One year had past and I pondered on where to visit this year because it was definitely time for vacation number two.
This time I didn’t want to go through the hassle of booking my own vacation. I found out about a travel agency named Cheap Vacations. I looked it up on Facebook and the prices weren’t bad. I was hesitant because I thought this must be a scam!
I started to ask people in my circle if they knew of this agency and to my surprise a family member of mine had used them. Instantly, they were verified!
Hotels and rates are constantly posted on their website and social media pages.
Once you have decided on a location that is in your budget, you then have to check it’s availability. This can be don’t through a number of options.
WhatsApp was my main source of contact and they were very responsive and even offered a payment plan.
I must admit that even though I was reassured of the agency legitimacy.
A mini panic attack was felt each time I transferred payment to their account
The Day had come
With bags all packed and everything in place, we headed for Negril.
It took hours of driving to reach our destination but the scenery along the way was well worth the trip.
I gave my confirmation code to the reception and waited. My family was staring at me, their expression reflected the worry on my face.
“Provide me with your name,” she said kindly, a part of me felt like her search would fail and I would have to drive all the way back to Kingston crying!
Then I heard the printer, my sigh of relieve echoed in the lobby. Gladly finalized my reservation and received my royal blue wristband.
Cheap Vacations worked in my favour, I got to vacay because of layaway!
Drinks from the lobby cooled me down.
Relaxed my muscles and got me in #vacay_mode! 10 minutes later, my head was spinning from that lobby drink.
That was my first lesson.
Don't play with Jamaican Rum.
Room was on the “update” block which had a bar and a pool nearby.
That was awesome because after all that walking you start hoping to reach your destination.
Yes, you guessed it, Riu Negril has no elevators … just stairs.
No stairs issue was a big drawback for me because I had to tussle with my luggage up the stairs on arrival and another episode when departing.
But when I got to the room we saw a variety of liquor to our disposal, at this point the struggle to the top was worth it.
That beautiful scenery on a daily basis was truly relaxing.
Looking at the acres and acres of well-manicured lawns as the waves from the Caribbean sea inches away – breathtaking.
The staff at Riu was no way near Hilton. Half of them were just a little too friendly for comfort which made them come off as unprofessional.
Ashley and jay from 90 day finance, did mention that they met at a hotel, I wonder if it was at a Riu hotel.
But I doubt that because jay is from the opposite side of the island and we were in Negril.
Food & Drinks
Restaurants are beautiful and spacious, with a wide variety of food and drinks to choose from.
Countless options honestly made me confused sometimes, but they also afford me the opportunity to try something new.
I was a pleasant surprise to find a lounge that was named after Usain Bolt. I adored that they were highlighting our own homegrown “world record holder” – Fastest man.
But all that aside, the food was not the highlight of the trip. It was more quantity than quality – very bland and forgettable.
Drinks, on the other hand, I learned early not to play with Jamaican rum. On arrival I had a mixture of cranberry juice with some rum and believe me you, it kicked in shortly after.
That set the pace for the rest of the trip as far as drinks were concerned, each bartender mix was strong. So if that’s not what you want, make it known beforehand.
Ain’t No Party like the Riu Foam Party
Entertainment at RIU Negril was a five out of five stars for me.
That team made sure you were entertained with all types of antics and pool parties.
“Ain’t no party like the Riu foam party” is a line that will forever stand out in my memory, the foam party was a blast!
PS – Be warned that too much foam will make you feel like your suffocating, I to swim away from excessive foam from time to time.
It was something you would have to experience for yourself to see if it’s your time of entertainment.
There was fire breathers, giant chess games, and wine & cheese events…there was always something to capture your attention.
Very family-friendly and a true getaway from the fast pace of the urban areas.
Overall I would go back to a Riu but not necessarily the Negril location, mainly because of the fact that its one of the older Riu’s in terms of infrastructure ( like no elevator).
The Ocho Rios branch had some upgrades recently plus major scenery.
The food was not a hit in my book but the major ticket items were the entertainment and scenery. It was definitely beautiful to wake up to such a sight at Negril point!