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“good times” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Playacar

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Hotel Riu Playacar
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Avenida Xamen-Ha | Manzana 6, Lote 6, Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #73 of 201 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Minneapolis, MN
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“good times”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

I liked Riu Playacar. We had a great time. The food is pretty good...but you get sort of tired of buffet food after a few days. The beds were hard but we got a mattress topper and it worked out. The shower is great, good water pressure and it got hot right away.
The only downside is that we were on the backside near a construction site and I swear to God they started working (heavy machinery, yelling, etc) at 0600 each day. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a fun trip. The facilities are clean and pleasant. Lots of people smoking on the beach (and using the sand as their personal ashtrays) but that was everywhere down there...and not RIU's fault.

Room Tip: ask for a mattress topper when you check in...and try to get a room in the middle of the complex.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 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.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

We were tod by over twenty staff members that the RIU Playacar will be cloing and being made into a Riu Grand Palace. We prefer the much smaller resorts instead of a huge six and up story resort.
Now about our stay there was excellent. No problems with anything. Food, service, rooms, drinks were all great. We have stayed at almost all of the RIU resorts around the world and would put the Playacar near the very top of our list to visit. On a sad not we received a phone call that someone in our family had died and so we went to the front desk and asked the best way to make a phone call. The youg lady behind the desk,(Veronica I believe is her name) told us to use the RIU phone as ofen and as many times as we wished at no charge. Now you can't beat that for service. Great job RIU staff

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Riu Playacar 15-22 Oct 2012. This was our second time there and we had a great time, again! We are planning our third trip for next October already with a number of friends.

I agree with the other good reviews of this Riu. Overall it is a great value.

My personal observations that vary somewhat from others or not mentioned:

Food - Overall very good with a good variety. The only things that I did not like were the steaks seems to be overcooked in all the restuarants and the Asian food in the Jade restuarant was not to my liking... but who goes to Mexico to eat Asian food... The Mexian food was great!

Beach - The resort is right on a very nice white sand beach. We were only approached by a few vendors over the course of the week and they would leave immediately after a "no gracias." There are many beach chairs lined up and we never had a problem getting a chair regardless of the time of day.

Tipping. We tipped the wait staff and bartenders, but not every day or every meal. We tipped the housekeepers every day. It is definitley not mandatory, but certainly appreciated.

Staff. Great and friendly. This is mentioned in all the other reviews but deserves to be mentioned again.

Taxis. It is only a little more than a mile to PDC, but the taxi is 70 pesos (up from 50 pesos 2 years ago). The taxi union is very stong there and only taxis can pick up "guests" along the private road to PDC. There are taxis waiting at the resort if you need one.

Golf. There is a golf course 7 minutes walk from the Riu. Green fees were $120 twilight (after 2:00) and $50 to rent clubs. The course looked interesting and narrow, but I did not get around to playing it. I did walk by one day and saw a number of iguanas sunning themselves in a sand trap.

Scuba. There is a dive shop on the property (Sucba Caribe). You can get a free lesson in the pool if you want. Their prices seemed a little high and we dove with Dive Shop Mexico in PDC. We dove with Dive Shop Mexico last trip as well. If you want the convience, you can't beat the shop on site. If you are already certified, I highly recommend Dive Shop Mexico (on 20 Norte in PDC). We did both a reef dive and a cenote dive.

October is the slow season there so the resort is not crowded. The weather was great. I don't know about other times of the year, but I recommend October.

Overall we had a great time and I highly recommend the Riu Playacar. As I mentioned, we are plannig our next trip already.

Room Tip: There are no elevators.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
somerset uk
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

Stayed at the Riu tequila twice but always ended up over at the Riu playacar everytime.. so this time we booked for Riu playacar.. we are so happy we did.. as its the smallest hotel you get so much more attention from the entertainment team, reception, bar staff ect.. As this hotel is on the beach this was ideal for us.. walking down to the white sand and turquoise sea every morning was out of this world..

