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ButlerGirl08's Review for the Riu Ocho Rios... It is very long and detailed.


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#1 ButlerGirl08

ButlerGirl08
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    Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:04 AM

    US Airways
    Ok first off, I was worried because we were originally supposed to fly Air Jamaica straight through to Jamaica from O’Hare, but that flight was cancelled because a lack of passengers. So we booked that arrangement back in October of 2007 (before the whole paying for luggage shindig) so now that our flights were cancelled and purchased this year…you guessed it, we had to pay $25 for our 2nd piece of luggage per person. So I was bitter from the start, luckily we only had to pay for one piece.

    So anyways, we arrived at the airport 3 hours in advance (3 am for a 6 am flight) and we had to wait til about 3:30 until they opened the counter. There weren’t any lines so we found ourselves just sitting at the gate for 2 hours, which was fine by me. When we boarded we were allowed to hang our garments in the captain’s closet with no problems. We simply asked and they said sure. Everything was on time the whole trip. We were only asked about our passports when we boarded the plane to Jamaica which went by smoothly. We arrived to Jamaica at about 1:00 pm.

    On our way back home, we got to the MBJ airport with 2 hrs til take off, all was well and we had no problems with our flights or luggage. We were however delayed in Charlotte for about 45 mins because of some stormy weather in Chicago. But all was well, and we still got home in reasonable timing.

    Side Note: Some of our guests had problems with delayed flights, problems with planes, and luggage lost. Luggage was lost (and later retrieved a day later) on Air Jamaica and Delta Airlines (this occurred to and from Jamaica for those guests), Flights were delayed with American, and plane problems occurred on Spirit Air. I highly suggest not flying Spirit Air, there is a list of problems my guests had with them. If you fly Air Jamaica, know that this airline had the LONGEST line when we were leaving Jamaica. I know it took at least an hour just to get to the counter at around 8:30 am. I felt bad for those who were tight on time.

    MBJ Sangster International Airport
    When we first arrived I felt the humidity. There was a LONG walk to customs, so be prepared. Our luggage was safe and only took us about 10 mins to wait on. When we got to the customs booth there was no one in line, so everything again went smoothly. Once you get through with customs you go in this crowded atrium area where all the hotels and travel bus personnel are set up to help anyone in need. There will be a rep there from Margaritaville giving out free coupons for a drink to take with you on your bus. I didn’t see the woman, but several folks getting on our bus came on with pretty drinks. So be sure and get your free drink.

    Jamaica Tours
    Our travel agency goes through Jamaica Tours, so we went to that booth and got our information for our return departure and what not and was directed to the bus. We tipped the guy $2 for helping us with our bags and showing us to our bus. Our bus was one of those Coach buses. Air conditioned and clean; just how I like them! We had to wait about 30 minutes for the bus to get full, which wasn’t bad because with us being the first ones on the bus…we took a whole row up just for us. There is a little bathroom outside at the airport if anyone is like me and needs to go last minute while waiting and taking pics. And we were off at about 2:00 pm…

    The drive to the resort…
    I was expecting the drive to be long and boring and it was the total opposite. It was about 2 hours. The drive was smooth and the tour guide was very informative, pointing out interesting landmarks. I took pics of the up and coming Riu Montego Bay which they said should be ready by Sept, but I beg to differ. About 30 mins outside of Montego Bay, we stopped at the “Jerk Stop” for drinks, food, and a bathroom break. We paid $14 for 2 Jerk Chicken dinners that came with a little sweet biscuit (yummy) and $10 for a Red Stripe and some Rum Punch (which by itself, the Rum Punch had me tipsy.) Our driver was good, even though he did swerve and pass cars up frequently; nevertheless…we made it safely. We passed several nice hotels and dropped some folks off. (Side note: The Grand Bahia looks really nice!!!)

