Melissa visits RIU Negril, Jamaica

We visited Negril, Jamaica in March 2012.  We went with a group of friends, so we were looking into accomodations that would fit every budget, yet still all inclusive, and nice.  We decided on the resort of:  RIU Negril.  This was a wonderful fit financially and location wise too.  We all had a fabulous time!!!  Our good friends even got engaged there 🙂  Congrats to you Brent and Ann!!!

Here is my trip report about the RIU Negril:
ROOMS:  The rooms were actually a little larger than I was expecting.  We had a standard room with ocean view.  I was expecting a typical standard hotel room, but I liked how roomy our room felt.  The entrance area by the door was wide, the liquor dispensor and the minifridge were plentiful.  Our bed however was a little disappointing.  You can see from the picture below in the slideshow that our KING sized bed was indeed 2 double beds pushed together.  Yep.  I wasn’t expecting that, and was not super happy about it, but it is what it is, right?  Our balcony was small but sufficient.  Air conditioning worked just fine, can’t complain.  The bathroom was small, you can see in the picture just how small that shower was.  It was fine, but not spacious by any means.

BEACH:  The beach outfront of our resort was nice.  I like in Negril how you can wade out into the water and go quite a ways before it gets over your head.  It’s nice to just get a little wet, and no crashing waves, no undertow.  I do like that!  On the far end of our resort, the weeds and debris did wash up quite a bit, but the RIU did a nice job of keeping most of it clear most of the time.  There were plenty of little shells to collect in the area (not that you can take them home…but some do try)  Towards the South side of our beach, in between the two RIU resorts, there are some beach vendors.  This area is nice to do a little shopping, without having to be hassled all the time just relaxing on your beach chair.

WAKE UP TIME:  I do not like that you have to wake up at 6:00am just to get a chair on the beach.  People wake up very early just to reserve a chair.  It is a problem, I did not like it, but by the time we finally would get our butts down to the beach, people were getting out of their chairs, so it wasn’t a huge issue.  But this could be a problem for some…  You also need to get up very early to make a dining reservation at the restaurants.  You can make a reservation 2 days in advance only.  This is never a problem, but you need to know the system.  Get up early, make a reservation and you’re good to go.

DINING:  We dined in the buffet restaurant a few times, and the choices were plenty.  I did feel a little like a herd of cattle when it was dinner time though.  It’s not super fancy, and very laid back.  Wonderful for those that like it to be very casual, and don’t want to dress up.  It’s a great fit for that.  I, on the other hand, do like to get dressed up for dinner, and make it nice.  We did that 2 times in our 4 night stay.  We did the steakhouse ‘Shadows’, and we also did the fancy ‘Sir Andrews’ one night.  Shadows was impressive, my expectations were low, but was pleasantly surprised, food was great, service was good.  Sir Andrews was also good, food was much better at Sir Andrews, but the service was a little slow.  It surprised me that there was only seating for approx 30 people max, at a resort that holds 420 guest rooms.  Seems like it would make more sense to make some of these restaurants a little bigger.  BUT there was always the buffet option as well, which always had many choices.

BARS/DRINKS:  I had a personal favorite of a ‘Dirty Banana’ the last time we were in Jamaica, and the RIU’s version of this drink was not the same, and not as good.  So I found a drink I did like, it was called a ‘Miami Vice’.  This was a red, white and blue drink, yummy!!!  The bartenders were good, I can’t say that we had any one that was a stand out.  The swim up bar was always hopping and busy, the first time I went over to the swim up bar to get a drink, I stood there for 10 minutes before the bartender even looked at me, and it took another 10-15 minutes to actually get a drink.  That was about it for me.  I prefer the quiet pool anyways, so that was fine.  They were serving the rowdy ones, and that was good!!!!

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  OK, so I’ve traveled a lot, and I do take my trips with a grain of salt most days.  Things will go wrong, things will go right, and it’s all good.  My overall impression of this resort was that it’s a 3-4 star and that’s exactly where it should be.  Everything was good, but not great.  I would absolutely stay here again, without a doubt.  It’s all about expectations.  It’s not a luxury resort, but sometimes that isn’t what you’re willing to pay for when you just want to have fun and be safe.

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Leisure Travel Specialist at Travel Leaders (River Falls Office)
I specialize in travel to: Aruba, Barbados, Destination Weddings/Honeymoons, Disney (All products) and the Dominican Republic. Learn more about me and view my contact information►