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RIU Ocho Rios Extra Long Wedding Review


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#1 sportsdog2

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    Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:55 PM

    We stayed at the ROR from 30 November until 7 December. Our 24 guests stayed from 1 December until 5 December. The stay was incredible and we have zero regrets about our choice of resorts or our decision to have a DW. Our guests loved the resort and could not stop thanking us for having our wedding in Jamaica. Three of our guests had cruised to Ocho Rios in the past and stated they would never return. They left with a different opinion of Jamaica after attending our wedding!

    Travel Arrangements – Liberty Travel
    This was the most frustrating part of our DW. Our TA was really nice and personable, but really bad with handling the administrative tasks of our travel arrangements. She did not send any information to our guests or contact them unless they contacted her. We did not receive receipts unless the payments were made in person. I had to ask her to send our guests their travel contracts with balance due! No mention of trip insurance unless you inquired about it. Also, many of our guests called and wanted to know when they could expect their trip documents. She held the documents until she received final payment from everyone….some of our guests were not happy about this. Some of our guests asked us not to use our TA for future trips – OUCH!!! The only bright spot (which is a biggie) was a room upgrade for all. All of our guests were upgraded to junior suites and we were upgraded to a Jacuzzi suite for the entire stay at no additional cost! I guess that makes up for the administrative headaches.

    Lesson Learned: Make sure your TA has the resources to handle your group, is knowledgeable about your destination, and continue to check prices until your trip is paid in full.

    Air Jamaica
    No problem, mon; great customer service at the airports and on the flights. Smooth and easy flights to and from Jamaica. The flight attendant offered to hang my wedding dress before I had a chance to ask. Despite the recent luggage change, we could check two bags each flying first class. We did, however, have family members take our bag with our OOT items and favors.

    Jamaica Tours
    We waited at the airport for an hour or so before leaving for the resort. Our driver was friendly and we enjoyed talking with him. It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to the resort. We both fell asleep during the ride. Our return trip seemed shorter and the driver handled the traffic well in order to get us to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

    ROR
    Location: The ROR is located just outside Ocho Rios on Mammee Bay. It’s the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of Montego Bay and downtown Ocho Rios, but close to major attractions like Dunn’s River Falls and Mystic Mountain.
    The resort is huge, but beautiful and well maintained. The grounds, pool, and beach are great. We had no problems with waiting in lines or getting chairs at the beach or pool. We did have to wait for towels once or twice, but no big deal.

    Service: The front desk staff and the men who handled the luggage were friendly and helpful. Overall, we found the male staff to be friendlier and less likely to have a forced smile. Most of the bar staff was friendly as was several of the restaurant staff. The entertainment and spa staff were the best!

    Food and Drinks: We only ate at three of the restaurants: Plantation, St. Ann’s, and the Italian place. My guests enjoyed the food and the bars. Our guests enjoyed the Plantation and St. Ann’s the best. We all liked the variety and the selection of Jamaican dishes. Skip the Italian place for lunch and take the walk to the Plantation or the jerk hut. The reservation system for the specialty restaurants sucks. We were able to get reservations for the Japanese restaurant one night, but did not go because we could not get reservations for 7, only 2. The only place to get food early in the morning or after 12 midnight is from the refrigerator in the Sports Bar. You will find pre-made sandwiches and cake in there. We ate and drank enough during the day that it was not a problem.
    We ate away from the resort twice: Scotches not too far from the ROR and a place called Tastee and Juici Patties on the main street near the center of town in Ocho Rios. The jerk at Scotches is to die for and the patties at Tastee/Juici’s in town are the best. The bakeries in town sell coconut drops made of fresh coconut, brown sugar and ginger….yummy!!!!

    Rooms: 24 out of the 26 in our group were in Building 1. Two guests had a suite in Building 3. Our guests said their rooms were excellent with great views. We stayed in room 1364 and had a perfect view of the ocean and beach gazebo. Housekeeping did a fantastic job with our room. We did not experience any problems with not having enough towels or wash cloths. I do not remember any of our guests mentioning any problems with their rooms; also, no complaints about the beds or pillows. One or two had to ask to have their bar/fridge stocked after checking-in. It was taken care of promptly and was not a problem for the rest of the stay. We left $5.00 each day for the housekeeper and a bottle of champagne and some Burt’s Bees products on the last day. My mother gave her housekeeper products from Bath & Body Works. She asked her to write a note stating that she gave her the products, otherwise she would be fired. Our room was cleaned late every day, so we did not meet our housekeeper. We hope she was able to accept the gifts that we left. My husband gave some clothing to a bellman. He had to go to security with the man to let them know that he freely gave the clothing so that the man could leave the property with the items and not get fired.

