First time to Jamaica..Negril/Ocho Rios/MB?

Mar 14th, 2009, 11:28 AM
  #1  
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First time to Jamaica..Negril/Ocho Rios/MB?

My husband and I (27 y.o) are planning a trip to Jamaica in July. We are first timers and would appreciate ANY help with planning! We are looking for an AI with a great beach. We also like do to activities on the island...hiking/snorkeling/etc. So, the main question is..do you get a different beach/activity expericence in one of the above mentioned areas versus another? We are planning a 4 night trip. Thanks for any help!
vacaaddict is offline  
Mar 14th, 2009, 12:01 PM
  #2  
KVR
 
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For our first trip to Jamaica we followed the advise of others and picked Negril. Mobay is too partish/city and too close to the airport. We didn't follow the advise of others and stayed at the RIU Tropical Bay. We should have chose Sunset at the Palms across the street instead. Both are AI.

We decided to wait until we got there and booked excursions from the hotel. We went to Black River/Appleton Rum Factory/YS Falls. Also went to Mayfield Falls. Also, grabbed a cab from the hotel and went to Margaritaville and Rick's Cafe. We had a great time in Negril, but really disliked the hotel.

We wanted to try Ocho Rios next trip and the main reason we haven't gone is we don't like any of the hotels that are offered there. They are either too big or too expensive or both. We took a cruise instead in which Ocho Rios was on the iteniary and then the Captin decided not stop there. Was very upset. We still haven't made it to Ocho Rios, but it's still on our list.
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Mar 14th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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Are Riu Tropical Bay & Riu Tropical Palace the same place? We are also looking @ Jamaica & somebody suggested Riu Tropical Palace in Negril.
KVR: Is Sunset @ The Palms right on the beach? Why do you prefer it over Riu Tropical Bay?
OceanBreeze1 is online now  
Mar 14th, 2009, 01:52 PM
  #4  
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KVR..thank you for your reccomendation. I am going to look into Sunset @the Palms. We do want beach front though..so I'll check in to its location.
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Mar 14th, 2009, 03:42 PM
  #5  
KVR
 
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The RIU Tropical Bay and the RIU Negril are two seperate hotels that sit next to each other. Sunset at the Palms is not beach front. It's sits across the street from the RIU Tropical Bay, but has it's own beach area for the hotel between the two RIU's. We wanted beach front also which is why we chose the RIU Tropical Bay over Sunset at the Palms, which was a mistake on our part. After seeing both hotels walking across the street was not big deal. We actually did not care for the beach area at the RIU Tropicl Bay anyway. It was crowded, most of the chairs were broken and many of the guests were almost naked.

We did not like the RIU Tropical Bay for many reasons:

1.) Too many loud, obnoxious drunks. They took up the entire hotel and we couldn't get a way from them.

2.) Too many large groups/wedding parties. Again, loud, obnoxious people that consistantly dominated the hotel staff.

3.) Too many naked bodies running around. If you like that, then you'll be fine. We personally didn't like it and don't want to be subjected to it. If I wanted to stay at a Hedisiom I would have booked there instead. I thought The RIU chain was a family type hotel?

4.) The worst food of any AI hotel we have ever been too. The buffet food was not fresh and the cooked stations were greasy. We are not picky about food, but this was bad. The ala cart restaurants were not worth the 45 min to a hour wait standing in line to make the reservation. The portions were tiny and not very tasty, but was a step up from that buffet.

5.) Our standard room did not have a working A/C unit. We actully enjoyed the cool water from the shower since our room was so hot.

Since our stay they have apparently upgraded the RIU Tropical Bay to a "Palace" resort. The RIU Palace resorts are supposed to be better than their regular resorts.

We orginally wanted to stay at Couples Negril, which is just down the beach from the RIU Tropical Bay. We couldn't afford it. My DH walked down the beach and checked out the hotel and then came back and demanded why we didn't stay there. I told him he didn't make enough money and this was all he could afford.

Read the reviews on Trip Advisor and scan the pictures before making a decision. We did and still didn't heed the warning signs.
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Mar 14th, 2009, 04:29 PM
  #6  
 
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So, is Tropical Bay now Tropical Palace? When were you there? And, is there a 2nd one called Riu Negril that sits next to Tropical Bay/Tropical Palace? This is confusing!
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Mar 15th, 2009, 07:11 AM
  #7  
KVR
 
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We were there in November, 2006. According to their web-site they upgraded the hotel to a "palace" resort in December, 2008. Check out this site:

http://www.riu.com/en/negril-jamaica.html

There are two RIU resorts that sit next to each other. The RIU Negril and the RIU Tropical Bay. The RIU Negril is not a palace resort so it will have less services and offerings than the RIU Tropical Bay. Here's the link to a map:

http://jamaica-insider.com/negril_map.shtml

I'm looking at the pictures on their site and I don't see any structural changes, so hopefully the changes were made in the food and services end.

Here's the link to my pictures if your interested:

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
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Mar 15th, 2009, 10:45 AM
  #8  
 
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We love Jamaica! We have stayed in MoBay. At that time, we were exhausted after a long day and the thought of an hour drive still ahead was not a good one. Staying in MoBay, I had a cold fruity drink in my hand and was on the beach in no time. I think for only four days, don't downplay the long drive. Maybe it won't bother you to hang in there - only you can answer that. We had heard that our hotel had the reputation for being a party place, but we never saw a party in full swing the entire week we were there. We had great jerk chicken and my memory box is full of keepsakes from there. Yeah, I have some great memories from there!
Because we are fans of Jamaica, we are actually doing research for a (hopefully) upcoming trip. Once again, we are not jumping up and down about Negril, so we have ruled that out and we have been to Ocho Rios and didn't care for it.
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Apr 29th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Negril and Montego Bay appeal to very different people. Negril is a looong stretch of sandy beach, however the water is not as aqua clear as the beaches in Montego Bay. Negril is a better place to stay if you prefer to stay at a regular hotel, and spend the day out and about, as there are loads of beach and cliff-side restaurants and bars. It has a great vibe and is more for people who want to get out of the confines of their hotel to enjoy the two very different sides of Negril (beach vs west end cliffs). Montego Bay is a better destination if you want to just go to your all-inclusive hotel and enjoy the beach, pool etc there. The water is gorgeous and if you want to venture out, go to Doctors Cave beach which is beautiful.
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