12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
LIED TO, ROBBED AND TRICKED
"Do not forget to take your credit card if you have purchased your holiday on line and check any original paperwork sent if you have upgraded your room. DO NOT BELIEVE THE RECEPTION SUPERVISOR â JOY ANN ALLEN â check everything she says is correct before handing money over. When I first paid up front by credit card months before the holiday I was sent an invoice stating it is mandatory to produce your credit card on arrival. I then upgraded my room but the follow up invoices did not have the small print on them, so I did not take my credit card as I had only printed what I needed at the time and didnât recall what was on the old invoice. On arrival I was told I had to cancel my original booking without the credit card, even though it was fully paid and I had proof of identity and a copy of the invoice. I was asked to pay again. Luckily I had my debit card and enough credit to pay again. The reception supervisor, Joy Ann Allen, then assured me that I would be credited back my original amount to my credit card and I would be charged the same original fee but in Jamaican Dollars/US Dollars. I agreed even though I was really worried as I had no internet to work out the difference. Surprise, surprise, when I checked my bank account a few days later the hotel had charged me a massive extra of Â£529 plus a Â£74 transaction fee. I spent the next few days trying to sort this out with the customer services lady, Jheanell who appeared to be helpful. She also sent an email to the Customer Services Team to credit me back the extra amount. I was anxious all through my two week holiday that (1), I would be credited the original amount of Â£2193.08 for a two week stay and (2) the Â£529 plus Â£74 extra even though I was assured I would be. On getting home I checked with the credit card company and was relieved to find out that I had been credited back the Â£2193.08. I really needed the Â£529 plus Â£74 back into my bank account and was overdrawn by that amount. After numerous emails with the hotel, I was told the case was now closed and that the difference was the bankâs exchange rate which it totally was not! I was charged more money. After more emails, I was told to call the hotel and each time I tried to call back I could not get through but was kept on hold (this was costing a fortune so I gave up). After sending more emails to both Jheanell and the Supervisor Call Center I have not heard anything back. I was lied to, robbed and tricked by the hotel at a massive extra amount of Â£603 and now I am back in the UK, there is nothing I can do. This is terrible service from what is meant to be a highly regarded hotel all over the world. As well as this the hotel is not a safe place. On our second night there had been an incident in the room next door and security had to access our room and over the balcony to check if someone in the room next door was o.k. There was blood in the hall way leading to their room. After that, every night we had repeated calls from Security to keep our balcony doors closed in the evening and at night. Then there was an incident on the beach when a women was assaulted by a local man selling cannabis from his kayak. Security were no where to be seen and turned up 20 minutes too late. "
- Travel date: Thu 26th of May 2016
MUST READ! time of my LIFE!:'D
"I'm 15 years old& i've just come home from a 2 week stay at the Riu, where my dad got married. I honestly CRIED when i got home.. It was by far the BEST holiday i have ever been on. Maybe that's because i personally did'nt have to pay for it, and weak alcohol doesn't bother me, but it really was brilliant. I spent the majority of the first week around the pool, the pool was very clean during the morning, but towards the afternoon i did see little bugs floating around in it but C'MON?! We were in Jamaica, one of the hottest countries in the world, of course there are going to be bugs! I must admitt though the pool did get abit repatative once you'd been sitting at it for hours, but the great thing about this is the beach is under 10 seconds from the pool and you can just alternate between the 2! The swim up bar was livley, and everyone seemed happy there, the service was abit slow but in all fairness the bar was busy at all times! The drinks were wonderful and all of the milkshakes and cocktails were made fresh infront of your eyes. There was alot of staff at the bar, and life guards were at the pool at all times, who i got along with very well! The entertainment staff around the pool/beach where by far the lovliest people i have EVER met, and i think this is the reason i got emotional when i had to come home because me and my family had became such close friends with them. They were always getting you involved in activites and me and my little sister went to lunch with them a few times. I got on particually well with 'Krystal' -who works in the kids club, helped her out alot