Riu Palace Tropical Bay: The Stunning Beach Resort for Your Next Holiday in Negril Jamaica

Riu Palace Tropical Bay: The Stunning Beach Resort for Your Next Holiday in Negril Jamaica

The Riu Palace Tropical Bay was my first all-inclusive resort experience.

Update: April 2019. Please note that the Riu Palace Tropical Bay was renovated in Fall 2018 and appears differently than it did back in 2015 during my stay.

I travel a lot, but travel does not necessarily mean vacation. Bouncing around from place to place and taking in all of the sights isn’t always the most relaxing holiday. After plenty of traveling, I came to Jamaica to have a relaxing vacation. Negril is best known for its beautiful beaches and the bright sunshine. I was in desperate need of both.

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Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: Exterior view of the resort building

Riu Palace Tropical Bay

I visited the resort with my best friend, Shannon and her mom, Diana. It was purely a girls getaway this time around. My first impressions of the Riu Palace Tropical Bay were fantastic. The basics were all there. Luxurious swimming pools? Check. Beautiful beach? Check. Abundance of slushy alcoholic beverages? Check. But, how did the Riu Palace Tropical Bay stack up? Would I enjoy the all-inclusive experience? Here’s my full Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay review.

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: The resort building from the exterior

What was included?

At the Riu Palace Negril, the phrase “all-inclusive” here really did mean all-inclusive. All meals, drinks, entertainment, WiFi, sports, and on-site activities were included in the stay. Other than tipping the staff (which I highly recommend that you do), you don’t have to pay anything extra than the price of the package vacation. It’s a good feeling to not have to worry about carrying around a wallet or having to pay for anything while you’re there. The included meals varied from buffet food to three-course meals at the restaurants in the evening. The drinks included local and imported beverages of all varieties.

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: Stairs leading up to the hotel building

The Resort

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril included one main building with the lobby and some restaurants, two buffets that alternated meal service times, a stage, two swimming pools (one with a swim-up bar), and several buildings filled with guest rooms. Bloody Bay Beach was merely steps from the swimming pools. It might seem like a large resort, but it didn’t take long to circle the whole place. I liked that it wasn’t a huge resort where it was necessary to take a shuttle from one spot to the next.

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: The front lobby of the hotel

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: The front lobby and bar

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: Steps leading down to the pools

Riu Palace Negril - Outdoor seating area - Outdoor Patio

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Jamaica - Outdoors by the swimming pool

At the Riu Tropical Bay, there were beautiful flowers and plants all around. We could always see workers maintaining the property on a daily basis. There were pretty gardens, gazebos, cascading water, lush greenery, and hibiscus flowers in full bloom. The bright pink buildings offered a tropical vibe. As soon as I arrived, I immediately felt like I was on a vacation.

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Review: Tour of the resort property

Hotel Review: Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica - Palm trees all around

Hotel Riu Palace Negril Jamaica - Hibiscus flowers in the garden

The Swimming Pools

I spent most of my days at the swimming pools of the Riu Palace Tropical Bay Jamaica. The water in the pools was always perfectly warm, heated by the sun. The pools were never crowded, and it was always so easy to find a free lounger. We visited at the beginning of November, which was an off-peak time to visit.

The more popular of the two had a swim-up bar. There were all sorts of drinks there: beer, hard alcohol, and slushy drinks. There were machines with pina coladas and strawberry margaritas ready to go. However, the bartenders will create your drink of choice using blenders. Shannon and I discovered our favorite drinks partway through the trip. Be sure to try a “Purple Rain” while you’re there. It was delicious. “Caribbean Orange” was another delicious beverage. I also sampled some of the special drinks of the day.

In the other pool, the staff members set up a volleyball net. We also attended a short water aerobics class in the pool one day. There were always games and activities by the pool, hosted by the entertainment staff. There was never a dull moment, though you could also seek relaxation and quiet. I spent hours laying on a lounger by the pool, reading a book. There were some loungers inside the pool, perfect for keeping cool. When I wanted a change of scenery, I took a dip in the sea. What a luxurious life!

Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril Jamaica: Swimming pools and swim up bar

Review of the Hotel Riu Palace Negril - View of the two swimming pools

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Review - Relaxing at the swimming pool

Resort hotel in Negril Jamaica - Swimming pools

Slushy purple drink by the swimming pool at the Riu Resort in Jamaica

Enjoying our drinks at the resort swimming pool in Jamaica

The Beach

A beautiful beach at a resort might be equally, if not more important, than a quality swimming pool. I can state, with confidence, that Bloody Bay Jamaica was one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen. From the twinkling blue waters to the powdery white sand, every image of that perfect beach that comes to mind was right there before my eyes.

The sea water was equally as warm as the swimming pool water. Towering palms offered reprieve from the sun. The water was shallow and clear. I saw a starfish at the bottom once, and there were rumors that another guest saw a stingray. This section of Bloody Bay Beach was also private, only open to guests of the resort. I was rarely approached by anyone selling any wares or tours while relaxing on the beach.

Entrance to Bloody Bay Jamaica from the Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

Sunset at Bloody Bay Beach in Negril Jamaica

The Food

There were four restaurants at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay: Rimini (Italian restaurant), Krystal (Fusion restaurant), Hakuchi (Japanese restaurant), and Bloody Bay (grill and steakhouse). I ate at every restaurant, except the steakhouse. For dinner in the restaurant, you must make a reservation for the following evening.

Vegan food at the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Resort in Negril

For vegetarians, there was a separate vegetarian menu that was the same for all four restaurants. However, whether you could order a particular meal or not depended on the kitchen for that restaurant being open. The restaurants worked on a rotation as to whether or not they were open. This may have been due to a reduced amount of guests because it was their off-season.

Vegan food at the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Resort in Negril

With that said, there were a few items on the vegetarian menu that were vegan (or could be made vegan). Otherwise, the staff were more than happy to prepare a vegan meal for me. As a vegan at this resort, I did not go hungry. Read more about what I ate as a vegan at the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay.

Drinks at the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril

For breakfast and lunch (and dinner on a couple of occasions), we dined at the buffets. There was always an abundance of fresh fruit and salad, and I managed to find some other dishes that were vegan. If in doubt about any of the ingredients due to allergies or diet restrictions, be sure to ask the chef. He’ll be able to go into more detail about the ingredients that were used in a particular dish.

Friends at the Hotel Riu Palace Negril Jamaica

The Room

I stayed in room 4317 of the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay Jamaica, on the top floor (third floor). When I entered the room for the first time, I’m pretty sure that my jaw hit the ground. From floor to ceiling, this suite oozed luxury. There was a large king-sized bed facing a flat screen TV with premium cable channels. The room included a sitting area with a couch and a chair. The areas of the room that stood out the most were the bathroom and the balcony.

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

The bathroom was covered in marble and had two sinks. There was a separate stand-up shower, and the toilet was in its own little room. There was a spacious jetted bathtub out in the open, and you could see straight through from the bathroom to the bedroom. This suite would be perfect for a romantic getaway or honeymooners. Even though I was staying in the room alone, I had many relaxing moments soaking in the tub.

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - Spectacular room

The balcony was gigantic and had an incredible view. Although I didn’t, I could have done cartwheels across the balcony. The private views of Bloody Bay Beach were outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - View from the balcony looking out to Bloody Bay Beach

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - View from the balcony

Hotel Review - Riu Palace Tropical Bay - View from the balcony to Bloody Bay Jamaica

Insider Tips

Here are a few things I wish I would have known when I first arrived:

  • The best coffee was located in the lobby bar. There was an espresso machine there, and the bartender made the best Cafe Americano.
  • Book your dinner reservations first thing in the morning for the following day. We discovered that if you wanted to reserve a spot in the restaurant, you were best to request it right away. These tables booked up fast.
  • Look at the entertainment schedule ahead of time and plan your dinner times accordingly. There were two times for dinner (6:30 and 8:30) and the late dinner schedule conflicted with the production shows. In these situations, grab an early dinner before the nighttime entertainment.
  • On the topic of entertainment, do yourself a favor and definitely check out the evening with the steel drum band. There was a local Jamaican steel drum act and they were really talented. Also, don’t miss the epic performance of “Beauty and the Beast” by the entertainment staff that comes right before the steel drum show. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to ruin it; just trust me on this one.


