Location: Negril, Jamaica
Picture it: Girls Trip 2016. No, not the movie. Me and two of my sorority sisters ended up going to Jamaica in September 2016 for a 4-day/3-night getaway. We stayed at the Riu Negril, which cost $449 per person for a double occupancy room plus round trip airport transfer. We booked this trip through a travel agency in Houston. It was super convenient because I really did not have to do the footwork. I paid my money and found my flight. Lana and I flew in on a direct flight from Houston to Montego Bay on Southwest Airlines for about $350. Getting through customs was a relatively easy (although lengthy) process. We were directed to a large charter sized bus that dropped off at multiple resorts. The drive is only about 45 minutes to an hour but we ended up taking over three hours because there was a really bad accident on the highway, which was only two lanes for most of the way.
The Riu is an all inclusive resort chain that I have stayed in before in Cancun. I loved it. This is a great affordable chain. This resort was more sprawling than Cancun but only two to three floors for each building. There was a child friendly pool area and then another pool that had a swim up bar.
There were no elevators and finding some of the rooms were a little confusing once you got to your building. The room was beautiful and spacious. There are two double beds that were pushed together to make a larger bed. There were heavy wood doors and fixtures, a standing shower, TV, safe, and a nice view of the pool. Because the resort was all-inclusive there was a mini bar in each room with water, soda, beer, and hard liquor. This came in handy to get an extra shot into your frozen beverage. The floors were tile, which is nice when it is warm but you could easily bust your butt if you are wet. Check in was easy. Like most all-inclusive resorts you receive a wristband so that you can eat and drink freely. We were greeted with welcome cocktails as we waited in the line for check in.
The food was amazing with both Jamaican dishes and restaurants that had Italian, Asian, and Steakhouse fare. There was a general dining room and then 2 or 3 restaurants that required reservations. There was also a snack bar for late night eats. When you went in the dining room to eat you had to be fully covered up: no visible bathing suits and you needed shoes. One of my favorite dishes was the seafood risotto.
It was delicious. I could have eaten plates of it alone. One of my favorite facets of the dining room was the fresh juice, especially the green juice and beet juice. It was nice to start the day with a healthy spark to the system.
The staff was great. The entertainment staff did their jobs very well. They got everyone involved (even if you did not want to). They hosted beach parties, dance offs, and games by the pool. At night the entertainment staff put on evening shows that were great. Of course we made friends with this guy that was a doppelganger for Lloyd and a young lady called Rolly-Poly. She was fantastically ratch.
The resort is literally steps from the beach and there was security walking the beach to make sure that peddlers did not come to close the property. You can walk down the beach to look at the vendor’s items but be prepared for aggressive sales tactics. I personally did not do really well with walking the vendors. It was a bit much for my introversion but there are plenty of souvenirs to choose from.
We did have the opportunity to get away from the property and go to Rick’s Café. There is a taxi line to go elsewhere which costs about $30. It can be pricey but not as much if you’re splitting the fare. Our driver was very nice and hung out with us while we shopped and Lana cliff dived. Rick’s was a touristy bar with good drinks and plenty of people. We did not get to go out and party because it was a distance to get to things and we were leaving out early Saturday morning. Definitely next trip.
Overall I really enjoyed my experience at the Riu Negril. It was a lot of fun, even though the resort is a little bit far out. If you want to see my trip to Jamaica, check out my vlog on my YouTube channel here.
Pros: Uh, Jamaica… Clean, Great price, Great Food, Friendly Staff
Cons: Distance, a lot of sellers on the beach.
Overall Rating: ****1/2