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Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
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Reviewed January 26, 2010

In reading the long winded and fabulous reviews for this past month I will only add or disagree with missed items.

I saw this - "No swimming" We swam in the Ocean everyday. Free boogie boards available at the hotel which were unreal fun to ride, surfboards for $10 an hour or $25 for 4 which can be spread out through your whole week. Perfect little waves for beginners to learn on. We had only had a beginner lesson in Tofino before and were good to go on very similar waves without wet suits! There were waves and jellyfish everyday. We each were only stung once in our entire trip being in and out of the ocean several times a day, so don't let the deter you. The jelly fish are so tiny it's just a little sting. The surf shop has novocaine you spray on and it quickly disappears. So don't be mistaken, you can get in there everyday and love that ocean!

I saw this - long waits for elevator - no never. If you ware waiting then go to the other side

I saw this - no service around the pool. Wrong, There was a guy with a drink try there every day (Best drinks come from pool bar by theatre - Especially Ese's Mohitos!!!)

What was missed:

Snorkeling. No one ever mentions the snorkeling and I wasn't sure I wanted to go here because I love snorkeling. There is no snorkeling off our beach, and it won't be the same as in the Caribbean, but it you dig it here's where to go. Walk up the beach to Mr. Lionsis (which yes, you have to go to and have the $20 lobster platter) head up the wooden stars and right to walk down the street until you get to the shops.....which are wayyyyy cheaper than the beach vendors, then at the end of the street there is a beach, with a secluded calm area to snorkel in if the waves aren't to huge (hint: if there are a million locals surfing that's an indication the waves are too massive for snorkeling that day in the bay, but if the waves are their average then it will be ok). It takes about 7 minutes to get there. Now for the jaunt back. Are you adventurous? Do you like a little hike? The bluff that is blocking a direct path back to the hotel (the one at the end of the beach by Mr. Lionsos) has an awesome hiking path on it that walks right along the cliff. It's an amazing view from up there with a nicely carved path. Might even see a couple geckos on your walk. You can also enter from the parking lot by Mr. Lionsos.

Also not mentioned in other reviews. When we arrived in our "king bedded room" we found 2 Queen beds pushed together, even made separately. Not so good for a romantic getaway. The next day we told the front desk and they moved us to an actual king bed room. As mentioned before......they are all ocean view.

Food was amazing, especially the Mexican food at the buffet. My boyfriend and several others at the resort (only men, strangely enough) got sick. Not sure if it was from the food, or water (which you should never drink or even brush your teeth with) and they were all out for a couple days. It's hard to pin point what it was that caused it because the food seemed to be all cooked proper. Only advise I would say is don't eat the food at the 24 hours (all there is is crappy burger and hot dogs in the fridge or nachos and cheese) Or try to get the the lunch buffet early enough that the food has not been sitting there for 2 hours. Other than that we don't really know what happened except that it was not alcohol induced.......Lomotril? Available in the gift shop seemed to clear or rather clog up the problem. Again, I have not seen any other reviewers mention it and I would not let it deter you from going because the food and selection is really something to see and taste.

Ok, I guess I ended up being long winded too.....but that just shows are awesome this place is and how many great things there are to say. I would recommend to anyone 25 plus who doesn't need to hard core party other than a couple friendly drinks at the pool bar til midnight. We met tonnes of people and enjoyed the staff and fellow Canadians!!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank yippeesun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2010

this was my 3rd trip to a riu , and i would say that it was the best one yet. new resort clean great service,friendly and helpfull staff. previous complaints say the pools are not clean. i found them very clean and well maintained. they have a person constantly picking up your mess!! poor selection at the buffet ??? every day there is chicken, pork , beef, fish , pasta . all done two or three different ways , plus a salad bar and fresh fruit. if you cant find anything good to eat your standards must be dining out at the country club every night. take the city tour ,it is reasonable and quite informative they stop for cliff diving, the market, a fish market, and there old large cathedral. the sunset cruise was great and we were lucky enough to see a whale. yes the ocean is red flaged daily , and while we were there lots of jelly fish, i dont do ocean swimming so no big deal to me .i as in los cabos last year and could not swim either. all in all had a great trip and i would highly recomend this resort

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank Davluv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2010

This was our 4th trip to a Riu and probably liked it the least. Resort itself is stunning, rooms are very clean, staff is exceptionally friendly. I wouldn't waste my time going to the restaurants on site they weren't worth the time. Service at steak house was terrible and food wasn't good either. Asian restaurant was only open for the first two days of our trip. Staff need to learn how to speak better english. Nightly entertainment is boring and lip sinking gets a little boring after a couple of shows. Entertainment staff only involved guest in their activities that were sitting around the swim up bar pool, they never came out onto the beach area to see if others wanted to participate. Swim up bar pool is dirty as people smoke and drink in it all day long, unfortunately it was the only pool that was heated. Spa is amazing! Beach is great! Ocean view was great! Tried several times a day to get onto the internet but never could get on.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank y0ungl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2010

