Old Reviews – Riu Palace Tropical Bay

  Riu Palace Tropical Bay   Dillan ~ Canada

June 2009

Arrival: June 2008
Arrival was ok. There was a whole lot of confusion as the flight attendants gave us all the wrong forms to fill out so we had to do it all over again once we arrived at the airport. We had to wait at the airport for a very long time in the stinky bus because we were waiting for other flights to meet us. But the bus drivers were very entertaining and made the time pass quickly.

The rooms were awful! We were put in the "older" part if the hotel (even though I asked our travel agent and the hotel to put us in the new area) and the room smelled like pee. I asked to change rooms right away and was told I had to wait until the next day. We were there were 6 other couples and every sinlge one of them had to change rooms for one reason or another.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet restaurant was pretty good, The curried chicken was unbelievably good and the Jerk chicken stand on the beach was also outstanding (although it is a very long wait). The a la carte restaurants were ok – nothing special.

The beach was one of the nicest I have ever seen and there were always plenty of chairs! The pool, on the other hand, was quite small and dirty. I stayed away from it.

Other Comments:
All in all, we had a fantastic time, but more because of the company we kept rather than the hotel itself. The staff is VERY friendly and accomodating but it is certainly not the 5 start resort it has been reviewed as.

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  Riu Palace Tropical Bay   Dennis ~ Canada

February 2009

Arrival: February 7th to February 14th
The arrival to this hotel was so disorganized. A simple line-up could have improved the check-in process tremendously!! A very bad experience especially when we got into our resort at 11:30pm. The last thing I expected was to have to fight with other patrons on who was there first.

The room was very clean and well kept. I enjoyed the clean bathrooms and decorations. However, the bed-sheets are not changed daily. In fact I think they change it only every 3 days. The A/C when turned on in the evening sent out sewage smelling air into the room which was very disgusting. My girlfriend vomited one night becuase she could not take the smell of the room. On the flip side, it got so hot one night that I got bitten by mosquitoes as a result of not turning on the A/C. I was so glad I had brought some OFF! to help me keep the mosquitoes off.

Restaurants and Bars
The buffet was good but not excellent. The food quality was OK. The Sushi A La Carte was absolutely horrible – don’t try it!! We also did Krystal one night and everything was good except the mushroom paste that comes with your steak. Just looking at the texture and the color of the mushrooom paste on your plate turned off your apetite. Other than that, I also didn’t like the line-up every morning to have to book your A La Carte, absolutely in efficient process!!

The beach was the best part of my vacation. The pool was very nice as well and I enjoyed it very much. The grounds was excellent, no compliants here.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The excursion was abit overpriced for what we got. It seemed rather disorganized as well and even though we were asked to arrive at 8:50am, our excursion didn’t start until 10:00am and we had to wait on the beach for over an hour.

Other Comments I don’t think I will ever go back to this resort again. The beach, pool, grounds and room is very good but I would definitley not say it’s a 5 star hotel. It’s more like a three and a half to 4. I didn’t feel very welcome here at this resort at all.

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  Riu Tropical Bay   Jenn ~ Toronto

January 2009

Arrival: Dec 20-27 2008
We flew with skyservice. They were great my fience is very tall and needed extra legroom and there were no regular class seats left so they bumped us up to first class seats(the first 5 rows) The service on the plane was excellent and just before we landed the served us all some rum punch.

The rooms were fantastic! very roomy and clean. The maids were great our room was spotless and fresh new towels everyday. Lots of towel art. You will not be disapointed with these rooms.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet was good for breakfast and dinner but was not the greatest at lunch. If you are a picky eater eat lots at breakfast because dinner is a long way away and lunch at the buffet was not very good. But if you goto the jerk hut on the beach for lunch it was fantastic!! Do not leave Jamaica without trying the Jerk chicken. The bars were great all premium alcohol and the bartenders were quick. The pool bar did seem to have a lot of bees there though so if you are allergic stay away from there.

The beach was AMAZING! very clean and long. It was by far the nicest beach on the bay. We walked the whole thing and it was great. You can also walk through a public beach to the other RIU resort and go there for drinks. There are locals selling stuff there and if you are not interested they do not hassel you which was great! The pools were very nice and very clean. The one pool had loungers built into it. But we spent most of our time down at the beach

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There were lots of activities going on if you were interested. Lots of excursions were offered to but were very expensive. We did take one excursion on christmas day which was the sunset cruise. It was only $50 and was well worth it. The cruise takes you snorkeling and to the famous Ricks cafe, where you could see the people jump off the cliff and if you want you can jump off too!

Other Comments: The resort was great! It was very relaxing and they dont have the music really loud so you can relax on the beach without alot of noise. I would recomend this resort to everyone. There is always something to do. We are planning to return there again!

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  Riu Tropical Bay   Sheri ~ Indianapolis, Indiana

September 2008

RIU Hotel & Resort – 5 STAR All Inclusive – Negril, Jamaica: – Details/Experience:

– Check-in date: 7-11-08; Check-out date: 7-20-08, Room Category: Jr. Ste-All Inclusive

– Room located on 3rd floor – No elevator and no room food service – had to climb and descend 40 steps at least 3 times each day to eat, which was not an easy task for two 62 year old and 58 year old senior citizens!

– At least 3 of the 9 days/10 nights during our stay, all of the outside lights on the 3rd floor rooms were out, forcing us to go to our room in the dark in the evening!

– At least 8 of the 9 days during our stay there was either inconsistent or zero water flow in the bathroom’s sinks/tub. When the water did come on it was either a “trickle” of either all hot or all cold water that would often stop completely during your shower, forcing you to remove all the soap with a dry towel! On Thursday, 7-17-08 my husband, Michael, was forced to wait at least 5 hours to remove itching salt water from his body after swimming in the sea because he couldn’t take a shower….there was no water……all day!!!

– At least 7 of the 9 days during our stay, the toilets wouldn’t flush. The first day upon our arrival we had to call the hotel to repair a broken toilet. The remaining days the toilets wouldn’t flush because there was no water. After getting tired of complaining to the hotel staff, we finally dealt with the situation by filling up the waste basket with the drinking water from the refrigerator! In other words we used our drinking water to pour into the back of the toilet so that it would flush! In fact, we talked to two other guests on the same floor with waste baskets filled with water to be used for the same thing! And I’m sure you don’t even want me to go into detail about the odors we were forced to endure because of the human waste we couldn’t flush down the toilet for the majority of our vacation due to not having any water in this “5 Star” dump!

– Like the toilets in our room, the public toilets in the lobby and pool area were also backed up on those days when there was no water pressure. The only difference between these toilets and the one in our room was that the stench was much greater when you walked into the restroom because you smelled the human waste of everybody else in the resort versus just your own human waste left in your room!

– The air conditioning had to be repaired once. When the air conditioning did work, the air conditioning unit rattled constantly all day and night, making it extremely difficult to go to sleep! In order to get rest, we had to completely turn off the air conditioning unit to eliminate the noise, forcing us to sleep in a suffocating room.

– The bed that we slept on was beyond firm; more like sleeping on a concrete floor! When we asked whether or not the hotel had bed pads, we were told none were available. By the way, we’d asked for a King-Size bed, but were given two full size beds pushed together, which kept sliding apart when we tried to “cuddle”.

– We had to call down to the hotel desk and ask for 2 wash cloths each day for 8 of the 9 days during our stay. Even after complaining to *********, General Manager at the RIU-Tropical Bay, Negril the 3rd day of our stay, this problem persisted throughout our stay.

– The bed sheets were never changed for the entire time during our stay. We could tell they had been straightened and turned over occasionally, but my lipstick never disappeared the whole time I was there….it just moved from one side of the sheet to the other!

