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“January 2013” 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 #75 of 197 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Traversea City, MI USA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“January 2013”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2014

my college age son and i spent a week at this resort. It was relaxing and fun - the beach was gorgeous and perfect for early morning walks. Additionally, the walking on the sidewalk to Playa Del Carmen was excellent as well - about 1 mile to town for restaurants and shopping. We enjoyed our ability to utilize the other Riu resorts in the area and enjoyed the pool and volleyball activities across the street at the Riu Tequilla. It was a great trip!

Room Tip: rooms facing away from the center of the resort are quieter. We enjoyed the peaceful wooded feel of...
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  • Stayed January 2014, 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
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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
    4.5 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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Minneapolis, MN
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

My husband & I just got home from a wonderful vacation at the Riu Playacar in Playa del Carmen. We have had one previous experience at an all-inclusive in Punta Cana, Dominican Rep (Punta Cana Princess Suites) and we've been on 3 Caribbean cruises...just so you know what we are comparing this to.
First,I highly recommend using USA Transfers for your transportation to/from the airport. They were on-time, extremely polite/professional, and the vehicles were spotless. The online booking was very easy; it was nice to plow through the group of taxi drivers & over to the person holding the USA Transfer sign. The trip from the airport to the resort is about 45 mins.
The resort is one of a few in a gated, secure area that's only accessible to resort staff, guests and authorized transportation. So, leaving the entrance to Riu Playacar to go for a walk/run was safe. Directly across the street from our resort is a Starbucks & a marketplace w/ about 15-20 shops.
1) The rooms. I didn't consider them to be 'dated'. 'Dated' to me means worn & retro. They were extremely clean & comfortable. Our sink was slow to drain & I laughed because I'm willing to bet someone will write a review saying that ruined their whole vacation. Some reviewers complained about 'no elevator'; therefore, 'be sure to request a 1st floor room'. First of all, staff delivered our luggage to our 2nd floor room. Secondly, the amount of stairs are no different than inside someone's house and not once did we feel over-exerted using them. With that being said, for those who have mobility issues...yes, 1st floor. Anyone else that's able-bodied need not worry.
2) The food/drink. If you're looking for food that's identical to what you'd get in US/Canadian restaurants, then don't vacation outside of US/Canada. The food was excellent here. A lot of variety on the buffets each day. Another reviewer commented that there aren't a lot of vegetarian options, but I beg to differ. I'm a vegetarian and I was able to find plenty. Are there a ton of pre-made veg dishes? No. But, if you are willing to improvise (create your own veggie tacos, etc with the food that is offered) you'll be ok. Everything was so fresh & great quality. Just loved the authentic tortillas, chips, guac, salsa, etc. The Asian restaurant was a buffet w/sushi and typical Asian-American dishes and it was very delicious. The Mexican restaurant was sit-down table service and was very good as well. The drinks weren't watered down/weak; they were good. Frozen drinks & Mexican beer aren't high in alc. content anywhere; so if you want to get trashed, stick w/cocktails which were appropriate strength & quite tasty. Wine wasn't the best I've had; but not terrible. I actually used it to make my own sangria w/juice & 7 up--yum!
3) Pool/grounds. Very very clean & beautiful.
4) Beach. Wonderful. Never a fight for chairs; plenty of shade or sun. Staff walking around serving drinks. Same cigar & jewelry vendors every day and they didn't harass. Beautiful sugar sand and warm water.
5) Staff. Went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Always there to remove a plate, fill a glass, etc. Service was quick & efficient. Everyone said hello in passing. And they were always cleaning.
6) Overall culture. A few day activities like beach volleyball, exercise, dance lessons, tennis, rifle shooting and live music in the evenings. We had a great couples massage in an outdoor cabana near the beach. Guests were variety of ages & backgrounds. Fair amt of small children, but not out of control or noisy. A few younger partiers, but not excessive. Less crowded than Riu Tequila or Riu Yukatan...more low-key and "Mexican". Yukatan was ultra modern & chic (think Las Vegas' Aria)...very cool but a whole different experience. Tequila was similar to Playacar but less Mexican-looking.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a nice, clean, no-frills place -- this is it. It really exceeded our expectations and worth every peso.

Room Tip: Unless you go to bed before 10pm, you shouldn't be bothered by noise anywhere from entertainment...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

We just returned last night and enjoyed this property. Yes it is very low key and probably what most would consider "dated" but we knew that before going so it worked for us. We did use the other two Riu properties for lunch and dinner a few times and they were very nice but not what we were wanting to stay in. Food was very good at Riu Playacar....we aren't big drinkers so can't comment on that...staff were nice (especially Freddy who worked so very hard to keep everyone involved in activities). We spent our days at the beach and there was enough shade loungers for everyone. Beach was lovely. This resort was not a place to go if you want to be social. Everyone pretty much kept to themselves. A nice restful week away for us.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, Missouri
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

This is a great hotel for the value.

If want to stay somewhere with decent food, good drinks (some of which are fairly strong), be extremely close to a gorgeous beach, sit by a nice enough pool, and be very close to 5th Avenue and Xcaret/Xplor/Xel-Ha, this is a great place to stay.

