An impromptu trip to Jamaica had my husband and I staying at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay all-inclusive resort in Negril. While I’m normally the type who reads every review in sight, this trip to the Riu Palace Tropical Bay had me unsure of what to expect. Continue reading to find out what it was like.
This was our second visit to Jamaica, having previously stayed at Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios.
We booked this vacation through PC Travel and flew with Sunwing Airlines.
See also: Fun Things to Do in Negril
Our Oceanfront Room
Our oceanfront room at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay was located in the end building, furthest from the road and closest to the ocean. It was lovely being able to hear the small waves crashing ashore, however, the traffic noise from the highway nearby was quite loud at times.
Inside the room, the furniture was quite dated and the beds were rather uncomfortable. We didn’t like that our king-sized bed was two twins pushed together, and that housekeeping made them up separately every day. The evening turndown service was a nice touch, and the mini-fridge was stocked every day but one. We were very happy with the view of the beach from our balcony, although the hard plastic deck chairs were terrible.
The Food & Drink
The buffet at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay was a bit of an adventure. On the first day, we tried many foods but only enjoyed a few things. With not much variety day by day, we stuck with our new favourites for the whole week. Heads up that at all meals it’s necessary to watch for birds and insects around the food due to the open-air nature of the buffet. Try to take your food from the freshest trays, and you shouldn’t have a problem.
At breakfast time I always had the waffles and bacon, while my husband enjoyed the hash browns, breakfast sausage, and picnic ham. Raquel at the waffle/pancake station is a lovely lady and always kept me smiling. The juices and smoothies offered were delicious, and the fresh fruit was very tasty.
For lunch, we ate chicken from the Jerk Shack on the beach and french fries from the buffet. For dessert, we had fresh fruit and ice cream.
We had dinner at the buffet several times. The carving station was always a good option, as were the lamb, and roast beef. The vegetables and salad dressings were not to our liking, so we had more French fries. We tried several sweet desserts but found most bland, so we ate more fruit after supper.
We dined at the Italian restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed the lamb and lasagna. At the Steak House, the steak and burgers were great, but the appetizers and desserts were not what we had expected. The drink of the day was always very good, as were the other drinks from the bar menu.
The service at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay was hit or miss at best. The cleaning staff were friendly yet somewhat negligent. Ants swarmed around plates and garbage left around the building, some of which did not get picked up the entire week we stayed!! At the buffet, some servers were very friendly, and others were not. Our server at the Italian restaurant was fantastic and never left a glass empty. We ate at the Steak House once and were generally pleased, but on our second visit, the service was subpar. The servers during the evening entertainment were very efficient and kept our drinks full all night.
Riu Palace Tropical Bay is located on Bloody Bay, just north of the main stretch of the famous 7-mile beach in Negril. If you walk south along the beach, you will pass some other resorts, including Couples nude beach, until you meet a dead end with some neat rocks and crabs. Walking north along the beach you will pass numerous vendors selling crafts, coffee and marijuana. There are even a few locals who cook fresh crab or lobster! If you keep walking, you will get to the other Riu Negril property.
The water in Bloody Bay is very calm and quite warm. While we were swimming on the first day we saw a stingray and throughout the week saw several jellyfish. We did some snorkelling, however, there was not much to see out in front of the hotel. The beach in front of the resort lacked shade, and the chairs were both dirty and uncomfortable. We preferred to sit poolside where it was clean and there were umbrellas.
There are three pools at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay. One very tiny one for children, and two large ones. One pool has a volleyball net set up for sports, while the other is equipped with a swim-up bar. All pools had some chipping tiles which showed their age, but overall they were fairly well-kept.
Our Final Thoughts about the Riu Palace Tropical Bay
For our Riu Palace Tropical Bay Resort Review, we give the all-inclusive resort a mediocre rating. Undoubtedly, we will visit Jamaica again, but we will be staying elsewhere.
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