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“I Felt Like I Was Living Someone Else's Life”

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Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula
Ranked #24 of 177 Hotels in Cancun
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 19, 2012

We spent eight days at this hotel beginning four days after its opening.

Front Desk – We had more wait time at this hotel than at any other Riu we have visited in the past. I suspect a lot of that was the result of inadequate training and the fact that they were not able to process American Express and Discover Card transactions. In our case, being able to use VISA saved the phone calls and other efforts being made by others to get their AMEX or Discover cards approved.

Wi-Fi - Explanation of their Wi-Fi policy also consumed time and depending upon to which agent you spoke, their policy varied. Wi-Fi is said to be free in the lobby. It is free for 90 minutes, but it is non-divisible. This means that it all has to be used at one sitting. If you only use it for five minutes and leave the free site, you have forfeited 85 minutes and have to wait 24 hours to obtain another free 90-minute package. There are options available at a price. You can buy three- and seven-day packages that will make Wi-Fi available anywhere in the hotel including your room and the pool area. Kubi Inc, the Wi-Fi service provider, based in Miami, Florida, is only too happy to sell 60-minute packages of divisible use for $9.00/hr. Our agent explained the situation correctly. My husband is a day trader sometimes spends up to six hours a day on the Internet. Free 24-hour Wi-Fi has been provided in the lobby at Riu hotels we have visited in the past. When I asked if we could speak to a manager, the agent said, “You can, but it won’t make any difference.” He was correct.

We learned later that Wi-Fi waxed and waned in the lobby area at times disconnecting patrons before their 90 minutes was up. Wi-Fi service proved to be abysmal on the second day. At times five people were lined up at the service desk with open laptops, netbooks or iPads. Personally, the problems with the Wi-Fi that day cost me three times what our eight-day stay cost. When my husband got bumped, after 40 minutes, two days later, he complained to the agent at the desk. She told him that no other guests had complained about that problem. He called her on that statement, actually he told her that was a load of crap as he had been in a lineup with five other people who experienced problems at the same time. She left to speak to someone at the back. When she returned she said that she had spoken to a manager and indeed there had been a problem that she hadn’t been aware of until she spoke to the manager. She told him he could take a seat off to the side, while he tried to get back on-line. He refused to leave the counter until a tech service representative rectified the problem. She personally got him back on-line with another 90-minute interval of free service.

Using the computer in the sports bar is not an option for my husband. His trading platform is on his computer and special software makes it safer for him to be trading in a non-secure Internet access situation. On two of the days we were there, our software warned that hackers were working Facebook, Twitter and two other sites that I fail to remember.

Gym – We arrived at the gym the first day at 7:00 AM to find all of the three treadmills, two elliptical machines and the one spin cycle occupied. We learned over the next three days that three of the guests were using their machines for 60 minutes. We learned that although the gym hours are shown to be from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, opening can be anywhere from 6:40 AM to 7:09 AM. The weight machines are new and work well. The multi-purpose station to the right of the entrance, near the water cooler, can be awkward to access because of individuals doing floor work. Space is limited. I would estimate that the demand for machines was at least three times the availability the first day we were there. Several chose to run outdoors. That is a great alternative as there is a red pathway that allows a descent 3 Km run up to the Riu Cancun to the left of the hotel entrance and about 5 Km to the right. We talked to runners who ran as early as 5:00 AM and nobody felt any danger from running that path. For those that like more of a cross-country feel, running the beach is a more strenuous workout.

Hotel – This is without a doubt the brightest and most ultra-modern Riu we have experienced. It had more of a Las Vegas feel. Purple and lime-green on charcoal and highlighted by stainless steel prevail. The lobby and cappuccino bars provide a nice view of the pool areas. I’m not sure whether high humidy or poor adhesive cased the problems, but at least three 10-foot sections of stainless steel fell from the pillars separating the lobby bar from the lobby fell while we were there. Mirrors in the gym and in at least one elevator fell as well. We had some rain on the last day we were there. The view from the lobby bar during the rain, after experiencing the intense heat earlier in the week, has a much different effect on one’s emotions. We had an early-morning flight and as we walked down the hallway from our room, driving rain caused many windows along the hall to leak. I don’t think the flooding affected any rooms, but it definitely was running into the elevator shaft. Speaking of elevators, we notified staff at the front desk that an elevator alarm had been ringing for a long time. We later learned, from friends from Scotland who helped the individual, that a fellow was stuck in the middle elevator at the ninth floor in the bank closest to the reception desk. Floor indicator lights never worked in that elevator from then until we left. We also heard a fellow describe how they got off at the sixth floor to take the stairs after the lights went out in the elevator they were riding.

