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~*Lisa*~

**~Lisa's Riu Negril review with pics!~**

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Well I've finally gotten around to doing this. Thankfully I haven't been too busy at work (gotta love those government jobs! wink.gif) that I was able to write most of it at work. All in all, our wedding/vacation/honeymoon was fantastic and went off without a hitch! We're both extremely happy with everything and sooooo happy in love!!!! love.gif Enjoy the review and the pics! If you have any questions, let me know and I would be happy to answer! cheesy.gif

 

Travel agent - Sears Travel – C

UGH! Sears travel wasnâ€t the problem, it was our travel agent. I donâ€t mean to sound judgemental when I say this so please do not take offense to this. Now I want to be clear on one thing. I myself speak French and so does most of my family. Maybe only those of you who live in French communities will understand what I am about to say. Our travel agent was SO French that it made her seem really dumb. She couldnâ€t communicate very well in English, so there were a lot of misunderstandings. Yes, we did speak some French, but as my mother (who only speaks English) and I were the main contacts, everything was in English. Both my brother and I got charged double the amount we were supposed to on our VISAâ€s. Not sure if it was her mistake or Sunquests but regardless, it took several emails and phone calls to get it cleared up when it should have only taken one. My mother had to confirm all the hotel rooms in Toronto that she had booked. They were all messed up and she spent over an hour on the phone sorting it all out so that the rest of my family could get their confirmation numbers for their rooms. This is something that our travel agent should have had more organized. We were paying for Kenâ€s mother who was only staying for 1 week. More than once I received emails from her stating that she was staying for 2. Dates were wrong, amounts were wrong. It was a big mess and super annoying! (I honestly think thatâ€s where I got charged double on my VISA). Anyway, these things added more stress to it all, which wasnâ€t necessary! The thing is, weâ€ve used this travel agent in the past and everything was ok. Maybe she was having a rough time, who knows! All in all, I will not be using her again because of these things. I want stress-free dammit!! lol

 

Sunquest Vacations – A+

Very nice to work with! Because we were getting married, they gave us a $200 voucher to spend on their online boutique. We didnâ€t get it until a couple of weeks before the wedding though, so we couldnâ€t buy anything to take on our trip. We just ordered our stuff on the weekend. We also received a $500 travel voucher valid until Oct 2011. Weâ€re hoping to be able to use it next winter! These two things were unexpected and really nice gifts. The whole group also received 1 free headset and 2 free drinks for each person. Everyone loved this!! We had no problems at all during our stay and if you had any questions/problems, there were always 2 Sunquest reps on the resort at all times. We talked to them a lot, so it was really great!

 

Resort

Location – A+

Negril was amazing!!! I had already been to Jamaica so I knew that it was a beautiful country. If you want to see the most gorgeous sunsets, head to Negril, you will not regret it.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

 

Room – B

I have to start off by saying that we stayed at the Riu in Ochos Rios 2 years ago, which made it really hard not to compare to as it was a bigger and newer resort than the Riu Negril. All of our rooms were oceanview in building 2, which I would suggest, especially if you have elderly or disabled people in your group. Building 3 and 4 were quite the walk to the rest of the resort. Ken and Iâ€s room was an oceanfront room (apparently our upgrade). If you stepped out on the balcony, the main walkway was right below you. It certainly wasnâ€t private at all. You felt like everyone was watching you when they walked by. Our room (which was the upgrade) was exactly the same as the rest of our groups except that we had an actual king size bed where the others all had 2 doubles pushed together. I didnâ€t realize at first that this was our upgrade, so when we found out that it was, I was disapointed. My cousinâ€s upgrade in Ochos Rios was amazing and I guess I was expecting the same. I honestly would have prefered that our room be an oceanview like the rest of our group. At least that way it would have been more private. Anyway, we didnâ€t really spend all that much time there, but it still would have been nice to have been spoiled a little bit.

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Click the image to open in full size.

our in-room bar wink.gif

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more to come...

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Check-in – A+

Check-in at Riuâ€s is amazing! You get off the bus, they slap on a bracelet, hand you a glass of punch, tell you to go to a table where you register, pick your keys and safe lock, write your room numbers on your lugage and off you go to your room. It honestly took 5 mins, it was so great!!

