Reviews summary

( 9897 reviews)
  • 4 room
  • 4 pool
  • 4 beach
  • 5 service
  • 4 value
  • 4 food
  • 4 cleanliness
  • 4 location

11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Overall Loved this hotel

Reviewed Tue 13th of December 2016

"We traveled out to Jamaica as a couple and from the minute we got to the hotel we had a great experience, the staff were very very friendly on arrival and throughout the whole holiday. Nice clean rooms simple but met our needs with Large Double bed, we had optics in the room with a fully kitted out mini bar but we are not massive drinkers so I would have preferred a kettle and coffee making facilities in the room but that was not to be. However, we could walk and get a coffee every morning so not an issue. There were a few nights when we had no hot water so I struggled to wash my long hair which was a little annoying but I got through that, and the TV was rather old and made a buzzing sound which we complained about, but didn’t watch it that much only whilst getting ready to go out. We had a large balcony looking over the beautiful garden where a nesting pair of Herons live. On occasions, it was also where the wedding ceremonies took place which was nice to see. The gym was right by or room which was 3156 so great for us as hubby liked to visit this every day so spot on. There are two pools both with swim up pool bars and had little sections so you could sit in the pool like a real pub which was cool as I had not seen this before. The larger pool was very busy and the entertainment centered around this which was good to watch but this pool did get a little bit untidy later in the day and would look better if someone cleaned the drinking cups more often but still good. Then the other pool was quieter and had a separate area to do some actual swimming in rather than just chill on the seats and beds within the pool.

The hotel is situated on a nice beach with safe water and plenty of sports facilities
The entertainment team were very good and excellent dancers which I couldn’t fault sometimes it was very basic “Butlin’s” fun but it was always upbeat and entertaining. Good Music and several different entertainers brought in to sing or play for the customers.

Food – excellent something for everyone whichever restaurant you choose – we were not in deluxe so there were apparently 3 restaurants we could not use, but didn’t miss these and we were there 14 night. Good Jerk Hut on the beach which severed nice Chicken not my cup of tea but again hubby was happy, Mandalay Restaurant was very good. All waiters were helpful nothing was too much and always going that extra mile (the ones we met anyway).
I would definitely go back. and would recommend it

However shop around we paid £1350 each to go for 14 nights on the Dreamliner from Manchester through Thomson but every British Person in that hotel paid £500 each less for booking last minute I was a little miffed at that

Room tip - take a portable kettle - deluxe rooms are away from the main dining area

Stayed October 2016, traveled as a couple
Don't miss trying the Chinese restaurant it is very nice buffet still but lovely food and staff.

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 3rd of November 2016

Rating breakdown

  • 4 Location
  • 4 Beach
  • 4 Room
  • 4 Pool
  • 5 Service
  • 4 Value
  • 4 Food
  • 4 Cleanliness

loved it!

Reviewed Sat 3rd of November 2012

"We are a family of 4 (two teenagers) who stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios form 11/19 – 11/25. We vacation several times a year and have been to a variety of places. We found this a wonderful place for a family vacation and are really surprised by many of the comments made here. This resort is incredible with beautiful grounds and many amenities. The Jamaican staff tried their very best to make everything perfect for everyone.

Knowing the ride form the airport is a difficult one we hired a local trusted driver whom we have used many times (over 15 years) when in Jamaica to pick us up. We wanted to avoid the long stops and just get to the resort. Peat Taylor was there at the airport with his air conditioned car and a cooler full of cold drinks waiting for us! The road was still bumpy and it cost us a few extra dollars for the convenience but it was an awesome start to our vacation.

Our check in process was effortless. We asked for room on a higher floor and were moved to the fifth floor with minimal persuasion. We had a standard ocenaview room and it was awesome! It had a king sized bed (not two doubles pushed together) and a double bed as well. This worked out perfect for our family. The rest of the room was beautiful with mahogany trim and tiled floors. We were in the 300 building room 3530 and loved it! It was a long walk to the lobby but we needed the exercise.

The room was spotless and beautiful! Mini bar was stocked full, plenty of towels every day, always cleaned by 2pm. The only thing missing from our room was a coffee maker. I really enjoy coffee on the balcony in them morning and it was a long walk to the restaurants to get coffee in the morning. Be sure to note that the water is not potable from the faucet. Gallons of fresh spring water are available in them mini bar in your room. We talked to a few folks who did not read the sign in the bathroom and got sick from drinking the tap water in the room. The TV gets a ton of channels however there is no channel guide to tell you what they are. The phone also has no directory on it. To call the front desk you dial 9…then they transfer you to whomever you want.

We were given a resort map at check in along with an activity sheet for the week. There is a large poster in the lobby which is updated every day with activity/show schedule changes. As things changed daily, I would use the poster and not the sheet as accurate information. Using the map we had no problem finding our way around the resort. It is huge and beautiful.

The daily activities were excellent. Water aerobics were held twice daily both in the pool and in the ocean. Contests galore included horseshoe, ping pong, volleyball, dance, water polo, and others. The activities staff does an incredible job. They are constantly talking with the guests and making them feel welcome. King Kong, Hot Dog, Slash and Sweet Cherry stand out as the most personable. They made a real difference in our vacation experience.

We did not need the kids program or babysitting but we saw a lot of parent s using this program. The kids area itself is a stand alone building and is fenced off and has a small built in pool if its own. What really impressed us was the staff. They were in the pool with the kids, taking them to the big pool, playing all sorts of fun games and really entertaining them. They seemed to love their work and seemed as if they kept a very watchful eye on them.

The spa is a bit small but was very busy. I had a great massage and reflexology. No one tried to sell me anything. It was just a great experience. The price was $60 for the massage and $35 for the reflexology. The gym was nice and never crowded. Good equipment and no waiting.

The pool bar and staff were spectacular! This is not a pool bar…it is a floating cocktail lounge!! It is huge with many tables and seating areas. We never had to wait for a drink! Loved the red stripe on tap and found the drinks plenty potent.

We enjoyed the food a great deal. The reservations for the specialty restaurants are now only done between 10am and noon. You have to go to each for the restaurants at that time to make reservations. We had no problem dining in all of them. We loved Sir Richards gourmet the best because it was sit down meal. The food was excellent and the service very good. The Mandalay (Asian) was also outstanding and had some of the best Shrimp tempura I have ever had. Sushi was good too. The steakhouse was also good but did not compare to the others. The buffet at St Ann’s was always excellent. Breakfast had so much variety and the made to order eggs were quick and hot. One morning we were greeted with Mimosa’s at the door. One evening we had some special rum drinks served upon entering. Each night was fun and the staff clapped for you in a long line when they opened every evening. We loved it. Never ever saw a fly or any bugs on the food or in the buffet area. It was impeccably clean.