– The safe in my room wouldn’t work! After two days of not being able to open it after locking up my valuables, the hotel took 2 more days to send someone to open it. ********* did personally come to reset the safe so that I could get it open, however, by this time, this gesture was too little too late!

– The exercise room smelled, including a mildew odor (and it wasn’t just perspiring body odor). Several of the machines were either rusted, were missing pedals or didn’t work. All of the new exercise clothes that I brought with me to use in what I thought would be “state of the art” exercise facilities, stayed in my suitcase. I was afraid they’d be tainted by the odor in the room. Besides I got enough exercise running up and down the 40 steps that I was forced to use each day if I wanted to eat in this “All-inclusive” nightmare!

– I had to visit the “medical facility” during my stay due to a tooth abscess. The “facility” where the nurse was located couldn’t have been more than 8 ft. by 8 ft. in size….separated by a curtain, with the nurse’s desk on one side and the bed/cot on the other. If you weren’t suffering from claustrophobia before you went to the facility you would be after you left!

– While lying at the pool one afternoon, I saw a woman that had obviously had way too many drinks around the pool bar, vomit all she had consumed in the pool water! After several moments of watching her “disposal” float among the people in the pool, one of the towel attendants finally came over to “clean” up the disgusting sight. With what looked like an instrument to rake up leaves and other like debris in the pool, he scooped up the mess. The only problem was that the instrument he used not only didn’t get all of it, but I never saw him pour any cleansing solvent, (i.e., chlorine, etc.) into the pool or ask anyone to vacate the pool. And, just as I suspected, the remnants of her vomit were still floating around the pool in the same area for the next two days!! Needless to say, I never stepped foot into the pool again after that!

– *********, General Manager contacted us on Monday, 7-14-08 after receiving a call from our travel agent at AAA about our discontent. He asked what he could do to make our stay more enjoyable. We responded by telling him to send us to another RIU/hotel in Jamaica for the remainder of our stay. He refused to honor this request by “assuring us” that there wasn’t a better hotel other than the one we were in and “we would want to come back” if we left. Wanting to believe him and hoping that things would get better because they just couldn’t get any worse, we agreed to stay. BIG mistake!! Things only got worse with each passing day!

– In an effort of “good will”, ********* arranged for a cab to take us to the ClubHotel RIU Negril located just down the road for dinner in the Brazilian Restaurant; he’d supposedly made a 7:00pm reservation for our party of 6, along with another family of 4 the hotel was trying to “pacify”. When we arrived at the front desk to ask for the exact location of the restaurant, no one at the front desk knew what we were talking about! They said they’d not been informed by the RIU-Tropical Bay that we were coming and that the Brazilian Restaurant had been closed at 7:00pm because that evening the restaurant had been reserved for a “Pizza Party” for the kids staying in the hotel! We couldn’t believe it….the RIU hotel staff/management couldn’t even get their “sorry” right!!!! We ended up eating instead at another restaurant where we were served by a very nasty, impatient waiter who just laughed and smirked in front of us when I sent back my uneaten food after having to wait for 15 minutes for a diet coke re-fill!!! Total cost to the RIU for this “apology good-will” gesture? A $30.00 cab ride…maybe! We’d already paid for the food at both RIUs in our “all-inclusive” fees so the hotel wasn’t really out anything!!!

– By the way, it didn’t take us long to see that ********* had given us a bunch of “B.S.” from the moment we walked into the ClubHotel RIU Negril. The ambiance, high-quality and newness of this hotel were light years ahead of the dump we’d paid over $5,000 to stay in!

– We’ve stayed in numerous 5-stay hotels all over the country, including the Bellagio and Venetian in Las Vegas, the Moon Palace, Palace Resorts in Cancun, Mx., the Le Meridian in Cancun, Mx, and The Sands in Mexico. All of these hotels have not only lived up to their 5 star rating but even the few 4 star hotels we’ve stayed in were heads and shoulders above the RIU-Tropical Bay, Negril Jamaica! The only reason we chose the RIU was based on what we’d seen when we visited both RIUs in Cancun, Mx., heard about the RIU name and the assurances we’d been given when researching your facilities and listening to our travel agent. So I’m sure you can imagine our disappointment after this experience!

– As you can see from my letterhead, I am a business owner and CEO of my own company. As a result, I travel all over the United States and stay overnight in all kinds of hotels designed specifically for business travel. Even though many of these hotels are at least 2 – 3 Star hotels, they are ALL better than the supposedly 5-Star RIU Tropical Bay – Negril, Jamaica!!!!

– If you haven’t already, don’t be surprised if you receive several letters from other disgruntled guests, (from England, Australia and the US), guests that we personally met and talked to during our stay. Every one of these guests were also highly disappointed and upset that they’d chosen this particular RIU for their vacation stay in Jamaica!!!

– We were told by one of the front desk attendants that the RIU Hotel-Tropical Bay – Negril would be going through a complete “renovation” in August 2008! This fact might explain why everything in the hotel had been allowed to deteriorate…toilets, sinks, air conditioning units, no wash cloths, etc.!

– The Jamaican people/staff at the RIU Hotel-Tropical Bay were, for the most part, extremely hospitable and an enjoyable people! They WERE NOT the reason we had such a horrible experience! They did everything possible to make us feel welcome as they went about their various job responsibilities. They just had the misfortune of having to work in a hotel facility that was probably as much of a burden on them as it was an unpleasant experience for their guests!

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February 2008

We stay at this hotel january 19 -january 26. It takes 1h15 to the airport to the hotel.

With a suite room direct on the beach with a beautiful view. It was very clean. No bugs and good climatisation. We have a minibar filed every two days. And a liquor dispenser with rhum, etc… We had a two double bed, tv satellite, a sofa and a balcony with table and two chair.

All the hotel was very clean. Many people to wash everywhere. It’s amazing. Internet was very expensive 9$ US/30 minutes. 2 tennis court.

All the restaurant was very good. The best we had at all the resort we saw. You have plenty of choice, chicken, sea food, but not a lot of pasta. The best was a chickent pocket very spicy!! And the jerk chicken is excellent! The a la carte restaurant was delicious!! You need to go!!! But take place in the lobby at 8h30 if you want some place. The guy takes the name at 9am.

Very good, a lot of choice. We do not have to wait very long for having a drink. Even in the pool bar. The only thing is the quantity of alcool in the drink. Not a lot.

The beach was very beautiful and clean. About 1 miles to walk, about 4 resort to see in the beach. You have a nude beach near there. A lot of chair and not to have a reservation early in the morning. A lot of palmtree to seet under. The two pool are very little and not so clean. One just for waterpolo. You can go at the other Riu for free during the day. The pools there was more biggers.

In the morning you have a little activities but not plenty. Volleyball, and fitness in the ocean.

It was a very beautiful place and if we not go at different resort and island each time we definitively come back! For more information (in english and french: perreaultannie@hotmail.com)

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January 2008

We just returned (Jan 5 2008 to Jan 12 2008) from the Riu Tropical Bay and it was fabulous. The resort was very nice, so clean, great layout, and great food. Our room had a balcony and a beautiful ocean view. It was a good size room for our family of 4 (we have 2 kids under 3). We booked with Signature vacations and had no complaints. The flight there was pretty good, but coming back there was a long delay checking in at the Jamaican airport. Lineups were long and things moved very slow.
Despite all the upgrades they have done, the IT process of checking the passport, flight info, etc is still lagging.