Me and my partner were upgraded to a suite as we were a wedding couple.. we were greeted in the room on arrival with champagne and even more champagne and wedding gifts after the ceremony.. My parents stayed in a standard room, and to be honest i would have been happy if we had been given that room, they were so spacious and clean it was unreal, all had mini fridge and mini bar which was great and had a separate dressing area and a step in shower, which was great for my disabled farther.. the wedding co ordinator was great, she had kept a list of everything i wanted on previous emails that were sent before arrival so our meeting before the ceremony was very pleasurable and went very smoothly. We had our wedding on the beach so as you can imagine was WAW! We were a small wedding party of 5 but this made no difference as the amount of support that i felt from people around the hotel was amazing, as i came down in my wedding dress heading to the ceremony people around the pool area and main restaurant all stood and clapped and cheered.. it made me feel so special and very emotional.. Food has greatly improved from last visit.. basically you could eat steak every night if you wanted to.. im a picky eater but if anything, there was way too much choice.. haha.. The only thing i would do differently when i return is not book a a la carte as the main buffet did themed nights every night and so you could get the food there that was in the a la carte's.. Playa del carmen is a 5min taxi drive but has changed a little from when we were last in mexico 2 years ago, but its for the better.. there's tons of shops and restaurants and the port to catch the ferry over to cozumel, which is well worth a visit for duty free shopping.. there is also a wal mart around 10min taxi drive from 5th avenue, it worth looking round if you want something different to do..

We did only 1 trip while visiting this time, it was "wet and wild" in cancun.. Now this is a hard trip to get on while staying in playacar as thomson or scuba caribe don't provide it unless you want to swim with dolphins then scuba caribe provide.. so there was a hut over the road from hotel in mexican street which provided us as a family of 5 with transport, tickets into the park, all the slides and all inclusive while inside with food and drinks and transport back all for £190 (which if you have travelled to mexico before would agree is a very reasonable price for a day trip) Working out £38 each approx. (this was obviously the price without swimming with dolphins, as we have done this on a previous holiday.. with dolphin swim, price goes up approx £30 each for whoever wanted to swim with them.. It was a great day and we would recommend it to anyone travelling with a family or couples.

I also celebrated my birthday out in riu playacar, luckily out of the 2 weeks we were there, it was hot and humid 97% of the time.. on the eve of my birthday, i was sung happy birthday to by all the waiters and were given a lovely birthday cake with their compliments :) on coming back to the room, i had a card and gifts waiting for me from the hotel (very sweet touch)

Ps.. Adventure photos did my wedding pictures which turned out superb.. they'r located in the lobby and Antonio was our photographer (he was such a sweety) they take anything from wedding photos, honeymoon photos, to family photos and couple photos..

One last thing, i recommend that you go to the beach party which the entertainment team organised once a week.. the coconut drinks were delicious.. we will be returning

Room Tip: We stayed in block 5 which was great being close to pool/beach.. if you don't mind entertainment...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

My mom and I stayed at the RIU Playacar from Sunday, 10/21 – Thursday, 10/25 on our first ever all-inclusive vacation to Mexico. Below, I've highlighted my personal opinions into categories with tips, as well.

* Airport transportation ~ Olympus Tours:
Through our booking web site (CheapCarribean), we were assigned Olympus Tours as our transportation guide to/from the airport. Immediately when you exit baggage claim, there are a ton of individuals in light blue tops looking to book your transportation for you. They will flag you down and claim that they are Olympus Tours (or your booking company) and try to direct you to "the right booth." Walk right past them and walk outside the airport -- where many pre-booked transportation services are, including Olympus Tours. The guys outside were tremendously helpful and caring, too -- they made sure that we put our passports away and secured a time to speak with their tour representative at our hotel that night. The transportation to our hotel was very smooth in an air-conditioned large van with fun music playing. The driver offered us his personal suggestions when asked. The trip from the airport to the hotel was approximately 45 minutes to an hour, since we had to drop a few others off at their hotel, too. I thought this was neat, though, as we got to see a few other resorts, too. The tour guide that we met with in the hotel that evening gave us a great deal to Xel-ha, along with showing us other options. He wasn't pushy and, were we to have said "no," I do feel as if he would have shook our hand and been perfectly fine with it. The tour to Xel-ha was run by another company (Experiencias Xcaret) and they were, as the Olympus Tours rep said, very organized and professional. The RIU Playacar does not have a voicemail system, so we had to call Olympus Tours from the front desk the day before our departure. They let us know the time they would pick us up and, again, nothing but smooth, wonderful service from them.

