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“Amazing!!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula

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Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Blvd Kukulkan, Km 5.5 Lote 6-C | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #11 of 179 Hotels in Cancun
New York City, New York
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Amazing!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

We are spoiled new-Yorkers and have been in Mexico 3 times and so far it is the best hotel here. We paid 1300 each for 7 days and the service and food went far beyond our expectations. The rooms were clean, everything is new, the personnel is helpful and polite. The food was fresh and the drinks were of the highest quality. fantastic! To make the sorry short if you looking for a great vacation, this hotel is the best!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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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
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

The Riu Palace Peninsula, was the best hotel I have stayed in and I have stayed in quite a few throughout the Carribean. We just couldn't fault it and although we tried really hard to find something the only thing we could come up with was the beach, well lack of it. It was very rocky getting to the waters edge but once you were there it was lovely. So not much to complain about really. The rooms were very clean, spacious and comfortable. The food was lovely, there was plenty to choose from, they had to be something for everyone. We tried four of the speciality restaurants, everyone of them was beautiful. The staff throughout the hotel could not do enough for you, they were very pleasant considering the long hours they work. I will fully recommend this hotel to anyone, it was awesome.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 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.
eugene, oregon
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

We stayed here April 17-28. When we arrived we did have a few issues with the front desk and they were a little less than hospitable. They asked if we wanted 2 doubles or 1 king, and we stated that we would like one king. However, when we got to the room it had 2 doubles. When I called down to the desk they informed me that they didn’t have any rooms with 1 king unless I wanted to pay for an upgrade. Also, the room we had was on the opposite side of the beach and just over the air conditioning units, which made a lot of noise. After complaining again to the front desk the next morning they agreed to move us to a better room the following day. We have stayed exclusively at Riu resorts in Mexico, and to be honest this was the first time our experience with the front desk wasn’t stellar.

The resort itself is ultra modern which I did enjoy. There are tons of great spaces to hang out and it never felt crowded. We had no problem accessing the restaurants and our favorites were the Steak House, Krystal, and the Mexican one. The Japanese restaurant however, we didn’t care for, and actually we’ve never been that impressed with the other Riu’s Japanese cuisine either (we will stop eating at them if we return to Riu Resorts). We always found a great variety at the buffet as well. The cappuccino bar was really a nice touch and we truly enjoyed it. Our favorite night spot was at the quite outside bar down on the beach.

The fitness center is too small. It was usually crowded and they do not have any free weights (even lighter ones, 5-12 lbs). I realize that a lot of people don't want to workout while vacationing, but if you do, it is hard to get a quality workout with the space and machines/equipment provided.

We rode the bus to the Riu Palace Las Americas one afternoon. We had stayed at that resort 4 years ago. We were quite happy that we’d chose the Peninsula, as the Las Americas was looking rather shabby, and there was a definite musty smell. I hope that they renovate that resort soon and it is actually in a better location and it would be a shame to see it go downhill. We also walked next door to the Riu Caribe which we’d stayed in years ago. They have remodeled that resort and although small, it is quite nice.

We booked a couples massage at the spa on Monday for Friday and when we arrived the room was double booked and they asked if we’d like to do a massage outside on the beach. We declined and they pushed out our reservation for later that evening. Although, not a huge deal, it was frustrating and we had to wait for 2 hours and it conflicted with another reservation that we had to cancel.

All in all, this was a great trip with just a few hiccups. I would recommend this resort to friends and family and I am glad we chose it. I do prefer the location of the other Riu Palace over this one, and if they renovate that resort (only then) I would chose that one over this one.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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
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Toronto, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

After reading many reviews I had my heart set on the newly opened 5-Star Riu Palace Peninsula. I was not disappointed. My Boyfriend and I ventured to Cancun on April 20, 2013 and from the moment we entered the Vegas style lobby we felt at home and very spoiled. We arrived at the hotel around 10am and were quickly checked in at the front desk with a tropical welcome drink. We were told we had been given a complimentary upgraded to an ocean view deluxe suite on the 11th floor. We left our luggage at the front desk and went to explore the resort, have lunch and touch base with our tour operator before 3 pm, when our room was ready. We did not mind this as on the main floor was a change room where we could freshen up and we were so hungry and curious about our surrounding that the time was well spent. The buffet at both lunch and dinner could not disappoint and anyone who complains about the food selection or quality must live a life style at home where they have a 5 star chef at their disposal every single night. To the point, food was fresh, met the selection of my very picky and healthy standards AND those of my meat loving boyfriend. We choose to only visit the specialized restaurants once during our stay and our service and food quality and selection at the steak house was beyond our expectations. Again, we have NO COMPLAINTS about the food service or quality HOWEVER we are both people who do live to explore our surroundings. We did venture to Ruth Chris Steak House after coming across the high end restaurant our many shopping trips the high end shopping malls found on Cancun Kukulcan Hotel Zone, This was one of the highlights of our trip and i would highly recommend visiting this Ruth Chris location as the service and food is amazing.

