I would like to give a really resourceful and in depth review because I found that reading through the reviews before I went was SO helpful. So here it goes... Airport & Transfers -The airport in Montego Bay is about 1:20 minutes from the hotel. We booked airport transfer through Jamaican Tours (JTL) and just be warned it will take about 2 hours. As much as we enjoyed the commentary and ride through Jamaica - the "pit stop" was unnecessary and we just wanted to get there (it makes a couple stops along the way to drop people off). And they only gave us one time to leave the hotel on the way back home and that was 8:30am even thought our flight was late afternoon. So we were really bummed about that. Resort & Checking In -The resort is absolutely gorgeous. I loved the open floor plan of the lobby and lounge areas. We couldn't have been more pleased with the grounds and cleanliness. The girl at the front desk was absolutely delightful and so enthusiastic. Definitely ask for a room upgrade, they gave it to us - no questions asked. Our Room -We got upgraded to a suite and it was very lovely, overlooking the side of the resort (almost beachfront). We found that our entire floor smelled very musty and moldy though. We thought maybe it was just the floor but it was also in our room. We decided that since it was the whole floor it wouldn't do much good to complain - especially in such a damp, humid environment. The rooms and furniture were very nice though (with dark wood and ceramic tile). The bed was a bit hard but to be expected when traveling. The Food/Entertainment -This was our first all inclusive (even though we are still seasoned travelers) and we were surprised that the food was pretty good. You always hear that all inclusives leave nothing to be desired but it was fine and moderate in comparison to higher end restaurants you'd have to pay for. We did make reservations the first night we got there and only got two (Sir John and Mandalay Asian food). The first was really nice and the food was great but the Asian restaurant was nothing special and just another buffet (but the change of scenery and taste was nice). We also really enjoyed the Beach BBQ they had set up everyday outside for lunch. The entertainment was good. You can tell they recruit some really great dancers and entertainers and then some so-so ones. The people who were really entertaining kept the shows interesting and fun to watch. Since we are a "younger" couple - it was nice to have something to do every night, rather than just sitting around at the bar so I'm glad they had this entertainment. We enjoyed the Beach Bonfire Party and Steel Drum shows the best! Excursions -We did 3 main excursions that we booked while we were there... The Ziplinging/Tubing and shopping through JTL Tours and then the Boat Tour/Snorkeling/Dunns River Fall Tour through the Scuba Hut right on the beach through the resort. For the ziplining/tubing trip - they said it would only be a few hours but be forewarned, between travel to and from and the entire excursion itself - it ended up being six hours long. It was fun but definitely a bit long. It was good for a rainy day though. Be sure to bring some cash for tipping/convenient store and an extra pair of clothes for ziplining. For the shopping tour - do yourself a favor and pay the $10/pp through JTL for transport but DO NOT stay at the Taj Mahal shopping plaza they drop you off at. It was in no way cultural in terms of being authentic Jamaican. Go outside of the "compound". To the left about a 1/4 mile down is the Village shopping area and Margaritaville and to the right about a 1/2 mile down is the market and authentic Jamaican stores. A much better experience all around! They give you plenty of time too! For the Boat Tour with snorkeling and to Dunns River Falls - it was fun and the tour guides definitely do a great job of keeping it lively and fun. The waterfall climb was not quite what we expected (its definitely more of a tourist trap and you have to make a line with the whole group holding hands and they stop you along the way for pictures and videos). I would much rather have had a more adventurous tour of climbing up by ourselves (since we're both active people). The snorkeling was nice but the water was a bit murky that day from storming so nothing too exciting. It was a nice trip for a few hours in the morning though. Would definitely recommend this one versus a lot of the others since it was the most inexpensive though. Conclusion For our first trip to Jamaica at an all inclusive (and after talking to friends who've been to Negril and Montego Bay) - we definitely feel that we made the best choice by staying at the Riu in Ochos Rios. We had a lot of fun and the staff was wonderful. I will say it is a great place for people of all ages too - kids, young couples, singles, large groups and older folks. We made friends with everyone!! Wish we could have stayed longer. I wouldn't recommend going any less than 6 days!! Take Note: If you go on the excursions or off the resort - be sure to bring DOLLAR BILLS for tips. There are so many guides to tip and rather than just handing out a bigger bill to one of them, I felt more comfortable giving some to each person. They DO EXPECT to be tipped however. In the resort, not one employee ever made mention of tips though (which was nice, although we did still tip here and there for hours of hard work).
