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Reviewed 21 February 2006

What a great vacation! Just got back from Jamaica on February 20th....we stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios from the 12th to the 19th. The 2 hour ride to the hotel is over roads we certainly aren't used to, but the bus driver took his time and we felt safe and relatively comfortable. Arrived at the airport at 3:00 am so didn't see much on the ride to the resort. But was the ride ever worth it! Fabulous property, clean well-kept rooms, great service, gorgeous beach, wonderful pool, lots of great food! We ate at the buffet St. Ann's, and the Pizzeria. Thoroughly enjoyed the meals! Especially the desserts!!! Wow! The staff at this hotel are friendly and never hesitated to smile at you! Loved the Jamaican people! The vendors on the beach are not pushy, and extremely appreciative of your business. Shopped in Ocho Rios, that was fun! Did the Cool Runnings trip!! A must do! We had a fabulous time and my husband loved the climb in the falls! Although we had rain for the first three days, we found lots of ways to entertain ourselves. The entertainment crew on this resort deserves a big thumbs up! They are a great group of people who are amazingly talented!!! We would recommend this resort to everyone! Thanks Riu Ocho Rios for a fab vacation!!

Date of stay: February 2006
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15  Thank Luzdasun
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 21 February 2006

We just got back from the RIU yesterday! After reading mixed reviews here I was a bit apprehensive but decided to try and go & have no real assumptions either way. We had an AWESOME time and the RIU is BEAUTIFUL! Following are some highlights and hints:

-The trip from the airport to the RIU is long and sometime bumpy... its Jamaica and thier 'highway 2000' project that is in its 6th year!!! BUT... No Problem Mon!!! Enjoy the scenery, the drivers comments and the rest stop for jerk chicken & red stripe beer. You will get there in one piece (believe it or not at the time) and don't have to worry until you head back home.
-Check in was easy and quick; we had no problem with any keys (room or safe), not enough towels (as you will hear from people) but more were sent up to the room within a couple hours).
-The entertainment staff is GREAT!!!! Chaz (Chin) and Andy are our favorites... they are all enthusiastic and try to get everyone involved. The shows are not broadway but they are fun. The magic show was awesome, the ice breakers beforehand where hilarious (take it from someone that was up on the stage!!).
-The drinks are no problem... we took large thermal mugs we bought at 7-11. They filled them up w/o a glance. Anyone who thinks the drinks are weak... whoa! what do you usually drink??? I had to ask for them 'light' most of the time.
-The food... well, its mass produced for lots of people! If you keep that in mind then it is very good and plentiful. Great fresh fruit at all meals, the jamaican corner in the ST Anns buffet was always good w/ local food, the Jerk hut on the beach is a MUST. Very good and, like other people put out, get your meat there then up to the Plantation for other food.

Hints:
-Dunns River falls on the catamaran COOL RUNNINGS thru 5-star watersports is a worthwhile side trip.
-Anyone that said the staff was surly... don't know what they were talking about; treat them with respect and a smile/hello and it goes a long way- they will be the same way in return and go out of their way to make sure you have what you need. In other words, treat them like PEOPLE not servants or lower class citizens!
-Towels... true that sometimes you don't have enough, grab some off the maids cart and stick them in a drawer!
-Dress code; the reservation restaurants you do have to dress nicer (no shorts, slaps, etc) but the buffets you can get away w/ shorts at dinner even. More relaxed than I thought it would be.

I hope this helps. Email me at sbernin@hotmail.com if you have more specific questions. I'm happy to help!

Date of stay: February 2006
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21  Thank Experience15338
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 21 February 2006

I was so disappointed by the Riu Ocho Rios. The food was horrible, the hotel is unbearably large, the grounds are unattractive and the entertainment is sub-par. I felt like I was at a resort in Florida rather than at a 4 star hotel in Jamaica. It had no interesting ambiance, no interesting character. If you want to feel like you are still in the US and are vacationing at a resort in Florida, then you may enjoy it. If you want to really experience Jamaica (the food, the people, etc.), I suggest you go elsewhere.

