We travelled as a group of 11 to this resort, from April 9th to the 16th. Our group consisted of 4 adults, 2 seniors (1 handicapped) & 5 Children - two 7yrs, one 6 yrs, one 4 yrs and a 5 month old. Though this was our first visit to Mazatlan, we have stayed at resorts in other areas of Mexico on multiple occasions, and have also stayed at another Riu (in Ochos Rios, Jamaica.)
Before booking our trip (directly through Sunwing), we had read numerous reviews about this resort and so we had a rather good idea as to what to expect. Our experience was pretty much consistent with what has been posted by a majority of the reviewers and so I will try to limit my comments to the highlights of the trip.
I do, however, want to first acknowledge the fantastic service offered by Johnny, the Sunwing rep, who lend us his own stroller for the week - a wheel in our stroller was broken by the airline at the Matzatlan airport.
1) This is not a 5 star resort and so you should only book a stay over here if the price that you are offered is reasonable for a 3.5 star resort.
2) The resort is clean and the staff is friendly. However, it is rather obvious that the resort is understaffed and so your experience will vary based on whether or not the resort is booked at full capacity. In our case, during the week days, the resort was at 50% capacity and so things worked well. However, during the weeked, the resort was full, because a lot of Mexican families stay for the weekend and so things were a bit more chaotic. I have read some negative comments in other reviews about the Mexican folks, which is rather unfortunate. All I can say is, like the rest of the population on earth, you are dealing with individuals and not with a homogenous entity i.e. some individuals are pleasant and curteous while others are not.
3) The rooms are spacious, have an ocean view and are cleaned regularly. We stayed on the 14th floor and had a terrific view of the pools and the ocean. The ocean breeze is fantastic and so we slept with our balcony door open.
4) The food at the buffet is of a decent standard but the ala carte restaurants are lacking. The Mexican ala carte is the only true ala carte restaurant i.e. where you sit down and actually get served. The other two are a bit of a joke, especially the Asian one. Interestingly enough, the Asian restaurant in the Riu at Ochos Rios, Jamaica was also terrible. Perhaps Management at Riu might want to consider hiring folks who actually know how to prepare Asian food.
5) There were two ladies in charge of a very bareboned kids club and the kids pool is only suitable for very small kids. We were initially a bit hesistant to leave our kids in their care, as we felt that they were understaffed. However, they must have been doing something correctly because our kids wanted to go back each day.
6) The Ocean is rough and the pools are cold. It is probably due to the time of the year, but the water in the pools was very cold in the morning. Apparently, the pools are heated, but I can say from personal experience that the water was quite cold until approximately noon. During the last two days of our trip, things warmed up noticeably, and so I don't think that any one travelling over the next while will have this issue. However, if you are one who wants to spend a lot of time in the ocean, be aware of a strong undertow: we witnessed a lady being rescued by the life guard.
7) The coffee at this resort is terrible; management at Riu please do something about this. If you need a decent cup of coffee, you will have to take a 10 minute trek to the plaza outside the resort where there is a collection of restaurants and stalls.
8) Make sure you visit Mr Lionsos, the seafood restaurant at the aforementioned plaza. It was a great experience and the food was fantastic.
9) If you have younger kids, the Jungle Adventure is decent trip option. We left our 5 month old behind and took the other kids on this trip. Captain Polo, who runs the trip is quite a character and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area.The food at the Mexican village is great. However, if you do decide on swimming at the secluded beach, beware of the fact that the toilets and shower facilities over there are rather primitive (there were cockroaches roaming about.) Another tip is that the price for the trip is negotiable, as my wife was able to negotiate a lower price for the trip from the lady ( she wasn't with Sunwing) selling tickets at the lobby ( I believe we paid $40 USD per adult and $20 USD per child.)
In summary, it was a decent experience but we will not go back. For a few more dollars, I would rather go to a venue which offers amenities such as: room service, true ala carte restaurants, decent coffee and a kids pool which is suitable for older kids.
- 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