The food is fantastic too, and the choice is endless, the only negative was the food at the steakhouse, you get better at the buffet.
The entertainment staff work so hard, and can be seen practising their dancing from 9 am and work until 23-2400 each day.my only complaint would be they get too much "show time" of an evening.
We first stayed here in 2007 and had a wonderful holiday. We booked again for May 2008 and again had a good holiday but noticed things had changed, slightly for the worse. However, this most recent trip has completely put us off staying at the hotel ever again.
Firstly, the resort transfers with Thomson are no longer an issue. Originally it used to be getting on for 2hrs but now it
Travel operator: Thomson
Travel operator: Portland Direct
Rooms cleaned every day, mini bar stocked up every other day, there was a good selection of food in st anns but also plenty of resturants to choice from.
The entertainment team and the bar staff were brilliant, we sat at the bob marley bar the most. These people are so friendly and funny as well.
If there is anything that you are not happy with then just let them know at reception and honestly they sort it out very fast, not that you will. You don't need to go out side this hotel as it is big enough and there is some entertainment every night. Apart from the trips, there is not really alot to go outside this hotel for or rather it is manely locals trying to sell you there stuff, but it is an exprerience.
The trips we did was Dophin Cove, Dunns River, which is a must and Mr Motavator, this is a must as well. We would go back to this resort and to the trips again.
If you buy a video from dunns river ask at the hotel if you can play it as we got home and found out that there was only half of the trip on it, very disappointed but apart from that this holiday was fantastic.
Travel operator: thomsons
We stayed at the Riu from 29th Jan - 13th Feb 2008.
We travelled with Thomson from the UK. We paid for premium seats, unfortunately we had an old plane both ways. No seat back tv's. Premium seats did get a hand held entertainment system on the return journey
People in regular seats on outbound trip were unable to purchase earphones as they hadn't got right ones on board... that's ten hours without entertainment.
I thought the food was alot better than average, with lots of it.
Cabin crew were very friendly and helpful, quick to get anything we needed.
It was dark when we got there. Transfer shorter than expected about 1hr 30 mins.
Roads smooth and driver safe.
Nice comfortable air conditoned bus.
Arrived around 10pm. Very quick easy check in with fruit punch. They give you your room keys, safe key and towel cards.
We decided to take our own suitcases to room to save time! Whoops big mistake our room was miles away if you walk through hotel. (we discovered after it is easier to cut through the garden pathway)
You notice immediatly how clean everwhere is. The grounds and gardens are well maintained.
We were in room 3457. We had booked a junior suite but got upgraded to a full suite. It was on the 'normal side' of hotel right at the front, next to Sandals. The room was huge, beautiful and immaculate. We had no problem with noise inside our room infact it was amazingly quiet for the size of the hotel. This was probably helped by the corridor we had into our room followed by a second door.
The balcony was huge! To the right was Sandals, we looked onto their generators which were very loud and ugly. The view the other way made up for it though (as you can see fro our pictures). I wouldn't have paid for a full suite on this side though!!
We ate at all the speciality restaurants, depended on the day how easy it was to book. We did like the 9pm sitting which is alot easier to get. You can book all in advance, other than Sir Richards and Sir Johns (same menu) which you have to book on day. Wine in restaurants nicer as in bottles instead of barrels. White wine not good, red was enjoyable.
Sir Richard -
We went in here twice. Loved the food and the service. Nice and small dining area. Fish was yummy! Four courses!
We went here twice two. Really nice waiter, good service. Four courses including a massive plate of sushi to start.
Four sittings, buffet. Food and service okay. Asian food.. This seemed quite popular though as was the only one we struggled to get a reservation for.
Mammee Bay -
Steak House in eve. Starter, soup and dessert buffet style, main served at table.
Only offered one drink. Had to ask to move dirty plates so we could get dessert.
Wouldn't reccomend in eve.
Good for lunch when buffet, next to Junior suite pool.
Jerk Hut -
Yummy! Great chicken and sausage. On beach near Sandals.
As good as everyone says!
Open for lunch near activity pool.
Very quick service, very clean. Staff worked very hard.
Nice selection of food buffet style. You can bring your jerk up here and grab some salad etc to go with it.
Always nice pasta. Lasange yummy. Pizza, salad.
Good service, very clean. Always fill up your glasses with ice cold water and offer to get you drinks.
Open for breakfast and dinner buffet.
