I said when I came back I had to post my reviews. I chose the Riu, Montego Bay and had a FANTASTIC time. It was like a fairytale. The resort was beautiful, everyone I came in contact with was friendly, taxi drivers to the hotel staff, they take pride in their work. Taxes are 17% so prices were high and people are underpaid. We tipped drivers and even tipped our waiter for the wedding reception. They prefer US dollars so take US money, the exchange rate, you will lose on the US dollars if you do Jamaican. We did travel off of the resort for a day, went to Negril to the beach and to Rick's Cafe. Make sure you tip the drivers, minimum wage is $40 a week, so trust they really appreciate it.
The weather was hot everday around 90 degrees, it rained twice, not complete wash outs, during my seven days. When you arrive you are greated with rum punch, if you arrive before 3 pm, more than likely your room is not ready. There are six buildings for rooms, I recommend either building one, two or three. Five and six are the furtherest from everything, more walking. The beds are a little hard but other than that my room was on the second floor and very nice. It has a balcony that you can sit on if needed. The ocean view rooms, many were blocked my palm trees so you did not really see the ocean. We had maid service everyday, and every day there was a towel decoration on the bed. There are ceiling fans as well as air conditioner. There is a bar in your room. The bathroom has two sink, toilet and tub.
The beach was okay, prettier in Negril. If you go to about waist deep, you hit the seaweed. There were always lounge chairs available. Free water activities, paddle boats, sailing, canoeing and scuba diving. If you want to jet ski, parasail, that cost. On the beach was a jerk chicken hut, MUST TRY. There were a few vendors that were on the beach but they never disturbed me. There were two pools, huge pools, one that had a swim up bar and then another pool. They were clean and had ample room in them. There was lounge chairs around the pool areas too. You can get beach towels from the pool area, so no need to pack our own.
Food is not five star but it is not bad, I ate well everyday. They have three speciality restaurants, Asian, Steak and Italian. You MUST make reservations the day before for the speciality restaurant. If you have reservations, make sure you there by 15 minutes after your reservation time, if not they cancel your reservation. We ate at the Asian and the Steak House, the steak house is where you have your wedding reception. All of the restuarants are buffet style, and there are two main buffet dining areas. Rose Hall is the main hall for breakfast and dinner. Mahoe Bay is the main hall for lunch. There is everything from salad to coconut mussels, and freshly squeezed juice to cooked to odere omeletes.
There is entertainment daily from morning to night. There is water aerobics, pool side games, nightly shows, make sure you see Michael Jackson. There is also a casino, only slot machines.
Now for the wedding itself. I was scared at first because the contact I had with the WC was short and brief. However, I had an appointment two days before the wedding. Basically you went over EVERYTHING. I had the free wedding, so I paid for the minister and go the freebies, but there is a cost for amazing. Flowers are expensive. The best floral set-up of the gazebo, I believe was $250 US. The chairs cost too, the basic chair is brown, was not bad but the better the chair the higher the cost, chairs start at $5 per chair. Flowers are expensive, I got what came with the package. I paid $25 for my sister and got ONE tulip. Boutineres are $15 a piece depending on what you get. You are allowed to bring your own cd of music if you want, I used the one that was there. We did not have a rehersal, the WC basically directed you 5 minutes before the start. I wed at 2:00 pm which meant I had to wait 4 hours until dinner. The 4:00 wedding is a good time, however, it may interfere with the sound system from the 4:00 entertainment. The minister does have a microphone. You will have outsiders watching, since it is outside. A word to the wise, it is HOT, your will SWEAT, you may have sweat stains depending on the attire.
After I met with the WC, I meet with PhotoImages for my pictures. Make sure you book an extra hour. The start time is the time on your contract, not the time you are ready to start. My start time was 1:30 pm to take photos of me getting ready, at 1:30 there was a knock on my door. The photographer will take about 200 pictures from which you can choose. We took pictures at the gazebo and at the beach, he asks you if there are special pictures/groups that you want.
The reception dinner was at the steak house on the second floor, we were away from the regular dining crowd and assigned a personal waiter. Although this was a buffet restaurant, too, the waiter, Nicholas, highly recommended, did everything for us. The tables are set up with blue and yellow accents, you are allowed to bring decorations. There was another wedding party down the other end, it did not intefere with us, and they had floating candles and flowers on their tables, it added a intimiate touch. There was hor derves, fish nuggest, chicken nuggets and something else do not remember and baskets of bread. Then there was a fresh garden salad followed by tomato soup. The main course you had a chose of five meats, ribs, sirlon, ribeye, baked chicken or a seafood kabob. In addition a baked potato and mixed vegtables. You also had white and/or red wine, both very dry, water, soda and champange. The wedding cake was two tier. My cake was yellow cake with raspberry filling and whip cream white icing, It was really moist.
To some it up, my parents were against a destination wedding, they came back four days ago and that is all they talk about. They said for how excellent everything was, they thought I put years into planning, when actually all I did was plan the trip, the WC took care of everything.