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“Fantastic Value, a couple surprises” 5 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 #14 of 76 Hotels in Mazatlan
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Fantastic Value, a couple surprises”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2009

My husband and I went to the Riu for our Honeymoon, from Oct 3-10 2009. The resort was all most empty (maybe 15% capacity?) so it was like our own tropical oasis for most of the week!

Rooms: the rooms were wonderful, the actual room itself seeming on the small side until you see the massive washroom (complete with tub!) and equally large balcony. Don't be taken in by the 'oceanview upgrade' though... every room faces the ocean and gives you fabulous views. The liquor dispenser was entertaining, but we didn't use it much as we prefferred the mixed drinks by the pool. The mini bar was refilled every two days without fail.

Food: The food was about what I expected at an all inclusive, not fantastic but definitely tasty. The best meal of the day was breakfast, and we very much enjoyed all the fresh melon and pineapple available at any meal. We only went to the Asian al-a-carte and we'rent that impressed by it. If you enjoy tea in the morning, though, bring your own, because the kind they have there isn't very good.
The buffet lunches at the steak house had the expected hamburgers, etc. and a serve-it-yourself icecream machine that was great.
Make sure you wander down the beach to Mr. Lionoso's.. the lobster and shrimp are fantastic, the drinks large, strong and tasty, and your bill at the end will be small, even for mexico! We each had the Lobster( two lobsters each!) and Shrimp special, and about 8 drinks total (think fishbowl sized for the Margaritas) and our total bill was 597 peso.

Location: Since it's brand-new, it's at the very tip nuevo mazatlan, which is about 1/2 hour from the airport. It's a bit of a ride to get to the golden zone or the old market, but very interesting especially in a palapa- a golf-cart like taxi cab. One person we met liked them so much he was trying to ship one home!

Beach: The red flag was up the whole time we were there, which meant that we didn't venture very deep. We still had fun splashing in the waves and boogie boarding, and the sand is so soft it's like powder. There is a roped fence that the beach vendors have to stay behind, so if you want to lie on one of the loungers (which there were LOTS of) you can without being bothered.
We did go surfing with lessons from the Mazatlan surf center.

Shopping: If you want shopping, the best place is actually along the golden zone. There is a downtown market, and it has a lot of your touristy type things, but the mini-markets tucked away on the golden zone generally have more amicable staff and bargin better. DON'T expect the touristy areas of Playa del Carmen or Bucerias in Mazatlan, at first glance, you might thnink you were dropped off in the wrong place when you go to the golden zone! Also, watch for timeshare sharks, they're very persistant.

Pools: There are two large pools divided into three circles each, and two smaller pools- one being the swim up and one being the kiddie pool.The kid's pool was largely ignored as parents wanted to swim as well and keep thier kids close. While there were definitely children playing in all the pools, a request for them to not splash would usually have their parent's moving to another area. There is no pool side service for alcahol, but two of the resorts bars are well placed- and they never mid making up multiple drinks!

All in all, we had an absolute blast, went on some great excursions (Don't miss the zip lining at Huana Coa!) and met some wonderful people. There were no problems with staff or elevators during our stay and we would definitely reccomend this to anyone looking for a relaxing week.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • 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
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2009

First time to Mazatlan; fourth year now to Mexico's pacific coast. Sunday 11th to Sunday 18th with Sunquest Vacations; direct flights from Vancouver to Mazatlan. About ~30 persons arrived for Sunquest; we all took the same bus from the Airport (~40 minutes). We paid $1010 CDN each (taxes included) which we thought was an excellent price for a new 5* hotel.

Hotel Appearance:
Amazing; big; grandiose; larger than life. Las Vegas-esque. Yes, the lobby isn't air conditioned... but you aren't there that often or long. Check-in was a snap for our group. Fruit punch and tequila shots were made available. Bellmen took bags up to your room right away as soon as you received your bracelet, room cards, site map and area package tour information. Some lobby areas have decent access to wireless internet - we had an iPod Touch to check our email.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday picks up with numerous local/travelling families in for the weekend. Monday was a holiday so there were more people and kids around that day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were dead. Reportedly ~23% occupancy. Our group of Sunquesters had our own pool pretty much all week - we hijacked a drink tray as well and ordered a dozen drinks at a time just to avoid walking down to the swim-up bar area. There was a drink cart available on the first Sunday/Monday... but then that got put away when the numbers went down.

