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“Good holiday but bit like butlins at night” 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 200 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Good holiday but bit like butlins at night”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012 via mobile

We have just come back from a week here.

1. Fantastic beach - free use of chairs and barmen come out with drinks
2. Staff great and cheerful
3. Extremely clean hotel
4. Buffett restaurant excellent
5. Pool area and beach bar fab.

1. Shows too late starting at 10pm
2. Daily awards on stage really childish and annoying and very butlins. At 0945 this should be adult time in my opinion and that of many guests we asked.
3. Speciality restaurants were not very nice The steak, mexican and Chinese restaurant not nice at all and in fact the buffet is better.


Take one of those cups that keep your drinks cool. The bar men will fill
These up with cocktails as the small
Plastic cups don't last long. These cost $29 in local shops.

Take pounds out with and change them in playa Carmen. Exchange rate much better on 5th avenue than in Britain.

Overall would we go back again. Yes but would try a different area.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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3,072 reviews from our community

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (362)
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

I stayed with 6 friends at the Riu Playacar from 29/11/2012 to 13/12/2012 The full two weeks were a pleasure, the staff were excellent in everything they did from the gardeners to the bar staff to the room cleaners. There is not one thing i could complain about. The rooms were clean and tidy and the whole Hotel although a few years old now is great value for an all inclusive.
The buffet restaurant was excellent if there was not something to suit your taste at every meal then this is not the standard of Hotel for you. There are 3 other Restaurants, a Chinese, Steakhouse and Mexican, we tried the Chinese and the Steakhouse and both were very good and you could book these as many times as you wished, but the Buffet was that good we only paid a couple of visits.
The beach was sublime along with the Carribean sea, there were ample sunbeds and the bar staff carried trays of various cocktails and beers onto the beach so you did not have to walk to the bars. The pool area and gardens were clean and again ample sunbeds to just lift yourself off to slip into the pool and swim to the pool bar for more drinks.
The rooms were clean and tidy and had the Optics in your room, the fridge carried beer water and soft drinks and mixers which were well stocked. Again the rooms are due for a bit of an update with regards to small things like the odd socket loose on the wall and the shower tray was past its best. The air conditioning was good and there was also a ceiling fan which was nice to come back to after a hot day in the sun. Our room was cleaned every day and the towels and sheets changed every day.
We stayed at the Riu Yucatan a few hotels away 4 years ago and this hotel is on a par with this but a slightly smaller scale.
All in all this was a great relaxing break of two weeks with nothing to trouble us, thanks again to all the staff who made this holiday such a pleasure.

Room Tip: No real advantage there are only 6 blocks which run at right angles to the beach. You are either nea...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012 via mobile

This was my first time to the area and my partner and I ended up staying at the Riu Playacar which was our first stay at an all inclusive resort. I'll start with the positives:

- great location, easy to get to/from the town and the beach was at your doorstep so to speak;
- the smorgasbord breakfast and dinners were very good. I generally avoid smorgasbords but was pleasantly surprised at the variety and quality of the food;
- nice size rooms;
- fantastic waterless sure in the showers and nice warm shower.

And last but not least, the staff are fantastic particularly the front desk staff. They were exceedingly helpful every time we needed assistance.

Now the few things that weren't okay:

- the noise. I'd read several reviews on trip advisor re noise so came prepared and asked for a room away from the entertainment area. That was fine except we had exceedingly noisy next door neighbours who had obviously enjoyed the limited free booze to an extreme. My first night there I came exceedingly close to ringing the front desk to complain, it was that bad. Don't get me wrong, this is a great place for families, but be aware of sometimes e outcome of having free alcohol available.
- the beds are only doubles and they are very hard. Sort of fine for me but not for my partner.
- no elevators. Be prepared to lug bags up flights of stairs if staff not available to assist.

Overall we enjoyed our stay and I would just say be aware of the few things I noted above.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kansas city
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

