Overall Impressions Just got back from the Riu Negril in Jamaica Good place if you get a good price on the property and willing to live with few minor problems or laid back service. I’d say more of a 4 star (4 ¼ star property). This is my second time to Bloody Bay (1st time was at Riu Tropical Bay 6 yrs ago). I typically go to the Mayan Riviera and stay at places like the Iberostar, Barcelos, Palladium, Princess, Gran Sirenis, Coral Turquesa etc…… down there. The Crowd: Mainly Canadians, Americans, Italians, Brits, and local Jamaicans esp. on weekend. Wide variety of guest: couples, families, groups, and of course single people wanting good time. Note as it’s one of the most affordable all inclusive resort in Negril, this resort will attract a different clientele. So if you don’t want the 20s crowd being a bit rowdy, having a good time drinking, smoking, and smoking other stuff, go to another resort. Remember it is Jamaica. If you want a bit more sophisticated crowd – pay more and go to the Tropical Bay Palace next door or Sandals.
Rooms: •Snagged a nice room with oceanfront view in bldg 1 (rm 1248). Only booked garden view. Bit dated but still clean •Lucked out and got a room with working A/C. Some room A/C didn’t work well but I guess with a premium room we got, they made sure this one worked. •Although it looks like my room was refreshed (new paint, new thermostat etc..), toilet bowl a bit disgusting with stains and tub had rust spots, shower hose leaked big time. Still no biggy.
Restaurants and Bars: FOOD: Buffet: Breakfast: eat outside in the courtyard with the egret. Good breads and usually good flaky croissants and cinnamon rolls that are not soggy like in most places. Reg eggs, ommelete, sausage, bacon etc…… Cold cuts were not premium quality but edible. Fruits varied from pineapple, cantelope, to Jamaican apple (yuk), jackfruit (not bad), mangos (yum), apples and of course bananas Fruit juices a bit too sweet as they add concentrated juices/nectar to the fresh fruit. Lunch: (@Shadows): ok selection for lunch. Reg stuff like burg, dogs, sad looking pizza, great pasta station esp when there is someone cooking it, salty fish filet, beef stews, hard rice. Ok for lunch. Jerk Hut: Grab some jerk chicken to snack on the beach or bring to buffet to go along with your lunch. Closed Saturdays. Dinner: Bit disorganized on scheduling. No one seemed to know if there were any theme dinners (front desk, mgr at buffet and even head chef). Seem like it was whatever they feel like. During my week these appear to be the themes (non – theme). Appears to be no more seafood or gala theme or Italian theme. The buffet lacked the premium foods you may see in other resorts esp in the Mayan Riveria. No smoke salmon, no big shrimps, no proscuito, poor quality cold cuts, and only one or 2 types of fish thru out the week. But I must say the breads were good (crunchy crust and dense inners), and desserts were pretty good too. But in the end – always something to eat. Sunday – International (ie normal food – grilled salty fish, beef filets (hit or miss if tender) Monday – Asian (didn’t look appetizing – sweet & sour pork, mandarin duck, gross chop suey, very vingery sushi rolls……..) Tuesday – Mexican (chicken beef fajita, tacos, etc…….) Ok Wednesday – International (roast beef, turkey breast) Thursday – International (beef brisket) Friday – International (chicken) Saturday – Jamaican – Good – (jerk chicken (not as good as beach), oxtail stew – yummy, goat curry, spinach, roast pig, chayote veg, festival (deep fried bread), ackee and salt fish and of course rice and peas (always hard I find).…….
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Entertainment: Shows not too good and amateurish. They try but still not at the same calibre as other resorts. Michael Jackson which was suppose to be the best show was far from good. Tried watching Michael Jackson it on a Sat night but it just didn’t do it for me. Seen better productions elsewhere. Other dancers seemed to move better than Michael (who sort of looked Asian to me) Paul the singing bartender in the main lobby at night was good – see him on YouTube People who complain about no reggae music. It does exist. Remember local people don’t listen to this stuff. So if you hear other stuff played around that the resort, that may be the real Jamaican music.
Other Comments: Shopping and Off the Resort: You can buy your souvenirs right off the beach in the public area between the 2 Riu properties. Bargain hard. About 1/3 should be fine. Little reggae pencils go for $3US but got down to $1US each. At airport they go for $3-$5 US. For Blue Mountain coffee go to a supermkt. Downtown Negril has a small one based on my last trip. But this time, I managed to hit a Megamart (like Costco) in MoBay one day and 1 lb of coffee would go for about $17 (J$1397). The airport was selling it for $30US. Of course in the US/Cda/ UK this would be many multiples as Blue Mountain is one of the most if not the most expensive type of coffee in the world. Jerk sauce is about J$202 or $2.30 per jar for Walkerton or Eaton brand. Did a quick trip to Doctor’s Cave in MoBay with the aid of a friend who took us around. Nice little beach/cove and good snorkeling with huge coral formations. Bring your own gear as the rental stuff is all broken. Real Jamaican food. Tried “Scotchie” which is a local (dive) place along the highway near Riu Montego bay. All locals with good outdoor atmosphere. Jerk Chicken, Jerk Pork, Conch soup Festival, Roasted Breadfruit, coconut water, and of course Red stripe. Good to experience the real deal….