The evening shows were fun although we did not see all of them. The Michael Jackson show was very good and the beach party was a blast.

We always bring stacks of one dollar bills with us on vacation and tip everyone. These people work very hard for very little money. There are many demanding personalities who abuse them at the bar and in the restaurants. We tipped for every drink and every one who helped us in any way. I think it the lease we can do for those who try do hard to make our vacations a good one. They appreciate it and are very grateful.

All in all we had a great time. There were a few glitches but nothing to complain about. It’s Jamaica; it’s a slower pace and gets you to relax. I would go back in a minute!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 28th of November 2005

Half Empty,Half Full

Reviewed Wed 10th of October 2012

"We just returnded yesterday the 26th from Riu Ocho Rios. First let me start by saying We are pretty seasoned travelers and have been lucky enough to visit many different places. We were supposed to go to Mexico like probably half of the people at the Riu
1. The Riu is an absolutely Stunning facility. Compares very well with Most Iberostars if you have been to Iberostars.
2. Pools , there is a quieter pool on the Suite side if you are not traveling with kids and a pool on the other side where most of the activities are.
3. Kids club, We found the staff to be very accomodating. They are open from 10:00 AM to 12:30 and after lunch they break till 3:00. My 7 year old made plenty of friends and had a graet time there. The down side to the club is if you have older ones like mine they do not really watch them so well. I complained to management as one day I went to get my kid and he was not there and asked and they said I dont know Mon I think he is swimming. Well my kid is pretty with it but I was not real comfortable with that response, But all in all pretty good program.
3. Food, Typical all inclusive Buffets. Very crowded long lines to get food. Did not change selection up much at all.
Negatives: We got real lucky and timed it just right I guess but most people were not able to get reservations at any of the Restaraunts. I told the staff that if they were going to offer this as part of the all inclusive package than they should be able to accomodate everybody. The Steak Restaraunt you could miss it was Horrible, The Japonese was pretty decent and Sir Richards was the best of the bunch.
4. Service: Typical Jamaican service NONE You better fend for yourselfs because Jamaicans are not known for their prompt service.
5. Fitness facility was pretty decent as far as resorts go. 1 satirmaster, 2 treadmills, 1 eliptical, 1 rowing machine and weight machines for each body part. not a full gymn but enough to get you by.
6. Bars: I never had any trouble getting what I needed and they offer pretty good variety. I drank my fair share of Canadian Club Whisky.

All in all I will not be going back but it is not because of the Riu itself I just particularly do not Like Jamaica or Jamaicans. The resort is beautiful but there are plenty of beautiful resorts elsewhere for my money that the service will far exceed anything you will get out of Jamaicans. Like I said we were forced to change plans from Mexico and I have been to Jamaica before and swore it off once but I can tell you I will never see that Island again."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 27th of November 2005

Just returned from RIU Ocho Rios!

Reviewed Wed 14th of November 2012

"If you have any doubts about going to RIU Ocho Rios, forget it! Unless you are real picky, or a world traveler who requires perfection, you will have a great time.
I'll try to summarize things, maybe some things you haven't heard before on this forum.
Flight on Air Jamaica: This was a great flight - left on time or early both coming and going. Served champagne just before we arrived, sold duty free items from the aisle cart, pretty good food.
Arrival at airport and transportation: this was very smooth. It took us no time to get through the whole process. We did not have previous transportation arranged to the RIU, so we made arrangements with Clive's. This is definitely the way to go if you have not already made plans. Our driver met us immediately out on the curb, called me by name, and we were on our way in 10 minutes. Charge was $25 per person each way. He gave us a guided tour on the way there and back. He was early in picking us up when we left three days later. The road to the RIU is horrible, indeed. You won't believe it, but as others have said, make it part of the adventure! It is under construction and part of it is actually ok, but most is unbelievably bad. He made a bathroom and beer stop on the way! Total trip is about one and a half hours, but probably two on a bus if you have to stop for a lot of folks to use the restroom, etc.
Check in/Room: We got there at 2 so I expected we would have to wait until 3 to get our room. I smiled and asked the girl to make sure we got a good room when it was time to check in. She came back shortly, said our room was ready, and we had been upgraded from a regular room to a junior suite at no charge. I didn't ask any questions! The room was great - I can't tell you what the other rooms had since we didn't go in one, but this one had everything we needed: iron and ironing board, water for drinking and brushing teeth, plenty of space for your stuff.
The building with the junior suites has its own pool, altho anyone is welcome to use it. It's just much less crowded than the bigger pool. Bar there is great, of course. Bring a small hugger for your drinks if you can - it sure keeps them cold longer.
Weather: it rained a little bit on Monday, then a good bit on Tuesday. It was often overcast, but don't let that bother you. Very warm - probably about 85.
Food/restaurants: I'm not very picky, but I thought the food was very good. We have been to all inclusives in the DR and Cancun, and I thought this was the best. Everyone says breakfast is the best and I would have to agree. The reservation process for the other restaurants is still pretty tough - you make them at the restaurant itself, not at the front desk as some of the literature says. Arrive at the rest at 10 a.m. (or earlier) and get in line. But they only seat about 60 - 70 people. There is no way they can accommodate everyone who wants to go. We were able to get one of the last reservations at Sir Richard on Sunday - it was excellent. Got one at the Asian rest on Monday - it was good, but not fabulous as others have said. It is buffet and just ok to me. Men were allowed here in shorts, but NOT in Sir Richard. We saw one gentleman get sent away to change clothes. Tuesday we wanted to go to the Japanese but there was no way we were getting into that. Made reservation instead at the steakhouse. We thought it was very good. You go to the buffet for everything except your entree. One thing I didn't like about this was that other than at dinner, this is a regular open air restaurant where you can just walk through on your way to something else. While we were eating, guests would wander through, not knowing that it was by reservation only, actually sit down at a table until someone told them to leave. I thought that was a bit distracting for a reservation only restaurant. You will always have your choice of wines at dinner.
The regular buffets are very good - pizza and pasta at La Piccola is good; lunch is very good at Mammee Bay. We didn't eat at the Plantation -it is near the busier end of the resort and is very crowded.
The resort, indeed, is huge!! It is beautiful and clean. All the employees are very friendly and appreciate you thanking them for good service, etc.
Entertainment: we didn't go to the evening shows, but they seemed to well attended, esp on Michael Jackson night! There was always a beach volleyball game going - there seemed to be stuff for the kids to do, and there are ping pong tables and darts at the edge of the pool.
If you are into long walks or running, as we were, you will be a bit disappointed. The beachfront is only about 1/4 of a mile. There are locals standing in the water selling their wares (shells, necklaces, etc) I guess they are not allowed on the shore. But, the beach and water are absolutely beautiful!
I took a lot of great pictures and will probably post them in a Yahoo album. If you want to see them let me know and I will send you the link. I'll try to post them here soon.
If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them. Have a great time!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 26th of November 2005

pretty hotel, some problems

Reviewed Fri 2nd of November 2012

"Spent one week at . My husband and I are pretty easy to please, but there were some major issues that should be considered before spending time at this resort.

