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Dreams or Riu Palace

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
234 posts
14 reviews
10 helpful votes
Dreams or Riu Palace

Hi there,

Starting to research options for vacation this summer. Am deciding between Dreams Villamagna and Riu Palace Pacifico for a week. Would be traveling with my husband (golf is a must) and kids (9 & 13, pools, other kids around are important) and myself (finding a relaxing place to chill and read a book by pool or beach is great, also like drink service). There is a fairly sizable price difference.

Have not stayed with either brand before (we have done Melia (The Level) and Iberostar in DR and Luxury Bahia in Riviera Maya). We enjoy good food and prefer a la carte for most meals.

Any advice is appreciated.

Other resort suggestions also welcome.

Thanks.

16 replies to this topic
Leavenworth, Kansas
Level Contributor
1,261 posts
171 reviews
251 helpful votes
1. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

I personally am a RIU Palace fan. Flamigos golf course is just across the street and I have enjoyed playing it. There are plenty of places as you described to chill by the pool or under the palms on the beach. The Palace has 4 A la Carte Restaurants plus their buffet. The buffet is always good as well. There are usually other teens around and the entertainment crew work them in well with the days activities. There is a family suite with 2 bedrooms that I suggest that you call the hotel and speak with them as they only have 6 of them. Most people who use them praise them. If you are interested I can give you the hotel #. I have not stayed at Dreams, but I stay at the Palace twice a year. Just being blunt.. My wife and I can easily stay anywhere we want and we pick the Palace Pacifico. May I answer any questions.

B.C.Canada
Destination Expert
for Riviera Nayarit
Level Contributor
13,998 posts
147 reviews
312 helpful votes
2. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

Two different type of resort. Both on same beach.

Riu is a True All Inclusive,

Dreams is a Condo resort, the All Inclusive is an add on.

Leavenworth, Kansas
Level Contributor
1,261 posts
171 reviews
251 helpful votes
3. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

I did not mention that I understand that there are some niceities that add to the prices at Dreams that are not at Pacifico, but most are not necessary for a great vacation. I hope that Senorbobo is available to read this post. He stays at Dreams a couple of times every year and can give you an honest evaluation of the hotel. Whichever you select I know that you will certainly enjoy yourselves.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
234 posts
14 reviews
10 helpful votes
4. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

This is great feedback calmjohn, thank you very much. I plan on making a decision by the end of the week. Am bummed to see that Air Transat is not offering service to Mexico. It is definitely between these two places. The Gulf side has loads of seaweed again this year :(

Leavenworth, Kansas
Level Contributor
1,261 posts
171 reviews
251 helpful votes
5. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

If you need to call RIU Palace Pacifico and discuss rooms, etc. The number is +52-332-176-0090. Once you go to PV you may never be troubled with seaweed again.

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta
Level Contributor
9,161 posts
52 reviews
45 helpful votes
6. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

Dreams has 4 ala cartes with unlimited use and no reservations needed in addition to a buffet. 3 large pools and the same beach.

We are here now again and what keeps us coming back is the amazing staf.

It is a true all inclusive resort with adjacent condos

Iowa
Level Contributor
4,312 posts
11 reviews
70 helpful votes
7. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

It all would depend on the week but you’d probably get more kids at Dreams. However to me it’s no contest as I would definitely pick the Riu Palace for food and service. I also preferred the common areas of the resort much more than Dreams.

We had a regular double room at the Riu Palace and they aren’t the biggest but we weren’t in them much. I would suggest having them bring in a cot for one of your kids.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
132 posts
37 reviews
11 helpful votes
8. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

Sorry, this is a no brainer . . . you get what you pay for.

All RUI Palace Resorts are constructed the same way . . . a high-rise hotel with hundreds of guests living on top of each and occupying the same small beach in front of it. See the photos of any RUI Resort on the beach.

Dreams offers space, translates into more public and personal space. You get what you pay for!

Vancouver Island...
Level Contributor
2,038 posts
16 reviews
147 helpful votes
9. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

We enjoy Iberostar Playa Mita because of the location close to all outdoor activities and 6 small towns and villages close by to explore.

Iberostar is not crammed onto a postage stamp with concrete and has lots of open areas and green spaces to enjoy.

On the sundeck you will always have a front row spot above the beach and ocean to enjoy a quiet shaded spot with your book on a couch or lounge chair all day.

