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“SURF, NOT SWIMMING AREA” 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 #14 of 76 Hotels in Mazatlan
Vancouver, BC
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2010

My husband and five years old daughter stayed at this hotel the last week of March.
It was our fourth time in Mexico, and this vacation was the least favourite.
I would like to highlight the fact that was the most disappointing: IT IS NOT AN AREA FOR SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN. It is a purely surf area around the year, not suitable for vacation with little kids ( if you want them in the natural water, not in swimming pool exclusively) and for people who prefer ocean over swimming pools. Most of time the waves are giant, the undertow is extremely strong, it is possible to get into water only a few hours a day when the tide is lower ( and it was mostly afternoon when the sun is the most agressive). My kid was not able to get in at all, and it was my first vacation ever I had to be in the swimming pool because there was no choice.
The positive side about the beach is that you can have your nice long walks and the sand is very soft.
The hotel itself: the grounds are very nice, rooms are large, comfortable and clean, but there are a few things which does not make it five star. The most important: the food. We are not picky but we had what to compare with. A lot of fast food solutions. Food presentation is not great. Luhches are the worst: you could hardly choose anything except fast food staff.
Swimming pools: they look beautiful but there are no restrictions for kids and you can never get any privacy, there are kids everywhere splashing and diving even where it says clearly "no diving". The hotel staff does not seem to care. The swim up bar gets impossible with tons of pretty drunk noisy adult people ( and kids!) splashing their drinks into water.
Service: in general it was good, especially the first part of the week. By Friday the hotel drops a couple of its stars as 80% of its occupancy become local Mexican people who seem to dominate in everything. The service dropped immediately. It looked like the hotel staff did not care anymore of what we think about it all. Whatever! The grounds, washrooms, beach, become much dirtier. And the quality of food actually dropped as well!
Entertainment: the shows were good, the hotel entertainment was doing their best, and there were some really good dancers. However, Karaoke night was terrible: drunk people coming to sing songs...
Kids Club: they do good job. Sharo, the girl in charge, was wonderful, and my daughter was quite happy which made our vacation more positive!
We will not recommend this hotel to our friend because of the surf area and the much worse quality of staying at the hotel during their weekend time.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,915 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
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2010

We just returned from one week at Riu Emerald Bay, with 3 kids aged 7, 7 and 3. We had a GREAT time!
We read a lot of the reviews before choosing this resort, and it was interesting to go there and see how much of it is true.
The resort itself is very well designed, and layed out in a very convenient way. Very easy to hop between restaurant, bar, pool and beach. The place is new and very, very clean. Somebody is always mopping, dusting and cleaning up dishes.
We were there over Easter, and were told that the hotel was at 100% capacity. With that said - we always found chairs at the pool, almost no lineups for food, they never ran out of food, but you did occassionaly have to wait for drinks at the bar. Since there are multiple bar locations, just keep an eye on a few of them - when there are lulls at bar, grab a refill! If the beach bar tent is going, it has almost no lineups, and does indeed have cold beer out there.
The food was good, but not great. There are lots of selections however! And they never seem to run out, even during peak times. The kids always found somethiing to eat, and we have picky eaters!
The service was excellent. Everyone is friendly, always greets you with a smile and a hello. Truly gracious hosts.
The beach vendors are really good to keep behind their roped off area, and should you venture out, they are not pesky or persistent. Usually a 'no thank you' is all it took and they walked away.
You wont be snorkelling here, but if you're into boogey-boards, surfing and jumping into waves, this place is for you!
There are very very few bees, and for the most part they are hanging around the bar where the guy is making mojitos. Not an issue.
We did not have hot water for 2 of our 7 days, but it didnt bother us much. The kids were in the pool most of each day....
And yes, there are lots of Mexicans here. Guess what - it's their country and their resort! Personally, we found them to be nothing but polite. And yes, the announcements are in Spanish first, but all this leads me to say - you are in a foreign country, you should expect foreigners and a foreign language!
The resort is a short ways from the Gold zone where all the other hotels and shopping are, and there is no ATM at this hotel. We did catch a cab into downtown Mazatlan to experience the shopping. Definitley an experience and we just wished we could have looked around longer.
This was our first all-inclusive, so we can't compare it to others. All I can say is that we had a great time, wished it was a longer stay, and would recommend it to other families.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2010

