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ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios
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Reviews (9,152)
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6,403 - 6,408 of 9,152 reviews
Reviewed 15 May 2010

I know my title is a downer, but the resort itself is beautiful, just not the ideal vaca for myself, my Husband, and a couple who came with us. I was worried by the other reviews I read beforehand, but it also helped us get some extras. We left at least 2$ a day for the housecleaning staff and our room was always immaculate, and the same for our bar attendant in our room, and again fully stocked everyday, so I also recommend doing so.
The beach chairs were snatched up pretty quickly when the sun was shining which was only 3 out of the 7 days we were there, no fault of the resort of course, just disappointing. So when the weather isn't at its best they need to have a back up plan to keep people having fun. But there was no entertainment on the beach or even music to get you going during the days of sun shine. I found myself quite bored here. We didn't like the pool, just cause it was also overflowing of (extra full aka really drunk) party people and children, which I found was a bit inappropriate?
The food was amazing and they really went the extra mile to make dinner and every other meal special. The jerk hut on the beach was awesome and smokes out the place so because of the yummy smell, you just have to go and get a plate!
Again the evening entertainment was kind of late and lacking, they are certainly attempting to improve this you can tell! The entertainment highlight of our trip was when Canada won Gold in the Olympics! Which I could have saved a lot of money by watching back at home in a bar or on my couch, and perhaps had way more fun!
All in all a beautiful resort, just so big that it can't make everyone happy I guess?
Oh one last thing, bring a pillow, you'll be glad you did!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank CaribeanCanada7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2010

The RIU in Ocho Rios rocks!! We went with a family of four in early May, including 2 kids (7 and 10) and had a blast. We would recommend it to anybody. Here’s our take:

PROS
The best part of the resort is the staff. They are great. Not one bad experience. From the moment we arrived, Jermaine (our bellhop) welcomed us with open arms, drinks and laughs... and he set the tone for our entire visit. We saw him almost every day in the lobby and he saw us off on our last day. Then there was Chris, the photographer; Kiki and Big Bird on the entertainment staff; Marvin at the bar; Heather the cleaning lady; Courtney the masseur; and so, so many other great people. This is what makes the resort. These people work so hard and put in incredible hours, yet are so friendly every hour of every day.

In all, I think we probably spent about $150 on tips over a week in Jamaica. On the resort, we tipped frequently but not in high amounts ($1-$5 depending). Off the resort and on the excursions we tipped a little more ($5-$15 depending). The resort staff makes very little money, so they depend heavily on tips. Mind you, they are just as friendly if you don’t tip, but it’s really appreciated when you do.

The resort itself is really nice. Loved the open air lobby with the trade winds blowing in off the Caribbean sea. Loved the pools with the swim up bars, Jacuzzi, games, etc. We enjoyed the ‘party’ pool the most because there was always something going on. We’re not big drinkers but gotta admit we loved sampling every tropical drink under the sun… Pina Coladas, Dr. Funk, Daiquiris, Rum Cream, Copacabana, Mai Tai, Blue Ocean, etc. We never made it to the specialty restaurants primarily because we have kids that are picky eaters. The buffet was good, but not great. Like any buffet, some things are good, some less so. You quickly discover what you like. Loved the omelets and crepes in the morning. And, yes, the Jerk Hut is as great as everybody says.

The beach is awesome. Always found a great spot under a palm tree, nice sand, great water temperature, and usually a nice ocean breeze to keep you cool. There is decent little reef right offshore for snorkeling. It’s not the best reef, but it’s good for kids. Saw mostly reef fish, one sting ray. Trade winds can create some waves and chop, but it’s still a lot of fun. Bring some bread and feed the fish. They follow you everywhere. Kids loved it. Bring your own snorkel gear if you can.

Down the beach and off the resort is a nice little area with local merchants. Sure they’ll push a little to sell you stuff… but they’re just trying to make a living. A little kindness goes a long way and if you are not interested simply give them a polite ‘no thank you’ and they’ll leave you alone. The thing is, these people literally go hungry in the off season if they don’t sell on a given day. We hung out and chatted with them throughout our visit and even brought them some food. It was a nice experience. We also left them some of our stuff when we left.

CONS
If I read all the other reviews, I have to admit I’m a little perplexed. Sure the pillows are little lumpy and of course the rooms get a little musty when your dragging in wet towels and swim suits every day, but if that’s what your focused on your missing the big picture. Jamaica is an amazing place. It is culturally rich, the music is great, it has incredible nature and amazing people. If you focus on that, you won’t even notice the few minor cons. My kids, for example, ended up naming the few bugs we saw in our hallway “Bob” and “Marley”. It’s all in the attitude mon. One love.