Hotel very nice, rooms very clean and pretty (hotel basically brand new).. At the beginning of the week, there were only a couple of things that we figured just needed to be ironed out due to the fact the hotel just opened.

(1) Dinner reservation system: You have to wait in (a long) line at each respective restaurant to make reservations for each day (aside from the buffet). We arrived on a Sunday evening, and the restaurants were already booked for most of the week by the time we tried to make reservations first thing Monday morning. This we found out after waiting in each line. This whole process took over an hour, and we had to eat buffet for most of the week (which was fine, but it would have been nice to try the restaurants earlier).

(2) Staff VERY friendly, but service not just slow, but a little unresponsive. Although they are supposed to pour coffee at breakfast and wine at dinner, we found ourselves usually walking up and opening the wine bottle ourselves, pouring, and then putting the bottle back up on the stand. Our TV was not working, and it took 3 days to have someone come fix. Little things - again not the biggest deal. Hopefully this will improve some.

(2) We did not have a problem with this but some other guests did -- just make sure that AS you are checking in that you double check to make sure you have the right type of room (king bed, for example). Others were placed in the wrong room and had a hard time switching.

Really, that was it in the beginning which we didn't think were such big deals. However, later in the week, we found out that the hotel also sells 'day passes' to local guests to use the hotel as a beach club. We are all for meeting and hanging out with the locals, but the hotel turned into a local beach club with local families - TONS of kids which overran the pools, restaurants, and were roaming through the hotel hallways. It was a little on the rowdy side. And quite honestly, we paid for the entire week in what seemed to be a very nice hotel in order to RELAX. Unfortunately the weather was very bad while we were there (of course no fault of Jamaica), BUT, there was nowhere for us to sit in the main bar or theatre area b/c the locals had taken over - so we had to watch tv in our room. This is a MAJOR downside of the resort -- beware!!! We really hate to complain and had it not been for that we'd only have to say that the hotel has to iron out some minor issues.
Did take some pictures, will post when camera gets hooked up to computer. Very pretty hotel!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 26th of November 2005

Riu Ocho Rios with Toddlers....

Reviewed Sat 3rd of November 2012

"So on a last minute detour from hurrican-devastated Florida - my wife and I and our twin 21-month old's headed for Riu Ocho Rios.... some tips for travelling with little ones and what we learned about the resort:

1) FROM THE AIRPORT - A cab is a much better way to get from the airport to the hotel... After the flight and all - it's MUCH more convenient to go to the JUTA stand rather than find a bus driver, wait on the bus and wait to drop off all the other passengers... On the way back - if your kids have patience - feel free to take a bus (which is much cheaper...) We enjoyed having a whole mini-van to ourselves both ways, broke out the dvd player and met some nice people (i.e. the drivers) both ways. Also learned a lot about the country and its people. it's 100 for the cab each way and 40 roundtrip for the bus...

2) THE ROOMS - Ask to see the room before you lug your luggage there (or have the bellhop lug it there..). We changed rooms three times. The first room we walked into (with two stinky babies in tow) was already OCCUPIED! the second room was a king when we wanted two doubles and the phone didn't work.. the third was a smoking double when we wanted non-smoking - but we were sick of it by then... avoid the fifth floor - as most of the balconies in all the buildings are concrete - and obstruct your view. the other floors all have bar railings - much better...

3) THE GROUNDS - exquisite! the buildings, pools, etc are great! definitely one of the highlights of staying here.. they have a kiddie pool also - but don't care if the kids swim in the regular pool - which has plenty of shallow area for your kids to play in... there is a more quiet pool with better bar service - but the one in front of building 3 is MUCH more fun!!!

4) THE BEACH - THE best part of the resort.. nice white sand.. the waves aren't rough at all since the surf breaks pretty far away from shore so you can trust your kids in it.. and it's big enough so that it doesn't feel crowded at all! just ignore the men selling necklaces (and other "made in jamaica plants"..) in the water and they won't bother you.

5) MOSQUITO REPELLANT - bathe in it and use tons before you sleep.. also use it on your kids!

6) SERVICE - do not expect any... there are some decent waiters (not the majority) in all of the restaurants but it's hit or miss.. and as far as the bars go - FORGET ABOUT IT! there can be 4 patrons and 5 bartenders at a given time - but you still have to wait 15 minutes to get served. most times, however, it was a 15:1 ratio and the one person was very, very slow.. and they may ask you what you want - but that doesn't mean they're listening. most have a lot of personality - but you can't get buzzed on personality.. (Junior - the bartender was most guilty of all talk and no action..) The solution: ORDER IN BULK! if you want one "Miami Vice" or "Pina Colada" - order FIVE! nobody will care or ask... housekeeping seems to be pretty relaxed, too, and forgot our towels a few times - but don't bother calling for the towels.. it's easier just to find somebody and go with them to get them.. or bring a couple of extras...

7) FOOD - One word: JERK!!! the best food in the resort is the lunchtime jerk barbeque on the beach.. get there early, wait if you need to, but it is DEFINITELY worth it! the buffets are very standard for resorts like this.. the specialty restaurants? FORGET ABOUT IT! the gourmet and japanese restaurants have limited seating, the food is not fresh in the steakhouse, and the chinese is more like just another buffet (but not a bad one..). the pizza at the italian (where you don't need reservations) is decent.. do not come here for the food (barring the JERK!) and good luck getting reservations in general! i couldn't get into the gourmet or japanese unless i was planning on staying ten more days... definitely plenty of choices to be had for kids, though - but mine learned to say "JERK" by the second day of our stay..