 

Staff – A+

The staff at Riu Negril are awesome. Everyone is just so friendly and welcoming. From the chefs, to the bartenders to the cleaning staff, everyone just made you feel happy. I must say that we were treated really well for our wedding. Our wedding coordinator Dionne was amazing. For our wedding, we also received some unexpected gifts. We received congratulatory letters from various staff members at the resort, a bottle of rum, a photo album and t-shirts. It was just those little extra things that made our stay even greater.

 

Food – A

So I love food and I barely have anything bad to say about it! lol We ate at all the restaurants. Luigiâ€s served a late breakfast and an amazing lunch with seriously the best lasangna in the world! At night, it was a Brazilian a-la-carte restaurant. If you love meat, then go there because you get tons of it and it was really interesting the way everything was served. The Green Island was the buffet restaurant. The breakfast spread was huge as well as dinner. They had theme nights and always had a Jamaican corner. You canâ€t go wrong with eating there – they have everything. Sir Andrews was the gourmet restaurant only opened for dinner. Lots of seafood in the menu but oh, it was delicious. I ate there 3 times during our 2 week stay. Shadows, which is the steakhouse was opened for lunch and was an a-la-cart for dinner. My favorite lunch item was the nachos and their homemade salsa. I couldnâ€t get enough of them, they were delicious! It was a wonderful restaurant for dinner as well. All the dishes were just amazing! The only part that really sucked was booking for the a-la-carts. You had to line up each morning for 8am (trust me, be there around 7:30 if you really want something specific) but it really wasnâ€t a big deal. We all took turns doing it as weâ€re early risers anyway.

 

Pool – A-The pools were ok but there were only two of them. One was sort of an exercise pool where they had aquacise each morning and the other had the swim-up bar. The water was cold in them, but it was refreshing on those really hot days. The one pool had a “hot tub†which wasnâ€t hot, incase you were wondering but felt nice all the same. We didnâ€t do a lot of the pool because it did get hot up there with all the cement and stuff around.

the smaller pool, but with cool waterfalls

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Entertainment – C

Iâ€ve been to a RIU before and I swear I saw the same shows as two years ago. For those in my party who had never travelled, they thought it was great! They always have a pre-show which includes audience participation (Ken was up on stage twice!) which is always really funny. Then the show starts. Sometimes itâ€s a good one and sometimes it sucked. During the second week, most of the shows were repeated so we ended up playing cards in one of the rooms most nights. I honestly thought that the shows were on a 2-week rotation so that you wouldnâ€t see the same thing twice if you were there for 2 weeks. I was wrong.

 

Beach – A

The beach was pretty great. If you lounge around under the palm trees, the sand there is more rocky and thin. Other than that, it was super nice. Itâ€s along the 7-mile stretch, so you can walk a great distance. From our resort to the one on the point (because weâ€re in a bay), it takes about an hour to walk. Great for exercise! There are beach vendors along the way, but if you tell them youâ€re not interested, they donâ€t bug you. There was some seaweed but not a big deal.

view from our balcony

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another view

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more to come...

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Wedding

Wedding Coordinator - A+

Dionne was FABULOUS! She had all the information that I had given her and she was very organized. Our meeting with her to discuss our wedding was about 20 mins long. It was basically to go over all the choices we had already made (flowers, cake, dinner time, etc). She told us not to worry about anything and that she would see me when she came to pick me up for the wedding and to enjoy our vacation and not to worry. We did have to add two more guests (who had originally told me they weren’t coming to dinner – friends of my cousin whom I had never met). My mom spoke to Dionne right before dinner and it was no problem. They just added two more seats for dinner. We also requested to have some seats without arms to make some of us more comfortable. Ken talked to her the day before the wedding and again, it was no problem! Everything worked out amazing and she dealt with everything very profesionally!

 

Flowers – A+

My bouquet and Ken’s boutionniere were great. We had a choice of different flowers that were included in our wedding package and they look exactly like the photos online. They even looked great after our 2 week stay. I managed to bring some home so that I could dry them. They are drying up, but still looking good! Boulevard Florist.com I chose bouquet #14 and it looked exactly the same as the website!!

Boulevard Florist Photo Gallery - Bouquets/Bouquet 14

 

Ceremony site – A

We chose to get married on the beach. I’m so glad that we did that. The arch was set up really close to the water, away from the main walkway. The gazebo that you can also get married in is right beside the main walkway. I wouldn’t recommend this. We had enough people watching us just on the beach. I couldn’t imagine getting married and hearing everyone walking by on the walkway. The arch was set up on the beach in the fish sanctuary where you are not allowed to swim. I do have a few pictures with strangers in them because they were rude to be that close, but that’s ok. The arch was decorated with tulle and white flowers – very simple. You don’t need anything fancy as the scenery makes the pictures beautiful. They had white chairs set up on either side of the aisle.

