers work extremely hard. I found them very fun and entertaining. Most of them work ALL day long. From like 9am-12am. I found myself tipping Anthony. He did the aerobics class and the show at night. I was amazed when he told me he only was off 1 day a week. Crazy!! He was fun. But anyway, most of the shows start at 8 and end around 11. The club was fun at the resort. They played a variety of music. It was crowded and folks were dancing.

Restaurants
The steakhouse was the only restaurant I didn't really care for. It was ok. But, I'm used to a steak being red when you order medium not charcoaled. lol.. But like I said- you can't complain. I just went to the Buffet to find something else I wanted after the Reservation place. As far as the reservation system, yes you do get up early to make reservations. But I found that even though I'm not a morning person, I was up by 7/8am each morning and never had a problem getting a reservation. Most times, it rained in the afternoon so folks wanted to be up early to catch the sun. The Sir John's restaurant is gourmet. It was nice and small but very romantic.

Dunns River
The only excursion we did was Dunns River. We did the catamaran tour which included a boat ride, snorkeling, and dunns river. We booked it through the resort down by the beach. It was 64.00 including tax. If you book it through Jamaican Tours or other Tour groups it can run you up to 85.00. Dunns River itself is very tiring. It was fun to say you did it but it takes a lot of energy.

Hope this review was helpful. If anyone wants to see my pics or has questions email me.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank atavistic8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2009

Just got back from this amazing relaxing place at the RIU Ocho Rios. Transfer from airport is about 1 hr 45 minutes, hotel is very nice, big, clean and staff very friendly. 24 hour all inclusive is great value, food was very good, plenty of choice but you need to pre-book the "speciality" restaurants as soon as you can the spaces fill up quickly! No queuing at any of the bars due to self-serving. Soft, drink, coffee, tea and beer stations dotted throughout the hotel and restaurants. The rooms are very nice. The in house entertainment is good with activities in the day as well as in the evening. The entrainment team show you how to do all the dancers. Its great funny!!! The restaurants are excellent with food for all tastes. Try the pastries. The hotel is on the white sandy beach; this is a beautiful place. The trips we took were: Bob Marley Museum, Blue Mountains, Dunn’s River Falls, and a shopping Trip into Ocho Rios. Well worth it just for the T-shirts a must do.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank rayjayRichmond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2009

I just came back yesterday from riu with my seven other friends and wow we had a blast! We loved the staff who was very friendly, loved the nightly shows and especially loved the unlimited amount of drinkin(try there rum punch)! We were blessed that it had just finished raining before we got there so we had beautiful weather. The hotel is more beautiful then what I saw online and huge! Lots of activites, most at your own risk, and good atmosphere. Loved the food, however eat a good dinner because even though there's snacks after dark you'll probably starve cause the snacks were awful at midnight! Other than that wishI didn't have to leave and me and my friends can't wait to go back again!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with friends
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3  Thank nini727
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2009

Firstly, if you have booked to go to Jamaica in May/June. Beware! It is rainy season and when it rains it RAINS!

The hotel is massive! We stayed in the deluxe wing which has it's own pool and access to 2 extra restuarants. If you can afford it I would recommend the upgrade as the rooms are bigger too.

The Hotel - As I said it is big but well managed and lovely grounds.

The rooms - We had a junior suite which had 2 double (well 3/4) beds, a small seating area with a flat screen tv and a large bathroom with a spa bath. The room has a safe which is free of charge but instead of a keypad to lock it is a key which can be annoying to carry around! The room was cleaned daily and we had no problems with security or the cleaners.

The Pools - The 2 pools have a bar with a seating area and jacuzzi which is lovely when the weather is good. We spent most of our time in the deluxe pool. My only complaint is that is was not very clean. The pool was closed daily from 6pm to 7am for treatment but the pool always had sand in and flies and bugs floating on the surface! You need to be a early riser to get a sunbed as they are all taken by 8am each morning.

The Bars - We never had any problems with any service or drinks from the bar. The staff were friendly and never expected a tip. They are fab at making cocktails! You must try a hummingbird and their pina coladas! They got us through some terrible weather!

The Food - Our only major complaint was the buffet is very repeatative! Alot of variet but if you are there for 2 weeks you end up eating the same over and over again. The staff here were mostly good. Some were very slow and unhelpful so we moved tables and the service was alot better.
The process for reserving a table in the gourmet restaurants is ridiculous! You had to start queing at 7am ready for the bookings to be taken at 8am and by 8.15am all the 1st sittings were full! When you do get into a restaurant they are never full? We got a table for the steak house and the deluxe wing japanese. Both were good and food was lovely.