and were still in touch now, and 'MJ/Rasta' who i honestly fell in love with! Greatest man i know ;) The jerk chicken hut on the beach was YUMMMY! and fresh. The food on a whole wasnt AMAZING but it was nice.. And ALL INCLUSIVE means, ALL INCLUSIVE. I dont think i've eaten or drank so much in my life! The rooms are lovely, and the T.V was good for me and my little sister beacuse they had channels such as 'Nickeloden' and 'Cartoon Network' which took me back to when i was 10! The shower and bath were lovely, the water was always the right temperture and didn't just randomly go hot/cold during a shower, which is good! The air-con and fan were wicked too! We'd put them on before we went to dinner and evening entertainment and come back to a lovely cool room. I've read reviews about BEDBUGS?! bedbugs?! i can ASSURE you now that there were no bed bugs in my bed!! Although, mosquitos were a problem, annoying little things, but as i said, YOU'RE IN A TROPICAL COUNRTY?! OF COURSE THERE'S GONNA BE BUGS YOU DONT LIKE!! Besides, there was an unlimited supply of alcohol in your room so you could simply just put some rum on it and it would stop itching ;) The evening entertainment was the best entertainment i have ever watched in a hotel, the dancers were AMAZING and looked professional. The ENT crew (entertainment team) always tried to get you on the stage and join in with them but when you said NO they did understand:) Entertainment went on until about 11 and then afterwards me and my family had a drink with some of the ENT crew, we were close with them :D also there is a night club in the resort called 'Pacha' which i only went to once (on my 16th birthday night) and i am 2 years underage to go into a nightclub but i just hid my childrens band and they didn't notice ;)The hotel shop though, was very over-priced but isnt everything on holiday?! You didn't have to pay for anything else in the hotel so what's it matter if you have to pay a few dollar for some pringles! The reggae dance class and beach aerobics were fun too! I did them with my step-mum ;) I come from a Jamaican background so i went out of the resort for a few days to see my family and when i came back everyone was just as welcoming as they were when we first arrived:D anyway.. this may not be an amazing written review on punctuality and spelling and grammer and that but I BLUDDDY LOVED MY HOLIDAY! i loved it so much that ive enroled myself on a travel and tourism course here in England then i'm applying for a job there when i'm 18:D Honestly, DO NOT BE PUT OFF BY BAD REVIEWS!!!! I'd give absoloutly anything to go back there, ANYTHING!!!!!!!!:) hope this helps xxxxxxxxx"
- Travel date: Wed 8th of June 2011
need to work out the kinks!
"We just returned last night from Riu Montego bay. We have vacationed at several all inclusives, so we have an idea of what to expect....
Check in: Very smooth, our room was ready. We arrived a day late due to Hurricane Ike, so we asked if we could have an upgrade to oceanview, as the resort had been paid for 5 nts and we were only staying 4 nts. No oceanviews were available, as buildings were still under construction.
So off to our room we went with the bellman. The room's Air conditioner was not working. The fan would not turn on, so the bellman called down for us to the front desk and we were given another room on the third floor in another building.
The room was average size, 24" TV,small balcony with 2 plastic chairs, small fridge(not cold) liquour dispenser, and a nice bathroom with a small tub. We had no tv remote and the tv wouldn't turn on even manually. We called down and after about 4 hours wait..we got a tv and remote...
They didn't service our mini bar once during our stay...We had to call front desk for bottled water on day 4.
The shampoo and bath gel are in disposable paper packets.
No frills here.
A good variety.
Reservations are a pain, as you need to make them in the early AM, if you want to go to specialty restaurants. We prefer to go to all inclusives where we don't have to worry about being somewhere at a certain time to eat.
Wait staff was wonderful in all restaurants...Very friendly and went above and beyond for guests...Management and front desk should be as accomodating...
Great setup. Bartenders were good..Tipping helped speed up the process of being waited on...
No top shelf in any of the bars. Beer on tap.
If you expect top shelf liquor or decent wine...go elsewhere.
Wine was served from pitchers...Red and White were your choices in all bars and restaurants.
Very professional and clean...I had 2 massages and a pedicure...Staff was great! Services were great!! The spa is not owned by the Riu.
Overall: You get what you pay for..../we had a great time and met some nice people, but don't expect 4 or 5 star....
The RIU mo bay is 3 star ...We went not expecting alot and that's what we got..NO room service...No top shelf::No bottled water, except for gallon jugs in your room..A great view of jets flying over."