    Arrival at the RIU
    As soon as we arrived, at about 4 pm, my breath was taken away. It was so beautiful and airy. You can hear the ocean and see the beach as soon as you walk in the lobby. The pictures do it no justice to how BEAUTIFUL this place is. When we arrived, we were not offered Rum Punch…which didn’t really bother me seeing how I had had enough to last me the rest of the day. Check In took about 15 mins. I was kind of disappointed because no one directed us on which way to go or the best way to get to our room. This caused us to walk all the way around the big wing of the resort, with our entire luggage, to find out that there was another elevator literally right next to our room. We could have got a bellman and waited on our luggage, but I didn’t want to wait and I didn’t trust just leaving my luggage sitting in the front lobby.

    Room 3558
    We were in Room 3558 (Jacuzzi Suite) and it was a bit difficult opening the door the first couple tries. When we got in the room the lights would not work, so we had to find a maid and she showed us the “master switch” that controlled all the power. Anyways, the room was really nice. The bed was a bit hard, but it didn’t stop us from sleeping well every night. It did not smell musty but it was kind of humid. Our sheets felt wet constantly and during the day was the warmest time in the room. There were several times we had to call maintenance to make sure the air was even working…which they said they would check but never actually came to the room… For the first 2 days, we didn’t have a remote control, but luckily we weren’t worried about watching TV and when we did we just kept it on one channel. Everyday we locked our valuables up in the safe and had no problems at all. We also left $1tip everyday for our maid.

    The Jacuzzi suite I highly recommend. Although we did not use the balcony Jacuzzi, we did use the Jacuzzi in the tub repeatedly. Having the large area came in handy because we had folks in our room everyday. It was kind of the meet up spot for some. One of our groomsmen and his lady did however use the Jacuzzi on the balcony one day while we were at dinner because they were lounging in our room with us watching the NBA game, but we had Japanese restaurant reservations and they had already eaten… He enjoyed it a lot. I wish they would have had more than one outlet in the bathroom because on the morning of the wedding, it was difficult for 4 females to get ready with one outlet. I also wish they would have had more of a supply of towels, because a couple days we were not able to get fresh towels because they didn’t have any. This leads me to my next topic…

    Room/Customer Service
    So I didn’t have any major problems with Room Service, my major gripe was you never knew when they would come to clean the room because they would come at different odd hours. Like the majority of the time they came at 9 am, but there were a couple of times that they came at 9:00 pm. I was so shocked because we were both relaxing that night or whatever, and here they come knocking on the door when they should have cleaned the damn room a long time ago. So a couple days we went without room service, because their timing was unacceptable and we were already occupied. I did have another problem, we were told we would get breakfast in bed and they would decorate our room after we got married… Never happened! In fact the maid asked us if we had it, and we said no…and that was it, she never arranged it. So the breakfast never happened, but I did mention to one of them that we had just gotten married, so 2 days after the ceremony (during the middle of the day) they did set up our room with Swan Towels and flowers. She was like ”I would have did it before if you would have told me you were getting married.” I told her that I shouldn’t have to tell you because the front desk knew from our check in and our TA told them, but whatever…NO PROBLEMS.

    A couple times I would call down to front desk and ask them a few things and they would tell me No Problems, but it never got done. Out fridge was only stocked twice and one of those times it was us going to the front desk saying…WE NEED SODAS AND WATER…and then they gave us a handful to take back up to our room… When we were leaving the morning of our last day, our bus was running 30 mins late so of course I started to get worried. I asked the front desk to call someone and they said no one is open and suggested that I pay for a cab and hope that I get reimbursed. Now, mind you, we had already had our transfers taken care of, so there was no way I was bout to pay again and then possibly not get the money back. So when I told them they need to connect me to my TA back in the states so we could figure something out, he tried to charge our room the money it cost to call the US. Again, another big NO! He was lucky that the bus was pulling up as we were talking, or it would have been some problems.

    So needless to say, I was not that pleased with the service at the Riu. The bartenders were nice and some of the restaurant folks were nice, but I really expected more and to be treated a little better.

