I know this review is long, but I would encourage you to read it so if you have a vacation booked at the RIU, you are prepared and if you don't have a vacation booked at the RIU, you may want to consider it. Don't be scared away by the bad reviews....
My boyfriend and I just returned from a wonderful vacation spent at the RIU with our best friends (See "We Enjoyed the RIU~) from 3-16 to 3-23. Everything said in that review is true, and we made a pact when we left the RIU to address all of the issues we had read about prior to leaving for our vacation.
First of all, anyone who goes on a vacation to a resort should always do their research and come prepared. Since we had looked at Trip Advisor on MANY occasions and read all the reviews, we knew what to expect and how to handle difficult situations. Our boyfriend/ husband laughed at us the whole time b/c we were always saying "Well, TA did say..."
What follows is an overview of our experience at the RIU:
1) Our rooms were not to our satisfaction upon arrival; we tipped the reservation man (Samuel) $10 when we arrived but our first rooms did not have a great view. It was probably a waste of ten dollars. However, we had no program changing our rooms the next day. Now, we're not sure if it was b/c of Samuel and the tip, but he did say he would put us on a list for a room change and when we went to the front desk the next day, we were on "the list" and they gave us two rooms in the exact location we requested AND they brought our bags to our original room and our new room pretty quickly.
TIP: If you are not satisfied with your room, do a little investigating into which rooms you would like and tell them you want a room within that range (ie- from 4130-4162 on a specific side of the hotel- east or west). This way you know if you are getting a room overlooking the pool and the ocean, not overlooking a large sand mound with a small view of the ocean. However, beware of the palm trees on floor 2 (it's really the third floor up but they start with 0). When we walked out on the balcony, there was a nice big palm tree blocking part of our view, but it was still beautiful. There are palm trees everywhere.
2) The buffet food was good. The only thing I would recommend is more variety at the buffet for lunch and dinner. We ate at the steakhouse one night, it was also decent but not great. Breakfast was always fantasitc, try to sit outside. You may have to clean the table, but who cares? Why wait when you can do it yourself, it takes two seconds. There are also plenty of seats inside already set up.
TIP: Don't go to the RIU if you want a gourmet cuisine vacation or fine dining service. They just don't have it yet. They do not have the restaurant reservation system worked out; besides, all the food comes from the same kitchens anyway. DO NOT waste your valuable vacation and beautiful Cabo standing in a food reservation line. By 4:30PM, the line is wrapped around the building and the reservation stand does not open up until 6:00PM.
3) The entertainment:
-The disco was never crowded but good for people watching (very funny).
TIP: For nightlife, go into town. Many fabulous places to see.
-I never saw the show at the hotel, but I heard it was ok.
-Kayak over to Lover's beach. It's a little rough getting in and out at both beaches but there are men there to help you. It's great exercise, plus it's free.
-Sign up for ATVs. There is a desk in the lobby. It's $55 a person for 3 hours (includes the car ride there and back which is about 40 min. total), but leaves plenty of time for fun. You do have to travel through a park for about 5 miles to get to the beach and it's very dusty along the way, but they provide you with googles, a helmet and a bandana (which I was wary of but was freshly washed and smelled nice). The beach for ATV'ing is huge.
4) The pools were beautiful. The men were out cleaning the pools at night and early in the morning (with PLENTY of chemicals) but there is so many people there is bound to be suntain lotion residue, etc. in the pool. Would anyone want them to be throwing chemicals and chlorine in the pool in the middle of the day? It's Mexico, it's hot, and people will be wearing a lot of sunblock. Plus, you have people drinking all day in the pool. I thought the waiters and waitresses around the pool kept it very clean. The view is beautiful. There are these great loungers and stools, etc. right in the pools. You can't swim in the water in front of the hotel but you can touch your feet in to cool off or go kayaking. Otherwise, swim in the pools, they're certainly big enough. One caution, the music they play is repetitive, we must have heard each song about 10 times a day, so bring your own music and ask them to play it. One day they played some music with offensive lyrics very loudly and a nice man asked them to turn it down and they did. It is a family resort and there are kids around.
TIP: At the end of the day, exchange your towel for another towel, not the card. That way you can go out early in the morning or late at night and secure your chair. You're not supposed to put things down to "save" the chairs (it says so in the room book), but everyone does anyway. We learned this the second day.
5) USE YOUR SAFE....it is the only way to guarentee nothing is taking from your room. We used it the whole time and put our wallets, passports, jewelry, cell phones, cameras, etc. in there and had no problems.
6) Leave a tip for your maid each day. It helps. One day our room was not cleaned when we got back and when we left for dinner, we told the front desk our room needed cleaning. It was done by the time we got back. Make sure to put the green tag on the outside of the door that says "Please make up my room". I think they prioritize rooms with the those tags.
7) If you run out of singles, ask the waiters or waitresses around the pool to change your money for you. We asked a waiter one day to change an American $20, and he did. They can get you change from their tips. The front desk will also change pesos for you. The taxi drivers NEVER have change so make sure you have $10 and a tip in the exact amount, otherwise, they try to get you to give them the whole amount in your hand. There is NO ATM at the hotel, you can go up to the next hotel (about 1/4 mile up the beach) or get money when you're in town.
8) There are vendors lined up on the beach but won't pass a certain line...you can bargain with them and if you come to a point where he/ she or you does not budge on the price, offer them a Pepsi. They'll usually go with your price and the Pepsi. They're very thirsty out there, and besides, you have paid for everything already.
This trip was definitely worth the all inclusive, if only for the drinks and food. We each paid ~$1100 American and had two junior suites and were there for 7 nights. Cabo is so beautiful and I would definitely go back there and to the RIU.
Hope you find this information helpful and have a great vacation!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.