Click the image to open in full size.

 

Reception – A+

We had dinner at Shadow’s which is a steakhouse, on the upper level. It was semi-private. There were other people on the upper level, but we never heard them or saw them so basically it was private. We had 2 hours for dinner, which was more than enough time. We had a head table and two long tables for our guests to sit at. We didn’t add any decorations to the tables. Honestly, I can’t even tell you if there was anything decorating them as I don’t remember. Dinner was fabulous but I barely ate except for the cake!! The unfortunate part about it was that the salad bar and soup were on the main level so you had to go up/down the stairs to get that. Same for dessert but we had cake for ours. The stair thing is ok but we had a few elderly people and I’m sure it was more difficult for them – something to think about. The main meal was served, which was really nice. Cake for dessert, of course!

 

Hair and Make-up – A-

The only reason this didn’t get an A+ was because the ladies in the shop weren’t friendly. The girl that did my hair/make-up barely said two words to me. She didn’t even ask me how I wanted my make-up done. Both turned out really great and I loved them, it just would have been more enjoyable if they were friendly. My mom got her nails painted at the same time and her girl wasn’t friendly either. We sat in silence, which wasn’t too fun. Anyway, it didn’t matter because she was done my hair/make-up in 45 mins. I couldn’t believe it. I suppose it would have taken longer if I had done something more complicated with my hair. The only other thing that I really didn’t like was what she used in my hair. She used these straight pins that looked like a horseshoe instead of bobby pins. You can see in my sunset pictures that my hair had actually fallen out. These pins DID NOT hold my hair probably because I have really thick hair and lots of it. I didn’t realize she used them until during dinner, Ken asked me what I had on my shoulder – one of the pins had fallen out already! Anyway, in the end, it all worked out ok!

 

pic of my make-up

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more to come...

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omg, omg, omg....your pics are sooo pretty, i cant stop looking at them.....it seems like you guys had a fantastic time @ your wedding...reading your rave reviews about the Riu makes me eager to get back to Jamaica, sounds like the Riu is a great w/ resort, that gave u a fantastic wedding.....

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Photographer – B+

We used True Colors Photography www.truecolorsphotos.com who worked at the resort. We didnâ€t have tons of money in the budget for pictures, so we went with a basic package that included 10 printed 5x7s and 100 prints on a CD for $500. Our photographer Andrew was really nice. Iâ€m a bit disapointed with our pictures only because everything was so placed. I like candid shots and we didnâ€t have any. Whether or not that was my fault, it doesnâ€t matter. The pictures we have are ok. One thing I do recommend is making sure to sign the waiver that allows you to make copies of your pictures. You can then do whatever you want with them when you get home. Iâ€m actually considering passing some along to my cousin who is a photographer and asking him to fancy some up. I just find that some of our pics are just “normal†wedding pics.

 

Cake – A+

We choose vanilla as our flavour for the cake. I was actually surprised at how it turned out. Not only did it look cute, it tasted wonderful. We served the cake for dessert and I would say 99% of us ate it. We even asked to have a few pieces wrapped up to take to our room. We ate the leftover cake 2 days later, in bed, at 7 am and it was still really tasty! lol

Click the image to open in full size.

 

 

Things that I have learned from this trip

If youâ€re staying for 2 weeks, go to a different resort for the second week unless the one youâ€re at is really huge. We got tired of the same restaurants and the same entertainment. Also, donâ€t expect the same at every resort even if itâ€s the same chain. I was disapointed in our room upgrade.

 

A few extra pics, just for fun...

 

before we left

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our breakfast in bed the morning after the wedding

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Ken drinking out of a coconut

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what we did on a rainy morning - games and drinks, what a great combo!

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on our sunset cruise to Rick's cafe

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our loot of stuff and gifts

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our surprise when we got home from my aunt and cousins who were watching our house

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Click the image to open in full size.

 

That's about all ladies, hope that you've enjoyed!!!

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Great review Lisa!! I've been waiting to see it! Your pictures are all so gorgeous! I totally agree with going somewhere else for the 2nd week. We got pretty tired of the same old same old at RPTB too. Congrats on your wedding Mrs!!

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