The beach was magnificent. There are several other resorts on that beach, Riu Negril is on one side and Couples on the other. The water was clear and is home to a large fish sanctuary and coral reef. The weather was perfect, it rained one day in the afternoon but it didn’t affect us since it was our kids’ nap time and we were indoors resting.

The food was amazing, lots of variety, fresh foods and fish. We didn’t get sick of it. There are 3 a l carte restaurants but there is no limit to how many you can eat at. You just have to make reservation at the restaurant of your choice at 9am every morning for that night. It seemed liked a chore to do this but it really never took more than 10-15 minutes to make the reservation. My favorite was the fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast and the live cooking stations. They even had a Jamaican jerk hut which made fresh Jerk chicken and other meats every day.

The thing we loved the most was the service of the wonderful resort staff. They were so friendly and were great with our kids. The entertainment was good too. We saw an “African Show” which we loved the best. The kids really enjoyed the fire stunts in the show and days after our daughter kept asking to see the fire show.

The only small complaint we had was our shower water changed temperature drastically. Even though most of the resort has been renovated the buildings still have old plumbing which causes the water to turn very hot all of a sudden. This was ok for us, but we had to be very careful bathing our kids.

A few days after we got there my husband had a severe reaction to sand flies that apparently live in the sand and come out at dusk and dawn. He had many bite like marks on this lower legs which were very painful. He had to see a doctor who gave him a cortisone shot which helped. For some reason, the kids and I were immune to it. It was pretty strange but it seems to happen to several people.

Overall, we had a great time. The kids had a blast and we can’t wait to go back!!

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September 2007

We have stayed at Tropical Bay Riu twice now and there is no more beautiful sunset than at Negril. Tucked inside of Bloody Bay, this resort has about 8 buildings with only 2 levels, so not much climbing stairs. Ramps to to and from the lobby, which is nice. There are several gift or supply shops, and the food is excellent.

The restaurant which serves 3 meals a day has the nicest staff who recognize you each day and greet you warmly. Your room will be kept very clean and your bar with free liquor will be stocked every 2 days. The beach is just great, with many families, couples, and just bunches of friends there from several countries.

It is a neat place to relax and enjoy the water sports, exercise in the pool, go the the swim up bar, get a massage, or just bask in the sun. We loved it and hope to return.

But try to get a deal…..the prices seem to be climbing up every year, and yet it is a highly rated resort, which deserves each star. It is Hispanic owned. Nan

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Riu Tropical Bay The Fishers of Maryland

February 2007

Have recently returned from a 6 day 5 night visit to the tropical Bay Resort. Food—A Drinks –B Frozen Beer—Sucked, No Red Stripe bottles only on draft at 1 bar. Real Rock beer taste like s—!!! Hospitality–D- Staff at the bars have trouble even cracking a smile most of the time. Travel cooridinator–Very nosey & wanted to know were you were going. Who was taking you there & what are you going to buy.They acted like they didn’t want you to leave the complex. Room Service–A+ Excursions– Black River & Y.S. Falls & Appleton Estates a must see. Makes for a long day though. Leave at 8:00 & return at 6:00. Plenty of stops for food & interact with the public. Great food at the roadside vendors. Always ice cold beer. The Resort itself is designed wrong if ya want my opinion. It is large enough to have bars on both ends instead of everything being built in the middle. Staying in the 6000 block units required an extrodanary amount of walking to & from the restaurants & bars. Beach—A Always enough loungers & a very nice life guard who was always willing to help us out with all of our needs. Departure—F Staff didn’t seem to want to help or even tell ya if your ride was there. Didn’t even cart your bags from the room to the lobby on day of departure. Would not return to Tropical Bay. Would return to the island as it is a wonderful place to vacation with oodles of sunshine & the bluest water you have ever seen.

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Riu Tropical Bay Steve ~ Toronto

July 2006

Hi there, I am no means of a complainer but when I attended a "5 Star" I would hope it would be pretty decent.

I have travelled to many places in the Caribbean and in Mexico and this resort is in Jamacia is no way a 5 Star resort.

Three main things I look at when staying at a resort are Accomodations, Beach and Food. My room yes had that musty damp smell. However, pretty clean until some friends decided to join us. Yes, cockaroaches, this absolutely not acceptable at a 5 star or any other resot for that matter. My wife was terrified and would not sleep because of the fear. After conversing on the resort with others it was shocking to hear that many other people had cockaroaches as well. Also, many other were getting eaten alive by bugs in their rooms. Rating 3 Stars

The beach yes was okay, after you got past the 5 feet of sea weed at shore. My impression was that negril had one of the best beaches in the carribbean. I also thought I was on this so called 7 mile beach , which in fact is on the other side. Those of you staying at the RIU Tropical Bay or Negril your beach is called the "Bloody Bay Beach" Rating 3.5 Stars

Food. I cannot explain how poor I found the food. Sir Anthony’s was okay. The Steak house was awful and so was the buffet. Apparently the Jamaican Jerk chicken was supposed to be good. Wouldn’t know because it seemed the barbecues on the beach were runnning out chicken.

I would not recommend this resort to anyone. This is definitely not a five star resot and you can go places that are cheaper and a lot nicer.

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Riu Tropical Bay Mike and Debbie ~ Chicago, Illinois

July 2006

Overall: 3.5 stars.

Beach: 4 stars.

Room: 2 stars.

Food, Drink, and Service: 3.5 stars.

The Good:
The Beach was wonderful! Peaceful and beautiful in the morning. Nicely lined with palm trees and the sand is clean and soft. The water is warm – don’t know the temperature but every time we went in the water it was nice and warm. Plenty of eye candy and topless bathers – the nice thing about the Riu Tropical Bay was that it has a lot of international travelers on holiday.

The staff was a pleasure! The Bartenders were always helpful and friendly. All the staff were warm and wonderful. Overall the place was clean and kept up pretty nicely.

Here are some pics: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/moobearus/slideshow?.dir=/a472re2&.src=ph

The So-So:
The Food selection was OK. Nothing great – nothing terrible – just nothing special. Mind you we went on an Apple Vacation – we didn’t pay Ritz Carlton prices – you get what you pay for.

The Rooms were not great. The beds were not comfortable and not really big enough for 2 people so you each had to sleep on your own bed.

Other Info:
You can walk to the Riu Negril along the beach – it takes about 7 minutes – a nice walk with some trees and branches to negotiate along the way. The Riu Negril seems to be more family friendly – many more activities – much bigger and better pools. But the quality of the Riu Negril Beach was much lower than the Riu Tropical Bay.

The Jetski guys keep going back and forth outside the buoys – can’t really hear them and they aren’t a nuisance – they might actually add a little excitement to the feel of the beach.

Ganja – Pot – Marijuana is readily available right off the grounds. Occasionally the aroma will sweep across the beach – no problem – after all it is Jamaica.

Overall: A nice place for the money. From Chicago we paid $2380 including all taxes and fees for an Apple Vacation all inclusive with direct non-stop from Chicago each way. Would we go back to that resort – no, but it was a nice place – we wouldn’t go back to most resorts – you want to try something new. Like any place it is what you make of it – We had a great time!

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Riu Tropical Bay Paula & Tony ~ Toronto Canada

April 2006

We stayed at the Riu Negril in April 16-23. We wanted to see if the cost of going to Jamaica was worth it. We have been to Punta Cana, Dominican; Varadero Cuba; and the Mayan Riviera. We had a great time at Riu Negril, but I would say that we have had cheaper vacations in the other 3 countries mentioned that were just as good and even better in some cases, in terms of hotel and beach.

Here is what was great at Riu Tropical in Negril Jamaica.