I have to start by saying this was an amazing vacation. I have never had so much fun in my whole life. From start to finish this hotel rocked. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I have a lot to say so bear with me on this guys. I guess like the last reviewer I will start with the bad…which wasn’t even that bad
A) Most of the food was great, but I didn’t like the Steak House. The steak was salty (for someone who doesn’t add salt to anything). My friend at dinner enjoyed the steak as he likes salt. We didn’t get any soup. But I think that was a misunderstanding because one person at our table didn’t want it, so they might have thought the whole table didn’t want it. Again not a huge deal. It didn’t wreck the vacation or anything.
B) Kids splashing around in the Swim up bar pool. Not that I don’t like kids…love them. However I don’t like pool water in my drink…especially pool water from the swim up bar pool LOL. So I had one drink at the swim up bar for the experience and didn’t drink in the pool after that. They have a bar right next to the beach and there is a guy who goes around the pool so I was never without a drink.
C) The Entertainment shows were way too short. They would have a show every night but they were only 30-45 minutes long. It seemed like a waste of space for the Theater area as they didn’t use it expect for the shows.
D) I am a huge Hockey fan. The Sports bar only has ESPN and there is no hockey played on these channels. But I was on a holiday so I didn’t expect to see any hockey at all.

Now for the positives of the Riu:

A) The Staff was amazing. They do have drinks brought to you by the pool and outside the sports bar. And the bartender at the pool, Poncho, was so amazing. He really seemed to enjoy his job. He went around making everyone laugh and he was dancing and having a great time. He would remember what you were drinking and he had no problems posing for pictures with you. He was great. The rest of the staff was just as great. Whenever you were finished eating it seemed like a bell went off and they were there to collect your plate. The front desk staff was very friendly and would help you at the drop of a hat. Plus they really seemed to enjoy watching the drunk people (me) making fools of themselves in the lobby. Heheh I said sorry while making a fool of myself and said we were a bit drunk and they told us to drink more and have fun.
B) The food was soooooo yummy (with the exception of the Steak House for me see A above in the bad section). We never went to the Mexican restaurant but the common area food and the Asian restaurant were so great. The Asian restaurant was my favorite and we ended up going twice while there. The second time we didn’t eat lunch so we would have more room for dinner. Yes it was that good.
C) The hotel was awesome. They would clean the walkways to the common areas before lunch and breakfast everyday. The lobby was immaculate. If you happened to spill or break a glass they were there to help you and clean it up. There was never the feeling that you were putting them out or anything. They didn’t even get mad if a glass had broken. “Accidents happen…Can I get you another drink?” It was just amazing. I never had to wait more than 30 seconds for an elevator. Maybe if there were more people in the hotel that would change but it wasn’t my experience. I got one almost right away each time.
D) The room view was amazing. I have never seen such beautiful sunsets in all my life. The pictures look like they are photoshoped. I am sure the sunrises were just as beautiful but I wasn’t up for them.
E) Mr Lionso’s. If you head to the beach and go right then walk for about 5 minutes you will come to Mr Lionso’s. You can’t miss it as it is where that section of beach ends. That place had amazing food. I am allergic to shellfish but they had other things as well. I got the grilled chicken. It was 2 full chicken breasts with rice and salad for 75 pesos. And drinks are 2 for 1 and huge. My friends had the lobster and said it was amazing.
F) I love hockey and was sad that I was going to miss the World Jr’s Gold metal game while in Mexico. I was at the pool one day in my Canucks Bikini and another guest made a comment about it and we got to talking about hockey. He told us about the Dugout. If you love sports and want to watch a game head there. They were awesome. Great food and even better atmosphere. It was filled with Canadians the night of the game and we sang O’Canada even though we lost. It was a memory for sure. They play lots of other sports as well. Just ask and I am sure they have it. Also that night a friend left a shirt she had bought that day behind at the Dugout when we left. The next day we were going shopping in town and went back just to see if they did have it. The staff was so excited to give her back her shirt and almost ran to the back to grab it for her. They couldn’t stop smiling they were so happy to return it to her.
G) I went parasailing & zip lining and I would recommend it to anyone. I was so scared before I went parasailing but as soon as I was in the air it was the most relaxing, beautiful thing I have ever done. The Parasailing guys are right at the beach and are great. They knew I was nervous and were very calming and explained everything to me. When I was coming back down they clapped for me and said I did a great job. Very professional and reassuring. And for $35 it was a great deal for a wonderful memory I will have for the rest of my life. If you are scared to do it…just do it you won’t regret it, but you will regret not doing it once you are back home. It was fun and not scary at all. Zip lining was just the same. Tons of fun and a great memory.

Overall the Riu was an amazing hotel with great staff, great food and I was so sad to leave. I almost cried at the airport. I would recommend everyone to go here. And if you do…can I go in your luggage?

