by Andrea Guthmann
“Let’s get the party started!” is the motto at Royal Decameron Club Caribbean. Other than the name, there’s nothing regal about the accommodations or atmosphere at this fun-loving hotel. This is a budget-friendly, all-inclusive property in Runaway Bay, just over an hour east of Montego Bay’s Donald Sangster International Airport.
Best known for the unique octagonal cottages that make up the majority of its guestrooms, The Royal Decameron Club Caribbean is also known for its private beach and water sports activities. There are two pools and an onsite dive shop where you can get certified to dive, or schedule snorkeling or glass-bottom boat tours at an additional charge.
The resort is located within walking distance of its sister property, Royal Decameron Fun Caribbean, and there’s a free shuttle between the two. Guests of one property are free to use the pool, beach and facilities of the other.
Since alcohol is included in your stay and there are five bars, you’ll find it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, sometimes everywhere, at this resort. The most popular drinking hole is the beloved Jetty Bar, which extends out into the ocean on a wooden dock. Here you can drink in an amazing view of the ocean while lounging on one of the delightful wooden swings that encircle the bar.
All the action is by the main pool, where you’ll find the hotel entertainment staff working tirelessly to keep the spring break atmosphere alive. They work hard to get guests to participate in dance classes, bingo, game shows and other vacation activities on the main stage. If wild and crazy poolside entertainment isn’t your thing, there’s an adults-only pool where you can get some peace and quiet.
Plenty of serenity can also be found throughout the lush flower gardens. You’ll find plenty of hammocks, benches and other places to rest while simply taking in the scenery in this tropical paradise.
Our Editor Loves
- Lush tropical gardens
- Private beach and watersports
- Nightly family-friendly entertainment
- All Inclusive Rates
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Royal Decameron Club Caribbean is best known for its unique octagonal cottages with either a garden or ocean view. There are 33 of these charming, oceanfront cottages perched over a beautiful section of the Runaway Bay coastline. Keep in mind the cottages are built on a small concrete ledge that drops a few feet, which could pose a problem for smaller children. All cottages contain one king-size bed and a day bed. Another single bed can be brought in free of charge. Cribs are also complimentary, but they do not provide bed rails. The maximum number allowed in these cottages is two adults and two children.
The cottages are simply decorated in bright colors with Caribbean art. These rooms are not luxurious, nor are they the most modern, but they are clean and make for a delightful home base on vacation. The bathrooms are simple, but tasteful, with some containing baths, and some only with tiled showers. If a bath is important, you'll need to request that when booking.
There are also 114 garden cottages with the same layout of one king bed and a day bed. All rooms come with air conditioning, cable TV, a hair dryer, iron and ironing board and a telephone.
You can request a refrigerator in your room for $5 per night. A safe deposit box will cost you an additional $2 each day.
The oceanview suites in the two-story building are large enough to sleep five people and come with a complimentary refrigerator. These 20 suites contain a living room with a pull out couch and a bedroom with a king-size bed, separated by the adjoining bathroom. An additional single bed can be added to sleep five people. Both rooms have TV's, making it a good way for everyone in the family to have a little more space to relax. If you have small children, make sure to request the garden level rooms instead of upstairs, as the stairs can be both cumbersome and dangerous.
Families larger than five can reserve two adjoining garden cottages that connect through a covered walkway. For those who need them, there are wheelchair accessible rooms.
The party never seems to end at this resort, so when booking your room, request not to be anywhere near the main stage by the pool. It gets extremely loud, and the fun keeps going late into the night.
I visited this hotel with my family for the first time in July of 2019. As soon as we got out of the taxi we were welcomed by friendly staff and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Everywhere you looked there were impeccably kept grounds, extremely helpful staff and top notch services. Nothing was ever too much trouble for any of the staff members, no matter where you were or what your issue/request was. I would deffinetly recommend this hotel to anyone who wants a peaceful and relaxing getaway, either on your own or as a family, due to the fact that the provided entertainment caters for everyone from the kids to the older members of the party.