Back to the resort. Pools were always clean and the perfect temperature to cool off in. We never found trouble when searching for a chair and often changed seating location from pools to beach and again never found a problem finding a great location. The service at the resort is amazing, tip as these people work so very hard providing you with spectacular memories. The location of this resort is not in walking distance of the strip HOWEVER take the bus people, dont be afraid or think poorly of it, its the safest, most convent way to get around. It costs 2 us dollars for 2 people and you just tell the bus driver where you want to go and he will stop, we took it every single day with no issues.

My recommendations:
1. Add a garbage can to dispose of sugar and tea bags at take away coffee station
2. Add day time bbq station to pool area like other surrounding RIUs have
3. Give more options for food/snacks during off meal time hours, snack bar in sports bar is a bit of a turn off.

Room Tip: Ask for a room higher up and if you have children make sure you are aware of what area of the hotel...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

We recently stayed at the Riu Palace Peninsula, from May 3rd-May 10th.
Our villa suite was always kept very clean, the turn down service at night was a nice extra. The fridge was always kept stocked, and the bar dipenser was good. I often read that the bottles were watered down, hey!, if you find it weak, just add more to your glass!
The food was very good.
One point i would like clarify, is of the hygene and safety of the food.
During my stay, i tried to see any slip-ups on food care, not one. The salad bars are kept cold, the meats are kept seperately from fish and seafood and all is kept very hot, now if it takes you time to fill your plate before goin to your table, do not wonder why your food is cold.
We ate at the buffets and were pleased( big variety). It is normal that there will be repetition in certain foods from lunch to supper(no waste) as long as it's heated and stored at the proper temperature there is no problem.
We also went to kulinarium(vip resto),venecia and krystal all were extremely good.
The beach was much more charming than I expected( after reading reviews). Okay, the beach is not as big as some resorts, but it is not that small, anyways it is connected with "Riu Caribe", so you can go there also.
As for the big rocks on the big, my wife and I found them very charming and useful for pics.
As for the rocks in the water, well the keep all the fish nestled in, for a snorkeling fanatic like me, it is wonderful!, it actually saved us the $$ of going on a snorkeling excursion.
The service was exceptional, our favorites were, justin, gerardo, alexander(waiters at the bar) and of course samuel at the buffet(supper time) they are all full of energy and very polite.
As for entertainment, they keep the energy going on the resort.
By far Riu peninsula is our favorite resort.
Thank You Riu!!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

This is without doubt the best All Inclusive hotel we have ever stayed in.

We booked with Thomson, and flew from Manchester in the UK. We stayed from the 17th of April to the 1st of May, and during those dates, it was consistently hot, in the 30ºs, with an almost constant wind or breeze. So it was very pleasantly hot.

There are a lot of informative reviews on here, so I will concentrate on the things I wanted to know before I booked. This is a long review because I got a bit carried away, but should be more informative than boring (hopefully)

The lobby / reception area is massive, and is kept beautifully cooled by very efficient air conditioning which will hit you as soon as you enter. Within the lobby area are the Coffee Bar, Lobby bar, Italian Restaurant, the Spa, and the lifts to all the rooms within the main body of the hotel.

