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“Beautiful, but isolated”

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Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
Ranked #11 of 80 Hotels in Mazatlan
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We stayed at riu mazatlan three times in the last year. Grounds are beautiful, beach is great, rooms are modern. And yes the beds are like sleeping on concrete slabs. Many times I thought of going to Walmart and buying a foam topper, that's how bad it was.
Buffet was typical, lots to chose from, but got very boring after three days.
I'd love to tell you this a short walk from town, but it isn't. Even the taxi takes at least 20 minutes.
The beach is huge, no worries about vendors bothering you, unlike other hotels where they are literally at your feet.
If you want seclusion, this is the place. If you like to party, won't be happening here.

Room Tip: All rooms are ocean view.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank l72thomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 5, 2013

Although I was a bit hesitant to take on an "all inclusive" vacation, our family of four loved our stay at Riu Emerald Bay. The staff truly made the difference. All were friendly and available. The food was abundant and, at times, quite good. Nothing spectacular, but a step above most cruise ship offerings. The specialty restaurants were fine (Asian was the best; skip the Italian experience) but, once again, simply mid-level. My biggest complaint would be the quality of the wine. If they simply offered higher quality wine at an extra price, it would add to the experience for many. We were traveling with two teens and the duplex with two levels and two bathrooms was absolutely perfect! My only comment about the duplex is that if you are expecting a beautiful, unobstructed view of the ocean from your room, you won't get it from a duplex. They are located on the first level and overlook a very large roof. Certainly, there are palm trees to enjoy and distant view of the ocean, but it is not the same view as from the upper levels. It was, however, very comfortable and perfect for a family of four. I honestly don't know how two adults and two teens could it into one of the other rooms.

The tours were great and would highly recommend the on-site offerings. Taxis were very convenient into town and there are many great restaurant offerings. We never felt unsafe - but we didn't wonder out too much at night.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank FrequentlyinItaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

My family and I went to this resort from March 26/13 to April 2/13. The resort was very beautiful and clean. The beach was beautiful and ocean was nice. We could always find a chair at pool or beach. The beds in our room were much to be desired. Twice we ran out of toilet paper in our room. The maid did not leave us towels one day and it took two phone calls and 1 hr 20 min to finally get towels. We were trying to shower and get ready for dinner reservations. The Japanese restaurant and Italian were far below an "al-la-carte' standard and they were buffet. The Mexican was the best, it was al-la-carte.

We also had a special birthday for my daughter and it was a hassle to set up a dinner and cake. I was very disappointed with the customer service.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank TerrilynWaterford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

This was our first all inclusive trip to Mexico and our 2nd time at a RIU. It was breathtaking. Every room has a balcony with an ocean view. The many pools are pristine and the ocean provides serenity with the sound of rolling waves. The beach is hand cleaned every morning and while there are solicitors selling wares on the beach,there is a rope tey cannot cross, allowing you to go to them if you wantto purchase anything. There are beach chairs for everyone and an abundance of palm tress for shade.

The food was always fresh and plentiful and while I am not big on buffet dining, I was always pleased with choicesand what I ate. There are actually four restaurants, Mexican, Italian, Asian and the main Buffet but they all were buffet style except the Mexican served the main course. Again, food was always fresh and the choices were great.

While you can drink all you want, their wine that is available was very poor. I should have had my driver from the airport stop at a atore to buy my own. All other liquor was very good if you ASK for the best. They have a list for example with Absolute, Shmirnoff, Canadian Mist, Jim Beam, Jose Cuervo Gold and many more but if you just order a Margareta, or a vodka martini, you will get rotgut house liquor. They hidethe good liquor in a lower cabinet.

When out by the pool, we found a beer and soda tap that was a "help yourself" and we loved it. Convieniently, it was close to the bathrooms so...how helpful is that! It is close to the volleyball court and Las Gaviotas restaurant that is where luncheon buffet is served.

Staff was above and beyond sweet, helpful and kind. I brought $100 $1 dollar bills and tipped everyone all week. Although all tips are included in the package, $1 or $2 goes a long way in the local peolpes lives as they do not earn big money. The maid got $2 every day and I had towel art, fresh flower petals and other interesting things as her thank you. I was going to list names of great employees but I realize there were too many...everyone their gets an A+.

Room Tip: Room 631, behind the elevators on 6th floorwere quiet, easy to access and the view was spectacular...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Donnamar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

This resort is clean and beautiful and had everything we needed for the week. All of the staff (front desk, gift shop, taxis and tours, bars and restaurants) were extremely kind and helpful and did whatever they could to fulfill our requests. However, there are a few things people who have never been to A) a Riu, B) an All-Inclusive, and C) Mazatlan may wish to know before they book.