My family and I just returned from a week long stay at Riu Emerald Bay. We have visited other all inclusives in the past including 5 in Mexico, 3 in Jamaica, and 2 in the Dominican. This, by far, was the worst resort. We were not expecting a 5 star facility but were expecting to have running water in our bathroom during our stay. If we had water, it was cold. This resort is very pleasing to the eye but it does not have the operations to function. Especially at full capacity. Probably the most disppointing aspect was how the management team handled the problems the hotel was having. There was never any acknowledgement of the inconveniences that guests encountered, no resolutions were offered. They could not move the guests affected to other rooms as they claimed they were at full capacity. They never offered to move us to a new hotel and continued to check new guests in every day. Some guests were simply hung up on when they called hotel customer service to report problems.
The issue at hand was this hotel can't handle full capacity. The servers were all stressed out as they couldn't keep the buffet lines full, there were never enough bartenders behind the bar, difficulties finding available tables etc. One could say, be patient and wait, you are on vacation and I don't have a problem waiting in line for the elevators, food, drink, etc. But, the local Mexican guests never felt the need to take their spot in line. They had a sense of entitlement about them were they could cut in front of any other guest to have their needs served first. It was very frustrating and makes me think twice about supporting their country's tourism industry.
On a positive note, the cleaning staff works hard to keep this hotel looking good on the surface. The beach is beautiful and large, the ocean is without weeds and rocks. The surf was rough but my family enjoyed playing in the waves. Not a good beach for young children, though. There was plenty of beach chairs even with a full house.
Will I ever return, NO WAY. I am also leary of any other RIU property if their management teams follow the same training as the managers at this place.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2010

I have to say 90 % of the reviews I read before we went were accurate. But if they thought is was busy on weekends with locals and kids, well try their 2 week school break and their busiest holiday of the Mexican year, Easter!

Overall the weather is what was best about this vacation, everyday was a scorcher with blue skies. Hotel was good but not a five star. Four. Glad I read it is not the usual standard for a RIU. It also made we want to stay at an all Adults Resort next vacation! If it stays that busy though it is going to age really fast.

Beach: HOT Golden brown sand, beautiful water. Lots of beach to walk all of it public. Cleaner than the Mayan Riv beaches. Our beach area was roped off for the vendors to stay behind. I know they have to make a living but by day 4 I wished I knew more spanish. So annoying, whistling, yelling to get your attention, you get up or look in the direction of the ocean well they think you are wanting to buy something and hound you. They weren't all bad though, the silver vendors were the worst.

Accommodations: Clean, and I am a clean freak who brings Lysol wipes to clean light switches, tv remote and door handles. Not as hard of a mattress that we have experienced in all the other Mexican resorts we have stayed in, we didn't make the effort to find out if they had sponge pads. Still too hard though. We had a beautiful room in a section where four rooms jet out from the rest keeping you further away from the hallway. I am glad we paid the little extra for an ocean view room we were on the 10th floor in the front of the hotel and the view was gorgeous. It was quiet in our area but I can't say the same for everyone. The bathroom counters are a little too tall and the bathtub/showers have no light or at least ours didn't and they were deep and hard for a short person or a kid I guess to get in and out of. Mini bar fridge was replenished every other day, it had a small freezer area and a drawer to keep stuff in. We had a King bed with three flat pillows, took less than an hour for our request of more pillows to be met.