Just returned from a girl's trip to Jamaica - our stay at Riu Ocho Rios was good but not great. There were a few things that stopped just short of excellence yet it was tolerable - especially for the value and location of the resort. The Resort: The place is beautiful! Right on a beautiful strip of beach, the open air lobby and seating areas are great and the pools are excellent. We stayed in an Ocean view Junior Suite which was lovely - we could see both the mountains and the ocean from our balcony. The resort is clean and although as some have written before, you could from time to time sense a musty smell, it was almost to be expected because of the climate in the area. I rarely smelled it in my room. Overall, I loved the look and feel of the resort and it's location. My Room: I did enjoy the junior suite - my sister and I were sharing and I never felt crowded. Hot water is dependent on the time of day you take a shower. They advertise free wi-fi in the junior suites but it was slow and inconsistent at best. But who's in Jamaica to surf the net? We worked through it. One of our issues during our stay is that we asked consistently for more wash cloths and out of 6 days, may have received them once or twice. We were limited to only two wash cloths each day. Sometimes, after being on the beach, we would come back to the room to shower and change for the next part of our day and the wash cloths were missing. We then found out they send them out for cleaning and sometimes do not get them back until after 4 p.m. We had towels, but not wash cloths. This is an issue we worked around yet it shouldn't be a guest issue - the resort should have enough wash cloths on hand to replace them each time the room is made up. They obviously have enough towels because those were consistently switched out. When we would ask room attendant about it, they were very hesistant to commit to give us additional wash cloths or bringing them by a certain time. Again, although a minor inconvenience, this is a process and inventory issue of which guests shouldn't have to even be aware exists - it should be fixed. Service & Food: The service and food were inconsistent. The service, not just in the restaurants but throughout the resort, varied - some people were very accomodating and served in excellence and some treated you as if you were an inconvenience. The food was good at times and others things were burned or overcooked. The Riu would take this resort to the next level if everyone were on the same page with the type of service provided and how the food was prepared. Pool Bars: We frequented the pool and bar on the suite side of the resort and we always had a BALL!!! The pool was not crowded and the bartenders made it a blast. Loved it! I am not a big drinker so I was fine with the strength of my drinks at all of the bars but if you want more liquor, just ask - they will add to it. Entertainment: The entertainment staff worked hard to entertain but the shows fell short. It was much more fun when they were interacting with the guest during the pre-shows, etc. The hit of the week for me was the Steel Drum band - EXCELLENT. Other than that, the shows were just okay. Love the entertainment staff but the shows - not so much. We did plenty of stuff away from the resort as well - went to a local beach party, to a Jamaican dance hall, to Margaritaville, on a few tours, shopping in town, zip lining, etc. So we made our own fun wherever we went :) I would stay here again but since this was my first trip directly to Jamaica (have been a couple of times on a cruise but that doesn't compare) - I would likely check out a few other resorts so that I could have a comparison. Overall for the price and location - it's worth checking out the Riu Ocho Rios.
My boyfriend and I decided on the Riu Ocho Rios after contemplating other resorts and spending over a month doing our research. We wanted something that was within our budget, appealed to us (via pictures) and had good reviews. The best part of the trip was the friendliness of the staff- everyone was extremely polite and friendly, and willing to fulfill your ever request. When we first arrived to our room, we noticed that it had a musty smell to it. The side of the boxspring to the bed had a disgusting yellow stain on it (it looked like someone urinated on the side), which was left exposed, not covered by a sheet or bed skirt. The door knob to the bathroom was broken, and came out of the door upon a simple pull (my boyfriend locked himself in the bathroom the 2nd night because of this). I will commend the front desk on having this addressed within an hour of us bringing it to their attention. There was mold surrounding the grout of the bath tub, there was no light around the tub/shower so you are basically left to shower in the dark. There were 2 elevators in our building, one was out of order our whole stay, the other one marked up w/graffiti and broken buttons. The ice machine was out of order on our floor, which we found out when I sent my boyfriend for ice, and he came back to tell me that it was empty and full of bugs and spider webs-we did bring this to the front desks attention as well, but nothing had been done. If your goal is to get an amazing tan while on vacation, this place may not be the resort for you. There was too much shade! Trees everywhere, and if you are trying to get a tan there are very few spots to lay- and good luck, chairs fill up quick. Even the beach is very shaded, which was extremely disappointing. The cement around the pool was chipping, so if you step on it, you may scratch yourself. The tiles in the pool were coming off and looked extremely unattractive and trashy.The food was decent, the crepes they offered in the afternoon were delicious as well as the jerk hut on the beach. We ate at the Gourmet restaurant on one of the nights, unsure what was gourmet about it. The dining room we were in was small, with a handful of tables, and only two other parties dining in there with us. There was no overhead music, which made this dining experience almost awkward, having to listen to the other tables conversations. If you're trying to get drunk or even a buzz, then bring your own alcohol. No matter how much you drink, you're going to feel full before you feel anything else. All in all, this resort was rated 4 stars, but I am not sure why. The upkeep of this resort was poor and needed a lot of attention.