I shall begin by saying this was my 2nd all-inclusive vacation, and my husband’s first. This was both of our first times to a Riu and both of our first times to Mexico. My grandparents have very fond memories of their many vacations to Mexico and its Pacific coast, so I wanted to like it very badly just to feel more connected to my grandfather while I was there and perhaps see it through his eyes (he passed away in 2010). In other words, I went with a very positive attitude anticipating a wonderful week. All in all, I would say that is what we got, and I would recommend this resort.

We stayed at the resort from March 21-27, 2013 and were traveling in a group of 10 adults. Weather was BEAUTIFUL the entire time we were there (even at night), but in hindsight, I would choose different dates to visit Mexico in the future. Other guests informed us that Holy Week (between Palm Sunday and Easter) is traditionally Mexico’s spring break week (many devout Catholics, so certainly understandable), and therefore our resort was packed to the gills with guests. I have no problems with people of ethnicities outside of my own, but that sheer volume of people in one place at one time is not my style. It was very crowded and at times difficult to get service (at a bar or in a restaurant, etc.).

About Riu, they are a large chain with large hotels/resorts that serve large groups of people every single day. In my opinion, the resort functioned like a stationary cruise ship. They were able to provide all the things a guest would need, but only in a scheduled and orderly fashion so as to accommodate the mass of people. There was a beach party one evening for dinner that had fun entertainment and crowd participation, but after standing in the very long food line for nearly 30 minutes, I got to the trays and they were mostly empty. What remained was nothing to my taste. Very frustrating when your only other option is to run up to the Sport Bar and microwave a burger that’s been sitting in the fridge.

There are a few on-site restaurants, but the themed ones had only dinner hours and only for reservations. Don’t plan to simply saunter into the Mexican or Asian restaurant at any time of day, find a seat and order whatever you want. The menu at the Mexican restaurant was tasty and filling, but limited in variety. The breakfast buffet was always amazing and tasty. The lunch buffet area was plentiful, but bland and uninspiring. We had better lunches at the beach BBQ each day. Overall, Riu was not what I pictured an “authentic” Mexican vacation or experience to be. Riu certainly did their best, but when catering to nearly 2000 people, only so much can be done and not everyone can be pleased. There are 716 rooms in this resort, and from the state of the pool area each day and lines at meal times, they were running at full capacity with many families on site (aka, more than average of 2 people per room).

We had great times at the pool bar. I’m an early riser and was fortunate enough to score chairs for our group each morning before others even went to breakfast, so that was never a problem for us. The swim-up bar opens at 10am each morning and staff there is friendly (as mentioned earlier in the review) and did their best to mix up whatever we asked. They did run out of pina colada a couple of days and were not able to maintain a stock of top shelf liquors (again…the sheer volume of people at this resort during this week had a huge impact).

My husband and I had a couples oceanside massage one day during our stay. It was incredibly relaxing (book at the water sports cabana next to the swim up bar). We booked our massage for 10am and the pool staff kindly held off with their dance music until we were done (we didn’t even ask them to, so that was a kind and pleasant surprise).

Our group ate out for dinner on two nights. Both places had amazing food and prices. We went to Roy’s Seafood one night and Playa Bruja/Mr. Lionso’s the next night. I would certainly recommend both for great food, beverages and very reasonable prices. The resort will hail you a cab and it’s cheap to get to either place from Riu. Cute shops next to both, as well.

My husband and I booked a Jacuzzi suite and are both SO glad we did. We booked through Delta Vacations and it only cost us $400 USD more for the entire week and we had a room 3 times the size of the others. SO WORTH IT. We slept with our patio door open the first night just to enjoy the sound of the Pacific. And yes, we had NO problems hearing it from our 20th floor suite.

All in all, we had a great vacation with fun, sun and friends. The downsides were that the resort would not exchange our money (USD) and that a young boy drowned in one of the large pools while we were there. One of our travel companions is an ER physician and my husband is an EMT and the hotel staff would not allow them to help this poor child. So sad and our most sincere condolences to his family. Also, our timing. I would not return to Mexico for a relaxing vacation during Holy Week. Too many people. And if we do return to Mexico, it will not be to Mazatlan. No digs to any of the people who live or work there. The people were magnificent. It is the surroundings that I found unattractive. Even a desert can be beautiful, but Maz was not. Everything was dead and dusty (cue music from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly). Brown mountains, dead flora everywhere (except on the resorts where it was maintained by staff 24/7) and just generally unattractive landscapes. I’ve heard Puerta Vallarta and south are much more tropical areas with jungle-covered hillsides to overlook (for those looking to vaca on the Pacific side of Mex). We likely won’t be back to this resort or to Mazatlan. But then again, we likely won’t do ANY all-inclusive again, as it turned out to simply not be our style of travel. But if all-inclusive is your style, I’m certain you won’t be disappointed at Riu Emerald Bay.

