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“Mostly positive aspects” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

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Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Av. Sabalo-Cerritos #3404 zona costera cerritos | Nuevo Mazatlán - Sinaloa, Mazatlan 82110, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #12 of 76 Hotels in Mazatlan
Wilmington, North Carolina
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
174 helpful votes 174 helpful votes
“Mostly positive aspects”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

We recently returned from Mazatlan after staying April 14-21. We really had a blast and we would return. There are many good things, some okay things and two negatives that happened to me. The negatives first -

Negative moment #1 - you are assigned towel cards upon check in and they tell you that if you lose your towel or card, it cost $20 to replace it. On our 2nd day there, someone took one of our towels from our chair (either by mistake or on purpose??). I went to complain to the front desk and the young lady said no one has brought a towel to them, but they would check with the towel person and she asked me to check back the next day. On the next day when I returned, I had a not-so-pleasant lady who insisted I would have to pay $20 to get a new towel card as I lost mine. I told her that I didn't lose it, but someone stole it from me. She wouldn't budge, so I asked her to call the police as I needed to report a theft at their hotel. She said she would not call the police and they wouldn't do anything about it. I demanded that either she give me a new card or call the police. She went back and forth to the Manager twice and I wouldn't budge from my position, so they finally gave me a new card. I wonder why she thinks she can act as the police/judge/jury and decide if/when a crime has occurred and why she can decide to call the police or not when a client has requested them to make this call to report a crime?? Also.....is it really worth the harassment of a client and 30 minutes of arguing for a towel (or $20)? Don't they want satisfied customers? Do they really think I would have gone through so much trouble if I wanted to take their towel? In my case....it was the principle of the matter, and I didn't appreciate how I was being treated. On the flip side.....they have another guy who works the front desk (Hervin) and he was signaling to me to come back later. I was already neck deep with this lady, so I didn't just want to leave at that moment, but I later spoke to Hervin and he said he would have gotten me a new card and he has no idea why some of them act indignant and insult the clients. Anyways......Hervin is awesome!

Negative moment #2 - in the lobby bar (1st and only time we went), I asked the bartender if he knew how to make a "Rum Runner" and he said "yes...but they call it a Road Runner". I said, "no...it is a rum runner". He insisted it was a "road runner" and it was made with Pepsi. I told him it didn't have Pepsi at all. I told him to just make anything and he gives me a mean smirk and returns with something yellow that tasted nothing like a rum runner. He also slammed the drinks down and turned away as fast as he could. All he needed to say was, "no....I am not familiar with a rum runner". We stayed away after that.

Sorry to start so negative. At the airport, you will encounter 2 sets of timeshare people. The first set is before you exit the international portion. Just walk past and through the smoked glass doors. Then you enter the main terminal and there are even more timeshare people - mostly in booths, but they will ask if you are looking for a taxi. Ignore these people as well. Walk outside to a small yellow booth. This is the taxi booth and the prices are all set according to zones within Mazatlan. The Riu is in Zone 3 and it cost either $40 or 440 Pesos. Since the exchange rates is/was 11Pesos for $1 - it doesn't matter with which currency you pay. You can also exchange money in the airport for the above amount. She insisted this is the same rate the banks in town give. If you have time in Phoenix (or wherever you fly from), you may want to inquire for a slightly better rate. They trip to the Riu is sort of far - approx. 40 minutes. Someone mentioned that the drive is through bad parts of town, but it reminded me of most Latin American cities (in the poorer countries). Check-in was semi-hassle free, but it seemed they didn't have my reservation and I had to show them my book-it reservation. All was taken care of rather quickly. And we got a GREAT deal from Book-it. Approx $2100 for 2 adults and one child for 8 nights at the Riu, originating in Albany, NY. The hotel and room were nice. Our room was set up like a King bed (actually 2 doubles pushed together). We asked if we could separate the beds and they said we could, or even better they told us they could bring us an extra bed for our child. It ended up being perfect. We didn't spend any time in the room, except to sleep and shower, so the beer/soda/water being supplied every other day was sufficient. I imagine they would bring you extra if you asked anyway - just not a towel ;-). The beds were hard, but I didn't have any trouble sleeping. We only had to wait for the elevators twice - both times at the end of the nightly show when everyone is trying to return to their rooms.

