Riu Tropical Bay Resort Hotel

, Negril, Jamaica
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Riu Tropical Bay Resort Hotel

, Negril
Norman Manley Blvd - Negril - Jamaica Hotel Website | 876-957-5900
2108 Traveller

Reviews - Riu Tropical Bay Resort Hotel

Submitted by: Rose in 01/04/07
  • Age Group: 41 - 50
  • From: United Kingdom
  • Traveller type: Mature Couple
I went to this hotel as it was closest to Couples where my daughter married on 19th March. I had read some disturbing reports after we had booked the holiday. I must say this hotel was beautiful, all the staff were very helpful and friendly. My friend and I couldnt have wished for a better holiday. We took our Deet insect spray but didnt use it, we only saw a couple of flies, maybe we chose the right time of year!

The beach was fine and clean, the sea warm and so clear you could see your feet. Beds were more comfortable than we had experiened in Europe.

There is only one point that I would like to make and that it would have been nice if they had a beauty parlour where you could have your hair and
make up done for a special day.

We only had 7 days and it wasnt long enough, if we ever get the chance we would certainly return to this hotel.

Just a little warning to the ladies, own hairdyers
and hot brushes do not get hot enough to do your hair as the voltage is only 110. The hotel dryers were hotter.

Historical Traveller Reviews of Riu Tropical Bay Resort Hotel

A good first experience

from A TripAdvisor Member
I have to say that my experience at the Riu was one of the best time I had ever experienced. The people, the island itself and the overall atmosphere was a great experience. I have to say thank you on behalf of my group, to Rayon who made our stay at the resort far better than we had expected. He's a type of person that makes a person want to come back to visit. So props to Rayon the Bartender at the pool bar. I hope that in march when we will be returning for spring break he will be there. (This is from John ,Hassan, Bonnie and Julie from Philly) Yah Mon!!!!!! NO Problem MOn!!!!!!! Respect!!!!!

Find a better resort

from A TripAdvisor Member
Just got back after a weeks stay. The hotel was nice. It was not a five star. The things I disliked the most were the hand held shower head, two double beds as a king. If you rolled over to your loved one you would end up in the crack of the two beds. Also the scheduled dinner time either seven or nine. This was too restricted.
There was also lack of entertainment which was mostly audience paticipation. Breakfast was good. Dinner was good too if you like leather tasting beef. It rained most days. The only thing to do if it rains it to sleep drink or eat pizza. The only late night snacks they offered was pizza. Made a reservation one night at Sir Anthony's. It took about two hour to get served, however the food was good. Do not stay at this hotel if you like a large pool, heated jaccuzzi and entertainment. This resort does not offer these feature. I really did not find any bug issue. Take my advice and stay at Sunset Beach Resort and Spa in MO-Bay. They no how to show a good time. Also don't take the cabs from the hotel just want down to end of ask for Dave. He a great cab driver.

Honeymoon review of Riu - July 8-15

from A TripAdvisor Member
We arrived at the Riu on July 8 around noon. The bus ride from Montego wasn't that bad. I had expected worse. The road is fully paved, and other than dodging livestock, it could have been any rural road in Canada or the U.S. We arrived too early to check in, but the front desk explained the procedures very well, and told us we could start checking for rooms around 1 p.m. We went to lunch, came back at exactly 1 and were given our room. We had requested an oceanfront king on a higher floor, and were given an oceanfront suite on ground floor. Since it was a suite, we didn't complain. The room was nice, right off the beach and even though a path led by the patio, there was a concrete wall so you had privacy if seated. The beach was beautiful and well cared for. We were only approached once by a vendor that had slipped by security.

Given the other postings on this board, I expected poor services, bugs, maintenance and power issues and we had none of the above. We did see some cockroaches. I'm sure there were more but they stayed out of our way, and really, it is the Caribbean so bugs are bound to visit you. Our minibar was adequately stocked - in fact, they left us an extra bottle of rum in case we finished the one in the dispenser. This was without tip. We had a great waiter each night. Our only complaint on waitstaff was they weren't overly friendly at the pizzeria and we were disappointed in service at Sir Anthony's, the a la carte restaurant. The waitstaff were slow and the menu was limited. We only went once. We preferred the buffet and our great waiter Atthol, who took wonderful care of us, again without a tip until the last night. The food is good, but after about the third night, we were bored of the chef. Lots to choose from, but you may not like the options and it does all start to taste the same. Were also disappointed in no room service or in-room munchies. We had the 9 p.m. dinner seating and if we missed a snack in late afternoon, the hours of 7 to 8:55 p.m. were torture!

