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“Beautiful beach, wonderful staff”

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Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Ranked #21 of 81 Hotels in Negril
Certificate of Excellence
Alvarado, TX
Level 6 Contributor
78 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Beautiful beach, wonderful staff”
Reviewed 24 June 2009

Our trip was originally from June 5-June 11th but due to bad weather in Dallas, was extended two more days. We left the Riu TB and went into Montego Bay and stayed at the Riu there to be closer to the airport (more on that later!)

We hired Talk of the Town to transport us from the airport in to Negril and the trip took us 3 hours due to construction, rain and the fact that Sienna had a bit of a problem talking and driving at the same time! :) Check in was a breeze and we were placed on the second floor in building 3 with a beautiful view of the ocean between the palm trees. I think some rooms on the second floor would definately have obstructed views because of the trees...ours did not. Our housekeeper, Sandria, was awesome and made us towel art every day...we left her a $3 tip every day, also (there were 3 of us in the room).
My 10 year old daughter and I played sand volleyball everyday at 10am and 4pm. Everybody was very comfortable with her playing after they saw that she could actually hold her own and could pass and serve the ball over the net from the back line!! It was such a blast! The water was amazing. You can walk all the way out to the rope and still see the bottom. We found very few shells, which was disappointing (but hit the jackpot when we went in to Montego Bay!) The SeaDoo riders are very irritating...the vendors do not hassle you. A simple "no thank you" works very well. Unfortunately, my daughter and I got to witness a drug deal right in front of us on the beach...didn't bother the man and his girlfriend and they were obviously American, from up North from their accents. Sat less than 10 ft from us and did the deal then smoked 2 joints in front of us. I chose to use it as a learning tool for my daughter of what not to do and how not to act in front of others....EVER.
The food was good. There is always something that you can find to eat. How anybody can say the food here is bad, is amazing. With that amount of food, how can you not possibly find something to fill your stomach. Krystle, for us, was outrageously bad. The only thing good was the chocolate dessert. The pumpkin soup was disgusting. The Steakhouse was good. Unfortunately, we did not get to eat in the Italian restaurant. Breakfast was awesome and the omelet bar cook ROCKED!
The entertainment staff made our stay. Neil is precious and Max and Ninja kept us laughing. My daughter would go in search of Neil every day. Thanks to all of them. The Grease soundtrack was horrible but the music and dancing was very good. The Michael Jackson look-alike show was the same...the sound system made the shows very hard to sit through. Reggae night was the best!!! My daughter danced her little feet off!
We booked a snorkeling tour with Famous Vincent. We took a taxi to the Burger King in town and met him at the dock behind there. There were only 6 people total on the tour and it was amazing. Vincent swam down and brought up humongous starfish, sea cucumbers, sea urchins... The cell number that folks have here on TripAdvisor is not a recent number....Call the Rockhouse Restaurant. They have his current number! This is the only was to go snorkeling....Do NOT go on one of the big boats with alot of people!
When our flight was canceled, the TB was going to charge us $398 for another night but the Riu Montego Bay (not a Palace) was only $210 and was closer to the airport. We chose to move closer to the airport. Once we checked in...we wound up needing 2 nights...we realized why we picked Negril. The beach had almost no shade and you could only walk a few feet out in the water before you hit seagrass! Yuck :( There were hundreds of people at the immaculate pool..because they couldn't, or wouldn't, go in the water! The service was non-existent.. It was if they could care less if you were there or not. We will never stay in anything less than a Palace again!!!!
If you have any questions, please feel free to message me.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
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5 Thank jpress
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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PA
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2009

After much research, I chose the RTB as an all-inclusive option for this years vacation in hopes that the Bloody Bay area would be a little milder that a stay on 7 mile beach with my 2 teenage sons and their friends. As a travel agent, i have stayed at many all - inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, and RTB is pretty much on par with most of them. I just think that Negril is one of those destinations that is not done justice by staying all- inclusive.
I requested many times prior to my stay that my rooms connect. We were given rooms near each other, but not next door. This could not be changed until the next day. We chose to stay put instead of packing up. I also requested rooms in buildings 3 or 4, but we were booked in building 2, not a horrible walk, but I certainly understand the preference of staying in 3 or 4.
Another issue , if you have teens staying in a room alone is the in-room liquor dispenser. I had to ask about 4 times before the bottles were actually removed from their room and this didn't happen till about 24 hours after we checked in
.
The food was pretty good, I've had better, and also had worse.
Drinks were better than average in my opinion. We especially liked the lobby bar, nice atmosphere without that "all inclusive feeling"
We only at at the buffet. i did get reservations for the Steak house and the Japanese restaurant, then realized that my husband and the boys all had shorts, no pants, so it was buffet everynight for us.
I think that is the dumbest rule of all ! We do not go on a caribbean vaca to dress in pants on muggy 85 degree nights!