* Hotel and room:
The hotel was kept very clean and it didn't feel "dirty" to me at any point. The service was outstanding. Everyone always wanted to ensure you were having a good time -- you're greeted with drinks at the counter upon check-in, too! In fact, the only "rude" people we encountered on the trip were others staying at the hotel. The rooms themselves were clean but, yes, as other reviews state: the beds were very hard. The first night, they were out of bed pads, but the maid put them on our bed the next night for the rest of our stay. So, I'd suggest asking for a bed pad at time of check-in or in your "requests" note at booking. Note that there's a shampoo dispenser in the bathroom along with bar soap, but there are NOT small lotions or conditioners in your bathroom. Be sure to bring those. Also, a lot of reviews talk about a "mold smell" in the rooms. This "mold smell" seemed more to me almost like a faint basement smell, which I smelled MANY places in Mexico (airport, Xel-ha, etc) -- it seems more due to the humidity than mold. I should also note that our hotel was without cold water for 7 hours on our last night's stay. They did get this fixed around 9:00pm and immediately had buckets full of water in the main bathrooms to flush the toilet. There were many, many staff on the ground trying to get it fixed as promptly as they could, so I don't believe it was an every-day occurrence -- but it is worth noting. I don't believe it took anything away from our vacation, though.

* Location:
Compared to the other hotels we saw during our transport, RIU Playacar is in a somewhat "gated community" -- we felt very safe. You can walk to "5th avenue" in 25 minutes and the walk itself is lovely to do and very interesting to see the little condos nearby, but it is WARM! Walk to 5th avenue and take a $7 taxi back to the hotel. :) There's a small shopping district directly across the hotel with a Starbucks! Yes, a Starbucks! :)

* Food and drinks:
The drinks were nice, although definitely watered down a bit. They even come on the beach and bring several around at many points throughout the day. The food wasn't extremely marvelous, but it also wasn't bad -- anyone who complains about the food is expecting a home-cooked meal, I think. We ate at the general buffet for dinner one night and the following three nights, we tried out each restaurant (Steakhouse, Mexican, and Asian). The Asian restaurant ("Jade") is its own area (self-serve, but the waitstaff still helps you), and the Steakhouse and Mexican are divided dining areas with separate waitstaff. The Steakhouse restaurant seemed the most popular, with Asian second (beware -- they sometimes run out of soy sauce... and some people get really grumpy about that... I watched a tourist rudely ream out the kind waitstaff for this... ridiculous!), and the Mexican being last (I think most people avoid it because there's Mexican-type food on the buffet, but it is far better than the buffet... fajitas were great!). There was plenty of room in the restaurants each evening, so I don't understand why some people say it was impossible to get a reservation. We went down to breakfast around 8:00am every morning and wrote our name down, but there was definitely many seats left each night in both areas. Also, for a "dinner bell" for the buffet in the main lobby building, the resort staff claps their hands and parades around a table -- which is rather cute to see. :)

* Entertainment:
We caught a resort show one evening of our stay -- a Mexican lip-sync of "Grease" which, to the team's credit, was entertaining and they clearly practiced their dance moves. But, it's not Broadway, but was still enjoyable. They offer several contests throughout the day. The schedule is written on a board outside the buffet area. I will say that I found the pool contests a bit disruptive while on the beach, since I could hear the announcer yelling while trying to read. They also played a game of horse-shoes one day right on the beach, which was also disruptive, but, regardless, they do try to entertain their guests and it's just important to be open-minded and enjoy your stay! There's also a singer in the main lobby area every night before 9:00pm which a lot of people seemed to enjoy, too.