We didn't see much of the entertainment, but the two nights we stayed for after-dinner drinks, it was hte same show with the same audience participation (and some of the same participants). Never made it to the disco. If you are looking for a nice place to veg, and aren't that interested in doing anything but eat, sleep and lie on a beach, then this a great place. That was the whole objective of our honeymoon and it met it well.

Its not that bad...

from A TripAdvisor Member
I spent a full month reading the reviews that were posted on this site in anticipation of my trip to Riu Tropical Bay. I was pleased by some (the positive feedback) and scared by others (the complaints). I went to the hotel a week ago and anticipated everything bad that was mentioned on this website to happen to me and it did, but not on a large scale.

The road trip from the airport was pure h#@l. They drive with a death wish and a mission but our driver was nice and pointed out many things to us.

When we got to the reception desk I was disappointed at the amount of time they spent explaining things to you and the fact that it is a group effort. When we got to our room I was okay with it. I hate the fact the they push two double beds together to make one bed. Consequently, there is no sleeping in the middle. If you are with a loved one it makes it an uncomfortable sleep. I took a shower and my girlfriend and I kept thinking that it was warm in the room. We called maintenance who informed us that there was no motor in our air conditioner and we had to move. Our new room was cooler but not by much. The first fifteen minutes in the room I spent killing two huge spiders and an equally huge waterbug. I immediately called the front desk to request another room on an upper room (and not near a lot of foliage). I was told they were totally booked and to call again in two days.

The next few days were less eventful (no bugs). We did have to call maintenance three more times during our trip. Our toilet didn't flush after about two days and always looked as if it were on the verge of overflowing. Also they have handheld showers (what is that about). It was placed too high and nearly drowned my girlfriend and I. Come to find out the piece to adjust the shower head was broken, so the guy had to fix it in one spot permanently (we still got soaked).

It rained everyday for seven days. Luckily the rain lasted for no more than two hours each day. We experienced one power outage but slept through the whole thing. I am suprised that no one mentioned the absence of clocks in the room. Is it just me or is that a little tacky for a five star(??) hotel?.

I found the food to be good. I was pleased with the selection at the buffet (it changed nightly). I did not like the fact that you had to wake up at 7:00am to make reservation for Sir Anthony's. One day we tried to make a reservation at 9:00am only to be told that they were booked for both seatings. Speaking of which I don't like the fact that you have to go to dinner at the same time each night. I guess its to control the size of the crowd because neither restaurant can accomodate that many people.

All in all I enjoyed my trip (minus a few complaints). I found the staff to be extremely nice and helpful. Would I go back to Negril? Probably not. It has nothing to do with the hotel. I had no idea that Jamaica was such a poor country and I became depressed each time I went off of the resort. I walked 10 minutes to the gas station with my girlfriend and felt very unsafe. The men there are very aggressive towards the women traveling alone.

If you are someone who doesn't mind staying on the resort for your whole vacaton then choose Negril. I think for the most part the experience there is a hit or miss. I has enough hits the enjoy myself.

Infested with Roaches

from A TripAdvisor Member
First I would like to say that the Riu Tropical is a beautiful hotel. However, my first visit was June 2001. The hotel opened March 2001. I had to be moved twice due to roaches in the room. I decided to stay at the Riu one more time (June 2002). The infestation of roaches was worst. I was moved to another room and the roaches were just as bad as the previous room. In the main dining areas there were roaches crawling on the chairs and tables. Needless to say I lost my appetite. The other problem was the power outage. We were left without power twice during my 7 day stay. The outages lasted a minimum of 6 hours. Candles were given only if you requested them from the front desk and then you had to go get the candles. The entertainment (what entertainment?) simply sucks! The guest of the hotel is the entertainment. It is called audience participation. Don't waste you time on sitting for entertainment. The food on a scale of 1-10 was a 3. I am a avid traveler and choose all-inclusive hotels because of what they provide. Well, the Riu is truly a disappointment. In order to rid this hotel of the roaches the hotel will need to close down completely and bomb the place. I advise you not to leave your luggage open for you may bring home some uninvited guest :~(