The beach was very nice, but the kids were a little disappointed that it was more of a "bay " beach, no wave action at all. They survived... and used the jet skis constantly to make the beach exciting.
Kayaks , paddleboats are available. In order to use snorkel equipment, you need to leave a 25.00 cash deposit and get it back when you return equipment.

The kids did the discover scuba with Scuba Caribe and all went well...they were very professional. A few of us also did the Chukka Canopy Zip Line tour. They will tell you that it's a 45 minute drive from the RIU, not so...more like 1 1/2 -at least.
I think they tend to give you a much shorter travel time for excursions in order not to deter you from taking the trip. I was told that I would be at Bob Marley's house (Ocho Rios) in 1 1/2 hour - all the way in St Anns ! More like 3 hours one way ! Thank god I knew better before booking that one.
All in all ..I love jamaica. I've been there 4 times. I think that the RIU is fine for those that like the all - inclusive experience, but I felt more like I was in jamaica when we continued our vacation for the last two nights at Tensing Pen (on the cliffs) ....heavenly

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank tracyPa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tennessee
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2009

The service was excellent. Food was very good! We ate at Krystal Fusion and the steak house. Krystal was a little different, but still good. The chocolate dessert at Krystal was excellent! The rest of the time we ate at the buffet. Hotel was very clean. Rooms very big and always cleaned. We didn't have any problems. Everyone went out of their way to help. There was lots of activities throughout the day. Water aerobics, kayaking, etc. Would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone and would stay again!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank tennessee80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2009

Don't let the past reviews with the negative feedback fool you - this place was top notch from the service, staff, entertainment, beaches, food, etc.....I have only been to two other countires and resorts but if I had to return to one, it would be jamaica and the Rui Palace Tropical Bay!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank beachstud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
manchester
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2009

Let me start by saying this was our first time in Jamaica (both myself and my boyfriend have fancied the carribean for a while) and it was by far the best holiday we have ever had. Honestly.

On arrival at the hotel you are greeted with a warm reception.. the staff here genuinely want to make your 'vocation' as pleasurable as possible, and you never get the feeling its because they want a tip! Our bell boy was introducing us to some jamaican phrases such as 'Jamaica No Problem'. And it really isn't. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here.

The room is spacious, very clean and cool. No problems with the air con or fan so ignore people whining on about this in some of the other reviews. The only downside was our view from the balcony wasnt more than a big bush.. but the first couple of days we were jetlagged and didnt want to cause a fuss so didnt mention it. Later in the week however we simply rang reception and requested a room with a view.. they moved us into a room on the 3rd floor with garden and ocean views, No Problem Mon!

In the main buffet restaurant the food was great: a huge selection something for everyone. Breakfast was yum too.. eggs cooked every way possible, an omlette station where they cook how you want it, pancakes and syrup and for the healthier eaters a vast selection of fruits and much more. If you fancy take your food outside and sit by the pool or on the beach and enjoy. Each lunchtime is different too.. along with the huge lunch buffet they had dishes cooked on the beach. One day seafood paella, the next mexican tacos and then the jerk chicken station which is a must. The restaurant reservation system isnt too bad, just get up early and you wont have to queue for long. There are four restaurants we didnt get to try them all but try the japanese one its lovely. And for those of you who enjoy a good fillet steak go Italiano. The all inclusive drinks are excellent.. all good brands, the bar staff are amazing make the most of the cocktails. Also the mini bar in your room is refilled daily, sprite, coca cola, red stripe beer, bottled water etc.

The two pools were always very clean as are the grounds of the hotel the staff are grafters and you will see this when you are there. Always pleasant too.. from the reception staff to the gardeners. Now onto the beach... Wow. White sands. Azzure blue sea. Go a few steps in (the water is warm by the way) and be greeted by beautiful schools of tropical fish it is truly amazing. Just ignore the jet ski guys if your not interested they will leave you same goes with the vendors up the beach. If you fancy a quiet stroll be prepared to be approached a little further down the bay. We were offered ganja etc just say no they are nice enough remember they're just trying to make a living.

If you fancy some of the exscursions (and there are plently to choose from) I would recommend Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios about 2hr 30min drive but its on the coast all the way so lovely views and do the full swim the dolphins are beautiful and it is well worth the money. Also included in the price is a walk up Dunns River Falls also well worth it. Do Rick's Cafe, Margeritaville, and if you're a horse lover ride them in the sea with Chukka excursions.

