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“Everything was great, except.....” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Av. Camino Viejo a San Jose | Del Cabo KM 4.5 El Medano Ejidal, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #27 of 68 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“Everything was great, except.....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2005

First off, let me begin by saying I had read alot of recent reviews for this place, and was feeling a little anxious as to what I would find. Seems most people either loved it, or hated it (lots of 1's and 5's) Me and my girl went down there from Aug/20-sept/05, 2005,Im 42, she's 39.

First lets start with the good, and there was lots of it! The building itself and the grounds were very, very nice. Lots of pools, bars and lounges and the hotel itself was set up very nicely. The rooms were nice and the beach/location were ideal. The food for the most part was excellent, especially in the main buffet area and the Steak resteraunt. The mexican place we heard was so-so, and the Japanesse resteraunt was poorly serviced, food was cold and not the greatest quality. But as for comparision, this was by far the best food at a resort Ive had in mexico,(7 times in last 5 years, always 5 star, but mostly in Cancun/maya riviera area)
Most of the staff in the main buffet seemed to try very hard to please, and we felt very well taken care of, with very few exceptions. Weather was awesome, some would say too hot! Most dealings with hotel staff went smoothly, in spite of the ever-present language barrier, and MOST were resolved to our satisfaction.
Now for the bad. The reviews regarding the "smell of poo" as someone else eloquantly put it are true...some areas smelled a little ripe, and our room smelt a little funky on some occasions after returnng form the days activitys.
The "line up" situation for the resteraunt wasnt too bad, but if you want a good resteraunt/good time, you better line up early. For instance, we got 4 times out, but always too early/too late..and we never could get availability for the gourmet resteraunt. I guess for decent times/selections, thats when you have to line up early and wait..if you go around lunch time..you never wait for longer than 5 minutes.
But what peeved me the most about this hotel, and turned what would have been a 5 star review into a 3 star review, was a couple of incidents I shall now disclose. On our first full day, I had left a 3 dollar U.S. tip for the cleaning staff when we left the room at 900 am, but when we returned to the room at 330 pm, we were shocked to discover the money was gone, but the room was unmade! I immedialtley reported this to the manager (Carlos) who said he would check the key log and find out what happened. A few hours latter he told me it was the mini bar staff who had entered the room, and presumably took the money thinking it was a tip for them. But, a couple things dont make sense. First, mini bar staff only come every second day, and this was our first day. Second, the money was far away from the mini bar...so, whats the deal? Third, and most importantly, the mini bar was NOT restocked,...i had drank 3 beers our first night and they were still missing. Hey, if your taking the tip, do the job! Fourth, even if this explanation was satisfactory, why was the room still unmade at 330 pm..a little late in the day, no? So, Carlos assured us he would make sure the room was made earlier in the day from now on...and I left that initial "tip buisness" on the backburner. HOWEVER, on our last full day, I left (stupidly) a 5 dollar U.S. tip for the maid..and when we came back our room was done..but my girlfriend was shocked to see that someone had rifled through her clothes/drawers and stole about 2 dollars U.S. in mexican change from her purse! There was no doubt about it, I saw her put the change in there myself that morning, and my girl knows how she leaves her stuff ( a little anal that way, lol).The funny thing was, canadian change was left untouched, only the mexican change was taken..after leaving a 5 dollar tip...disgusting! All I can say is if you want to tip your maid at this resort, you SHOULD HAND THE MONEY TO HER YOURSELF IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE SHE GETS IT! Im not sure whats going on, but someone is scaming those tips..I spoke to a few guests who noticed missing cigarettes from open packs,...nothing big, but annoying all the same. Ive never had/heard of stuff like this in 20 years of travel at 5 star resorts. Needless to say, I informed the manager, but what could he do...this sort of thing really soured me on the whole trip and made me feel taken advantage of. I cant prove what was going on, but someone in authority there is making a little extra on the side...tip carefully and watch your small stuff!
There were a few groups of especially loud idiots taking full advantage of the booze bottles in their rooms, but this isnt the hotels fault..but they could have been a little bit more dilligent in making sure the loud, drunken idiots werent screaming and banging around at 4 in the morning through the hotel corridors..hello?..security?
One last thing, the mattress was so hard my girlfriend couldnt sleep until she got the mattress pad..I liked it the way it was, but plan accordingly, she was really [--] after 2 nights of little/no sleep!
Although I saw a few great things about this place, if I end up returning to this area..I wont be staying at the RIU again...shame, a few changes and this could have been a excellent resort :(