We stayed at the RIU Ocho Rios, which is considered one of the nicest in Jamaica, even better than the RIU in Montego Bay. That's why we went to Ocho Rios. It was 1-1/2 hrs from the airport, which wasn't so bad because the driver talks a lot and you stop at a bar, of course. Most of the good activities are in Ocho Rios not Montego Bay anyway. First time at a RIU resort, probably the last. Let me start with the beach. It is one of the nicest I've ever been to. Very well kept and clean. I couldn't believe there are no waves here, the water is smooth as silk. The beach was perfect and huge. Jamaica is not the place to snorkel if you want to see plenty of colorful fish and corals. It was drab. The pools are beautiful too but a couple of days it was very cloudy. I reserved an ocean-front (not view) but got a pool & ocean view on the 5th floor. That would have been fine except our balcony had a concrete wall, not a railing, so when you sat down you saw a wall. Also the room smelled musty. We were able to change rooms the next day to an ocean front with a railing but that room smelled musty/moldy too. I even sprayed Lysol over everything and it didn't help. We dealt with it. When I read 24 hour service I assumed it was 24-hour room service. Wrong. They have NO room service at all. OK, but at least put a coffee maker in the room, there wasn't one. For me that was an inconvenience. The mini-bar is stocked only every other day. They give you 2 small & 2 big bottles of water. If you want more you'd swear you were asking for blood. There was also 6 bottles of beer, diet & regular coke and orange soda. There was an alcohol dispenser also with rum, gin vodka. They advertise local and premium alcoholic beverages but they only have local, and the Red Stripe Beer (which was good) is only on tap, no cans or bottles except in your room. The food was not as good as other all-inclusive resorts I've been to. Not much of a selection from day to day. 2 restaurant are only for the people who have suites. They advertise that other guests can go there if they pay extra. That was not the case, we could not eat there, period. The gourmet restaurant is for people who eat unusual things like whole octopus etc. Not for me. The steak house was probably the best we had and that wasn't outstanding. I'm not a very picky eater but that basically left the buffets for every meal. If I don't go to another buffet for 5 years it will be too soon. The Jerk chicken on the beach was juicy and delicious one day and dried out the next. At least I didn't gain any weight on this trip. The staff was outstanding. They'd do anything for you. Some bartenders were great and others were not so. Some drinks were so strong I couldn't drink it and others I wondered if there was any alcohol in it at all. The entertainment at night was just so-so. And if you think you're going to a real casino, think again. The casino was probably 20'x25' with maybe 20 slot machines, most of which didn't work. We were told there was a "big" casino in town, so one night we hired someone to take us there. Big mistake. This one was maybe 20'x60' with no one but locals. The guard at the front door used a metal detector on everyone who entered looking for guns. The should have been our first clue. Most of those slot machine didn't work either. We called our driver after maybe 10 minutes and luckily he was still there picking up 100 pcs of KFC for someone at our resort. While we were waiting in his van it was scary with several locals looking in and trying to talk to us. Then we saw the pickup truck with the police in the back with automatic machine guns. Time to go home! Only go on supervised tours, not out on your own. We took the catamaran boat with snorkeling and to Dunns River Falls. That was exciting, but you need to be in some decent shape to do it. I'm 52, in decent shape and had no real problem. Not for older over 60 or younger than 14. A lot of climbing on rocks with the water flowing over you. Don't worry if you're afraid of heights, you only look in front of you so you don't slip. If your not used to climbing a lot of stairs you will feel it in your legs the next day. they say it's 960' high but I doubt it. One disappointing thing about the falls is that it's not all natural. You can see where concrete was poured in almost all of the areas in the falls. But that's OK we still had fun. We also went on the 4x4's tour. Boring and expensive ($85) for what we did. We never went over 15 mph. In Cancun and Dominican Republic we went all balls out. Not here, even after asking to go faster. I'm not saying it was a bad vacation at all. We all enjoyed our selves. We will probably go back to Jamaica and stay in Negril, but probably not at a RIU resort. Other chains we've stayed at were a notch above RIU and I guess I'm just spoiled but it's those little thing that count like bottled water available everywhere, 24-hr room service, coffee maker in room, more restaurants, canned or bottle beer. (I hate tap beer) All in all the RIU Ocho Rios is very nice and probably worth what you pay for, but they need some updating to do. No key cards, real keys for your door and you have to ask for a lock for your safe. TV's are old, no flat panels here. As for toiletries they provide bar soap and that's it. Oh well, like I said we still had a good time and a nice vacation. One thing I will be sure to do is ask about "all of those little things".