Timeshare People:
We did not encounter any at the hotel. We did not encounter any in Mazatlan or on any of our three tours that we did (Disclamer: that's not to say they are not out there =:)

Buffet Food (Breakfast & Lunch):
There was a wide assortment and selection... even for the slow season... I could see how you could get trapped into eating the same thing each day though if you weren't in to mixing it up. Beer (Dos Equis) on tap; Wine on tap; lots of other soft drinks and smoothies (breakfast) to choose from. Buffets are indoors - no access to bugs or birds getting into the eating area, which is a very good thing. Slow season... bacon made its way to the buffet on a few days. Peanut butter was not made available during the stay as there were too few people (I'm guessing PB is expensive). Waiters/Waitresses of note: Eduardo and Hilda (breakfast each morning) went out of their way to be funny, engaging and helpful. Alain, Jesus and Juan at the pool bar were more than accomodating for our group as we were ordering 8/12/16+ drinks at a time. We tipped them all well.

A la cartes:
Bamboo (Asian) - sushi was great when it was fresh; great noodles/rice/vegetable dishes. Tobasco (Mexican) - tortilla soup very good; fajitas were decent; like most restaurants you can always use more totillas to finish up your fajita fixings.
Steak House - nicely done to order ribeyes & sirloins; everyone raved about the ribs.

Will be stocked every 2 days. 6 x beer (Dos Equis); 4 x Pepsi, 2 x Diet, 2 x 7Up, 2 x Soda Water, 1 x 1.5L purified water and 2 x 600ml purified water. There is a liquor dispenser... but we didn't use it... we were not keen on Jose Quervo tequila (after sampling real 100% agave made at Los Osuna ranch - see Trips below) and the Gin/Vodka/Dark Rum domestic branded 38% alcohol bottles really do smell like paint thinner.

A/C works very well. King beds are typical - "Mexico firm". Three standard sized pillows. There is a fleece blanket in the closet if you wanted to sleep on that... or crank up the A/C. Decent sized balconies with privacy wall between units. LCD TVs. Caution: keep the A/C on or the floor tiles will get very slippery with the humidity. Caution: The bathtub was very slippery; there are grabholds to get in/out of the tub - anyone under 5' 7" will need them as the tub is elevated 6" above the floor (Truth be told... I found the concept of a tub very odd, since we've only ever had shower stalls in our past Mexican resort hotels). We only got a towel animal on our fist day (Elephant) - we kept tipping, hoping to see one of the dozen or so others that were modeled at our first breakfast.

Red flagged each day; very wavy. Beach is wide and very sandy. There is a roped off area that separates the water side public beach from the resort side beach area and keeps the vendors at bay behind the line. There is a Lifeguard in a tower. We didn't make it to the beach chairs, or even out in to the surf. We did walk north up the beach to the Restaurant... everyone raved about the Shrimp & Lobster and the 2-for-1 drinks; a MUST DO.

We did the "City Tour"; "Blue Agave Tequila Tour" and "Sunset Cruise". Had a lot of fun. Sunquest uses Ole Tours for transportation and Pronatours for activities. Both operators were very professional. Victor Urrea at Pronotours is a wealth of information about Mazatlan and an absolute gentlemen to talk to and travel with for the day (we had him on two of our tours =:)

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2009

Check in was quick.
Lobby and public areas beautiful although no A/C in lobby. Wifi in lobby (hot) sitting there.
Room was immaculate, and bathroom very roomy
and clean. Plenty of hangers in large closet. Safe will accomodate laptop computers.King size bed was comfortable, and extra pillows were available by asking housekeeping. Mini bar is very convienient .Beautiful view and large balcony. Buffet restuarant, great breakfasts, lunch was plentiful and decent, fair selection. Asian Rest. was O.K., my wife enjoyed it so we ate there twice. Steakhouse was just O.K. steak in Mexico is generally tough. The wait staff at all of the restuarants were perfectly charming and ready to serve your every need. All in all we had very relaxing and very pleasant weeks vacation. Great hotel,great food, beautiful beach, with beautiful sunsets, and attentive staff. Would definitely return to the Riu Emerald Bay.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2009

An Honest Assessment

As someone who finds the "it was the greatest (hotel employees posts)" or "it was the worst (some hyper sensitive Americans)" critiques annoying…Let me give you the honest truth about this place.

About me: I have visited Mexico on numerous occasions and stated at other RIU resorts.


The hotel has a magnificent structure that distinguishes it from afar.

