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“Very Good Service made for a good trip” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Vallarta

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Hotel Riu Vallarta
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Av de Los Cocoteros S/N | Lote Hotelero G, Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #13 of 27 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Chicago Illinois
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Very Good Service made for a good trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

We stayed at RIU Vallarta around New Year’s and had a good visit despite having 3 days of overcast and rain to start the trip. This is clearly not a 5 star (and is barely a 4 star) resort, but for the price, was still a good trip.

The Good Parts:
1.Service was excellent from the staff. The staff was consistently pleasant and helpful, whether at the restaurants, the pool, the bars, the health club and even the maids and mini-bar stocking staff provided good service with a smile. I was particularly impressed at how well they worked around the only rainy days we have ever had in Mexico-they changed the restaurant hours, expanded entertainment options and kept the facilities clean and puddle free. We did tip well (ok, very well compared to others we saw), but the staff seemed to have a smile for everyone.
2.Food was fine. Plentiful and varied, although not gourmet, even in the gourmet restaurant. Of the 3 ala carte places, we found the steakhouse to be the best and the chicken was actually very good. The asian place (Nirvana) is really just an asian buffet and was OK at best.
3.Had a great time in the Sports Bar, and made lots of friends watching the Rose Bowl and the NFL games. They were even able to get the English language feed.
4.The rooms and the grounds were spotless other than the bathrooms near the pools, which they could not keep clean no matter how hard they tried. The beach was raked and organized every day. While there were lots of bees at the bar, it has been that way at every resort we have visited in PV.
5.GREAT beach. Took long walks and there was lots to see. About 45 minutes each way to Bucerias if you are up for it. Lots of chairs on the beach, it was easy to drag chairs into the sun. Great sunsets around 6:30-6:45.

The Bad Parts;
1.You sometimes had to push to get what you wanted. When we checked in, we were told that there were no locks available for the safes in our rooms-she said they were “all out”. I told the woman that this was unacceptable and that we had heard on TripAdvisor about some theft issues and next thing I know, she hands me 2 locks for the safes. I was told there were no late seatings for New Years Eve (“All I have is 6:30 or 7”) and when I told him that we had tried to get late seatings by e-mails and that I would not leave until I got a later seating, suddenly there was an opening at 9pm. By the way, there were many open tables at that hour.
2.They have old fashioned keys for the rooms (on giant keychains) and the safes. They need to upgrade to computerized cards since I spent the whole trip afraid I would lose them. Plus, the room keys do not open the door from the hallway to the 2 rooms that are adjacent-still don't know what key opens that door from the outside.
3.You have to line up before 8am to get reservations in the ala carte restaurants. It seemed like the earlier reservations went faster than the later ones, but we did not care since we wanted to be in the sun as long as we could.
4.The rooms (particularly the bathrooms) looked a little tired and did have things that needed repair. Bed was hard as a rock.
5.The sign in the bathroom said the water was not potable, but people at the desk said it was ok to drink-which is it? We played it safe and used bottled water for everything.
6.The work-out facilities look nice, but several of the pieces of cardio equipment did not work correctly.

Helpful Hints:
1.Bring insulated cups with lids with you to keep drinks cold. Plus, the plastic cups they use at the pool did not look clean so we washed out our mugs and then used the vodka in the room to “disinfect” them.
2.Even if there are no reservations for the ala carte places, ask to be put on the waiting list or even just show up at the restaurants and many times you will get in.
3.The front desk hands out bottles of water upon request so you are not limited to what is in the mini-bar. And every time they ask if we want the water with or without alcohol!
4.The maids leave behind towel sculptures if you leave a nice tip. The workers make very little money and work very hard, so the least you can do is tip.
5.Don’t plan on going to bed before the entertainment stops around 11pm since the noise goes everywhere. On the other hand, it was surprisingly quiet after that.
6.If you want to save chairs in the morning, keep your towels in the evening since the towel booth does not open until 10am.
7.We read a lot about theft so we kept everything locked up in the safe as much as we could. However the safe is not beig enough for a laptop so we just hid it each day. I think some of the "theft" issues are people being drunk or careless-one night as the Sports Bar was emptying out we heard the bartender yelling "Hey, who left their Ipad over here" No one answered and I am sure that the people who left it think it was stolen.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 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 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (802)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Arlington Heights, Illinois
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

It is good hotel but -food not 5 stars just 3.everyting was very good but food was not american style .Riu palace in riviera maya was complitly deferent food-amezing.-here every day the same .Flamingo bar-restaurant one day they served wholly cold -frozen French fries.

Room Tip: junior suite
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

Firstly,we have made 13 trips to various parts of Mexico,plus trips to Cuba,Jamaica and Panama so we can realistically rate this property based on a fair bit of experience.We stayed at the Riu Vallarta from Jan.5 to 13th,2013 so I thought we'd post this right away while our memories of a fantastic week were still fresh.

