Old Reviews – Riu Montego Bay

  Riu Montego Bay   Kristen ~ Toronto, Ontario

October 2009

Arrival: June 2009
This hotel had very friendly staff, and its bartenders were extremely friendly!The hotel had a nice, large pool area and thanks to a tip from an agency at the internet, we found that scuba diving is great near the resort with reasonable rates. We tried to make same day / next day restaurant reservations but we were unable to get in to any of the restaurants throughout our stay, buffet was OK tough, try the jerk chicken on the beach. The room we had was very spacious, and overall the hotel was very clean.

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  Riu Montego Bay   Warren ~ Central Florida

July 2009

Arrival: April 2009

We stayed at Hotel Riu Montego Bay, a 5 star 680 room all inclusive resort. The two children stayed free, what a deal through cheapcarribean.com. Sailed through customs. While waiting for the rest of the passengers to board the bus, the baggage handler let us know that he could hook us up with ganga (we declined his offer). The hotel is a couple of miles from the airport. It opened in August 2008, is located next to a Sandals resort, has two and three story buildings. Very smooth check in (a rum drink helped); greeted by Closet of Tropical Tours who was most helpful then and at our departure. Our first room-second floor with a light fixture dangling into the sink. Called the main desk. We were told to make ourselves comfortable, that we could change and leave the bags, and that we would be moved and upgraded to a first floor (which is what we wanted) ocean view room. Rooms-double sinks, great water pressure and hot water; minibar stocked with Red Stripe , Coke, and mixers. Four bottles of local alcohol (rum, vodka, gin, and whiskey) that are in a cabinet, upside down with pourers. What a great ocean view. Rooms have balconies.

The huge pool had a swim up bar, concrete tables and chairs near the bar (along with seats at the bar), and a hot tub. There were specialty restaurants and a children’s dinner and movie (we didn’t use either). We enjoyed the buffet. Lots of choices of meats, poultry, and seafood. And of course fruits and desserts. The boys enjoyed the pizza. There were unusual local fruits and entrees, such as a green vegetable called callalloo, akee (a fruit) and saltfish (the national dish-for breakfast), jerked chicken, star apple, papaya, and mango. I bought guinep (a grape-like fruit) from a street vendor (the local tourist police helped me with the transaction). There was a small shopping center a short walk off the compound that had a grocery store (the best place to buy rum and coffee to bring home). In the evening there were vendors on the sidewalk one day and entertainment on stage-music and some elicited viewer participation (volunteers).

The service was wonderful, the food great (hot was hot and cold was cold and enough variety for all). Rooms were cleaned well and the A/C and hot water worked fine. The personnel working in the restaurant worked very hard. The bartenders seemed to enjoy their job-lively, entertaining, and didn’t ignore individuals (including the boys). One day we went on a zipline through Chukka Tours: 6 lines, up to 35 mph, and a rappel straight down from one stand to another (wasn’t so bad afterwards). That is a great adventure and shouldn’t be missed. We all enjoyed this resort. Would go back again.

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  Riu Montego Bay   Sandy and John ~ Ontario Canada

March 2009

Beach Party in Paradise, Jamaica RIU Montego Bay

Feb 21, 09 – Feb 28, 09

Holiday booked through CAA Travel This was a package vacation developed in conjunction with 3 local radio stations. There were over 200 people booked for the package, which gave the CAA team some leverage with resort management. The CAA team pre-booked our off-resort excursions, prior to our leaving Canada. I really liked this option. CAA had an “escort” on site during the week, as did Sunquest Travel.

This was a terrific package and I would highly recommend CAA as a travel supplier

Flew Skyservice out of Toronto, excellent as always. We were delayed out of Toronto due to the late arrival of our plane to Toronto and the need for de-icing.

The experience at the airport was a little tedious; there were only a couple immigration people on duty. However we arrived late in the evening and our flight was late getting in so one excuse could be that there is not normally as many planes coming in at that time. It is a weak excuse, because they know well in advance when flights are going to be late At the resort, all the rooms were set-up and packages created. It should have been a really slick and quick check-in. It was not because there was little organization and flow.

