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“Okay for the Money”
Review of Rio Vista Resort

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Rio Vista Resort
Reviewed 9 August 2010

This review is long overdue. I stayed at the Rio Vista on September 14th, 2009 for two nights with my husband (BF at the time) so we could explore Portland. The good: the locationbeing close to many of the sites we checked out, inlcuding bamboo rafting on the Rio Grande River, Frenchman's Cove beach-one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, boating on the Blue Lagoon-very pretty, and Boston Bay Jerk-yummy jerk lobster. It also has a great view-the eating area overlooks the Rio Grande River. The bad: We stayed in a room, not a villa. It was okay except for the bed and the bathroom. We thought we were getting a king size bed, but it was actually just two beds pushed together which moved and separated at times. The other issue was the bathroom. It was the type of room that didn't have the roof actually attached to the walls and so as you could imagine I had to share the bathroom with all kinds of bugs and lizards. If you don't mind this then this place is great for the value. However our room did not look anything like the pics. Unfortunately I didn't take any of my own to share. I'd recommend this hotel to friends that I know don't mind bugs and lizards-so none of them!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Lea2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 - 53 of 65 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2010

We went to this villa for a mini vacation and it was a great retreat.

The staff were helpful and offered us a cozy room, which was a good thing since it rained the whole weekend. The room was a little small, but clean. We absolutely loved the view of the Rio Grande from the room and it was great walking down the stairway from the hotel to the riverside--it was like a tropical rainforest! We also loved the deck, the poolside and the free wireless internet service.

On the downside, we had a small invasion of ants on the second day and we had to ask the owners to turn on the heater so that we could get a warm shower. Also, be sure that you'll have transportation if you want to get to the town nearby (it's about 10 minutes' drive).

Overall though, if you love great views and a natural environment, it's a great stay and good value.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank BOLOAVES
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2010

I have co-led five study abroad experiences for college students. We have stayed at the Rio Vista each year. The setting is beautiful, the rooms are nice, and the staff is wonderful. The location is away from the major tourist resorts which provides for a peaceful, relaxed experience. I recommend rafting on the Rio Grande in the afternoon as you pass by the Rio Vista as the sun is setting.

  • Stayed: May 2009
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1  Thank btalbert2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2010

I don't normally write reviews and such, but I had to leave a comment about Rio Vista. When we got there, we got upgraded to a Villa because there were some guests who decided to extend their stay there. No problem. When we got into the room, we saw one of the most breathtaking views ever of the Rio Grande river. The bed was right across the door that led to the balcony so we could stay in bed and look out and see the mountains. It was beautiful.

The people at the villa were also great and very friendly. We also had breakfast there and it was some of the best Jamaican breakfast one could ever have.

We stayed for 2 nights but wished we could have stayed longer. One thing's for sure is that we will be going back.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank dcblair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2009

We had a lovely villa with a gorgeous view of the river. We were only there for a night but would have happily stayed longer. The owners and staff were very friendly and helpful, and this is the perfect spot if you want to go rafting on the Rio Grande -- they'll arrange the taxi and trip with an experienced captian (essential) and at the end of your rafting trip, you're an easy walk back to the hotel. A lovely retreat.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank sah1967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2008

We stayed in Villa Amour for our honeymoon. The villa has a nice big comfy bed with mosquito net (which we found to be essential), effective air conditioning, balcony overlooking the river, satellite tv with about 60 channels, a basic kitchen (fridge freezer, cooker, sink) and a basic en-suite bathroom (good hot water if you remember to leave the boiler on before you go out, but not much pressure)

We were picked up at Kingston Airport by "Mr. Bing" who was our tour guide for the rest of the holiday - he took us for the 3 hour drive to Port Antonio via the bumpy mountain road. On arrival late in the evening they'd prepared us a tasty dinner of jerk chicken.

For the rest of the stay breakfast was served on a veranda overlooking the river where Miss Odette served us tasty pancakes and fried eggs, bacon, delicious juice and good coffee. A couple of times we opted for the traditional Jamaican breafast of Salt fish and Ackee which is highly recommended.

Our honeymoon package included dinners which we enjoyed on the veranda at about 7.30 each evening and we let Mrs. Sharon serve up whatever she thought best and we weren't disappointed - delicious local food, even lobster on the final night!

At breakfast and dinner we were entertained by a family of lizards who scurried around between the plant pots that line the veranda.

We were the only guests for the first 5 days of our stay and it was only at the end that there were others. We got the impression that Rio Vista haven't been pushing their marketing in the last year particularly after the owner passed away.

The swimming pool is nice, perhaps a bit cool, with good loungers to relax on.

Inside the main building there was evidence of busier times in the past, for example a bar, which was unmanned during our stay but the staff were always happy to attend to us. (We bought our own drinks from the supermarket in the end, which stayed nice and cold in the fridge)

On the plus side this accommodation is good value and the food really is very good. The service is excellent from the friendly owner and staff.