This place was one extreme to the other. The staff were either fantastic or rude! On our first week we were always offerd a pot of coffee at breakfast or wine and water in the evening. The second week when hotel was busier. We were either never offered, or asked and then they forgot to bring us our request!
Food one evening was cold.
One morning they ran out of hot food, it took 15 mins for them to have it back under control, in this time they ran out of bread rolls, muffins, croissants etc too.
When good though they had curried goat, seafood paela, fajitas and taccos and best of all lobster tails!
Sometimes did smell, but not too bad. Didn't spend much time here as underground and went for the nice weather and not to sit watching tv.
They had nachos, popcorn and sandwiches in here.
All bars round resort were very good. Does help to tip if you want to be seen quicker when busy. They know who you are!
They all worked very hard, making sure everyone had a good time.
Now I like a drink... but alll this about the alcohol being watered down, I don't think so!! Sometimes it was hard to drink the rum cocktails they were so strong.
Lots of great drinks to try. I often saw one that looked good and just pointed and said can I try one of them!?
Yes you do have to be a bit brave to get in them, and yes the sea is warmer. Once your in though it's heaven.
No problems at anytime of day getting a lounger for two.
A lot of the loungers did have broken bits.
Cleaned everyday. Just amazing. Sea clear with a bit of sea weed. People seemed to prefer being down here.
Hard to get a seat in evening. Really enjoyed Michael Jackson show. Guys worked really hard.
I'd say they were more dancers than all round entertainers, but good fun. Band on every night after main show playing easy listening reggae music.
Raquel was fantastic, we didn't go to welcome meeting but we did speak to her most days! Really helpful and cheerful. With lots of knowledge as she is Jamaican.
We did Nine Mile, Kingston, Dolphins and Dunns River with Thomsons as wanted to do as a group. Brilliant, the tour company they use were wonderful. Guides very knowledgable we learnt alot about Jamaica.
Dolphins Cove are offering free entrance to Dunns Riverif you go before end of March, ask your rep or go direct!
We went into town in a taxi twice.
The downside to the holiday.
One evening I got in the jacuzzi, then realised we had been left no towels by housekeeping that day. I got my husband to call down to reception for some to be brought up.
Travel operator: Potland
Although, the pools were not always as clean as you would expect them to be. Although, saying that who needs a pool when the sea is as beautiful as it is in Ocho Rios.
The hotel is in a very good area, as it is not in a particularly busy part, but Ocho Rios town is easily reached by taxi. The only slight downside was that the transfer from the airport took 1hr 45mins - nothing major, but after the long flight it wasn't the most pleasant journey.
The staff at the hotel are very pleasant and check in and check out were both very quick.
The food selection was excellent at this hotel, but the only thing that lets it down is the restaurant booking system. You have to phone between 10 and 12 or 1 and 5 to book either the 7 O'Clock or 9 O'Clock sitting. To do this, we had to go back to the room to phone and then when you could get through and it wasn't engaged, they only had the 9 O'Clock sitting left. Most nights by this time, we weren't hungry.
We only ate at three of the a'la carte restaurants, as these were the only ones we could get in.
Mammee Bay - Steak House. This was very nice, although the starters were just on a help yourself display (just like the buffet restaurant) as were the deserts. However, the mains were served to the table and they were delicious. I had the 10oz steak and my husband had the pork. The house white wasn't very nice, but I just ordered a sprite to top it up and the spritzers were drinkable.
Plantation - Steak house. Again very good.
The same salad bar, but also soup which was very tasty! We had chicken and steak here and both were excellent pieces of meat.
Sir John - Gourmet. This restaurant was excellent!!
It was very quiet and sophisticated and the food was delicious. We both had salmon starters, then soup, all of which were served at the table. For mains we both had the lamb, which was fantastic. We also had desert at this one, very tasty - crepes and profiteroles.
The entertainment is good and varied, although we didn't watch much of it.
The spa doesn't look much from the outside, but inside it is lovely and the atmospere is very relaxing. We had back, neck and shoulder massages $60 for 30 minutes.
Travel operator: Portland
Travel operator: portland direct
1. very very clean
2. large rooms
3. wonderful spacious beach & pool area's
4. lots of places to eat (spoilt for choice)
5. close to ocho rios & dunns falls
6. staff very polite & helpful
(i could go on and on....)
disadvantages (very few)
1. booking of restaurants in the morning (too much hastle)
we visited sir richards twice in 2 weeks and i had to arrive at the booking desk for at least 6.30am to be guaranteed a place ready for a member of staff to take reservations at 7.00am
2. Corridors need to have carpet in them, there is too much noise & shouting to be heard by other guests (everything echoes)far too many people think there is only them in the hotel!
