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“Beautiful resort with a lot of issues” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Santa Fe

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Hotel Riu Santa Fe
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Camino Viejo a San Jose, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #34 of 66 hotels in Cabo San Lucas
South Elgin, Illinois
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort with a lot of issues”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

My husband and I stayed for 3 nights 6/30-7/3. The resort is gorgeous and the views are amazing. We had a nice time and enjoyed our short break from the real world. We will definitely return to Cabo some day. But not to Riu. Unfortunately, this was most likely our first and last Riu experience.
The activities team members are a lot of fun and most staff were very friendly. We left behind our kids and were concerned about kids being there but they weren't really an issue.
However, after staying at many other AI resorts in Cancun(Golden Crown), Puerta Vallarta (Marival), Punta Cana (Secrets) and Bahamas (Sandals), this was by far the most disappointing in comparison to the other properties. If this was my first AI experience, I would probably have been pleased. But there is nothing at the Riu Santa Fe that would make me want to come back.
The best part of the resort is its view of the arches and ocean. We also didn't mind that the ocean was not swimmable. That is not important to us.
As mentioned, the activities team members and entertainment at night was great. They really try hard to make sure you are having fun. I would say that they were the best of many of the AI resorts we have stayed at. Definitely the highlight of the trip!
Most bartenders were fun but it was frustrating how inconsistent the drinks were from one bar to another. I also did not realize that this resort does not have drink service at the pool or nightly shows. You have to go to the bar yourself to get drinks. This is the only AI that we have had to do so and was a huge let down. Especially with all of the walking you already have to do due to the size and layout of resort and broken elevators, it would have been nice to be able to sit and not get up again to get drinks!
The food was pretty bad. There is a lot of seafood and its in everything. We do not eat seafood and do not like the smell of it. It was everywhere! Buns for hamburgers and hot dogs were hard as rocks and cracked apart. If we had brought our kids, I am not sure what they would have been able to eat. The food is not refilled regularly either. The selection also seems very repetitive. The only reservation we could get was the steak restaurant and that was ok. We were full when we left, but it was less than average. However,the servers there were very nice.
Rooms. Probably the biggest let down. The air conditioning barely blew out and the maids turn it off so we came back to a hot room everyday. I called about an hour after we checked in complaining that the room was too warm and was told "turn on your air conditioning" which was clearly on. Later that night, went to the front desk after sweating while getting ready and was told maintenance was cleaning the vent and it would be better. Nope. Called later that night and was told they would leave a message for management. Never heard back. Had we been there longer, we would have had to change rooms but just didn't have time to waste on that since it would have probably taken some time.
Another disappointment was we were there for my husband's 40th birthday and they did NOTHING other than saying "happy birthday" and a handshake at check in. I read other reviews that received a bottle of champagne or an upgraded room. We got nothing! Not even a towel shaped like a swan!
Which leads me to the bathrooms. Horrible. The double sink is the only positive. The bathtubs are so narrow that you have to stand sideways and the water pressure is very light. The towels are like sandpaper and smell like mold.
When we booked Riu, it was one of the more affordable options and I believe you get what you pay for. If you can only afford the Riu, I still think it is worth a shot because Cabo is beautiful and has such amazing weather. Just make sure you read reviews and have reasonable expectations. The bad reviews on here are absolute truth. For those that are all positive, I believe they have limited AI experience and/or different expectations.
One thing I noticed when looking at other resorts after returning,such as Dreams, is that Riu rarely responds here to the comments. However, management almost always responds to Dreams comments. I think that says a lot and could be a good indicator of the different level of service they strive to provide.
I think this property has great potential and would love to see changes made to make it as exceptional as it could be!

Room Tip: Rooms in building 7 are closer to activities pool and beach but very far from everything else. Be pr...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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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
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English first
Hamilton Ontario
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

This is my 4th visit to Los Cabos - it is the only place i have been more than once. Perfect for the younger crowd - lots of people in their 20's around the "party pool". Loads of other pools if you are looking for relaxing with a good book. Staff are great, resort is well maintained, large variety of food in the buffet each night and different each night.. Close to Cabos San Lucas if you want a walk down the beach or a quick cab ride into town. Beautiful marina and great shopping - be prepared to dicker over price.
All around i would highly recommend Los Cabos and the Riu Santa Fe.