We got an ocean front room even though we arrived at noon. I don’t know why we were lucky this way, but that was a huge bonus. The weather was great everyday. The beach is lovely, especially because it is so shallow – great for kids and it stays warm. The water is very clear too. We did not have to panic in the mornings and run to the beach to reserve chairs, and I think this is because we traveled at a time that was not as busy as say, March or February. The guests were so friendly; we met so many nice people. The staff was fantastic and a lot of them seemed to know the guests, as there were a lot of return guests. They are a happy bunch and they all work well together. Example, there was one day when a band came down to the beach to play some Reggae music. Some guests who had great voices got a chance to sing as well, as did some staff – like a gardener and a lifeguard. It was so refreshing to be at a resort this relaxed in having all staff take part in the fun stuff. Because the resort is on the west coast, you get a sunset every night. We went in mid April and so we were able to stay on the beach until 7:00 pm and it was still warm to swim.

The beach is rather secluded from 7-mile beach, which can be good and bad – it depends on what you like. We thought it was fine, but we do like Punta Cana as well because you can walk so far on the beach. The food was fine; we are very flexible in our food likes and dislikes. The Pizza was pretty good and let me tell you, we live in little Italy in Toronto and the pizza is great, so we know good pizza.

I would recommend Riu Negril, if you can afford the price. If you want to spend the same money or less, you could stay at a resort in Cuba, Dominican or Mexico that would be even better in terms of hotel, food and beach. But you can’t replace the people who live in Jamaica and the people who visit it – they were all great, and it’s the people that make a good vacation a great vacation.

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Riu Tropical Bay Ann ~ USA

December 2005

My boyfriend and I stayed at this hotel Dec 5 – 12, 2005. We are both in our mid 40’s and we reside in Ontario, Canada. We had a great time. Overall I would rate it as a 41/2 star

Beach – we had the best stretch of the beach of all the hotels including the Riu Negril. It’s kind of small compared to Veradero and Punta Cana but it was very clear and the sand was really nice – not a lot of pebbles and stuff. We fed the fish every morning and that was a lot of fun.

Pools – kind of small but that was OK. There could have been steps to step into the pool. That would have been nice. They definitely need more than four umbrellas for the entire pool area – that’s not enough!!!

Food: overall I found the food quite good. There was a lot of selection. The a la carte restaurants were all good. The only thing I would warn anyone about is not to order the shrimp bisque at the Sir Anthony’s a la carte restaurant. It was just absolutely horrible!!! it tasted like the smell of tires at Costco!! Yuk!!! Other than that everything else was really good. Although you had to line up to book the a la cartes at 11:00 a.m. every morning I didn’t really mind.

Room: Standard room – but don’t be taken in by the King size bed routine. It’s actually two beds pushed together and they aren’t even double beds. My boyfriend was constantly sleeping in the crack. The mattress was hard and the plastic covering wasn’t very romantic but at least the sheets were clean and changed each day.

Some people have complained of the musty smell but I didn’t notice anything in our room. We brought some candles and they also helped make the room smell good.

It’s true that they turned off the air conditioner at around 2:00 a.m. but with the fan going it wasn’t really all that bad.

For all you women, the amp service was 110 but the plugs were recessed so far into the wall that some of our chargers (for camera and radios) could not plug in. I had to use our converters just to accomodate the plugs.

Entertainment Staff: pretty standard. The shows were OK. Nothing spectacular but then again, this isn’t Las Vegas.

Disco: Pretty lame. The DJ kept playing rap and whenever he played anything remotely decent, he would change the music at least every two minutes. I don’t think he ever played one song to completion.

Staff: all the staff were really nice. Everyone was very pleasant and no one was rude. We got served promptly and always with a smile.

One word of caution. If any of you book through Apple our Apple Vacation representative, *******, was extremely unprofesional. When we went to our orientation we asked about a Booze Cruise Catamaran package. She highly recommended it. She said that we would be on a catamaran and sail to the Light House and then to Rick’s Cafe to watch the Sunset. She said that it would be all the booze we could drink and pizza. All for the bargain basement price of $35.00 per person (as they had a special for Wednesday – it’s usually $50.00 per person). So my boyfriend and I signed up.

Well the Booze Cruise consisted of being bussed to this God awful bar and wading out to the Catamaran in water up to your waist. We were given a drink and while we waited to take off the crew brought on about three trays of pizza that had definitely seen better days. As we took off we were all given one slice of pizza that was cold and rubbery. You definitely didn’t want another piece. After that we went to the ligthhouse alright… we drove by it. Then we "docked" at Rick’s Cafe.

If you wanted to go to Rick’s Cafe you had to swim there and the waves were horrible. It took at least 15 minutes to swim there and you had to swim back too. As a result, you couldn’t really do anything at Rick’s. I mean after all you’re in your bathing suit. You have no money and unless you had a waterproof camera you couldn’t take any pictures of the divers either. You can’t enter the restaurant because you weren’t appropriately dressed. They let you have an hour to hang around Rick’s Cafe. This would include your half hour swim back and forth to the Cafe so you really only had half an hour. Considering you couldn’t even do anything once you go there it wasn’t worth swimming to. Once back on board the boat they take you back to the crappy bar that you were picked up. Only to be greeted by natives asking you if you wanted Ganja, Ecstacy or illegal cigarettes. You had to wade back (in the dark!!!) to shore. What a ripoff.

When I complained to ******* the next day and advised her that we would never have gone if we knew that we had to swim to Rick’s she insisted that she had told us. She basically swept aside all my complaints and called me a liar. She said that she had booked 25 people on that tour and not one of them complained and that they were all at the same orientation meeting I was at and they all knew about swimming. Well isn’t it funny that there were only six people at my orientation meeting. In fact, we ran into another one of the couples a couple of days later and I asked them if she had mentioned swimming and all that other stuff and they agreed that she hadn’t mentioned anything!!! What a load of crap. She definitely shouldn’t be working in the Service Industry because it was obvious that she wasn’t interested in listening to me or making amends. Even when my boyfriend approached her about it two days later she still had the same attitude. He told her he was going to complain to Apple Vacations and she basically told him to go ahead because she was going to write a report too!!! What a winner!!! In fact, she was always late every day. She said her hours were from 9:30 to 12:00 and she never arrived before 10:00 so I would spend half an hour loitering around the foyer waiting for her.

Other than our experience with her and the ripoff excursions, the hotel itself was great. We had no complaints.

Would we go back? Probably not. We’ve seen Jamaica now and we prefer other venues. But the Riu Hotel itself was nice.

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Riu Tropical Bay Linda ~ New Jersey

July 2005

Overall I would rate the Riu Tropical Bay Resort a nice place to stay.

Beach – Excellent, very clean and very well maintained. There were always plenty of chairs.

Pools – Very small and they didn’t have an entrance with stairs.

Food – We would rate the food ok. There seemed to be the same selection each day at the buffet. The pizza was good. The only problem was that if you wanted to eat in one of the restaurants you had to get on a line that was very long at 11:00 am. When the restaurants filled up (and they each have 2 seatings 6:30 and 9:00) you were out of luck. I was not too happy spending my vacation standing on line for an hour to be told try again the next day. We only had dinner once in the Sir Anthony Steak House and it was really not any better than the buffet.

Rooms – Clean, housekeeping did a great job. There is always a hint of bug spray though. We were on the third floor so our rooms did not have the musty smell that everyone talked out being on the first floor.

Entertainment – Average. Nothing great.

Staff – The staff was friendly if you made it a point to be friendly to them. Of course a tip was very much appreciated.

Spa – The spa was small, but the services were excellent. I had the best massage I have ever had by Carrie Ann. The facials were also very good.

We did have a nice stay at the Riu, but I would not go back there again.