The Room had an Ocean view, as they all do. It was clean, comfortable and suitable for our needs.
The made service were great, anything we asked they provided (tipping helps –3 dollars per night was not going to break us)

Hotel Cost: About $175.00 per night – Wife, baby and myself (keep this in mind when the cons come around)

Many families! So a plus for us, but would not stay here if single or couple. (funny thing the design of the hotel is more suitable for couples)


The Hotel is far removed!! We rented a jeep and travelled through Sinaloa for 2 days, stated in the rest of the time. Taxis will eat you up, taking you back and forth to the center.
If you prefer the peaceful ambiance away from the center than this is great, if not don’t do it you will be paying lots of money

The food was OK…That’s it! Not too bad but not great by any means!

They were short staffed and appear to not retain employees well. Hence service at the restaurants was minimal at best.
One night we actually had to just pile the plates ourselves in the corner of the table, the table was never cleaned - people simply walked out before finishing dinner.....
Called for luggage assistance and no one came. Their loss (had a nice tip in hand)

They issue again is a staff shortage…those that serve us were very kind.

Please be careful while in the water, the beach in this part of Mazatlan is dangerous! A man almost drowned – he was only 30 meters from me.

Overall we enjoyed our stay in Mazatlan, including Riu…but I would not pay anything more than what we did to stay here. The service is simply not there!

Also, thanks RIU – prior to this hotel all inclusive was not part of the Mazatlan hotel scene. They changed that paradigm!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Chilliwack Canada
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2009

Riu Emerald Bay
Sept 13th - Sept 20th

Sorry for the long review but just want you to know that the Riu Emerald Bay was AWESOME for us.

Bus - Ride from the airport was great and only took 33 minutes.

Hotel Check In - was the best hotel check in we have ever done. They took us into the lobby bar (which was closed during our stay as it was the low season) where we were served with a delicious drink and a shot of tequila…..was really nice..

Our room - was awesome, gorgeous and spacious with of course an incredible view. Our tequila was empty upon arrival and we like extra pillows we phoned down and they were brought up right away. Once we were in our room for about 15 minutes our phone rang and I answered it and it was the front desk calling to make sure everything in our room was okay. I said it was GREAT and thank you very much for the call. Our fridge was stocked every second day….On our Anniversary we returned to find a bottle of Champagne and we didn’t say anything about it. We are assuming that housekeeping saw all of our anniversary cards on the dresser and arranged it.

Elevators – well yeah they were awkward for 2 of the 7 days we were there but as soon as we reported it to the front desk they were all over it and we had no problem the rest of our stay (I got stuck in one of them one night)

Food – was awesome, tons of selection, and very tasty. There was seafood at this hotel. Not all the time but everyday you could find fish and shellfish.

Entertainment – was awesome. We sat at the bar on the pool deck watching and it was awesome. And my husband even joined in one night…be prepared you’d think you will be up there for a few minutes I think he was up there for about 45 to and hour. But he had a great time. Those entertainment staff work so hard, they start in the morning and work all day..

Pools – tons of them but they are warm and not overly refreshing but awesome. Some previous people said they don’t clean them, NOT TRUE they are cleaned around midnight…DON’T GO IN THE SWIM UP POOL some people don’t know where the washroom is and think they can just sit there and peeeeeeeeee. Quite gross. It ruined my bathing suit and the casing on our water camera….but they are gorgeous.

Sea – didn’t go in…..

Staff – oh gosh where should I start. You know if you think these staff are rude, you’re expecting them to bow to you. They were incredible I could start mentioning names…..Erick he made us feel like family, Juan well he was the best and don’t think he wont remember your name or EVERYONE’S because he will, Aracheli at the entertainment pool deck bar (she works evenings) with Gabriel, Erika the public relations manager she was so concerned that everyone enjoyed their stay……there is so many more that made our stay memorable but it’s hard to remember all their names. Sorry but the staff at the RUI Emerald Bay were INCREDIBLE.

Mr. Lansios – A MUST, go out of the hotel onto the beach turn right and you will see a rock about 10 minutes away, it’s right there OMG the shrimp are incredible we ate there 3 times. And it’s not expensive. If you sit in Juan’s section you will be very very very well taken care of, we had the shrimp and the lobster; also the tortilla soup (apparently right Dianna) is awesome also. We sent 4 different couples there and they also loved it. We really liked the Cadillac margarita (wicked) but we also like the tequila glasses so we bought 2 for 3.00 each…..We walked back along the beach in the dark and it’s safe and Jose our driver also told us it’s safe, actually safer than the road as the weekends tends to be a lot of drinking and driving as it’s not illegal in Mexico.

Gus & Gus – was incredible. It was the best food I have ever had in Mexico. The staff are awesome and the price was great. I had shrimp fajita and my husband had chicken. They were both amazing.