I would recommend Riu Ocho Rios to everyone. Before we went I read MANY reviews on different resorts and also inquired about the popularity of the top 3 resorts from many people. From all that I spoke with Riu Ocho Rios was named from everyone I questioned. It was a terrific choice. I would highly recommend the catamaran cruise, which includes snorkeling and Dunn's River Falls. We also enjoyed time in the ocean on a paddle boat, the beautiful pools, nightly shows, many daily activities and shopping. Be prepared to be catered to and have a wonderful time with your loved ones. Enloy!
Had a GREAT time at the RIU Ocho Rios Dec 12-20, 2012. Had a blast,will recommend to others and hopefully go back ourselves very soon! The airport experience was fine--no issues; our luggage all arrived and we were out the door in just a few minutes to our shuttle....though prepared for a long ride (nearly 2 hours) to the resort we weren't prepared for waiting in a shuttle for 45 minutes+ until it filled. We choose a Jr. Suite to accommodate 2 adults and 2 kids-worked well....based on my conversation with the Cheap Caribbean rep when booking we were anticipating a King bed for us and a sofa bed for the kids but we ended up with 2 full sized beds pushed together and a little love seat. I mentioned it to the front desk when they called after our first full day to see if everything was okay and they offered for us to move but by then we had settled in and figured if this was the worst issue we can certainly make it work--our kids are young so sharing the space was fine. We aren't complainers and saw the bigger picture--right out our balcony--perhaps the best view of the ocean! The room was clean--or as clean as you can maintain that close to the beach-always had clean towels and what we needed. We kept reading reviews of people who wrote the rooms are 'musty' and/or in some cases dirty. This was not the case...musty perhaps but it IS the tropics with high humidity--their may have been a slight odor but it wasn't unbearable or gross...it just was. There were no bugs other than ants and if you kept the sweet drinks/food out of the room they were not an issue. The buffet food was okay--after 8 days you are ready for something different but after all it's buffet and it was to be expected. Make sure you begin making your reservations at the specialty restaurants the day you arrive--they will let you book 3 days in advance....we arrived on a Wed. evening and tried to book first thing Thursday but the first available opening was Sunday. The restaurants were good, I think the Asian being the best for sure. Sir Richard was good. We also tried the Steak House--took an hour and 10 minutes for our food to arrive.....a little disappointing not sure if that is normal but it appeared others-though not everyone-received their food about 20 minute prior to us. All in all, not a big deal--it's not as though we really had any other place to be. =) Kids Club was nice for the kids, (my girls age 6 &8) though I was told by one Cheap Caribbean rep that kids club went until 9 or 10 in the evening---actually it's 9-5--not that big of a deal and if I had researched further or called the RIU myself I would have known-- missed a couple shows bc the kids were tired so if you bring kids just know any shows and adult evening activities are with the kids unless you bring Grandma or a nanny =)----after all we went with our kids as a family vacation so we adapted and made the best of it! The entertainment staff was stellar!!!! All aspects, all shows, all everything! They walk around and greet you all day, have a fun and high energy 'show' or game each afternoon by the pool, organize beach volley ball, etc. dance lessons on the beach, beach aerobics, and then put on an awesome show for you in the evening. You feel as though you are friends and have known them...awesome group of people-can't say enough positive about them..they are a wonderful and very talented group of people who made our trip VERY memorable and simply AWESOME! -- Lots to do off the resort: Dolphin Cove, Dunns Fall and so much more! Snorkeling is good right off the beach--you can even swim right to the reef on one area. Lots to do on and off the resort! Had blast will certainly return--perhaps next winter. You won't be disappointed!!
