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Reviewed 1 June 2009

We stayed at RIU in Ocho Rios in August 2008 and we loved it. The staff and the hotel are great. We opted for an all inclusive vacation because we wanted to have a week of total relaxation. It's great to be able to spend the day on the beach and have food and drinks available the whole time without having to leave. If you go, make sure you eat at the Jerk Hut on the beach. It was by far the best thing we had.

On the downside, Hurricane Gustav hit while we were at the resort. The staff handled it great and kept us safe but if we were going to go back I would be wary of hurricane season.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank drewrid543
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2009

First of all, Thanks be to GOD, for creating such beauty! My son(9 yrs old), my husband, and I went the week of May 16-May 23, 2009. We have stayed at two other Riu resorts in Cancun and what lovely resorts. We originally was going back to Cancun to stay at another Riu property until the worries of the swine flu.
Here goes:
Flight- (US Airways) The flight was rough due to rain. Arrived on a Saturday in Jamaica while it seemed all flights landed at same time. Once departing the plane, the line formed, a really long line. We stood in line two hours just to get through customs. And no you are not suppose to admit to prescription drugs or this adds another wait time. Then the customs guy made me feel really unwelcome with lots of unimportant questions.
Transportation- Best Day Travels US Airways-Very polite and helpful getting us away from the airport and assisted my husband to buy a $6 Red Stripe outside the airport before getting on the very full bus to go to our resort. Waited about one hour due to waiting on someone who couldn't find their luggage.
Ride to Resort- Very scenic and long. Notice the roots of the banana trees! Our tour guide Tony went out of his way to educate us along the way, he was great. We also stopped for jerk chicken(notice the red eye) and once again $6 Red Stripe. This is your chance to partake in relaxing if you wish. My son and I were hungry so we opted for the jerk chicken $7 for a quarter and yes that is chicken. As we approached the building we smelt a skunk!!!
Resort- We arrive and yes it rained during this whole bus trip. Guess what, more waiting to check in. We did receive a drink non-alcoholic, they pour liquor on top and stop when you say. We booked a oceanfront room but they upgraded us to Junior Suite, the building closest to the beach. We had a beautiful 5th floor view. The room was musty but very nice. The rooms in Cancun smelt the same as it did here. We are settled in!
Resteraunts and Entertainment- We only ate at the buffets as my son always found pizza and fries. It becomes pretty repetitive after a couple days. My stomach hurt six out of seven days during our stay. Food by far needs alot of improvements!!! My son only went to the kids club the last day. They seemed to be great with the children. Garfield was great with the kids. But while my son was at the kids club, I was having a mommy time out when I heard another mother talking about the mom that tipped the sitters, she didn't seem it was appropriate. That would be me. If I'm going to trust you with my child, I'm going to give you an incentive to take extra care of my child. Evidently, the sitters bailed quite a few times. This particular day they didn't, maybe because I tipped.
Housekeeping- They do not beleive in giving you wash cloths. The room was cleaned at different times. Beds are firm but ok. Towel art on the beds along with fresh flowers everyday of our stay.
Pool Bars- We mainly stayed at the quiet pool on the suite side were we was located. However, it did seem to get loud. I had to remove my son due to a french girl who drank a little to much. She was behind the swim up bar dirty dancing and letting anyone pop her butt. It is her thing so dance on, it was her vacation also. As for Andre, he was my husband's favorite bartender, he kept the drinks flowing even when I got mad at him. BEWARE, the property is very slick, we all fell at least once without the booze. Andre has kept in touch with us since we have left the resort, super cool dude.
Pools- They could do a better job cleaning them. I don't think the chemicals were correct. The last day we were there my son complained of an earache. I bought swimmers ear drops from the gift shop.
Weather- DON'T go in MAY! It seemed liked it rained every day.
Shopping- (Not in the beach) Down the beach there is a small market that is very safe to pick up souvenirs if you want. The locals was very humble, as you are the only means of money for them.
Time to go home- I'm ready!!! My son has an earache, it is raining, and I'm sick of the food. Waited to get on the plane. Lots of turbulence due to storms. About 30 minutes before arriving to our destination my son starts screaming with his ear. Everyone was so gracious with him yelling at the top of his lungs. It was due to the decompression of the flight. Keep this in mind when traveling with children with an earache.
We are home- My son has blisters on his eardrums and infections in both ears. He is going for a hearing test next week. I think it will be fine.
Sorry this is so long, as I'm not one to judge without experiencing it for myself. But I would not go back because of the location. I felt more unsafe here then Cancun. Drugs are more flaunted here than I have ever seen before. Swimming in the beach is very hard due to the vultures trying to lure you in! A simple no didn't work, they wait on the jetskis and just swarm like sharks. Something was fishy with the scenery, it looks like the resort could stop this if they wanted to!!! It looks like the multi-million-dollar resorts would invest some money into the locals whom live there all year long.