The Pros:
- Very clean lobby and rooms
- Gorgeous, clean beach
- Plenty of chairs and sun loungers on beach and by pool
- $7 by taxi away from 5th Avenue/shopping
- $12 by taxi from Xcaret
- Friendly, helpful staff
- Across from shopping, Starbucks
- Large rooms with balcony's and comfortable beds

The Cons:
- So-so food (delicious fruit and desserts though)
- Some of the alcoholic drinks are weak (that being said, some are very strong)
- You only get 90 minutes of free Wifi in the lobby
- Dated decor
- Bathrooms are a bit dark and the bathtubs are narrow

All that said, personally, I think it is very much worth the value. Sure, you can spend money for a nicer decor and better food, but if you're looking to relax on a beautiful beach and to be very close to Playa del Carmen, Riu Playacar is more than sufficient. I think we'll probably stay here again and I'd recommend the place to friends and family.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

We (9 adult travelers) stayed at this resort Dec. 12-20, 2013. The resort staff is very friendly and welcoming. The pools are very nice. The beach is great. You can walk to Playa Del Carmen via the beach a very easy walk. Self serve popcorn and nachos available all the time at the snack bar by the beach. Never went to the show in the evening, the show never started until 9:45 pm. There is entertainment in the lobby until 8:30 pm. The music is loud in the lobby. There 4 villas on each side of the walking path to the beach. The grounds are very well kept. The staff is constantly cleaning, the hotel supplies umbrellas which you will need in the evening. Mosquitoes are out at night so bring spray. We would stay here again.

Our travel agent that we have used for the past 10 years is a great person to work with, will look for the best priced flight and resort and helps in making the ultimate decision on the resort. Here is her information: Denise Perkins
Vacation Consultant, www.thetropicaltravlers.com,

Local 1.610.296 6363 ext. 118
Toll Free 1.800.479.0949 ext. 118

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Lexington, Kentucky
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

So I am more than a little shocked that so many people rate this as a 4 or a 5. Let me preface this by saying we have been to this area 6 times. We always stay at a different resort because there are so many great all inclusive options. This time we were a part of a larger group and we did not plan the trip so were just along for the ride. The property is super dated and rundown. I know they are going to tear it down and they should. A lot of people on hear have expressed disappointment about this but you can update and make a place nice without turning it into robot palace.

The bars and pool are just not inviting. At all other resorts you are hard pressed to get a seat at the bar or by the pool because that is where everyone wants to be. Not the case here as there is no big reason to be on the property during the day at all.

The Food: The food here is awful. You have to make reservations for the 3 restaurants by 10am or you are only allowed to eat at the buffet. This is actually ok since the buffet is the only decent food. You don't expect 5 star dining here but the Mexican restaurant was inedible and we were in MEXICO. Many other resorts we have stayed at like the Aventura Spa Palace have more themed options and far superior cuisine. Another big disappointment was that this place has no room service or late night food options. At every other all inclusive we have stayed at there has been 24 hour room service.

The rooms are not very big, smell a bit musty and are dated. They are no nicer than the Courtyard Marriotts I stay in when traveling for work.

The Good: Yes the beach is very nice. But it is also nice for the other 15 resorts that are on the exact same beach. The one saving grace is that your bracelet gets you into the Riu Yucatan and the Riu Tequila. We spent our whole trip at the Yucatan which has 4 great outdoor pool bars and is a nice property. The Tequila is nice for post dinner activities as it has a sports bar and a nightclub.

We still had an awesome time because we were in Mexico with great friend but there are so many incredible resorts in the Riviera Maya….spend your hard earned dollar elsewhere.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

Stayed here for 3 days (2 adults + 2 kids) in Dec 2013. Good value for money, because kids stay & eat free.

It's a nice hotel with a great beach, but public areas could use a remodel. The beach is large, fine brown sand, and stretches in both directions. The sea was shallow enough to allow wading in for quite a bit.

Rooms were big and are in 3-level units. None of the rooms have beach views, but the property has nice landscaping and coconut palms on the beach for shade. A curtain separates the bedroom from the bathroom. Bed and mattress were big, but average. The toilet area of the bathroom has its own door. The room and safe have old-fashioned, regular keys, not the more convenient card & digital keys, so you only get one key to share. The units stretch from the lobby to the beach -- the units near the lobby may be quieter because the units near the beach are near the night entertainment stage, which can be loud till 11 PM.

Food was fine and service was friendly. However no one ever came around to ask if we needed drinks while we were on the loungers near the pool or the beach. This was different from the two other Rius we've been to, where service was better.

The pools and dining areas look old and could use a remodel. Towel service was very good.

Guests can use the other Rius near this property, but not the Riu Palaces, for everything except dinner. Dinner is required to be eaten at Riu Playacar. The Riu Tequila across the street is very nice, and has a much better lobby, dining areas and pool. However the Riu Tequila has a longer walk to the beach. I would stay at the Riu Tequila instead if you don't mind the 8 min walk to the beach.

No gym or spa, but you can use the ones in the other Riu properties (cannot use Riu Palaces).

There is an Alamo car rental desk and an ATM in the lobby. The Playacar Shop Market is a small shopping mall, right across the property, which has an Avis car rental.

The hotel is about 20 min walk to the Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), which is main tourist drag in Playa Del Carmen. Taxi to the south end of 5th Avenue is 70 pesos. Taxi back from 5th & Avenue Constituyentes is 100 pesos. Taxi to Cancun airport is 550 pesos and takes about 45-60 min.

Check out was at 12:00 noon, and since our flight was later, they gave us a free pass after check out to use the resort, including lunch & drinks. The lobby has a room to keep luggage after check out if you have a later flight.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 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
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#37 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#47 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#51 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#61 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Playacar 3.5*
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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