I believe all the rooms in the main part of the hotel have sea view. We had informed the hotel it was our Wedding Anniversary, and on arrival we were upgraded to a very nice room on the 12th floor. Having seen other people’s photos, it appears that they are all fairly similar to our room, in that they are large, have a Jacuzzi bath, very comfortable beds, very efficient and quiet air conditioning, and a large balcony. The rooms are kept very clean, are well maintained, and the mini bar and spirits are regularly topped up. Who could ask for anything more? (Ice machines for the spirits are located on floors 3,7,11 and 15 – you just have to find them)

One tip, you should be given two room card keys, and need to put one of these into a slot just inside the door for the lights to work. If you take it out, the A/C and mini bar fridge keep working, so that’s a result, but because they kept working, I forgot that everything else shuts off. So in this modern age when we are constantly charging the other essentials in life (phones / tablets etc) remember to leave the key in if you want them to continue charging when you go out. Took me a while to figure out why things weren’t maintaining a charge

There are reports that the hotel corridors were noisy, but we didn’t find that. We were in a room behind the lifts and it was even very quiet there. Even the lifts are silent with no “ding” to announce their arrival.
If you turn your back on them to look out the window onto the main road and lagoon, they can come and go without you realising, (you’ll see). So the only noise you are likely to get will be from your less considerate fellow guests. The lifts are quick, so you don’t tend to be waiting long for one.

I wanted to know where the quiet rooms were, so if that interests you this is the room layout within the hotel – looking at the hotel from the front:
The wing on the right hand side has 10 floors – rooms numbered 1 to 21 – this is the East wing and as it’s above the restaurants which makes it the quieter side of the hotel
The centre wing has 16 floors – (becoming 17 floors as there is no 13th floor) – rooms numbered 22 – 31
The wing on the left hand side has 10 floors – rooms 31 to 49 – this is the West Wing and as it’s above the theatre and entertainment area is potentially noisier.

In addition to the rooms in the main part of the hotel there are also a number of VIP Villas to the left of the hotel. (Again looking at the hotel from the front) From memory these consist of six blocks of rooms, which are three storeys high. They have their own pool, and “exclusive” use of one speciality restaurant. But very few of them have a sea view, they are very close to the entertainment area, and their pool is the first to lose the sun, so they wouldn’t have suited us. But there are many rave reviews on them if you fancy paying the upgrade.

Eating: The food here is fantastic, we couldn’t fault it. There are several reports on this site claiming food poisoning, but we didn’t suffer it, we didn’t see any evidence of it, nor did we hear anyone claiming it. So I can only speak as I found.

Hygiene everywhere was excellent, the quality, standard and variety of food was outstanding, as was the service.

There are six speciality restaurants, all are good, and all are worth a visit if you have the time. They all have set menus to choose from, so there should be something in each that takes your fancy.

The first is the Italian, which is opposite the reception. There are no reservations required at any time, and it is open from 1200 to 2200. If there are spaces, you can walk in at any time between those hours and they will serve you.

You have to make reservations for the other five speciality restaurants. There are two sittings for each of them, the first at 1830, and the second at 2045. There is a dress code, no shorts and no vests. Bookings are made at the customer service desk between the reception desk and the front door, which is open from 0800 to 2000. Quite amazingly people believe that you have to book at 8am, so not surprisingly there is always a queue at that time, but its open 12hrs a day! There don’t appear to be any set rules for booking the tables, when the bookings for one day are full, they start booking the following day. So when it’s not busy, and you’re passing, just wander over and ask what’s available – simples! There are menus on the booking counter desk, and all the details about these restaurants are available when you get to the hotel, so I won’t go into any specific detail as other people have already done that.

The only thing to note is that one of these five restaurants is the Kulinarium, coined the VIP restaurant “only” for the guests in the Villas. (It’s not shown on the map that they give to us non VIP people, and it’s also hidden away next to the VIP villas) But if you want to try it out just say it’s your Birthday, Anniversary or some other special occasion, and they will almost certainly fit you in. Worked for us!

All the other speciality restaurants are on the ground floor of the hotel, beneath the rooms on the East wing, and with the exception of the steak restaurant, all of them are air conditioned.

Although we tried all of the speciality restaurants once, we really favoured the buffet restaurants which were outstanding. Breakfast and dinner was in the Las Olas restaurant, which is also in the East wing. Lunch was in the Isla Mujeres restaurant next to it (which doubled up as the steak restaurant in the evening) both restaurants shared the same large outside seating area, and each had their own air conditioned area inside. (Although the Isla Mujeres air conditioned area – which is a small area right at the back – was closed when the steak house was open in the evening)

Highlights in the buffets – at breakfast there were always bottles of champagne on ice (champagne was always available 24/7 – just ask) and the food selections were unbelievable, they even served steak at breakfast!
And a heads up for dinner – Thursday night is lobster tails night!