    Entertainment: Our guests loved the beach aerobics, night club, and the nightly shows. They especially loved the tribute to Michael Jackson. The entertainment staff works hard and does a great job. We were there for the beach party and assisted one of the dancers/entertainers who injured himself jumping through the ring of fire. The poor guy landed on his lower back and was in great pain. One of our guests was a nurse and comforted him while the show continued. She would not let anyone move him, so my husband and some of the other dancers carried him in a beach chair to the nurse’s office. We found out that he was taken to the hospital for examination. Some of the other dancers stayed with him until after 1:00 am. He was released and given pain medication and muscle relaxers. No broken bones, etc. according to the X-Ray. He was scheduled to be out of work for a week due to his injury. We were told that he would receive a paycheck whilst he was home recuperating. Another of the entertainers had her knee wrapped the day after the beach party. She said she strained it, but not during the beach party. She said she couldn’t miss the show, so she continued to dance even with her strained knee.

    Lessons Learned: Ask for upgrades. Tip the staff – they do appreciate it. If possible, stay in Building 1 on the 3rd floor or higher. If you leave items for or give items to the staff make sure you speak with security or leave a note. You certainly don’t want to show your appreciation and get someone fired as a result. The French Kiss, rum punch, and Miami Vice are excellent drinks! The bartender at the Sports Bar made us a special drink (I cannot remember the name, but it begins with the letter “M” and has grenadine) on our last day; it was delicious! Check out some of the nightly shows and support the entertainment staff…they work hard and are great at what they do!

    Wedding Coordinator & Ceremony
    It took us a day to meet up with Chandlyn to schedule an appointment. We found her to be cordial, but not welcoming or friendly. My husband and another guest described her as “stuck up.” She was very responsive and helpful in her e-mails, so I was surprised by her demeanor when we met in person. We were glad to work with Nikki and not her. Our meeting with Nikki took about 45 minutes and she was very helpful and pleasant. Nikki made sure that everything went according to plan and even got us sand from the beach and a container at the last minute for our sand ceremony. We used outside vendors for the flowers and cake and Nikki took care of getting everything arranged for our ceremony. Our extra services included the runner ($45.00), rose petals (free since we didn’t use the free flowers), h’ordervous ($13 per person), the white folder chairs ($5.00 each), and the steel band ($350).
    Our ceremony was at 4:00 pm but we started a little late because Nikki ran back to her office to get the extra sand and vase. It was windy which helped because it was hot and humid the entire time we were there. The ceremony was about 45 minutes; we took pictures, and enjoyed the h’ordervous on the beach before heading to Mammee Bay for dinner.
    We were very happy with the ceremony. The minister did an excellent job reading our long ceremony which included a hand ceremony and a sand ceremony. Thanks to all of you on this site who posted the wording!

    Photographer/Videographer
    We used the photo shop at the resort. We were not impressed with Michael during our pre-ceremony meeting. He answered our questions and processed the paperwork, but didn’t smile or make much eye contact. We met with him after the wedding to add to our package and he was the same way. We were not impressed by our brief interactions with Michael. On the other hand, the videographer Gary and the photographer were great to work with. Our ceremonies ran long; so we did not get pictures around the property, but are happy with the results. My husband did not want the video until he saw the finished product. He loves it and is very happy that we spent the extra money on it. We do not have our edited pictures yet, but have the low-res copies. We ordered 115 out of 300+ pictures.

    Lessons Learned: Plan the pictures you want the photographer to take in advance and be mindful of how much daylight you will have to take your pictures. If cost is not a factor, hire an outside photographer.

    Dinner
    Our waiter, Delmar was wonderful. He even brought us drinks from the bar. He and his assistants were efficient so no one had to wait for their meals. The table was setup as requested with the flowers from the ceremony and our favors. There was one other wedding dinner happening at the same time, but it seemed very private. We made short speeches and a toast without any problems. We did not have the free cake, but opted for the traditional black Jamaican cake from an outside vendor. It was beautiful and delicious. Our guests also had a choice of deserts from the bar if they did not like our cake. Our guests went to the Michael Jackson tribute show and the night club after dinner.

