We just returned from a 1 week vacation at the Riu, April 5 through 12. We were a group of 5 adults and 1 toddler (19months old). Here is a recount of our experience.
The Riu is a large hotel, 700+ rooms, but the grounds are compact so it is easy to get around. We stayed on the first floor, while family was in the upper levels. The elevators looked tiny, but apparently were quick and relatively efficient. The hotel is impeccably clean. I even saw a few of the staff literally cleaning the tops of the light posts and pergolas (i.e. bird poop). The staff are really great, very friendly, service was great. Note that most if not all of the staff that are directly involved with the guests (bartenders, waiters, etc.) speak very good english. The one exception is of course the front desk, which I suspect is a bit of a strategy on the hotels behalf. A note for those who book with a package charter like sunwing, the check-in will be incredibly efficient, and you will wonder next time you go on a all-inclusive vacation why all the hotels don't do it this way. As for guest volume and demographic, I would say 60-70% full on the weekend, maybe 30-50% during the week, and a mix of families (50%), the senior sunbathers (you know the ones, 25%), and the under 30 drink in the pool bar crowd (25%). Canadians and Mexicans are the dominant nationality frequenting this hotel. The hotel never really felt "crowded", as there were plenty of sunchairs around the pools, as well as on the beach. There is always a solid buzz of activity going on though, so if you are looking for serenity I would suggest a different hotel.
Amazing. Soft golden sand, huge surf, lots of palm trees for shade, and a close walk to the bars or self serve beer tap. What more could you ask for. The souvenir sellers are required to be licensed and remain behind a roped area away from the loungers, so you do not need to say "no gracias" like a broken record. Because of the wave strength there is a very strong undertow, particularly around the 2-3 set of waves from the beach. I recommend that poor swimmers or weak bodied tourists remain in the shallow 1st wave set, while the stronger swimmers would be comfortable further out. The tides also play a role in the tow strength and water depth, which can be deceiving. Boogie boarding is great here. The beach goes on forever to the south, and about 15min walk to the north. One of my favorite things - there was none of this "get up a 6am to put a towel out on the chair" crap, with the exception of surrounding the pool bar........
Clean, well appointed, spacious, overall pretty classic mexican hotel. The beds are quite hard, so if you are used to your pillow top memory foam firmness selector sealy posterpedic then these beds are not for you. The bathtubs are deep, narrow, and the step out is sketchy, so use the hand rails. We were on the first floor in a duplex room, which was great for the space, BUT, was so loud it was actually quite ridiculous. My suggestion if you prefer a duplex room - ask for the left hand side of the resort, rooms 135 through 140, this is the quiet side. Our first few nights we were directly over the disco with machine gun fire thumping until 2am, and immediately adjacent to the sports bar, so every time someone shanked a billiard ball you knew about it. The hotel hallways in general are deafeningly loud, so if someone is speaking in just over an audible whisper near your room, you're going to hear about it. Do yourself a favour and get a room on the upper floors, left hand side of the hotel when facing the beach.
Overall I thought the food was great. Lots of choice, good quality, and obviously sufficient enough to binge on for 7 days. There seemed to be quite a few complains online about the food, which I don't quite understand. A tofu based flax seed vegan tree hugger buffet this is not, but there are plenty of options to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. I enjoyed breakfast the most. We did all 3 a la carte restaurants, which weren't a la carte exactly, but good nonetheless. As for the comments regarding recycling of food - anyone familiar with the food business will know that this is standard practice due to food costs and product turn-over. So for the food snobs out there, even your 3 star michelin will turn that 4 day old tuna steak into tartare for the wednesday special.
The hotel, food, pool, weather, and beach were all great. Personally, we struggled a bit at an all-inclusive, particularly with a toddler, because we had no control over the scheduling of meals. Example, when normally at home we eat dinner at 5:30pm, but the dinner restaurant didn't open until 7pm, which makes things a bit dicey when we're talking about bath and bedtime already by that time. Also, just due to the nature of an AI hotel, there is a lot of activity and stimulation going on, so by mid-afternoon most of the kids are in melt-down mode. For families, this hotel would be a good choice, but I recommend for the kids that are just a little bit older (i.e. 4-9 years). If you can score a good deal, this is a great value hotel.
take a tip from Beyonce and stay to the left to the left
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.