Even with the resort near capacity I always see around 300 or 400 empty chairs around the pool with shade at 8:30am and 100 front row lounge chairs with shade.

If a condescending person who thinks they own the place puts towels, books and personal belongings down on any lounge chair around the pool at 830 am in the morning and goes for breakfast then Iberostar will turf all your personal belongings. Strictly enforced.

Maybe ask how many hundred empty lounge chairs there are at the resort you are looking at around 9 or 10 am am in the morning.

Resort workers will put up free umbrellas on the beach anywhere you want and serve your drink. When you look up from reading your book you will be a few meters away from the waters edge with the sights and the sounds of the ocean. Lots of room and front row.. You will not be sardined a 100 feet back from the waters edge under a palm tree rows back.

Iberostar Playa Mita beach is nice and secluded. Washrooms, beach bar and snack bar on the beach.

I have gone several times to Iberostar and have never had to eat buffet for dinner even with the resort near capacity and usually at 7:30 or 8:00 pm. You wont have to wait in line at 630pm in the hot Mexican summer heat.

Teppenyaki restaurant for your family to enjoy.

There are 12 sets of washrooms around the entire resort including at the beach and 3 sets around the pools. There are washrooms right beside the swim up bar.

Great live evening entertainment in an actual indoor auditorium with amazing sound and light show. Live music around the pool, inside the bar, outside on the terrace or in the theatre. Not someone lip syncing to a Michael Jackson song.

Iberostar has a beautiful lounge and bar area to enjoy the sunsets and ocean views right over the beach. The ocean front sundeck runs the entire length of the resort . All comfy padded loungers, chairs and couches to relax on. Can you imagine going to a resort that doesnt have an oceanfront bar and lounge to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and sounds of the ocean.

Huge open lobby with lots of outdoor space and seating areas. Iberostar has nice green spaces and pathways not crammed high rise hotel with concrete.

Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Punta Mita and the Greg Norman golf course surrounds the resort and Iberostar will shuttle you right to the club house. Guest rate is 1100 pesos ($59 US) afternoon rate including golf cart. $89 for the morning.

There is a diving and snorkelling center right at the resort. Free diving lessons in the pool. Marietas Islands close by.

Iberostar will also shuttle you right to the bus stop. Hop on and go exploring. Higuera Blanca, Punta de Mita Sayulita and San Francisco/San Pancho, Bucerias, Destiladeras and La Cruz with its marina close by. Iberostar has resort shuttles to Bucerias, Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta.

Excursions with Vista Paraiso are only 8 minutes away from Iberostar. Easily picked up and dropped off at Iberostar lobby. Its at an actual working ranch with over 50 horses. Equestrian and Polo lessons even trick horses. Go horseback riding from the ranch to Higuera Blanca through the jungle and along a secluded beach. Full gallop along the beach. ATVs, RZRs and by far the largest zip line area in Puerto Vallarta 8 minutes away. Easily picked up at 8:50 am ( or 10:50 and 2:50 pm) and back before noon enjoying drinks being served to you in the pool. We easily book with less 24 hours notice. Even same day notice. I have gone 8 times with Vista Paraiso averaging less than 7 people on the tours even during noon on cruise ship days. We always book with Felipe at Iberoservice in the lobby. We easily book two tours in one day. Back at 3pm having done 2 tours with lots of time to go surfing, drinking and shopping in Sayulita or rent some street bikes and mountain bikes, SUP or kayaks.

Iberostar is far away from the Nuevo Vallarta, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta and cruise ship crowds that cram the tours and have to be booked days or weeks in advance.

All Canadian charters go to Iberostar Playa Mita so you have lots of choices for times and dates. You are not limited to one choice and one airline.

Good luck in your choice.

Edited: 4:55 am, May 20, 2019
Leavenworth, Kansas
Level Contributor
1,261 posts
171 reviews
251 helpful votes
10. Re: Dreams or Riu Palace

I see that Senor Bobo gave you good advice and that others have chimed in with interesting input. CY9395 has stayed at both with youngsters so his input is to be valued. I hope that you are able to sift through all that we all have supplied and are able to select the hotel that you will enjoy the best. What ever you select I do hope that you will enjoy Puerto Vallarta so much that you will never even have to discuss the chance of sea weed again. I might add that reservations are not required at the a la cartes at the Palace either.

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