The nightlife at the hotel goes a little quiet around 11pm after the entertainment ends but we were happy to sit outside at the bar for a litlle and then off to bed. The entertainment staff by the way are so funny, check out Max, Neil and Ninja. The shows are pretty good too.

Our only regret about this holiday is that we only had 7 nights we will be going back but for longer next time. Honestly if you are thinking about staying in Negril this hotel is ideal. The location is perfect it is great for chillaxin but also if you want plenty of fun and action too. Just get out on some exscursions and see more of the island it is a beautiful place. And we heard a lot of bad stories about crime and violence in Jamaica.. well certainly not what we experienced. I felt depressed leaving and cant wait to go back! Enjoy Jamaica if you do go but mostly enjoy the people of Jamaica.. Yeh Mon!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank vicstor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liverpool
Level 5 Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2009

We returned on the 17th June after a 2 week stay at this fantastic hotel.

We arrived on the 3rd June at approx 1:30pm to a very wet Jamaica! It was pouring with rain.

Check-in was quick and easy (which we needed after the long flight and the 2 hour drive from the airport- there are road works which held us up).

I had emailed the hotel before hand and requested a room in block 3 which we got. We were allocated room 3221 on the 2nd floor. We could see the sea from our balcony if we looked right.

The room itself was very clean and spacious. A/C worked great. We ordered room service straight away and it arrived within 10-15mins of ordering. (There aren't many items on it, mainly snacks). We did ask for more Red Stripe as well (there was only 3 in the fridge) but they said they couldn't bring it. This was no problem, we left a note the following day with a tip and had 5 Red Stripe in the fridge every day after that. The rooms were left spotless after the maid had been in. We always locked our money in the safe but we often left our mobiles and ipods out and they were never taken.

The food was fantastic. We booked into all the restaurants twice. Whoever says the reservations system is a nightmare has no patience if you ask me. You book every other day and you book for 2 nights at a time. There was only one morning when the queue was fairly big but we still got the restaurants and the times that we wanted. I tended to get down approx 7:35-40 and I was usually sorted by 8:05 at the very latest. Some mornings I was done by 7:55. My tip is, go down and sit in the chairs on the dancefloor part in the theatre, that way when the staff come down to start reservations just jump up and get in line!

Steakhouse- food was good and the waiters were great, they carried beers on their heads. The starter is pre-set and was ok, sea food platter and a caesar salad. The desserts were nice too.

Italian- Large buffet selection for your starter, soups, lasagne, pizza etc. But only 1 pasta dish for the main course, I had the steak here also which was nice.

Japanese- This was lovely. Selection of sushi which varied from our first visit there to our second. I had chicken skewers too which were so tasty.

Krystal- This is by far the best. I had Pumpkin soup which came with a scallop in the middle, it was gorgeous! I had this both times. For Main I had Seabass first time and steak second time, both exceedingly good! Now the chocoate pudding was THE best pudding ever. Melt in the mouth.... mmmmmm!!

Jerk Chicken- you have to try it to believe now nice it is!!!!!

The buffet breakfast I think is by far the best. There is such a huge selection to choose from- fresh omlettes, bagels, fruit and of course.. champagne! Anyone who finds fault with this breakfast is insane.

The beach is absolutely gorgeous. The sea was so nice, no shells, stones or seaweed to walk through. Its not too deep either. The only thing I didn't like was the men on the jet skis hassling you all the time for a ride or a smoke. My boyfriend used the windsurfing equipment but there wasn't enough wind to get going. He went on a jet ski and paid $30 for 30mins (the man was asking $60) We also hired snorkelling equipment (you have 45 mins and you have to leave a deposit). We saw tonnes of fish, star fish and a manta ray just off the beach! My boyfriend also went scuba diving twice which he thoroughly enjoyed. First time he did 2 dives which cost approx$80 and he also did 1 dive on another day which was approx $30. We also wanted to do the sunset cruise to Rick's but we were waiting for a nice day.... which never came, but more about the weather later. I had a deep tissue massage which was about $80 but it was soooo good.

We spent most of the time by the pool. The pool was clean and the water was nice to cool off. Just one tip, the sun loungers and booths with tables are lovely but as they are new, the grout inbetween the tiles is rough and I got quite a few pulls in my bikinis from this (looked like I'd been sitting on velcro!). We got drinks served to us around the pool and on the beach as well. Andrew and Diana at the pool bar are fantastic, you have such a laugh with them. One guest was very rude to Diana one day and just plonked an empty glass down and pointed at it, with no please or thank you. Diana made a joke about it but stil no thank you. The staff could not be any nicer so treat them with resepct!

