- On arrival in Jamaica in 2001, RIU became the first Spanish chain to commit to the country as one of its principal destinations
- Two years after the launch of Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril, the chain now has six hotels, 3,300 rooms and more than 1,500 workers in the country
RIU Hotels & Resorts celebrates its 20th anniversary in Jamaica. In 2001, the Spanish chain opened its first hotel in the country, the Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril. From that moment, RIU’s commitment to the country has not stopped growing, and today it has six hotels in three different destinations (three in Montego Bay, two in Negril and one in Ocho Rios). In addition, that commitment is reflected in the renovation and refurbishment works that the chain has undertaken in Jamaica: today, RIU’s entire hotel portfolio there is either newly built or totally renovated.
When the Riu Palace Tropical Bay opened in 2001, RIU became the first Spanish chain to decide to commit to Jamaica as a destination in which to develop its operations. The challenge of taking RIU’s business to Jamaica was a personal commitment by Luis Riu, the chain’s CEO. “Since my first visit to the island in 1998, I knew I had to open a RIU hotel in Jamaica. I was entranced by its beaches and nature, but above all by the culture and the charisma of its people, and I knew our clients would feel its charm too. At that time, it seemed crazy, but today it’s a success story. Jamaica is one of the Caribbean’s major destinations, not only for American tourists, but rather for almost all the European countries,” explains Luis Riu.
The launch of the Riu Palace Tropical Bay was followed a year later by Riu Negril. After that, RIU carried on investing in other regions in the country, and opened Riu Ocho Rios in 2005. Two years later, in 2007, came the opening of Riu Montego Bay, its first hotel in that part of the country. Over the years, and including the recent renovation of Riu Montego Bay in December 2020, the hotel chain has continued to invest in improving the infrastructure of all its hotels, as well as building two new hotels: Riu Palace Jamaica and Riu Reggae (which opened in 2013 and 2016 in Montego Bay).
This growth and RIU’s commitment to Jamaica have allowed the chain to create more than 1,500 jobs in the country between its six operational hotels, and those members of staff still include some of those who started weaving RIU’s history in 2001 in Jamaica. The performance of each and every one of them has been deeply appreciated by RIU’s customers in Jamaica, and for that reason the chain’s hotels have received prestigious awards from German tour operator TUI and American tour operator Apple Vacations, such as the Golden Apple Award and the Crystal Apple Award, based on the opinions of hundreds of thousands of travellers who evaluate and score the staff, service, food quality, facilities, beaches and activity programmes.
At present, RIU Hotels has more than 3,300 rooms and more than 6,700 beds in the country. Due to the pandemic, RIU had to close its hotels in March 2020, but a few months later it was able to return to action. The first to reopen its doors was Riu Ocho Rios in June, and now the Riu Palace Jamaica and Riu Montego Bay are also in operation, all implementing the protocols set out in the RIU Hotels Post-COVID Manual.