    Food & Drinks
    My favorite part! I have to say I was impressed by most of the food. We frequented the Piccolo Restaurant, not because it was so good, but because it was open the latest and it was easy to just walk right in and walk right out. We ate a lot of pizza and French Fries there. We ate breakfast at St. Ann’s every morning, and I have to say, those were my favorite meals at the Riu. There bacon is so delicious; I literally would get plates just of bacon. And btw, try chocolate on your pancakes…yum. (I have pics) We ate at Mamee Bay twice. Once for the Reception and once on our own, and both times I was satisfied. The steak there was so tender and seasoned well. We ate at Tushima twice, both times were delicious. I wanted the banana desert so bad and both times…the resort ran out of bananas…Go Figure. But the fried ice cream there is to die for. We also ate at Sir Richard’s and it was ok. It was high scale, and we weren’t really looking for that…we just wanted good food. And St. Ann’s was good for dinner. Lots of variety and different foods to choose from. Some of the things there are repetitive, but there are so many varieties that you could choose from anything offered. We ate at Plantation once…well, we walked past it and went in and grabbed some items and they were tasty. The tastiest was the Jerk Hut. We ate there at least 4 times, and every time it was tasty. There was only a line twice though. The Jerk sauce was a bit hot for me, but they also served this BBQ sauce that is great on the tender chicken. They serve a slice of bread and rice and beans with it that was so delicious.

    The drinks were great. Whatever you wanted they had and it had a good amount of alcohol in it, so they weren’t weak (but I don’t drink regularly, so maybe I am not the best one to know.) My favorite drinks were Pina Coladas and the Pineapple Juice is so good. Its so fresh. Whenever we would go to the restaurant, I would juggle 2 glasses at a time because I drank it so much. Really, all the juices were great. The fruit punch is good too. I was also addicted to the Hot Chocolate Mocha drinks…yummy.

    The Wedding
    So for once in my life, a big time event occurs and I was completely CALM. We woke up early, went to eat breakfast at about 9 am, and started leisurely getting ready. I put it in my head that I needed to be dressed by noon for my 1 pm wedding so that I could be ahead of schedule. I was so relaxed that I did my own hair and makeup, my mom’s, and 2 of my BM’s makeup as well…with time to spare. Now the humidity almost got the best of me with the hair. I had washed it and wrapped it the night before to help out in the morning. So in the morning all I needed to do was curl it with some tighter curls and spritz it. Well dayum if I didn’t use the entire can of hair spray to try and hold the curls in my head. I just gave up and was like whatever. But they looked fine. The makeup was so beautiful. I was so proud of myself, because I sweat very easily. It went on beautifully and looked great in the photos; however, during the ceremony I was sweating bullets. It was SO HOT!!! The sun was beaming. I didn’t know if I was sweating from nerves or the heat. Either way, I wasn’t the only one…which leads me to say, bringing hand fans for the guests is a must. And the parasols for the BM’s were a great touch to help everyone with the heat.

    The ceremony was beautiful. We didn’t have a steel band, because I personally didn’t see the need for it. We brought our BOSE Soundock and I believe someone hooked it up to the speakers that were there. One of my good friends was the “DJ” and cued the songs with the remote it came with, which was so smooth and nice and loud. The preacher did a great job reading the ceremony I put together, even though it was his first time looking at it. Oh yeah…back up. So Chandlyn or her assistant was supposed to come and get us at 12:45pm, yeah…it never happened. So at 12:55, we left the room and headed to the gazebo without her. We passed Chandlyn’s office in the lobby and then the lady wanted to come out and guide us. My BM’s gave her an ear full too. Ok back to what I was saying. So we had a friend video record the wedding (which also turned out beautifully) and Michael was there snappin’ pictures from when my BM’s and I arrived to the beach until way later.