The Entertainment Team - AMAZING! Thanks to Kiki, Megatron and Mad dog for making us laugh daily! They are so energetic! Beware! If you are not prepared to get involved do not sit near the front! We have been to many all inclusive resorts around the caribbean and these guys were the best we have ever seen.

My conclusion is that the Riu Ocho Rios is a lovely hotel with a few minor faults which could quite easily be rectified which would make it a 5 out of 5 for me.

My advise - Go!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank emmaandgaryanderson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2009

I will start by saying the two previous reviews before me are completely true. The Riu resort looks absolutely beautiful in pictures and is amazing when you arrive but it is definitely lacking. While the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, the food was VERY disappointing.

First of all, it is absurd that you have to wake up at 7 in the morning and wait almost an hour to make a dinner reservation. I got downstairs one day at 7:40 and still couldn't get in the restaurant that I wanted. Second, as far as the food goes -- HORRIBLE! Breakfast was probably the best meal of the day. The only good place to eat for lunch is the Jerk Hut, if you wanted to eat at any of the lunch buffets they are the same anywhere you go. My husband and I got sick one day from lunch the piccolo italia place. Finally, dinner buffet is not good. The specialty restaurants were one step up from the dinner buffet but not worth getting up 7 in the morning for. Very small portions that don't fill you up and all the "specialty" restaurants were in fact still buffet except the gourmet restaurant. All in all, like I said, disappointing.

The weather was horrible this time of year. DO NOT GO IN MAY. My husband and I were originally scheduled to go to Riviera Maya, Mexico, but due to everything going on there, we switched. Unfortunately for us, we were too late when we found out that the weather was not that great in May. It rained four of the seven days, however it rained really hard two days, all day, so those days we had nothing to do but to stay in our room. The floors are WET and SLIPPERY, so do be careful! I think I slipped everyday I was there, it never missed!

Our room was kept so nice, we tipped housekeeping everyday, they were so great. The only negative about the room was that the bed was very hard and uncomfortable. The view from the balcony was fantastic as well.

Another thing I want to mention is that females should be accompanied by a male at all times because for that brief moment if they're not, I guarantee you a male employee at the hotel will hit on them. When I would be away from my husband for one second grabbing something at the buffet, a male waiter would approach me coming on to me, happened twice. The men who work here make you feel very uncomfortable to even be around them so I had my husband with me at all times, even if I had to walk all the way back to my room and get something. Don't get me wrong, not every male employee is like this here, for the most part they are polite but I do feel that if I my husband wasn't there with me I would have been put in a lot more uncomfortable situations. Also the men on the jet skis off the beach-- very rude and annoying. They don't stop bothering you, but if you find a spot on the beach towards the middle you should be fine.

If you are planning on visiting this resort you will be satisfied with the grounds. I liked the shows, for the most part they were okay, two of the nights, they were great. We missed out on the beach party because of the rain, but supposedly it's really good. You must visit the spa and go in the jacuzzi, the best I have ever been in. Very hot at first, especially if you are burned, but very soothing once you're in. Hope you found my review somewhat helpful. I feel that if my husband and I went a different time of year, we would've had a better time, but the food was so bad, that I couldn't be happier to eat back at home.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank GzimeM1121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2009

My friend and I debated how to rank the Ocho Rios and we finally settled on 3.5 out of 5 stars. I almost dropped it to 3 stars after the staff made it very clear that they really wanted us to check out before 12PM (we're talking from 9:00AM on with thirty minute room pop-ins).

The Good
The rooms are spacious and clean. Yes they are a little musty but the staff do an excellent job cleaning them and it's just a byproduct of the damp tropical air.
The Food is really quite good. If you're expecting five stars, well then, this isn't the place for you. Don't bother with the restaurants. They really aren't worth the wait and the food isn't much better than the buffet.
The beach is beautiful and if pools are your thing, then they have two beautiful pools with very little need to go crazy trying to find a lounger.

The Fair
You must reserve a hot tub from the spa which I find bizarre. The gym has ample machines but quite a few of them were broken during our visit. Staff are attentive sporadically with service swinging from very (overly) attentive to blatant ignorance with tipping having little effect.

The Poor
The entertainment is unbelievably bad. Please avoid at all costs. The club stinks of closed in stale cigars and beers and the music is incredibly outdated. The nightly shows are ver amatuerish and absolutely unnecessary.
It is amazing how difficult it is to make it the 3-4 miles from the hotel to downtown Ocho Rios. I believe we were quoted $30 dollars for 2 to go this distance.

Summary
All in all, for the price we paid $500 each, this was a good vacation.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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6  Thank Riall
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 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: £166 - £288 (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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