- Travel date: Tue 16th of September 2008
Very Nice Hotel
"We stayed 7 nights at the Riu Montego Bay from 9/6-9/13. The hotel is pretty much complete. The Sports Bar got the final touches while we were there - a pool table, several computers (internet cafe) and a Need for Speed video. The bartender said there will be slot machines in soon. We ate at the buffet at most times and it had something for everyone. The curry goat was delicious although I suspect that it would be better (hotter) in a true Jamaican restaurant. Don't miss the Jamaican theme night at the buffet. The waitstaff is very excited to share their cuisine with you. Try the ginnet (spelling?) fruit! The staff is amazingly friendly and will chat with you about anything from politics, economy, family life, to just about anything. I have never met friendlier people in my life! We weren't thrilled, however, with the individual restaurants. The food selection is much smaller. While you get great individualized attention and you are served by a waiter, you still have to go through the small buffet area for side dishes and desserts. We thought the regular restaurant buffet was fantastic so we were slightly disappointed with the Italian restaurant. If the weather is poor (we had one afternoon of rain), the Entertainment Crew is quick to get games going and supply the prizes (bottles of rum). I definitely recommend hiring an authorized taxi driver to take you out for a few hours. The authorized drivers are wearing burgundy pants and a white shirt and stand at the entrance to the hotel. We paid $45 for two hours one time and $50 for two hours another time. One driver was Winton. He took us to the Richmond Hill Hotel for some absolutely stunning photographs, to a small bar/shop called Hi-lites for more beautiful photos and a cool ginger beer (we bought him one too). He took us around to see the sites and elaborated well on local culture and history. The other driver on another day took us to Rose Hall and the golf course. His name was Everready. Again, he eagerly shared great information about Jamaica. Rose Hall is worth a visit as it is such a part of the Montego Bay history. The tour starts in the bar in the basement pub area where a gentleman sings some Johnny Cash songs while playing a guitar. Our tour guides name was Sacha and she did a very nice job. The tour ended with Sacha singing a song to us next to the tomb of the White Witch. When we first got to the hotel, the tour company we were told to meet with wanted $170 US dollars for a two hour private trip. I feel we got a great deal as both drivers touched on quite a few of the sights listed in our Frommers book. In addition, we were able to get so much more conversation going with them as they shared freely with us. The Sports hut was fabulous, too. We took a snorkeling trip for one hour ($28 each). The reef was very nice but the water was still slightly murky from the storm. The $28 I paid for a windsurfing lesson was well worth it. I was able to get up 3 times, however, the wind was so strong they didn't think I would have much more luck so they gave me sailing lessons for free. They are extremely patient and make sure you are comfortable before they let you go out by yourself. We also took a kayak out to the small island (you aren't supposed to go onto the island as it is the private island for Sandals next door). The beach was very nice and the workers work very hard to keep it clean. Jamaican dancing lessons were done right on the beach and made for fun viewing even if you don't like to dance. Small thatch-roof "umbrellas" are located all around the pool making the area pleasant for sunbathers and those who just want to be part of the action but avoid the sun. Bars were plentiful though possibly slightly understaffed. It is true that there was little food to be found after 10 p.m. If you go to the Sports Bar, they will probably have chips and cheese, small sandwiches, kiwi, bananas and a few other items. Unfortunately my husband ate something that didn't agree with him and we had to visit the nurse. She was wonderful and called in a doctor for a house call. Dr. Paul Robinson came to our room, diagnosed my husband with gastroenteritis and dispensed three medications on the spot. While this cost us $260 (he took credit cards!), it was well worth it because we had to leave the resort to go home in 20 hours. As the doctor promised, my husband was able to travel fine. My husband and I ate exactly the same food and I was totally fine so we are not sure what happened. I can't say enough about the friendliness of the workers. All in all we had a fabulous experience and would definitely return."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of September 2008
room for improvement
"ROOM â very clean, granite counter top in bathrooms, safe, iron, A/C working perfect, small TV (I think may be 24â) not too many chanels, you get only one key per room, which could be a little bit inconvenient when one of you wants to go sleep a little earlier
FOOD â good selection, but for some inexplicable reason you canât get anything after 10:30 pm, long lineups at the beach hut and not enough food there, asian restaurant KALU is actually a buffet, Italian restaurant LITTLE ITALY has tiny portions, the STEAKHOUSE is pretty good (Mahoe Bay restaurant during the day), ROSE HALL restaurant â buffet very good
BAR â domestic beer only, domestic rum, domestic and import whiskey, bartenders are friendly but sometimes slow, NO BAR ON THE BEACH!!!!
BEACH â water is cloudy, yellow sand, mud and sea weed when you go a little deeper
ENTERTAINMENT â Michael Jackson and Steel Drum show a must see, Grease terrible, everything else is OK, Night Club PACHA - OK, pool aerobic during the day, sometimes there is no music at all and lot of times you hear the same song 10 times in one afternoon"
- Travel date: Sat 13th of September 2008
"Vacation Dates: August 30 - Sept 6, 2008
D'Silvas of Toronto
Returned a week ago from our visit to Riu Montego Bay.
Check In: Terrible - had to wait at least 3 hours before a room was assigned to us. The first room was not ready, the second room - no electricity and to top it all after waiting more than 45 minutes had to climb 2 storIes to find that out, the third room after much irritation saying that we would not accept going here and there to check if the rooms were ready were given a room on the ground floor. When we asked for a ocean front room were told that they were not ready for occupation. We would have gladly paid extra if we had known that was what was required. In my opinion, Mr. Santana at front desk was not very efficient at all.
