One of the most beautiful places in the world is Jamaica. White sandy beaches edging into the blue, sparkling Caribbean. Smoky green mountains. Sunshine. Friendly, happy, carefree Jamaicans. It could easily be your home away from home.
We spent the week after Thanksgiving at the RiU Palace All-Inclusive Resort a few months ago. We have visited Jamaica about a half dozen times and have done most of the touristy things such as Dunns River Falls and Ricks Cafe. This was our first time in Montego Bay and we had one of our best times ever.
The RiU Palace is similar to the other RiU resorts. The palace resorts are a more luxurious and expensive. They are smaller and less crowded. They serve better drinks, wine, food, and champagne is always available. Each room has a jetted jacuzzi and bathrobes. There is limited 24 hour room service. You do not have to make reservations for dinner. Service is much more attentive and there is concierge service. This resort was for adults only. It was a quieter resort. We have decided to always choose a palace resort when available despite the cost. It’s just more pleasureable and quieter. It was very relaxing.
The RiU Palace Montego Bay is located between two other RiU resorts and is only 1.7 miles from the airport. The RiU Montego Bay is west of the RiU Palace. It is larger and has more restaurants, better entertainment, a sports bar, casino, discotheque, kid’s club, andan outdoor jerk hut. Wifi is limited. The RiU Reggae is to the east of the palace. It just opened in November of 2016. It is for adults only. It has premium drinks, concierge service, 2 pools with swim up service, 5 restaurants, entertainment, gift shop, free wifi and fitness center. The Reggae and the Palace have free use of the Montego Bay’s restaurants, bars, pools, tennis courts, and entertainment.
Our arrival at the RiU was greeted with a glass of champagne. Check-in was simple and fast but there was about an hour delay for our room. We belong to the the RiU club which got us an automatic upgrade to a nicer room with a partial view of the ocean from our balcony. We explored the resort and had lunch and drinks at the buffet while we waited for our room.
Our room was spacious, bright and modern; decorated in purple. It was on the second floor and faced the courtyard but we could see the ocean. We had two chairs on the balcony. Our room had a table and chairs, couch, coffee table, and lamps in the sitting area near the balcony doors. We had a very comfortable king sized bed with matching nightstands, reading lamps, and a telephone. We had adequate bedding and an extra blanket, but the pillows were too flat. A very powerful ceiling fan was placed over the bed. A large dresser with an HDTV was opposite the bed. A large Jacuzzi tub separated the bedroom area from the bath area. There was a mini fridge, coffee pot, and ice bucket, a full length mirror, and a large wardrobe on the wall across from the bathroom area. There was a vanity with double sinks and separate shower and an enclosed toilet. The bathing area was bright and spacious. The tub and shower could easily be used by two people at the same time. We had plenty of bathroom amenities.
Wifi was free and seemed very powerful. We could access it on the beach and the restaurants as well as our room. There were plenty of electric plugin receptacles and even a couple of USB ports. We had an in room safe, iron and ironing board, and bathrobes.
We had turn down service every night with a sweet little printed Proverb verse. We were very impressed and delighted when we received a bottle of champagne and chocolates the first night and chocolates the second night. We had some very creative towel arrangements.
Our room was very clean and we had excellent maid service everyday. It was amazing how they can keep up with the sand that gets tracked in all over. Our toilet was leaky but everything else’s in the room was in perfect condition. It was quiet and comfortable at night. We slept very well.
The RiU Palace has four bars: The Vogue Bar in the lobby usually has entertainment at night. The Aqua Chill-Out Bar had nightly entertainment and faced a sitting area on the beach. The Hanover Bar Pool Bar had a swim up bar and had afternoon entertainment and there was another quieter pool area with a bar located between the Palace and the RiU Reggae. The liquor was Red Stripe Beer and name-brand liquor. Champagne was always available. The room mini fridge is restocked daily with water, soft drinks, and beer and there are four liquor dispensers on the wall above the fridge.
Although the food was very pretty in presentation, it was just adequate in taste. Much of the food did not seem to be fully cooked. The main restaurant and Seaside Café offers a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Aqua Bar has snacks and bar food. There are: four specialty restaurants: Zen (Japanese), Krystal (Fusion), L’Acquedotto (Italian), and the Steakhouse. We ate the steakhouse twice. We really liked it. Formal dress and reservations are required for everything but the steakhouse. The steakhouse is a little more informal and it is a first come, first served kind of service. I recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before dinner time to get a seat.
The beach appears to be man made and is very small. We were able to take a pretty good walk from the end of the Reggae to the end of the Montego Bay. The water was clear and warm. Snorkeling, windsurfing, and kayaking were available. Jet skis were also available for rent.
The beach area was very relaxing for reading and sunbathing. There were plenty of lounge chairs and a few hammocks. We had waitstaff and entertainment on the beach and in the pool area. The pool area is very clean and located close to the Seaside Restaurant and also the Aqua Bar. There was plenty of shade if you need it. I did not get any insect bites and I usually have a problem with bites when I go to Jamaica.
We ate and attended shows at both the Palace and the Montego Bay. The food and entertainment are just adequate at best but necessary. Our favorite spots were the bars at the palace and the Sport’s Bar and Casino at the Montego Bay. The best entertainment comes from the bartenders and watching the other guests.
A romantic dinner on the beach can be booked although there is a charge for it.
One night we walked to a casino in the Blue Diamond Shopping Mall. It was just a few blocks away. The casino was located on the second floor and was very small. We enjoyed it and felt safe enough. The shopping mall has shops, a grocery store, pharmacy, dentist, and other businesses. There is a gas station and a Burger King directly outside the RiU property. Taxis and shuttles are available at the RiU.
Offsite, we took a tour to Margaritaville on a catamaran. We booked it from our Apple Representative at the hotel. We boarded a boat and sailed around Montego Bay at sunset, stopping for an hour at Margaritaville where we had drinks and went down the big slide. We had drinks and snacks on the boat, snorkeling, and a foot massage. It was an amazing trip.
I was very happy with our stay. We were able to fully relax and rest. The resort is lovely and quiet and clean. No problems. The food and entertainment could be better but are adequate. Drinks, the beach, the ocean, and the pool were very, very good.
We booked our trip through Apple vacations at applevacations.com.
Hotel RiU Palace Jamaica
Mahoe Bay -Ironshore PO
Montego Bay, Saint James