Let me preface this with the fact that all resorts have their pro's and con's. No place will give you everything you want...you're just hoping that there is a heavy lean towards the good versus the bad. Here is my overview:
1.Food - Overwhelmingly bland and non authentic or tasty. The two restaurants are complete garbage and a waste of time. The "snack" bar mid day is horrible and the menu is small and honestly gross. We tried most things on this. The buffet is average to above average at breakfast, mediocre at lunch and hit and miss at dinner. Ok omelettes and fruit. Every theme night is terrible except for the jamaican night...naturally, but thats only 1 night. There is a wide range of choices in the buffet, but again, most options are blah. Tastes are geared toward mass market and very very unseasoned and bland and cheap. They try very hard to make things look nice, but then you taste it and its so gross mass produced food with bad ingredients.
2. Service - Needs a complete operation overhaul. Lots of people not doing much and not doing it efficiently. People taking your plates before you're done. 15 minutes for drink service. No place to do things yourself since it takes so long and the staff chastises you when you try to pour your own water or get your own silverware. The service in the a la carte restaurants is terrible. Waiters are not happy, and you don't feel like its special at all. The food here is inedible and the menu's have only 4-5 options.
3. Property - Feels mediocre and dated in some parts. Facilities need upgrading and some are not operating.
4. Rooms - AC in our room wasn't great for a place with this much humidity and heat. Bed is definitely not comfortable. Water pressure was hit or miss the entire time and the water went almost completely out the final day we were there.
5. Entertainment - More of a pain than anything else. Had weird things playing and going on at weird times. You're trying to have dinner and there's a loud speaker game show going on in the background. The carribbean music was great at times and then all of a sudden someone would come on the speakers. No nightlife here at all.
6. Bars - Most drinks are poured in ugly plastic clear cups. The drinks weren't terrible though and the bartenders are fast and can make almost anything. The alcohol mostly tasted cheap and sugary.
7. Noise - The huts have thin walls and roofs so you hear everything and every bird chirp at night and rooster crow in the morning. That was a huge pain.
8. Location - Not close to anything and a drive from anywhere. Atleast $80 RT to Ocho Rios and atleast $140-150 RT to the resort from Mo Bay. Its going to cost you to go anywhere.
1. The staff - They are mostly very very friendly and want you to have a great time. Will help in anyway that they can. People will cut down coconuts and give them to you to drink and the lifeguard staff was great. Jamaicans in general are a wonderful culture of people for the most part. When we had AC issues they "tried" to fix it.
2. Property - They're not great, but there are a ton of bars everywhere for you to imbibe from. Some better than others. The property has 4x little clamshell beaches which are all pretty good. Tons of beach chairs and the property is big to explore. Again, fairly dated, but things are interesting. The property is almost too big as its a pain to walk to places sometimes in the heat.
The place looks great at night. The buffet area is beautiful and the lighting is very nice. Especially if you're able to get a beachfront table. They're not the nicest though with trying to procure one of these.
3. Price- You definitely get what you pay for. This place is cheap, but you better come expecting it to be cheap.
I am writing this all so the next person doesnt come with preconceived expectations. I would definitely NEVER come back here, but thats because i have higher expectations if i'm going to a resort. I'm sure this place is great for certain people. Especially if you dont care about the quality of food, alcoholic drinks or your room. The beach was mostly beautiful and the sport options for paddle boarding, kayaking, etc were fun.
Royal Decameron Club Caribbean advertises that they have a kids' club for ages 5 to 12 years old, open from 10 a.m. to noon, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. When I visited, the kids club looked, and smelled, like it hadn't seen any children in a while. There was a musty odor in the small, one-room facility. In-room babysitting is available for an additional charge; just let the front desk know a day or two in advance.
I did not visit during a school break, so there were not many children at the property.
During school holidays and busier times, activities are scheduled for children throughout the day, including evening parties held twice a week and nightly children's shows on the main stage. There's also a children's playground in the garden area. Throughout the year, entertainment staff will gather children for poolside games and activities on the outdoor stage.
In addition, every evening there's a family-friendly show on the main stage. Some nights it's the resort's dancers, other nights it's a reggae or steel drum band.
Runaway Bay is not generally known for having Jamaica's best beaches. Although Royal Decameron Club Caribbean sits on one of the more scenic stretches of the beach, it can be rocky and doesn't quite compare to the grand stretches of soft sand you'll find on the western side of the island in Negril. You won't be able to take long walks along the beach in Runaway Bay, as you can on Negril's famous Seven Mile Beach.