Entertainment was standard as in all Rius but the warm up games are the greatest. They don't hassle you to join in which I like. Ninja is an amazing brake dancer. All the entertainment staff are great and friendly. Reggae party on the beach was the best. Just remember your mozi spray.

The staff in the hotel are all very friendly and polite. We tipped every waiter and waitress because they were so nice. If they see your glass getting empty, they're on the way with another before you even ask! A large group in the Italian restaurant didn't even tip one night which I thoughout was bad. The staff work so hard, some working 12-14 hour days.

Now the weather.... It rained every day! Sometimes for 10mins sometimes for 2 hours. The clouds start rolling in at about 11:30-12 and then it starts! We had 1 day out of 14 when it only rained for a short while. This put us off doing the trips really. We usually got up, had breakfast and got by the pool by 8:15 every morning and it was realy hot before the rain came.

We did go out in taxis a few times but only during the day. We did not use the hotel taxis but we walked down to the main road and got them. I didn't feel comfortable to go out at night. We went to a craft market and got loads of gifts- make sure you haggle. We went to Rick's twice... my boyfriend jumped off the top one several times! We also went into the town. One word of warning. When we went to the town this man come over to us and said "hey how you doing, you're staying at the Riu, I recognise you, I work behind the bar" I knew straight away that he didn't (I have a great photograpic memory)- he'd clocked our wrist bands. He was saying I'll show you round. We just told him we wanted to look round by ourselves. He wasn't offended but just be aware of that.
Remember to agree on a price with the taxis before you get in. From the hotel to Rick's we paid $700JA. We also walked up to the other Riu and had a drink there, it was a nice change. We also went to the Office of Nature on the way back too! I did see people from the Riu Negril coming into the Palace and trying to get a drink but they got refused. The staff said they get in serious trouble if they serve people from the Riu Negril.

Now for the bad part. I did see cockroaches in the toilets a few times. But it is a humid climate, it does not mean the hotel is not clean.... it could not be cleaner!

Feel free to PM if you've got questions.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JoJoLiverpool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2009

My family and I recently stayed at the Riu Tropical bay in Negril and we loved it a lot!! It was our 1st time in jamaica and 2nd time at a Riu. The location couldn't be more perfect. Its right in the center of bloody bay and it has the best sunsets i've ever seen. The service is top notch and a small tip goes a long way. We had a 3rd story room facing the ocean, and the rooms are pretty spacious. A nice size flat screen made the room a lot nicer too :) The bed in the room is a little hard, but nothing to complain about...and yes there are 2 double beds pushed together to make a "king" . The turn down service is nice and you get a neat towel fold decoration on the bed during the day. The mini bar and liquor dispenser are a nice touch as well. All the restaurants are nice (although we didn't make it to the japanese) with great food. I am very picky and had no problem finding something to eat. If you get the chance, make a reservation to the fusion restaurant "Krystal" it has the best food/atmosphere/service out of all the restaurants. Beach is wonderful, no rocks or seaweed or anything. If you go out to the ropes its only about belly button high but very clear water. While we were there at about 1pm every day the storm clouds would blow through so get a swim in during the morning from 8-12. Non motorized recreation activities like paddle boat, kayak, and rafts are free of charge, but Hobie's are not. I had a massage in the spa and it was very nice, you can choose to have your massage on the beach, but that didn't look too private! I had a Swedish 50 minute massage and it ran me $67. Not bad for a massage! The only bummer of the trip is if you swim be the ropes in the ocean, people in boats try to offer to take you somewhere or smoke or whatever, but just say no. Same thing applys if you want to walk to the other Riu down the beach, the vendors will bug you trying to sell clothes/jewelry/braids. Also, the airport to me had the best shopping, so save a lil money for that too! But all in all it was a great getaway and would love to go back to Jamiaca!

P.S Do the ricks cafe sunset snorkel cruise! Its awesome, You swim in caves, go to ricks for dinner, and snorkel in a neat reef! Unforgettable experience!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank marrsbty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Address: Norman Manley Blvd | Bloody Bay Beach, Negril, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Westmoreland Parish > Negril
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in Negril
#13 Spa Hotel in Negril
#14 Family Hotel in Negril
#15 Luxury Hotel in Negril
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Negril
#16 Top resorts Hotel in Negril
#21 Romantic Hotel in Negril
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 416
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

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