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RIU Montego Bay review April 15th 2009 **with pics**


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#1 montegobay09

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    Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:09 PM

    I started this the other day and then the computer got shut down before I finished. I just had my AHR on Saturday and that was 6 days after we returned from Jamaica so I've been a little busy. I'm finally getting to this so I hope it helps some of you!!

    I have decided to give you all a very honest review. It may sound negative at times but I want to let you all know that you will not be disappointed if you are planning your wedding at RIU Montego Bay. No matter what happens you’re on a beach in the Caribbean so...no problem mon!!

    Check-In and Rooms

    We arrived at the RIU MoBay at around 9:00pm on a Saturday night. The hotel was completely full since there were people checking in all day. When DH (tee hee) checked in at the desk he asked about an upgrade and was told that we should come back the next morning at 7:30am and they would see what they could do. We partied that night and I met BDW bride Marshall1980 since it was her wedding night! We let everyone in our group get to know one another and then headed off to bed. The standard rooms at RIU MoBay are smaller than I expected but are absolutely gorgeous. We had a king size bed, as did all of our guests. They were comfy and we slept well.

    We got up the next morning to see about the upgrade and we were told that even though there were rooms available, we would be charged and extra $200 per night to get the ocean view junior suite. They did offer us another standard room with a better view at no charge (all we could see from our building 4 ground floor balcony was a green wall and part of a tennis court) so we took the new room. We were happy with this move, however, if you can get the upgrade I would totally push for it cause the rooms are kinda small to get ready in! We confirmed with our TA upon arrival that we were eligible for a free upgrade like we thought but the hotel wouldn’t give it to us.


    standard rooms
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    Resort

    The RIU MoBay is a gorgeous resort. As soon as we arrived I felt like royalty! Our friends who had already arrived that morning greeted us with drinks and when you check in they offer you a rum punch. They take care of your bags for you and delivered them very quickly to our rooms. The beach is nice and really not as bad as people on some other sites have said. Because of my recent accident with a fire I was not allowed to expose my burn scars to sun. I was always able to find a place with shade. There were always chairs available on the beach even when the resort was filled to capacity. The pool chairs were a little harder to come by. Towards the end of the week though it was much easier to find a chair and when we wanted to hang by the pool we could always find some chairs to gather together. Oh yeah! The planes! They do fly overhead quite often but it really didn't bother us at all. Luckily none flew over during our ceremony but I did see two planes fly over during another ceremony later in the week. Our photographer decided to embrace the face that the resort is part of the airport runway!


    Can you see the plane up there?
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    plane overhead
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    Make sure you lock everything of any value in your safe and don't leave anything out on the bed!!! It seems to be very easy to get into your room or even someone else's just by telling a staff member that you forgot your key. It happened to a few of my guests and the staff didn't ask any questions, the just opened the door for them! Also, one of my guests had left her big beach bag on her bed with a book in it and her sunglasses. When she returned after breakfast to pick it up it was gone. She approached the maid and asked her if she had seen her bag and the maid said yes! She pulled it out of her cart and explained that she thought it was a gift for her. They immediately went to the hotel manager and were a little disappointed with the conversation but were later given a free massage at Renova Spa.

    Don't worry though!!!Everything on the resort is just beautiful!! I loved the swim up bar, the benches and tables in the pool and the best part of the pool was the whirl pool. I got a hand, foot and lower back massage from those jets almost every day...ahhhh I wish I could go back tomorrow!!!

    Wedding - Chantelle

    DH and I met with Chantelle on Monday (our wedding was Wednesday) and we went right up to her office to meet with her. She is very quiet but very well informed on what needs to be done. She is on her own so when there are multiple weddings in a day she is extremely busy. There were two other weddings the same day as ours so she had a lot of planning to do. She asked us a few questions and we also gave her a bit of info that we wanted incorporated into our day. In the end we felt that our wedding ceremony went perfectly, even though a few of our requests were not met. She arrived at my room 15 minutes late, but I expected that so I wasn’t worried about it. She had told me that I should have a song for my BM’s and a separate song for me instead of just one song for all of us like I had planned. We talked about a few songs and she told me she’d bring one in for me that we had agreed on. It wasn’t a big deal at all but she ended up forgetting the song at home so I had to switch up my music at the last minute. She did do an amazing job with the music and was such a great person to have around on my wedding day. During the time that she was with me she was calm and knew exactly what to say for everything. She took me through the pool area to get to the west beach (ceremony site) and kept telling me to hold my bouquet like a bride a smile...that way I wouldn’t feel so silly about all the people clapping and yelling congratulations!! I was such a fun day!