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Al La Cartes: A La Cartes: Very few choices here compared to other resorts. Yes as most say, buffet is same or if not better. The only exception was the Sir Andrews which was worth going to. Steakhouse was awful and we saw 3 other tables leave along with us after presented with our entree. Yes you have to reserve and can only book for 2 days in advance If full be persistence and you will get in. The girls at the table is nice/sweet once you break the ice with her and then she will do anything for you. Steakhouse at Shadows (3 out of 10) Outside hot so you will be sweating so much. Appetizer buffet is basically the same stuff or leftovers from the lunch buffet there. Where’s the good smoke salmon or other prem stuff you see at other resorts as appetizers? Even the salty onion soup you have Tenderloin disgusting. Everything is pre cooked even before the we sat down and then just warmed up (in my case “reheated til it’s leather – they actually butterfly the tenderloin when reheating til it’s dry and burnt. Didn’t even eat mine. Snapper was pre cooked but was eatable. Didn’t stay for dessert as all they had was cheesecake which was at the buffet. Sir Andrews (8 out of 10) Went here 2 times ( 1st time better) but it’s full service. For appetizer: Good couscous seafood salad Good salmon & cream cheese Crab bisque good but could be salty Tenderloin ok – not same as grade as other resorts but still ok . Definitely better than steakhouse’s filet as cooked to order. Bit salty the meat and worse was the sauce which was extra salty. Grouper & Octopus – tasted like frozen fish deep fried. Ok but so so. Linguine vegetarian – was ok but nothing special Veggies were sad that came with the entrees. Odds and ends of broccoli. & some whipped mash
Didn’t’ go to the Brazilian restaurant as I can foresee dried up meat on a skewer.
The Good The Bad: The Good •Compact resort – beach and pool are closeby •Nice calm shallow beach. Sand is beige and sand in the water is fine/corally – in some parts a tad sludgey but still ok. •Good snorkeling right off the beach – best is between the beach bar to the life guard chair by the bouys. Saw huge spotted ray, barracuda, white spotted sea snake, lots of star fish, surgeonfish, needlefish, wrasses, sergeant major, box fish/puffer but to my disappointment – no lionfish •Can walk over to Tropical Bay resort which has got an amazing beach there. •Free electronic safe •Nice big fridge that actually worked and well stocked with red stripe and lots of water/pop. •In general friendly staff. Of course some better than others. Noticed that they were not tip hungry contrary to other reviews. I actually found it insulting that most guests didn’t tip at all. •Lots of smaller fish and conchs at the fish sanctuary at the extreme end of the beach. Just watch out for sea urchins and jellyfish. The Bad •Nightly shows pretty lame compared to other resorts so didn’t bother. •Stink of rotting milk behind theatre bar, pool bar. Depends on the wind direction. •Bug bugs bugs. It’s gotta be sand flies/fleas as you get all these red dots on your leg/ankle. Other got mega welts from these pest and itched like crazy all over their body. This affected some but not others. Bring bug spray and don’t hang out at the beach at dusk/sunset when they are most likely to bit. Mosquitos are around but it seems like sand flies caused more problems. Remember the beach is manmade on this former swamp and therefore this maybe the cause. (imported sand or swamp) •Some questioned dilution of drinks – quite possible but most of the time they are emptying ½ empty bottle to consolidate them. •Slushy drinks from machine – not blended in general and a bit too sweet. •Daily Jamaican corner appeared like it was always left overs…….. Definitely much better Jamaican night of Friday. •Mirky pool – at pool with bar. Hopefully due to all spilt drinks and nothing else •The 2 pools are not large enough for such a size resort. They are about 4’1” deep so smaller kids will have to have a floaty or rely on the beach. The kids pool is a joke (more like a mini foot bath). •Ancient door key with huge tag and room number. Not good if you lose it. Only one too. •A/C off during day in room. In some rooms it’s even off at night. Confirmed with a grin by manager. •Useless package of gel and shampoo. Not enough to take a real shower. Bring your own. •Pretty raggedy towels in room. Some with major stains. •This is not a slam against the workers but most seem to be more interested in socializing with fellow workers rather than serve guests. It’s sort of the Jamaican mentality to socialize and be laid back and nothing is urgent. Very different from Mexico. Of course the male entertainment staff only have one goal in mind……..