8) MILK - this is especially important to people who enjoy milk in your coffee, mixed drinks or people with kids! DO NOT TRUST IT!!! for three days - all of the bars and restaurants filled our baby bottles with very, very, very spoiled milk (Though the date on the bottles was far away...). i complained a few times to no use - but finally - i spoke to the main manager of the resort (who is a very, very, very cool person) and she had her boyfriend drive me into town to get some fresh milk and then paid me for it.. still - all of the drinks at the bar, all coffee and all restaurants were serving spoiled milk for the entire week we were there... solution: buy some in town OR bring boxed parmalat...

9)THE SHOWS - another great highlight.. having been to some similar resorts - i thought the quality of the main event shows were above the rest! great music and dancing!!! and they have a kicking beach party one night! the dance club is standard - good for the night owls... the kids LOVED the shows!

10)SHOPPING - go at your own risk.. definitely do not go with kids.. the bargains you get in town aren't worth the harassment.. better to buy at the mini-bazaars they set up in the resort and the not too overpriced gift shops.

overall - we would go again - but only because of the awesome beach/pool.. if you are looking for service - stay away..."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 25th of November 2005

Beautiful Hotel But...

Reviewed Sun 4th of November 2012

"We visited the Riu Ocho Rios from Nov.12-19. The 2 hour bus ride was never ending. Finally when we arrived, it took 45 minutes to give us a room. When we got to the room, there was water leaking from the ceiling and we were transfered to a junior suite as compensation. The junior suite was breathtaking. Marble everywhere, a mahogany king size bed, a living room and jacuzzi and a large balcony. We were very pleased. There were a few a la carte restaurants. The steak house was ok. The japanese was excellent. The asian was excellent as well but all the food was fried. Sir Edward was fantastic. It was really hard to get the reservations but we managed to eat at all the a la cartes at least once. The main buffet was ok. Not very impressive. No jamaican food. A lot of selection but missing flavor. The breakfast was not that good... very basic. The cofee was horrible. It was always burnt. Unfortunately they dont serve blue mountain cofee. We are cofee drinkers and did not enjoy one cup.
The beach was gorgeous!! A long strech of white sand and palm trees. Plenty of sun chairs too. The bar at the beach had very good drinks and service. We really enjoyed the music on the beach which started at 10am.
Unfortunately... it didnt last past lunch time.
They had a jerk chicken station on the beach which was delicious. There was always a line up there..max 20 min.
At night, we were very bored. The entertainment had no jamaican flavor. There were micheal jackson impersonations and some vacation games. Not that
interesting. At one point they had songs playing from Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. We felt we were not in Jamaica. It was missing some spice.
There is a man named Xavier who is in charge of the reservations. Hes very kind and cares for the guests to enjoy their stay.
All in was a beautiful hotel. My main complaint is that it is way too big and you feel you are in a huge shopping center and service is very very slow from the waiters. Would I stay there"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 23rd of November 2005

Great trip with a few Glitches

Reviewed Tue 30th of October 2012

"RIU Ocho Rios 11-17 to 11-21

We just returned late last night from a great 4 night trip from New Jersey to the new RIU. My wife and I had a great time and would definitely recommend the resort. There were a few glitches, but we knew it was newly open and would have some problems.

Day 1 - Thursday

Wake up at 3:30 am, leave for airport at 4:30. Parked near the airport and shuttled to the terminal. Check-in and security was very light at 5:30 am. Flight took off on time and was fairly comfortable. Arrival at Mobay airport at 11:30am was uneventful. There must have been several flights arriving because it took 45 min. to go through customs. The lines were even longer when we reached the front. Tip – Upon entering the arrival hall there are two lines, we went to the far one (or on the left) and should have gone to the right side. They had more windows open and it moved slightly faster. Retrieved our luggage very easily downstairs and proceeded through to the outside and met our transportation coordinator who steered us to the sign-in booth. Waited only 5-min. for a group to form going towards Ocho Rios and got on the bus. It was a small bus seating about 20 and was full. The ride was a little over two hours and was actually fun. Our driver named Norman was entertaining and cordial. We did the standard bathroom/Red Stripe stop and after one stop at another resort to drop off another family we finally reached the Riu at about 3:30 PM. I was pleasantly surprised at the road conditions. Four years ago we visited GL San Soucci in Ocho Rios and they were a lot worse. There are still sections that need work, some are under construction as you pass through and some stretches are finished. I tipped the driver $10. Bottom line, 11-hours from door to door, tiring, but not too terrible.

Check in was very easy, we got our Jr. Suite Oceanview and were given 1342. The bellman assisted us with the luggage and made our way to the room. Fantastic view from the sliding glass door to the balcony and the room was fine. The only complaint we might have had (if we were to complain) was the beds. We wanted a king but the room had two large beds pushed together (queens I think). We were told the resort was booked solid and we did not want to risk losing our view so we dealt with the beds. No Problem Mon.

The sun had disappeared and we were hungry so we walked around and had some cocktails and a late afternoon snack. We had pizza which was pleasantly pretty good (nobody beats NYC Tri-State area pizza) along with the other items offered at the buffet. The salad bar was excellent. At check-in we were told that dinner reservations were to be made between 6 & 7 pm in the lobby. We arrived at 5:30, waited patiently and at 6:10 asked where to go. They must have changed the system because we were then told that you had to go to each restaurant in the morning between 10 & 12 and make the reservations. We wasted an hour on that glitch. Later on we had dinner at the main buffet and while there were some people on line, it did not bother us. The service was impeccable. After dinner, walked about exploring and sat for the beginning of the evening show. Soon the long day was catching up and we ended up turning in before 11.

Day 2 - Friday

Woke up to a beautiful sunrise shining directly into our room. I loved sitting on the balcony with a cup of coffee with Jamaican Rum Cream instead of milk (which I had to walk to the sports bar for and put into my 20 ounce hot/cold travel mug) and enjoy the morning sun. The pool on our side was gorgeous. People were staking out the prime loungers starting about 7 and some were actually sunbathing and swimming early. We found that on our way to breakfast a perfect time to put our towels and a book on a couple of chairs, eat and return If you did not stake out a prime spot early, they were taken by 10 am.

At 9:30 we made our way to Sir Richards to get on line for a reservation. We were second on line and at 10:05 they showed up with a book. I was booked until Tuesday and ourselves as well as person number one on line were due to leave Monday. After complaining to managers for 15 minutes too no avail, we gave up and went to the steakhouse. Got two reservations for Sat. and Sun evenings. We also stopped at the Japanese restaurant and got one for Sunday earlier in the night that the steakhouse. I don’t enjoy sushi so I figured the wife could get her fill, and I could get a steak after.

