I recently stayed for 7 days at the Riu palace in Cabo. Ive stayed at riu palaces in Cancun and Punta Cana as well as the new Riu in Varadero Cuba and they're all very similar. In my experience with Riu's, they're all almost identical. The rooms look the same, the food looks the same, the entertainment is the same and the service is, for the most part, the same. Ive tried different resorts as well as renting condos and fending for myself, so im not solely comparing apples to apples.
This year my group consisted of myself and 13 of my friends. Its the biggest group ive ever traveled with and they were quite accommodating. When we originally booked (through selloffvacations.com) we had booked 7 oceanview rooms, thinking that we would have a kingbed/two double bed option because thats what sell off had told us. When we discovered that 2 of our rooms would be uncomfortable sleeping arrangements with friends a quick email to the hotel had those 2 rooms upgraded to jr suits for free. No hassels. Also,they managed to keep all of our rooms very close together (at first) which was a nice suprise. One of the rooms (mine) was very smokey and needed to be cleaned/aired out significantly before it was liveable. After complaining to the front desk, 4 or 5 times, they finally, reluctantly, moved us to the absolute furthest corner of the hotel from our group. Which was a pain in the butt, but was still better then the stink of that first room.
When one of our safes broke on the second day, the staff managed to get it open. They never fixed the issue or switched them to another room with a functioning safe, but luckly it never ended up being an issue. Ive read in the forums on this site that the riu palace has had problems with theft in the past but a laptop, ipods, phones, cash, passports were all never touched even though they were left out in the open for the remaining 5 days.
Another suprise was on the second day when we tried to make reservations for all 14 of us to eat together at the al-a-carts they booked us into the mexican restaurant for that night and the steak house for the following night and told us the other restaurants should be able to take us anytime. (which turned out to be untrue but oh well)
The service all in all was quite good. I found 3 issues with staff in the entire week. 1. The front desk while trying to get a new room were rude and extremely difficult to deal with. 2. A bartender at the swim up bar for some reason would just not take an order properly. he would either make 2 out of the 6 drinks ordered and then tell us to come back later, or make completely different drinks then we asked for and expect us to take them, or completely leave the alcohol out of drinks for no real reason. 3 This was at the swim up bar at the Riu santa fe. The bartender must have been having a bad day because he kept snapping on people. First on my friend who tried to get a round of 6 shots. He started screaming at him, took off his nametag and put it in his pocket and then said we could no longer order drinks. Then about 2 minutes later made us the drinks. about 30 minutes after that i saw him snap on another guest over a drink order and do the same thing. at this point we started getting out of the water to get our drinks from the top bar.
For excursions, i was very pleased with the catamaran tour we took (pez gato) it was a fun ride, we saw some wales, the snorkeling was good (but cold) lunch was good. the music was great and the drinks were great. We also did a pubcrawl (not sure of the name but we booked through sunwing in the lobby) and it was great aswell. because of the size of our group it ended up private which was nice because we could switch clubs when we wanted and we convinced the driver to take us for tacos on the way back to the hotel.
All in all, pretty good. ive been to worse and ive been to better.
Also, a bunch of us got massages on the balcony and they were great! highly recommend.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.