Mazatlan – was great, we would go back again. Just wish there wasn’t sand fleas. We liked old town as its way more culture there. Did NOT like the golden zone. The market in old town and the shrimp market was awesome to see. You have to try shrimp while in Mazatlan cuz they’re amazing.

Transportation – Bus to get to town you can hire a taxi, palmania driver or catch the bus. We took the bus into old town (must see old town) and it was quite simple you just walk out in front of the hotel and flag it down. You can take one bus but it only comes every 30 minutes or take 2 and it’s easy. The front desk was very helpful in telling us which bus’s to take. It was 6 Paso’s for each bus……..then we took the palmania back as we had walked 3 hours and didn’t want to get sun stroke. So Jose was our Paulmania driver and we hired him for 3 days. Here is his phone number so when you’re there you can call him say glen and Rhonda from Canada posted his number he’s so honest, reasonable, and knowledgeable and his English is great. The hotel will help you dial it if you don’t know how to [-] and his email is [-].

OVERALL THE HOTEL – Was great and I would go back there. Especially if there is another deal like we got. It doesn’t matter where you go, if you’re looking for negative you’re going to find something. This hotel really allowed us to put our feet up and enjoy it. Before we went honestly I was scared after reading the comments. Nah, you have nothing to be scared about it was awesome…….

oh and if you have children there is a huge water park across the street...

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2009

We went Sept 19 for a week. Occupancy was about 20% so the place felt empty. Most days we shared our pool with about 6 others. The pool by the bars was busy and the pool bar was swamped every day most of the day so we went to the far pool and walked a long way to get a drink.

We had our pick of cabanas and loungers. People still went down early and staked their claims to chairs and cabanas but we didn't suffer. Elevators came when we pushed the button and we rode alone most of the time.

The buffet was awesome - different every day although you could always get Mexican, pastas, fish, pork, beef and chicken dishes. Veggies in a buffet tend to get overcooked so I ate a lot of raw veggies and fruit. Sushi was freshly made and was often on the buffet. The place was so empty they closed the buffet and opened two a la cartes two nights. Even then it felt empty. We loved the quiet and the service and the selection. We never lined up for food. Service was non-stop because there was so little for them to do.

Rooms were clean and common areas were spotless.

Timing is everything. Weekends were busier and lots of Mexican families showed up. We're older and noticed the noise, splashing and bustle of children, but we knew this wasn't adults only. If you don't want kids acting like kids, don't go here. During the week kids were noticeably few but that was just lucky. On the busiest night the resort was 40% of capacity. Even that is nothing when the place has 700 rooms. They are equipped for crowds so anything less is a piece of cake for them.

We tip only at the end of the week because we expect to be served well. The best were tipped generously and the others were not. We were served well enough always, but we go out of our way to be easy and non-demanding, getting to know the servers personally, showing them affection and kindness. I suspect some of the poorer service is due to my lack of Spanish and the server's shyness with English. It seemed the same staff I found lacking, were vibrant and responsive to those who spoke Spanish, even conversing with them.

For a great deal, go in their very low season - after their Independence Day. Great rates, and have the place to yourself.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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sylvan lake
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2009

The RIU Emerald Bay is a wonderful resort! Do not pay any attention to negative reviews. I believe everyones holiday will be an individual experience, but I do not know how you could be dissapointed here. The people in the hotel and in Mazatlan itself, are the best, most friendly, honest and appreciative people I have met. The service in the hotel is by far the best we have experienced in Mexico. Food in the buffet is great, lots of choices. We did not try the restaurants in the hotel, but heard mixed reviews.
We even lost our camera on the beach the first night, and thought it was gone. A wonderful lady who lives down the beach, from the RIU found it on the beach, brought it back to us the next day. We couldn't believe it. It made our trip. A $20 bill fell out of my husbands pocket when we were in the pulmonia and the security pointed it out and we got the money back. VERY honest people.
Elevators were not a problem at all!! I have no idea why people said it was, because we never had to wait and they are very fast. Rooms were great. Beautiful views from every room. Beach is amazing! Soft sand and great waves.
Must sees in Mazatlan: Cliff divers, the cathedral, golden zone shopping,Ponchos restaurant in the golden zone is right on the oceanfront and is a great place to have lunch.
One negative aspect of the Riu: We were not there long enough!!!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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 11
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
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:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Mazatlan
#6 Spa Hotel in Mazatlan
#8 Romantic Hotel in Mazatlan
#10 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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