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“Initial misgivings dispelled....resoundingly exceeded expectations!” 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 #15 of 76 Hotels in Mazatlan
Chicago, IL
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Initial misgivings dispelled....resoundingly exceeded expectations!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2010

My girlfriend and I spent four nights here during Memorial Day weekend...

Observations:

- The hotel is kept in immaculate condition. The lobby, the pool area, and even the public restrooms are well maintained. Our room was spotless when we checked in.

- Elevators are cramped and there are only six of them on site. We requested a room on a lower floor and were fortunate enough to get a room on the 2nd floor. I'd advise anyone else to do the same.

- The hotel is largely occupied by locals. I didn't see this as a hindrance, however. I'll take the locals over ethnocentric, pretentious tourists any day of the week. There will be scores of kids running amok, but it's not as bad as some of the other reviewers make it out to be.

- Remember to tip. The hotel staff is affable and courteous. They don't expect remuneration but they will definitely respond more attentively if you tip. Leave a dollar or two for the maid - they even neatly folded my dirty boxers. Drinks will be watered down...what else would expect at an all-inclusive? Tip the bartender a few dollars and you'll notice a considerable difference. You won't have to wait long and the drinks will be stronger.

- My only issue with the hotel was the lack of wifi. The staff always claimed it was working but I couldn't catch a signal for the life of me. There were internet stations located in the Sport Bar (for a fee) but it was somewhat frustrating that a 4-star resort chain couldn't provide a simple wireless connection.

- The food was the major surprise. I expected it to be the bland, stale fare characteristic of most all-inclusive resorts but it was remarkably flavorful and the buffet selection was pretty diverse. We weren't able to try the Asian-themed restaurant but the steakhouse and the Mexican restaurant were good. Make sure you reserve early in the morning.

- The swimming pools are expansive enough where you can find a comfortable niche to relax and not be waylaid by marauding kids. The same can be said for the beach itself, which is clean incidentally.

- Water sports: Parasailing was a blast and cost $40 per person for a 10 min. ride. It was our first time and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The snorkeling tour was a waste of time and $$. It cost $30 per person and wasn't worth the ferry to Deer Island. A guide wasn't provided and the waters were murky.

- The Renova Spa is on the hotel premises and is worth visiting in my estimation. We each had a relaxing 50 min. swedish massage which cost $54. A deep tissue runs $71 for 50 mins.

- We visited the 'Golden Zone' on a Sunday afternoon to do some shopping but didn't find much open. The area spanned a couple streets and there wasn't anything noteworthy in the shops which were open. You can do without it.

For the $130/night we spent, we received 5-star service. You can't expect the Ritz-Carlton at that price, so this hotel is definitely worth it.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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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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Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2010

My husband and I stayed at the Riu for a week early in May. This is our second stay with the Riu chain and we like the over all feel that the chain presents. The Mazatlan hotel is extremely new and modern but we did have a few problems with the overall service.

The Good Points:
The resort was not very busy so we had no waits for the elevators as noted in previous reviews. By the way there are 6 elevators, 3 in each wing, not 3 as some review have stated. The rooms were very clean and the air conditioner worked so well that we never used the fan at all. The views and beach area are great! We were told that anything above the 3rd floor is considered an ocean view but all rooms face the ocean. Overall the food was very good in the buffet and the selection was large. While we tipped the staff for good service we never felt that it was expected as we have found during other Mexican vacations. The tips were always accepted with the utmost gratitude and thanks.
We took 2 day trips while in Mazatlan. The first was the Tequila & La Noria tour; we found the tequila portion of the tour fun and informative but then who can argue with all you can drink tequila for 35 pesos at the end! As a side note if you are planning to take a bottle of tequila home and you like the taste test buy it at the factory. We found the same bottle in town for a 100 pesos more. The La Noria portion of the tour was more about getting you to buy leather goods from the vendors then about the town or heritage but it was ok. The second tour was the Down Town Tour. We found this a fun and informative starter tour for anyone that was new to Mazatlan. There was some time to shop at the market but it was more about the history and highlights of Mazatlan.
The Bad Points:
As the resort was not very full when we were there, they rotated the days that the a la carte restaurants were open and as such we were only able to try the Mexican. We were very disappointed with the meal. The first 3 days we were at the resort were busier and as such the service levels were fine; they had extra waiters, maids and bar staff on. After this however they cut out the extra drink carts and you had to make the trek to the pool bar for drinks if you wanted any during the day. Let me note that most of this is the fault of the way the resort is laid out. While there are 2 huge pools, all of the bars are on one side of the resort and of course that side is were it is noisiest and hardest to find loungers. As for maid service the room was still cleaned each day but service was as late as 5pm some days. As in previous reviews there are a lot of Mexican families at this resort; we were told that Mazatlan is a large resort area for people from the interior. While we do not think that the Mexicans received better service we did note that the children were allowed to do anything they wished. All the pools, including the swim up bar area, were overrun with children with pool toys of all sizes despite there being signs stating this was not allowed. As for the front desk we had no problem with check in and check out. However, do not try to cash travellers cheques at the resort unless you can ensure that your signature is EXACTLY the same every time! I tried to cash in 3 travellers cheques at the same time and while the lady watched me sign all 3 and had taken a copy of my drivers’ licence they refused to take 2 of the 3 cheques. I was told that my signature did not match in all spots on 2 of them and as such they were unwilling to take them but they would take the one that matched everywhere!