3. The floors are very slippery around the main bar and reception area, i saw quite a few people fall over.
Apart from the above everything is brilliant and i am sure you will have a wonderful holiday.
Travel operator: thomson
This will be a holiday of a life time, only bad point they only serve lager no bitters but you plenty to drink try coffee with rum cream yum yum.
Take US dollar and lots of $1 notes as every one wants tips and will ask. If you tip hotel staff they to do more for you, room cleaner decorate your bed with towels and or flowers very nice. Go and enjoy!
Travel operator: thompson
This is our review of the Riu Ocho Rios
Our flight was what we expected - long and cramped! Its 10 hours from and the airport is a 3 hour drive from where we live!
We flew with Thomson ( TUI ) . We were told that we had to pay a $10 arrival tax as well as a $1000 n dollars departure tax. When we were on the plane Thomson said we needed to fill out a form ( tourist card type ) for arrival and as this was a new practice they had none and we had to do it at the airport. After all the chaos this caused we were pleased that we no longer needed to pay the arrival tax. Then we had to join another queue and fill out another form to say we werent bringing anything in to sell etc to do with customs ! Im not sure if this was just for British people or if this is for everyone coming to Jamaica. It was a pain and no one seemed to know where to go or what to do! Eventually we were sorted got our bags no problems and found our bus.
Our drive was about 1hr 45 mins and we didnt stop ( it was early evening ). The road was bumpy in places but nothing to worry about. Didnt see much of anything as it was dark.
When we were on the bus the guide gave us a form from the to fill in with our passport numbers on etc which we handed in at the desk on check in. We didnt have to wait long - maybe 5 mins - and then we were given our wristbands and hotel info, safe key and 2 card keys for the door and towel cards.We went to our room and our luggage was delivered about 7 mins later. We tipped the porter.
Our room was on the 2nd floor suite side (1153) overlooking the pool and with a sea view. We had 2 double beds, large sliding wardrobe with plenty of hangers and the safe is inside the wardrobe along with a full ironing board and iron. Opposite the wardrobe is your mini bar ( appleton white rum, n brandy, vodka and gin. There is a wooden ice bucket, tongs and 2 glasses on a tray. The fridge has an ice compartment with 2 trays of ice cubes. Also had 6 bottles beer, 4 each of pepsi and diet pepsi, 2 fizzy orange and 4 tonic water. Also big bottle of water. There is a metal pepsi bottle opener fixed to the wall ( a Riu special touch ! ) Even have ice machines positioned in the corridoors so if you want to fill your bucket you can get some from the corridoor machine if your fridge has ran out !!!
Room has full length mirror, suitcase stand and seat at the bottom of the beds, 2 bedside cabinets - one with phone on and the other with proper digital alarm clock/radio. There is a 2 seat sofa and tv with loads of channels ( nick jr as well as some cartoons , cnn and at least three with movies on - didnt watch much tv! ) coffee table and standing lamp. There are 6 drawers under the tv cabinet and 2 drawers in each bedside cabinet. Balcony was with railings ( some on the high floors do have concrete) and 2 reclining sun chairs white plastic and yellow cushions - very comfy ! Also a little table. Riu do provide a clothes rail as it says in their hotel booklet that they do not want people hanging clothes over the balcony. In our bathroom we had a hydromassage bath tub and twin sinks. There is a hairdryer 1600 watts ( no nozzle ) I did bring my own and it didnt work as well as the plug sockets are 110 volts. You need a 2 pin adapter with straight prongs not round.
The beach was beautiful , standard rooms being next to sandals and suites the other side. On the beach there are canoes ( kayaks ) , pedaloes and windsurfing and sailing. These are free. You pay $50 for parasailing and $50 for jet skiing for 30 mins. You can also go out on a glass bottom boat for $30 each.There are sellers on the beach but they stay at the waters edge and I never found them pushy - just say no !!!!!! They play horseshoes on the beach and volleyball, football and do aqua aerobics etc. There are taps to wash off your feet and showers to wash off after being in the sea. There is a beach bar and the jerk chicken hut ( pink and white building ) on the beach does great chicken as well as sausages with 2 types of sauce - the dark one is black pepper type spicy and the red one is sweet but not hot. The guys name is Paul and his favoroite comment is " NO ITCHIN WITH THE CHICKEN" - as most people are using the tongs to try and find the breast pieces instead of the legs!!! I laughed when he shouted at me and told him that although I loved all his chicken - breast was best! The sausages are the best ive ever tasted and im not a fan of sausage at all!! He takes it all in good humour!! Especially when you tell him hes got the best sausage around!!!