There are many reviews saying about the same thing, so here are a few extra's that haven't been mentioned as much. The best things about this resort are:
Beach - excellent. fun for all.
Staff - extremely helpful.
The size - It is very small which makes it very nice for a family group. It's easy to keep track of everyone and not scary for kids to run around. We just returned, went for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. It was a larger group but very easy to find each other.
Room review:
Yes the beds are hard, but the topper they put on made it fine.
The soap has a weird pepper smell. I do not care for peppers, so next time I will bring my own soap. Also, they don't give you the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner. They have a shampoo dispenser on wall in shower, but I need conditioner. Went across street to drug store and bought some.
Food review: I have been to a ton of the resorts down here and really they are very similar. I will say that I came to this resort 1 1/2 yrs ago with another group and the wine they served was horrible. I am a wine drinker, so this time I even brought some with me. But I was very happily surprised to find that they had changed it. So the house red(fruity zin) is like a wine you would get on a airplane flight. Not awesome, but definitely drinkable. We went to all the "specialty" rest and I really wish we would have skipped the mexican and steakhouse. The main buffet was very good at night. On the nights we ate there it made us sad to think what we missed out on the nights we were at the "speciality" ones. Next time we will do buffet and Asian and not even waste time with the others. Buffett at night was excellent variety - in my opinion.
Also - we had the photographer on site take our pictures one morning. I had told everyone ahead of time what to where and it turned out great. It was a special occasion and it's free to do the photo shoot. You just buy the pics if you want them. But he did take awesome pics of all of us. So if you need a good family pic I would recommend using his services. Esp if you are there for a special occasion.
I would totally recommend this to families looking for some fun and relaxation.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

I went there with my 3 years old daughter, and bunch of friends who were staying with their families and young kids (from 5 month to 8 years old). I think it is nicest hotel for the price I paid. It was not five stars because everything is pretty simple, but if you know that hotel would be small and you don't expect lots of facilities and activities there is pretty much nothing to complain about. Few weird things here and there but nothing major.

Beach - the best I ever seen, beautiful white sand, no rocks, not too steep and not too shallow to go into the water, no big waves. There was no umbrellas though just palm trees, and if you want special drinks you have to go to pool bar (but they would bring beer and soft drinks around). There was few games they play at the beach too (volleyball, bocha, etc). You can use sail boats for free too (and no need to book them lots in advanced). There was even fish in the water on the calm day which we saw while swimming.

Pool - lots of seats with umbrellas and shade around, was never any fight and trying to rush at 6 in the morning to drop your towels, you can always find a spot you want. Great entertainment around pool area all the time.

Reception - great, check in fast, asked to change room to be on the first floor because I have stroller, no issues at all, changed right away, other of my friends asked to change their room because they did not like garden view - no problems at all. They give only one key when you check in but you can ask for second at any time. At reception they can change money too, but not US dollars (exchange place is across the street from reception though a minute walk)

Room - I think it was newly renovated, simple, clean. First awesome thing I noticed when I walk in - the bar. There was 4 huge bottles of tequila, rum and vodka hanging down, and mini fridge with soft drinks, beer and water under it! Room has small flat screen TV with HDMI input, which is all I needed so my daughter can watch her cartoons on TV streaming from my playbook (tablet).
The other reviewers was saying that bed were hard, but I don't know what they are sleeping at home on, because I sleep on firm mattress, and it was perfect. The weird thing was air conditioner - I don't think that control they provide actually changes the temperature because no matter what I set it was always 20 degrees Celsius which is cold for me. But I took the blanket from the closet and from then on they were making our beds with blankets which was fine. I don't recommend to sleep without air conditioner because it getting very wet (dump at night).

Food/Beverages - I think food was awesome, for dinner in the buffet they did always different themes, but was always lots of Mexican stuff, seafood and chicken which I mostly eat. We went to Asian restaurant too, which is apparently buffet too (kind of Chinese buffet :). So if you want to go to a la cart - go to Mexican/Stake house instead. In buffet it mostly self service, including wine (barrel with cranes) and tap beer, so you don't need to wait around if you don't want to (but they can bring you drinks if you ask). Coffee I did not try but friends did not like it. If you want a good coffee go to bar at the beach restaurant, they do amazing espresso, cappuccino and if you want to see cool drink making ask for Irish coffee (it will be with alcohol).

Kids entertainment - We had kids so our highlight of the day was kids disco which was starting 8:15 where kids dance on stage and play games. Kids entertainer is really nice girl btw, very good with kids. For kids there is kiddy pool and little playground in the kids club area.

Night entertainment - they had shows every night around 9:30pm, I watched couple of them, they were pretty good. If you want to continue you have to go to another Riu resort across the street , which has Disco and bigger lobby bar (Riu Tequila). You allowed to another three of Riu resorts which are on the same street, including getting food and drinks (except for dinner).
So if you bored in this one you can go to a different resort each day.

Overall hotel is very small, there is one street from lobby to the beach which is about one minute walk. So you can choose your windows facing the street or facing the garden (no ocean view). If you have small kids and planning to go to bed earlier pick cottage closer to the lobby on the first floor (because if it closer to the beach it will be laud from 8 to 10pm because of entertainment)

The only drawback was most of us was sick with stomach flu, as other people on the resort. It took from 4 hours to 24 hours in some cases to get over it. I don't know if this is entirely hotel fault or it just not possible to contain the virus once it start spreading, but they take food hygiene lightly I would say (not changing all cutlery on the tables, taking straws with their fingers, put lime on the drinks with fingers, touching glass tops). If you really peaky about this stuff you should probably go to real five star resort.