Once we checked into our room which was OK nothing great we had no remote. Got that after 3 days and it was an old damaged remote they managed to get from somewhere.
Three days into our vacation we get a message from Sunquest Vacation rep. there who sourly says our family is worried that we are missing. She was not very happy we took a tour from another company at the hotel. My family had been calling us to speak to us and the front desk kept passing the calls to the wrong room! This happened 2-3 days in a row. At this point my kids thought we were missing and sent out search police and all kinds of contacts looking for us. Not once did the staff at the front desk inform us about calls. They did not even care. On a hunch after talking to my kids and the panic this had created I went to the front desk and asked them what room we were listed under and lo and behold they had not put in the right room no. so obviously it rang at 3, 4, 5, in the morning with no answer. Inspite of my kids telling them that there was no answer, they did not take the trouble to find out which guests they were asking about. I consider his very poor customer service.
The entertainment was good but they can do better. The Grease show was awful.
The food was okay, the fruits were not the best.
The staff at the restaurants were really nice and helpful and pleasant. No complaints at all on that front.
Will I return to this hotel again. I dont think so. Its best a 3 star than a 5 star hotel.
Another piece of advice - get a cab outside of the hotel - ask for Ricky - will take you on tours or around town. Dont forget to bargain."
- Travel date: Sat 13th of September 2008
Just returned, nice hotel
"I returned last night from a 5 day stay at the Riu Montego Bay. There were some "kinks" but overall I enjoyed my stay. I will try to give an overview of the resort. The resort is a pastel purple with white trim, classic caribbean. The initial photos are reflective of the hotel. This is a NEW resort, not remodeled. The guests ranged from singles, couples, and families with young children(few teenagers). All age ranges. I would rate the hotel a 3.5 out of 5, good but not consistently great service, clean rooms and facilities, standard amenities.
My check in and check out were easy. I booked an oceanview room and had a clear unobstructed view of the ocean in building 5. I was on the 2nd floor. Another person booked oceanfront and was in the adjoining building a floor below, but not ground floor. I am not sure how they classify the difference between oceanfront and oceanview. The property and rooms were clean. The bed was comfortable. Fully stocked refrigerator and in-room bottle dispenser. Good size room with dual sink bathroom. There was a separate door and small entryway which separates your room from the hall so you don't get hallway noise. The pool was clean. Swimup pool bar was very nice. There were additional seating areas(booths) in the pool around the swimup pool bar. There was a jacuzzi in this area as well.
Hotel entertainment was ok. It was the first week. Standard contests. Entertainment staff made an attempt to go around and greet the guests in the afternoons and after shows. Friendly environment. I was a female traveling alone and other guests and staff were very nice. I felt safe. Disco on property was ok but this will probably vary depending on guests. The "Cuban Shuffle" was performed many times throughout the day. If you don't know how to do it before you go you will know after you leave.
Food: Steakhouse was ok. This was not Morton's or Ruths Chris but edible. Japanese restaurant was buffet. Food was ok. I did not eat at the Italian restaurant. I was able to reserve dinner reservations the day of and 1 day in advance. Buffet had different theme nights. All food was ok. Mostly standard fare. Breakfast buffet has an omelet and fruit smoothie station. Best place to eat was the "Chicken Hut" where grilled jerk chicken, pork, and sausage were served in the afternoons. Not sure of the actual name. It was located on the beach. The sports bar was open 24 hours and serves liquor, cold sandwiches, nachos, and fruit 24/7. There was no midnight buffet or hot food after 1030pm until breakfast. If you have the late night muchies you will be disappointed. You can get some other food during the day and stash in the refrigerator but no microwave.
Massages were very good. All staff were very good. "Z" got very good/great reviews, request him. The massage prices were reduced during my stay, uncertain why. Gym was spacious with good equipment. Craig was an awesome bartender but the others were also very good.
There was a problem with the internet and local phone service, neither worked. This was an issue the entire stay but they were working on it. There were no games in the sports bar which were delayed because of the hurricane. No liquor service in restaurants. Wine, local white or red from a barrel, was available at dinner. Drinks were good but not too strong. If you want stronger drinks request conquering lion rum, an overproof rum.
There was still some construction in 2 buildings. All of the buildings did not have elevators. Guests originally placed in these rooms were moved without problem. Per other guests, the managers and staff made an effort to accomodate guests who had this problem. They were moved to another building. The planes flew over several times during the day, most people ignored this. It was not as often as I feared. Maybe 4 or 5 times. You sometimes had to repeat a small part of the conversation because of the planes. This seemed minor to me. Bring bug repellant, mosquitos were an issue when outside in the evening and night.