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June 2005

Really found your web page to be very helpful in choosing our resort for vacation this year. The RIU Tropical Bay met all of our expectations and more. It is absolutely a beautiful resort and very well maintained. Below is a listing of our personal ratings of all the amenities at RIU Tropical Bay:

Accomodations: Excellent– Beautiful rooms, very clean and comfortable
Maid service: Excellent– Although not required the maids deserve a nice tip for excellent service.
Food: Excellent– We didn’t even try the speciality restaurants because the buffet was great. Very good variety of meats, veggies, fruits and deserts.
Entertainment: Very lacking for any music unless you like Reggae because that’s basically all you will hear. Groups here need to take lessons from the Paradise Island groups on how to entertain with a variety of music to satisfy all tastes and to especially for good dancing.
Beaches: Excellent– Well manicured and very clean. Beautiful water color and sand. Did get a little tired of topless ladies but to each his or her own likes or dislikes!!
Service: Very good– Jamaican people very friendly and very willing to take care of your needs. Somewhat a slower pace than that of the US but that’s what we like about the Carribean. All in all a very good vacation spot and very nice resort. Would recommend to anyone!!

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Riu Tropical Bay David, Cathy, Rachel & Michelle ~ Toronto, Canada

May 2005

This is a quick summary of my trip to the Riu Tropical Bay when I visited from May 14th to May21st. It’s great value for Jamaica given the food and standards. I’ve been to Palladium in the Mayan Riveria (great food and great facilities and huge pool), Iberostar Dom Haceinda (in La Romana – DR (good quality food, good fac), Casa Del Mar in La Romana DR (poor food and service, nice beach), Coral Hamaca DR (avg food, ok fac), Brias Guadalavaca, Cuba (very bad food – it’s Cuba and ok fac). Compared to others I’ve been to, the Riu ranks up with Palladium and Iberostar interms of food, but falls behind on the Pool but is better with respect to the beach. One thing I did notice was that the workers in Jamaica are not as automatically friendly as those in Mexico/DR/Cuba. There you always get instant smiles and constant hellos by everyone in other countries.

The grounds at the Riu are nice but the resort is very shallow and the road/highway is very close so some rooms will hear the road and noisy cars and motorcycles (esp Building 2). The rooms are nicely appointed and the mini bar is a plus but the biggest problem of my whole trip is the air conditioner and comfort level when sleeping. Many reviews have complained of a musty smell in the room. This is normal in the tropics and I accept that esp if the A/C is off. The reason why its always musty is that the resort has the A/C on a timer and it shuts off some time in the day and worst of all in the middle of the night from 2am to 7:30am. They assume everyone is sound asleep and you won’t notice and they can save on the electricity bill. This was a nightmare for me and my wife as we would wake up every night at 2:30am sweaty and feeling a damp mattress and sheets as it was only a fan operating. It was awful and I could not sleep for the rest of the night. This is unacceptable especially given the humid environment. People deserve a good night sleep!! The damp room was worse than a sauna; you couldn’t open the door either, as there is no breeze and it was even more humid. The worst thing was when I complained, everyone played dumb even the head Spanish manager of the resort. The maintenance guy was the only honest one and directly told me they turned off the A/C and others had complained but nothing was ever done. They figure you will be gone in 7 days! I talked to other guests at the resort and some felt it and others didn’t . The problem with the ones who didn’t notice it before was that they started noticing it after I told them and they sarcastically thanked me to telling them!! Other than the A/C (which was to me a big deal), everything else was great esp the food.

The buffets were great (just as good as a la cartes if not better some days). Always freshly made food and it’s very grand/elegant looking decor and best of all air conditioned (but only till 9pm (surprise surprise!). Anywhere that serves lobster, smoke salmon, procuitto, shrimps, red snapper, duck, and great fries is good in my books!!! The jerk chicken was good but definitely toned down (not too spicy) from the tourist. Eat the dark meat as the white could get dry. Try the oxtail and ackee and salt fish during Jamaica night (Wed). The Friday buffet at night was excellent as well as the Thursday night Mexican night with great chicken burrito and bbq ribs. Desserts were good esp crème de carmel, tarimisu, pecan tart. No mangos or bananas (strange!) but lots of papaya, pineapple and melons. The tastes are more European and refined so don’t expect extra sweet chocolate cake for all you North Americans! Red stripe beer is not available at the pool bar or in your room or in some a l carte restaurants (other brands are gross). There is a new a la carte, Japanese (actually Chinese/Japanese) which just opened. Not teppanyaki grill as other resorts but still good. They definitely try despite tasting a little diff from the real thing. I give them A for effort. They do give you sushi/sashimi (little strange) at the beginning and Tempura is good. Note: there is Sake but you must ask for it. The Yakitori is ok for entree. They don’t advertise it as they push the yukky wine. Sir Anthony is good. Presentation is the key here and the fact of being served. The lobster bique is so good and rich. Raw swordfish is fresh but tasteless. They had blackened snapper/filet steak/chicken breast rolls for entrees. The wine is better – a Chilean one. The Steakhouse is also good but brutually hot as its outside. Go for the beef steak filet not the rib eye. Ribs are ok too. Note: a la carte reservations are now at 8am and not 9am (had no problems even after 8am). Be prepared for a 2 hr dinner and fairly slow service at the a la cartes (but who cares as you are on vacation). The pizzeria was good. The Reggae pizza is hotsauce, cheese, green pepper and jerk checken. Very good but you can’t take it out!!! As for the facilities: The

Pool is small for a resort this size (esp when compared to Mexico/DR but sufficient except during late afternoon when everyone hangs by the pool bar. The jacuzzis are broken (for a while) and it gets sort dirty in the pool near the jaccuzzi/bar. There are not enough umbrellas by the pool and they are taken up first thing in the morning.

Hint: go to the beach in the morning as this is when you see the turquoise beauty of the ocean. Direct sunlight washes the colours as the day progresses. The beach is amazing with gin clear water and light brown sand (unlike the white sand of Cancun) but still nice and lots of coconut trees unlike Couple/Grand Lido and Club Negril. Very shallow bathlike (29degrees) water for quite a far distance. No snorkeling as no coral but there are a few fish there (gar/needle fish), and another silver type fish. If you are lucky you will see a sting ray on the bottom (near the bouys). Bring bread if you want to feed the fish.

This resort is definitely not catered to kids. No programs. No mini club dancing (only when they feel like it). There are a lot of Reggae bands (one during th night beach party, one during the day beach party and an excellent one during the nightly entertainment. The Micheal Jackson show was lame as was the Magic show if you’ve been to other all inclusives.

Did 2 dives but not with the Scuba Caribe at the resort (too expensive + too pushy + they wanted you to take a refresher if you haven’t dove within a yr). Went with Sundivers (they pick you up at the hotel free) Cost $60 US for 2 tanks +$10 for BCD +$10 for snorkel/fin/mask. The "Throne" site was boring but the "Arch" reef was amazing (not Cozumel but good). Saw lobsters, ray, moray eel, schools of grunts/yellowtail, shrimp, lots of caverns and even a sunken small plane.

If you want to venture off to town take a cab on the road. Bargain for $5US (vs $14 for the ones at the lobby). They can take you to the craft market which is also near Sunshine village mall. Not too busy. Jamaica is not like other 3rd world countries. It’s more dangerous as drugs and other ills have gotten into the culture. So be careful not to venture off too much. As for buying t shirts go to sunshine village. All shops have the same things and prices as it’s seems like every shopkeeper is Indian and look very related to each other. There is a supermarket there called HI LO where you will get the cheapest prices on Blue mountain coffee ($7US a pound). Also jerk sauce or liquor is cheap there)often 1/2 price of souvenier shop/airport and 1/3 of resort prices.