We booked 24 hours in advance of going through Selloff Vacations.The package itself was with Sunwing,out of Regina.While booking,there was the option of upgrading to a Junior suite with an oceanview for an extra 60.00 pp which we took.We have been to many all inclusives that advertise oceanview,and when you get to your room you need to peer around the corner of the balcony to see a sliver of the ocean.We travelled at night,supposed to leave at 9:45 pm which ended up being 12:00 midnight which didn't get things off on the best start,but...it was still dark when we finally got to our room.We were blown away when we discovered our location once the sun came up.We were situated on the front corner of the south wing of the hotel on the 7th floor with a full unobstructed view of the Pacific!! Our room number was 7066.The elevator runs on the outside of the wing and was steps from our door and took us right outside to the pool,spa,and buffet restaurant in close proximity.Inside our room,you couldn't hear the elevator.We were so impressed that we took the time to map out the rooms that would give a similar view and location. Those would be 5064,65,66,67 to 8064,65,66,67 ( 5th thru 8th stories ).If you take the 120.00 upgrade per couple,ask for one of these rooms.There have been comments of noise from the centrally located rooms on the lower floors as the hotel is built in a U shape with a courtyard in the middle,so I can see that being a possibility.We experienced none of that in our room.I can't remember being anywhere when there wasn't some issue with the room such as plumbing problems,air conditioning,lights not working,etc.None of that here! Yes,as noted the bed is hard.After a full day of sun,a few drinks and a big supper,that didn't bother us at all!! We thought of requesting a mattress topper,but didn't bother.

If you are travelling with family and want to keep tabs on the kids,the standard rooms have side by side rooms with adjacent doors in a short hallway,which allows you to hear your teenagers coming and going.If you're travelling as a couple by yourselves,that can work against you based on the noise factor.The Riu Jalisco,where we stayed last year,is laid out the same.

This was definitely the most consistently pleasant staff we've EVER encountered.It didn't matter where you were,be it bars,restaurants,etc. we never dealt with anyone who was indifferent towards us.Yes,we tip moderately,but we didn't every time we got a drink or left a table,and we were treated wonderfully!This is also the best on beach bar service we have encountered as well.It's nice to get a cold cervaza delivered right to your lounger! Usually you need to go get one in most places.

Restaurants- There are 3 ala carts which are supposed to be pre booked in advance.The first night we walked into the Japanese without having booked it,and were given a table without any hesitation or questioning.It is important to note that the resort was not full,so obviously that played a part.This was our poorest meal of the week,average at best.The sushi was good,but the hot dishes were so so.It is all buffet style.Sir George is the specialty restaurant,and the most popular,for a reason.We both had the filet,and they were very good.The Steak restaurant was also good.I had the Ribeye which was good ( for Mexico ),and my wife had the ribs-they were as good as anywhere.

If you are there when the resort is full and are bound by the 2 ala cart rule,then bypass the Japanese.Also,if you are a red wine drinker,as we have encountered in most all inclusives,it is very poor just about everywhere and that was no different in the restaurants.The lobby and central bar in the courtyard had a decent red called Aldea,so we would get a glass and take it in to the restaurant for supper,which was no problem.The supper buffet restaurant was also very good with lots of variety.No complaints about the breakfast and lunch buffets either.If you couldn't find something you liked,then you're awfully picky!!

The bars-The lobby,courtyard,and entertainment bars would all serve you in real glasses,with brand name spirits available-just make sure you ask for them by name.They included Bacardi,Beefeater and Smirnoff to name a few.Also,they make an excellent Ceasar,which you can't get just anywhere when you travel.Beer is all draft,but it was good quality and always cold.

Beach/ swim up bar serves you in the typical 7 ounce plastic glasses,so if you like a cold one or two on the beach,pack your Bubba!We didn't spend much time here,kinda past that stage.

Spa- There is a Renova spa on site.We went for a couples massage which was very good.They offered us a 15% discount,once again because the resort wasn't that busy.My wife also went for a 50 minute full body massage on the beach for 35.00!!She said it was just as good as the first one,and it's run by Renova right on the hotel property.

Of all the areas of Mexico we've experienced,which include Mazatlan,Cabo,Cancun,Mayan Riviera and Playa Del Carmen,This area which is called Riviera Nayarit is our favorite for two main reasons.The weather here is much more consistent than the other side,and the long stretch of beach is beautiful,with a very swimable ocean with little undertow.Yes, it doesn't feature the clear blue water and white sand of Varadero or Cancun,but the safe ocean and beautiful sunny days are the two most important things for us.You can't go in the water in Cabo without risking your life,the weather in Cuba is a crap shoot,and much of the Mayan Riviera has stagnant water and rocky beaches.If you haven't stayed in this area before,make sure to avoid the resorts right in PV because the majority of resorts are older and the beach is narrow and rocky.We stayed at the Canto Del Sol about 8 years ago,it was terrible,although they advertise it as a 4 star.