I would recommend this hotel. It is not 5 star service or amenties but it is good to very good service and amenities. If you just want to get away, relax, and have fun then this is a good choice."
- Travel date: Fri 12th of September 2008
The most phenomenal all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay
"I was afraid the hotel wouldn't open on 8/29 because of Hurricane Gustav, but it did. I was delayed because my flight was cancelled on 8/29, but when I arrived on 8/30, I never knew a hurricane had passed through 2 days before. From check-in with Mr. Santana to speaking with the Sales Manager (Niurka Garcia) about future bookings, it was the most fantastic vacation I have encountered. The property is immense, with all the amenities one could imagine, including 4 restaurants, 5 bars, nightly entertainment, the spa and the gym.
I have stayed at other properties in Montego Bay which I thought were good, but the RIU clearly outshines them all. And, I have never been to a resort property that has such friendly workers. The bartenders truly enjoy their jobs, and make sure you get to know these ones especially...Renville, Denise, Kenniel, Marland, Jacent, Michelle, Arcash and Rowhan. Tell them Cassie says "hello." They were all super!
Everyone there always says hello and offers help whenever needed. The entertainment staff also made the trip a most memorable one...not only are they talented, but so friendly, especially Max, Bjorn, Zena and Alex.
I am already looking at dates to return there in late winter or early spring."
- Travel date: Thu 11th of September 2008
Fun Vacation in a Flawed Resort
"Let me begin by saying that although I'm about to post a handful of "negative" things about this resort and its grand opening, me and my girlfriend had a great time here and it was NOT a complete disaster by any means. Most of the "bad" Iâm going to post does not outweigh the good. There was just a combination of minor annoyances, none of which will really make or break your vacation unless you have really been around before and are very picky. A lot of these annoyances can be ironed out, but there are some things that may never and can never be fixed. You should know what youâre paying for and thatâs what I hope to help you with here.
I will try my best not to post irrelevant comparisons, but we went to Iberostar Varadero last year (also rated 5 star) and a handful of our disappointment at Riu Montego Bay came from high expectations set by our last vacation which we spent barely $100 more on. Just keep that in mind as your read, because if it's your first vacation, a lot of the things that annoyed us probably wonât bother you.
Letâs get to it.
ARRIVAL, FIRST IMPRESSION, CHECK IN
Unfortunately, when we got to Jamaica the day after Gustav hit, the airport was jam packed with people coming in on delayed flights so it took over an hour to get through immigration and out to our bus. We got out of the airport eventually and the bus ride to the resort took approx 5-10 minutes. The proximity to the airport accounts for planes flying over the resort all day. Sometimes they come in extremely low and loud, so keep that in mind.
As soon as we got there, my initial reaction was "Where the hell are we" because the place looked very different from pictures. The outside is painted all pink, not white like in pictures online AND there is no tall main building as we learned later floors were torn down due to the resort being close to the airport and planes coming in low. In general the pictures on the websites are not what the place actually looks like, not to say it looked bad, but it can be a little startling at first.
Check in took VERY long, longer than any resort Iâve ever stayed at. Thankfully they had someone serving us cocktails and champagne (the only time we would see champagne for the whole week) while we waited in line. The line wasnât even long but I guess they were getting used to the process of checking people in because it took almost 10 minutes per person, they forgot to give us towel cards until we asked, and forgot to give us our wristbands leading to the clerk chasing us down as we walked to our room to give them to us. We decided to take our luggage to our room ourselves because we just wanted to change and hit the pool ASAP. They will offer to have a bellboy bring it for you, however a couple we met told us the bellboy didnât bring their luggage for over an hour.
First off, the rooms unlike every resort Iâve ever been to in Cuba use an actual KEY, not a swipe card, but a metal KEY. On top of that, your metal key has your room number attached to it so if you lose it, everybody knows what room the key is for. If you happen to lose your key, its $50 to get another one, unlike other resorts where you pay nothing to get a new card. The rooms are pretty small compared to what Iâve seen before but it was ok. We had a king sized bed. The bathroom had 2 sinks and a shower/tub. Each room has a mini fridge and liquor dispenser (see pics). They say they will restock your fridge every 2 days, but ours was only restocked 2 times during our entire stay. We actually had to call reception for them to bring a new jug of water because they didnât restock our fridge when they were supposed to. Many other guests complained that they were missing TV remotes among other things, Iâm not sure if they were taken care of or not. Overall our room was comfortable and made daily. 3/5
There are 2 pools side by side with similar design. One Pool has a swim up bar and round seated Jacuzziâs while the other is a bit bigger and has a volleyball net. Volleyball is the only all day sport provided in the pool, so if you donât know how to play, either learn or bring something else to do. There was a ping pong table on the pool deck, and every other day theyâd have water aerobics. It should probably be noted that the place just opened and tiles are already coming loose in the pool in both the walk ramps and around the volleyball net. They also had daily competition/party at the pool including a coconut party where they brought coconuts and cut them for you to drink the water (with rum if you wanted) and a booty shaking competition. One bad thing to note, they closed the pool with the bar for most of one day (Wednesday I think), because it failed an inspection and they had to clean/refill it. It was closed all morning and didnât reopen until about 3-4pm.