Room Tip: Building 7 is close to the beach but further from the restaurants. Building 7 maybe be noisy for so...
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  • Stayed June 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

My husband and I just got back from the Riu Santa Fe, we stayed from June 24-July 1st.
I had come on here and read a ton of reviews, mostly the bad ones actually, and so we were a bit nervous as to what we would experience.
First of all, we booked through Signature Vacations, so all the transportation to and from the resort was taken care of, and so was the check-in. When we got to the resort we got our luggage from the bus and went straight for our room, no standing in line was necessary.
We stayed in building 4, which isn't ocean view, but we were fine with it. In my opinion an ocean view room would be nice, but when you're away at a resort, if you're spending most of your time in your room, you're a downer anyway. If we wanted to see the ocean, we went down to the pools and saw it. The room was super clean, which was a huge weight off my shoulders. There's nothing worse than a gross hotel room.
One thing I feel I need to stress is the fact that the hotel staff was SO FRIENDLY!! Literally everyone we passed while walking the grounds would say Hola! We constantly were seeing workers keeping the grounds clean and beautiful.
One thing I was sad to see that had nothing to do with the workers and everything to do with the guests, was that hardly anyone left tips after eating and getting drinks. I'd say probably 90% of the time people left nothing. I understand that this is an all inclusive resort, but come on people!! These servers and bartenders are working long hours, dealing with rude people who don't speak their language, and they are always friendly. Our plates were cleared away almost as soon as we were done, we were always offered drinks. They were all running around catering to our needs. Even just leaving a DOLLAR is cheap, but it's better than nothing. Seriously.
The food wasn't bad. A lot of the reviews I read took it too far and are so dramatic. Maybe it's not gourmet food, but it's still tasty. We always had full plates of food that we were enjoying. The one and only thing I would say is that the steakhouse a la carte restaurant was disappointing. I would say out of all four a la carte restaurants, that was the worst. But the italian a la carte was DELISH!!!!
Another thing that's true that I read is that you can't swim in the water in front of the hotel. But you know what, we still saw people taking the risk. I wouldn't, they clearly tell you that the undertow and the currents are strong. And the thing is, there are other beaches very close that are safe to swim in. The beach is still beautiful. If you are so concerned over being able to swim in the ocean right out front your resort then you need to go somewhere else, but honestly I don't think it's a big deal.
When my husband and I went into town, we took the bus. $1 per person compared to a $12 taxi ride. No brainer! Taking the bus was fine. It's completely safe and The locals are very friendly. Walking around downtown Cabo was easy going and lovely. I didn't feel pressured into buying anything unlike how I felt when I went to Cancun two years ago.
I love that you can find regular comforts from home like Dairy Queen, Starbucks, and Subway if you want that, but you can also find cute little independant Mexican food places if you want that instead. I'm not gonna lie, I made a stop at Dairy Queen :P
Overall this trip was fantastic. The staff was extremely impressive. Our room was cleaned every day and our mini fridge was stocked every day with water, pop, and beer.
I saw a complaint about the AC. Just wanna say ours worked just fine. If you have your patio door open at all the AC turns off though.
Highly recommend this resort, and would go back any day!

Room Tip: Building four was central to everything. Pools, gym, restaurants, and beach. We liked it!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

I have stayed at multiple all-inclusive resorts and this one was by far the worst. We stayed there with a group of friends in June for 5 nights. I would never go back.

Food and Drinks:
-The food is cafeteria style. Very little variety. Cold and reheated food that sits out all day. The 4 restaurants were better, but you had to make a reserveration 2 days ahead and the restaruants were 1/2 empty everytime I went.
-The drinks are extremely watered down. The only beer they offer is Dos Equis. The hard alcochol is lower quality as well.
-We went off the resort to eat because we got so sick of the options.

-The pools were good. Two of them offered swim-up bars. The big one in the middle, which was the nicest, did not have a swim-up bar. The problem with the pools is that they were so far away from most of the resort, unless you were in building 7.
-They offered shows every night which were entertaining, mostly for kids.
-They club on site was fun, but very small.
-The rooms were nice, but the beds were not comfortable.

-We stayed on the 3rd floor in building 3. Our room was broken into during the evening and they stole my iPad and a pair of nice sunglasses. Fortunately, we had most of our stuff in our safe. I went to the front desk and was told to come back in the morning. They wouldn't send any security or do anything at all. The next morning I went back and there was another group that had been broken into as well, with their safe pried open. Other than filling out a report, they did absolutely nothing. After reading other reviews, this seems to be a problem. None of the employees would comment or give any informaiton regarding these issues when I asked during my stay.
-When you make a reservation at a restaurant or for any activity, they ask for your room number. They also ask for your room number at the concierge desk when I talked to them before we left the resort the night we were robbed, so they know when you are gone. I believe a staff member was responsible for the break-in. This happened to the other group as well.

