This blog post has been in the pipeline for a couple of months now as I went on my dream holiday to Jamaica back in June, but I just hadn’t yet got round to going through all my photos! I took so many! I’ve narrowed it down so there’s hopefully not too many photos in this blog post, but I just had so many stunning ones to share with you.
We decided to go to Jamaica as we wanted to try somewhere in the Caribbean that we hadn’t been before, but that was also affordable. The Hotel Riu Ocho Rios stood out to us as it had good reviews and as the resort was so big, we thought it would definitely have restaurants we would both like, and I personally prefer a bigger hotel as it feels less like you’re stuck in one place all week. To go for 7 nights in June all inclusive it worked out around £700 each, which was what our budget was set at so it seemed perfect!
So here’s my hotel review of the Riu Ocho Rios Hotel in Jamaica.
We booked our 7 night holiday through TUI and we stayed at the four star Hotel Riu Ocho Rios which is an all inclusive hotel with its own private beach in the port town of Ocho Rios. We picked this hotel as we wanted one with a big pool area, a nice beach, and plenty of good dining options.
After a long 10 hour flight to Jamaica we were excited to explore our hotel and our new home for the week. We were given a room in the main building, which was good as we didn’t have to walk too far to get to anything. The room was basic but clean and spacious with mahogany furnishings. I liked that the bathroom had two sinks so we didn’t have to share, and there was loads of wardrobe space and a nice airy room with a huge king size bed.
The staff throughout the hotel were very friendly and very happy to help. The housekeepers cleaned the rooms, stripped the beds and gave us fresh towels everyday, and the waiters and bar staff would always chat to us and made us feel very welcome.
The hotel had some amazing evening entertainment on every night including a traditional Jamaican steel band and some fantastic dancers. It wasn’t the cheesy karaoke entertainment you see on Benidorm! There was even a nightclub in the hotel which stayed open all night long and one evening there was a beach party which was so much fun!
In the all inclusive hotels I’ve stayed in before you usually have a mini bar in the fridge where they give you a few beers each day. But here you had your own huge bottles of gin, vodka, brandy and rum on tap from a drinks dispenser, plus a fridge full of beers and soft drinks that you could help yourself to! The room had everything you could need, including free wi-fi throughout the resort which came in quite handy.
Best of all our balcony was overlooking the main pool with a sea view, which was stunning and just amazing to wake up to in the mornings! We could see the cruise ships arriving in Ocho Rios in the distance and the sun set in the evenings. Although it did get a little bit noisy in the afternoons as there would always be a party at the main pool everyday!
The hotel had a few different a la carte restaurants which you had unlimited use of, plus an Asian buffet, and also a huge international buffet. On our first night we tried out the steakhouse restaurant which is located on the beach front with views across the sea. This place serves steak, grilled jumbo shrimp skewers, mixed grills and seasoned chicken dishes. There was also a small buffet bar where you could help yourself to salad as a starter or as a side to your main meal.
For breakfast you could only eat in the main buffet restaurant, but there was plenty of choice; American pancakes, fresh smoothies, lots of fruit, cheese, fresh omelettes and much more. Breakfast was definitely worth getting up for! For lunch you could go to the beach restaurant which had a hot and cold buffet serving pizzas, pasta, salads etc. But our absolute favourite was the jerk chicken hut located on the beach where you could try traditional Jamaican barbecued chicken with rice and it was absolutely delicious! I think we ended up going for lunch everyday!
For dinner you could go to the themed buffet, the steak house, the gourmet restaurant, the Asian buffet, or the Italian restaurant which was also open for lunch. There are six bars throughout the hotel, including a pair of swim-up bars in the pools serving refreshing cocktails. My favourite meal was from the gourmet restaurant where I had goats cheese salad, steak with potato gratin and profiteroles for dessert. We also went back again another night as we enjoyed it so much the first time, and I had the roast duck which was delicious! I definitely prefer the waiter service restaurants to the busy buffet. But at least there is something or everyone at this hotel!
The beach the hotel was set on was absolutely pristine and the water was so clear and beautiful! I was surprised that the beach wasn’t busier, as there was hardly anyone ever on the beach which made it the perfect place to relax. There were no waves, no seaweed and the water was so shallow that you could walk out really far and still reach the bottom.
The water was wonderfully warm and I could have spent forever swimming in that sea! The sand was also beautiful soft golden sand and the team at the hotel keep the beach so tidy and well maintained. Most of my photos from the holiday are of the beach just because it was so perfect!
The hotel had two large outdoor pool dotted with palm trees, lots of sun loungers and swim up bars. Even when the hotel seemed really busy, there were still plenty of sun loungers and it never felt overcrowded. The main pool was the ‘party pool’ which was usually full of Americans, loud music, and kids splashing around. But there was also another pool on the ‘Deluxe’ side of the hotel, although there was nothing that was regular visitors couldn’t use this pool. It was much more peaceful and quiet at this pool which also had a swim up bar, a great view of the sea, and an infinity pool.
I loved spending my days lounging around the pool! The weather was a little bit hit and miss for us in June. At the beginning of the week it was a little bit grey and overcast, but towards the end of the week the blue skies and sun came out. It was well over 30 degrees every day though! June was perhaps not the best time of year to visit though, as I understand it’s still quite stormy due to hurricane season. Luckily we didn’t encounter any storms or rain though!
What we didn’t prepare for was how expensive Jamaica was. We were hoping to do a few more excursions and days out, but everything was just so pricey. There isn’t a huge amount to do in the immediate vicinity and taxi’s aren’t cheap either. We did visit Dunns River Falls which is a must if you’re staying in Ocho Rios. Our hotel was really close to the falls (5km) but you still had to drive to get there. To book an actual excursion with the hotel it was about $60USD each! So instead we booked a private taxi (which still cost $25 return for a short 10 minute drive) and the entrance fee was $23 (about $18) each so was saved a little and it meant we could go at our own pace.
Dunns River Falls is a famous waterfall about 180 feet high with the waterfalls flowing over giant natural stairs which you climb up. You can chose to climb up the falls with a guide and a group where you all hold hands. However we decided to go up it ourselves as I didn’t really want to hold a strangers hand!
Make sure you wear some water shoes though, as the rocks can be slippy and the water is surprisingly cold! Climbing up the falls is not an easy feat, and I wouldn’t recommend it for children or anyone who isn’t steady on their feet. Some parts of it are really tough and a little bit scary! But the sight of the falls was beautiful and at the bottom of the rocks is a beach so you can chill out after your long hike!
This part isn’t really nessecary as part of the blog post but I just wanted to show off a few of my favourite holiday outfits! I never post photos of myself on my blog any more (since I’m now kinda old!) but here are some of my favs.
I absolutely love these embroidered flamingo shorts that I bought from Asda back in May! They are so cute and they go nicely with the strappy pink vest top I bought, also from George at Asda. Who says supermarkets aren’t cool? The rest of the outfits are old but I still wanted to show you how cute they were!