The food was okay. I found plenty to eat at each buffet. But....the quality wasn't the highest. I would say a step below Golden Corral, or Western Sizzler, etc...... Wine was horrible as everyone mentions and the drink mixers were super sweet. But not sugar sweet - it was more of an aspartame taste. The juices (at the bars) all tasted like this. Definitely not fresh juice, or even concentrated juice. Not sure how to classify them. I could only drink a few of those sweet drinks because of this, so I mostly stuck with the beer. As mentioned by all, they have 3 "specialty" restaurants for dinner - the Mexican was the only one where you actually ordered an entrée (choice of 5-6) and dessert (choice of 2). The food was pretty good. Nice change from the buffet. The other two were Asian and Italian. I actually liked the Asian as they had some different flavors. Not great Asian, but it was okay. They had Sushi, but they all had cream cheese in them, so if you don't like Sushi with cream cheese, you are out of luck. They had Tempura, some noodles, etc. It was also a nice change from the normal buffet. The Italian was my least favorite. The lasagnas didn't taste anything like any lasagna I had ever eaten. My wife enjoyed the grilled veggies, but this was my least favorite. But.....always lots of choices, just not the best prepared/tastiest food you will ever see. But....for the price..........

We enjoyed doing some of the activities with the activities group, but the problem is that they never went exactly as the schedule was listed, so you really needed to talk to them to find out what was happening each day. They also wasn't an activities booth, so you had to search for them walking around. But they work had and have good personalities - especially Fernando (the skinny guy).

The pools were a little cool. I doubt they are heated as they tend to get warmer as the day goes on and the pools that receive the most sun are the warmer ones.

We only took one tour - bought from the lady in the lobby - but I think each person/table (there are 3) sells the same tours. We took the Deer Island tour, but I would not recommend it. They take a long slow motor out and once you get to the island, you have to wait your turn to use the equipment. We only got to ride the banana boat once, the kayak once and went snorkeling once for about 15 minutes. The food also was not good - sliced Marlin with tomatoes/onions (to put in a tortilla), rice and refried beans. And since we already have free drinks and food at the hotel, there is no big draw for free drinks. All the people from the hotel that went on the tour with us went directly to the lunch buffet upon our return. That should tell you how must everyone enjoyed the lunch. I think it cost about $125 for approx. 5 hours, but not worth it in my opinion.

Almost forgot.......the Riu really needs to reconsider their Wi-Fi policy. It seems rather silly that they only offer 90 consecutive minutes per 24 hour period and only in the lobby. I guess they are trying to generate more income by forcing people to buy an expense Wi-Fi package. Just charge a few more dollars and offer free Wi-Fi.

In summary.........Riu Mazatlan is a great value. If you don't expect 5 star service and go with an open mind, you should have a great time. I put my two negative incidents behind me so I could enjoy myself. For the price we paid, we would definitely return.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,805 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (472)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

I have been to this hotel on a few occasions, it's a great hotel, helpful staff, impecably clean, it really is what you would consider a 5 star resort to be. One downside is the location of the resort is pretty out the way, and it does feel a bit stale (lack of ambiance). But I really would recommend this to any families, couples,or people travelling alone, this also the Riu has the best part of the beach in the whole of Mazatlan which is a huge plus (private so you don't get the millions of people selling you things approaching you directly) Rooms are large, airy & comfortable all facing the sea. Even the lower priced rooms are the best in Mazatlan. Downside is the drinks contract has been switched from Modelo to Cauhtemoc Moctezuma, no more Corona, it's all 2nd grade alcohol.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

Upon arrival (April 12-19) it was nice to get started with a few tequila's waiting. Hotel is beautiful. Staff is friendly. Food was not very good. I stuck to the french fries and fresh fruit. For breakfast the only thing I liked was the omelets but better get in line early as it seems everyone likes them. Our room was always cleaned. It would have been nice for the mini bar to be stocked daily not every other day.

My only disappointments was when we needed smokes or any extras I was told as a lady to walk 3 blocks outside the resort to the gas station. I was shocked..I even said to them that I couldn't believe they would suggest such a thing. At that point I didn't feel very safe.

Also the gift shop they have in the resort always gave you peso's for change even when you gave them American money to begin with. So I would suggest learning the exchange rates..because we were ripped off a lot and to our own fault we tipped very big!!

Overall..it was good..I probably wouldn't go back but I would visit another RIU hotel.