We would go back

from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I have just returned (and I do mean just - as in hours ago) from our tenth anniversary/honeymoon trip to Jamaica, where we stayed at the Riu Tropical Bay in Negril. Overall, we had an exceptional time - the place is awesome, the staff very friendly, and they had a wide-range of Western and traditional Jamaican dishes.
We booked our vacation with a Spanish outfit, as we live in Spain. However, as I am an American, I hope that my comments might prove useful to all travellers, regardless of where they're from.
As an American, the first thing that came to mind was that while the grounds are impressive and the service was great, I was surprised that it fit the category of a five-star resort. Little details like the caulking around the bathtub (crumbling), the change in water temperature depending on the demand from other rooms, teeny tiny ant like insects that appear anywhere there's anything sweet (sodas), no room service, no iron, blow dryer, or the like, the mini bar was re-stocked every other day, elevator music bands provided nightly entertainment, no source of music in the rooms (not even a music channel), etc.
However, the key to getting past all these potentially irksome but not so important details is keeping in mind just where you are. J'maica, mon. Can't judge by American or European standards. Just try to go with the flow, and if you need special attention, just say so. Without a doubt the reponse you'll get is this: "No problem, mon'". And, it's not only the staff at the hotel that are so accommodating - our experience was that for the most part all Jamaicans want you to feel comfortable and to enjoy all that Jamaica has to offer.
My husband and I were struck (and dismayed) by the fact that hotel guests are not actively encouraged to venture outside the grounds on their own. Instead, a number of excursions are offered by various tour groups. They board you on buses, and take you off to see Jamaica's natural surroundings (mostly). A few offerings include a night out on the town and a shopping trip. Don't be fooled into thinking that you will experience the "real" Jamaica or have a meaningful experience with "real" Jamaicans. The night out for a beach party is at whatever place has been agreed for that night by all the resorts in the area. They say that they have to do it this way or there would be too few people to have a party. It ends up being very frat party-ish. Only difference is that there is a group of Jamaicans all huddled together checking you out. Was not the night out I had in mind. And, the open-air crafts market is replete with stalls all carrying the same things. You take a good look in two or three and there's not much left to see.
We hired an unofficial taxi (David) to take us around for 5 hours or so. He was a very safe driver and very low key, and took us exactly where we asked to go.
The hotel offers a number of services including water sports, a spa, and a hair salon. I opted to have my hair done on the first day and after asking around was led by a woman name Bloom into the bush, or as another client jokingly referred to as "The Salon in the Woods". She works as part of a team of three - the others are Patricia and Marsha. They are all very nice, good at what they do, and offer an economic alternative. If you do get your hair braided, be sure to protect your scalp when the sun is hottest, regardless of whether you're fair or dark skinned.
Another activity that may be enjoyed "off the beaten track" without straying too far from the resort is just up the beach past the water sports center. First of all, there is another area marked off for swimmers which was used mainly by topless women (and men). Then there's a few stands that sell Jamaican crafts, at a lower than official price. Next to the last one, there is a sort of shelter where a number of Jamaican men set up a grill and prepare fresh fish, lobster, vegetables and rice. Of course, they also try to sell you some "ganja" or marijuana, but if you tell them directly that you are not interested they will stop offering it. Eating there provided us with the opportunity to eat lobster (not available at the hotel) and to get to know the people there. We even picked up a few words of their language, which is not very difficult to undertand if you listen carefully.
Don't get me wrong. The food at the hotel was very good. We ate at Sir Anthony a few nights, which was the restaurant that you had to make a reservation for in the early morning. We enjoyed it, and so did the girl we saw being proposed to. The pizza is excellent and the jerk chicken from the little shack on the beach was so good that we could have eaten it everyday (and may have, now that I think about it)
Inasmuch as tipping is concerned, we did. Not much, but we let the cleaning staff and the bar staff know that we appreciated their service (we saved this for the last day, except for the guy who kept out minibar stocked. Seems like he went out of his way to ask us if we needed anything else everyday, instead of every other day.
I'm beat. If you need any more info please feel free to write to me: Courte@jazzfree.com and if you make it to the Slaon in the Woods please give the girls regards from the American girl in Spain.