Room Tip: So worth the slightly extra cost to upgrade to a Jacuzzi suite. You won't regret it.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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6  Thank billnathutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

1st of all our week vacation was great! Great weather (no rain), ave. temp. 29 degrees(C) daytime and a little cooler in the evening (light sweater) to start, but did warm up throughout the week. Rooms are spacious with a fantastic view of the beach, ocean and sunsets! Most reviews previously are pretty accurate but some additional info.: Toward the latter part of our week the local Mexican families checked in, because this was the start of their spring break. No problems after all this is a family resort. You can exchange your Canadian $'s at the front desk. Most places in Mazatlan will accept Canadian $'s but exchange varies, with some places giving us U.S. $ for change. The resort has a great little gift shop (hassle free) for last minute gifts or to get an ideal on prices for gifts before going into town. Great restaurant / vendor next to resort (5 to 10 min. walk from the beach) with great/cheap prices. The resort does not provide a lot of information regarding local restaurants or shopping unless it is on tour or has some connection. Best source of information available is to talk to guests who have stayed previously or earlier in the week.(they are the one's you are tanned). Take a step back into time and shop the Golden Zone (bargain for the best price) or you can shop at the MEGA store (12 min. taxi ride from resort) which is similar to the Loblaw's Superstore. Close by was the La Grande Plaza (disappointing) since most stores available offered clothes for the ladies and the rest were closed (11:00 am) or out of business. From there a short bus or taxi ride there is a Walmart (good prices for your Liquor). Regarding food / meals at the resort, good selection and tasted good. There was a better selection on the week-end including a BBQ Beach Party on Friday evening. I thought there would have been a larger selection of seafood at RIU but next time I would go to the local restaurant during the week for steak & seafood. Also at the bars at RIU in most cases the better quality RUM/ Liquor is available if requested. Also for the 1st. timer the Mazatlan City Tour which left from the resort was a good place to start then later we took a taxi back to continue shopping. The RIU resort is in a area of Mazatlan which is quiet and secluded. The local people are very friendly and most speak some English. This is a nice resort and I can understand why people return. I would!

Room Tip: If you are looking to upgrade to a Honeymoon or Jacuzzi room prices were higher at resort compared t...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank steturr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We arrived late at the Hotel because of Plane delay. Not their fault so not included in here. But when we arrived. Everything was organized. It took minutes to get our bracelet, to get our room key and they had people with drinks and hors d'oeuvre. Took all the stress away.

we arrive in the room and it was beautiful, clean and frankly PERFECT. We were on 14th floor and the view to the ocean was FANTASTIC. After we took a few pictures we unpacked, showered and changed. Right away we went to the buffet and I frankly cannot complain about the food. There was plenty of it and it was tasty.

I just loved the way we were treated for breakfast. That was my favorite meal of the day.

Everyday we walked on the beach and went to the end of it to a little coffee shop and had our morning coffee before coming back to the hotel and enjoying our day at the beach/pool.

there are many pools and I just wish they were all warm. One pool was freezing, the other was medium and the swim up pool(I call it the pee pool) was really really warm.

We spent morning on the beach and afternoon at pool.

I cant believe how the staff are friendly there. I know they are paid to do this but it really make us feel good. When you tip them, they are grateful and it is a pleasure to tip them as they work really really hard.

Overall the RIU hotel in Mazatlan was really perfect for us. My only problems is that loud music playing constantly at the pee pool(swim up bar)

We will probably go back there if not there to another RIU hotel for sure.

Room Tip: it was cool at night because of freak weather. Bring a pair of jeans and a long sleeve so you can at...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank paulmarch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Emerald Bay

Address: Av. Sabalo-Cerritos #3404 zona costera cerritos | Nuevo Mazatlán - Sinaloa, Mazatlan 82110, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Sinaloa > Mazatlan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Mazatlan
#6 Spa Hotel in Mazatlan
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Mazatlan
#10 Romantic Hotel in Mazatlan
Price Range: $143 - $282 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Riu Emerald Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 716
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Opening summer 2009 * 12 km / 7.45 Miles from Mazatlan, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa Las Brujas beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 20-story main building * Surrounded by 13.500 M2 / 16.15 Sq. Yards of lush gardens * 10 km / 6.2 Miles from various shops * 12 km / 7.45 Miles from Mazatlan * 32 km / 19.87 Miles from the airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Emerald Bay Mazatlan

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