Restaurants and Buffet – The renovation of the Riu Caribe next door allowed the integration of experienced wait staff to the new mix. I was told this will continue for two months. I found the eagerness to please and lack of clearly designated tables almost comical for the first couple of days. Patrons would ask for a particular table and sometimes in their eagerness to please, waiters would clean the table of a couple who had just left for the buffet. The patrons would return with their food to find their table occupied by someone else. Clearly for people with food sensitivities, there is a need for labels at the buffet. This something we found lacking throughout our stay. I was also appalled to see the doctors intermingling with guests as they surveyed the buffet line, while wearing their smocks. The smock is one fomite that should be left outside the dining area in my opinion. We probably had the best Italian meal we’ve had in our lives at the Italian Restaurant. I should mention that it was never clearly pointed out to us that it is open for lunch. Like the head waiter in any of the specialty restaurants, this individual was truly professional. We noted attention to detail, like removing chairs dampened by wet bathing suits. We were so impressed that we returned the next day – only to be very much disappointed. I got the impression that night that nobody from the Riu Caribe was there to set an example for or oversee new waiters. We returned a second time to the Krystal. Again the head waiter demonstrated why he held that position. He recognized us as previous visitors and assured that our waiter met every need. Unfortunately, the people at the next table in the Mexican Restaurant didn’t have the same experience we did. They failed to be served soup before the main course and would have missed dessert as well had they not asked for it.

Lobby Bar – The view of the pool area and beyond makes for a spectacular sunset experience. Birds frequent the reflecting pool below the window to drink and bath. We were most impressed with a one-legged bird. Most nights a piano player played background music. We were most impressed by Carlo Alfonso. He is truly a prodigy. At 14 years of age he is a master of the saxophone and clarinet. I’ve included a link to YouTube to demonstrate his talent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWk5bogPyhM
One of the bartenders, in particular, appears to be extremely hungry for tips. Upon going to order drinks from the bar, one lady asked if I had change for 100 pesos. She said that she realized from the previous night that she would be ignored until she produced a tip and she did not want to tip 100 pesos. I gave her 20 pesos and asked her to place our order as well. As soon as he saw the 20, he took her order immediately. He appears to have some quick understudies. A young server, named Burla, provided the best snub I’ve experienced in many years.

Pools and Beach Area – Pools and pool staff are amazing. The recently transplanted Palm trees have for the most part been trimmed for moving. They do not provide a lot of shade. Staff is willing to move umbrellas at your request. The beach for the most part is narrow, but the water is warm, clear and displays magnificent hues of blue. Lava rocks are hard on bare feet. Watch the dark plastic on the walkways with bare feet as well…it gets extremely hot.

Rooms – Our room was one of the four with extended balconies. We have stayed in rooms that weren’t as large as that balcony. We were awestruck with the view it provided. Immediate concerns about noise arose the first night, when we saw the entertainment stage directly below and the stage of the Sunset Lagoon across the street to the opposite side. There was no need to worry. Our room was virtually soundproof except for the sound of footsteps from the room above us. We liked the firmness of the mattresses. We lodged a formal complaint to the manager on the second day because of delays in getting our room made up. We hung a request for the room to be made up both days around 8:00 AM. We called the first day at 2:00 PM and the second day at 4:30 PM to say our room had not yet been made up. Staff was up to our room within 15 minutes the second time and our request for our room to be made up no later than 1:30 PM throughout the remainder of our stay was honored. We liked having both the rain and telephone shower heads. We found the layout of the room with the bathroom on one side, the shower on the other next to the basins and mirrors and the bathtub in the middle worked for us. I would have found it awkward, if our teenage son had stayed in the room as well. One feature that we liked that we have not seen in other Riu hotels is having a coffee maker in our room. We enjoyed watching the sunrise, while sipping coffee on the balcony.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank Lee F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,766 - 3,772 of 5,471 reviews