If you are still hungry there are snacks available 24/7 at the Sports Bar under the West wing, and an inclusive room service menu

If you like your coffee, I like the occasional Cappuccino myself, check out the Coffee bar in the lobby. They have an endless list of hot and chilled coffees, beverages and pastries from 10am to midnight. The sports bar serves various coffees and snacks 24/7. And if you want a Cappuccino, or similar at breakfast or any other meal, just ask the staff, and they’ll get them for you. There is a coffee machine just inside the Isla Mujeres / Steak house restaurant with cups so you can make your own, but I’m not sure if that is always accessible.
There is also a coffee maker in your room – but to be honest you can get to the sports bar and back with a fresh one by the time you’ve set that up!

Drinks: there are six bars around the hotel open at various hours (in addition to the one in your room) All are good, and all serve brand name alcohol. The Lobby bar is air conditioned, the rest are outside, it’s simply a case of personal choice and which one you wish to frequent.
Worth noting, as some people don’t know it’s there, and others think it’s only for VIP guest, is the Tobago bar, which is worth a look of an evening. It’s on the beach next to the VIP Villas

Something else that is mentioned a lot is the lack of toilets in the hotel, and it’s true that there are only three sets of loos there. However this is quite a compact hotel and despite this you are never really more than two or three minutes away from one. There is one just to the left of the Sports bar in the corridor leading to the Spa, which is close to the lobby and entertainment. One under the Isla Mujeres restaurant, (there are a set of steps leading to the pools and beach right outside the buffet restaurants, and they are down there and to the right) which are close to all the restaurants and the pools / beach. And the last one is behind the Tobago bar on the beach, which is handy for the beach and the pools. All are air conditioned, and all are constantly being cleaned.

The pool areas are clean, well maintained, and there are plenty of fairly comfortable sunbeds, and areas of shade. Surprisingly and possibly because of this we never had a problem finding a decent spot to vegetate, even when we came down late. My only criticism would be that there is no quiet pool. Although it was a large area, all the pools were close to each other, so you were subjected to the music and noise of the entertainment team all day. The only pool which was far enough away to be deemed quiet was the VIP pool, but that was reserved for VIP guests only!

There are reports of the pools and sea being cold – well its obviously got hotter since then because both the sea and the pools were remarkably warm by the time we arrived.

There is a very nice small Mayan ruin within the grounds of the hotel which has its own resident iguana. You will also see plenty of other iguanas and lizards wandering around the complex, which we loved

The beach is ok, with quite a lot of rocks that you have no doubt read about, and plenty of sun beds. You also have use of the beach at the Riu Caribe

If you are a snorkelling fan, it is worth taking your gear and looking around the man-made submerged concrete jetty type structure that is between this hotel and the Riu Caribe. Visibility isn’t always great if it’s a bit choppy, due to the sandy bottom, but a lot of fish congregate there and I saw a green Moray eel and some barracuda out there. The best entry point into the sea is on the Caribe side of the structure because there are less stones in the water that side. Also watch out for the submerged poles on the Palace side of the structure, they do have buoys attached to them, but when it’s murky they are not that obvious, and could prove painful.
I think you can get snorkel gear from the hotel, but didn’t see it available.

We are not beach sunbathers, but we are beach walkers, and initially the beach here was a disappointment in that respect. If you turn left on the beach you come to the Riu Caribe hotel, but after that the beach becomes pretty much impassable, and initially that also seemed to be case if you turned right. But if you keep going, don’t mind getting your feet wet in places, or negotiating a few rocky outcrops, you can get onto clear sandy beach after about 10 - 15 minutes. You just need to walk around and past the pier with the bungee jump on the side and over the short rocky path with the tables and chairs until you get past the rocks. From there on it’s a lovely walk all the way to the other Riu hotels further along the hotel zone. If you want to top up your tan, you can do it all in your swim wear and without shoes, then pop into the other Riu Palace for a drink in pool bar there. At a leisurely pace it takes about 45 mins.
Failing that the footpath along the road is nice and safe, and a brisk walk that way only takes 20 – 25 minutes

As a guest of the Riu Palace Peninsular, you can use the facilities of all the other Riu’s in Cancun. We went into the other three for drinks and a look around, and although they are all lovely – we really thought this one was the best.
The rule is: Palace hotel guests can use ALL the facilities in ALL the other Riu hotels, but non Palace guests can only enter non Palace hotels. Obviously they identify you from your wristbands, and at the time we were there, our hotel and the Riu Palace Las Americas both had gold wristbands for normal guests and silver for the VIPs. The Caribe had red, and the Cancun had yellow, so it was easy. But by the end of the holiday the newer Palace guests were wearing blue. So they obviously change them from time to time for security. But it is worth asking what your colour wristband entitles you to, especially if they say they have upgraded you. There is one reviewer on here who wasn’t aware they had upgraded him to VIP status for some reason, and missed out on the quiet pool / VIP restaurant. Not a biggie I know, but for the sake of asking the question at check in?