All non-motorized sports at Royal Decameron Club Caribbean are free to guests, including kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing and a banana boat. There's also a trampoline platform out in the ocean to enjoy. Plenty of complimentary thatched huts are lined up along the shoreline to lounge the day away with a good book or while watching your kids frolic in the sand or water. The beachside huts are a delightful property amenity, and unlike many all-inclusive resorts that charge up to $100 per day, these are free to guests. The resort does not provide complimentary children's beach toys, but you can purchase them in the gift shop or bring your own.
Another perk is the onsite dive shop. You can get certified to scuba dive while on vacation and complimentary introductory classes are offered in the pool. Keep in mind this area of Jamaica is not as well known for its diving. Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, located one hour west and the other an hour east of Runaway Bay, definitely make for better diving.
Other onsite activities include pingpong, pool, shuffleboard or chess on a giant outdoor board. There are also two tennis courts, which are lit at night. The resort has an onsite tennis instructor and gear, all complimentary.
Royal Decameron Club Caribbean has three restaurants. The most kid-friendly is the buffet style Pick-a-Pepper, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks. They serve pretty standard fare, including fruit, eggs, omelettes, pancakes, waffles and bacon for breakfast, alongside Jamaican specialties. At lunch you can order a hamburger and fries, pizza and chicken wings from the grill, or choose from the fresh salad bar and other hot entries, which include Caribbean specialties. There are themed nights where cuisine reflects a specific region -- Asian, Mexican, French, etc. Jamaican night is obviously one of the most popular.
The two other restaurants are a la carte and require reservations. Jasmine Delta serves Asian cuisine. The other restaurant, Nyamings, serves seafood and Jamaican specialties. The view of the ocean from the patio area of Nyamings is magnificent and would make for a romantic dinner.
There is no room service offered.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There's a staffed fitness center for guests to use (included in your room rate). There are also adult-size bicycles for complimentary guided bike tours, but guests are not free to use them on their own.
There is a small onsite spa, but the facility is extremely outdated and seems like an afterthought at the resort. This is not the place to come for a luxurious massage.
The resort has a small gift shop selling sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and souvenirs.
Along with the five bars, the resort has its own disco.
Internet service is available only in the lobby, where you'll pay $5 per hour. There's also an Internet cafe with a few computers that charges the same rate. Unfortunately, you'll often find several people waiting in line to use them. It's a good incentive for you to disconnect from electronics during your vacation!
The charge for phone calls is $1.20 per minute to call the U.S. and 60 cents per minute for local calls.
The Art of Smart Timing
High season in Negril is December 15 through April 15. Hurricane season is June 1 through the end of November.
There are plenty of direct flights to Montego Bay's Donald Sangster International Airport from major cities in the United States and Canada. Transportation from the airport to the hotel is not included in your room rate. The 75-minute ride from Montego Bay's airport will cost you upwards of $75, depending on the number of people traveling. It's a scenic drive along highway A1, all the way from the airport.
Since Jamaica is a former British colony, locals drive on the left hand side of the road with the steering wheel on the right. You may want to pass on renting a car and let another driver do the work.
The hotel's front desk will call a taxi for you and arrange tours.
For Mom and Dad
Runaway Bay's location provides convenient access to some of Jamaica's most beautiful natural sites. If rugged adventure is your idea of a perfect getaway, then the wild treasures of this area will leave you impressed.
The hidden delights of the Green Grotto Caves are a quick 10 minutes away. You can take an informative 45-minute guided tour of the caves and view the dramatic underground lake. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children.
About 45 minutes east of the resort is Ocho Rios, best known for its magnificent waterfalls. The most famous is Dunn's River Falls, and guides will take you on walks along the falls. Keep in mind that on days when the cruise ships are in port, you could be climbing the waterfalls with hundred of tourists.
Reggae music lovers will want to make the one-hour trip to Nine Mile, the birth place and final resting place of the legendary Bob Marley. Rastafarian tour guides offer insights into Marley's humble childhood as visitors from around the world view Marley's small house. Admission is $15.
For $150, a driver will take you on a day-long tour through the Jamaican countryside to the rural village of Nine Mile, then to Ocho Rios and Dunn's River Falls, with stops along the way at craft markets.