A simple “Lean” project to create a queue with a document collection (document provided by Sunquest), distribution of room packages and wrist banding stations would save significant time for the resort and “end of travel day” tension for the traveler

The room is pretty basic accommodations. Having said that it is nice, clean and cheerfully painted. Each room has a deck/balcony with chairs and a table; these are covered to give protection from rain or sun. The grounds are quite nice. As per usual, don’t drink the tap water in the rooms. There is a mini-fridge in each room and they provide you with four bottles of liqueur (gin, vodka, rum & brandy), assorted soft drinks, 6 Red Stripe Beer and a large bottle of purified water for drinking.

Bathroom was functional with lots of hot water and we had enough pressure to just about take skin off. The room was kept very clean daily. A friend of ours had a ground floor room that had an odor, which seemed musty when you first walked in, however when you concentrated on it, there was a hint of chemical in the back of the nose. I think it was actually the smell of new oil based paint, curing.

We have seen reviews where people indicate that the resort or parts of the resort are not kept clean. We did not see any indication of this. In fact, we did see a lady cleaning the handrail of our building with a toothbrush, in order to get into small places

One interesting thing is that they don’t count the ground floor as the first floor. We were in room 2214, which meant building 2, second floor, Room 14. We were actually on the 3rd floor of the building with 20XX and 21XX below us, and 23XX above us in a building with 4 floors. We had a little sliver of an ocean view.
The self-programmable room safe works really well and is big enough for a Laptop Computer.

RIU Staff We found all of the local people of Jamaica we met, to be really friendly. There were a lot of tourists who I would not want to invite to my house. Why is it that while on vacation people believe they have the right to drop plates and glasses on the beach or wherever they finish using them. While I am on my “soap-box”, I would also like to single out the smokers who drop cigarette butts on the beach, do you know that it takes decades for a filter to break down? So 20 years from know your little gift to Jamaica may still be there to greet your kids or grandkids. Not much of a legacy!

I do have one concern with the Bar Staff. I spent some time last week observing the way the various bar teams worked. Each bar has a supervisor/manager and as required additional bar staff. There were a couple of teams that would absolutely ignore a customer who did not tip them. They would make themselves busy at the other end of the bar or avoid looking at them and take someone who had just walked up (often those who got preferential service were on a first name basis with the bartender). Now I also believe in tipping good service and will select a number of those I believe as strong performers to tip. However, I think that if RIU allows this culture to continue, it will expand beyond the couple of teams I observed, and become a real problem for an all-inclusive resort

Main Building The main building is nicely done, in fact beautiful. All of the buildings and grounds were well above par in my opinion. It probably did not hurt that the resort is less than a year old, however over the week it was clear to me that they were already into a preventative maintenance mode

One thing that appealed to me was how the buildings tended to slip out of sight when you were not paying attention to them. I think it is the design and colours used. The buildings are mauve with white trim and they seemed to blend really well with the sky, ocean, plants and trees

Main Dining Room Food is a very personal thing, so please understand that this is just our opinion. However, we found the food to be quite good. We had breakfast and dinner in Rose Hall most days and there was always a lot of selection. While I didn’t try, I am sure I could fill my plate with something completely different each day for a week at both meals. There was just one thing that I had all week that I would not select again. It was an item on the breakfast buffet, had never tried it before and while I didn’t care for it, I’m sure others might.

Service in the Dining Room was good; I didn’t find the dining room staff as engaging as we have seen at other resorts, however they did what was needed very efficiently.

Lunches were down by the beach, or in the Mahoe Bay Grill. I quickly became addicted to the Jerk Chicken, which is served to perfection from a little hut on the beach.

The Mahoe Bay Grill is by the pool and beach and is a buffet, of mid-day selections. We had dinner one night in the Steak House and one at “Little Italy” Italian restaurant. The food was good, though really no better than the main buffet. A number of reviewers have commented on the fact that both of these offer an appetizer/dessert buffet table, with table service for main course only. The main course offerings are a little different than in the main buffet, however the Steak House is the only real value in my opinion, because of the various preferences (Rare, Medium & Well Done) for steaks that apply less to other foods.

Note: I really liked that RIU Montego Bay served drinks in re-usable plastic glasses, rather than the one use plastic glasses used at many resorts. Imagine the amount of landfill avoided.