In summary the Riu is probably a great resort if you get a good deal; or if you have a children and do not want to relax with a cold drink beside a quiet pool. Mazatlan is a great old city with lots of historic areas to explore. We hope to return to Mazatlan but will probably not return to the Riu there.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conroe, Texas
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2010

Do not go to the Riu Emerald if you want good food, relaxation and being waited on. You had to walk a good distance to get a drink. Once in a while i saw a man with a cart of liquor walking around, but only every few hours and on Sunday he was nowhere in site. The kids went in the adult only pool and there was no supervision. IT was overrun with Mexican vacationers, locals with tons of kids. They bused in 14 busloads of Gudalajara college students who stayed drunk and the hotel catered to them blaring Mexican music all day at the pool. The American was definitely the outcast here. The food was HORRIBLE. never found anything we liked, in fact we went in to town and paid to eat something decent. They only had 3 restaurants and you had to make a reservation early in the m orning or youhad to eat the buffet. The buffets were terrible. The elevators were a joke. There were two few of them and the MExicans got on them whether they were going up or down and crowded up the elevators so bad it took 15-20 minutes just to go up to your room. The staff was not very helpful, some could not even speak English, some were very unfriendly, some were okay. I could not and would not recommend this place to anybody I know or even don't know. It was a huge disappointment. We went to Dreams in Puarta Vallarta in March and it was fabulous, all of the restaurants (6) had wonderful food an dthe staff was great there. This will turn me off from ever going to any Riu HOtel for fear of the same horrible food. Our room did not even get cleaned one day; our refrigerator was never restocked after the first day and there was no room service. Supposed to be able to eat 24 hours a day...NOT....All in all I would rate it at about a 2.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2010

We were pleasantly surprised with the accommodation we found at the RIU Mazetlan, having stayed at many all inclusive properties in Mexico and the Caribbean, we felt that the RIU surpassed our expectations, especially for the price paid.
The rooms were spacious and immaculately kept, as was the rest of the resort - someone is constantly polishing, or cleaning, or sweeping. The service was really unparalleled, there was nothing we asked for that wasn't accommodated right away. The staff was pleasant, courteous and extremely hard working.
Yes, there were a lot of local on the weekend, and yes - like other people they even brought their children, who behave like children, this being a family resort - I believe that must be expected. If you are truly looking for some quiet child-free time, the beach was always quiet deserted. Or there are always adult only resorts, but yes this one was extremely child friendly.
The food considering the quantity that must be produced was quite good, we had some fussy eaters with us, and they were always able to find something. Was it find dining? Absolutely not. Giant buffets never lend themselves to gourmet cuisine, it's is just not possible. The reservation restaurants were moderately better, Bamboo being the best.
All in all, we thought this was a great place for a family to stay, the beach and pools are beautiful. One little word of caution, a person in our party was stung by a Jelly Fish while wading in the water, she was told by the staff to put ice and lemon on the sting - which seemed to help and by the next day was not suffering. If you have small children, this is perhaps something to keep in mind.