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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4,711 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,049)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
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English first
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2005

All in all a very nice experience from start to finish. The food was good , service was great, and the resort was beautiful. As with all the all inclusive resorts we have stayed at the dinners left alot to be desired. We compensated for that by going out to dinner and eating at the resort lunch and breakfast. We would stay there again anytime.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2005

My family and I ( 3 teens ) spent one glorious week at the RIU Palace in Cabo San Lucas from Aug. 22-29. It was a most relaxing and enjoyable vacation, words can't do this place justice. If you want a vacation with plenty of sun and seafood, go to west coast Mexico ( i.e Cabo, Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa ).

We arrived on the tail end of one Hurricane, Hillary, and left with news of another getting ready to strike the Gulf Coast ( Katrina ), talk about your weather extremes !

I won't add to what many others have said, except to say that the nay-sayers are dead-wrong. We made note of all the negative comments about the RIU Palace and made it a point to see if the bad reviews were justified. Let me say that if you WANT to have a lousy time and are determined to get that, you can make it happen, even though reality is otherwise.

As for us, all I can say is that our household has unanimously voted to go back to the RIU Palace next summer, same Bat-time, same Bat Channel !!

OLE !

Here is a link to my Webshots webpage where you can view our holiday pictures:

http://community.webshots.com/user/tonycavallari

You will notice that a lot of these pictures are of a personal nature, I hope you don't mind. The one picture showing a plate of shrimps, calamari and side veggies was an example of a lunch entree at the Jose Cortez restaurant near the active pool ! Seafood was very much in evidence the whole time we were there, something to keep in mind if you are an avid fish eater.

ENJOY :->>

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2005

my fiancee and i were at the Riu Palace for 5 days/nights (from August 19th to August 24th). I want to give a completely honest, worthwhile review of the trip that other people can use! just to give perspective, we're an engaged couple, 30 years old, from the east coast, with no kids. i did a lot of research on this site before we went.......and overall, we had a really good time. If I had to sum up the place in one sentence: the resort was stunningly beautiful with great service and food that was on par with an all-inclusive resort, but that it had some minor but noticeable problems.

first and foremost for me, this was the most beautiful resort that i have ever seen – as I said, it was stunning. the resort is in the shape of an "M" with a set of pools in between both of the arches. each of these sets of pools is amazing. the pools are really long and not very deep, and each one has a fountain that spits water into the air....the little kids and the drunken men like to have fun playing with the fountain (of course i did not try that).... the infinity pools are relaxing and beautiful. there is the "active" set of pools and the "quiet" set of pools. personally, we stayed in the "quiet" side the whole time we were there. i personally think that it shouldn't be known as the "quiet" side because that sounds lame. we definitely still had a lot of fun there. there just wasn’t any loud music blasting or pool volleyball and not as many kids, like the active side. the people on the quiet side were mostly couples, usually in their late 20's, 30's, or early 40's having a few drinks, just relaxing and meeting other people……the greatest part about both pools are the built-in lounge chairs in the pool! they were great to just lay out and tan while you were still pretty cool in the pool.

honestly, the best part about the whole resort is the view of the rocks. pictures do not do them justice. my friends and family who have seen the pictures say “oh cool”, but when you are there, you just can’t stop staring at them in amazement. you feel like you’re in a movie (like the end of Goonies when the pirate ship comes out). The fact that those rocks are the end of the baja peninsula, and separate the pacific ocean from the sea of cortez is mind-blowing. It’s like they’re the end of land as you know it. We stayed in the infinity pools for hours just staring at the rocks. Other resorts in cabo don’t have the same view that the Riu has.