The pool where the standard rooms are has all the games going on in there and is a lively pool.The suite side pool is quiet with loungers in the water and 2 jacuzzis ( they are not heated and run open into the pool) a fountain and infinity pool. None of them are too deep. This is where we spent most of our time as it was by our room and the staff there were great!Nola sings most of the time and they all called my son "big 12 " as he is so tall.Mike is in the towel hut most days or in the lifeguard chair. He will put your towels in the place you want them for a small tip daily - even though there was never a rush to get chairs around the pool if you want to be in a particular place this is the way to do it as it says in hotel info that the pool guys will remove towels if people try to reserve beds.
Richard was a bar tender here too before he got promoted ( green flowered shirt is standard workers uniform to white shirt is the supervisor uniform ). He got promoted after an accident when one of the ropes broke whilst a lady was parasailing and she was swung from the beach into the top of the building. Richard and another Richard saved her by tying the rope left onto some railings by the pool and hoisting her in so she didnt collide with the building. He scraped the skin off his arms as the rope burned him and it was very nasty. The lady landed beside a tree next to the pool and im not sure how badly hurt but understandably shaken.At the time we left our holiday there hasnt been any parasailing since. Im sure there will be an investigation into how this could have happened. Im going to nominate him for staff member of the week. He is an angel and a HERO.
The first night we got there we ate at St Annes buffet as it was late and we found it to be very good for a buffet. There were no queues, plenty of variety , We were impressed. Staff are lovely, restaurant spotlessly clean. They make a big effort to welcome you and talk to you.
We only ever ate breakfast at St Annes as the choice was huge. There are at least 6 types of cereal, assorted yoghurts, about 5 choices of smoothies ( strawberry and peach was lovely ). There is a guy on a counter just full of smoothies and fruit. The melon is great! There is another counter full of cold meats and cheeses, a counter with waffles and chocolate sauce and maple syrup, pancakes , cinnamon toast, croissants, do-nuts sprinkled with sugar, Pieces of streaky bacon well cooked, sausages, scrambled eggs, hash browns, eggs cooked to order and omelettes made with any fillings! Ask for a full house if you want the lot in your omelette. The coffee is GOOD!!!!!!
We queued for 40 mins to get in here - we didnt enjoy it. When we were shown to our table we expected to get a drink first and relax for a few mins - wrong - everyone began to raid the buffet immediately so we thought we had better go with the flow and a good job too as there wasnt much left!! They do keep on cooking more though but we didnt enjoy the atmosphere or the food too much. There were no deserts left by the time we got to them and no one seemed to be bothered to dress nice or take their time.
There are two steakhouses - one on the suite side and one on the standard side. We were suite side - and the steakhouse and Tushima are both booked at the entrance to Tushima - so if you are in the que for Tushima and theres no tables left when it gets to your turn you can ask for the steakhouse.We thought the food was great at the steakhouse - my hubby and i had mixed grill ( chicken, steak, prawn and sausage )and my son had a 10 oz tenderloin which he loved. They are served with vegetables in butter and a jacket potatoe with sour cream. We went there twice!! You have buffet for starters, are served your main course and buffet for dessert. You can order any drinks and they will get them from the bar for you but you will get wine and water served to your table. The steakhouse on the suite side is open railed sides beside the beach and is a buffet lunch during the day.
My favorite restaurant! The staff greet you as you enter and are dressed in silk wrap jackets. Sushi was served to all tables and there are only chopsticks laid out so if you need a fork you have to ask for one. I had never tried it before but did and it was ok but not something id rave about. My 12 year old son even tried it!!! You order all 3 courses and it is served to you. I had a soup to start and it was lovely, my hubby and son had chicken satay on a stick which they both enjoyed. Next we ordered chicken with a lime and chive dressing - gorgeous!! My hubby and I had green tea ice cream and lychees for desert and my son had deep fried strawberry ice cream - ! The wine was lovely and it was such a peaceful atmosphere - I loved it.