Overall – a very good resort (with the exception of the A/C problem). If you have any question, you can contact me at namabeer@hotmail.com

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Riu Tropical Bay Nathalie and Bernard ~ from Canada

May 2005

We just came back from RIU TROPICAL BAY IN Jamaica.We were there the 26 of march for one week. We travel one or two times a year since 1985 and we have chosen five star hotel to avoid any problems and insure an enjoyable vacation.When we decided to choose this hotel it was for the name RIU. We have been there three times before and each time was fantastic,therefore we were expecting the same from this Riu hotel.

The hotel was clean and the food was good but we had a hard time getting reservations for the two restaurants A LA CARTE. We could not make our reservations at the front desk a couple of days in advance, we had to wait in line at around 8;00-830 to make our reservations at 900 am for the same night only. Which by the way the restaurant was never full for reasons that could be because it cost them too much. There was only five tables occuped the evenings we were at the sir anthony and at the bloody bay steakhouse they got to side serve people and only one side was opened the night we were there.

When we first arrived in our hotel room it was around 700pm we were already hot and sweating so we were very anxious to get to our room to feel the cold air but that was not the case so i immediately checked to thermostat it was already at the maximum so we left for dinner and came back at 1100pm to find that the temperature had not change . We were very tired after a long day of traveling so we went to bed but were awaken at 200am by the heat .Therefore i checked my watch which indicated that it was 85f with high humidity in the room.At that time my wife needed to use her pump so i went to the front desk twice before they gave us another room.I have to say they gave us a room with an ocean view which was very nice thanks to Yessi who gave us that room,but the air conditionning in that room only gave us a room temperature of 75f which was little better than the first room we had. I spoke with people who didnt have air conditionning all week.It seems air conditionning on the resort was a big problem because we heard a lot of stories on that subject.That situation was very disapointing for a five star hotel.

For lunch they served jerk chicken on the beach.I went two times around 100pm and no chicken was left .On another day it was the same with hamburger buns, then it was ketchup that missing so i decided to go at the front desk to make a complaint i spoke to the manager who s name was Steve and he said he would send us a bottle of champagne and we never received it.

One morning my wife went to the booths to change our beach towels.She stand in the line up for the opening at 800 am.The man arrived slowly took his time to sweep the floor and do other things before deciding to serve the clients.My wife had to wait for 20 minutes.

In the mornig if we decided to eat on the terrace sometimes we had to clean our own table . I know that Jamaican people are not very stressed but when we paid for a five star hotel we expected that the service to be included.

Just before we left ,i spoke to Steve again about all these problems and thanked him for the bottle of champagne i never received i felt like he didnt even care about what i said.

To conclude ,i would like to say that the service there is very poor and it should be a four star hotel.It was my third vacation in Jamaica and i can tell that its not a Jamaican problem its only a resort problem because the other two vacations i have been to the service was terrific.

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Riu Tropical Bay Marilee ~ Canada

April 2005

My husband & I just returned from RIU Tropical Bay, first time there, but have previously stayed at Sandals Mo Bay, Sandals Dunn’s River, and Grand Lido Negril. I’ve only ever stayed at all-inclusives in Jamaica; when I go there, I just want to lay like a blob & basically never leave the resort – more active types may not find this review entirely helpful – just to give you some idea where we’re coming from!

Smooth as silk – tropical drinks in hand within a minute of getting off the bus, in our room within 10 minutes, bags arrived the second we walked in the room! Staff was friendly & extremely helpful – a phone call to the front desk to ask for a safe key resulted in a knock on the door 5 minutes later – no problem mon!

We had booked a garden view room, and were given #2301 – a great room. We had an oversized balcony with cupola with a garden & partial ocean view. Room was kept clean daily, and there was plenty of hot water. The bathtub had seen slightly better days, and the toilet was a little temperamental, but nothing major. We were quite happy with the room. Note: I left some hard candies in one of the dresser drawers and within a day, the drawer was swarming with ants – ICK! My own fault though, what do you expect in a tropical climate?

Plentiful. Breakfast buffet was great – the highlights, in my opinion, were the made to order omelettes and the freshly made donuts you could dip in sugar yourself. My husband also loved the smoothie bar!

Lunches were a choice of the pizzeria (nothing special, in our opinion – only ate there once), the Bloody Bay buffet, which had a nice selection which changed daily, and the Jerk Shack, which served BBQ chicken & sausages & grilled corn. The food ranged from mediocre to very good, depending on what you selected. We weren’t blown away, but we weren’t disappointed either!

Dinner buffet was like the lunches – the food could be GREAT, or middling, depending on your selection. The nice thing about the all-inclusive is that you don’t have to waste valuable stomach space on the stuff that’s not very good…just go back & get something you like! Sir Anthony’s was better – loved the fettucine appetizerand the cajun snapper! We ate there twice, and never found reservations to be a problem, even tho the resort was full. The Grill Restaurant was pretty good, but my tip is: order your steaks a little rarer than you normally would – if you order like you do at home, they will arrive overcooked!

Desserts were a disappointment all the way around – fairly tasteless.

What can I say? The bar opens at 10am and the drinks were all terrific! They have great beer (don’t forget your cooler mugs!) and a fun selection of tropical drinks – all available with or without alcohol. They’re quite happy to make anything you want, and they also have self-serve soda fountains that along with the usual Pepsi, ginger ale, and the rest, have TING! That alone made my vacation – can’t get enough Ting! Oh – there’s only one red & one white "house" wine available – it comes in kegs (they fill bottles for the restaurants from the kegs) – and it’s gruesome. If you’re a wine drinker, you’ll be disappointed. The red’s a little better than the white, but not much!

I was anxious to see the beach, because when we stayed at Grand Lido Negril several years ago, it was the only hotel on the beach and it wasn’t that great. However, RTB’s beach is the best on the bay! Nice & deep, and very long (the hotel takes up a lot of property), with plenty of palm trees and loungers – we never had a problem, even tho the resort was full. Water is crystal clear and calm, and it’s very shallow – great for splashing or floating! They sell blow up floats at the beach shack, but bring your own from home & just leave it for the next person!

Pool Didn’t spend much time there, but I can say that if you want loungers by the pool, you need to get there fairly early, as they are all filled by lunchtime. Activity by the pool very much depends on the guests; it was DEAD the first 3 days, but got fairly rowdy by the end of the week.

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Riu Tropical Bay David & Fran ~ Kitchener, Ontario

March 2005

This was our third time at a Riu resort (Puerto Vallarata, Mexico and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic previously). We have also been to Cancun, Acapulco, Play del Carmen, Dominican Republic and Jamaica previously. When I read some of the reviews, I was sceptical about the accuracy of some reports, as I think some people complain about the smallest of things.

Until this vacation, we had never had any problems with rooms in any of our resorts. However, this trip was different! Travelling as with our two teenage kids (18 & 14), we had requested two rooms adjacent to each other. When we arrived, we were given 1104 and 1105–on the main floor facing a parking lot and construction on the north edge of the property.
Went to the front desk and asked to be moved. They were very good about it and relocated us to 2105 and 2106. We could not believe the smell in our kids room–like raw sewage! Thought it may need airing out, so we opened the patio door and broke out the room freshener. This wasn’t just a musty smell, it was bad. The next morning the smell was just as bad (so bad in fact that you could smell it outside the room), so we once again asked for another room for them, and they were moved up to the second floor–no smell. Maintenance and cleaning staff worked all week to get rid of the odour but I’m not sure they were successful.