The beach for me was the biggest let down. The water was very rocky at the front, felt muddy further in, lots of seaweed, not clear at all and was just nowhere near the beauty of the beaches Iâve been to in Cuba. 2 people we met got stung by jellyfish. Some say this had to do with Gustav, but it should be noted a security guard explained to us the beach is manmade. On a positive note, the resort and pool is super close to the beach, there are ample loungers, paddleboats, kayaks, sailboats, and on one day I saw people playing horseshow on the beach. One thing that may annoy people is they allow local merchants to come up to the shore in their kayaks to sell you stuff (yes, including the green stuff, which Iâll note now is not hard to find around the resort at all).
Throughout the week they kept saying they were going to have a night time beach party, but it never happened. It was postponed from the original date due to rain earlier in the day, but they never rescheduled.
The food was good, but again a lot of annoyances. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets everyday with lots to choose. Breakfast and dinner were in the Rose Hall, lunch was in the Mahoe Bay open dining room which was transformed to the steak house restaurant at night. In addition to the steakhouse there were also Asian and Italian reservation dining. The Steak House was by far the best, the Italian the worst with ridiculously small main courses. The Asian Restaurant was just another self serve buffet.
The annoying part was that you couldnât book your restaurant reservations more than 2 days in advance. You would have to come back on Wednesday to book for Thursday or Friday for example where other resorts Iâve been to allowed you to book all your reservations the day you got there. You were allowed to book restaurants more than once, however this led to them filling up very fast and when we tried to book the steakhouse a 2nd time for Friday, it was already full and they werenât taking anymore reservations, so itâs entirely possible that you may not be able to reserve a certain restaurant due to space restraints.
Even more annoying is there was next to no food at night. The sports bar was open 24/7 (which by the way had way less seating than seen in pictures) however the only food available was chips, until I complained one night and the next night they moved in a fridge where they kept crackers and fruit, but unlike other resorts Iâve been to, there were absolutely no fresh hot snacks throughout the night like other resorts that serve burgers, sandwiches, ect all night.
The best food on the resort by far was the jerk hut on the beach which had great jerk chicken, pork and sausage. The bad part about the jerk hut was that people caught on to how good it was fast leading to LONG line ups that went very slow due to only 1 person working in the hut both cooking and serving. The Jerk Hut was also only opened during lunch from noon to about 2-3pm when they ran out of food and closed for the day. Why this jerk food wasnât served in the regular lunch and dinner buffet, I have no idea
The bars were adequate. Forget about asking for a Caser or a Mohito, because they donât have the ingredients. Champagne was also a no. That said there was a fair selection of international cocktails and liquors. The first day we got there, they had no Red Stripe, but thank god that was dealt with quickly the day after. There were about 5-6 bars throughout the resort, with only about 2-3 ever being opened at a time. Yet another annoyance, the bartenders sometimes donât pay attention to who comes to the bar first, and serve other people before you.
Food - 3.5/5 (would be higher if they fix the reservation situation, service at the jerk hut and serve food at night)
Bar - 3.5/5 (give us bigger cups during the day, get some champagne, and learn to make a ceaser or a mohito, pay attention)
The show schedule was as follows. My days might be a little off but this is what I remember.
Saturday â Live Reggae show (they always have a reggae band every night before and after the main show, but this one was exceptionally good)
Sunday â Ms Riu competition
Monday â Michael Jackson show
Tuesday â Ideal Couple competition
Wednesday â World dance show
Thursday â Steel Band show
Friday â Grease show
The steel band show was probably the best, followed by the Ms Riu competition (which my girlfriend participated in) and the Ideal Couple competition which were naturally funny.
The shows were entertaining but the dance shows in particular were poorly rehearsed and poorly performed compared to what Iâve seen in Cuba. They also contained a lot of embarrassing lip syncing. The Grease show specifically was terrible with the sound sounding like they were playing a 30 year old tape with the treble cranked to max. Iâm a sound engineer as a hobby and this was insanely annoying for me. Why is there even a Grease show in Jamaica? It was an absolutely awful last show for our trip. I wouldâve loved for that beach party to happen instead of that incredibly crap Grease show.
