I am surprised by the recent negative reviews. My husband and I stayed at the Riu Emerald Bay from November 10-17, 2011 and had an amazing time. There were some hiccups but we're pretty easy going and no one thing was bad enough that it ruined our trip.
We traveled with SUNWING who had a representative meet us at the airport. Unfortunately two planes that were supposed to be staggered ended up arriving at the same time so going through Customs was a lengthy process. The airport halls where we had to line up were not air conditioned and there were no bathrooms until you cleared customs so it wasn't the most comfortable waiting period. Once we got through, SUNWING checked us off and boarded us on the bus. Our bus had some mechanical issues and ended up filling with smoke while en route to the hotel. We were asked to open the roof vents to air it out so problem solved.
Once we got to the hotel we were greeted with a welcome drink and didn't need to check in as they had the whole tour group organized by names and envelopes ready to go complete with room cards. Unfortunately after arriving on the 17th floor our room key didn't work. I stayed with the luggage while my husband went to the lobby to get new key cards. After waiting in the hallway for 45 minutes (I was afraid to leave in case I missed his return), my husband came back and stated the room wasn't ready and we were being moved to another room on the 11th floor.
SUNWING had a representative present in the lobby and were always easy to find. The hotel staff were good and pretty fluent in English.
Excellent. The trip was very affordable and worth every penny.
The beds were very hard and we found that our backs were sore in the morning. Apparently you can request a foam pillow top from the lobby but we never bothered. The pillows were also not comfortable and were very flat. They only give you three so we requested an extra one so that my husband and I could double the pillows up but despite leaving a note with our tips to the cleaning staff we never received one. We also asked the lobby and finally received the pillow on the third day.
We were amazed to see how many cleaning staff were present. They were constantly wiping, mopping, cleaning the public bathrooms etc. There were small things like hair in our bathtub but for the most part everything was very clean.
This hotel is amazing. It's right on the ocean and not too far from the airport.
The room was spacious enough for two people. It could have had better patio furniture, the basic plastic chairs weren't that comfortable. The view was gorgeous though. We actually saw a pod of dolphins from our balcony. The shower wasn't lit and a little dark at times and the hot water shuts off after a while. So whoever was the second person to shower usually got cold water part way through.
The rooms are equipped with a liquid dispenser which was awesome. Unfortunately the bottles of rum tasted horribly. Even mixing it with pop couldn't hide the bad taste. The mini bar selection was good, but ours hadn't stocked when we got there. They re-stock it every two days so we went without for that time frame.
The quality of food would probably be our biggest complaint.The main buffet offered very good breakfasts and somewhat okay dinners. The food was very repetitive and by day three you didn't want it anymore.
The a la cartes were not good at all. There was nothing special about the food or the service. They pumped people in and out in a hurry. You couldn't order any special drinks, only their house wine, which was the worst wine I've ever tasted. I couldn't bear to have more than a sip, it tasted like a weird chemical. We did all three a la cartes and none of them were good. At least it gave us a break from the buffet.
We did two excursions. The first was a guided city tour. It wasn't super exciting, but for $25 a person, it was a cheap and safe way to travel around Mazatlan and see the surrounding area.
We went on a dolphin quest and it was amazing. The tour was offered through the hotel but the name of the company is oncaexplorations. Our guide, Oscar is working on his Doctorate and uses the money from guided tours to fund his research. He was very passionate about his work and obviously very knowledgable. We ended up spending over an hour with a pod of about 50 Spotted Dolphins, a pod of about 30 Bottle Nosed Dolphins and saw a total of 5 whales. It was incredible. For $60 a person, I would have just been happy with the 4 hour boat ride but this excursion definitely made our whole trip. The only bad thing was the cost of the tour was supposed to include our taxi ride there and back, but Oscar told us the taxi to return to the hotel wasn't included and we would need to pay an equivalent of $10 American dollars. We reported this to SUNWING who said that Oscar was wrong and they would deal with it. SUNWING stated they would pay us the taxi money back but they never did.
We borrowed boogie boards from the resort, however, they only loan them to you for two 30 minute periods, not back to back, per day. You barely get out there and you had to turn around and take them back. There wasn't an abundance of people using them so I'm not sure why they wouldn't let us use them for longer. The ocean was very rough and was "red flagged" the whole time we were there.We still went swimming but the under tows are obviously very dangerous so we didn't go far.
The two pools were okay. They weren't super warm and there wasn't a lot of chairs.
I know previous reviews complain about the fact there's only two banks of three elevators but it's not that big of a deal. At most you might have to wait two minutes.
So yes, there were some bumps along the road but the location is so awesome it's hard to get stressed about anything. We had an amazing, relaxing time. And really for what we paid, we definitely got our money's worth and would love to return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Opening summer 2009 * 12 km / 7.45 miles from Mazatlan, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa Las Brujas beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 20-story main building * Surrounded by 13.500 m2 / 16.15 sq. yards of lush gardens * 10 km / 6.2 miles from various shops * 12 km / 7.45 miles from Mazatlan * 32 km / 19.87 miles from the airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Emerald Bay Mazatlan