Overall, the experience at this resort was terrible. Luckily, the group of friends I was with made it fun, but I would never stay there again or at any RIU for that matter.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guelph, Canada
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
134 helpful votes 134 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Riu Santa Fe from June 21-28. We chose this resort as we wanted to try Cabo as a destination (and it was recommended by a friend who had stayed at the resort).
I wish that Trip Advisor allowed half star ratings because a 3 seems low but a 4 seems high. We did have a great time, but a lot of that was due to really liking Cabo San Lucas as a destination and meeting lots of great people. Thus the title of my review.
Arrived in Cabo quite early in the morning and were thrilled that they checked us in on the bus to the resort. We were told that “if there is a key in your envelope, your room is ready”. Excellent news! They gave us a form to fill out and said they would be collected as we exited the bus, that didn’t happen. When we arrived a woman did get on the bus to warn us that the RIU was a family resort, not a party resort (felt like I was getting reprimanded for something I hadn’t even done!) and to say our rooms would be ready “around 1pm”. Okay, still earlier than expected, still happy! We waited in line at the front desk to drop off the form (kind of defeating the purpose of checking in on the bus?) and I was told again, if you have a key that means the room is ready. Then he seemed to think better of that and said I should wait and he would double check...then came back and said probably 1pm. Let me just stress, there were a lot of confused and tired Canadians milling about at this point. I asked about our bags and was told to give our room numbers to the bell boys and that our bags would be waiting in the room for us when we got there. So, we did that, got changed and went to the pool. We were having a great time and didn’t get up to the room until about 2:30pm wanting to get changed and have a quick nap (been up since 1:30am)....no bags. I called the front desk and was told they are on the way. Waited about half an hour, called again and asked if I should come down and get them myself (I don’t like leaving my stuff unattended, didn’t want to have a nap until we safely had the luggage AND we had no clothes to change into) but was told, no, they aren’t in the lobby...the bellboy has them. Waited another half hour, called again, was told the bellboy had been to our room but we weren’t there. This is when I’ll admit I got pretty annoyed. We were told the bags would be IN the room when we got to the room...so why would we have to be there? Plus, we hadn’t left from the time I started calling! Again, said I would come down myself, was told the bellboy was on the way. We did eventually get our bags at about 4pm. I know it's Mexican time and we were on vacation so it wasn't a huge deal in the grand scheme of things but ...it also wasn’t the greatest first impression.
Another smallish issue, I had emailed the resort to tell them we were coming down to celebrate our anniversary/my husband’s birthday and requested a room in building 7. The response was “we don’t do upgrades”. I found out throughout the week (and reviews I've read), people do get upgraded...but more for complaining it seemed. They did send up a bottle of champagne when we arrived (with a Happy Anniversary card) and a bottle of wine on my husband’s birthday (with another Happy Anniversary card..LOL) which was nice.
We had a room in building 3, right behind the large front pool. It was quite nice, a bit small but very clean and fairly modern. The walls are very thin...we were kept up one night by a couple fighting beside us (and another night when a couple was...not fighting). The room never really got cool, no matter what you set the AC to. The bed itself was comfortable but the pillows, possibly the worst pillows ever. We asked the maid to bring us a few more..between that and our travel pillows we were fine. The mini-bar was nice and they restocked it every day. Also nice to have the safe included.
The grounds of the Santa Fe are gorgeous! Large property and a fair bit of walking but there is always plenty to look at. The landscaping is amazing, I have no idea how they keep it so lush with so little rain. Amazing pools as well, the one at the front of the complex is quieter and seemed better for families (but we spent a few afternoons there because it was so close to our room). There are three infinity pools by the beach, the first is definitely the “party” pool. It was always JAMMED with people (we never actually got in!). The middle one bigger and where they do all the activities (there was always music but it seemed a bit less crazy). The last one is kind of a blend of the two...for quieter, maybe slightly older people who like to drink at a swim up bar. The views from these pools are AMAZING. I could literally sit there all day and watch the waves. Now, my issues with the pools....the only one that had a bathroom CLOSE was the party pool (and I honestly don’t think people in it cared much). The other pools, it was a bit of a hike...and if you tried to go into the washrooms in the restaurants wearing an even slightly wet bathing suit they told you no. I think you can guess where I am going with this...it’s hot, there is a swim up bar, people are drinking all day, there are no easily accessible washrooms....yeah, gross. People actually joked about it. There were a bunch of little stand alone change rooms right beside the pools (which I didn’t get for a resort...don’t people change in their rooms?) which would make sense to turn into washrooms. I get chlorine kills...a lot of bacteria...it is still pretty gross though and I wish the hotel would have thought it out especially since you can’t swim at the beach...EVERYONE is in those pools! Also, I’m not sure why at least one of the pools isn’t designated as adults only? It’s so common now and a great feature to have.
Food, there was nothing wrong with the food...it wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t really very good. Again not bad (we didn’t get sick) but quite bland. Breakfasts were great, lunches were okay, dinners were not so good. We made the mistake of assuming the a la carte restaurants would be better than the buffet (generally a safe bet) but not here. The Asian restaurant, my husband said it was like a NASCAR pit stop (they could not get us out of there fast enough), the Italian restaurant was the exact opposite (we ordered drinks...they never came, we ordered cappuccino and the waiter dipped his entire sleeve in it before giving them to us), you’d think Mexican food in Mexico would be a lock but it was really bland as well. The steakhouse was our favourite (but I have to be honest, kind of best of a lacklustre bunch). I know they are cooking for the masses but, I think they are missing that most people don’t like super bland? The taco stands were probably the best food we had at the resort...and the popcorn!
Drinks, they got a LOT better as the week went on. When we got there they were using those pre-mixed slushy machines that make everything taste pretty much the same (like sugar). Mid-week they got the blenders out and started making things more from scratch. Big improvement. The wine was really, really horrible (and I am not a wine snob at all...I always drink wine at all inclusive and never complain) but this was undrinkable. Definitely bring your insulated cups for the bars, people were very jealous of ours!
If you stay at the Riu, definitely go into Cabo for lunch, dinner, drinks. It is such a fun place with amazing restaurants and bars. There are lots of deals to be had (dollar drinks, dollar tacos etc.) It is also very safe!
So, to end this long review (sorry), we loved Cabo San Lucas and thought the Riu Santa Fe was....okay, fine but nothing extraordinary. I would recommend it but it would depend on the person. I always ask myself if I would go back...the answer to that is...maybe. I would prefer to spend a bit more money to stay closer to town but if I was looking for a last minute getaway and the price was really good...I might consider it again.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, Arizona
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

