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Riu Ocho Rios - Honeymoon Review w/pics

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We spent 7 glorious days at the Riu Ocho Rios and are so glad we picked this resort for our Jamaica honeymoon. After flying into Montego Bay we got on our shuttle for the 2 hour ride to the Riu. We dropped a few people off along the way and weren't too impressed with the looks of the resorts we stopped at. One was a Sandals (not sure which one) and one was the Ritz which didn't look awful but wasn't as grand as I thought it should be. So we stopped for jerk fish and redstripe then arrived at the Riu. It is massive, all light purple and white on the outside, and dark wood and a variety of colors on the inside, stunning. We were glad this was our stop!! We were told this is currently the largest resort in all of Jamaica. It was the nicest of the few we saw.

 

Upon check in we were greeted as honeymooners and told a special gift would await us when our room was ready in about 1 hour and 1/2. We ate lunch and had some drinks then checked into our room. It was a spacious suite, all marble and clean. I think all the suites are in a separate wing. This resort in general is immaculate, always someone cleaning the rooms or the beach. It is fairly new so doesn't have the wear and tear older resorts have. The room had that musty kind of jungle smell but I've experienced that basically at every jungle resort so we were used to it and it didn't bother us. We peeked in a standard room and it was very nice also, just a little cramped without the extra sitting area. If you can book a suite, the extra space is nice. We checked in to find a yummy fruit platter, bottle of rum, and a happy honeymoon letter from the resort. It was a nice touch.

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There was a wedding almost every day we were there, 2 one day. They are on the beach at the gazebo, one had a chuppa set up that was very pretty as well. The weddings all looked beautiful. There isn't really a downside but if I had to pick a negative it would be that people kind of eavesdrop but I think that's the case at most hotel weddings. There were people laying on sun chairs maybe like 50-75 yards away, but there was definitely an area surrounding the wedding where there were no people. Once a volleyball rolled real close to a wedding but someone stopped it before it got in the midst of everything.

 

The beach that the weddings are on is beautiful, an awesome site for a ceremony. As for receptions, twice we were eating in a reservation only restaurant and there were receptions going on. They basically set up a big table for you and your guests. I'm not sure if there is a special menu or if you eat what we were eating? They did serve beautiful wedding cakes too. We sat right next to one of these receptions and were trying not to stare LOL but it was so pretty. The set up was closest to the water. This was in the Mamee Bay restaurant both times I saw it.

 

BTW, there are several restaurants. A few are buffet only, serving all meals and an Italian place that served until midnight. Most restaurants were reservation only serving a la carte meals (no buffet), some were for guests in suites only. I heard on tripadvisor that getting reservations was impossible, but we got one every night except the first day because we arrived in the early afternoon when they were all booked up. They say to call at 11 am and we called at 9am each day and had our choice, so call earlier than they say to. I liked all of the food. Breakfast rocked, omlette station was soo good, so were fried plantains and brown stew fish/chicken...mmm. Some of it was outstanding, I particularly loved Sir. Richard's, Mamee Bay, and the Japanese place I forget the name of but it's one of those suite-only guests can eat there restaurants. The 24 hour food may be a tad misleading, after midnight there is a refrigerator in the 24 hour sports bar with fruit and sandwiches, and a popcorn machine. It was tasty enough but just don't expect a warm meal between 12 am and I think 7 am when breakfast starts.

 

The live shows each night were great. Once was a live reggae band, once was a beach party, the other nights were theme shows put on by the resort. The kids/teenagers are awesome. They practice almost all day and really turn it on at night. Fabulous dancers, it was more difficult to get a seat there than by the pool/beach during the day. I think the shows start at 9 p.m. so get there early or it may be standing room only. There is a disco at the resort that is super fun & we danced there every night. Once we went in and a wedding reception had been there but they let everyone in at 11p.m. The wedding guests continued partying and regular hotel guests were dancing too. The wedding party didn't seem bothered by this at all and were having an awesome time dancing. I figure they are told they get exclusive use of the disco for a set time until 11 pm when it opens for everyone?

 

Several times we saw brides/bms/gms/etc. hanging at bars around the resort. It was cool because they got a lot of attention. It's a great resort for groups, really big. I saw several people with OOT beach bags, koozies, cups, etc. for weddings they were there for. One couple had huge plastic cups made with their logo and people were getting mega-sized drinks put into them - looked like a good idea to me.

 

We kayaked, sailed, swam, ate, & drank. We tipped religiously but it appeared that the people who weren't tipping were treated just as well. There were craft fairs 3 nights that we were there, vendors set up tables with all kinds of wares. The trip was entirely relaxing! The nicest people I've met in the world so far were here in Jamaica. We paid our sailing instructor to take us on a tour of real Jamaica and had an awesome experience, our best day in fact. He took us to his home and we met tons of truly nice people. He even took us to soak in a healing pond that no tours go to...it was awesome and we had a few ailments that we swear are gone now. We were welcomed everywhere we went. Children ran up to us and hung on to our hips the whole time we were in their village. We ate homemade potato pudding and took in the good vibes. Our Jamaica honeymoon was a soul vaccination and the wisdom we got from our Jamaican hosts was life changing.

 

I have no doubt that you Riu Ocho Rios brides will have the same experience at the resort. What a beautiful place for a wedding! Be happy with your decision. If you're feeling fiesty, pay a local to take you around rather than going on an organized tour, it just may be life-changing for you too :o)

 

PICS:

 

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A word about safety:

 

Several Jamaicans we spoke with said they are hurt by the bad reputation Jamaica has received lately. They told us that most of the violence people hear of takes part in Kingston, and then not even in all of Kingston. It's like in the U.S., people get shot in bad areas of cities here every day, places tourists wouldn't generally take a day trip to. It's no reason to say "stay out of the U.S. because it's dangerous".

 

Against the advice of people in the U.S. we ventured out of our hotel, with a local Jamaican to his neighborhood, and had a wonderful time. We certainly wouldn't have gone off on our own wandering through strange neighborhoods, but we wouldn't do that in the U.S. either. Could we have been robbed at any time? Sure, but we weren't and it turned out to be the high point of our trip. There were people at the resort who offered to take us out but we weren't 100% comfortable with them and said no, when what we felt was the right person approached us we said yes. There is no need to leave your resort but if you do just use your own discretion.

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Jamy - you are THE BEST for posting this review!!!! Thanks for all of the great details, it makes me feel SO MUCH better about chosing this resort!!! I'm glad you had a great time...I'm off to look at your pictures now! Thanks again!!!!! cheer2.gif

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That was a great review!! I cant seem to see the pics though sad.gif It says I have to sign in so I guess you have to be a member of wedding channel to view.

I am really glad you had such a good time though!!

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Thanks for posting this review. I was having a hard time with my decision and now I feel completely comfortable with what I have chosen. My cousin works on a cruise ship that stops in Ocho Rios every week and she sent me a warning about crime in the area which made me a bit nervous, but I haven't heard anyone else mention a problem with crime, so I think I will tell my guest to be careful, but am still going ahead with Jamaica.

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