I was also sceptical of hearing of roaches, as this has never been a problem for us before. However, both of our rooms had a roach or two which we noticed towards the end of our stay. We were very careful not to have food in the room, but the roaches came anyway. Not that the room was infested, but like I say, we did notice a few (didn’t care to go looking too hard for more).

In addition, the resort is right next to a very busy road (main highway to Montego Bay), so the road traffic was noisy at night and early in the morning. They honk their horns to say “hello” and “get out of my way” so this didn’t help.

On a more positive note, the check-in was excellent (quick and rooms ready); staff is very friendly and helpful; beach was superb; food was good (if you want “haute cuisine” stay home and go to a true 5 star restaurant); jerk chicken shack was excellent; lots of loungers and towels; drinks from bar were good (but small beer glasses).

PS I’m not sure I would go back with two teenage kids, as the ganga is everywhere and everyone was selling–from the jet ski rental guys to the merchants on the beach to the store owners in town. It got a little tiring after a while.

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Riu Tropical Bay Bruce and Margaret ~ Pickering

February 2005

Return to Negril – The Sequel!!

We had just got back from the Riu Tropical Bay in August. Everyone asked us – “how did you like it…were you scared in Jamaica…were you offered drugs…”? And…”where to next”? Most people were shocked when I answered….”RIGHT BACK TO JAMAICA’!!!

So…that’s how we found ourselves crammed back into a Sunquest Skyservice Airbus…surrounded by two rowdy wedding parties on January 16th, 2005. We were leaving behind cold and snowy Toronto for another week in paradise. Would this vacation be better than the last? Or, would our expectations be so high that this return trip to the same country, the same city, even the same property not measure up? Would we be disappointed?

The answer to this burning question….see below!

Our flight left Saturday, January 16th right on time…3:10pm..even after a quick de-icing required because of the light snow that had started to fall. Flight was uneventful…we made great time because of a stiff tailwind, and landed ahead of schedule in Montego Bay. Customs was quick…even for Jamaica…we collected our luggage and headed to parking lot and the Riu bus. And here’s where I start a bit of a personal rant.

Wedding parties….for some reason this particular group of 20 headed to the Riu Negril thought they had the right to delay the rest of us while they went to buy beer, buy cigarettes, buy pot, and God knows what else. One particular individual thought she had the right to head straight to Margaritaville before she even went though customs and delay the rest of us for over an hour while she pounded back the booze…no one could find her, and the bus wouldn’t leave without her. When she finally deigned to board the bus, not a word of apology, just an idiotic giggle as she collapsed in her seat. As soon as the bus pulled out, people started lighting up cigarettes, joints…even though the Sunquest rep asked them repeatedly to stop. And of course nothing would do but another beer stop just before we left Montego Bay. And the requisite pee and puke break about 40 minutes after that.

Don’t get me wrong here….I drink, and I have smoked weed on the odd occasion, but there were small children on that bus as well as non-smokers…if I had been one of the parents, I would have raised holy hell with Sunquest. A group of Grade 11 students on a class trip would have been better behaved than this low class bunch of 30-something wannabe party animals. I guess the reception hall at some trailer park was all booked that week.

Finally, we reached Negril. After dumping off “The-Wedding-From-Hell 2005”, we headed down the road to the Riu TB. I had requested an upgrade to a ground floor oceanfront room with my Riu Club card points, but for the 1st night, there was none available, but Yessy, front desk manager, promised me a room change the next day at 1:00…and was true to her word, by 1:30 we were moved quickly and efficiently by the ever affable David to room 3113..building one, ground floor, oceanfront, and a short walk to the pool and bar.

Even though everything’s relative (we were of course, missing a week of the miserable Canadian winter), the weather this trip was not quite what we hoped for. The December winds Jamaica usually experiences carried over into January…and the first three days of our vacation Bloody Bay was unusually rough and basically unswimable and there was no watersports. Even the pools were a bit cold, compared to what we experienced last August. On the bright side, the sun was hot(when it was out), the breeze was nice by times, and humidity low. Marg got her usual third degree burn the first day, but an aloe vera massage from Bloom at the Office of Nature fixed her right up…we’ve been back over a week now, and she still hasn’t peeled, and the burn has deepened into a dark tan.

A couple of things I noticed different about Riu’ service this time compared to the summer. Towels and face clothes seemed to be in short supply. You really had to chase the bartenders to make you a strong drink. Very little fresh seafood on the buffet…no shrimp or lobster…and a lot of foods served for lunch ended up in another form for dinner, or vice versa next day. The ala cartes(Sir Anthony’s & the Steakhouse)were about the same as last time…in fact, the menu was exactly the same…not sure I could stand the food for two weeks without at least two dinners at an outside restaurant. On the positive – the entertainment was much better, with more live reggae music at the beach parties and less of those annoying audience participation shows. God…those are tedious….unless of course you know the people and are hammered.

Monday and Tuesday were slated as beach days…I had already contacted Sala for another half day tour of Negril and shopping for Wednesday. But no Times Square for us this time…we were going to the Craft Market and haggle ourselves some bargains! A quick stop at the Scotiabank for some Jamaican dollars and we were on our way.

Business has been slow in Negril since Ivan…and it shows…the vendors are much more eager to do business and haggle. I never beat anybody down to the lowest price…it’s really more about what I think something is worth to me. Maybe I paid too much…maybe not…but I got some nice wood carvings, a knitted hat, a shirt, Blue Maho wood earrings for Marg, and a really nice painting in an impressionistic style of a jazz orchestra by a local artist(my most expensive purchase). Since prices were a bit lower, I was also able to spread my purchases around a bit more to more vendors. Sala hovered around in the background, always watching out for us, but unobtrusive. Maybe that’s how the President feels with the Secret Service..lol. A couple of times I noticed the vendor looking at him…a slight nod from him and prices seemed to drop a bit more once the shopkeeper and I seemed to be reaching an impasse in price. When we were leaving, and loading our booty, he leaned close to me and whispered “you’re a good bargainer”…a nice compliment.

Next we headed to the mall where the Hi-Lo supermarket is located. We were pretty much shopped out, and the Indian shopkeepers were much less inclined to haggle. Then it was back in the van for a trip up to the Cliffs via the West End Road and the Lighthouse for some pictures. Here the remains of the damage from Ivan became much more apparent. Rick’s was still closed, and the gates were blocked with huge sheets of metal cladding preventing us from seeing what progress they were making with the reconstruction. Didn’t matter to me much. We were at Rick’s last time…tourist trap, slow service, watered drinks, mediocre food…if it wasn’t for the cliff divers and the view and the sunsets it wouldn’t exist. I much prefer the view at Pirates Cave, and the ambiance. It was destroyed by Ivan as well, but it looked the same to me, and the Red Stripe was just as cold. It was here I got a big surprise. I was just sitting there when I hear someone yell out my name….and it turns out to be a guy who works for the same company I do back in “the world”, except in a different department. He has friends there, and took advantage of a last-minute fare sale by Air Canada for a visit. After a beer, we parted ways, both chuckling “small world”…

Thursday was a beach day, and Friday was supposed to be our trip to Benji’s Paradise, but we changed it to Saturday to accommodate a client of Sala’s who somehow forgot what day it was and missed their day trip. Just as well…we needed some beach time, since the first three days were poor, and the wind had dropped and the weather was now perfect for just lying around and getting some sun.