Pool: Well we are pool people but sat at the beach all 8 days due to it being CRAZY at the pools, kids kids and more kids. When we arrived there in the morning and went to the pool I was so disappointed in the actually size of the pools and the amount of people there. And they are not infinity pools not really. I would go get wet every so often because it was super hot on the beach, beautiful hot dry weather. I got to swim one time in the morning actually across the pool with no one else and thought that was great until I got a plastic popsicle wrapper on my neck, garbage in the pool at the end of the day was gross. We don't use swim up bars and wouldn't even have thought of doing it here. It has it's own little pool separate from the pool beside it but it had the most kids in it. They REALLY need an adults only pool and enforce it.

Bars: Sports Bar, Lobby Bar and two Pool bars, one opened later though. The pool bar was always busy, yes lots of bees. 6 out of 8 days they had a small table with pop, beer and mix on the beach. That was good until they stopped having pop. Then on Easter Sunday didn't have the table set up at all. It was worth the walk up to the lobby to get a drink at the sports bar . It is a small resort not much walking we are used to the resort in the Mayan Riv where they have huge landscaped areas to roam. We heard the week before they had travel agents there and that they did the little extra and had drinks carts everyday around the pools. But that it had stopped after that week. Though I did see it once during our stay. The pool bars get bombarded with kids wanting the slush drinks.

Food/Restaurants: One buffet and three special restaurants. You can only make one reservation a day but that was ok with us because we went to the steak house and it was just another buffet, we did hear that one night they had a sit down menu. But not the night we went. It was not a good steak house. We didn't bother making anymore reservations. The food was the normal stuff. Breakfast and Dinner were ok, lunch not so good. There was a bbq on the beach but after watching the raw steaks sit in the sun too long I wouldn't eat there again. At first we thought that was the only place to eat lunch and wasn't happy but soon found the lunch buffet. I am an extremely picky eater usually at other resorts I could at least make dinner or lunch out of dessert but not here they were crap. Ate a lot of hash browns, fries and steak. My husband on the other hand ate well at all meals and enjoyed the food very much. All depends on the person.

We didn't go on any tours but did take the local buses, we paid 1.00 US each for each ride and after being in that huge city I am glad we didn't waste money on cabs!
For the sheer volume the bathrooms were very well kept, unbelievable for the amount of people. Service was all around good, friendly a. Jesus was my favourite bartender.

Would we go back there? No, but am glad we did go once it wasn't our first pick but our original vacation had to be rebooked due to Sunquest making changes on us. But will be back to that side of Mexico for the weather, much better than the Mayan, but we do like the larger resorts on that side without the beach vendors. Sunquest did take care of those of us why flee down with Skyservice after they went under. New arrangements were all done for us, just had a longer trip home. But that was much then being stranded there!

Oh the airport: Thank you to those who mentioned the hand search before check in. I knew not to bother locking the luggage. It is a small airport and before you go through to the gate make sure you have eaten if you needed too. There is only a duty free shop and a little cart with beer/pop and snacks. And if at gate B it is cooler down stairs.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Fort Smith, Arkansas
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2010

My group of 6 (4 adults and 2 children) stayed at the RIU Emerald Bay March 20-25 and we were blown away by this resort! This is our second stay with the RIU chain and I honestly believe they are the resort to book with. A lot of attention is given to the small details...towel animals, fresh flowers given to the women at breakfast, etc. Everything about this vacation was A+!

Our room was not ready upon arrival since we were there at 10:00 am but we were able to change clothes and grab a bite to eat and were in our rooms in less than 2 hours. Roberto (bellman) is AMAZING! If you need anything, he will do whatever it takes to get it for you. ALL of the staff is super friendly despite the long days they work. I took a ton of photos and all the staff was willing to stop with a smile or make a crazy face or take a photo with my kids or a group shot for me.

We did take a walk down the beach to Mr. Lionso's and shopped at the stores behind it. That made for a very enjoyable walk. The food at Mr Lionson's was great...2 lobster talis, shrimp and all the trimmings for $22.00! You can't beat it. The beach at this resort is great for walking, you can literally walk for miles!

