We have been to a few all inclusives and this was by far the best. We loved the modern decor of the rooms (possibly because the hotel seems to be just a couple of years old). Very clean rooms with a fully stocked mini bar at all times.
The food was excellent! We ate everything and loved all of it. The normal buffet is just as good as the specialty restaurants so don't be disappointed if you couldn't get a reservation. We tried all the restaurants and loved them. We got a surprise from a few frogs at the steakhouse. They hopped in while we were eating but you can't blame them, it was their beach first!
Pools were in great shape and there were enough lounge chairs for everyone. Loved the wait staff and absolutely miss the Dirty Monkeys (best drink ever!). It does take quite a bit of time from the time of drink order to when you receive it so we ordered 2-3 each every time :) It was to be expected as there were only a few guys taking everyone's order then heading back to the bar to make them themselves. Great staff! Always courteous and always willing to help. Very friendly!
The beach was coarse sand and the water wasn't the greatest but the walk along the beach was nice. Walk down to the monkey bar and take a look at the wild monkeys or walk the other way and notice the danger signs on some of the trees. Lizards are hiding everywhere so don't be afraid. It was nice to see all of the nature aspects still intact (ie. lizards, monkeys, etc).
Shows were entertaining. Recommend the Michael Jackson and Rock of Ages for sure. We liked the street carnival. There was a stage built on the street entering the Riu properties and both hotels were invited. Bars were setup outside with games for kids. The show was nice and we liked the change of having it outside.
Shops are just outside the hotel and aren't the greatest. As everyone has said, make sure you bring your own toiletries and necessities as they are grossly overpriced (over 5 times more than what you would spend at home). The casino wasn't our thing and neither was the disco but they are there if you want to check them out.
Overall, great experience. We would highly recommend this place. Makes us want to visit another Riu Palace for our next trip as this was our first ever Riu experience!