As far as excursions,we didn't do much this time.We walked into the town of Bucerias which was about 45 minutes down the beach.We had supper at Miguel Angel,a great seafood platter for two for 40.00!In the past we've done the la Calita day trip which takes you to John Houstons former private retreat( very nice-snorkelling,lunch,etc).Last year we did the Last Saskatchewan pirate boat tour( take it or leave it).

One comment made in many reviews which we must agree with is the use of keys for the room instead of swipe cards.The keys have the room number stamped right into them.If you lose your key,yes,it will create a problem.So,guard it as you would your passport or wallet.Travelling anywhere takes a bit of street smarts.We saw instances of keys left in front of guests in plain view with the room number visible,a girl at the swimup bar loudly announcing that she was travelling by herself and that she didn't have any tip money but had lots in her room,and so on.

We all know that Mexico has received lots of negative press about their drug related violence and murders,and many people have stayed away out of fear.While we were away,tragically,a couple from Ontario were murdered inside their Florida condo.I read about it on the 4th page of our provincial daily paper.Had it occurred in Mexico,it would have garnered worldwide attention.My point is,these terrible events can and do happen everywhere.If you stay in the safe areas,and use a little common sense you will have no problems.

Also,so many people can't balance their expectations with the money they are paying.This trip,including the room upgrade cost us just under 1,000.00 a piece taxes in!See how long you can stay,eat and drink for that kind of money in any Canadian or American tourist destination!!

For that very reason and the overall quality of our experience relative to other resorts we've visited over the years,we can't help but rate this trip as less than a five out of five!! Enjoy!

Oh yes,one major complaint that we plan to take up with Sunwing-How does it make economic sense to fly right over top of Regina on the way home to drop off 12,yes 12 passengers in Saskatoon and then backtrack to Regina ( 2 hours later without loading anyone else ) to unload the rest of us??If 95% of the passengers are using Regina as the gateway city,than discontinue the Saskatoon departures or at least drop off Regina first!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
2 reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

There was nothing wrong with the place... 5 star indeed!! We stayed at Riu, Riviera Niyarit (just north of Puerto Vallarta) and had a fabulous vacation! The people, the food, the atmosphere, the pool, the beach - all amazing! The workers are fun - the grounds are kept pristine. The weather was great too!!

Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

Have stayed in 5 star hotels before - this is not a 5. The rooms were shabby and basic with the beds being as hard as boards. Hotel very noisy sound just echoed. House keeping very slack. Not relaxing.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

We spent December 19th-26th at the Riu. This is our fifth trip to Mexico and third trip to P.V. This is the nicest resort of all three visits to Puerto Vallarta. The staff was attentive to us during our stay. We went with my parents and our three children, and everyone had a great time. It puzzles me when I see the poor reviews of this resort. Our room was kept immaculate by our housekeeper Angeles and my kids enjoyed hanging out with Gladys from the entertaiment department. Alex in entertainment was great too and made it a point to come talk to us when he saw us! The food was good, after a week we were ready to come home and have good old american food, but we felt like there was plenty to choose from during our stay. Not one of the 7 of us starved while were there by the looks of the scale when we got home!! They went to special efforts on Christmas Evening dinner with their red carpet, ice and butter scuptures at the restaurant. After visiting 5 different resorts in Mexico we don't plan on visiting the restaurants that you need a reservation at the resort because they seldom meet our expectations. If you want an excellent meal, take a cab to Pipi's or to El Palomar. You won't be dissapointed! The night shows at the resort were entertaining and they try very hard to include the audience!! The resort was clean and the grounds were immaculate. I think you can go anywhere and pick something apart. We were in rooms 4001 +4002 on the outer perimeter of the hotel facing north. Nice balcony and view. No issues with noise at night. With the volume of people that come through a large resort like this, there is always something that could use a repair. If you go to Mexico and expect it to be like the U.S. you will be dissapointed. It is a foreign country, the food and culture are different. We would go back in a second. Have a great time when you get there! We did!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room NOT on the courtyard if you want less noise.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

Been to a lot of resorts,and this by far was the worst experience we have ever had.The beds were like sleeping on the floor hard.My neck is still hurting from the bad pillows.I know my drinks were all watered down.The food was terrible,so you won't have to worry about weight gain.The pool was freezing,there is no outside hot tub.Customer service was like horrible.You have to carry your big room key and your safe keys around with you all the time.Try doing that with a speedo on :)

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Vallarta

Address: Av de Los Cocoteros S/N | Lote Hotelero G, Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
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 Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#9 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#13 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Vallarta 3.5*
Number of rooms: 445
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* In Riviera Nayarit, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa de Flamingos beach, 2 km / 1.5 miles from Nuevo Vallarta * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 9-storey building * 3 km / 1.86 miles from various shops * 13 km / 8 miles from the airport * 1 km / 0.62 miles from Flamingos Golf Club * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Vallarta Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Riu Vallarta Nuevo

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