My wife and I stayed at the Riu Santa Fe in Cabo in early September. First time at a Riu and we were very impressed for the value vs price. Hotel is clean, friendly, and has almost everything you could ask for. I'm giving it 5 Stars for what you could reasonably expect to receive at an A.I. hotel in this price range ( I'm NOT saying it's a "5 Star" Hotel ) .
I read quite a few reviews on T.A. before we booked, and I'm not sure how people can honestly complain about the food here. This is a low-to-moderate priced All Inclusive with an enormous buffet, plus a few a la cart restaurants. Yes, some of the choices might not be amazing ( or even very good on a bad day ) but if you can't find something that is satisfactory, I would honestly suggest looking to a much higher-priced accommodation to suit your tastes. You get what you pay for most of the time.
I will say right off the top that the Santa Fe basically has no wine - anywhere. They do have one house red and one house white, but honestly they're pretty bad. No other choices at all. Just an important FYI If you like drinking wine most of the time - like my wife - you'll have to get your own. There's a Costco or El Walmarto across the highway ( can't remember which ), so you can go and stock up on some bottles there. That's the only thing that I really think the Santa Fe needs to address, as it's the first All Inclusive I've been to that you can't have a glass of (drinkable) wine with the awesome steak, fish, or chile relleno etc. that they serve.
The buffet has a bit of everything ( literally ) so you really shouldn't have too much trouble putting together a plate. Some things we tried didn't taste like what you might expect, and some things were downright amazing. This was at the buffet. The food we had at the Steakhouse and Mexican a la carts was excellent. Don't know who makes the soup at the Steakhouse, but they are a highlight. Yes, the reservation system for the theme restaurants is a pain, but the Steakhouse is open as a buffet for breakfast and lunch without any reservations. Not sure about the others as we were in Building 7, so we were right beside the Steakhouse and didn't feel the need to wonder any farther from our sun-soaked loungers.
**Travelers Tip** The buffet etc. is all you can eat. I highly recommend you take bite-sized portions of the different things you want to try, and then go back for more once you figure out what you like. Not only will you still get a chance to eat as much of what you want, but it will help cut down what I'm sure is a huge amount of wasted food at All Inclusives. Better to decide after your one bite that you don't like the mashed potatoes or prime rib and not getting more, instead of throwing out a half a plate of the stuff. Food for thought anyway - pun intended. Okay, off the soapbox now.
Rooms were comfortable, clean, and the a/c was functioning perfectly. Building 7 wasn't noisy at all so I wouldn't hesitate staying there again. Pool was great. Entertainment at the "party pool" was, well, entertaining :) Always something going on there, but never so loud or overdone that people looking for a relaxing time couldn't chill. The other pools seemed even mellower. The Santa Fe is on a beautiful, albeit unswimmable beach, but really the pools were all we needed. Sitting in the Infinity Pool with a drink and looking out at the beach and the surf was a holiday in itself. Drinks at the pool bars were okay - a little small, but you can bring your own cup. I wish at least one of the pool bars on the beach side was open until 10 or 11:00 p.m. though, as they close at 5 or 6:00. It would be such a great place to have a drink in the evening listening to the waves.
We didn't catch much of the on-site evening entertainment so I can't comment on it, but I will say your late-night choice is pretty much the Disco. Not much to write about there. Might be okay if you have your own small group, but it's kind of in need of an upgrade and it's quite small as well. We went off-site for our nights out. Another FYI.......if you're planning on grabbing something to eat after the buffet closes, your choice is basically limited to a cold hamburger or sandwich from the "community" fridge in the Sports Bar. It would be nice if the Santa Fe could keep one kitchen open with a small "late-night" menu for us (hungry) night owls.
All in all it was a great trip. The staff - from Housekeeping to the Chefs, Servers and Maitre d's - where very friendly and gracious. Of course there were a few exceptions, but that's the same no matter where you go in the world. A nice, clean, stomach-friendly A.I. in beautiful Cabo for a very reasonable price. What more could you ask for??
One final comment - PLEASE tip the servers and staff. These people work very hard for very little.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.