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“A Fun Stop-Over” 3 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 #13 of 76 Hotels in Mazatlan
Level Contributor
106 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“A Fun Stop-Over”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2009

The Riu is a beautiful hotel although it is very very massive! We stayed for three days from Friday the 16th to Monday the 19th before moving on to Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay.
We had a great time mingling with the locals--it was so fun and they are such friendly and gracious people.

We never had an issue with the elevators, check in was quick and easy.

The rooms were a bit on the small side but the balcony and the bathroom is very large. The shower/tub combination is a bit high to climb over and there is also a removable shower head which was a nice feature. The water pressure was fine (for those of us gals that have long hair to wash). There are packets of shampoo, no lotion or conditioner though. The towels are OK, however the bedsheets were very scratchy! They were not comfortable even without a sunburn!

I believe the TV did not have pay per view movies, but then again we never watched TV.

There is a liquor dispenser in the room and the mini-bar is stocked every 2 days, we did have to call to get ours re-stocked.

There is no bottled water at the pool bars--the only place we found bottled water was at the Sports Bar and when they ran out they sent us to the front desk. The water in the room is not drinkable. If you ask for water at the pool bars they will give you a small plastic cup with ice and water.

There is no room service at this hotel. There are snacks in the Sports Bar but this consisted of nachos or a pre-packaged hamburger or hotdog that you could microwave. Once I saw apples in the fridge there also.

As others have commented, the food is no bueno. We found the breakfast buffet to be the best bet. They told us that the breakfast buffet went until 10:30 AM, then it would change to continental breakfast. The hot food was still out when we went in at 10:30 AM. Lunch buffet was not so good but you can grab a plate of pizza or guacamole and chips or whatever appears edible and take it poolside. My hubby tried to get a dish of ice cream one day but it was runny. We were hoping that the Asian buffet would be better, but not so much.

The pool was beautiful and the loungers have pads! Chairs were abundant--no need to have to save a chair when we were there. For those who smoke--smoking is allowed poolside and in the outdoors bars. The swim up bar area became quite crowded and a little dirty and packed with bees towards the end of the afternoon.

The shows were fun-we saw a few. We never made it to the lobby bar nor the diso.

Okay, in the end : Excellent service, food not so good, rooms a bit small, I will rate this hotel a 3.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2,113 reviews from our community

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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
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English first
Saskatoon, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2009

My family had a great experience at this Riu. The pools were amazing. At the buffets there is definitely something for everyone. The rooms were nice, although you may see moths because they always have windows open there. I highly recommend the stage shows at night. They were great entertainment

Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
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richmond va
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2009

My wife and I went to the Riu Emerald bay Oct 11 through the 16 . The place was Fantistic . The staff was great . The view from our room was wonderful and the balconys are huge we had a standard room and the balcony was 10 feet deep and 14 feet wide plus there is a 10 ft wall between the balcony you never see your nieghbor . The pools were great very warm The ocean was rough you could go in up to your knees bad rip tides . the swim up bar did have some bee problems but nothing to keep you from going back to it. The hotel had to be only 10 to 15% ull it was like having the place to yourself also your rooms are very sound proof couldnt here anything outside in the hallways . The ood was good we didnt go to the sit down restaurants we work in the restaurant business so we like going to the buffet . But you must walk up to the restaurant up the beach AWESOME get the Lobster and shrimp combo about $16 american its a $80 american in the states . The sports bar was nice . I you ever need anything ask the front desk theyu will help you one night about 11 we noticed we didnt have any wash cloths I went down to the front desk and ask for some and they said we will send some up with in 10 min they brought them and extra towels also I would like to say thank you to Erica in the office there if you need something ask or her she is Fantastic and does her job well I hope her boss knows how hard she works . This was the most relaxing vacation i have been on I have been to 1 other RIU and loved it there also and will return to Emerald Bay and to other RIU what a Great Chain. any question feel free to email me. Go enjoy you will love it

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vail, CO
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2009

Before choosing the Riu Mazatlan, you need to decide what type of vacation you want. Depending upon your expectations, the Riu can be an inexpensive vacation, or it can be a vacation full of letdowns and disappointments.
We chose the Riu because we wanted a vacation with no work and that’s what we got. In order to fully enjoy ourselves though, we had to make certain choices and discover some hidden secrets to visiting a Riu. This is what we found:
1. People at an all-inclusive resort drink lots of tequila and stay up late in the disco. You’ll hear them returning in the early hours of the morning to their rooms. Bring earplugs.
2. People get drunk in the swim up bar and they may or may not relieve themselves there. They also get so drunk that they may get sick in it.
3. The rooms are basic but nice hotel rooms with double sinks and balconies facing the ocean. The mini bar was restocked every 2 days except the day before our last. We contacted the front desk twice to get more water and beer and were ignored both times. Water bottles are available at the front desk.
4. The alcohol provided in the rooms is crap except for the Jose Cuervo tequila.
5. If you like wine, bring your own. The free wine sucks. The bartenders are happy to cork your bottle for you and you can take it into the restaurant with you.
7. If you like soft pillows, pack a couple and bring them with you.
8. The ocean was dangerous while we were there, so we didn’t go in. There is a great surf break right up the beach that the locals take advantage of.
9. Food is served all the time. The buffets are plentiful and there are lots of choices. Do not expect 5 star food or service; you will not go hungry, but the food is not great.
10. Make your restaurant reservations in the morning for the specialty restaurants. We found that sometimes certain restaurants would be sold out due to large groups, and other times one of the restaurants would not be open.
11. Don’t order steaks in Mexico and expect thick cut steaks. Order the ribs instead in the Steakhouse. They are fantastic.
12. The coffee sucks but you can order Café Americanos, Espressos and Cappucinos that are machine made in the sports bar.
13. The staff is very friendly and always willing to assist you.
14. There is a bee problem at the outdoor bars. Swarms of them. Dead bees in the pools, bees in your drink when you reach for it, bees on your towel when you lay down.
15. The soups in all the restaurants are absolutely fantastic. Don’t skip them.
16. Make an appointment to use the spa “hot”tubs. They are located in the building right in front of the hotel and offer a nice relaxing way to get away from the crowds. They are not “hot” tubs, but rather mildly warm roman baths.
17. Get a Riu Class membership for free and get a couple of massages. You can get a 50 minute massage for about $42.50 including tip.
18. The rooms and common areas of the hotel are very clean. This is a rather amazing considering how much people party and just leave their glasses, bottles and cigarette butts around.
19. People smoke and this is allowed throughout the hotel.
Basically, you get a little MORE than what you pay for at the Riu. We paid $128 per night for 2 people. This included everything except our flights. It’s tough to find a clean room for that amount.
Would we stay here again? NO WAY. The problem is, most of the time when it’s time for us to go home from vacation, we don’t want to go. This time, at the end of our week, WE WERE OVER IT.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 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.
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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
#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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