This is my third time to this location and the experience has been good. Definately request to stay in Building 7. Views of the ocean are outstanding! Check in was easy and requested a different room at check in and was accomodated immediately with a follow-up call from Manager making sure the room met my expectations. The beach area is beautiful. Hotel now provides umbrellas with lounge chairs on beach which is a big plus. If you decide to swim in ocean be very aware of currents, rip tides and large waves. We were there when Hurricare Cosmoe was near by and the wave swells were 15-20 feet which in return created a very unlevel beach. Nightly entertainment is good however, some shows need an upgrade. Michael Jackson show was outstanding. The Hotel is very well maintained. Security was outstanding at the Hotel . Buffets were good and offered a varriety of foods. Property and rooms are very well maintained. We would definately return to this Hotel.

Room Tip: Building 7, request room in middle with open patio
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Currently staying at the Riu Santa Fe, this was a last minute booking as we had originally booked ME Cabo but had our friend cancel last minute so needed somewhere cheaper and thought all inclusive would be the best option as we had just stayed in Cancun ME and the all inclusive was great!

This hotel is no where near the same standard and the all inclusive is really poor in my mind.
The rooms are very tired, beds uncomfortable and linen old and scratchy.
The food in the buffet is good if you get there early when it's fresh, there is no room service or waiter service around the pools which I understand due to the hotel being so large however I have stayed at hotels before where it's manageable. The drinks are very watered down and you get a few mouthfuls out of the cups.
Whilst a lot of people talk about it being a party hotel there are still plenty of families and quiet locations throughout the hotel.
The location add the grounds of the hotel are really nice and well maintained so can't fault that.
Overall I would not recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a more personalised hotel experience, I work in hotels and should of known better then to book such a big hotel.
I guess you get what you pay for.... we had planned to eat at the hotel most of the time due to trying to save $$$ but have eaten off site a lot of just not eaten at all.
This hotel is just not everyone's cup of tea!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Santa Fe

Address: Camino Viejo a San Jose, Cabo San Lucas 23410, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Los Cabos > Cabo San Lucas
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#19 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#22 Spa Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#26 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#31 Romantic Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#33 Family Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#34 Business Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Santa Fe 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in the southern Baja California peninsula, 4.5 km/2.8 miles from Cabo San Lucas * Opened winter 2007/8 * 1-story main building and 3-story and 4-story annexes * On the beachfront * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 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 ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Santa Fe Cabo San Lucas
Riu Santa Fe Los Cabos
Riu Sante Fe
Hotel Riu Santa Fe Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos

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