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“Look elsewhere...” 2 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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Best Fall Getaway
Ranked #15 of 75 hotels in Mazatlan
Orange County, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Look elsewhere...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

My wife and I booked the Riu Emerald Bay all-inclusive for our wedding anniversary trip July 2013. The resort was not quite what we hoped for. First I will cover the positives.

Some of the resort areas were generally very clean. The staff cleans the place constantly, including a full time person to mop just the lobby floor. So, upon our arrival the place looked very nice. The resort itself is attractive, and our room was a decent size and quite clean. The views from every room are amazing as all rooms are on the ocean side. The service staff in the restaurants were very good and very attentive.

Now the negatives.

The check in/check out process is absolutely abysmal. I must say that it is absolutely the most disorganized mess at a hotel I have ever experienced. We waited in line for an hour just to check in to the room. There were not enough staff people to handle the volume of check-ins, and they all had to go to the back to get each guest's registration package. Quite an incompetent system I must say. The check-out process was also quite disorganized with literally one person handling the check-outs.

The food was not great. The breakfast buffet was decent, but with the number of people, it could definitely be quite a zoo. Dinner was not good at all. Every piece of meat or protein we ate was severely overcooked and lacking in seasoning. DO NOT EAT AT THE ASIAN RESTAURANT!!! The food was utterly disgusting...and this is no exaggeration.

There are not nearly enough elevators to handle the volume of people that this hotel packs in. Our average wait time for an elevator was 14 minutes. This became a running joke, and I began to actually time the wait times to document it. Luckily we were on the 4th floor, so we could walk down the stairs when the waits became unbearable.

The pools were murky and filthy. Also, we noticed numerous naked young children swimming in the pools, which kind of grossed us out. As well as some babies with normal (not swim type) diapers in the pool as well. The staff really needs to police the use of the pools better, and they should be kept sparkling and clear. The pools are, after all where most people spend their time.

The pool swim up bar was typically packed and had horrible bartender service. One incident that occurred which REALLY shocked us was the first day. We witnessed one of the pool bartenders lean over the bar and literally stick his tongue down the throat of one of the guests. It made us feel SO uncomfortable that we decided to leave the pool bar area. Seriously, this is completely unacceptable behavior for hotel staff.

We went to the resort show on a couple of nights. The traditional Mexican dancing show was good. However one of the other nights the show included some quite unfunny vulgar humor involving men beating women. We didn't find this very entertaining.

One day after a going into central Mazatlan we returned to the hotel and after waiting about 15 minutes for an elevator, we decided to hike up the four stories to our room. Upon arriving at the room, there was a sign on the door stating that all of the room keys had been reset, and we needed to go to the front desk to get a new room key. I was quite irate at this point! We walked all the way downstairs again to get our room key. Why the hotel couldn't have posted signs in the lobbies or by the elevators notifying the guests of this inconvenience is just another testament to the sheer incompetence of the hotel management.

The biggest detractor of the hotel, however, was the sheer volume of guests. It was quite obvious that the hotel was understaffed to handle the number of people. And it made for a hectic, not very relaxing trip.

I personally would never stay here again. And...to be honest, if this hotel is exemplary of Riu resorts, I probably will never stay at another Riu anywhere. That being said, if you are a large family or with a large group of people and relaxation isn't really what you are looking for, this resort may be a good value for you.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (432)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

Fantastic stay at Riu Emerald Bay. The people were a lot of fun and the only very bad thing I have to say about the resort is the long lines at the elevators. There are 20 some floors and people even on the first three will take the elevator which wastes a lot of the vacation. Food was great, staff was energetic, beach was great, surfing close by, great restaurants close by, nice city.

Room Tip: Get rooms on lower floors to avoid elevator traffic.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2013 via mobile

We were at the Riu from April 5th to 19th and it was great. There were six of us traveling together and everything turned out great. check in was handy - got our bracelets on the bus, and picked up our room packages seamlessly. The staff were amazing! George (papa) in the lobby bar was absolutely the best bartender ever! David at the front lobby was super friendly and very helpful! The beds are quite uncomfortable but again, it's not 'home'. The beach was beautiful and loved the fact that the rope was there to keep the venders from approaching you while you were on the lounge chairs. Plenty of beach chairs available. Go to the restaurant at the end of the beach on the right - amazing food and drinks and decent prices. The ride into mazatlan is like 15 min, we hired Franco for the day and were totally impressed with him - too bad we didn't know about him until the last couple of days, otherwise we would have used his services for the whole trip! Mazatlan is beautiful and NEVER felt unsafe at ANY moment, so for those of you who say to stay away from Mazatlan, how about you actually venture out and off the beaten path and get to know the locals, who by the way are the most kindest people out there! Make sure you call Franco if you want to go downtown shopping! Overall we would definitely go back to Mazatlan. Message us if you have any questions! Pacos Friend and Pacos Friends Wife!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherwood Park, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