.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank sassihottlisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2009

My boyfriend,Ken,and I (his friend Mike from Alabama met us there too)took the trip May 11-17-got there the 1st day around 3 pm.I'm not going to to get into all the details like everyone else did because they're all the same; I'm going to get into the true nitty-gritty.

On our 1st day we went straight to the room,threw our bathing suits on while making a drink, and got right down to business-exploration.We were on the "gold" side of the hotel so we mainly stayed on that side of the whole resort.On that same side of the beach is where the property line ends and on the dreaded OTHER SIDE were locals hanging out waiting for their prey to step into their territory.If you sat close enough they actually came over to you.There is also a boundry in the ocean where there's a floating device advertising "water sports" and they sell drink cups carved out of bamboo chutes. If you went to Jamaica to PARTY,let's just say those are the people you want to talk to! There is 1 lone security guard that mainly hangs on that side of the beach-not to divert the locals-but to befriend them! He's walked past us "endulging" in the Rastafarian lifestyle and never said a peep-until we were closer to the middle of the resort-he hassled us.To make a long story short,the security guard was trying to extort money out of us by using a scare tactic making us think we were in trouble.

The food! If you're a picky eater like we are you'll live the entire week off of "pizza" and nachos, lol, because most of the food we had noooo idea what it was. When the lady at the table tells you the NICE restaurants are booked,she's full of baloney! Again, another way of taking a bribe.Slip her a few bucks and you're IN!

The bars! We hardly made it to the "party" side of the hotel.Our favorite bar was open 6-12,Dunn's River Bar, where our FAVORITE bartender Oneill took the GREATEST care of Ken,Mike, and I.Oneill would see us walking up and have a spot wiped off for us and 3 "specials" already in place for us to sip on and enjoy! Our favorite was the "Dr. Funk", but by far Oneill was THE best.The other 2 you want to look for there are Ewirt(who we also saw in the disco), and DK (which was short for a longer name on his tag).The other reviews say they didn't get different service whether they tipped or not,well we tipped and we were VERY well taken care of.Even when the rain started to come in sideways,Oneill found us a table,pulled in under the covering,wiped it off for us,and had fresh drinks ready! When it rained during the day we found ourselves at the pool bar on the "gold" side where I met Natoyer.I had a bad day with Ken and she took GREAT GREAT care of me-if you're reading this don't forget to email me!!!!!!

As far as the room goes we NEVER used the air conditioning.We felt with it on the humidity got worse so we constantly left the balcony door wide open.You got to hear amazing background sounds that you don't get to hear at home and the ambiance is irreplaceable.

There were a lot of people that were redirected to Jamaica from Mexico due to Swine Flu.Although the RIU was booked-it hardly seemed like it.My best advice would be if you have ideas or plans of what you want to do,make sure you do it ASAP if the weather's nice.The reason I say this is because our first 3 days there were pure relaxation,then we planned to do the Canopy Tour and Dunn's River Falls.HOWEVER a lovely "squall" came thru and it rained our last 4 days :( BUT on our last day we had 3 hours to kill before catching our bus and it was sunny! go figure!

All in all, the 3 of us had a blast.I told the employees there how I read reviews on this website and wrote it down for them to see how people are mentioning names,and giving such great reviews.I hope they see this one-HI GUYS!We will DEF be back as soon as possible!

If anybody has any questions feel free to email,I can tell you some things that are too R-Rated for this website lol.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Scaroly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2009

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

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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10  Thank xloooneyx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2009

I had read all of the reviews before traveling to this resort. I must say, most of them experienced all of the negatives that we experienced. If you are looking to enjoy good food, you should look elsewhere. We were not able to find good food choices at either breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food is overcooked and dry and just old. They do not make any effort to make their food preparations look or taste desirable. There were also flies at the desserts areas.
The resort is a beautiful place. But it was not kept and cleaned as it should have been. When you were ready to get towels for the beach or pool they were usually out. Housekeeping was laxed in service. They may not get to your room until 3:00 or 4:00 p.m.
This resort was not about service to its clientele. We will not every return or recommend to anyone. I have stay at Riu Cancun and the service and food preparations was completely different.

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