On the down side, the peace and quiet of this beautiful setting is spoiled by the noise from the sand and gravel extraction operation close by which has big trucks arriving and leaving throughout the night, every day but Sunday. We were able to zone out the noise but some may not be able to.

Also in Villa Amour the lizards appeared to have a nest in the roof and some might be disturbed by the occasional rustling in the rafters!

A hire car is essential - we hired ours from Eastern Car Rental who were friendly and efficient.

If you go, be sure to take a raft trip on the Rio Grande - there are reviews of it on this site.

Stayed: February 2008
1  Thank Curb_Safe_Charmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2006

Great value for money, the hotel is in a beautiful location high above the Rio Grande with fantastic views from the breakfast area over the river valley and rainforest each morning. And a delicious breakfast too, especially the Blue Mountain coffee. Food is expensive by Jamaican standards, but superbly cooked, the shrimp and lobster especially. The pool is small but ideal for kids who can swim. The hotel is set in beautiful and well cared for gardens and the colour-changing lizards provide good breakfast entertainment.

Our room was in a lodge overlooking the river, complete with balcony, mosquito net and clean bathroom, plus a fridge. Air conditioning worked fine.

The owners Henry and Sharon are very friendly and helpful, always making time to chat and ensure the visit was a smooth one.

Just a couple of minor problems: first of all there is a commercial sand extraction company working on the river bed beneath the hotel, they start work at 7am and continue right up until long after dark each night and the trucks and diggers are sure noisy, so don't expect true peace and quiet. The hotel is also quite isolated, despite being on the main coastal road, so there's no choice for eating/drinking out or shopping locally, except at the hotel. The food/service at the hotel is great, but maybe after 5 days it could get a bit tedious. Also the bar area is normally shut and locked up by 10pm, so don't expect late night drinks by the pool. We made up for this by filling our fridge with food and beer bought at the supermarket in central Port Antonio.

Another thing we noticed is that the hotel is popular with American church groups, they never bothered us and seemed friendly enough, but the sight of midnight baptisms in the hotel pool and late-night hymn sing-a-longs were a bit weird ! Breakfast and meal seating is also limited and the group always got priority, so we had to fit our meal times around them.

Rafting: the Rio Grande tour ends by the hotel. Just don't do what we did and pick a day of heavy rain, as we got to the other side of the river, waited for the rains to stop and then spent 6 hours in a bar waiting for the water to subside before crossing back to the other side of the river again, so about 5 minutes of rafting in 8 hours !!!

A recommended restaurant is Dickie's Secret, run by rastafarians, and on the main road coming into Port Antonio from St Margarets. Overlooks the beach and has great food, but it has no sign outside so you'll need to phone ahead to reserve/get directions.

Blue Lagoon was still in pieces after the hurricane a few years back. Local boatmen will take you on a tour, although it costs nothing to "break in" and take a swim or snorkel.

Somerset Falls was the highlight of the area, a chance to swim in waterfall pools in the jungle and take an invigorating shower.

  • Stayed: October 2006, travelled with family
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4  Thank Casualist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rio Vista Resort

Address: | Portland, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Portland Parish > Port Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 31 Speciality Lodging in Port Antonio
Price Range: £58 - £98 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Rio Vista Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Overlooking the stunning blue waters of St. Margaret's Bay and the mouth of the Rio Grande river, sits the Rio Vista Resort. The hotel is nestled atop a lushly vegetated hill, with breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains, its peaks hovering at over 7,000 feet. The Blue Mountains is home to one of the world's best coffees. The Rio Vista offers a range of beautifully appointed guest rooms and villas. Choose from river/mountain, garden, pool, or sea views. Free continental breakfast included. The gazebo deck is the perfect place to start and end the day with an ice cold Red Stripe beer or a refreshing glass of coconut water. Sit back and take in a picturesque Jamaican sunset, while watching rafter floating by on the meandering Rio Grande river. A variety of Activities are available in close proximity to the hotel. Explore the variety of exciting packages and promotions being offered in the area to enhance your vacation experience. Boat rides on the World famous Blue Lagoon, tours of a Blue Mountain Coffee plantation, rafting on the Rio Grande, water fall climbs at Somerset Falls, nature walks, beautiful beaches and much much more. Rio Vista is a ten acre estate with individual rooms and 1, 2 and 3 bedroom villas. The property is located four miles west of Port Antonio, on Jamaica's north coast, nestled between the Rio Grande River and the Caribbean Sea. We are approx 1 1/2 hours from Kingston (Norman Manley Int'l Airport) through the mountains and 3 hours from Montego Bay (Sangster Int'l Airport) along the north coast highway. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rio Vista Resort Villas Hotel Port Antonio
Rio Vista Resort Jamaica/Port Antonio

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