The hotel looks lovely from the outside. Inside it is a busy mess that needs more attentive and polite staff with an upgrade in the elevator system. The food is average. The drinks are average.
The staff is average. The rooms are okay but not cleaned well. The staff must be overworked and have to rush to make their quota of cleaned rooms because the quality of cleanliness is just not there. The restaurants are okay but the nothing stands out other than the incredibly long waits for the food lineups on the beach, and the wait for the elevators. I get a terribly eerie feeling at the elevators knowing about that lady from Canada who was almost beaten to death in the hotel a few years ago. I think the RIU needs to improve their staff to guest ratio. Set out wasp traps as the wasps were horrible. Too many to tolerate sitting outside by the pool with a drink. The RIU seems to cater to the locals with an incredible deal of $70 per ROOM for locals. So the weekend shows busloads upon busloads of local families enjoying the hotel with 6-10 per room and 1000 screaming misbehaved kids infiltrating the pool area. You can see the multitudes of buses in the parking lot. It only adds to the unorganized food lines and elevator waits.
I don't love it and I know there are better places to stay in Mazatlan. The place is on sale alot because they do need to fill the hundreds of rooms. I wouldn't recommend it.

Room Tip: Choose a different hotel.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Savannah GA
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

Hotel was clean and staff very friendly and helpful. Many did not speak English though. Very crowded though. Brought locals in by the bus loads. A lot of children present. Good for family not so much for relaxing adult time. Food was typical buffet with Mexican cuisine prevailing at breakfast lunch and dinner. Drinks were not very good. Coffee is not their thing. More of a 3 star family w/kids vacation. Trip was not expensive though.

Room Tip: Don't know. Three women slept in 2 double beds pushed together. Not what we booked. All are nois...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pico Rivera, California, United States
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

When I first arrived to this hotel I simply could not believe hoe fancy it was. The rooms had very comfortable beds. The staff was also very attentive. My favorite thing was that there were eight pools all with special features like in pool chairs. I also loved that they had a very large amount of restaurant options including a buffet and a chinese and Mexican restaurant. At night there was also live entertainment which I really enjoyed they had a Mama Mia show one of the nights I was there it was very fun to watch.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

This is my 3rd visit to Riu Emerald Bay. We stayed from May 3-10. This time we came with four family members.
I think after 3 visits I can give a good idea what to expect. I found the staff quite friendly in all our interactions. We needed a wheelchair for our grandfather, I emailed the hotel prior and when arrived they had arranged a chair for us $15 day. We requested that two of the rooms were close to each other and they arranged adjoining rooms that are very cool because they have a main door access then two separate room doors. So you could keep main door shut and open room doors to stay connected. We had the jacuzzi suite again which I would recommend highly. The tub takes 12 minutes to fill I timed it because someone complained about how long it took.
Yes the hotel was I would say 80% locals and 20% Mixed. Once you realize that just work with it, I had been learning more Spanish and I found it went along way and had some real fun with some of the locals. We almost never waited for elevators and we were on 18.
The food was pretty good. I always could find something I liked. There was bacon everyday so blt's were my breakfast of choice.
We did go for mani and pedi at the spa and while they do a couple of things different it was an enjoyable experience.
We did go down to Mr Lionso again but we were a little disappointed with the lobster this time but the shrimp both garlic and coconut were great along with the service.
Was paid $965 from calgary and for all inclusive that's pretty good. But I will have to say that with Sunwing they stopped in Vancouver both ways and that suck. But all in all for what you pay it is a good value.
I will also say that when flying with toddlers it would be nice if they had to have their own seat. Picture this, last row my 6'5 boyfriend, me in the middle and a 6' man and a 2 year old. In the seat in front of us the same scenario but the mom with the twin. They cry, scream, go back and forth between the mom and grandfather. Try to eat, read or have a nap. Good luck, now their problems become your problems. I watched a poor couple on the way back try to juggle the grandfathers food try with his own while the child pitched a fit. Parents buy a seat for your kids use a car seat others would like to enjoy the flight.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Mazatlan
#7 Romantic Hotel in Mazatlan
#12 Family Hotel in Mazatlan
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Mazatlan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Emerald Bay 3.5*
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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