This was my boyfriend and I first all inclusive vacation and it as wonderful! After months of looking at different hotels I chose the RIU, and we were so happy that we did! The beach was big and gorgeous, and the hotel/room was just what we were looking for! The staff was very welcoming and pleasant. The hotel was huge, and it seemed like families with children were put on one side and couples/older groups on the other. The one side of the beach had loud music and dancing on the beach along with activities, the other side was more peaceful. We enjoyed both. We both loved the drinks & buffets. We actually skipped over the steakhouse on the last night to eat at the buffet. There was a variety of food every day & night and everything was delicious. Not knowing that my boyfriend needed long pants, we could not eat in two of the restaurants because he did not bring them. We did however eat in the Asian restaurant (also buffet) which was very good. There was nightly entertainment which was good! Mondays they have a beach party, which we missed because we left that day. We went zip lining (which I recommend!) and the booze cruise to Dunns river falls (which I also recommend!) For the zip lining, girls, wear long shorts, and you will need sneakers. For the falls, I wore my sneakers on the boat thinking that I needed them, but they offer rental water shoes if you do not have them $6.00 which I got and I am glad I did. We did purchase a $40.00 video of everyone climbing the falls (& was supposed to include pictures), but we haven’t been able to get that DVD to work, so I am disappointed with that. I suggest bringing a water proof camera, I wish I did! Bring lots of cash and tipping is very much appreciated!! We had a really nice relaxing vacation, just what we were looking for! I highly recommend the RIU in Ochos Rios!
Overall I enjoyed my vacation because the beach is always the highlight of my caribbean vacations. The beach at the Riu Ocho Rios is wonderful! The nightly entertainment was appreciated, but a few of the live shows were a bit boring. The wine & spirits were plentiful & the bartenders were friendly. I would say that the bartenders & the entertainment staff were the most friendly. Other staff were not overly hospitable; sometimes they did not bother to say hello when we would say good morning, etc. The resort was clean, but we did encounter 2 roaches in our room. I was DISGUSTED. I had read about this for the Riu in Montego Bay, so I was hoping it would not be the same in Ocho Rios - but not so. I informed the front desk & they said that they would have the room sprayed. We stayed on the beach all day, but did not sense that the room had been sprayed upon our return. That means - they have a really great exterminating product, or it was never done - I don't know. They re-stock your refrigerator in the room every other day. The food was edible, but nothing that I would describe as delicious. Some of the restaurants you have to make reservations for - but I don't understand why since they are also buffet style once you are seated. There isn't any bottled water available at the many bars on-site. You get 2 bottles in your room regrigerator. Again, I absolutely loved the beach. Beware of the natives who swim up to you in the water offering you "things" to purchase! The ATV excursion was booked at the hotel was fun, but a bit short for the amount it costs. They say it was a 6 mile excursion, but I doubt it. The highlight of that is the beautiful cliff they take you to, & if you chose you can jump off the cliff about 20 feet into the beautiful blue waters. I am not a stron swimmer, so I opted out of that, but it was fun to watch others & take pictures. Don't get alarmed by the goats, cattle , horses, & chickens you see on ride to the resort. They do not bother you! Overall, we had fun, but if you are used to true 5 star resorts go somewhere else.
We really enjoyed ourselves at this resort! FOOD: The food at all the restaurants is 5 star dining, it's buffet style. Be sure to have the jerk chicken they serve at a little hut on the beach. BARS: There are several bars all over the resort. There is a bar menu and they try to stick to it but they will make you whatever drink you want if they can. ROOM: The bed was a little too stiff for me and the room was a little musty smelling but it is a tropical, rainy place. Overall, the room was very nice & clean. Beer, whiskey, soda & bottled water are all in the room. They also have an excellent housekeeping service. RESORT: The entire resort is very clean and inviting. The entertainment was surprisingly good, I loved the shows. The beach was very clean and well kept. SPA & FITNESS: The spa was very nice and I had a wonderful massage. The fitness center is in the same building as the spa, it has a good amount of equipment but don't forget to bring your own towel, they do not provide towels there. The resort is a 1hour & 45 minute ride from the Montego Bay airport. Our bus ride to and from the airport was fun so it went by quickly. Be sure to have singles on you to tip the bus driver, bartenders, waiters & houskeepers. I've read a couple of reviews where tight fisted people complained about service, just because the resort is all inclusive doesn't mean you can't give a little graditude for excellent service!
Our family just got back from Jamaica. Great hotel for family. I have a 11 year old and an 8 year old. Both boys had a blast. The dining reservation system needs help (not able to get a reservation very easily to the ala carte restaurants. Would reccomend upgrading to the junior or deluxe suites to have access to better pool area and access to Tushima restaurant. The entertainment staff was wonderful and the shows were very entertaining. The Beach party on tuesday night was fabulous! Definitely will be returning to this hotel!