My bestfriend and I returned from RIU 2 nights ago and i cant put it into words of what a great time we had. We are in our early 20s and wanted a nice place to hang out, relax and enjoy our selves. What a blast. I have read many reviews here prior to making my decision on what hotel to stay in and im SOOO glad we picked this one!
We flew Air Jamaica to Montego Bay (JM 010). I have heard some good and bad about this air line, but overall the flight there and back was good, not too much turbulence. The crew members on the flight there were much more nicer and the service was better than on the way back (JM 011). Once arrived at the airport, you have that 1hour and half ride (depending on the traffic and the drop off stops), but the ride is SOOOOOO worth it!
Once we arrived at the hotel, we drove down with "oooohs and ahhhhs, and wows". We were greeted and given some punch. Once we checked in, we went to our rooms. If you need help carrying your bags up there, ask someone! We were soo tired and we had to roll our own bags to almost the other end of the hotel.
The Hotel - the property is hugee!!! there is a standard room section and deluxe. There is a pool at each section- their main pool is bigger and louder and there are more chairs. They also have activities in the main pool. It is also much closer to restaurants in case you get hungry. There is also more shade by this pool. It is closer to the Jerk Hut and Water sport rentals. There is a table by the pool that gives out info about scuba/snorkeling ect. (Tell King David, his Queen Nadia sends her love).
The second pool is decent size, its smaller, quieter and usually there are more younger children. I noticed that the seats by this pool were "reserved" very fast by people leaving their towel/stuff on it. Both pools have swim-up bars & umbrellas. Hold on to your towel once you get it, and when returning it get a new one instead in case you want to go to the beach/pool early and they are still closed/out of towels (waiting from laundry).
The Beach is nice and big, plenty of chairs and shade. The water is more shallow near the deluxe side. Not too much seaweed. Most of the beach activities are by the main pool side. There is also a bar at the beach. You will see people trying to sell you stuff; they are friendly, if they say hi dont worry they wont bite you, and with a simple no thanks will leave you alone. If you are going Jetski, be aware that those people are NOT from the hotel, so you will be going at your own risk. We personally ended up not going, but some people did. You can bargain with them for prices.
There is also a nice size tennis/basketball court, you can rent the rackets at the front desk. They have a nice size gym and a great Spa with very good prices!! We got a massage there, it was very relaxing!
The Rooms - at first we got a standard room with the pond view and the other side of the building when we booked ocean view. (This happens because the hotel is overbooked). The rooms are very clean-beds were not too bad as some people said they were hard-clean bathroom, however i didn't like the water pressure in our room, it was very low! We moved to one of the Deluxe rooms the next day with the most wonderful ocean view. This room was a little bigger, it had a mini living room area and a jacuzzi bathtub-which was amazinggg. Both rooms have a stocked fridge and a mini bar; TV with a few chnls.
Housekeeping - The staff is very nice and friendly, if you need anything just ask them. We used housekeeping every other day, just didn't have the need to clean the room every day. They work very hard, so do leave a tip :)
Food - Everyone has their own opinions about the food here, some say it was bad and other people love it. The buffet food was decent- for breakfast you have a full salad bar, then there is hot food (eggs, bacon, sausage, toast ect.), there is also a person making omelets (you can pick what you want in it and it was really good). They also have a fruit table, bread and pastries, juices and fresh fruit smoothies. For Dinner, there is different variety of food, we only ate twice there - salad bar and hot food - it was okay. We preferred restaurant food.
During Lunch you have the Jerk Hut at the beach which has grilled chicken/sausage/steak with rice & beans and yummy sauce! IT IS SOOOO GOOOD!! The line can get big soo once its 12 be ready :) We had lunch at the Plantation/Mammee Bay and the Pizzeria place- all of them are buffet style and some have different food. All contain salad bars, some have more seafood others more meat. All of the places are good, I'd have to agree it was a little repetitive, but some places had things that others didnt.
Restaurants - Yes it is true that you have to wake up early to get on line to book a reservation, but! if you dont care about what time you have dinner you can come at 9-11 and you may get a late sitting which is about 9pm-9:15. You can't book ahead of time (at least not that i know of, unless you bribe them?) We preferred to eat dinner early 6:30ish and were able to get great seats for the show after. (They do get filled up quick, especially the good seats) People complain about having to wake up early to make reservations - but who wants to sleep on vacation anyways! the only down side to it is that you cant book it in advance and have to stand on line every day.
