Beach: Negril beaches are amazing. The Riu Palace is on Bloody Bay, which is smaller than 7 Mile Beach but a good walk from end to end. The hotel is centrally located in Bloody Bay and had the best beach out of all the resorts (Couples Negril was nice too). There were always enough chairs and "early morning chair reserving" was pretty minimal. I personally need shade 90% of the time, which is possible if you simply move with the shadows. Half of the guests prefer to bake in the sun most of the time - so it's a good mix.
Rooms: We stayed in Building 1 near the Water Sports complex with an Ocean View Jr. Suite. The room was beautiful and well maintained. We were on the ground floor and could only hear chairs, etc. being moved around upstairs from time to time. It was really hard to hear anything from the rooms on either side. Overall, very quiet here! Maid service was exceptional.
Common Areas: All common areas were centrally located, which was really nice. You are never far away from anything, even though we were at the far end of the property. We previously stayed at Couples Swept Away (prior to our baby), which was incredible but my one complaint was the layout being quite spread out as far as the common areas.
Food: Buffet was great - SO many different things to choose from and great service! Krystal was hands-down the best restaurant. Italian was a close second. Japanese was good but not great. We did not eat at the Steak House but other reviews say it is great. We avoided Fusion because of numerous bad reviews here. Lunches were available right on the beach from the BBQ shack - great chicken with hot Jerk or BBQ sauce. Otherwise sit-down lunches were just off the beach and buffet style.
Staff: I would put their staff on par with Couples Swept Away and rate both at 5/5. Respect to Sheena (Front Desk), Nadine (Maid), Uniqua (Server - Krystal) and Julienne (Server - Buffet) for making us feel at home. Apologies if I butchered any spellings mon.. The Director of the Resort was also very present especially in the evening - making sure everything was running perfectly.
Staying with an Infant: the couple on our bus transfer told us we were really brave for traveling with a 7-month infant. True but the Riu staff really does a nice job accommodating. We had a crib in the room, were able to wash bottles and designated one of the sinks as a soaker sink, offered a high chair at every meal, etc. If you are traveling with an infant, I would highly recommend an Ocean View on the ground floor. We were able to put our chairs close by and put our little girl down for naps with the screen door open enough to hear when she cried. If we knew how close the rooms were to the beach, we should have brought our monitor system. Babysitting is not formally done but was coordinated with the front desk. We were told the rates were $10-15/hr depending on who was babysitting. We had 3 different sitters and all charged $15, which is a lot more than we expected. Other resorts with a more formal program (i.e. Tyrall Resort offer babysitting for only $6/hr) were way more reasonable, so we couldn't afford to get a sitter on each day. This would be the biggest downside to the trip because it sounded like they had a more formal program.
Overall: I would give the Riu Palace a 4.5 rating if possible. It is very clean, location is great and it is a good value. Comparing it to other AI properties in Negril (Couples Swept Away) and other tropical destinations, this was definitely a really nice place to be. CSA had incredible food and Riu Palace had great food. CSA had a skinnier beach though and wasn't laid out as nicely; however, the buildings were gorgeous at CSA. If we were traveling as a couple, I would choose CSA. If we were traveling with family, I would choose Riu Palace - but again you can't go wrong at either property. Ya mon!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Renovated in summer 2008 * Located in Negril, on Jamaica's west coast * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 1-storey main building and 2-storey buildings * Victorian-style architecture * Surrounded by 47,000 m2 / 56,500 sq. yards of lush gardens * 7.5 km / 4.7 miles from Negril West End * 6 km / 3.8 miles from various shops * 80 km / 48 miles from Montego Bay airport ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Palace Tropical Bay Hotel Negril
- Riu Tropical Bay Jamaica
- Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril
- Riu Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica
- Negril Riu Tropical Bay Hotel
- Riu Jamaica
- Riu Tropical Jamaica