Stayed here from Feb 1st to 8th, 2013. I've stayed at 3 all-inclusives in Central America so far and this one is my least favorite by far.
The Riu is, in a word, gaudy. It's probably the largest hotel I've ever stayed in and probably the largest I've even seen. I guess its rather imposing expanse is just not my style. It seems to rise up from an area that is otherwise sort of bland in terms of scenery- and because of this, the whole experience at the Riu "paradise" seems very contrived. Mind you, I can't go to an all-inclusive and expect anything natural, but the Riu was just so over the top, I felt very uncomfortable. The main lobby areas are ridiculously huge and out-dated. Restaurants were also huge with high ceilings and it was very difficult to maintain a nice intimate dinner conversation over the loud hollow noises all around us.
The food was simply not what I expected. Sure, there was lots of it with a few tasty dishes here and there, but it was very hard to find true Mexican-like food with any real taste, since the Riu seems to cater very much to what they believe American/Canadian tourists want. I don't really care to see burgers and fries- I can get that at home. The desserts were beautiful but that's where it ended...they were actually shockingly tasteless! And the alcoholic drinks seemed VERY watered down.
Rooms were tidy and fairly nice- but certainly not 5-star. Cleaning staff only pushed the dirt around on the floors each morning. And the TV did not have a remote.
Pools consistently had oil-slicks on the surface and the water itself actually felt noticeably greasy! Never set foot in the cloudy bar pool as my party realized early on that no one ever seemed to actually leave the pool when nature calls even after many hours of drinking! Doesn't lead me to think it is a very clean pool to swim around in :-)
Internet is only free in the lobby- and you are limited to only 90 mins per day. If you log on once for only 1 or 2 minutes or so and then log off again, you are done for the day despite not using up your entire 90 mins. Made it difficult to get those annoyingly unavoidable and necessary things done back home through the net. Yeah- I know, I was on vacation, but much as I'd like to have otherwise, life still goes on at home!
Night shows were for the most part pretty fun, but they really need to lower the volumes of their mics and their music!!!!! It's hard to sit back and enjoy when your ears are hurting (and we were at the back of the audience most times). Speakers on mics can simply not be heard well because of how loud the mics were set.
Out-trip offerings were rather bland compared to other Mexican areas, but this is certainly not the fault of the hotel rather a result of the rather bland area in and around Mazatlan. Don't even waste your time/money trying to snorkel- there's nothing to be seen!
The only saving grace would be the staff- they are wonderful all around. And also the spa- I recommend the spa at the hotel.
Overall, I won't bother going back. There are much nicer, more intimate hotels out there for the same price.
- 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