Pina Coladas and Daiquiris (as well as all the drinks they make) at the pool were great all day. The beach was never too crowded. It seemed like you could find a spot down there anytime (I am not a big beach guy, I like the pool). For lunch we went to the closest buffet and it was good. From hot items to the salad bar, there were good choices and we enjoyed everything. For dinner we went to the main buffet again and enjoyed the meal. The lines were not too bad. After dinner we got seats for the show and tried to stay for the evening show but were too tired. Called it a night early again.

Day 3 – Saturday

I woke early to another fantastic sunrise, went to the sports bar for coffee and Rum Cream and sat on our private balcony again and enjoyed another perfect morning in Jamaica. After breakfast we got loungers on the beach near the north end of the resort. After soaking up some more sun (without sunblock for me), we decided to go for a walk to the other side of the resort. We past a beach bar (no one told us about) with music and lots of activities (fun and games, water aerobics, bocce ball, volleyball etc). I went back to our chairs and relocated so I could hear and see the activities and music. I wanted to take a dip at the pool so we went up to our Jr. Suite side pool and sat at the pool bar and met a couple who said the best place for lunch was at the shack on the beach for Jerk Chicken. We went with them and had the best meal with included Chicken, Pork and Sausage with Jerk sauce. Be forewarned, the hot sauce will bring tears to your eyes and clear out your sinuses and I loved it. They also had a milder version. We hung out with our new friends the rest of the day between the beach and the pool.

For dinner we used our Steakhouse reservation and were mildly disappointed. The appetizers and salad were buffet style (which was good) but the steak was terrible. I guess it could have been worse; we ended up eating extra appetizers and dessert and were fine. After dinner we tried to go to the show but were too tired. Because I did not use too much sun protection today (I did put it on after 5 hours in the sun) I was a little sunburned. We decided turn in early again.

Day 4 – Sunday

Glorious sunrise with coffee on the balcony again. Went to the pool early and hung out all day. Had a great time people watching and swimming. Dinner time rolled around and it was time for Japanese (we canceled our dinner reservation at the steakhouse, figured we could always go back to the buffet). Got seated at our reserved time and actually very much enjoyed eating with chopsticks for the first time. My wife said the Sushi was the best she ever had. I had a chicken dish and it was great. Dessert was a fried ice cream with strawberry sauce that was outstanding. After dinner they had a beach party. We actually sat and watched for a little while until we decided to turn in early again.

Day 5 – Monday

After another perfect sunrise, we hit the pool early and hung out till noon. We had packed all our stuff earlier and changed, finished packing and were in the lobby by 12:30. Checked out and had lunch and a few cocktails before our bus left at 1:20 pm for the airport. The airport return trip was slightly more comfortable; it was a larger bus and filled to capacity at the Riu. We had the customary stop halfway, and made it to the airport in a little over 2-hours. The lines at check in were a mess, peoples bags were randomly getting checked by uniformed security guards. We got through without a problem. The next line was for immigration, it seemed like trying to put 200 people through a funnel, it was directly behind the security screeners and there was very little room to navigate. It’s fairly warm in there so dress comfortably for you trip home.

Do not buy any liquor at the resort or the customary bus stop. You can get all the liquor you want cheaper at the airport. American cigarettes are available as well for $22 per carton (unfortunately they did not have my exact brand, but I still stocked up). We were not able to upgrade to first class this trip so we could not utilize the first class lounges (they are much more comfortable than the terminal) but we did go the Margaritaville on the second floor and have a drink and some dinner before boarding. Our flight left out of gate 12, it was on the other side of the airport. My legs are still sore from walking so far and waiting on lines. We took off about an hour later that we were supposed to, flight was a little bumpy due to weather in the Northeast. Customs and immigration in Newark were a pain but I guess it could have been worse. Got our shuttle to our car, and arrived home at 1:10 AM. Bottom line, almost 12-hours of travel door to door.


We had a great time, I tipped the maid at the end of out trip $10, and left her some small candles we brought and did not use. She was great although one day she did not clean our room until after 6 PM. The bartenders were great throughout the resort. I tipped them $1 per drink sporadically usually when I was filling our 20 ounce travel mugs with fancy concoctions. I did not feel the need to tip any of the other staff except for the bellhop. The dinning room help was fantastic wherever we dined.

We totally enjoyed our stay at the new RIU. There were a few glitches and we took them all with a grain of salt. I may look to stay at another if the price was right. I would not pay premium dollars for it though. It seemed like each day we were there, more and more families were arriving. I prefer more adult type of resorts and if we go again to Jamaica I would look at them. In the past we have visited the GL San Soucci (now Couples) resort just down the road in Ocho Rios and the Adventura Palace resort in Mexico and loved both of them."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 23rd of November 2005

30th Birthday Surprise at the RIU Ochi!

