Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay
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Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril
5 star rip-off
If you are going to the Riu Tropical in Jamaica,
I would suggest that you only go when the sun is
out and not raining! We arrived on Sunday 20th May, after a 24 hour journey the receptionist spoke too quickly for us to take in all she said.
The toilet in our room broke on the Monday, we took the cystern lid off and fixed it, the toilets to not flush effectively, and would take a minimum of 3 flushes to clear the pan. There was a bad storm on Wednesday which left the Hotel without electricity! There is a generator but it is only for the laundry room/reception and, would you beleive it, the gazebo waterfalls! No electricity for the guests, who had to blunder around in the darkness, as no candles were provided! I found out in the 2nd week that there
were candles in receiption, but you had to ask for them! We had further problems with the hot water supply, it was either not there or only luke warm. When the hot water wasn't heated, we had to boil water in our travel kettle, half a pint at a time! The storm flooded the Negril restaurant/the stage and the pools, this caused the beach to erode and sunbeds were sucked into huge crevices that appeared where the beach was.
On thursday night (23rd May) there was no running water at all! So no bath/no shave/no cleaning of teeth and no flushing of toilets..It was worse than camping!
The cable TV was awfull, the channels were either snowy with sound or snowy sith no sound. This was reported twice to reception and once to our tour rep, and nothing done!
The entertainment was terrible, OK if the sun was shining but when it was raining nothing was laid on the the guests, in the end there was adults playing monopoly/dominos/connect four, no hotel entertainers to be seen anywhere. We did complain to the Manager about the facilities at the hotel but all he did was to shrug his shoulders.
I would not recommend this hotel to anyone. This is our fourth trip to Jamaica and have never known anything like it. The hotel is advertised as prestige and 5 star....What rubbish!
Choose another hotel
I went to Negril shortly after high season to find a wedding destination for December, so I saved a good deal of $$ (my 3-day trip was only about $450). The trip from MoBay was fine, the driver was really nice and pointing things out to me. When I arrived at RIU, I was quite impressed at how it looked, but things went pretty much downhill from there. The 1st room I was sent to had a funny smell and then the blowdrier provided in the room caught on fire and it took forever to figure out how to get it to turn off. When I complained, the staff acted as though it was a huge problem to switch my room, but I kept at it and was switched to the room next door, which was a bit better. One of the front desk people, instead of upgrading me, sent me a cheap bottle of jamaican rum creme, which was nevertheless appreciated. Talked at length with the wedding coordinator, who was wonderful. She answered all my questions and even let me come to see a couple of weddings. She also showed me all the locations where weddings are held. The location that is "on the beach" is not really on the water, but way back on the sand and not even facing the water. They line the walkway w/ tropical flowers, but for the wedding I attended, one of the guys had not redone the flowers since the morning wedding there and the bride had to walk down a walkway made up of dead flowers. The wedding coordinator, Ingrid, is great, but I don't think she is getting the support she needs from the resort (e.g., a phone, fax machine, computer) and I would DEFINITELY not get married there, esp. after having seen the other resorts and what they have to offer. Anyway, went down on the beach, which is BEAUTIFUL (cannot emphasize this enough!!) and enjoyed a little time there. I also ate at the pizza restaurant and then, inexplicably got sick to my stomach and couldn't eat much of anything after that for most of the next day.
Day two: went to a couple of other resorts to check out all things involving weddings and toured the properties. Returned to RIU and went down to the beach, this time to really spend some time there. There are plenty of beach chairs and you can get towels there, but I recommend bringing a large insulated mug from home to hold your drinks - you'll be glad you did!! Anyway, I guess being a single woman traveling alone has its downfall, b/c one of the guys working for the hotel sat down next to me and WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE!!! I guess this is what they mean about Jamaican guys who try to get with American women. He went on and on about how he could not get over my beauty and he had to have me, but he could deal w/ just having me for a little while b/c he's not greedy, yadda, yadda, yadda.... Every move I made he looked at me like a piece of candy and just would not go away!! I felt uncomfortable, and I indicated that none of that was happening, but I wanted to enjoy the beach, so I stayed anyway and he finally went away when I fell asleep (w/ one eye open, lest he actually touch me!!). Beautiful sunset, immensely enjoyed it!! The vendors by the beach want you to stop and buy something, but a polite no thank you will do - they have families to support, too.