Mammee Bay (Steak house) - the food was okay, nothing fancy. The onion soup i had wasnt that good, the salads are better. I ordered the Mixed Grill and my friend got Shrimp Skewers. The portions were small (which was okay by us, but i did read reviews where people complained). Mixed Grill had a little of everything (shrimp/steak/sausage/chicken), while my friend received two skewers of about 3 shrimps on each. Parts of steak were hard to chew.
Tushimi? (Japanese-Deluxe only) - the food was really good as well as the service. For starters you get a small plate of sushi (its not like the sushi you may eat at home, it's all cooked fish and nothing fancy, but it tasted good). Then you pick between tempura, soup and something else; I tried the tempura it was really good, the soup is seafood and a little spicey but also good. For main course i had the beef which was also very very good, my friend ordered the salmon which was delicious! Dessert was the best :) (forgot the name but the banana one and tempura icecream)
Mandalay Bay (Asian) - this restaurant is buffet style (so you get your own food and how much you want), great variety of food, salad, some sushi, dessert. (they had the sushi and soup that they serve at the Japanese restaurant). Tried a little of everything (rice, chicken, fried shrimp) everything was very good. One of our favorites. They also had lychees! which is my favorite!
Sir Richard (Gourmet-Deluxe) - 4 course meal and the portions are also very small and they take forever to bring out your food (it might be broken up to certain times or something). The shrimp bisque they had was probably their smallest portion (there was almost nothing in the cup!) Main Entrées were really good! I had the beef (med/well done) it was was delicious; my friend had fish, said it was a little bit dry but good. They have a decent selection for dessert as well.
Bars - There are 6? bars there, one being open 24hours (sports bar - also had games/casino/pool table/internet). Every bartender has their own special drinks, unless you only stick to what you like. They all make good drinks, but of course we had two favorite bartenders that we would only go to for our drinks (if they worked). Our favorite special was "Dirty Water" made by Texroy (tell him his Dirty Water girls say helloo), and Macain he makes very good drinks (we tried a lot of his creamy drinks and Dream Girl was one of my favs). Bob Marleys, Miami Vice, Daiquiris were popular. Big variety on the menu but ask what specials they can make!
Entertainment - The Entertainment crew was probably some of the nicest people we've met. They put on AMAZING shows! and did activities throughout the day at the beach/pool. Every night there was a different themed show. They also engaged the audience a lot in their shows or preshows (these were really fun to watch). Before preshow, they dance with the kids on stage. Preshow usually was the band playing as they invited people to dance. My favorite show was the Michael Jackson show! its a must see and come early for seats! The dancers a lone are a must see! (Ladies hold on to ur seats ;) Give Andre a bigggg hug!
At night they have Disco at PACHAS. If you want to dance but dont want to leave the resort. Some days its crowded and others its dead (mostly because people leave for MargaritaVille). The music is pretty good.
Went to MargaritaVille one night by shuttle from the hotel that drops you off and picks you up (went with Junior). It was free to get in (on some days). There are a lot of tourists mixed with locals. If they come on to you, they are not pushy, if you say no they will leave you alone. The music is pretty good. Don't lose your friends, I would suggest staying together or at least know where they will be.
Went to Dunns River Fall's with Cool Runnings tour on the boat! (We booked it with our return voucher travel agent - June) It was a BLAST!!!! First they take you snorkeling (i didnt go so i cant comment how that was), then to the falls. You can rent water shoes on the boat for 5$ if you are going to climb the falls. The climb is not for everyone (if you have bad feet especially). There were some parts hard to climb and it was slippery. You had to hold hands, as you go up...please help others! as you go further up. Dont take anything with you it will get WET or you will lose it. You can bring a water camera (can buy on the boat for 25$). On the way back thats where it gets really fun!!!!! Id suggest leaving your stuff on the inside because if you are in the front of the boat you will get realllly wet!!!!! They give you rum punch and you dance and party :D Worth the price.
The overall experience was amazing. I didn't want to leave and i can't wait to go back!! We only stayed for a week and it felt too short, but it was still a lot a lot of fun.
<3 N & R
Now for my little rant on bad reviews :
For 3 1/2-4 star hotel the service you get is great. I read here many people complaining for not being served right-not getting your juice brought to you-really? Its a buffet, you serve yourself, they don't have to bring you everything. They work very hard, and many people complaining sound like they don't even appreciate it. Its not the staffs fault that there are some pigs that drop their cig buds in the sand or other garbage- the staff cleans all they can and just like every where else they cant pick up every single piece of trash in the sand!
I cant help but agree with people who are left confused wondering how those that complain had such a bad time when others have great time. I guess some people have higher expectations for all-inclusive vacations. For the price you pay to stay here, it is DEFINITELY worth your money!
<3 One Happy Vacationer
- 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