Date of stay: November 2005
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12  Thank Storyteller1285
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 February 2006

We stayed at the RIU Ocho Rios the week of February 10-18, 2006 and loved it! We mostly travel to Caribbean All Inclusive destinations in Punta Cana and Mexico (this was our first time to Jamaica)and we always do these two things;
1) We E-Mail the hotel confirming our reservation with its management and ask for pricing and availability for a room upgrade which in this hotel was a suite.
2) Other than the bellman that takes our bags to our room upon our arrival and the servers at the specialty restaurants that give great service we do not tip the staff until our last couple days at each resort. We believe that tips should be reserved for the staff members that provide us excellent customer service, and then we see that those staff members are rewarded!
The manager was WONDERFUL, within an hour of my E-Mail she responded with pricing to upgrade to a suite and stated that she would not know availability until the day of our arrival but would notify us at check in if that was a possibility. When we checked in we were notified that our room was a suite and that there was not additional cost for the week! Not only did the Management impress us with her quick response (most resorts have ignored my E-Mail) but she also took care of my request in a way that made the RIU at the top of our list for resorts to return to.
The maids were GREAT too, our room was cleaned daily and we had plenty of towels, beverages etc. There were two women that worked together each day and they were friendly and courteous! It was fun to converse with them throughout the week and share about our lives and families, we found them to have children the same ages as ours so there was much to discuss. They did a great job with great attitudes we couldn't wait to tip them at the end of our week! We received great service from the bartenders too, we rarely had to wait long for a drink and many of them seemed to really enjoy their job!
Alfredo (restaurant manager) is AWESOME! We met him a few years ago at the RIU Melau in Punta Cana (another great place to stay) and he is WONDERFUL at running the restaurants and leading his staff! I was impressed that he remembered us, but that's just how good he is!
The hotel and suites are BEAUTIFUL, the pools and Beach are BEAUTIFUL, we loved our stay!
A couple things to note for your travels to Jamaica (like I said this was our first time to the area)
1) The shop workers/owners are very pushy! If you do not intend to make a purchase do not accept their "Free" gift and do not touch their wares! We were very shocked at their sales tactics... they will "give" you a gift (female carved head) and then hand your partner another gift (male carved head)stating that one is free but would normally sell for $35.00 so then ask you to pay them what both is worth. Worse yet, if they had asked your name they will quickly carve your name into it to seal the sale! If you refuse to purchase once your name is carved they make a scene that makes you look like you are ripping them off because you asked them to put your names on it and then refused to pay! This did happen to another couple we saw and we were still sucked in! We ended up purschasing these heads for $60.00, and one really wasn't free and yes we had given our names in conversation on our way into the store! Good luck shopping in Ocho Rios!
2) The airport on the day of departure is a nightmare, they will open and look through all of your bags with you present (that's OK with us, safety is good) but when our bags were taken and we went towards the gate more searching was done and no notes from the airlines were left to say that our bags were searched by security. When I got home to unpack all four of our suitcases looked inside as if they had opened them, dumped everything out and crammed it back in! This was uncalled for and makes us wonder what they were looking for, who would be dumb enough to put valuables in suitcases that cannot be locked! Good luck with fragile items, maybe pack them as a carry-on!
Do stay at the RIU OCHO RIOS!!!!!!

Date of stay: February 2006
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18  Thank LisainMN
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 February 2006

Me and my boyfriend visited the Riu, Ocho Rios January 20-24th, 2006. The hotel is georgeous, the amenities are wonderful. The staff is friendly and willing to do all they can for you. The food is o.k., you have to make reservations at 10am to eat anywhere that is not a buffet. This means, you cannot sleep in, and you need to be there about 9am to be sure to get on the list, 8:30 am for Sir Richards (and it's not that worth it). You waste hours of your mornings in line. One of us would wait in line while the other went to eat breakfast and then we would trade, bring a book. The worst thing about the hotel is the liquor. The hotel only serves well liqours. The only name brand you will see is Smirnoff vodka, everything else is no name. You can have draft or draft light beer, red or white wine, that's the extent of the selection. If you are not a drinker, RIU is the place for you. I felt safe, secure and comfortable the entire time. TIP: Pay for a regular room and when you arrive ask the check in staff if they can upgrade you to a jr. suite, we did and they accomodated us for no charge. I also wish the staff did a little more activities and games. All in all the Riu is a beautiful, safe and clean hotel. I would definately reccomend it to anyone, just don't expect a ton from the food and beverage. OH, and one last thing, they serve NO Jamaican food. You must leave the hotel for any native foods. The 1hr. trip from the airport to the hotel is not too fun. Get your own taxi and pay about $100 (including tip) each way. Visit Dunn's River Falls.

Date of stay: January 2006
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7  Thank girliegirlhonda
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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