Reviewed Fri 2nd of November 2012

"Hi all,
I felt compelled to write this as we just came back from Riu Ocho Rios after a 4-day trip, and had a great time. After seeing all the negative reviews, I think that you need a fresh point of view.
Description-We are an engaged couple, 28 and 30, and I surprised my fiance with this trip, as it was his 30th birthday. Thought Jamaica would be the perfect way to celebrate.
We left via Air Jamaica very early in the morning, and flight left on time. We landed safely and proceeded to immigration. This was one of the negative points of the trip as 3 flights landed at the same time as us, and we had to spend 1.5 hours on line. Terrible when you are tired and excited to see JA and u are stuck in a hot airport. However once we finished there, we went to the tour desk and were led to the tour bus. The baggage people were very friendly and took our bags to the air conditioned bus, which was a big coach, modern bus. Even though the ride was loooong (2hrs), it was nice to sit back and relax, and see the true Jamaica. It was nice to also drive by the various resorts, and see what other hotels are along the way. The roads are half paved and half hellish, and a couple of times you felt like you were going to crash into the side of the road, but the driver maneuvered his way along, and we were soon at the entrance of the hotel.
Hotel: When we pulled up I was struck by the beauty of the main lobby. open air, marble everywhere, and people offering to help with bags, etc. Most of the people on the bus got off at RIU so it was crowded for a bit trying to orient ourselves at the front desk, but everyone was super friendly. We checked in, got our room key/safe key, and the bellman accompanied us to our room. When you walk into the hotel, you can either go to the right where the regular rooms are(blue wristband) or to the left where the suites are( white wristband). Our room was a standard oceanFRONT, not oceanview, and there IS a difference. The building is set up like 2 horseshoes, and then there is a link between the two that houses the main lobby, restaurants. I didn't know that there were standard rooms above the main lobby area, and this is where our room was located. We were in room 2303, and it was AMAZING!!!! Marble everywhere, king size bed(actually 2, double beds put together..i guess that's RIU's definition of a king size bed), clean as a whistle, double sinks in bathroom, tv, and a balcony with the most gorgeous view. A straight unobstructed view of the ocean, with a small table and two chairs. This was the best feature of the room to me. The reason why the rooms in this area are great is that if you are in the rooms that are inside of the horseshoe, they are set kind of far back from the ocean, and mostly overlook the pool area. Still pretty but not in the middle of everything. And based on your location in the horseshoe, you could be very far back. However, the property is absolutely gorgeous and u don't spend that much time in the room anyway. However, our room was great...always cleaned well by housekeeping (we left her daily tips), fridge/minibar always stocked), and very quiet/clean.
As for the activities we did, we just pretty much spent our days relaxing by the pool, going to the pool bar, doing non motorized water sports at the ocean and having fun with each other. The place is breathtaking in terms of look, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. We also did an afternoon at the spa for my fiance's birthday and we did a couples 1 hr massage in their couples room and my fiance got a 1hr foot massage also. There is also a sauna and jacuzzi in the spa area, and you don't have to use the spa services to use these items. The massage was one of the best I've ever had and the spa could rival any US spa. The prices are the same for what you'd pay in NY (80 bucks pp for a 1hr massage). We had a relaxing time there.
Food: Now I have a very sensitive stomach and the slightest thing can make me sick. I didn't get sick once while at the resort. There is a buffet, St ann's, which is a huge restaurant, with tables set with silverware, etc. Then there are other mini resturants/buffets that serve breakfast/lunch(plantations) and then specialty restaurants that have to be reserved. My fiance and I enjoyed the buffet, and i'm a pretty picky person when it comes to my food. They had a great breakfast menu, and i would be so full, that often I would skip lunch and just wait for dinner. There are specialty nights for dinner( while there, they had tex mex). i thought that was weird because who comes to JA to eat tex mex? but the people were loving it! Anyway, I thought the food was pretty good, in that there was a large volume of people at the restaurant/buffet, and they constantly had to be replenishing food. the food was very tasty, well seasoned, and there were a lot of different things to choose from. Now the negatives about the food which there were some:
1. the reservation system is a bad idea. when we tried to make reservations, they tried to tell us that all the places were booked until after we would leave. I didn't bother arguing with the reservations person...i simply went to the front desk, complained, and they promptly called the maitre-d and he listened to my request for the gourmet restaurant for my fiance's b-day. He immediately took care of the situation, and we went to the restaurant that night. How hyped up they were making the place, I thought the food would've been better, but it was ok. The server forgot our soups, but the rest of the meal was ok. i had lamb chops and my fiance had coconut crusted fish. The restaurant is very small and intimate and it was nice to have people bring our food to us intead of getting up for buffet. Also, they sang happy b-day to my fiance and brought him a cheesecake. That was a nice touch.
Other negatives with regard to food is that:
1.All desserts are terrible including my fiance's cake.
2.the pizzeria's food did not look appetizing at all. Also, the late night snacks in the sports bar looked like frozen tv dinners. Not good
3.Sometimes there was a long wait at the buffet restaurant. would be better if they could coordinate some better system. caribbean food really
I do have to disagree with the posters about the food having flies all over and it not being clean. I never saw any insects near any of the food, and I only noticed a fly if we went to sit outside on the terrace with our food, or close to the windows.
Bars- ok drinks...lot of variety to choose from. I am not a huge drinker, and some of the drinks were weak and some were strong. luck of the draw i guess. best drinks were in the pool bar by the standard rooms pool and worst drinks were at the bar close to the main lobby.
entertainment-everyone staff-wise at the riu were very friendly and wanted people to participate in activities. we didn't really go to the nightly shows that much, so i can't speak for that. but they were always coordinating pool aerobics and games and activities.
Pools-it seemed like the standard side's pool was way more exciting and fun then the suite's side. My fiance and I walked over to the suite side and it was too quiet and boring for us. The standard side had constant entertainment, a nice swim up bar, and kids were there too. If you don't want to be bothered with children, then suite side might be better.
Overall, we had a great time. It was a chance to relax and get away for some well needed rest. Basically a vacation is what you make of it, and if you are going to a resort that has just opened then you have to know that there may be some unexpected glitches along the way. Just go with an open mind, and make the best of it. My advice would be to bring 100 dollars in singles, as it is easier to tip, and i felt people there were deserving of them. Bring your camera, and the pics you get will not disappoint you. This is super long...hope it helps ease some of your minds that are worried about your future vacation.

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 23rd of November 2005

Beautiful resort. . . just has a little work

Reviewed Tue 9th of October 2012

"Our family of four just returned from the RIU. We were originally booked at Negril but they had overbooked us. It was fustrating because we waited for an hour at the MB airport with our 6 and 3 year old before they decided what to do with us and how to compensate us. we did get a voucher for 4 free nights for a return stay. they also upgraded us to an ocean view but unless you are on the back side of the building you have some sort of view. It does take 2 hours to get to the resort. Once there at 9:30 we got the end of the buffet and then crashed.

The resort itself is beautiful. The beach is nice with plenty of room. there was always a chair to use. the staff did a great job of cleaning up the seaweed everymorning.The water was warm but not very clear during our stay because of the windy days we had. My husband only got to dive once because of the weather. He said not too many big fish because the water is over fished so nothing bigger than 6 inches or so.

The room was nice with a good size balcony. when we arrived it took a few days to get our bar filled and the wires in our bathroom to be attached to a hairdryer. it was obvious the hotel was not quite done and ready for the amount of guests. the service was adequate but nothing outstanding. The resort only has one buffet in the evening which made for long lines for the main food. lots of the fish was overcooked but many other options. the reservations for the other restaurants were hard to get so we only ate at the steakhouse. they just serve your main course the rest is buffet, the service was better at this restaurant. the pizza place for dinner took a little while but was a change from the huge buffet lines.