The swim-up bar is massive, with in water booths. One thing that is really missing is a beach bar and washrooms. While the beach is not extremely large, it is large enough that a beach bar and washrooms should be installed.

We saw a “designers sketch” of the resort, which may include a beach bar that has not yet been built. It may make sense to have this as a low season project

Pool One of the best free-form pools I have seen, with lots of room, lounge chairs and shade. The shade is created by arbors, which have been very well designed to allow shade during certain times of day and sun during others. You can for example, sit in one area and have sun most of the morning and shade all afternoon, or the opposite.

Some people have reported missing tiles. This is correct, it would appear that the adhesive is not holding, given that the resort is less than a year old. I don’t believe that the missing tiles effects the usefulness of the pool at all. If I owned the pool I would be going after the supplier, however can sure understand why they might wait to the slow season to fix the pool. Who wants to go during a week when the pool is shut down?

Beach Relatively small, beautiful fine sand, great for swimming and hardly any waves. The water was a bit cloudy and there are some soft spots in the water, as have been reported by others. I think this is because the beach is man-made and new. If it were “woman-made”, they might have used some slightly coarser sand in the water to create a tighter pack (don’t women always say they do it right the first time). There are also weeds, which float in and don’t make it to shore, because of the lack of waves. However, I prefer the weeds to the plastic glasses and plates I found in the water, left by thoughtless tourists

This is an exceptional beach for young children (you still have to always be with them for safety), because there is no under-tow and a very gradual slope (Note: there is a tidal drop of about 8 inches, approx. 16 inches into the water)

Sand Fleas/Mosquitoes
Yes, they do live here and we did get some bites, mostly because we were too lazy to put on Skin-so-soft or repellant. I know some people are more bothered than others, so if you are, use a repellant. I did see someone on the property with a sprayer one day so assume they try to keep them down

Insulated Mug
We always travel with our own insulated mug (20 ounce) with lid. It keeps drinks cold longer, reduces the odds of sand and bugs getting into your beverage and greatly reduces the number of plastic glasses used. I estimate that the average couple could reduce plastic glass use by 150 glasses per week (@ 10 per day) So I would recommend that you take one with you.

Check out was a breeze, we had to leave our ro

om by 12 noon, however they have a luggage storage room and change room, which we used to catch our bus at 18:45 hrs. Summary Some people complained about the jets passing overhead, I did not find it a problem. I don’t know exactly what some folks are expecting from a 5 Star, I don’t know if this is actually a 5 Star. I would go back to the RIU Montego Bay any day.


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  Riu Montego Bay    Florence and Paul ~ Halifax

October 2008

My husband and I travelled to the new Riu Montego Bay from September 28th – October 4th. We were very impressed with the fact that they opened only a month before and couldn’t find a thing out of place. Our room was great, always kept clean, bar in room was stocked regularly. There are 2 large pools, one is more quiet and the other with the swim up bar which at times is busy. Never had to wait more than a minute for a drink and the bartenders were always very pleasant. Food was great, always could find something you liked. All the workers were pleasant and always professional.

We have been to Jamaica nine previous times and always have stayed at Sandals, we have stayed at all on the island. We are also booked to go to Sandals Ocho Rios in the spring. We decided to try the new Riu because it was offered at a very special price since it was new. Well,. we will certainly go there again and will also be trying other Riu properties because of the wonderful experience we had this year.

The beach is Ok, but we like to spend most of our time at the pool but we did swim in the ocean a bit each day. The front desk staff is very pleasant and efficient. The lobby is absolutely beautiful, there is marble everywhere you look, and it is truly a beautiful property. Entertainment each night and they are great and eager to please.

