Well, I'm telling everybody that this was my OMG vacation! My rule about revisiting previous resorts has now been trashed because I think I just might return to this one every year for the rest of my life!!! Jamaica is no longer on my last resort (ouch - excuse the pun) list. Quite a lengthy bus ride from Montego Bay to the Riu Ocho Rios but doable. I am wondering if the Riu resorts in Montego Bay and Negril would be on par with Ocho Rios. Almost afraid to take the chance because it was SO wonderful.
I can't believe how many people were there though but it wasn't really that evident until the buffet dinner at night or buffet breakfast around 8:00. It was not unlike trying to cross a crowded floor at a junior high dance. I learned quickly to go for those 2 meals right when the doors opened. The food on a scale of 1 to 10 was 14!! I'm not going to weigh myself for 2 weeks!
With the number of people on the beach, it was obvious why they didn't do beach beverage service. It would be impossible to carry out successfully. OK with me since I don't drink anyway. One day on the beach they announced that they were over-booked and that if you were willing to surrender your room, you could finish your time at the Riu in Montego Bay or Negril with 5 free days in any Riu resort in the Caribbean. Never have seen THAT happen before.
The place was unbelievably clean considering the number of people - especially since the lobby and outdoor eating areas were so close to the beach. The beach was all raked and cleared of seaweed and coconuts every morning by 7:30. I had my space staked out by 6:45 every morning - best part of the day when the sun comes up and it's SO peaceful.
You could be super active with beach aerobics, line dancing, kayak races - the activities were endless. The staff were really fun-loving and friendly yet didn't cross the line by being obnoxious.
Smallish sized room but who cares when you're only sleeping there. Lovely deck and the garden view was so lush and green. Plus there was a quaint little gazebo with a pond in the gardens where people went for wedding photos. A wedding practically every day!
The ONLY downer was the difference in "bang for your buck" with the Elite Plus program compared to one like Transat. Where Transat offers a blanket kit, headsets, free snacks, champagne (which the lucky passenger beside me always got), priority seating, priority check-in and boarding plus the 10 extra kilo of luggage, with Sunwing there was the pre-selected seat, 10 extra kg and a free headset (I have 4 already) and the check-in line for Elite Plus in Montego Bay was twice as long as the regular check-in. I don't suppose I'd be lucky enough for Transat to have Riu packages in Jamaica . . . . However on the plus side, being in the 3rd row was incredibly efficient! Going, I was off the plane, through immigration and on the bus with my luggage in 20 minutes! Definitely a new record!! Coming home, I was the first one through immigration with no line up!
So THANK YOU my dear, for finding such a paradise for me - although the weather was so incredible here, I wondered why I had to "bake winter out of my bones" - lol. I'll work on my husband over the summer (plus get him suitably out-fitted) and maybe there'll be two of us going next year. First thing to do is to renew his passport!
Hoping all your other clients come home as happy as I am!!