Overall, we had a great vacation. the people are all very nice and very nice to our children. the animation team were very fun and great with the kids. Once the resort works out its kinks it will be a nice place to stay."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 22nd of November 2005

Service Problems in Beautiful Hotel

Reviewed Sun 4th of November 2012

"Let me first say that I travel for business and the hotel was absolutely beautiful. The resort itself was phenomenal. The resort is brand new and had only been open a few weeks. There was an awesome deal we found on the internet. We booked our hotel on Orbitz. The hotel and all the rooms are new. In fact when we arrived, the room was not ready and I mean literally not ready. We were told to wait and they did not offer us any drink or food and we traveled about 2 hours on a bus from the airport. We recommend waiting to get transfers at the airport and go to Jamaica tours, booth 13. It was $40 each roundtrip. If you take a JUTA taxi, it is $100 one way. They drive on the left. Their motto is the left is the right side and the right side is suicide and believe me do not watch them drive. There were many close calls as they switch lanes to pass oncoming vehicles and no stop lights once you get out of Montego Bay. Needless to say, we made it to the resort in one piece. We were thirsty and a little hungry when we arrived at the hotel. We actually stopped halfway for a food/bathroom break which was nice. They have awesome jerk chicken at the Yow's rest stop. You should definitely try it.

Back to the arrival, there was no one to tell us anything when we approached the front desk and gathered our luggage. The hotel needs a map that they can have available as there is a huge one in the lobby but who can remember where stuff is. We waited as they tried to locate our reservation. Since we booked separately not with a tour, they could not locate our reservation. We luckily printed a copy from Orbitz and when we were able to produce the papers they looked into getting us a room (bring a copy of your itenary). Once we got our key, which had the room number printed on a large rectangular key ring not a good practice or safe for everyone to know what room you are staying in. We waited for 2 hours to get into the room. We had a nice room standard king with balcony which faced the pool area and ocean view. I asked since it was honeymoon and we had to wait if they would do something special for us and they said sure. They never did anything for us and we were there 10 days. I actually inquired about it several times to the dark haired woman who smiled and said we will take care of it.

But, back to the room....The room rate was comparable to staying at a Hyatt or Marriott in the states so I expected similar service. There was no mini shampoo bottles or soaps left for us. But, the first thing we noticed in the room was there were these wires coming out of the wall in the bathroom. Apparently, they had not attached the hairdryer yet. Also, the shower curtain is short and does not stay in the shower, hence water is dripping onto the floor and there is a huge puddle outside when you finish. I think we had a handicapped room as the shower had a detachable nozzle and hose and there was a bar in the shower to steady yourself but if you were taller then 5'11 or larger than 200 pounds, I am not sure you could fit in there. The tub is high and you need to be coordinated to get into it as you really need to step up. The floor of the tub is on a slope and you need to stand exactly in the middle or you may loose your balance and fall. We were on our honeymoon- two people standing in the tub was very difficult. We had our room cleaned daily although I am not sure if it was really cleaned or they just made up the bed and collected used towels. After the room was cleaned, very often we needed to try to get items that were supposed to be there but were not replaced. No fresh towels, no shampoo, no soap. I decided after a few days of calling the front desk to get say two bath towels (as we were not left any bath towels) to start approaching the housekeepers on our floor. I stopped one and asked for some towels as our room was cleaned and yet we only had one hand towel and one wash cloth. She said that they were all out and gave me another hand towel. She would bring some later she said. We waited but it took hours to get them. On our last day, we showered with fresh towels from the pool area. You can trade in your pool towels and get new towels as often as you like. I left a tip one day hoping we would get everything we needed but that did not seem to work. The description of the room also stated there was an iron and a mini-bar/fridge. There was no iron, no remote control for the television, and nothing in the mini-bar or fridge. We inquired about getting a remote and they said they had run out of them. I guess all televisions do not come with remotes? The mini-bar and fridge is supposed to be replenished every two days we were told with soft drinks and beer. They filled our mini-bar and fridge on the first day. After this only certain items were replenished. My husband drinks Pepsi and I like the orange soda. They did not replace what we drank consistently. After being there 5 days we noticed they did not replenish anything really unless you caught them in the hall and asked them and then you were told that they would do it later. We finally found out that the person who refills comes by at 6.20PM and we were in our room and waited for them. Unfortunately it was our second to last day. Ohh, I almost forgot....when they come to your room, they knock and enter. No regard for people who may not want to be disturbed. Remember we are on our honeymoon. We also heard this from another older couple. We heard the people in the next room complaining that they need to knock and wait to hear a response before entering.

The restaurant reservations....The resort has seven restaurants and you need reservations. The Tushima-Japanese is reserved for guests with a suite only. Mandalay- basically a Chinese Buffet but the food was good, Mammee Bay steakhouse, and Sir Richard-gourmet food. The other restaurants were St. Ann's-the buffet, the Plantation-breakfast and lunch buffet, and the pizzeria adjacent to Sir Richard's. First of all, we went for reservations on our second day because we met a few people who said to get the reservation right away or they would not be available. The sign said to line up at the table in the lobby from 10AM-12Noon and there was a time in the evening but we waited the one time and did all the reservations at once. I arrived in the line about 9.45AM on Saturday and the people had been waiting since about 9AM and there was no indication which line was for which restaurant-no signs, etc... Once, I moved up in the line, I realized that I was waiting for the restaurants-Mandalay and Sir Richard. The first available reservation was for the Thursday of the coming week. NOTE: I was in line on Sat morning. People started getting out of line as some were not staying until the end of the week, etc...I was finally at the front and finished about 10.45 and booked both restaurants. Luckily, my husband waited in the other line and it was for the Steakhouse. He got reservation first available which was Tuesday but for the late sitting. We were also told you can just try to go to the restaurant on the night of and hope someone did not show and take their reservation. My favorite was Japanese but the hand rolls were miniscule and hardly any fish. The service was great. They served each course and dessert was good there. My husband liked the steakhouse, he ordered the combo-steak, chicken, shrimp and it looked nice but it was all prepared in advance. When we got it, it was cold. The appetizers and desserts were all on the buffet. You were served wine with dinner, etc...The Sir Richard's meal was good too. I actually enjoyed it but the menu does not explain all that is in the dishes. If you have allergies, you need to be careful. We ate at the pizzeria and let me tell you do not go there for dinner. The pizza is great during the day. I am not sure what happens at night and they ask you to order off a menu which says jerk chicken pizza with onions and cheese and peppers and we got the pizza with tomatoes sliced, mushrooms, pepperoni, ham, onions, peppers, and olives. We said that we ordered the jerk one and they said this is it and tried to pass it off on us. I was not impressed. They then decided to keep bringing us more pizzas, but never the one we ordered. Finally we ate one of them. The ice cream was good but sometimes the refrigeration was not working and it was really soft. The Mandalay was your basic Chinese buffet but I thought the food was good. The St. Ann's buffet was decent. They have the same food each day generally so we broke it up and ate at the restaurants every other day etc...Apparently they have a theme night on certain nights. We missed a good one-Mexican. The night we ate there on Sat- it was Spanish and the only additional item we found for the theme was a huge 50 inch saucepan with paella in it which was basically yellow rice, peppers, and calamari. By 7.15PM(dinner started at 6.30PM?), when we arrived and it did not look like they were adding more seafood to it. There were huge lines in the morning for an omelet yet the people lined up blocking the buffet. Basically, all these people wanted eggs and you could hardly get past them to get potatoes or bacon, etc... After a few days, we realised that you could go to The Plantation with little wait and lots of seating with ocean view and get the same breakfast. We started doing that.