Reviewed May 19, 2012

5/14/12-- 5/18/12 Let me start by saying reading some of the reviews before we left. Made us wonder if we made the right choice. We knew since it was a new property it would either blow our mind or still be working some kinks out. We received both. We arrived at 130pm in hopes that our room might be ready early. But it wasn't, so we got everything checked in but no room key yet. Not greeted with welcome drinks as in our past visits to RIU properties. So we toured around the resort while waiting. Went to the Itailian rest. where they were out of reg. pepsi just had pepsi light. Looking at my wine glass it already had a big chip on base of it. going over to the dessert selections the large platter that some were on had a huge chip in it. Having over 25 yrs resturant experience that is a breeding ground for bacteria.Also as in most of the other reviews 40% of the selections at all restaurants were not labeled.
Being a regular RIU guest I knew to make rsvp's for a la carte rest. But they were booked for that evening and the next night as well. So i came back the next morning at 730am to make for our third night. but you could only do one night in advance. The following morning same time made for our forth night, they told me i could do 2 of next 3 nights any choice. Very conflicting.
After checking back twice we finally got our room keys at 4pm. Being disgruntled with our delay, we did receive an upgrade to a bigger suite. The room was breath taking as well as our view, but upon further review the quality of workmanship was lacking. Our couch looked like a bad woodworking project from my high school days. The sink area was cool but not user friendly. Lack of good lighting over sink area for makeup and getting ready. The jacuzzi tub in the middle of the room was over the top except it took 20 minutes to fill !! Even after tipping house keeping we got no extra touches, like consistent turn down service and i'm sorry but we love those towel animals !! And didn't receive a single one.
The pool was huge and accommodating, but the vibe was dead.... So much so that we got on the bus and headed back down to our home away from home the RIU CANCUN for a great pool day. Pretty sad. We did go to the pool bar at our hotel where Bernardo was great keeping us serviced with great drinks. FYI he is from the RIU Cancun!! He had transfered to the Palace.
The beach is small and quaint, we loved the rocks and the iguanas. Made for some great photo ops. We can't say enough about the in-house photographers of photo pro (Noe') shot some great pics of us. They have a great service which is all free until you purchase your photos.
Look for these great photographers throughout the resort day and evening. Their service counter is in the jewerly store.
I can agree with other reviews that the bathrooms are very far away from everything and only one set for the entire main level.... not enough. We even sustained an injury in the restroom, the stainless push plate on the door had very sharp edges and sliced my wife's hand. And we brought it immediately to the attention to the front desk. And NOTHING was done about it until the day we left. Finally it had caution tape in front of it but still no fix.
On the third day things seemed to be more efficient around the whole resort. This was probably due to the presence of top level management in all areas of the resort. We are also hospitality managers and know when these folks are around workers have a different demeanor ; sense of urgency, anticipating guest's needs, smiles.
The bellmen were great, and very helpful and attentive, probably the best run department in the whole resort.... crazy.
Will we return to Cancun? Absolutely
Will we return to the RIU Palace Peninsula? Probably not, but we will probably go back to the RIU Cancun. Sometimes new and bigger isn't always better.
Feel free to email me with any questions about RIU or Cancun in general.

Louisville,Ky USA
Simms16@insightbb.com

Room Tip: Try to get up higher for a better ocean view
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank steve s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2012

This is our 16th stay at a RIU and this one is not like the others. It is brand new and they are trying hard.......we actually didn't have much problems with anything. Of course being new not everything totally is perfect and like a new construction home/condo......all you have to do is tell them and they will fix it.....no problem. Food was very good, top shelf drinks, plenty of chairs at the pool and beach......and umbrellas! Waiters were always checking on us.....loved the young kid DANIEL on the pool waiters........he always smiling and checking on us......so you all look for him.......maybe 17 or 18 years old with that smiling kid look.......tip the boy and give him a chance! He will take care of you! I thought it was beautiful inside and out. People who complain have not much of a life. These folks work hard hard hard! All in all......good value and very very nice! Loved the live music every night in the piano bar area and sometimes mexican band walking around singing and playing! My only problem was my wife could not get a formal restuarant reservation........that has always been at every single RIU. I hate this seating thing and waiting in line the day before to make a reservation that isnt going to usually happen. I wish RIU would do like Dreams and Secrets.......some of the others too.......you show up......no reservation and the people will decide to wait a bit like at home, or it will rotate it self out as people come and go........this way everyone is happy. At the others I've never had to wait long with the no reservation system! RIU wake up here ok? lol My wife got into it with Nora.....one of the managers and I saw her name here that others got into it with her. She needs some customer care training. Her comments were rude and she was point blank telling us we were guest and she wasnt putting up with us complaining about not being able to reserve one single restaurant all week we were here.......so I do have to give a thumbs down for that but not letting one rude person ruin the hard work of the others! Buffetts were actually very good instead!
Have fun with this one.........you will like it very much.....and stay longer than a week! lol All rooms have great ocean views too!
RON