At 11pm the Pacha nightclub would open. It was a decent sized room with a 4 sided bar and a dance floor. It was ACâd and they had a good mix of music, although they tend to play the same songs every day. It was really hit or miss, some nights it was packed some nights it was dead.
Shows - 3.5/5
The staff in the place is really up and down. The entertainers are awesome people; the dining staff is generally very polite; however there are a handful of people around the resort with an attitude that makes you ask yourself âwhy does this person work here?â Bartenders can be a little absent minded and not come to you when they should, but overall the staff was pleasant and were trying very hard to make people enjoy their stay.
Now here is something VERY IMPORTANT and Iâm not sure if itâs fair for me to put this under the staff but hereâs what happened.
We met 3 couples and all 3 of them had something stolen, it seemed we were the only ones who didnât have something stolen. One guy had his swim shorts stolen from his ground floor balcony where he hung his shorts on the rack they provide you with to dry your stuff. One couple had their camera charger stolen, and another guy had his sandals stolen from the poolside. Itâs hard to point the blame here, but I have NEVER been to a resort where people have had things stolen. It couldâve been the staff, it couldâve been guests, just be careful.
All the bad and annoying things above aside, we met a lot of nice people and enjoyed ourselves. Most of the staff was friendly and we had a good time. Your vacation is really what you make of it, so donât read this review thinking that youâre going to have the worst time of your life if you go here, because we had a great time overall. Iâve just pointed out all the annoying things about the resort because you should know about it if youâre planning to spend your money to go here and expect â5 starâ service. A lot of this stuff might not be an issue in the coming months. Iâm not sure if Iâve missed anything here, but if you have any questions about my review, message me or add to my thread in the forum. Thanks for reading.
- Travel date: Thu 11th of September 2008
I'll be first....
"Stayed Aug 30 - Sept 06....... group of 14.......
First impression was definitely unexpected... location is minutes from the airport but behind of an ESSO gas station and a Burger King... not exactly what I was hoping for at first glance... not much of an entrance either... standard gate and a roundabout... RIU Ocho Rios looks a lot nicer and Gran Bahia Principe even better?
Everything in the hotel is pretty much done minus maybe a few paintings and mirrors that I saw being put up... the grass hasn't fully grown out yet and the pool has a few tiles coming off... but besides that at least I didnt see a lot construction going on...
We stayed in an Ocean Front room and was very pleased with the view from our second floor room... the distance between the hotel and the water is very short making the room well worth paying for as its probably one of the closer rooms to the beach.... not much of a beach as the buildings are close as it is already to water... the beaches in Negril offers a lot cleaner waters and nicer sands to walk in...
The food in the buffet is good... it offers something for everyone....the jerk station by the beach is only open from 12pm-3pm and food is no where to be found after 10pm... there's no 24hr room service making the 24 hr sports bar your last resort... there's a station for nacho chips and cheese... I found them sometimes stale but I couldn't complain at 2-3 in the morning...
there's 3 restaurants... Steakhouse was good... Asian was a joke... It was a buffet and I just found the food pretty to be pretty bad... Italian had good appetizers but the main course's were really bad...
Overall.... I wouldnt recommend stayin at RIU Montego Bay... I wouldnt rate it as a 5 star hotel... especially since you see and hear all the planes going in and out of the airport... and if your in jamaica... find a driver and do your excursions with them!... much cheaper than booking it with your hotel... cheers!"
- Travel date: Wed 10th of September 2008
Not so 5 star afterall
"We have just returned from Riu Montego Bay in Jamaica and we were really disappointed...
Resort: The resort is nice; however it was not well kept from the dirt on the ground and the pools. In the morning (at 9 or even 10) the workers would still be slowly cleaning it and sometimes would not even finish throughout the whole day.
This resort is located 5 min from the airport and every 10 min or so you can hear the plane landing or taking off ... they would fly so close to the resort that you could not hear anything if you were talking to someone! You can also hear the airplanes in the room with all doors and windows closed! There are only 2 airports in Jamaica (one in Montego Bay and the other one are in Kingston) so you can imagine how busy it was....
Public washrooms: There was never anything to wipe your hands with at night time! You had to walk around with wet hands... was pretty shocking for 5 star RIU.