After seeing so many people queue for ages only to be told it was full we decided not to bother. We saw people there as early as 8am with coffee and reading books, later on eating their breakfast on their knees whilst sitting on a chair in a queue - we thought they were all barking!!!!! But lo and behold after all the new years celebrations a lot of people left on the Sunday so as we were walking to breakfast on the monday morning at 9.15am there was no queue - we even thought it might be closed but it wasnt so my hubby grabbed a chair and we thought wed give it a try as it was our last night. Within 5 mins there was a long que behind us and people thought wed been queing for hours!!! At ten to ten the revervations opened and we were first in line and got in no problem. It was very nice inside, very comfortable and plush. We were given champaign on entry and shown to our table. The 4 courses were ordered and served to you. The food was good but i prefered the steak at the steakhouse . The crepes for desert were the best.
Im going to endure the wrath of many now but here goes - as it is supposed to be such an exclusive restaurant I think it should be adults only. When we were there a third of the tables were taken up by small children who didnt behave too well as im sure they were bored and didnt eat the food either. I saw one family give their children dollars to go into the shop and buy chocolate to bring in cuz they didnt like the food. To me that is such a waste of table space when there are so many trying desperately to get into this restaurant. Im not a child hater I have 3 of my own - Im just expressing my opinion.
NEW YEARS EVE
We also had a New Years Eve Gala Buffet - some people hated it and some people didnt. We had to book St Annes for a table on that night and it was the only time there were long queues. The food was worth it though - all I had was lobster, crab and prawns and salad.Oh and champagne - loads of it!!! They came round with trays of small chocolates aswell for us to enjoy!! YUM!!! I loved it as I was a little bit
The singers were great, there was a bonfire on the beach we were all given new year party bags, people jumped in the sea at midnight i could go on and on but it was great!!!!!!
NO PROBLEM MAN !!! Cocktails very good , Jim beam whisky, Smirnoff vodka , Red stripe beer , pernod, tia maria etc. Far too many to list!! OR REMEMBER !!! Ask for an irish coffee at the suite side pool bar and they put N Appleton special rum 43%, overproof rum cream and tia maria in it !!! YUM!!!! Strawberry daquiri and pina coladas are fab - i tried to work my way down the menu but didnt manage it in a week - give me a fortnight and I would have cracked it!! They also have alcohol free cocktails for kids and popcorn machines.
Several people have commented on the smell of this bar. We think it smells musty because of the fact that it is under ground near the swimming pool. It certainly doesnt stop people using it. There is a microwave and fridge with burgers and sandwiches in to be heated up if you want and popcorn. There are several games machines, dance machine and air hocky table. Two pool tables $1 a game. Then a screened section with gambling machines.Large tv screen.
This is ten mins drive away and we had never done a dolphin park before. You can do a touch, encounter or swim. My recomendation is the swim. You get a kiss, and can hold two dolphins fins to swim with and then they push you up on your feet in the water. They are looked after well from what we witnessed and we enjoyed it very much. What a way to spend new years day ??? we are so lucky. There is a bit of a nature trail with snakes,iguanas and parrots. You can order food there - jerk burgers or buffet. We didnt eat there - we had already eaten at our hotel. www.dolphincovejamaica.com
We had such a short time ther with the trip we took i wish we had just taken a taxi and stayed longer. The Taj Mahal duty free is very good priced jewellery -my son got a tommy watch that was $99 and he paid $40 The only place i felt uncomfortable was the craft market - I would say its only for those of us who dont mind being harrassed and haggling hard and mean!! There is a kfc and a burger king!! You can get more of a bargain if the cruise ships are not in as there are less buyers!!
AIRPORT DUTY FREE
Jamaica airport isnt bad for duty free - we got appleton 12 year old - they have a good selection of spirits so be sure and get there early enough to have a good look - our bus was late picking us up and by the time we had gone through check in ( nightmare queues ) and paid departure tax etc we had 15 mins to board so we didnt get chance to have a proper look round - just grabbed some rum and ran!!
Well Im sure ive missed out loads but its so long if I go on any more I'll have writers cramp!! Hope my review helps all going out there - Im so jealous I want to book to go back straight away!!!!!!
I LOVED THIS RIU !!!! AND YES I DID WEAR MY RUSTYS RIU T SHIRT !!!!!
Travel operator: thomson
Ask a Question
Got a question? Ask our community of over 1.5 million users.