Riu Ocho Rios


My husband and I recently came to the Riu in Ocho Rios June 11-21, 2022. Here are some pros & cons (and tips) from our trip:


Pros

  • Hotel is beautiful & pretty clean (public bathrooms were hit or miss, but I mostly saw cleaners going into them)

  • Pool is clean and well-kept

  • Beach is beautiful

  • Main lively pool is super fun (but loud)

  • Variety at the buffet for adults (but none of it good)

  • Can tip someone a couple bucks for a coconut

  • Variety of restaurants - Asian, steak house, buffet, Italian

  • Variety of bars

  • Balloon guy makes the most amazing balloons I've ever seen

  • Water slides (for big kids & adults) are awesome

  • Gift shop has AMAZING boutique-level clothes, bathing suits, bags, etc, but is very expensive

  • Mini bar is great in room

  • Snorkeling is free (you give them $25 & you get it back after the hour)

  • Scuba diving for $119 & the man is very nice

  • You always get a chair at the infinity pool and the beach, no need to run down early in the morning

  • Bartenders have been giving us warm milk in my baby’s bottle with no problem

  • Not a crazy amount of bugs/mosquitos (we have bug repellent stickers)

  • Though there are few elevators, we never had to wait for one

Cons

  • The most unfriendly staff I have literally ever come across in my life!!!!!!! (No eye contact - bartenders won't even look at you unless you say "Excuse me" and when you give your order they are very nasty about taking it and most do not say "thank you" when you hand them their tip. Someone in a FB group said that a staff member said that management told them "not to be too close to the guests" but I took that to mean don't try to romance anyone, not to be rude to everyone!

  • Most of the food is not good (i.e.: sautéed salted fish, little hot dogs in a gravy)

  • Food not for kids - no chicken fingers, mac n cheese, etc (saw chicken one night at buffet & once in sports bar)

  • 2 outlets in room work (1 by bar; 1 in bathroom)

  • USB outlet doesn’t work

  • Toilets flooded in 8 rooms on our floor, I walked through toilet water!

  • Lack of elevators - and the one closest to our room broke on Day 2 (fixed next day)

  • Can’t make reservations for restaurants, have to stand in line when they open

  • Restaurants don't open and begin dinner until 6:15PM - why? It's a children's resort - why not 5:15PM?

  • Lack of ice cream and snacks - no typical chocolate, vanilla, strawberry

  • Besides cute kid entertainment with Antonia, Sabrina, Monique, Alexia & Kaloo, nighttime entertainment SUCKS. The white party and the glow party both started a good hour to hour and half after they said they would. The y said there would be a Michael Jackson tribute and it turned out to be karaoke, etc.

  • Baby pool & water slides are a mile away from the main area! You have to walk very far to get there

  • No specialty drinks in coconuts or pineapples

  • Very little alcohol in drinks unless you ask

  • They ran out of towels for us the first day (didn't happen again)

  • At first we didn't know if we were going to get a crib for our baby, though we asked about it months prior.

  • Gift shop has $46 sunglasses that were probably $10 at Target & Sun screen was $22+

  • Long line to check in & the front staff (like 90% of other staff) is VERY unfriendly

  • No bottled water at the bars, must bring from room or ask at always-packed front desk

  • Not enough bathrooms and not enough changing tables

  • No microwave in room

  • Can’t buy milk at gift shop

  • Juices are not good (except pineapple juice)

  • Floors in hallways get VERY slippery - I almost wiped out several times

  • Not enough to do indoors during rainstorms

  • No changing table in kids place

  • Not really a con but odd: They take your towels and don’t bring you new ones or clean the room for hours after


Tips

  • Bring a cover-up for the buffet because they won’t let you in in a bathing suit (even a one piece)

  • Kids area (RiuLand) is 10am-12pm & 3pm-5pm - if you're toddler is 3 or under you have to stay with them

  • Bring kid snacks because there are NONE

  • Bring plenty of diapers & wipes because it was $8 for like 10 wipes

  • Go during dry season (Sept-May). We’re here in June & lots of rain

  • Bring a few hundred American dollars in 1s, 5s & 10s for tips. (I usually tip way more but the service is not friendly or attentive in any way.)

  • Bug repellent stickers - they work!

  • Bring tupperware for cereal if you have a toddler

  • Get to restaurants at 6pm since they open 6:15pm and a line forms. Otherwise, go at 6:30pm

  • Little gift shop to the left of our hotel has half price items (got my daughter a hat for $12 vs $30 in hotel gift shop)

  • Bring baby’s car seat

  • Book transfer ahead of time (we used Sunshine Tours with Stephen Ellis. I’ve heard great things about Rocky as well)

  • Request ground floor room, elevators suck and long walk through the hallways

Some of the only nice staff we've come across:

Deval - Italian restaurant

Antonia, Sabrina, Monique, Alexia - RiuLand kids' staff

Sanique & Sheryl - buffet

Kemar - Entertainment

Roxanne - Bartender

All of the poolside and nighttime entertainment crew

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