Overall I would recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to reception are quieter. Rooms on the first floors are must have for stroller/disable...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
London, Canada
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

This was our 4th time to the Mayan Riviera and 1st time at a Riu. We choose the Riu Playacar due to its close proximity to the beach and smaller size. We also really love Playacar and the ability to walk into Playa in about 20 - 25 mins.

The beach in Playacar was beautiful as always. Wide beach, beautiful and refreshing ocean water temp, lots of sunbeds to choose from. We didn't really notice any towel game - most of the loungers were taken up by about 10am but there were always a few random ones you could pull together. Lots of vendors on the beach but they continue on if you say no. Everyday there was a server who would bring a large tray of different drinks, a number of times, to everyone on the beach - beer, rum and cokes, daiquiris, pina coladas, tequila sunrise, etc.

Lots of choices on the drink menu, with great non-alcoholic slushy type drinks too. We ate at the Steakhouse and the Asian a la cartes. Both were good, with lots to choose from. At the steakhouse we had ceasar salad, an appetizer plate with onion rings, fried zucchini, etc, tomato and asparagus soup, and a large steak/corn/baked potato. The Asian was more of a self serve buffet, with different types of sushi (maki), miso soup, salad, terriyaki noodles, duck, chicken skewers, sweet and sour pork, etc. The main buffet at dinner time had a few different meats every night, with some the same every night, and same for the side dishes. Had the pasta bar a few times and it was good.

The buffet at lunch time was much smaller but something different every day. For in between meals there was nachos and popcorn.

Rooms were very basic, showed their age, but very clean. Fridge restocked every 2nd day. The room safe is a lock and key type - worked fine for us. We didn't mind the hard beds, but the pillows were a bit hard/flat for us. Shower had a hand-held hose and good water pressure. The hotel supplies small bars of soaps, and a showercap.

Entertainment at night - we went across the street to the Riu Tequila a few times for the night show, the nightlife seems more lively there, lots of tables and chairs to sit at and a couple different bars all in the same area. The shows rotate around all the Rius every night so there are lots of different ones to choose from.

Front desk staff were always very helpful and friendly. We received prompt wake up calls. They were able to answer all of our questions. If you require more water, the front desk has large water bottles. Check in and Check out very easy. Received some info on check in that explained what restaurants were open and what times, for the different Riu's we could use.

All of the staff were very helpful and friendly, from housekeeping to the servers, etc. There is a Drugs and Deli across the street in the plaza that have every type of medication you may need. We were in building 2 which is closest to the lobby and farthest from the beach, the walk to the beach was only about 2-3 mins from this building. Our room was on the ground floor facing in towards the walkway. No bugs in the room at all.

Used the wifi - up to 90 mins a day, worked well with no problems.
The massage hut on the beach, I thought was really pricey - even more than at home. We didn't use it so we can't comment, we just took a look at the price list.

There was something different going on around the pools every day, different activities and fun to people watch - towel art, drink making, fashion show, etc .. they served cerviche around the pool one day that was good.

Can't wait to plan the next trip. Would probably go to a Riu again, although would try a different one because we like to experience a different hotel every time.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
19 reviews 19 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

This hotel is fantastic, the staff are so friendly and helpful and such a laugh! The food was lovely, although a bit samey, but the themed nights were very good, the rooms are extremely clean, and spacious, the cleaners did an amazing job, to say how many rooms they have to clean. The beach was gorgeous and the pool was lovely, although cold! But it's a refreshing and once you get used to it, it's great. The bar staff were incredible, preparing any drink you wanted even if it wasn't on the menu (although there is a hell of a lot of choice on the menu) We had two double beds in our room (which is a double room apparently) The beds were so comfortable and I wish I could've taken the pillows with me as they were lovely to sleep on. The overall experience was great, we had no complaints whatsoever, the waiters were great, although we didn't expect a lot from them as they are so busy so just got our own drinks, but on a few or more occasions they got our drinks while we were getting our food, but we didn't expect them to do that, as a lot of people do. Great trip, lovely hotel, definite recommend. :)

Room Tip: We stayed in the 3rd building which was perfect as it was halfway between the bar/restaurants and th...
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  • Stayed December 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 4
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
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#36 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#42 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#50 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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