That nite in my room, I spied several large roaches crawling about and I just about died!! I wanted to switch rooms again (couldn't go back to sleep) and after WAY too much trouble and everyone acting like they didn't know what to do, I was moved to my third room of the visit. Unfortunately, they first kept trying to take me to rooms just like the first and second rooms I had, which I felt was a slap in the face. While in this last room, I realized that not only was the first room roach-ridden, but there was a problem with the A/C, b/c this new room was considerably cooler, even though it was larger, farther away from the beach and on a higher floor. I much preferred it and had no more complaints about the room. A couple hours later (I refused to go back in the room where all the roaches were crawling in the dark), I went to visit several other resorts and villas. I hired a driver (John) and he took me everywhere I wanted to go and I didn't have to worry about my safety while travelling alone. He also took me to DeBuss, which has excellent, very inexpensive Jamaican food. It further illustrated how average and below most of the food was at the RIU. But I will say that I asked a bartender at RIU to make me a nice sweet drink and he gave me a Bob Marley, which was delicious and really works on you!! Returned to the hotel and went back down to the beach (visiting all these resorts was exhausting!!) but had a different experience this time around. I had already been bitten to death by mosquitoes, which were also in my first couple of rooms, but not the last), so I had on a lot of bug spray, but since it had been raining off and on during the day, there were sand fleas everywhere!!! Sand fleas look just like fleas you find on a dog and they jump on you in the same way, only they like people and they come out of the sand, seemingly after it rains, b/c I had no problems w/ them before that day. My bug spray was supposed to repel them, but it didn't work in the least. There were so many of them, I almost ran o
the sun. That space was ok, but I've been to better pools in other places. I was still fighting the sand fleas, which were all over my towel and me, but eventually I got rid of them. I had dinner at the small, ritzy restaurant that evening. I can't think of the name of it, but you must make reservations in the morning to eat there that night. I should note also that if you get married there, your wedding party can eat in this restaurant as well. It was a decent restaurant, but I was highly disappointed with the taste of the food, further reinforcing that I would not want to get married at this resort. Also, it was somewhat dark and the "mood" lighting still wasn't enough light.
The food was very average, except for the spot on the beach, which is run by Roberto. He has the most delicious jerk chicken!! The buffet food was just average, which I guess is good if you are not looking to overeat on your vacation. If you really enjoy great food and it's very important to you, I would not choose this resort.
The staff was very friendly as well and I liked just about everyone I met, but I did not feel that management was very accommodating when it came to the first 2 rooms I was placed in, which were garbage. I would have preferred to not go thru all the changes, lose sleep, complain to management, etc. I didn't feel like I should know them as well as I did by the time the trip was over due to complaints.
As for other major resorts, I visited Beaches, Grand Lido, Sandals, and Swept Away. I would not go to Beaches (grounds are not very well-maintained). Sandals and Swept Away and both very nice, but Grand Lido put the rest to shame, it was by far the nicest hotel. Also the most expensive, but seems to be worth every dime and that will be the one we next visit.
Don't waste your money
This was the absolute worst service I have ever received at a 5 star hotel. The maids didn't have a key to our room, so we didn't get our room cleaned or our bar stocked unless we were there.
Jamaica-Negril-Riu Tropical Bay-Engagement Trip Report
I booked the trip to Negril with the expressed intent of proposing to Tiffany, my girlfriend of seven years. As a quick aside, since most people reading these boards are very Internet savvy, I must say I had a terrific experience purchasing a diamond online. There are many trustworthy sites out there, but I was extremely happy with the one I used (e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details). Anyway, thanks to those on these boards who helped with all of the comments about Jamaica and Negril, and for the great ideas on how to sneak an engagement ring through airport security.