t forget the tip!

from A TripAdvisor Member
I stayed at the Riu for a week in June. Our room was really nice, with a balcony facing the beach. The bay was gorgeous, especially in the earlier a.m. hours when I had it almost to myself. The water is turquoise and clear and warm.
As far as service, there wasn't a problem, but it is obvious that the staff are underpaid, so even though our voucher said, "Gratuity included" we made sure to tip the maids, the buffet workers, and the bartenders (except at the swim up bar; no place to carry money in a bathing suit!)
The food at the breakfast buffet was great. Fresh fruit and juice and an amazing array of different dishes.
As luxuriuous as the Riu is, I was surprised to notice that some guests didn't leave it at all! Why come to Jamaica if you don't see Jamaica? My friend and I went into the town of Negril often, and out to Mobay for a day, and to Mayfield Falls. We met locals and had a great time. If you take a cab anywhere from the Riu and you want to save money, DON'T get a cab from the hotel lobby. Just walk on down the drive and you will find many cabbies waiting; you must bargain the price down. A ride into the town center of Negril cost each of us about a hundred J, or about two US dollars. If you get a taxi from the lobby, you will pay twelve or more US dollars.
If you go the beautiful West End of Negril, you may want to skip the infamous Rick's. We found the cutest beer shack run by none other than Sexy Rexy, a smiling, card playing Jamaican whose place is right on the cliffs. Enjoy!

Never again to Riu

from A TripAdvisor Member
Vacation was on 6/26/02.
My husband and I along with another couple just returned from Jamaica, where we
stayed in Riu. I must say it was one of the worse hotels we stayed at. We expected
much more from a 5 star hotel. First of all, it seemed like from the moment we
got there they tried to rip us off, either offering ganja or saying to tip them
because they don't get paid enough. Upon entering the hotel, the resort
itself is not bad, it's a nice place, but the service was terrible.
The room our friends stayed at had constant roach problem. We had
either toilet or tub problems. Now food wise, yuck!!! Absolutely no variety,
the jerk chicken which you get sick of. Sometimes late at night you want to munch
on something, they didn't even have a snack place, and the selection at the bar
was awful. ON top of the roaches running everywhere, when we complained, the
managers didn't do aNYHTING ABOUT it. Abd you knwo why, they are all under
paid and they don't care. And ofcourse lets's not gorget how many times we
had to sit in our room, becasue the whole Negril was out of power, and that meant
no Air and no entertainmnet, just sit and stare at each other with the candle.
We tried to make the best of it, but I do not reccomend this hotel to anyone.
It definitely needs some improvement. We would definitely go back to Cancun,
but not to Jamaica.

Great resort but could use improvements

from A TripAdvisor Member
We just got back from a weeeks stay at the Riu Tropical Bay, Negril. The accomodations were great,the food was good, especially the jerk chicken from the "jerkshack", the beach and bloody bay was beautiful. However, if you like walking on the beach, there's not a long stretch to walk on. The staff was very friendly and accomodating especially Suave that works at the main bar in the evenings. He will really do you right for taxi service around Jamaica. Make sure you go to Rick's Cafe for the cliff diving and sunset! Our only disappointment was the entertainment! It was pretty much audience participation every night and the band was good but only played for a short while. They had beach activities starting in the morning at 10:00 that lasted for maybe 1-2 hours but then that was it.Overall, it was a great place to rest and relax for a week. If you get down there, tell Rayon and Andrew at the pool bar, "Yeah Mon, I'll take a Bob Marley, Mon!"