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank NewlyTannedCanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2010

Stayed at the Riu for one week and I loved every minute of it. The check in was fast and easy ... they gave you a drink on your way in the front door and they would almost slap your hand if you wanted to take your own bag.
Ok, lets get any downsides out of the way....
1) Ocean was beautiful and fun to play in but if actual swimming is your bag youll have to do it in one of the many pools that werent close to being full to do it.
2) Swim up bar pool was a little dirty with straws and such but thats like complaining that the beach had too many shells. Duh. The place was kept imaculately clean so other than having someone posted in the pool to make sure that one of the ten thousand straws they gave out didnt end up floating by, there was nothing that could be done. People are drinking at the drink up bar... go figure. There were many other pools that were kept imaculate to go to if you werent someone who needs a beer in there hand while they snorkle.
3) Entertainment was fun most of the time but there was a few nights where it seemed kind of short which leads me to number four....
4) If your looking for nightlife, this might not be your place of choice. By eleven most nights the place seemed deserted and that just gave me courage to do stupid stuff like breakdance in the lobby and that cant be a good thing at all. The place wasnt even at half capacity so that was probably a contributing factor.

Now for the good stuff.... huge intake of breath....

1) Wow... thats all Im going to put for number one. Let your imagination fill in the rest.
2) The staff were incredibly helpful and nice every single time you talked to them be it asking for a cab at the lobby or inquiring where you left your pants. (Not a drinker and I indulged). They had people whos job it was to just walk around and ask people if they were all good... and I mean everywhere you went. I was sitting on the beach one day and was invited to the BBQ starting up a little ways away, and during our dinner at the Bamboo reseraunt, we were asked if there was anything they could do to make our evening better. One of the people we went with was a fisherman and he just asked about maybe getting a rod one day so he could wake up in the mornings and do a few casts out into the ocean...they had three for him to choose from within the hour.
3) So clean. I mean everywhere. I swear I actually saw Mr. Clean wiping stuff down and the glad guy picking up the garbage. I would stand up to get another plate of food or desert and my dirty plate would be gone by the time I got back to my seat every time. We broke a glass outside one night during an outdoor enteraintment event and I mentioned it to one guy with a walky talky and within seconds there was like a team of people sweeping and fussing. I was almost expecting them to say "Go ahead, we are here now. Break another one. Its fun!"
4) Rooms had a fantastic view but if youve been reading this site you know that. Some of the pictures I took look fake they are so beautiful.
5) Food was unreal. If you are a member of a royal family something you might not be satisfied. Reading some of these reviews ... Im truly confused as to what some people would concider good food. The Bamboo resteraunt was the best that we had but we didnt try the Tabasco place at all. The Buffets were expansive and if you didnt find at least a half dozen things that you liked then you would never be happy anywhere I would think. It made me wish I had two stomachs. (I bet if you asked them, you could get some of the staff to keep eating for you when you were stuffed.)
We took the advise of alot of reviews and went to Mr. Lionso's up the beach and we are so happy we did. Two huge lobsters with coconut breaded jumbo shrimp and rice for $20 .... really? What am I going to do with all of these Peso's? Well, we used some of them on a 'mariachi' band to play at our table.
6) Im Canadian so I was going through hockey withdrawls. At the pool one day I met someone who said that a place called the 'Dugout' in town would be playing the Canada Vs. U.S juniors game that night. Later found out that they will play any hockey game that is televised and it was the most fun I had in a long time. The place got packed and even though we lost, like 120 people started singing the Canadian Anthem in some back street in Mexico. My frosted side was showing its 'O' face. I recomend that place completely... food was fantastic and everyone was so polite.
7) Used the eleveators several times a day and only had to wait once for one and that was like thirty seconds. They were never packed as some reviews have stated.

Just some advise...

1) You are there to pamper yourself. If you get a capachino, ask for it 'for here' or they might give you a styrofoam cup.

2) If you order a cab, get the guy outside to tell the driver where you want to go.

3) Dont be scared... parasailing was easy, cheap, and the most fun you can have without doing something illegal. Same deal with the zip lining.

4) Dont EVER pay the price they have posted on anyhitng. There was a bag a friend wanted to get that had a $160 U.S sticker on it and got it for $50. We went shopping in town one day and they had a Vanvouver Canucks poncho for sale for $450 pesos. They made sure I knew I should grab it now because it was thier last one. I got it for 290 pesos and when I walked by and saw the next 'last one' they replaced the first one with, I got that one for 200 pesos.

Anyways, it was a sick amount of fun. There was always random events going on to keep you busy and if your a drinker or fan of food.. your going to end up punching yourself in the face just to make sure your not dreaming.

Would I go back?... I wouldnt have left if I didnt have to. I have alot more to say but Im doing this while daydreaming about it at work....audible sigh.

  • Stayed: January 2010
    • Value
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13  Thank TannedDarren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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