The only major complaint I have is the foreign management and owners of RIU need to be more respectful of their staff. I don’t think they appreciate how hard they work.

EXCURSIONS
Whatever you do, don’t stay on the resort the whole time. We made several excursions including tubing and horse back riding with Chukka Tours, Dunn’s River Falls, and, best of all, a private tour of the Eastern part of Jamaica (Port Antonio, Frenchman’s Cove, Blue Lagoon, Monkey Island) with Know Jamaica Tours. Javia was our tour guide from Know Jamaica and took us on the 12 hour trip we will never forget. Frenchman’s Cove, in particular, is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. I have a separate review for each of the excursions on Trip Advisor, so look them up if you want some great ideas and tips.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled with family
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8  Thank verhoev4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2010

We spent four of seven of our nights in Jamaica at the RIU for a friends wedding. Upon arrival we were very impressed with the grounds. The RIU is one of the newer hotels in the strip and reflects that in it's style. We got one of the basic rooms and still it was very nice and spacious.
Being that it was an all-inclusive we spent very little out of pocket money while at the resort. Liquor was replenished every other day in our room and between the mutiple bars in the hotel and on the beach, we didn't have any problems getting drinks. As for the food, it was much better than we anticpated. The buffets were actually pretty good we thought. They do have about four retuarants you can eat from BUT you need to make reservations in person by 9am of that day or else they will be booked. We ate at the steakhouse at was not that special or any better than the buffet. The best meal we thought was the Jerk chicken hut they had on the beach. We ate there everyday for lunch!
The beach itself is very beautiful and clean. There was always plenty of chairs on the beach and in the pool area. The only thing I would suggest to be aware of are the guys in jet-skis trying to sell you for a ride. We rented on of them for 45-minutes and after about 15-minutes into the trip our jet ski died on us and left us stranded in the water for about 15-minutes. When the guy finally arrived he towed us not back to the resort but to a series of hut where we were approached by a bunch of "vendors" trying to sell us everything from shells to drugs....very shaddy and intimadating to say the least. When we got back to the beach we heard a few others had similar experiences.
All-in-all the RIU was a great hotel and we would definately go back in the future. BUT remember, you are a tourist with a fat wallet in a poor country where in most cases your month's wage is more than their yearly family income. Keep that in-mind the places you visit off the reservation, who you interact with, and what you plan to buy....like most undeveloped countries the prices you see are ALLways negotiable....don't take offense since it's part if the culture! Happy Travels!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Chau81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2010

It was our anniversay trip and If you want all inclusive you and a beach thats not ridiculously crowded the RIU Ocho Rios is for you. It was close to all the Activities that we booked. We were greeted with cold towels and a rum punch! The staff was awesome and the view from our room was perfect. The water activites were incldued (excet for parasailing and jet skiing). The strech of beach that RIU has is awesome, my vacation was PERFECT!! Love it and can't wait to go back :-)

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank NNWright
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2010

Before I went to the Riu I think I read every review on this site. So there I was armed with my own pillow, & expecting who knows what! The Riu is a big Hotel, it looks fantastic and it's clean, believe me its clean. The beds are comfortable and huge & really there is nothing at all wrong with the pillows. The rooms are fantastic everything you need plus 4 optics & a fridge with beer & mixers. All inclusive was excellent, I am a very picky eater and I was more than happy with all the food on offer. The buffet is fine, the Jerk chicken Hut was the best & the pizza restaurant was good. We tried a couple of the speciality restaurants, they were nice but in all honesty not sure if it was worth standing in line, that is the one negative thing - the booking system for the restaurants. But if you want to try the restaurants you have to queue up. We had a superior room which I think was worth the extra money. Other members of my family had rooms in the other wing which were nice but it just seemed quieter on the other side of the hotel & the view from our balcony was perfect. We had no problems with any of the staff, the cleaners put petals on the bed and did origami with the towels, the servers in the restaurant were all pleasant and friendly, the staff on the front desk were helpful. The Thomson's rep Pauline is the star of the show. The drinks are part of the all-inclusive so who cares if they are watered down, personally I don't think they are. The drinks are great & the local rum is outstanding. I thought the whole holiday was well worth the money and we had a great time. I would go back without a second thought. I would try and stick to the quieter times of the year I can imagine it getting a bit of a tussle if it were full occupancy.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank railway62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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