Room Tip: Stick to the ocean view..We stayed on the 9th floor and the view was amazing.I wouldn;t spend the ex...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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WL
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Hard working and friendly staff. We stayed from April 5th to the 19th, 2013. Had a great experience there. Never once felt like I was in danger. Do agree with some of the things in the other reviews. Strongly disagree with others. If you go there and you want to travel into Mazatlan I would say to ask for Franco the taxi driver. He will take care of you and show you the city sites. He speaks very good English and would never rip you off.
My only bad experience was and this is partly my fault. I got up and left my hoody in the lounge and when I went back to get it, it was gone. It was very expensive and it was a cold trip back home to Vancouver without it. Since it was the only sweater I brought. Hopefully someone is enjoying it.
Otherwise I would go back again with no problem.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thunder Bay, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

My daughter decided to plan a wedding without much notice. There were 9 people attending the wedding (including the bride and groom). The wedding planner did a great job!! She catered to my daughter's every need and then some. The perks for the bride and groom were more than we thought we would get (champagne). The bride and grooms room at the end of the night was decorated beautifully.
The sit down supper for the wedding was a fun time. The waiter at the Mexican Restaurant attended to our needs in a very efficient manner (I am so sorry I cannot remember his name). He was very respectful of the bride and groom and he was also quite funny -- interacting with everyone at our table. He is a huge asset to the resort. The waitress that brought our drinks was also very good. Of all the dinners during our stay this was one of the best and was very memorable due to the waiter and waitress.
Overall the food at the resort was not great. Everything seemed to be overcooked.
Breakfast were okay. We were in Riu in Los Cabos and food was much better there.
Waiters at the bars were not very personable even when we tipped.
We did have one waiter one day that served us drinks at the pool-- he was friendly and making some great tips.
The hotel is Very Clean.
The weather was great. Normally I would not rate this hotel as a 4-- but due to the pampering and the attention that was given to my daughter by the wedding planner I have. The wedding planner does derserve a 10!! Thank you for a memorable day and stay.

Room Tip: We were on the 18th floor-- no complaints-- Great View-- we lucked out!! Elevators were slow at tim...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

We traveled as a couple to RIU Mazatlan from April 9 - April 16.

CHECK IN: The BEST and fastest check in we have ever had. got nice refreshing drinks and an envelope with the room keys and towel cards.

THE HOTEL: RIU is a beautiful hotel. it is a one huge building with everything you need inside. It has 3 elevator on both sides of the hotel. We haven't waited more than 3 min to go up to our room, so i'm not sure what people were complaining about.

THE ROOM: The rooms are clean and the view is breath-taking (we were on 14th floor and all the rooms have ocean view). you can upgrade you room to a jacuzzi room for additional $40 per night, but we decided not to do that. I found beds to be ok (they are not the same as at home, but not the worst either). We had a safe and a fridge full of beers, water and pepsi. Also we got 4 bottles of liquor. Our maid cleaned our room and changed towels everyday (PLEASE don't forget to leave a TIP in the room for your maid).

POOL, BEACH AND OCEAN: Amazing beach with sugary sand! it's always windy there (which i don't mind). The waves of the Pacific are a lot of fun!!! You can't swim far, but boogie boarding is a lot of fun! Pools are warm have swim up bars. It's not hard to find a nice place to sit, lay down or put your bags, there is plenty of seats.

DRINKS: There is a 24 hour sports bar with drinks, burgers, hot dogs and nachos. A nice bar in the lobby, where Jorge and Jesus will make you amazing drinks! Try their cappuccino with Baileys!!! Pools have generic bars too. The guys working there are very hardworking and pleasant.

FOOD: Buffets were very nice. I really enjoyed the sea food. Pork and chicken were ok too, but i didn't like the beef at all, i tried it every day, but it didn't taste good (for me ). We booked only one a la carte: the Japanese Bamboo, very disappointing!! The a la cartes are buffet style and nothing special.
Once for dinner we went to the restaurant close by ( 7 min walk on the beach). the food was delicious and the prices were amazing ( we payed $50 for 3 people!). I highly recommend it!

ENTERTAINMENT: in the afternoon we relaxed, played water volleyball and did boogie boarding. But you have to be proactive, because the entertainment team is not the best in the afternoon. They have aerobics, volleyball and bingo.
At night they have live bands singing and at 9PM the show starts. We enjoyed the Michael Jackson show (the impersonator is very talented). At 11PM the disco opens. Music is mostly top40 and techno.....fun for a night or two, not every night though. You can also go to Senior Frogs in the Golden zone.

ALL IN ALL i enjoyed our vacation. If you go to RIU you won't regret it. BUT i couldn't rate it as excellent, because it is not excellent, it's very good! :)

Room Tip: Higher floors have nicer views, but all the rooms have ocean view.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

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.

Cheers

Room Tip: All rooms are oceanview, but the lower floors might have obstructed views.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

Address: Av. Sabalo-Cerritos #3404 zona costera cerritos | Nuevo Mazatlán - Sinaloa, Mazatlan 82110, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Sinaloa > Mazatlan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Mazatlan
#6 Spa Hotel in Mazatlan
#8 Romantic Hotel in Mazatlan
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Mazatlan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Emerald Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 716
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

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