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  Riu Montego Bay    Patricia ~ Ontario, Canada

October 2008

Arrival and Flight
Flew out of Detroit with Spirit Air, with connecting flight in Fort Lauderdale, great flight crew. (October 9 to 13th)

In the corridor, there is one doorway, with two room numbers, one on either side. This door does not lock. As you walk in, there is a small hallway and you find the rooms off this hallway, one on either side. This was great as we were traveling with my sister and brother-in-law and we could open our doors, great adjoining room. Double closet with lots of plastic hangers, electronic safe, a bar area with four bottles of liquor, large bar fridge with pop, beer and a huge jug of water. (Alcohol is replaced every two days if needed) Water is safe to drink here as well. Beds were comfortable, ours was a king size bed, nice pillows and of course an extra blanket in the closet. Bathroom had a double sink, long tub with shower wand. Never had a problem getting hot water. Maids were in early and did a wonderful job. Restaurants We didn’t get the opportunity to try the specialty restaurants, but found that the buffet filled our needs (and tummies) Hot food was hot, cold dishes cold. Wait staff were wonderful. Table linens and silverware/stemware were spotless. We enjoyed the jerk chicken from the stand in front of the Mahoe Restaurant for lunch. If you are going to visit, this is a must!

Swim up bar gets busy but you don’t wait long. The other side of the bar, with tables and chairs under a lattice roof is a nice place to sit and enjoy a drink as well. Sports bar is upstairs just past the lobby and is open 24 hours. Lots of panel tvs. Tortilla chips with melted cheese, and snacks are in the fridge as well e.g. sandwiches. Nice and fresh too! Entertainment area has a large bar and they are quick with a drink even when the entertainers are on.

Beach and Pools
There is the one large pool, divided into two. There is a ramp leading in to the quiet pool. The pool bar area has stools to sit on in front of the bar, but there are little alcoves around the pool edge, with benches and tables as well. I think two of these alcoves has airjets. Bathrooms are located close by, outside the Mahoe Restaurant. Towels are plentiful. Lounge chairs had blue vinyl cushioned pads. (The ones at the beach are the small weave mesh type) There were quite a few palapas to sit under as well as these long, curved structures with white lattice on top. This also did a good job for a shade break.

Were immaculate, new plantings. Staff busy tending to them.

Activities and Entertainment
Activity staff were good, didn’t keep bugging you to participate if you chose not too. We took out a two person kayak, so register at the Watersports hut and away you go. Paddleboats and Hobie Cats too.

We did the Luminescent Lagoon. Driver that took us there was a maniac, tour guide was pleasant. The tour was interesting, but short.

Departure and Check Out Front desk was great, no hassles at all.
Conclusion We have never been to Jamaica before, but had stayed in Riu’s before and their reputation is what brought us to this resort. We knew that there is a quality that they maintain. The resort is close to the airport, ten minutes or so away. And yes, planes departing fly over the resort. I never minded this as I wasn’t on one leaving! A couple of planes in the morning and noon hour seemed busy with a few. Nobody seemed to even notice them as they were having such a good time. The wonderful staff and Jamaican spirit and pride was evident. We will be back.

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  Riu Montego Bay   Paul ~ Ottwa, Ontario

October 2008

Left Montreal October 05 with West jet and returned 12 October

Customs Montreal and Montego was quick and friendly

The flights were on time both ways and pleasant

A bit of a wait for the shuttle bus with sunquest but finally lest

And ten minutes latter was at the reception desk

All was quick and efficient and friendly Got my two keys yes real keys Card towel (2)

And a ground floor room with ocean view as I requested

This resort opened 29 august therefore
All is new clean and completed

The room is a little smaller than I am used to but we only Sleep in there

Grounds were immaculate the layout is excellent

The mahoe beach (lunch buffet) and evening steakhouse Is facing the beach and is outdoor restaurant

The Rose Hall (buffet breakfast and dinner) lots Of choice and very friendly staff

The Asian a la carte and the Italian a la carte are located Near the administration building at the back (near entrance) of Property

We I have tried all three a la carte and were equal To restaurant here in Canada

The only drawback would be the ocean as the bottom Is weedy and fells like glaze at the bottom. Water is not clear
If you are a real ocean simmer this is not ideal

Forget the planes overhead (we are on flight path for departure)
After a while you do not hear them.

Pools were amazing as was the swim up bar

There is a show every night ,two night are professional steel band And reggae band. Other shows are hotel talent

There is a sport bar in main building upstairs it is air condition And has pool tables

There is a shop for clothing and pharmacy

Exchange was 1.00 usd = 66 Jamaican dollar

Bring usd for purchased as our cad was peg to low

We had good weather did some tours price were decent

This Riu is a good 4 star and I would recommend

Paul Senior Travel Consultant MKI Travel & Conference Management

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