    After the ceremony was over, we all walked back down the aisle to Keyshia Cole’s “Heaven Sent” and we all performed a little “two-step” which was so cute. Even my mom was in on it, since she walked me down the aisle. We then proceeded to take hundreds of pics. It was so nice. Even though during the ceremony it was sunny, we began to get a little overcast (which you can see in some of the pics) but it still looks so surreal and beautiful. No rain though (even though it was raining earlier that day.) We had our Soundock still playing music so it was like we were at a photo shoot or something. We all had Rum Punch and Champagne and it was gorgeous. So Michael kept taking pics as we were dancing/walking back to the lobby and in the lobby. We had a very young and crazy bunch and boy was everyone watching and cheering for us. It was amazing. My brother, the Best Man, and my friend/DJ thought it would be cool to go jump in the ocean with their ALL WHITE clothes on… and yes, Michael got pics of that too. And he got pics of everyone looking from the balcony at them as they went crazy. We then moved over to the Pond Gazebo were he took even more beautiful pics. Oh yeah, for picture purposes Mario and I had our 1st dance, as well the Mother/Daughter dance, on the beach while we had Michael. We just danced to random songs that were playing because it was so that he could get pictures of us dancing on the beach since he was not coming to the reception. It was so cute though… My mother is a riot! (We were dancing to Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied” so imagine how we were dancing…lol)

    The Reception
    We had our reception at 6:30pm, and of course we were the first ones there because everyone had to get dressed and get drinks and everything else. We never told anyone how to set it up, but it was beautiful. We had rose petals and we brought some candles and it was so nice. The reception was very informal. We had our Soundock playing soft music while we were eating. The food was good and we had about 20 people seated. One long table and then a head table with me and Mario and then the MOH and Best Man on opposite sides of us. We did the bouquet toss, garter toss, toasts, Sweetheart Song (My sorority song for the bride with my sorority sisters) and we cut the cake. The cake was very dry, but it wasn’t horrible. When giving toasts, you have to speak loudly because it is very difficult to hear in the restaurant.

    After dinner, we agreed to all get dressed and meet back up in the lobby to hang out. That didn’t go as planned either because after dinner, everyone was trying to get things packed since some were leaving early the next morning. Mario and I went to my BM’s room to go and watch the recording of the wedding, which was beautiful. Then we all went to the lobby and listened to the music that was playing, had drinks, and played cards. We eventually ended up in the disco…which was a fun thing to do while there as well.

    Excursions
    We went on the Cool Runnings Tour (I think that’s what it’s called) where you take a bus to a place where you get on a boat. The boat has drinks and what not on it. Take the boat far out and go snorkeling for bout an hour, and then take the boat to Dunn’s River and climb the Falls. After that they bring you back. It sounds boring or simple, but it is well worth the $75. It is similar to a booze cruise, but it was so much fun. I recommend doing this with all of your guests. We had a blast and many pics to show it. We also spent $8 for a 2 hour bus ride to the market to go shopping in town. We did this twice and it is a great experience. Be sure to bargain with those folks, because they will come down with their prices. We picked up a lot of good souvenirs. Ponytail was our driver and he was awesome. Some of our friends went on the horse back riding and said it was extremely boring. Not too many more details. Swimming with the dolphins was like $230, so that was out of the questions. And we were going to do some of the activities at the resort (which can also be bargained down-like parasailing and jet skis) but we wanted to just lay out and relax. I did; however, kick but in pool volleyball. Lots of fun when you get a fun group together to play.

    For extra shopping, if you walk down the beach towards the beach gazebo and away from the resort, there is a little area of huts that have some things you can purchase. There is a shop owner named O’Neil who is AWESOME. He made us some cool custom bracelets that were so great we got some made for almost everybody we could think of. And he has great prices on all of his things. Guaranteed.

    The mosquitos are VICIOUS!!! Please bring bug spray.

    The Entertainment staff was very talented and entertaining. Some of their acts were questionable (the Around the world night when the represent the US) but they did a great job.