We choose the earliest flight out of Dallas that departed at 6:10 a.m., and therefore we had to wake up around 2:30 a.m. The logic behind this was simple: Arrive in Jamaica at 11:45, go to beach, and take a nap, or arrive at 7:00 p.m. and loose a whole day at the beach. I must admit that this was one of the most stressful days in my remembrance. I had to figure out some way to get through airport security with an engagement ring, and without tipping off Tiffany to the surprise proposal. As luck would have it, I was searched at every possible step along the way, x-rayed, wanded, randomly picked out of lineups, etc. Amazingly, Tiff was never privy to any of the searches, and we made it to MoBay without incident. Clearing customs was a breeze, and we were on the way to Negril in no time. The road to Negril is no longer a nightmare at all. The road was about 90% paved with only short stretches of dirt roads. It took about an hour and ten minutes to get to the resort, although the driver did drive like a bat out of hell. The worst part about the drive was the shocking reality of how poor the majority of the Jamaica population is. It reaffirmed just how lucky so many of us really are. The arrival at the Riu was like arriving at a beautiful oasis in the desert. I know there are some mixed feelings about this particular property on these boards, and I appreciated reading both the pros and the cons of the resort, but damn, this place was absolutely amazing. We arrived around 2:00 p.m., shortly before their stated check-in time of 3:00, and were told it would be a few minutes until the room was ready. We were starving, so we decided to get a bite of pizza. I went with the Reggae pizza (jerk chicken, onions, peppers, jerk sauce, requested extra spicy) and my mouth was in heaven. Tiffany opted for the traditional cheese with tomatoes and was also satisfied. After lunch, we went back to the front desk, and we were informed that, "because you had to wait, we upgraded you to a suite." What a welco
d friendly the entire staff proved to be. We were led to the suite, and I tipped the bellboy an extra $10 to help keep the mini-bar fully stocked with Red Stripe throughout the trip. This turned out to be a great decision, because he showed up every day with 8-9 Red Stripes, new bottles of water, and plenty of soda. In one of the few slip ups, the front desk had forgotten to give us a key, which only gave me an excuse to get things set up for the evening's proposal. I went back up to the front desk to try to talk with Luis Merino, the assistant manager. I had been in e-mail contact with Steve Padley, the hotel manager, for the prior six weeks, but he was going to be absent during our trip. Luis was also not in, so I told another assistant manager my plans and asked for his assistance. He was more than happy to oblige, and led me to the head of the restaurant to get everything arranged. He told the guy from the restaurant to have a waiter, dressed in a tuxedo, waiting at one of their beautiful gazebos overlooking the ocean. He was also to have a complete setup of champagne and glasses, and was to be there at 6:00 sharp to catch the amazing Negril sunset. The assistant manager then led me to the gazebo, so I would be familiar with the location. I then went back to our suite, after twenty minutes of running around, and drenched in sweat, to find Tiff unpacking the bag with the ring. I was mortified until I learned I had stopped her just before she unzipped the pocket on the bag with the ring. We then spent the next few hours enjoying our room with a perfect, unobstructed view of one of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean, Bloody Bay. It rained off and on for a couple of hours (the only drops of rain until we were at the airport leaving) and I prayed it would end by 6:00 for the big event. Sure enough, about 5:30, the rain stopped and we ventured out. We were walking beside the beach soaking up the atmosphere, her oblivious to anything I had been planning, and then came upon the gazebo, w
n, our waiter, up there immediately, though my girlfriend thought nothing of it. We walked up to the Temple, me shaking in my sandals, and her just absorbing the beautiful, lush landscaping and the waterfall in front of the Temple. We started to walk up the stairs to the Temple, and everything was set up perfectly: The champagne in an ice bucket, the sun starting to drift ever westward, my heart pounding out of my chest. Even as Tiff noticed the setup, she was not expecting the proposal. Everything went off without a hitch, and we were now fiancées. We stood at the Temple for another half an hour, just watching the sun lower into the sea. It was now time for much celebration, and a lot of Red Stripe. We went to the Negril buffet that night and had an excellent dinner, although we were both too excited to eat a tremendous amount. Considering the early morning, and the very long and draining day, we called it a night fairly early.
