My husband and I vacationed at the Riu Vallarta on May 25th, for one week. We just wanted a clean place, with respectable food, and a pool to enjoy. I was hopeful that this would be better than the latest reviews, but it was not.
This was my 15th trip to Mexico, my 4th to Puerto Vallarta.
The Good: Ease of check-in and check-out. The music. Most waiters. The Good, not influenced by the hotel: The weather. The new and improved Malecon. Walking distance, and beach-accessible, to Bucerias.
Our check-in was made super easy. We arrived about an hour late, so it was about 10pm, but it was effortless. We received a welcome drink, an envelope with our room key, etc. in it, and were directed to the buffet so we could grab something before it closed.
The waiter service was very good. Having said that, they seem to have some strange arrangement for clearing and re-setting the tables. What I read in a review before we went to the Riu, about dirty tablecloths and utensils being left to be used again, is true in my experience. Our first meal was near the end of the dinner service due to our arrival time. I was annoyed to have the first experience in the restaurant to be being seated at a table with a soiled tablecloth. I immediately asked for a clean tablecloth. The waiter politely obliged, but he took one from another table, wiping the crumbs off of it first and then bringing it over and re-setting our table. Are you kidding me? After that, I chose my own table, looking for one that was clean.
I had also read about the influx of locals on the weekends. This also happened during our stay; crazy [--] busy from Friday to Sunday. Bear in mind, this was my 15th time to Mexico and I love the culture et al… but I did find the people seemed to look right through me, bud in front for food, I always needed to yield to them when walking (no mutual yielding here, you know – the niceties of excuse me, pardon me, or simply a smile and nod which is internationally recognized if there is a language barrier).
I am a foodie. I found the buffets repetitive and most items unappetizing. We didn’t try the specialty restaurants, so I cannot comment on those. Flamingo, by the beach, was awful. We returned our burgers on three separate occasions, letting them know that they were not cooked thoroughly (still pink/red) to be helpful, but it didn’t seem to help nor concern them at all. We noticed that the desserts were not replenished; if you were too late, you missed out.
The juice bar could be so much more, but they add ice cubes as they fill the jugs with the respective juice(s) – sometimes 2 mixed together, like pineapple and orange – and they melt quickly so it’s watered down. Should be placing it on ice, not the ice in it. The orange juice they will offer you, doesn’t taste like juice. It tastes more like Tang, but it’s not that either.
The pool was too warm to be refreshing. It was also usually full of bugs, foam build-up, and once even French fries. I had to request that one particular entrance be cleaned as that was being used less frequently and that’s where the nasty foam would form, due to less circulation. By early afternoon, it was always cloudy. Not a good sign. In my experience, the tables by the loungers at the adult pool were not often wiped clean. We didn’t have any problem getting a good seat at the pool, but they didn’t have an eye for cleaning.
The common areas were kept okay most times. I am going to suggest that the hotel did their best, considering the number of people (and kids) staying at the time. I saw a young woman wash her feet off in the fountain. Way to set a bad example! There was garbage in the hallways and by the elevators. Probably too much to keep up with though. And people should keep an eye on their kids. They like to push all the buttons in the elevator, sending it to every floor. Again, this is not the fault of the hotel, but it didn’t exactly enhance the stay.
The drinks and the bars… Well, the first night, when it was overcrowded, the tables at the lobby bar, and the bar were sticky – left unwiped – and there were empty glasses everywhere. It took about 20 minutes to get a drink. If you are wondering, NO, the locals were not served with preferential treatment. The pool bar was efficient, but the I found the drink quality and their skills less than average, i.e. the basic repertoire of margarita, Miami Vice, cuba libre, etc. nothing special, and not top shelf. We also noticed that, at the lobby bar, they were taking empty brand name bottles and refilling them in the back room, bringing them out not quite full (not a fresh bottle) and with the cap off; now filled with a different brand. So, if you want a particular brand, you will need to ask for it by name.
Our room was musty at first, and we expected this, as it`s always been like this when we`ve traveled far enough south. Nothing that the air conditioning can`t help a little. We always had fresh towels, timely service for housekeeping, drinks replenished every two days, and sometimes towel art. I did notice that the sheets were not changed for the last three days. I don`t know if they had been changed prior to that, but if we`re being eco-minded (and take a shower before bed) then it`s not so bad. We did find the door to our room had not been pulled all the way closed (to lock) twice. Both times, I brought this to the attention of the front desk.
I would not recommend this resort.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.