The second thing I want to address is the service. I don’t know what the heck people are talking about when they complained about the service! Check-in was smooth and simple. The maids always cleaned our rooms and turned our beds down. And the servers were always there with a smile. Yes, some don’t speak English. This bothered me a little bit, but then I realized that that was a little presumptuous after I thought about it. After all, we were in Mexico! However, I must say that the service did get worse on our last day there. I don’t know if a lot more guests showed up or something, but it was hard to find a clean table at the buffet, the buffet lines were longer, and the pool waiters took longer. But overall, very good service. Also, there are waiters that walk around the pools all day taking drink orders.

Speaking of food, I also don’t see what the big deal was with the reservation system…that is, as long as you know what you’re doing. We arrived around 3:00 in the afternoon, and we went to the reservation desk and waited about 5 minutes. they gave us two reservations (granted they were for a few days later). Here’s my advice for everyone though – there are two seatings for each “a la carte” restaurant. I think it was 6:30 and 8:45. the places are never filled up. Just go to the restaurant that you want, and ask them if you can eat there even though you don’t have a reservation – and then slip the guy $5 or $10 – and you’ll be fine. Our comments on the restaurants – Sir Lawrence was really really good, but the Japanese restaurant was just alright. Sir Lawrence was the only place with decent red wine, too!

Also, for those of you that care about the rooms, they were much better than i expected. They were a little dark, but each one had a couch with a separate sitting area and a very big bathroom. the beds were a little hard for my liking, but nothing too bad. oh, and each room has an oceanview, which is key.

Here are the bad/negative things about the place:

There are 600 rooms, which means that there can easily be 1,000 to 2,000 guests there at a time. So if you’re against the “big resort” feel, then this is definitely NOT the place for you. As I said, the service is good, but if you want the personal, bed-and-breakfast service, you won’t get it here. Also, the place is only 4 floors high, so that means there’s 150 rooms per floor – that’s huge.

My biggest complaint about the place is the terrible nightly entertainment. I understand that these aren’t professional entertainers, but come on! I expected some sort of funny show or something. For a few nights each week, there are just these two people up there singing lounge songs to everyone. I went to club med a few years ago, and they had funny little skits and other cool shows…any attempt at humor at the Riu was horrible and there definitely weren’t any cool shows. We got up in the middle of each one and left. I would advise checking out the nightlife in-town (obviously). Watch out for the taxi prices to town and in town. Try taking the bus. It’s a decently long walk from the resort, but it’s a lot cheaper.

A few other minor complaints (these are more for management in case they are reading this) – there’s no reason to close the pools at 7:00 every night. That’s the best time to swim, after sunset! It’s also fun to be able to jump in the pool at night. Also, the gym at the riu is pretty damn weak. There are 3 bikes, two treadmills, one elliptical machine, and one set of weight machines. The equipment looked like it was from the 1980’s. They must improve that. also, the beaches were full with vendors, so it was hard to lay out on the beaches without getting hassled. We didn’t even try because it was too hot and we were in the pool all day, but I imagine they’d leave you alone after you tell them “no”.

on a side note, the pool-bar area was very “spring break” and the water was kind of gross. This may appeal to some people, but I’m past my college days of getting wasted all day…but I understand that this may appeal to someone. As for the water, imagine a bunch of people drinking in a pool all day and you can imagine what can happen (i.e., it happens in kiddie pools). Let’s just say that I’m glad they separated the pool bar from the infinity pools!

Soooooooooooo, to sum up this narrative, I would say that we had a great time at the Riu. There definitely are some problems with it, but it’s worth going. When you’re reading this, keep in mind that we are pretty laidback-type people that are relatively easy to please. If you are either really picky or if you travel all the time to 5-star resorts in fancy areas of the world, this probably won’t be the place for you…I would be more than happy to answer anyone’s questions. Please just ask!

PhillyDoug

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2005

The hotel is just amazing. It's beautiful and the people are very friendly. The staff was very nice except they had a non-english speaking person answer at the reception desk that made it a little hard to communicate.

The restaurants were great. The Mexican Restuarant was a little disappointing as the food was mediocre. The view from the restaurant was breathtaking. The rest of the restaurants were great. The only thing is the Buffet did not have names associated with the food so you had to kinda guess what you are about to eat. The Buffet by the pool had the same food for lunch for the 4 days that I was there but, it was still ok.