Food/Restaurants: We have stayed in many resorts but this one was one of the worse ones when it came to food. There is only one buffet restaurant that was open in the morning and at night but was closed during lunch. At lunch time the only place that was open was a beach/pool restaurant were they made you wear more than just your bikini. The food selection hardly changed from day to day and was not any good either. Most of the time we would be hungry or stuff ourselves with something we did not like so that our stomachs would not hurt. It was pretty sad... The fruit selection was so poor! They only had watermelon, pineapple and melons! I had to tip the juice lady so she can bring me some passion fruit and mango on the side.... so disappointing for a 5 star hotel!
You would think that in Jamaica you would be sick and tired of jerk chicken/pork...but not at this resort! There is a small grill pick up hut on the beach that served jerk chicken and pork and it was open from 12pm and close when they would run out of food (which was aprox 2pm with not more 200 guests since it was the opening week!!) You also had to wait for 30 min in line since only 1 person worked there!
There is no BEACH BAR! you had to walk to the pool bar if you wanted anything. There is no service either! There are no waiters at the pool or beach and there is no room service.
At night there are 4 places to eat: Asian, Italian, Steak and the Buffet. You have to make reservations to eat at all of them (7 pm or 9 pm only) and no reservations required at the buffet. The buffet is closed at 10 pm and there is NO FOOD AFTER THAT! For people that are late eaters, they had to grab whatever they could at the buffet and take it back to the room so when they come back from the club there would be something to munch on. Asian/Italian were not good at all, the only decent place was the Steak house.
It was extremely disappointing to see the food variety at RIU. One of our friends complained that there is nothing to eat at night so the hotel decided to have a mini snack at one bar (the only choice was chips!).
Entertainment: The entertainment was pretty good and the shows at night were decent. The only 2 shows that I would really recommend would be the Michael Jackson show and the Drums. The guys really did well.
Beach: The beach was nice however there were no sun umbrellas on the beach at all! It was pretty shocking for a 5 star hotel. The water was warm however once you get in the water pass your knees there are tons of sea weed. It is really gross... We had to swim from the shore to the end of swim area without stops as it was really disgusting to put your feet down. Some days it was raining so lots of jelly fish came close to the shore... they stung us few times but it went away once you forget about it and don't scratch it.
Pool: It was a nice pool with 2 Jacuzzis and a swim up bar... One day they decided to close it in the middle of the day to clean up and add some chemicals! Not at night, but during the day!
Room: We had to move to a different room because we wanted an ocean view room and we forgot our camera charger with some memory cards in the old room. When I called to claim about that to the front desk, they apparently did not find it. I had to speak with the front desk manager and other staff members but none of them were able to locate our charger. The maid stole it and would not return it. We were so upset because for the rest of the trip we had to save taking pictures so the battery would last.
Club: The club was small and cozy and when it was busy some nights it was fun.
Trips: We took a trip to Negril and it was great... they have beautiful beaches and you must visit Rick's cafe. We also did horseback riding and it was really nice as well. They take you to the ocean with horses to swim with, it was the best experience.
Overall this resort is a solid 4 star resort, especially with the plane noise at all times. The hotel managers knew that everything was not perfect and looked like they were listening to our suggestions. I hope in a year or two this hotel will get it 5 stars back.
I would not recommend this hotel and I do not think that we will ever go back there again."
- Travel date: Wed 10th of September 2008
"Stayed at Riu September 09/04 thru September 09/08. We booked the vacation due to the low intro price. We got what we paid for, when properties open they all have some issues to iron out. Riu did an decent job on getting the property ready.
Grounds were well manicured.
Pool was beautiful.
Beach was decent, plenty of loungers. Little to no seagrass washes up beach and any that does staff removes in am. Storms always cause extra issues at any beach. There is some seagrass you have to walk on when walking out off shore.
Food poor-average. Steak house order from menu, Italian order from menu, Asian is buffet at present time have menu, but due to staffing issue we had not option. They also have a large buffet in larger dining area open everynight. Dress for men is long pants, but was not enforced any of 4 nights we were there.
Rooms we had a ocean front which was very clean and had beautiful view. Bar in room stocked everyday.
Staff was very attentive and friendly.
Entertainment had normal resort shows, but they did have 2 nights of a fantastic steal drum band and the next night great reggae band.
Bars decent, you have to ask for name brand if want or you will get cheaper. Wine they have terrible choice of white or red served out of a pitcher. It was bad! If you want bottle wine you need to elevate to upper management to get it.
Riu was deffinitely in need of more staff in certain areas. Many of staff were from Riu Tropical Bay they transferred in to help out. Hopefully Riu can improve. I feel I got what I paid for, because it was a cheap trip.
Mosquitoes were bad at night. They did spray everyday, can't imaginge what it would be like without spraying."
- Travel date: Wed 10th of September 2008