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.
- 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