  • Stayed May 2010, 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.
Buffalo, New York
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2010

hey i a writtting a review for this place, I have to say i had a great time. The service was great, the hotel was great , the pools were outstanding..... The only bad thing was i went with my wife, she got sick the last day i was there.... she got the poohies... after seeing the on call doctor because she insisted on it, we ended up in a mexican hospital,,,,,,,, they ran some blood work with negative results.....in the end it cost me $2200.oo for her stomach ache ,,,,, Did i mention at the hospital for 4 Hours...... I am getting divorced too.... so.. drama and hummor..... it couldnt have happened to a better person.....hola

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2010

My fiance and I needed a relaxing mental health vacation from our stressful lives, and this resort met and exceeded our expectations. For the great price that we paid, we weren't expecting much, but when we first arrived at the resort, we were pleasantly surprised by the large, beautiful lobby. We were immediately greeted by a bellhop who took our bag, offered us anything we wanted to drink, and directed us to the check-in counter. We checked in right away and the bellhop helped us to our room. I don't know what the regular rooms are like, but we had the option to upgrade to a suite for only a little over $100 and did that, and our room was absolutely amazing. It was very large, spacious, well-adorned, extremely clean, and had an amazing view from up-high, since the suites are at the very top of the hotel. Totally worth the extra money. Since the suites only have one king-sized bed, they are probably not the right choice for anything other than a couple. The suites have a jacuzzi tub in the room and another one on the enormous balcony. They also have a huge vanity area with two sinks, a separate toilet room, and a large separate shower cabin with glass door. The staff is extremely helpful. They will refill your minibar anytime before 9pm, they keep everything incredibly clean, and are very friendly and speedy. There is scotch, tequila, vodka, and rum in the liquor dispenser, and Dos Equis, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, 7UP, and plenty of bottled water. The food is good, not great. When you're cooking for that quantity of people, you are bound to lose some quality. It was decent, but if you're looking for fine cuisine, you will not get it here. They have three themed restaurants - steak, Asian, and Mexican - that you have to make a reservation for. I would recommend doing it, because it's less crowded and more of a reason to get dressed up for dinner. The bartenders are very quick and make very good drinks. They are not stingy on the alcohol whatsoever. Some places that offer "all-inclusive" have catches, but not this place. Truly everything is included. The first few days we were there were fairly quiet, but the last couple of days there was a lot more traffic, and it was a little bit annoying fighting to get on and waiting for elevators. There were a lot of Mexicans at this resort. I know that sounds funny since it is Mexico, but they simply do not have manners and don't do a good job of controlling their kids. If you're looking for a bit of quiet outside, my advice is to go to the beach. For some reason all of the Mexicans tend to stay by and in the pools. All in all, this was an incredibly relaxing vacation, and I was very impressed by this resort. Despite some of its downsides, I would recommend it.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorsdo
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2010

This was our second trip to Mazatlan. Our first experience was so wonderful ( we stayed at the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay ) and we love the RIU Resorts; so we thought we would go back. BIG MISTAKE !!! Wasted 10 days at a resort that was totally over run by Mexican Nationals that were bussed in every 3 days with their unruly children, and extremely RUDE ways, especially to the Hotel staff !! ( which were also Mexican ?!)
First of all, we realized we are in Mexico, but the people they were bringing to stay at this resort had obviously never been away from home and NEVER seen anyone with white skin. They would knock your plate out of your hand at the buffett trying to get to the food; they would spill their food and drinks in the eating area and around the pool never picking up anything.
On Sundays the local families from Mazatlan would come and hang out on the beach in front of the resort which was fine, however..... the small children would come up to the pool and jump in all covered in sand and in their underwear. The RIU staff was told by numerous guests and never did anything. The security was non exixting. Anyone at anytime of the day or night could come onto the property. You had to have a wristband to get food or drinks, but on Sundays there was always people eating without a wristband, and no one from the RIU would make them leave.
Room service had to be called 6 out of the 10 days to get water and beer in our room. The maid service was good ( but we tip very well ). The staff in the restaurants and around the pool was very poor. You could never get close to the swim up bar or any of the bars in the resort because the children had all the stools.
Food was average, not what we have experienced at other RIU Resorts. We actually went into town and ate at other resorts and went up the beach to Mr. Leonas and ate
( even though we paid good money to eat at the reasort ) . Only had Dos XX beer :(

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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
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:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Mazatlan
#7 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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