    Marshall1980 had left me her turquoise chair sashes and all of that was set up very nicely at the ceremony site. The volume of the music was perfect and the set up was so nice...I mean, how can you go wrong with aqua water and white sand?!! I did ask if I could get white flowers on the arch instead of pink ones and that didn’t happen and I also asked that they not put any pink on our wedding cake and just stick to the white icing....that didn’t happen either. The last thing that I thought was weird was that she gave us choices for what kind of cake we wanted. Each of the weddings that day happened to choose the same cake (I spoke with the brides) which was vanilla cake with lemon filling. None of us got it! We all got vanilla cake with whipped icing filling instead...not sure what happened there!


    All of the little glitches that I mentioned were really no problem at all. It seems like a lot written down but they were very insignificant. The only thing that I wish I had made more clear and insisted on was doing a hand ceremony. When she asked us if we were doing a sand ceremony or unity candle ceremony we gave her our script for the hand ceremony instead. She said she had never heard of it but that she would give it to the minister. DH asked the minister if Chantelle had given him anything to read about the ceremony and he said no...by that time it was too late. We’ve decided to do a hand ceremony just before our AHR this weekend with a friend of ours who is a JP so she will “renew” our vows with us and do the hand ceremony.


    All in all Chantelle does everything she can to make your day perfect. You may have to insist on some things and even be a little pushy about things (she didn’t want to put the turquoise sashes on the brown chairs and thought I should rent the white chairs) but if it’s something you really want and you insist on it, it will all work out for you. (BDW bride jjurick will have more to add on that I’m sure!! - she had to insist on something very important!)



    Food

    The food at the resort was very good. The buffet for breakfast is so yummy and I totally recommend trying the french toast that’s made with croissants....so yummy! The smoothies are delicious too. For lunch we simply went to the jerk chicken hut (I got the sweet sauce cause the hot one is HOT!) every day and then went to Mahoe Bay buffet to get a salad or fries or something. As for the restaurants you can book for your reception. I had chosen the Steakhouse and I did not regret that decision. My guests told me that the ribs were delicious, the steak was pretty good and I had the chicken and it was delicious. The evening of our reception there were 2 other weddings in the Steakhouse at the same time as us and they had a sufficient number of waiters to serve us all. The only alcoholic drinks served in the restaurants are wine and beer but we kindly asked one of the waiters to get us a tray of Pina Coladas and a tray of Strawberry Daquaries...and they did...no problem mon! They checked in on us a few times (not too many) and made sure that everyone was comfortable and enjoyed their meal.

    We ate at the other restaurants throughout the week. I would definately NOT recommend booking the Asian restaurant. It wasn’t horrible but it really did turn me off of Asian food for a while. The Itallian restaurant, however, was very good and the “beef emince” plate on there was delicious. It was the best meal that most of my guests and I had all week. It was very tender and well seasoned. Other dishes at the Itallian restaurant were good too so if you book the Italian you can be sure to have a good meal too. The atmosphere in the Italian Restaurant is a little more fine dining than in the Steakhouse. It is also in a very different location with no view except for the walkway in front of the restaurants and a bit of the pool. The decor in the restauant would be the view and it wouldn't be very private. The steakhouse has a great view of the beach and the pool.

