Pros: Location, Wedding Cake
When I was researching information about the Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril Jamaica, it was difficult to find a review, so I thought I would share my experience.
We used a travel agent, Time for Travel, Ltd which was the best idea because she coordinated and very well I might add, 46 guests travel to Jamaica from all different parts of the States. Our guests arrived at the resort on either the 5th or 6th of March. Our wedding date was Saturday, March 8th at 4 pm.
The ride from Montego Bay to Negril was an hour and a half, however, the driver was very informative about what and where were traveling through. In addition, we made a pit stop for those that needed the restroom or a cigarette break.
We were warmly greeted by the front desk and other lobby staff. We also were served welcome cocktails upon our arrival. Check in was a breeze, even for 27 of our guests that arrived at the same time.
We booked a Jr. Oceanfront Suite and were upgraded to an Oceanview Suite which had a gorgeous view that was diagonal from our beach wedding ceremony location. We were in building 6. The room was always exceptionally clean (thanks Michelle). The turndown service was a nice and enjoyable touch.
Our guests had no complaints about their rooms. Even those that had a Gardenview, they said they were minutes away from the beach so it was all good.
The resort was big enough but small enough. The grounds were well kept and clean. Trash was not visible. There are no elevators, but other than that the resort is accessible. I will mention that there is only one set of bathrooms when you are on the beach, at the pool, bar or in the restaurants. Most people just went back to their rooms to use the restroom if they had too while out.
There is a lobby bar, pool bar and two bars near the entertainment area. If you didn’t want too, you didn’t have to go to any of the bars because wait staff was always available around each bar to serve you. I did not use the pool bar because the beach was too awesome for me to spend anytime in the pool. There is wait staff to take your drink orders on the beach as well. No matter which bar we went too, service was always outstanding. If your drink was not strong enough, “no problem mon” they did not hesitate to make it stronger.
The Main Buffet: This restaurant served breakfast and dinner. The restaurant has a terrace which has a great view of the beach. The buffet had many selections from octopus to chicken to sea bass to curried goat. They also had many options for vegans. In addition to the buffet, we also ate at the Rimini Italian Restaurant which was very good. If you are going to do one of the restaurants, be the 1st in line at 8:00am to assure a seating for that day. The earliest you may book a restaurant is for one day in advance. I thought the best food was the food served at the Jerk Hut on the beach. The Jerk Hut had grilled chicken with jerk or bbq sauce, grilled fish, sausage, cabbage or another vegetable, potatoes and bread. We didn’t order room service but some of our guests did and said that the grilled chicken salad was the best item off of the limited menu. They also said room service was prompt no matter what time it was requested. Room service is available 24 hours.
The shows were ok. Reggae night was the best. Michael Jackson was the worst. Some of our guests ventured out to Margaritaville, The Jungle and we went to Alfred’s one night which was nice. The food, reggae band and atmosphere at Alfred’s was great. We used Rocky’s Tours to take our entire party to Rick’s Café to enjoy the crazy cliff divers and beautiful sunset. They provided a tour of Negril on the way and we stopped at Times Square to shop. All of our guests thoroughly enjoyed the outing.
The beach is AWESOME. The sand is white and the water is crystal clear. There are palm trees along the beach so finding shade is “no problem mon.” Finding chairs is not an issue either.
I was fortunate to have my hair stylist make the trip to Jamaica, so she did my hair and make up. However three of my girls had hair and make up done at Renova Spa. The one that had a picture of the hair style that she wanted was pleased they other two were disappointed and redid their hair. One of our guests had a pedicure that she said was great.
We selected the Royal wedding package and received a 20 minute couples’ massage with the package that was very good but not the best we have ever had.
We also were fortunate to have our photographer travel to Jamaica with us. I will say that she said the atmosphere was so beautiful that she went picture crazy and took well over 1500 pictures over the 5 days that she was there. Since she stayed at the resort we didn’t have to pay vendor fees for her.
I sent Sophia, the wedding coordinator an email in July and she responded within 24 hours. From the 1st correspondence to the last, I always found Sophia to be personable, professional and very knowledgeable. She was a joy to work with.
I wanted to get married on the beach so never entertained the gazebo option. It did not rain one day that we were there, thank God, we didn’t have to think about a plan b. If there were rain my beach wedding would have been moved to the terrace of Main Buffet restaurant.
I originally wanted the chairs covered with bows but once I saw how breathtaking the ceremony location was we went with the plain white wooded chairs. We were also going to upgrade the arch decorations but did not do that either. The only addition, I stuck with were the rose petals down the aisle.
Our room was diagonal from our ceremony location so I opened the balcony door and could hear my brother playing the saxophone as guests arrived. My brother stayed at the resort so we didn’t have to pay a vendor fee for him either.
Pastor Bob married us and the ceremony was cute and personal for it to be the 1st time we ever met Pastor Bob. One thing that I wasn’t aware of until the ceremony is that you and your witnesses sign the marriage license 1st before you are pronounced husband and wife.
Immediately after the ceremony at the same location we paid to have a cocktail hour with soda, water, fruit juice, rum punch and hors d'oeuvres.
We had a semi-private dinner at the Steakhouse restaurant. Before I arrived at the resort I was concerned about a semi-private dinner, however the way the restaurant is set up you feel as though it is private. The Steakhouse is set up in 4 sections each section has considerable space between them. I only noticed that there was another wedding party when I walked to the restroom. The menu for the dinner is the same as the menu for the Steakhouse restaurant. Our guests liked having options. Our guests that had lobster are still raving about it being the best lobster they ever had. The other hit was the wedding cake, it was DELICIOUS. We did the champagne toast that came with the wedding package at dinner.
We then rented a section of the Steakhouse for dancing for two hours. We also rented the sound system and microphone for two hours. We did our 1st dance, father/daughter dance, etc then let our playlists play on my iPad and my cousin monitored it during the two hour reception while everyone danced the night away.
Simply stated, our wedding, cocktail hour, dinner and reception was PERFECT! There is not one thing that I would change about the day.
There was not a staff person that was not kind, friendly and always trying to please. Tipping is not required but appreciated. A couple of dollars goes a long way. Even if you didn’t tip, I still found the staff to be very accommodating.
If I could change anything about my wedding and vacation, it would have been to increase the length of our stay.
Not one of our 46 guests had a compliant only compliments.