ClubHotel Riu in Ocho Rios is one of the most impressive properties in the city regarding size and outward beauty. Being all-inclusive, it welcomes a lot of visitors, so it’s fairly popular, especially for families and couples.
Before I visited, I had checked out some of the reviews online and had mixed feelings. Now that I have checked it out, here is my take.
What I liked
- Well-kept private beach: clean, picturesque, and inviting water
- Food choices: six restaurants to choose from, serving local and international cuisines, along with a Jamaican jerk station.
- Room size: spacious, airy, and even comes with a private balcony.
- Lots to take in: You can enjoy a variety of entertainment activities all day, including jamming at the sports bar or visiting the nightclub. But you can also relax at the spa, or just do nothing.
- Centrally located: near to other attractions such as Dunn’s River Falls and Blue Hole
- Mini-bars and liquor dispenser: no need to go downstairs for a drink, plus they come at no extra cost.
What I disliked
- Room decor: A bit below par compared to other modern all-inclusive I have visited. The bed was also not that comfortable.
- No Wi-Fi access in standard rooms: unless paid for
- Full: maybe just the time I visited, but the pool, lobby, and restaurants got crowded at times.
- No smoking policy not enforced: cigarette and marijuana smoke evident in some areas where you would want to hang out.
ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios is certainly not perfect, but it’s an excellent resort where you can have a real time. If you are traveling with kids, they will be taken care of, so you don’t have to worry about not getting to enjoy the resort’s amenities. At the same time, there are things you can do together as a family, such as attending the theater for some clean fun and entertainment. You should check out the Renova Spa if you visit, it’s worth it.
The two large pools (one adult only) with swim-up bars and whirlpool hot tubs are also a nice touch. I spent one of my days at the resort by the main pool on one of the many lounge chairs. There is all-day entertainment by the pool, so if you don’t want to do too much moving around, it’s an ideal spot to pass the time.
I got the feeling that the management and staff were sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer volume of guests they have to deal with on a daily basis, which resulted in minor delays here and there. After all, the hotel has almost 850 rooms, which equals to a lot of people, especially when fully booked. Mentioning the staff, they were friendly and helpful from the moment I checked in to when I left; they helped to make my stay with my other half a pleasant one. Also, they kept the room immaculately cleaned and ensured the mini-bar was never empty.
Needless to say, the massive size of ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios and some people you are likely to encounter can be a bit overwhelming. It’s probably not the best spot to spend your vacation if you want to feel locked away from the world, but it’s great if you’re looking to have fun, enjoy some good food, and want to have some entertainment and water activities at your disposal.