The hotel has free unlimited Wi-Fi and apparently the signal can even be used around the pool area and beach. You are given a username and password when you check in, and you need these to log on. It was a fast and reliable service. At one point we did get a message saying we needed to pay for more usage, but it transpired this was just an error. If this happens to you, just enquire at reception and they will either fix it on your device, or give you new codes.

What money to take? I couldn’t find any advice on this before we went, so we took enough Mexican pesos to get us by for odds and sods, some cash in sterling, and the trusty credit card.

It transpires that for just getting around or shopping you are better off with the local currency, Mexican Pesos. Places do take US$, but apparently give change in Pesos, and not necessarily at a good rate. So for non US residents, unless you already have some US$, don’t bother getting any because it’s not going to benefit you.

There are countless great things to do here, and your greatest expense will be paying for excursions. For some reason everyone shows their prices in US$, but they all take any currency and all major credit cards.

But one very important tip if you are paying in anything other than dollars is take a calculator and currency convertor with you and know your exchange rates before you go! I got the best US$ rate I could, then said I wanted pay in cash in sterling. The vendor got out his calculator and after some extensive workings out, converting from Dollars to Pesos to Pounds; he managed to increase the price by £50! Fortunately I’m not the most trusting of souls and had already worked it all out before he had. So cutting a long story short, I paid the right price. But go prepared; it’s easy to drop your guard once you get past the negotiating stage, and it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth if you find out later that you have been stitched up, but it’s a common trick that they try everywhere, and it’s easy to spot if you’re prepared.

It’ll save you time by researching some excursions and prices on the internet before you go, this makes life so much easier when you get there, simply because there is so much to do.
I found this site when I was out there, and all the vendors sell these trips. The ones we did on this site were brilliant so give it a look – en.xcaretexperiencias.com – you can then check the reviews for them on tripadvisor of course.

There are places to buy excursions everywhere, but they all sell exactly the same trips. So it’s simply a case of working out what you want to do, comparing prices, then asking your preferred vendor to beat the best price – which they generally do. We brought most of our trips from outside the flea market at the pier where the ferry and catamarans go, which is outside the hotel, turn left and a three to five minute walk. Apart from the issue with the price everything else was perfect, and having the seller close by is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

We went on five trips, and if it helps these are the prices that we paid for them for in US$ – which is the simplest currency to start your price negotiations – that way you know not to pay any more than this.

The first two are exactly as advertised on the above website
Xplore: we paid US$110 per person including transport, and unlimited food and non alcoholic drinks. Pick up 0745, back at 1945ish. A brilliant day, it was good value, and had great food. TIP once kitted out at the zip lines you WILL get wet, so leave your camera and everything else in the locker provided!

Xcaret Plus: we paid US$110 per person including transport, one meal with one beer and unlimited non alcoholic drinks (only with the meal), and an evening show. Pick up 0745, back at 2300ish. Another brilliant day, it was good value, and had great food.

Others

Speedboats (Jungle Tours): we paid US$55 per person, “inclusive of port tax”. You do have to make your own way there by bus, but it’s easy. They have time slots throughout the day when you can go, and the trip is about 2½ hours long, but its well worth it, and includes snorkelling, and equipment. There are two locations to go from, but I recommend going from the dock on the sea side (as opposed to the lagoon side) that you get to via an alleyway between the Temptation Hotel and the Ocean and Spa hotel, which is to your right as you leave the hotel. I recommend it simply because you drive the speed boats further and for longer from there, because the other starting location is to your left as you leave the hotel. We considered going again and asked the guy there how much he would charge. He offered a price of US$50 per person, “inclusive of port tax” if you just turn up and paid direct.