    Lessons Learned: Use an outside vendor if you want to upgrade your cake. Our person was $100 less than Ms. Mowery (person recommended by the resort).

    Renova Spa
    The ladies at the spa are fantastic. I bought a wedding package which included a mani, pedi, and hairstyle. I added makeup after arriving at the resort. I did not know in advance that they do not wash your hair unless you pay more money. They prefer to style your hair a day or two after washing because it holds the curls better. No problem. My hair looked great in a simple updo. I took my own makeup and brushes because I have sensitive skin. I was a little concerned about the person applying too much makeup, but she did a great job and it was very natural looking. The space is small, so book your appointment with plenty of time to spare.

    Lee’s Tours & Taxis
    Norma and her staff are simply the best! We use Lee’s for several excursions and our group loved the trips and the drivers. Norma also helped us with some of the details for our ceremony including the flowers and the traditional Jamaican black (rum) cake for the diner. Norma provided us with a free cell phone to use during our visit and some native fruits and vegetables. Norma’s customer service is outstanding and her prices are less than what the resort charges for the same excursion. We will certainly use Norma’s services when we return to Ocho Rios.

    Lessons Learned: Book your transfers and excursions/tours through Lee’s Tours & Taxis. Contact Norma for assistance with finding vendors in Ocho Rios. Don’t book too many excursions….we needed a vacation from our vacation!!!!!!

    Overall we had a great trip and a wonderful ceremony. It’s been about a month and we and our guests are still talking about our trip. We’re so happy we had our wedding in Jamaica.

    #2 kris

    kris
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      Posted 02 January 2010 - 02:53 AM

      Thank you so much for your review. I know what you mean with the "vacation from a vacation", when I went to Hawaii I think I did 6 full day excursions in 8 days and was exhausted ! That's to bad about Chandlyn. I'm glad you had a great time though, Congrats!

      #3 isaidyes

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        Posted 02 January 2010 - 03:53 AM

        Thank you sooo much for posting this review! We are leaving in 17 days and I'm starting to get nervous and excited all at the same time.

        #4 baj

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          Posted 02 January 2010 - 10:07 AM

          great review and thanks for sharing

          #5 sunstarsmoon

          sunstarsmoon
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            Posted 02 January 2010 - 10:24 AM

            great review, thanks for sharing!
            July 8, 2011, Couples Sans Souci Ocho Rios, Jamaica

            #6 Butterflyf369

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              Posted 02 January 2010 - 12:36 PM

              What a great review. I love the lessons learned part.

              #7 Heaterfan15

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                Posted 02 January 2010 - 03:11 PM

                Thanks for the very detailed review. It was very helpful!

                #8 JUSTUSTWO

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                  Posted 02 January 2010 - 03:19 PM

                  Glad to hear you had a great time & experience at ROR! Reading your review always reminds me why I love it there so much.

                  I agree that they really need to overhaul the restaurant reservation system. I woke up early every morning to get reservations for our group & standing on that line that early was not pleasant. They way it was before that with the telephone system was a hassle too but I think it worked better.

                  And I couldn't agree with you more about Scotchies! It was great & a nice treat for our guests away from the resort.
                  Your "lessons learned" will definitely be helpful for upcoming ROR brides.

                  #9 amqueens

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                    Posted 02 January 2010 - 04:11 PM

                    Great review! Which vendors did you use for your flowers and cake? Thanks for all of the details!! Congrats!
                    - Anne-Marie

                    #10 sportsdog2

                    sportsdog2
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                      Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:06 PM

                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by isaidyes
                      Thank you sooo much for posting this review! We are leaving in 17 days and I'm starting to get nervous and excited all at the same time.
                      Don't worry....you'll have a great time. The most stressful part for me was getting there and getting settled the first day. All of our guests were tired from the trip, but were ready to go the next morning. Just work out as many of the details that you can before you go. We didn't decide on the wording for the ceremony until we were there. We dropped off the wording but Nikki did not receive it until the day before our ceremony. No problem...the officiant received it the day of and read it word for word just like we wanted. The time goes by quickly, so just enjoy. Congratulations.




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