I woke up around 7:00 a.m. and thought it would be best to go ahead and reserve a couple of chairs right in front of our room under a palm tree. It turns out, this was not totally necessary due to the ample amount of chairs and trees along the beach. I woke Tiff up around 8:00, and we headed to the Negril breakfast buffet. As buffets go, this one was among the best. A huge spread of freshly cut fruit, eggs and omelets any way you want, sausage, bacon, a different style of potatoes every day, pancakes, breads, deli meats, cereal, yogurts, fresh juices, and decent coffee. Everything tasted as wonderful as it looked, and we ate more fresh pineapple and mango during the trip than we have all year long. After breakfast, we headed to our spots on the beach for some well-needed rest and relaxation. There is nothing quite like laying under a palm tree, Red Stripe in an insulated mug brought from home, reading a good book, listening to live Reggae music, and hearing the waves (albeit small waves) crashing on the powdery white sand beach. This is definitely the definition of Paradise. Add to that the absence of any obnoxious kids screaming and crying. We did see a few tots during the trip, but they were the exception rather than the rule, and they were also well behaved. We spent the entire day venturing between the lounge chairs, the warm turquoise waters, and my favorite, the Jerk Shack. Wow, what an amazing array of flavors in one. Roberto runs the Shack everyday, and does a marvelous job at it. He takes quarter pieces of chicken and sausage and marinates them every morning in his own jerk recipe with Red Stripe. He then slow cooks the meat for about an hour, makes some crude slices in it, and slaps it on a plate for you to drown in his extremely spicy and tasty jerk sauce. The amalgamation of flavors put me on sensory overload, and that combined with Bloody Bay, my new fiancé, and the flowing Red Stripe made me realize that this might just be one of the best days and weekends of my life. We crashed at
and the ocean for the rest of the day.
Rise and shine at 8:00 sharp, and off to the breakfast buffet. It was even sunnier outside than the day before. We hat another great meal, and then went down to check out a paddleboat for a spin around Bloody Bay. Those darn things look a lot easier to do than they really are. We feebly paddled around the Bay for about an hour and then returned. It would definitely be a Hobie Cat the next day. We then went to the pool bar for a while, listening to the Bob Marley Legend, CD and floating in the cool water. I then went back down to our spot on the beach while Tiff got a massage under a palm tree. Later, we wasted the afternoon away, only breaking for the greatness of the Jerk Shack. Our room was located on the left side of the beach, which was definitely the more European side during our stay. There were many topless women during our stay, though they definitely were not self- conscious of their looks (they leave that to us Americans). We had reservations to the nicer restaurant that night, and dressed up a bit for the occasion. The meal was absolutely terrific. We dined on wonderful fish and steak, and tasty appetizers and deserts. That night we had really good intentions of heading to Alfred's, but as the night arrived, we both felt like hanging around the beach, and even took a late night dip all alone. This was one of the only nights we caught much of the house entertainment, but I must say it was not nearly as bad as I had read. That particular night, there was a live band playing Reggae, and everyone was really getting into it.
Once again, we were up around 8:00 and off to breakfast. After breakfast, we checked out a Hobie Cat and headed out to sea again. This was another highlight of the trip. It was very relaxing, and provided some amazing views of the Bay. We sailed over to Booby Cay, and hung out for a bit. We then caught some great gusts of wind and headed back to our beloved beach. This day was not much different than the others, in that we spent the majority of our time taking it easy, and enjoying our last day in absolute Paradise. That nights' dinner was back at the Negril for pork fajitas that were excellent.
Worst day-departure day. We had a one o'clock flight out, and the bus came to pick us up around 8:00 (way too early). Check out went smoothly, and we were on the way to the MoBay airport. We had a more laid back driver this time, and he stopped at various points along the way to point out different sights and plants and trees. We arrived at the airport about three hours before departure and spent the extra time talking about the most magical weekend either of us had ever experienced.
Jamaica, Negril, Riu Tropical Bay, and Bloody Bay are about as perfect as they come. I know many of you Negril purists hate the fact that Riu has taken over part of the Bay, and I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too, in that I am very against the new addition that will be built on the currently undeveloped part of the Bay. I think it is perfect as is, and I am sure you thought the same thing before the Riu was built. I just think every small detail of the resort was beautiful, and everyone there was extremely respectful and friendly during our stay. A resort such as this is perfect for what we were looking for: a short, romantic, relaxing stay at one of the most beautiful places in the world. Having been to many other islands throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere, I would whole heartedly recommend Bloody Bay and the Riu to anybody looking for a simple getaway from everyday life (at least until the new addition is built and ruins the current level of solitude and peace the place provides).