YS Falls in Jamaica - Tour with Viator

There were many excursions offered directly from the hotel or you could book your own. I preferred to book ones outside of the resort because I found that the prices were better and I had more choices. Here are a couple that I personally took and can recommend:

Luminous Lagoon Tour in Jamaica with Viator

How to Book

It’s always a good idea to compare package deals online before booking your holiday. I find that it’s cheaper to book the all-inclusive package all together, which includes the flight and the hotel stay. I also recommend that you look up the prices for the hotel and the flights separately to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

Flight to Montego Bay Jamaica

If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday at a gorgeous resort, the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril, Jamaica should be on your radar. It had beautiful swimming pools, delicious vegan meals, and one of the best beaches I’ve ever visited. I highly recommend that you take your next resort holiday there.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Riu Palace Tropical Bay and was offered a discounted stay in exchange for my review.

PIN one of the above images to Pinterest for future reference. Click the top left corner.

Have you taken a resort holiday in Jamaica or anywhere else? Tell me all about your experiences!

Planning a trip to Negril, Jamaica?

Here are my recommendations for your upcoming holiday to Jamaica.

Riu Palace Tropical Bay Resort

Where I stayed in Negril, Jamaica.

Rick's Cafe in Negril

To jump or not to jump? Read more about the cliff diving!

Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica

The mystical and magical waters that glow turquoise blue.

YS Falls and Black River Safari

A day trip excursion to explore Jamaica's beautiful nature.

Ras Rody's Roadside Organic Vegan

An unexpected place to eat in Negril.

Vegan Guide to Riu Palace Tropical Bay

All the vegan food I ate at this resort.

15 Responses

  1. sue
    | Reply

    Looks like a fun resort. I visited Jamaica many years ago and had a blast at an all inclusive (can’t remember name, but not this one) Did you venture out to explore much of the island? The waterfall you climb was one of the highlights of our trip. Sounds like I will have to check back on your blog for updates about that :)

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      We did venture out to explore some of Jamaica – we went to Luminous Lagoon, YS Falls, and Black River Safari. Amazing. We had so much fun on that waterfall – not sure if we went to the same one or not! I have articles about all of those experiences, you can find them on the blog :)

  2. Shelly
    | Reply

    Great review, glad you enjoyed your first time at an all-inclusive. We have visited Jamaica twice and love it there. Looking forward to hearing about the excursions you took.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you! I wrote about a few of the excursions if you’re interested (click on the Jamaica heading under Destinations > Caribbean). I love Jamaica!

  3. Vicki Green
    | Reply

    The Riu Palace Tropical Bay looks luxurious and relaxing. After looking at your photos, I’m ready to book!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      And I’m ready to go back! :)

  4. Karyn Jane
    | Reply

    Looks gorgeous hon! I really enjoyed your snaps on Snapchat while you were there so it’s good to see a more comprehensive review of the place.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Yes! Now besides my random chats, you got to see actual full photos which is great! Thanks for following along on Snapchat too!! :)

  5. Heather
    | Reply

    We stayed at the Riu in Montego Bay a few months ago for a friend’s 30th birthday–I am not a huge fan of all inclusives, but I have to admit we had a great time, too! It is nice to actually relax every now and again. Excited to hear what else you did in Jamaica!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      I’m glad the Montego Bay one was awesome, too! I heard good things about it. And yes…we all need to relax now and again, right? :)

  6. Andrea on Vacation
    | Reply

    I have been to Jamaica once- the Grand Palladium. Liked it but did not love. Your room looks amazing!!!!!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      My friend, Shannon who went on this holiday with me had also stayed at the Grand Palladium and enjoyed this one better, simply for the reason that it was smaller and you could walk everywhere. And the beach is gorgeous here!

  7. Etienne
    | Reply

    Which type of room did you choose to have this beauty?

  8. Rowdy
    | Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    My wife and I are planning an all inclusive trip this spring to Jamaica. She is a vegan and I would like to know if you stayed at any of these resorts and if so which ones catered to vegans and which ones you would recommend for a first time traveler?

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Yes! I stayed at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay and I ate lots of vegan food there. I wouldn’t say they specifically cater to vegans, but you are able to eat yummy vegan meals there if you request them. I wrote a whole blog post on it here:


      There’s also this amazing vegan food stand in Negril, which you could combine with a trip to Rick’s Cafe if you choose. It’s called Ras Rody’s Roadside Organic and the food is delicious! Here’s my article about it:


      I’ve heard that the Riu Palace is recently renovated and even more beautiful now! Enjoy! :)

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