* Beach:
Beautiful! You can walk barefoot at all times -- no rocks to poke at your feet. Very, very close to your hotel.

* Excursions:
As noted above, we used Olympus Tours to arrange our transportation/tours for us which ultimately led to a trip to Tulum and Xel-ha with the tour group Experiancias Xcaret. If you choose to go to Tulum, bring bug spray unless you want to buy it outside the area! Tulum is right next to a swamp. It was very humid and actually down-poured for 15 minutes while we were there, so dress lightly. The Tulum + Xel-ha + Dolphin Ride was $220 per person through Olympus Tours. When you calculate the trolley ride that's included at Tulum, general admission, transportation, and the general price of a dolphin ride alone, this is a great deal. Xel-ha is highly recommended, as is swimming with dolphins. However, beware that one picture of you and a dolphin is $29 USD. They take wonderful photographs of you during the experience, so you have a lot to choose from. However, my suggestion would be to get your photograph taken with the iguana/parrots/macaw outside the restaurants -- it's free to have your photograph taken and they will be at the entrance printed out for you to choose from should you wish to. One photograph is $13 vs. the outrageous price they charge for a dolphin photograph.

* Spa:
The resort does not have a spa, but they do have a small building that offers massages and hair braiding (I had 5 braids put on the side of my hair for $10 -- and it turned out nice).

Overall, this was a GREAT vacation! ENJOY yourself and the experience... and be open-minded!

Room Tip: If you're concerned about noise, request a room closest to the main building (which is still ext...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

october 2012
it was two weeks of a wonderful holiday I have travelled around the world twice in my fifty years I also hold a diamond card with riu.Excellent food,staff and cleanliness 1st class,a la carte deserves 10 stars.How soon can we go back?Thanks playacar XX Best riu ever,been to cancun 9 times this rates highest award that i can give.

David Oldfield Retired Northumberland

Room Tip: rooms towards beach bright and sunny
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

My son (27) and I stayed at the Playacar from Oct 4th to the 12th, 2012. The first thing I have to say is that it was one of the best all-inclusives I've stayed at. (This includes 12 others)

It's not that the rooms are that great, they are good though. The best part was the incredible service and attention the staff give to the guests. The front desk personnel are professional and very personable. They had no problem switching our room from a 3rd floor to a 1st floor at check-in. My son and I had a great time with the resort's "Entertainment Team" the whole time we were there. I can't say enough about all of them, Glen, Omar, Oscar, Luis, & Carla. They do a wonderful job of getting you involved in activities and meeting others at the resort.

The pools and beach area are beautiful with plenty of sun and shade available. We never had to worry about finding an open lounger. The food was very good and we ate at each of the specialty restaurants, I liked the Japenese one the best. Frankly, if you complain about the food here, you're just looking to complain. They have so many different things to eat that you're not hugry if you can't find something you like.

We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and the work they do is a real plus for the hotel. We also wanted to give a shout out to the bartenders and the restaurant wait staff, they are never more than a few steps away from keeping your table clear and bringing you a new drink.

I have no problem recommending the Riu Playacar to others and will seriously think of going back there next time I want to head to Playa Del Carmen.

Room Tip: We stayed in building #3. It was right in the middle and good for either going to the pool or the ma...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Playacar

Address: Avenida Xamen-Ha | Manzana 6, Lote 6, Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#35 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#46 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#49 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#60 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Playacar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 386
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in the Yucatan peninsula, 3 km / 1.9 Miles from Playa del Carmen * In the Playacar resort area, along with the Riu Palace Mexico, Riu Palace Riviera Maya, Riu Yucatan and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels * Main building and 2-storey bungalow complex * Located on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Surrounded by 16,000 m2/19,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Mexican Street, next to Riu Yucatan * 100 m/325 ft. From various shops * 55 km/34 miles from Cancun Int'l. Airport ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Playacar Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Riu Playacar Playa Del Carmen
Riu Playacar Reviews
Playacar Hotels
Riu Playacar Mexico
Rui Playacar
Hotel Riu Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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