Beautiful but very European
Stayed at Riu on my 1st trip to Negril, it had only been open about a month so we got a great deal from the travel agent. Of course because of that, there's not a whole lot foliage and they hadn't gotten a handle on the mosquitoes yet.
The front lobby is beautiful, the rooms are lovely and always cleaned and restocked and air-conditioned. The staff is friendly to a fault and the beach is wonderful, you just want to soak in the sight of the ocean for hours.
My only complaints are that there's very little Jamaican food or music, they serve continental cuisine and play bad European dance music all day. Even the band they hired barely played reggae, it was more wedding band type stuff.
And I have to say that I wasn't crazy about the way they treat their staff, they're constantly on them and they had middle aged women on their hands and knees cleaning tiles, it's almost like they want the guests to see the staff busting their a** as a way to show what an attentive hotel they have. With the Spanish plantation-style architecture, this left a bad taste in my mouth...
And don't take transport from the hotel, walk out and get a regular cab. We paid $15 US for a ride that later cost less than $4.
Overall, the Riu is very nice, we met some great people and it was very relaxing.
A must see!
Of all the places i've been to, I thought that this was one of the most beautiful hotels i been too. I thought that the staff was great, especially the entertainment staff- "Slick" and "Elvis" and the bartenders. The hotel was always clean and the people were all friendly and smiling. I really didn't have a problem with the vendors on the beach i actually found them funny. The food at all restaurants was great, I really like the variety. I think that the beach party was alot of fun, but i think it should have lasted a bit longer as well as some of the shows. The disco was fun, but not all guests attended. I would definately go back to this hotel and i would recommend it to others. Ya Mon, NO Problem
BLOODY DAMN GOOD BAY
Located on bloody bay sits a Riu Tropical Hotel. I must admit that spending a week there was simply NOT enough. No complaints on my end except that they broke my luggage coming off the truck, however i'm going through a certain process that might take a long time to replace it. Overall, the beach is the best one on the strip and so is the hotel. They attract more people there then anyone else. Once getting there, you shall see why. Rooms are kept very clean, and they are very nice. They didn't have enough caribbean flavour to their cuisines, but that didn't really stop me from having the best time of my life so far. This hotel is a must see. However, word of advice....take a cab outside the hotel, and DO NOT book a tour to Rick's cafe with the hotel. Waste of time and money. Get on a cab from outside the hotel and let them bring you straight there. Staff was exceptionally unreal, especially Ramon(bartender) and Sylvester aka champagne lover(entertainer). The nightly entertainment ends early, but just hop over to one of the nightclubs being JUNGLE or DEBUS or Alfreds. It was alllllll good.
P.S. STAY AWAY FROM THE BOB MARLEY DRINKS!!!
Riu tropical bay, negril
the trip over all was great. I was not ready to come back home after 7 days.
we arrived around 10:30pm and the wheel on my boyfriend's suitcase was broken by one of the men unloading the truck of baggage. We were not impressed with that because it was not fixable. It would of had to have been replaced. We were told to bring the luggage back to the front desk and managemenment would take a look at it. We were not about to drag the luggage back to the front desk as we had just taken it to our room. However, I'll tell the end of that story after.
We basically dropped our bags off in the room and went to the pizzeria to grab a bite. All the other restaurants were closed at that time.
There are two buffets, the negril and bloody bay, a pizzeria called d'angelo's and an al la carte called Sir Anthony's. All were very good however I must say that i was not impressed with the jamaican dishes served. I've had better in toronto.
After eating we went to check out the disco "pacha". We were in there for about 2 minutes it was freezing cold and smelled funny; not many people in there either. As we met people during our trip they all had the same remarks about the disco. We jumped in a taxi and headed for a club called the Jungle which was 5-7 minutes drive. We were told at the hotel there was no dress code at the club but when we got there, my boyfriend was told that he had to have sleeves, (his shirt was sleeveless)so he had to spend $5 US and buy a t-shirt and then pay $10 US cover charge. The drinks were cheap though and we ended up having a good time once were in the club.
There was entertainment everynight but it was over at around 10-11pm. We felt it ended too early, especially the beach party.