    Beef emince entree at Italian Restaurant. Soooo good!
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    Seafood Entree at Italian Restaurant
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    View of the pool behind us at the Steakhouse (the beach view was in front of us!) BEAUTIFUL!!
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    Renova Spa

    I got my hair and makeup done at Renova Spa and they did an amazing job. They really listen to what you want. Bring pictures to help them get your vision and they are very frank with you about what's possible to do with your hair and what's practical. I loved my hair and make-up.

    One disappointment with them though was the whole 10% discount thing that comes with the wedding package. We got a sheet from Chantelle and she told us that we couldn't get our discount without that page. DH booked an appointment for a massage the day before the wedding and when we went to book it we showed them the sheet. We asked if we could pay then to get it over with but they said he had to pay when he came in for the massage. I went shopping with friends while he went for his massage and I totally forgot to leave the sheet with him. I arrived back at the resort 15 minutes after his appointment was to start so I ran to the spa to give them the sheet. They told me he had already paid and they wouldn't give him the 10% discount because he didn't have the sheet with him when he paid...ahhhhgh. I felt totally ripped off. I know it was my fault but really, for the sake of customer service you'd think they'd try to be a little understanding.

    According to some of my guests the relaxing massages are a waste of time but DH had the combination massage and he said it's the best massage he's ever had. I guess it just depends on how much you're willing to pay!


    Wedding Cake

    I personally don’t really like cake a whole lot but I tried to think of my guests when Chantelle asked my what kind of cake I wanted. The first choice was vanilla or chocolate and then you could choose your filling as well. The choices were whipped filling, strawberry filling, or lemon filling. I knew Mom loved lemon so I chose vanilla cake with lemon filling...as did the 2 other brides who were there the same day. We didn’t get that (but I already mentioned that above!) I did have a bite of DH’s cake though and it seemed to be a good cake and DH says it was nothing extraordinary but it was good.

    our cake with the free package
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    Photoshop - Michael

    Michael is an AMAZING photographer so if you can be guaranteed that you will get him definately don’t hesitate to do so. If you decide to do this make sure that you give them your payment well before 48 hours before you wedding day and if this is not possible because of arrival dates then you need to contact Michael and discuss your options. I worked for a photographer for over 10 years and I am VERY picky about how I wanted my wedding photos to look. The same old boring stuff was not going to cut it for me.

    Even though I had booked Michael as the head photographer there was some kind of mis-communication between Maxine (the photoshop respresentative at the resort) and Michael, so we ended up with a different photographer. We spoke with Michael a few days after our wedding and he was fantastic to talk with and very understanding and sympathetic. He put our concerns to rest and offered us a photo shoot the next morning, kinda like a TTD. We were thrilled with this offer and ended up ordering even more photos from him. He is so good at what he does and takes great pride in his work. We were definately not disappointed with our decision to book Michael as our photographer. He has a great personality, is honest and works very hard to please his brides and grooms. If you’ve booked Michael you will not be disappointed!


    Tai Flora

    I contacted Tai Flora way back...like six months ago...and asked them about prices on their bouquets with white calla lilies. They sent me prices. Then I asked them if they needed to order these ahead of time and would I have to contact them at a certain time or could they just write down my date and order them themselves. They wrote back fairly promptly and said I would need to contact them 1-2 months before my wedding to place my order. I started emailing them once a week 2 months before my wedding. I never got a response so about 1 month before my wedding I decided I would have to settle for other flowers or go with fake flowers (which I was completely against). With the suggestion from BDW bride edssbride09 I ordered my flowers from Click the image to open in full size.


    Ceremony Location

    We chose to have our ceremony on the west beach because we really wanted a true beach wedding. It was pretty windy at times which was a nice relief but my sister wore her hair down (she was my MOH) and could not keep it out of her face the whole time. We only have a few pictures where she’s not fixing her hair and pulling it out of her face. We were very happy with the location though and we love the photos with the sand and water behind us. The arch was nice and simple and we just went with the regular chairs and used Marshall1980's sashes to spice them up a bit. I did not pay any extra for anything to do with the ceremony and I went with the free package so what you see in the pics is what you get with the free package with no upgrades. I saw a few other weddings that had lots of decorations too. They were absolutely gorgeous so I guess it’s just whatever you prefer. I’m a plain simple kind of gal so I was very happy with my decor.