We took a city bus to the market and that is something to see! Ask the security guard at the gate to tell you which bus goes non-stop to the market. Cheap trip $ .70 per person!

The rooms are very nice and CLEAN! Everything was nice and clean and you see staff cleaning all the time.

We honestly don't have one complaint about this resort. We never had to wait to eat at the buffet. The ala carte restaurant reservations are easy to make and we found the food to be very tasty! Oh, and the beach party they put on is undescribable! A lot of hard work goes into this and it is really a production. Truly an experience to remember. My kids loved drinking from coconuts!

I have read some negative reviews and I truly don't see how or why anyone could complain about anything at this place. We were even able to attend Mass at 10:00 right at the resort! If I can be of further assistance or answer any questions, please contact me and I will be happy to help. I can assure you, this place is top notch!

Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, CO
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 5, 2010

Prior to selecting this hotel, we read all the reviews and think they're accurate for the most part. Just came back from a 5 night stay, March30 - April 4. The one negative thing that stood out was the lack of elevator capacity and this is indeed true. The hotel has 21 or 22 floors and a total of 6 small elevators serving them. As such, getting an elevator at certain times of day is very difficult. We were on the 12th floor so we took the stairs a few times - mostly as a "work out" if nothing else.

I think if you're looking for an inexpensive, nicely done, all-inclusive vacation then this property is the way to go. Yes, the food is average at best but for the price, it was fine. The 3 specialty restaurants are really just different buffet options, although you do get to order your entree off the menu at the Mexican Restaurant (Tabasco) which we thought was the best. When the hotel is full (as when we were there) you have to make a dinner reservation for the specialty restaurants. You can do this starting at 7am and can choose either the same night or the next night. So what ends up happening is, since they're all full on the first day you get there, you get a reservation for the next night and then keep that up starting the next day. As such, every morning at 7am, you have to make a trip to the reservation desk and then on to the pool to reserve your beach chairs (which you're not supposed to do but everyone does it anyway). By 8am, all the good spots are gone by the pool.

Overall, the resort was very clean and our 2 kids (age 10 and 12) stayed busy with pool, ocean, and the basic resort activities. We didn't expect a 5 star experience and thus weren't disappointed. This place is fine if you want a basic, low-cost, all-inclusive experience. I'm sure there's other resorts with more activities, better food, etc. but you'll pay a lot more. For the money, the Riu was great.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2010

Stayed over Easter holiday. Beautiful resort location and the Riu itself is gorgeous. But that is where it ends. Arrived at 9am, no room until 3pm and even then was told that there was no available room until 5pm. After discussing with manager, surprisingly a room was found. There are 22 or so floors at this hotel and only 3 elevators that move extremely slow. So ask for a room on a lower floor. Also, for the 5 days we stayed, only had luke-warm water on day 4, and that was at 5.30 am. I called numerous times to inquire about no hot water and was always told that they were working on it. Food was ok, not 5 star or even close, mostly buffet style dining. No activities to speak of during the day. No kayaking,boogie boards, etc as the brochures state. The red danger flag for waves is always flying every day, so don't plan on ocean fun. The waves are rough and dangerous on this beach so be aware. Tried an excursion through hotel representative, Gustavo. Do not recommend using King David tours for the Stone Island tour, un-sea-worthy type of boat used by this company and did not feel safe traveling to Stone Island. Brochure was false, no horse rides (they were ill), no ATV rides (broken), no snorkeling (water too murky) and did not mention that bus ride was very long. Nightly entertainment was high school-type productions of lip-syncing. Lastly, the service quality was poor. Wait staff and cleaning staff very friendly, but all rest of staff seemed over worked and under staffed to accomodate guests. Will not return any time soon and will spend my vacation dollars at a different resort.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
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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
#7 Spa Hotel in Mazatlan
#8 Romantic Hotel in Mazatlan
#11 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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