    The Beach is phenomenal and the pool is nice and refreshing. The offers of marijuana weren’t as bad as I thought and there weren’t as many vendors as I thought it would be on the beach. If you just tell them No a few times, they will leave you alone. It does get to be a bit much when they don’t listen.

    Chandlyn is very sweet and nice and very helpful. Nothinf like how she seems before you meet her.

    There are lots of fun games that they have in the lobby and they reward you with bottles of liquor at one of the ice breakers at the night shows.

    I don’t recall there being a Beach Party Saturday night or any night, so if you guys are counting on that being a part of your excursions, don’t count on it 100%. Luckily our guests just wanted to chill after dinner, because I was thinking of including that as an activity. We did a lot of spontaneous activities, which made it fun.

    We had the Welcome Mixer at the Sports Bar because as late as it was, the Entertainment was taking place in front of the Blue Mountain Bar. It went well and the Sports Bar didn’t seem musty or smelly. It is smoky and a bit warm, but just sit by the windows.

    Taxis are $40 each car no matter how many people, but I think those prices can be bargained too. My husband and his fellas went to Margaritaville and I believe they had a good time. He said there were a lot of prostitutes. The disco is a lot of fun but smells like vomit every night. Some of the music is up to date and as far as the drinks go, we just took shots there. We had a blast my Bachelorette Night” and after it we all went and jumped in the pool that was closed. The security was coming to get us and we tried to hide…under the water. It was so fun, and the security guard left us alone. My husband jumped in with us so it was a blast.

    The resort is huge and I actually lost 5 lbs while there because I was eating so regularly and walking so much. I didn’t go to the spa or the gym, but I heard good things about it. There is a nurse’s office there if you need it. What else? That’s all I can think of.

    Overall, I had a great time and so did all of my guests. They are already talking about going back next year. It was so much fun and there is nothing that I would have done differently, or at least nothing I can think of now. I highly recommend the ROR, it was great and I can’t wait to go back next year. I hope I didn’t forget anything, but if you have any questions feel free to ask me here or email me at bondalexandrae@gmail.com

    Now on to the pictures…

    #2 Yari

    Yari
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      Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:09 AM

      What a great review! Glad to hear things went very well.

      #3 ButlerGirl08

      ButlerGirl08
      • Jr. Member
      • 382 posts

        Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:14 AM

        Wow you read that fast!

        #4 ButlerGirl08

        ButlerGirl08
        • Jr. Member
        • 382 posts

          Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:14 AM

          I'm waiting on Photobucket to upload the pics...

          #5 Yari

          Yari
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            Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:15 AM

            Quote:
            Originally Posted by ButlerGirl08
            Wow you read that fast!
            LOL, I am a fast reader.

            #6 Birdie07

            Birdie07
            • Sr. Member
            • 1,218 posts

              Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:18 AM

              Great review. Sounds like you had fun! We also didn't leave our baggage in the lobby and walked all them up to our room. I feel your pain! Haha. Congrats again!

              #7 KHarrod

              KHarrod
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                Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:19 AM

                Excellent review!!!!!!!!!!!

                #8 loveangel0610

                loveangel0610
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                  Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:38 AM

                  Congratulations!!! Your review was great. After reading it now I want to get married in Jamaica. I'm still a little undecided though but I'm leaning towards Jamaica. It sounds like you really had a great time!!! I can't wait to see the pics.

                  #9 nikkianddean

                  nikkianddean
                  • Sr. Member
                  • 1,881 posts

                    Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:42 AM

                    welcome back Alex!!! Sounds like you had a great time. I can't wait to see the pics!! The ganja offer was funny :P hmmm....Why am i not having my wedding in jamaica?
                    http://i264.photobuc....h/IMG_1002.jpg

                    Mr. & Mrs. C
                    February 14, 2009

                    #10 Martha

                    Martha
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                      Posted 25 June 2008 - 01:27 AM

                      Great review! Pictures!




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