Our trip to Benji’s started Saturday at 10:00am. Sala picked us up right on the dot, and we headed out of Negril. A quick stop at the cambio in Little London, and then another stop almost right next door at Sala’s “yard” to pick up Sienna for the trip and say hello to the dogs. Belinda(the mother) and Milo(her last year’s puppy) had apparently decided that the “yard” just wasn’t big enough for the two of them, so Milo had gone to live at Uncle Dave’s and guard his “yard”. This time, Sienna had taken in two kittens, and one(Mariah) quickly found a home in Marg’s lap and curled up. Talk about adopting a Jamaican cat ensued, but was quickly dismissed (by me).

We left Little London and headed for Sav-LaMar and the Roaring River, where Benji’s Paradise is located. Fields of sugar cane flew by, and the beautiful Jamaican countryside. The condition of the road left a lot to be desired….the van’s shocks got quite a workout. We then pulled up to a small settlement just outside the Roaring River(which wasn’t roaring much due to the lack of rain). We parked beside one of those large cottonwood trees with roots the size of a city bus and admired the scenery. There was a very large hill as well with stairs leading up to the top to the entrance to a cave. A couple of the locals offered to give us a tour for $10, so we went, and I was pleasantly surprised. This cave was huge inside, with mineral pools, stalactites and stalagmites, and crystal outcroppings out of the wall. The guides pointed out some rock formations which they insisted looked like a lion, a bear, and Jesus in profile. Maybe it’s the weed. We were also told Bob Marley himself used to come there when he was alive to mediate and write music. Also, the cave functions as sort of a hurricane shelter for local residents to ride out the storms.

After some more Red Stripes, we continued our journey to Benji’s. Benji lives “way” back in the country. The word peaceful just doesn’t do it justice. No sounds except the wind, the birds, the frogs, and mineral spring fed brook. Benji wasn’t expecting us as we weren’t going to be staying for his Ital lunch, so Sienna hadn’t called him. The gate was closed, but Sala “ shouted out” and Benji answered back that he was “takin’ a bath mon”!!! We waited outside the gate, and in a few minutes Benji appeared. Good heavens, but he was lean. 1% body fat, and the rest muscle, sinew, and Rasta dreads. Clean livin’, I guess. He welcomed us warmly, and gave us a tour of his garden, showing us all the local plants, and then we headed down to the mineral pools for a soak. The water was cold, but refreshing. Sala took the opportunity to wash his “dreads” and we all chatted away. Benji is very shy, but opens up when he gets to know you a bit. I think he knows a phony when he meets one. Very elemental sort of guy. He noticed Marg’s burn, and offered an aloe vera massage treatment, which she accepted. Sienna, Sala, and I sat there….not saying much…just enjoying the peace and serenity.

Too soon, it was time to leave. Benji offered his guest book for us to sign, and I took note of signatures from people the world over. Benji’s paradise has a lot of devotees.

It was getting on about 3:00pm, so we headed back to Sav for some lunch at Sweet & Spicy. I had the conch fritters, Sienna had the curried goat, Marg had the oxtail, and Sala, the chicken. Excellent. I grabbed the tab, and we headed back to the Riu. I was glad we had moved our trip from the Friday to the Saturday. A perfect day in paradise was a “capper” for our vacation. But, we didn’t need to say goodbye to Sienna and Sala just yet.

Sunday, we had to leave. We packed most everything the night before, so we rose early, headed to breakfast, and then to the beach. This time I couldn’t get an extended checkout, so we had to be out of our room at noon. The bus was leaving at 3:45pm. But…we had arranged our own transportation back to the airport…with Sala!!! Rather than take the shoreline route, we were going the inland way…a chance to see some more countryside. And…we would avoid the “Wedding-party-from-hell-2005”…who I was sure would be late, drunk, or puking. So, at 3:45 our bus leaves promptly…and we look at each other and think “I hope he shows”…but no worries, right at the dot of 4 Sala pulls in with Sienna, and off we go. And, it was well worth it. The road was a bit rough in places, but the scenery was great. Sala also took us on a little tour of Montego Bay before dropping us off at the airport. When we arrived, our bus had already been there, and most of the line-up was gone, so we breezed right though with very little standing around.

So…did this vacation live up to our first visit to Negril? The answer…a resounding yes…but in a different way. Will we be going back? First chance we get. There’s still lots left to do, to see, to experience.

“ Every-ting be Irie, mon

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January 2005

i visited the Riu Tropical Bay in August 2004 for a week. As well as visiting the Tropical bay me and my family have also visited the riu hotels bambu, and merengue in the dominican republic!

well what can i say about the tropical bay.. did i live up to the 5* rep of the riu hotels…


the journey to the hotel was long, but after a 10hr flight what do you expect!! the coach driver was very welcoming, and the hotel had provided us with water as the heat was there!

on arrival to the hotel we were welocomed quickly with drinks and the hotel helped us to our room without lots of waiting about.

The Rooms
The rooms are spacious, well air conditioned and the view from the balcony is beautiful.. one of the best i have seen! the bathroom was BEAUTIFUL, a lovely bath, with a power shower (sounds like such a small thing, but for laydee’s with long hair washing out the sand and salt is important!!), the whole bathroom was beautiful, marble etc is was very grand. Fresh towels everyday and soap etc provided if you ran out..(we didnt) There is a mini bar within the room. this is filled evey other day, ours was filled everyday.

The Pool
There is two large pools, clean and one with a swim up bar.. this is fantastic! need i say more! there is a juccizi with a fountian.. this wa lovvely to sit and relax in. around the pool there is games throughout the day.

Everyone always says the foods crap an everyone gets ill, but no, not one of our family did. thre staff with make you anything you want… the mexican night is not to be missed. there is lots to chooose from. enjoyable food.

The staff were so welcoming its untrue. i went on holiday with my 3 children 20, 17 and 13 and my husband. being in our 40’s we didnt want to join in all the games, but we were invited. the animation team as they are known as were very welcoming to all my children, especially to my 17year old daughter! but they looked after her. she often went to the disco with her, looked after her and made her hoiday special, she loved to hang out with the girls and the guys. she said it was the best holiday of her life. my sons equally enjoyed it. we were a little worried that having children older meant that they would get bored, but there was lots of people ther age and they ahd a great time. altough i didnt enjoy the entertainment, but prefered to walk along the beautiful beach at night, my children assured me that is was great fun. the beach party is NOT to be missed with incredible singin from the animation team. Ramon and Slick were amazing. if i was a record producer id sign them.. truely entertaining!! the proffesionality of the staff was 1in a million they were fantastic. goin to jamaica was a little worrying that our children would have drugs pushed on them and that staff would be constantly high, but this was not prominent at all.. Dont you HATE rumours!! my daughter enjoyed this holiday so much she cried when she said goodbye, ramon and slik and the rest of the team made it that fun for her! so if anyone’s reading this… Thanks!!

The beach
Beautiful. thats all i can say.

We didnt do anytrips while we were here.. but we have heard from many people that the waterfall trip is not to be missed. Truely a fantastic holiday, the hotel a treasure to the riu chain. would highly reccomend, and will be returning!!

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Riu Tropical Bay Randy — Toronto

December 2004

My wife and i had a wonderful time at the Rui Tropical Bay resort. This was our first visit to a Rui resort. We have travelled to many islands including Sandals Resorts. Rui Tropical Bay is a 5 star resort and offers very good value.

We were impressed with how well the resort is maintained. We have no complaints. The food , service and facilities are all excellent. the people were great down there. We saw no bugs. Though my wife got some bites from the sand flies. The beach going to the Negril resort has been washed away, but you just walk in the water to get to the resort. The resort has a great beach and quiet warm water to play in. we saw a huge manna ray while we were snorkeling. The food was amazing……..we will definitely go back to this resort and will try other Rui’s. Do not forget to tip the staff on the resort…..they do an amazing job. Do not miss Mexican night at the buffet…..it was great

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