5 star hotel?

from A TripAdvisor Member
We arrived at the hotel on Sunday 19th May 2002.
The first impression was of a luxurious hotel, with friendly staff, this all changed over the course of the next few days.
Day 1). The toilet broke, it wouldn't flush, so we took the cystern lid off and fixed it ourselves with the aid of an elastoplast (room 2322 if you wish to check!). The toilet continued to miss-behave throughout the whole of the holiday, but, judging by the state of some of the more communual toilets, seems this was "normal",
you could flush a toilet 3 times before the pan was clear. Not very nice, especially if you followed somebody into a cubicle who could not be bothered. Cable TV receiption terrible, either fuzzy pictures/channel with no sound, we told reception of this, was duly noted but nothing done. It was also reported to our tour rep.
Day 2). Our first power cut! We could not believe it when the power was cut, we were staying in a 5 star hotel which did not have a generator for its guests. We were told that the laundry and lobby had a generator but one had not been built into the hotel for the guests! Mind you, the water feature fountains were working though, seems electricity can get to them but not to guests rooms. The hot water then flowed cold, we were told a mains pipe leading into the hotel had been damaged and there was no hot water as a result. So day 2 - no electricity and no hot water.
Day 3). Still no hot water, repair had not been completed. Power cut in the evening. Very bad storm over night.
Day 4). Morning..no electricity/no hot water (still). Restuarant "Negril" flooded, with a couple of inches of water everywhere. Maids in the restaurant sweeping water out with brooms. Stage floor area had 4 inches of water (minimum),beach washed away and huge crevices where flood water had run through the beach, sunbeds at all funny angles. Daytime entertainment - non -existant as sun was not shining and no provision made by Hotel for rainy weather. Guests left to fend for themsleves, we had fellow visitors playing monopoly/dominos/connect four! I could not believe my eyes!
at 23.47 the water stopped altogether, there was no hot or cold water and no way of flushing toilets, I called reception who told me it would be fixed soon, but the hotel was still without water at 03.15am.
Day 5. Seems Hotel is getting its act together..
a dartboard has appeared at the foot of the stage..we can now play indoor darts!
Day 6. Uneventfull day!
Day 7). Still raining and still no indoor entertainment to speak off!
Wed 29/5 - 5 hour power cut. day time
thur 30/5 - 4 hour power cut. day time
Sat 01/06 - 11 hour power cur throughout the day.
Sunday 02/06 - last day and was glad to leave.
General comments
The evening entertainment started far too late, the live shows started between 21.00 and 22.00 hrs and lasted an hour!
We discovered, during the course of the last week, that there were candles available to guests due to the power cuts but I would have thought that each room would have been provided with a candle or two rather than guests having to chase around after them. Would also mention that we obtained a courtesy umbrella from Riu only to have this stolen from us one lunch hour by another guest.
On our last day, somebody stole one of our beach towels, which meant a USD30 fine but the towel supervisor was very understanding when we explained what had happend, saying that it happens all the time!
Also not impressed with locals, walking up and down the front of the beach, offering ganga smokes which I thought was illegal in Jamaica!
If you go to the Riu Tropical you will have a good time if A). it doesn't rain b). you have no power cuts c). you dont want a hot bath d). you don't need to use the conveniences!
We have been to Jamaica four times now and this was absolutely the worst holiday we have ever had there. It cost us over three thousand pounds and I consider that a complete and utter waste of money. I was bitterly disappointed as we booked a year ago and was looking forward to a really good holiday!

Top Local Tips for Negril

Beach Reggae Party When you are in Jamaica - party like a Jamaican - go to the local reggae bar and dance on the beach until daylight! No Problem Mon!! Enjoy every minute there - until you go back again.

Beach Reggae Party When you are in Jamaica - party like a Jamaican - go to the local reggae bar and dance on the beach until daylight! No Problem Mon!! Enjoy every minute there - until you go back again.

Check out Downtown Negril Take the Best Of Negril tour to see the sunset from the cliffs at Rick's Cafe. BUT - stay on the bus when you arrive at the shanty town where they want you to walk through all the vendors - unless you enjoy that kind of thing. I was almost in tears by the time we made our way through. But the sunset from Ricks made it all worthwhile, and you can watch the cliff-divers with a cold Red Stripe in your hand! :)


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  • Address: Norman Manley Blvd - Negril - Jamaica
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