    west beach free wedding package set up: chair sashes were extra
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    The beach gazebo from the water
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    Dance/reception

    We had planned on asking our guests to join us at the disco the night of our wedding to dance the night away but after being in there the first night we realized it wasn’t really the environment for us. It feels very disco bar-like (duh, I know) and not very wedding-y at all. We decided to meet our guests on the beach and doc our ipod. We just sat around for a couple of hours and chatted. The next day we had all booked an excursion with Sunquest. We went of the Cool Runnings excursion to Margaritaville and we all had a BLAST! The guys on the catamaran were amazing and we couldn’t ask for a better “reception”. We danced, sang, snorkelled and had so much fun sharing stories and jumping on the trampoline in the water at Margaritaville. They even had my Mom and Dad entertaining us at one point. It was crazy fun!! I definately recommend going on a group excursion just after you wedding to party it up with your guests. It was so much fun. (oh, you should try to make a deal with the picture people on the excursion. We got almost 200 pictures from the excursion burnt onto a disc for $70. The usual price was $40 per couple and there were 19 of us on the excursion! They even got underwater pics of us snorkeling! )

    Overall

    We had an amazing time with our family and friends. The staff at RIU MoBay are great and you will not be let down. We had a busy week but it was so fun and we have no regrets. Make sure you bring an insulated travel mug so you can keep your drink cold (and drink more of those yummy slushy drinks course!) and make sure you bring enough casual flip flops. You might think you’ll wear a lot of fancy shoes but in reality the flip flops are what everyone sticks to.



    ****If I have forgotten anything at all please let me know and I will add onto this! I have my maximum of 10 pics on here so I'll add a post to this thread with a few of my favourite professional wedding pics done by Photoshop.****

    #2 montegobay09

    montegobay09
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      Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:16 PM

      Here are some of my favs!! You can't beat sunset shots!!


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      There are others that I love but it's just taking too long to upload them onto photobucket!!

      #3 Sloan

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        Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:31 PM

        Congrats! Glad you had an awesome day (and that you weren't involved in the hijacker mess) Your pics look great! I'd go back to Jamaica in a heartbeat - our Riu was awesome as well!

        #4 ~*Kathy*~

        ~*Kathy*~
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          Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:34 PM

          Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you had such a great time, congrats Mrs!! I loooove your sunset pics.

          Sloan - Where have you been?! Dying to hear all about your wedding too, lady!

          #5 Sloan

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            Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:34 PM

            Quote:
            Originally Posted by paraisobeachbride2009
            Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you had such a great time, congrats Mrs!! I loooove your sunset pics.

            Sloan - Where have you been?! Dying to hear all about your wedding too, lady!

            Im too lazy... maybe Ill work on it tonight.

            #6 ~*Kathy*~

            ~*Kathy*~
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              Posted 27 April 2009 - 04:41 PM

              Sloan - haha, I was pooped for a good month after I got home from the wedding, I hear ya on that! I'll be thrilled to read your review whenever you get around to it, the pic in your sig is cute!!

              P.S. Sorry for thread de-rail!

              #7 montegobay09

              montegobay09
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                Posted 27 April 2009 - 05:48 PM

                Haha, it took me about an hour to post this review and I already had it written up on a word document. I just needed to upload a few pics and it still took me that long! It's quite the chore!! I'm so exhausted too...I'm so happy the AHR is over with though!!! I'd go back to Jamaica in a heartbeat too!!! I want to go back right now!!!!

                #8 Soon To Be Mrs. Gomez

                Soon To Be Mrs. Gomez
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                  Posted 27 April 2009 - 05:55 PM

                  Ooh. I agree. the sunset shots are fabulous!

                  #9 beach2009

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                    Posted 27 April 2009 - 06:49 PM

                    Congrats! Thanks for sharing a detailled review.

                    #10 iberostar09

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                      Posted 27 April 2009 - 06:51 PM

                      Thanks for sharing the review! Everything looked beautiful!




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