The snack shack aka jerk chicken for lunch was great, that is when they were open from 12 noon until 3PM and still had enough chicken or if the worker decided to come in. One day, it was closed since the staff did not come to work and they ran out another day after an hour and a half. That same night, there was a private function for (we later found out)a group of travel agents who book trips to these types of hotels and there was jerk chicken for them. They had a raging party which was adjacent to our room with a band and ice sculptures which was also a private function. They later told us it was a wedding when we asked staff about it. Once the private function began from 18-20 November 2005, the staff were dressing up the drinks with umbrellas and cherries, etc...These people seemed to be treated like royalty yet we were the paying guests and I am sure their rooms were properly attended to and cleaned. In the evening, the show for the private function was drowning out our show as they has a steel drums band and it was adjacent to our show. This is a big place they could have had it on the other side of the resort. I noticed some people leaning over the bar area to watch their band and they had someone at the entrance blocking it from the guests.

Pool bar......The pool bar was understaffed at the pool near the Plantation. The workers worked really hard but often you need to really speak up to get a drink. Definitely should get two as you had to wait 15 minutes or more at times. They only play music at this pool when the entertainment staff are doing something. I have to admit the pool games were entertaining and the Jamaicans are very talented gymnasts and dancers. The resort is definitely on Jamaica time but hey we are all on vacation and can wait. It does get frustrating when people cut ahead at the pool bar for getting drinks, etc...On certain days, they have vendors by the pool and they ask you to stop and see there stuff if you walk pass them. They can border on harassment but not as much as downtown. Do not pay their asking price. If you go into town, you can get the exact same item for at least half price. I'm not kidding!

NOTE: There is another pool and sand volleyball court on the side of the resort near the Japanese restaurant, it was very quiet over there. We did not spend much time there. There is a beach bar which you can get better service closer to the lobby and two bars adjacent to the lobby.

The gym and spa......They have small gym-two treadmills, a few bikes, elliptical, stair climber, and a few nautilus machines and a few mats for floor exercises this is in the building with the spa. We hear there is a real jacuzzi in there but were not able to use it as they give massages in the same room and reserve the jacuzzi for spa patrons only. The pool has bubble areas near the pool bar that at first we thought were jacuzzis, but they are not.

There is a "Sports Bar" and remember the place is the "all new 24 hour all inclusive resort anything you want anytime you want it". The resort has no room service but they have some snacks in a fridge in the sports bar which is open 24 hours. The snacks are cold hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads with a microwave nearby to heat them up. They also have popcorn available all the time. This is not the type of snack I think of when you say anything you want anytime you want it. I was hoping for some pizza but no luck there. The service for getting drinks was great in the Sports Bar. The have alot of televisions and the games were on. There is a separate casino/slots only in a room off of it-very small and basic, a pool table, air hockey, and some video games-Ms. PacMan, etc...

The evening shows were the highlight. There was alot of dancing and they gave nightly awards for the games played during the day. I enjoyed that their was beach and pool volleyball as long as people wanted to play. They had tennis lessons, horseshoes, darts tournament, bocce, and futbal (soccer as we call it in US). Snorkeling, kayaks, and paddle boats you need to leave a $50 deposit (cash only) Extreme caution! I gave a deposit of a $100 bill that I received from the bank before the trip. You return the equipment and they give back your money. Look for "counterfeit bills" I got one! Problem is I left that same day for home and I'm sitting here with a photo copy of $100. Management is going to hear about this! There is windsurfing and the free scuba lesson is a video. If you buy the scuba package($125 per person, I think), they do the lesson in the pool and I think you go for the dive. We did not do it. We heard about it. The Dunn's River Falls and snorkeling trip was ok. If you have ever climbed a falls, it is not that exciting. Also, we saw more fish swimming near the reef that you can swim to for free than on the tour. The cost is $40. Dunn's River alone is $15 and $5 for water shoes. It is within 2 miles of the resort. The ATV tour seemed shorter than 8 miles and was $72 per person.

The disco......they played mostly Jamaican and reggae. We were disappointed as we missed the 80's night. It opens after the shows, which is late by some standards, from 11PM to 2(I think) as we never stayed that late. The RIU dances are fun-Cha Cha and another Spanish song. They show you how to do them after the shows. Prior to the shows, they have an interaction with the kids and they get up and dance. Shows start at 9 or 9.30PM.

The can take a JUTA taxi into town for $30 roundtrip and the hotel gets a kickback when you use this service. NOTE: it is about 5 miles away. We negotiated for $20 roundtrip with a non JUTA taxi-(license plate is not red). The hotel says it is not safe to use non JUTA taxi because the hotel gets a cut of the Juta taxi fare. It is best to go to town when there is not a cruise ship there, if at all possible. You can see the cruise ships parked in town from the hotel. When you go into town get ready to be harassed. You will be asked over and over about buying stuff. Hey mon, it does not cost to look. Come take a look or they follow you around. That part made me nervous but my husband was firm and definitely barter with them. Do not pay the price they ask. We got necklaces for $5 and the open air market is the best place to buy stuff not the stores. We bought an island shirt originally $30 for $10. In the market everything is negotiable. Have singles as they often try to sell you something else because they do not want to make change for say a larger bill. At the resort, these people are in the water holding earrings and necklaces in plastic bags and when you swim they try to get you to buy. They are not allowed on the resort property so they hover in the ocean. On a real sunny day, we counted 15 of them in the water. Take a walk down the beach but once you leave the resort(you pass a guard), they will be there but it really is a nice walk to the end. Be prepared to say no, over and over again.

Well, we want to try another RIU before we give up on them. We heard some good things about the Dominican Republic in Punta Cana called RIU Bamboo. Who knows......

Once again, a beautiful hotel and beach. Maybe wait a couple months until all the service issues are resolved.

Bon Voyage!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 22nd of November 2005

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