The rooms were nice, the bed was hard but a mattress pad works wonders. There bathroom was spacious but the way to flush the toilet was a little bit irritating.

The pools were just awesome! I wish they had it opened later than 7 pm as there is really not much to do at night.

Overall, the view, the service, the alcohol and the ambience makes it almost perfect!!! You will love this hotel.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Valencia, CA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2005

Just got back last night from 4 days/3 nights at the RIU Los Cabos over Labor Day weekend. We're a married couple in our early 30s from southern CA who travel extensively. Have been to other places throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. (Sandals in Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, etc.) I would recommend this resort. Particularly if you are from CA - the perfect long weekend getaway - about the same price as a weekend in Vegas and a short flight. The rooms were nice and the food was good. I thought it was well kept too. Hot foods kept hot and cold kept cold. We're picky eaters and we were both able to find something to make us happy all the time. The beach is beautiful. A bit rough - okay for adults to swim in who can judge the waves but not for kids. The beds were slightly hard but thte linens were good and we had no trouble sleeping. The outdoor bars were beautiful and the resort is designed well. There were only a few negative things I could say and they were all minor. First, there are no umbrellas/cabanas on the beach. You drag your beach chair out in the blazing sun and unless you go to costco and pay $15 for one, you're on your own. We'd go out in the am and spend only an hour or two and go to the pool the rest of the day. One bit of advice - avoid costco unless you really want your case or arrowhead water - VERY overpriced. One other thing was that we arrived on Sat and there were no reservations for the restaurants which was to be expected the day you arrive. Then, there were none on Sun either. We got into the steakhouse (which doubles as the lunch buffet during the day) on Mon night and we left Tues afternoon. We ate at the buffet the other days and it really was good. Couldn't really complain about that. The reservations process is as everyone says - not good at all. Quite rediculous actually. I would suggest we all contact RIU corporate and let them know they need to change this. We had booked a suite through expedia. A suite is to have a two person jetted tub (According to expedia description) and when we got to our room - no tub. I had tried to confirm this with expedia and the hotel before we got there but couldn't get a real conclusive answer. At any rate, there were no suites available and we had a jr suite the whole time - nice room but no tub like we wanted. We're supposed to get refunded the difference. We did do a couples moonlight massage while there and it was really nice. Private balcony out door room with two jacuzzis - and they were cool in temperature which was very smart - who wants a hot jacuzzi when it is 100 degrees outside! Anyways, Muy Bien trip and I would recommend this resort. Just know what to expect with the minor inconveniences. As for Cabo - nicest Mexican resort town we've been to yet.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2005

I really enjoyed the rui palace. There was a small group of us traveling down to the rui. I read several reviews before going and can honestly say I was scared to see what I was going to get. From the moment we arrived we were greated with smiling faces and friendly services. If I could make any bad comment about the rui it would be the lunch buffets, but I didnt expect anything to great. However, I loved the steakhouse, mexican food, and I was told by the rest of our group that the japanese food was great! I think that people leaving bad reviews either have unrealistic expectations or they are just the type that like to complain, because the group I traveled with and myself agree that we will be back at the rui palace soon. As far as cabo goes it is an awesome place. Remember its mexico everything is negotiable. You should stay at the RUI PALACE!

  • Stayed September 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

Address: Av. Camino Viejo a San Jose | Del Cabo KM 4.5 El Medano Ejidal, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Los Cabos > Cabo San Lucas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#16 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#17 Luxury Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#20 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#21 Family Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#22 Romantic Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas 4*
Number of rooms: 642
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the southern Baja California peninsula, 4.5 km/2.8 miles from Cabo San Lucas. 5-storey building. On the beachfront. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 32,000 m2 garden. 3.5 km/2.2 miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas. 40 km/25 miles from the airport. 500 m/1650 ft from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa, Diners. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel Cabo San Lucas
Riu Palace Los Cabos
Riu Cabo San Lucas
Riu Los Cabos
Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Los Cabos

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