I booked two weeks at this hotel for me and my boyfriend on the recommendation of my parents who stayed there just after it opened in June this year. We began our holiday on 23 September, but in the weeks building up to this we began to get slightly concerned by the various negative reports on Tripadvisor of food poisoning, theft, bad staff attitude, etc.
Rather than tell you about where to get the bus, what the beach is like etc, I’d rather address some of the issues which gave us cause for concern and in doing so, I hope to do the hotel the justice it deserves.
Rooms - modern, spacious and bright, and cleaned daily with extra towels brought on a night. We had one problem when we arrived which was that our safe didn’t work. We contacted reception and there were 2 maintenance guys up within 10 minutes to sort it – they brought a new safe up and we had no problems since. We did hear some noise from the corridor outside but not enough to disturb our sleep.
Food - We ate at the buffet and all of the restaurants except for the steakhouse (I’m vegetarian). The buffet had loads of choice, including for we veggies, and part of the menu changed daily so it didn’t become too repetitive. Awesome chocolate fountain at the evening buffet too. Restaurants weren’t always great for vegetarians but I asked for a meal from the a la carte menu to be made without fish in the Japanese restaurant and this was no problem for them. On the whole the service was very attentive. Now the ‘food poisoning’ issue- we had no diarrhoea or vomiting bugs and I think it’s really unfair for some people to suggest the food quality/preparation is dubious – they clearly go to a lot of effort to offer choice and variety. My boyfriend was served chicken which looked undercooked twice in the restaurants and it was quite simple – he either sent it back for a bit more cooking or just didn’t eat it. People need to exercise a bit of common sense here and pack a box of diarrhoea tablets if they’re prone to tummy upsets when they go abroad, as many people are.
Service – Can’t praise this enough, particularly in the restaurants (buffet and a la carte), bars and coffee bar areas. They were also good around the pool area in terms of making sure people were okay for drinks. Staff were friendly and we could barely sit a couple of minutes without some asking if we wanted anything else, which we thought was excellent.
Pools – swim up bar got busy at times, and was a particular hit with the Americans, so if you’d prefer a drink in there when it’s a bit quieter, try first thing or when the water volleyball is on. All pools were very clean and as there are a few of them, there should be one to suit everyone. We could always get a sunbed and an umbrella no matter what time of day we went down to the pool area. We had no problems with kids running around/being noisy, in fact there were very few kids there when we visited.
Beach – yes there were people wandering up and down the beach regularly selling necklaces, cigars, blankets etc but they were not pushy and generally didn’t approach you unless you paid an interest when they were coming by. They by no means spoiled our days at the beach. The beach itself was quite small and it wasn’t particularly easy to snorkel there as, being on the peninsula, it got quite windy, but if you persevere you may see a few fish as we did.
Entertainment – evening shows were watchable but unlikely to blow many people’s socks off, though the dancers and performers worked hard. The daytime entertainment is the only area we could really criticise, as it seemed to lack structure and there was no real regular schedule or programme. Water volleyball and water aerobics seemed to happen daily but the rest of the activities they were supposed to run were haphazard, e.g. we only saw the dartboard come out once and didn’t see any people playing table tennis as part of an organised session.
Gym – we used this regularly - 3 treadmills, 2 cross trainers and a bike, plus weight machines (no free weights), water dispenser and sweat towels. Brand new equipment and air conditioned.
Final word: please don’t let the negative reviews on here put you off booking or concern you if you’ve already booked. We had a brilliant time and we visited 2 of the other 3 Riu hotels in Cancun while we were there and definitely think we made the right choice. Many people rate the Las Americas way above the Peninsula, but we felt it was a bit stuffy and aimed at a more older-end clientele (we’re 34 and 32 years old).
I note that many people who have rated the Riu Palace Peninsula 1 or 2 stars have had one bad experience e.g. sickness, theft or problems with their booking. These individual incidents of course have an impact on any holiday, but can happen anywhere and should not cloud the fact that the staff work very hard to serve you, entertain you and keep the place spotless, and that the hotel itself is well placed, well equipped and looks amazing. We would definitely go back.
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