The ocean and beach was absolutely beautiful. Every morning we would have breakfast, steal some bread and head to the ocean to feed the fish. We hung out on the beach every morning and then spent the afternoons by the pool and swim up bar. The beach was fantastic. If you walk along the beach you will find a nude beach by one of the other hotels along the strip. I only saw three nude people the whole trip however there were a lot of topless women. Not everyone was comfortable enough to go topless however. Also there were a lot of locals who walk up and down the beach trying to offer you "things" or braid your hair if it's long (thank god my hair is short) The vendors are also pushy... just politely walk away.
We went on the Shopping/Lighthouse/ricks cafe tour. The shopping was not worth it. They take you to two cheesey little tourist type shopping strips. If I were to go back again I would just take a taxi to the Lighthouse and Ricks and skip the shopping part. Ricks cafe was my favourite. I regreted not wearing my swim suit there as I would have liked to jump from the cliff which is 60 ft. There was a smaller one for the kids. My boyfriend jumped though and the sunset up there is indeed spectacular.
The second tour we went on was the blackriver tour. They take you to black river and show you the crocodiles. You can pet them and you can jump in and swim if you like. I, along with three other people jumped in...everyone else thought we were crazy. Then they take you to the hills where you have lunch on a beautiful cliff type restaurant (meal included in trip) There was a beautiful view up there and the food was not bad. We then went to YS falls from there where you get to see the falls and swing from the rope into the water. That was lots of fun as well.
One day we took a taxi with another couple to the 7 mile beach where we spent the day walking and stopping off at some of the many little restaurant/bars along the beach. I quite enjoyed that.
I have to say that the staff was amazing. They really made my trip so much better. I was already was having a great time but they made it amazing. The entertainment staff especially. I was practically in tears as I was saying good by to two of the girls especially. The Vendors are pushy but as I said, just walk away. If you go anywhere off the property also you will encounter this problem so just be polite but walk away. They really are nice people...just trying to make a living though. I found that if I nicely said no but was friendly, they in turn were friendly.
So what happened to the broken suitcase? Well, on the day that we were leaving, my boyfriend addressed the issue with the hotel management who told him that that would try to fix it. When they could not they were not willing to pay for it even though it was broken on their property, by their staff. We were told that we would have to contact sunquest and go through them to file a report of the incident etc etc. basically it will be a while before we get the money back IF they even pay for the damage. We were NOT IMPRESSED with that at all.
Over all it was a good trip and yes..... I would go back.... but i would unload my own luggage from the truck.
Riu Tripical Resort
The resort is BEAUTIFUL! The Beach is great. They do have alot of topless, it's no big deal, but some may feel uncomfortable. The food is not excellent, but good. It's very laid back and relaxing. The rooms are very nice, no problems. Don't stay on the beach much past sunset or you will be eaten alive by mosquito like bugs that you can't see. The vendors are very pushy, just walk away.
One problem. One afternoon following a rain, I was going to the beach alone, and slipped on water on the stairs/hallway area. The water was just sitting on the tile, and lots of it! EVERYTHING is tiled!! BE CAREFUL. And, I was. I was holding railing, watching where going etc. I hit my head on a concrete pillar, HARD. Lucky for me not seriously injured. The staff was on me in a instant to help. They were great! The hotel provided the doctor and paid. It did somewhat ruin the rest of our stay however. I was disappointed in management. After that all the management was interested in was getting me to sign a waiver. Which I DID NOT. And I suggest if anyone gets hurt that they don't either. Even if you appear to be OK you could have things show up later. Which have for me(Not life threatening, but problems I didn't have before). Anyway, I was told the Caribbean doesn't have the building codes we do, so they can tile everywhere like that. Accidents can happen anywhere, even when your being careful. It's especially scary when your out of the your own country. And I was afraid of having a cold, migraines, sunburns, and jellyfish stings!If it wasn't for the fall I would have rated the trip a 5! We did have a wonderful time! No other complaints about the resort. The food is very European, it's good just takes getting used to. If your going here you'll have a great time.
Before we went I read reviews that the air didn't work very well and they had power outages. No problems like that for us. Who knows!!
Enjoy the trip! Just watch out for wet tile!
Just another day in paradise!
One of newest resorts in Negril
I hope it remains a secret for at least a couple of years. My wife and I have been to alot of carribean resorts , but this one, takes the prize!! For the price it can't be beat!!
We'll be back!!!!!!yea mon!
TripAdvisor Reviews Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril
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