Catamaran to the Isla Mujeres (Samba): we paid US$55 per person, “inclusive of port tax”. They go from the pier to the left of the hotel, so you just walk there, duration 0930 to 1800ish. The Catamarans weren’t big, or particularly new, so not too many places to sit, and the music was loud, but you get a buffet breakfast before you go, eat in a restaurant on the beach on the island and have an all day open bar, plus snorkelling. So if it is your thing, its good value, the food is good and it’s worth a look. They do say they include a “Spinnaker” ride (subject to conditions), where they tow you behind the boat on a parachute. But that never happened with us, and as you can watch them come in every evening from the hotel, I saw that it didn’t happen for anyone else either. There are about five boats that go daily.

The last trip was to Chichen Itza, though we booked this in a shopping mall on the strip. It cost US$55 per person including transport, a meal (no drinks), a visit to a Cenote (water hole) and a visit to Valladolid. Pick up 0745, back at 2015ish. This was a long and very tiring day, with lots of travelling involved. We didn’t get to Chichen Itza till 2pm and left at 4.30, so we were pretty tired by the time we got there. We have been before many years ago and you then you could climb over everything, now it’s all fenced off, so for me was less appealing. If you are going to go try to book a trip that takes you to Chichen Itza “first” so you are less tired when you get there. But if you can get it for US$55, it is good value.

One thing we did ourselves, is visit the El Ray ruins archaeological site (or Las Ruinas del Rey – you can look it up on the internet) a little spot we found when exploring on a previous visit. You have to pay now but it was only 42pesos (just over £2) and is a great little site with Mayan ruins at the end of the hotel strip which is absolutely full of lizards and iguanas. If you like lizards it’s a great place to go, just grab some bananas and meat from the buffet (you don’t even need to secrete it, the staff offer you serviettes to wrap it up in) and spend an hour or so there. Once they see you have food the lizards run over to you. its almost always empty there, and we loved it. Just catch any bus from the bus stop on the lagoon side of the road opposite the hotel headed left. El Ray is on the right at the end of the strip just past the golf course on your right and the Iberostar hotel on your left. Just ask the driver to stop at El Ray ruins archaeological site or Las Ruinas del Rey. But make sure he knows it’s the ruins or he’ll stop at something else called the el ray (but you’ll find it from the landmarks I gave)
More on buses in a mo

Back to money:
We do like to tip. The staff are excellent at this hotel regardless of whether you tip or not, but it is nice to reward excellent service, so I wanted low denomination peso notes for this purpose. The lowest note you can get is 20pesos, which in English is about £1.15, but they were hard to get hold of in the UK.
Fortunately the reception desk at the hotel will change large peso notes for 20s. I asked if they would change 1000 pesos into 20s and they didn’t even question it, and in a blink of an eye I had a fist full of crisp 20s, so it’s clearly something they are happy to cater for.
The reception desk also changes currency for you, but I didn’t check the rates because we had enough local currency with us.

Getting around: Use the buses and explore. The bus fare anywhere is only 8.5pesos, or I’m told 1US$, and if you pay in peso notes they give you change, which is where your 20peso notes will also come in handy. I think the buses run 24/7 and they are very frequent. The one across the road heads to the main hotel zone and is a few yards left of the hotel. The stops for the buses running to Walmart, the bus depot, and the speedboats are on the hotel side of the road, both outside the Riu Caribe to your right, and outside the ferry pier to your left.
On our first day we just got on one bus headed left to the main area of town and stayed on it. It goes right to the end of the strip, then turns round and heads back to the hotel. You have to pay again for the return trip, but it’s a good way to see what’s out there, and where it is.

I have branched off in numerous directions in this review, but as I said at the start this is a fantastic hotel, and we would recommend it to anyone. We never go back to the same hotel twice – but this will be the exception. If you are going to Cancun, go to this hotel, you won’t regret it

  • Stayed April 2013, 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 27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montevideo, Uruguay
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

it was quiet an awful experience all those all inclusive are all the same you are confined in a single place, with many people looking for free drinks (that are very bad by the way) and a small portion of beach that in this case was small and full of rocks...fodd is good but rooms designedby a crazy architect that put the bath with no intimacy at all

Room Tip: my room was in front of the thetra..that ment tha you cannot get sleppp before 11 pm awful music by...
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Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula

Address: Blvd Kukulkan, Km 5.5 Lote 6-C | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cancun
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 179 Hotels in Cancun
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula 4*
Number of rooms: 562
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