Room Tip: Upgrade to the suites if they offer for little more.......also the private large suites have their o...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank rtbeme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2012

i just got back last nite and i have to say it was BEAUTIFUL.. i am a travel agent and after reading some of peoples negative reviews i was concerned. some people really need to think before they write un-necessary reviews. this hotel opened up a week before my arrival and let me say it was great. you are blown away from the second you pull up much less the lobby was spectacular it was so pretty. the rooms were amazing so contemporary and great. bath tub in the middle of the room was sooooooooooooo cool. the food was good. alot of food to choose from and the restaurants were plentiful to say the least.
the pools and the pool area was just breath taking. you are going to love this property. now remember its a few weeks old so we were told that the staff from the riu caribe were there since the caribe is being renovated next door. check in was a breeze, room was always clean and nice, bathroom was spectacular just like the pixs show. great large shower with overhead shower and shower massage. great bar in lobby you got 90 minutes free each day interneet only in the lobby and it was just great. walked across the street and took the bus into town for .50 each person it was great. shopping was great there now with stores like gucci,louis vuitton etc................. this property was SPECTACULAR AND JUST BEAUTIFUL.... I WOULD GO BACK TOMORROW.....

Room Tip: we just had a regular room and it was great. they offer rooms with jacuzzis on the balcony which is...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled on business
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26  Thank deb d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2012

I just returned from 4 nights at the Peninsula. This is the 3rd all-inclusive I have stayed at in the last 3 years (including a one week stay at the Playacar Palace 6 weeks ago and 4 nights at the Occidental Xcaret 3 years ago), so I can only compare this stay to those two. This is also my first stay in downtown Cancun.

We booked this hotel through an Apple Vacation package. First thing to know is that when you book a package, after you get your luggage in the airport, go immediately to the exit and ignore all the "official tourism people" near the exit. They will try to sell you anything they can. I absolutely hate the Cancun airport because of this hassle. Go immediately outside to find your transportation (Apple, like the others, is easy to find).

When we got to the hotel, it took 20 minutes of standing in line to check in. This is not an ideal way to start your vacation. They finally came by with a tray of fruit punch while we were checking in. At the Playacar Palace, we were handed nice wet face towels and cold drinks as soon as we got off our van and checked in immediately.

As others have noted, this hotel is very sleek and modern - lots of mirrored tiles and purple everywhere. It looks more like Las Vegas than beach, but it was done nicely. The lobby is very large and air conditioned. The one drawback - you can only get free wi-fi in the lobby, not your room, unless you pay $10/day. Since the hotel has 17 floors, it can be a long trek from your room to the lobby to check the internet. I really disliked this and thought it was inexcusable for a brand-new hotel.

We received a free upgrade to a larger room (probably because I was so annoyed that our room was not ready when we checked in at 1 pm, although they do say rooms are not promised until 3 pm, and we did get one at 2:30 pm). Our room was the farthest from the elevator, but it had a huge balcony, plus a jacuzzi tub (not sure if other rooms have that). We had a large walk-in shower, double sinks, and the toilet was in a separate room, which I appreciated. In all, the bathroom area was a very good size. We also had a little refrigerator which they kept fully stocked with sodas and water bottles, and there were 4 built-in liquor bottles if you wanted to make a drink in your room. The decor was very contemporary - mostly white and plastic - no wood - and purple and hot pink accents. The room did not come with bathrobes, something the Playacar Palace had. We had two double beds, which were adequate (not nearly as good as those at the Playacar or at Hilton Hotels, but comfortable enough). The view from our balcony was spectacular. The room was cleaned by noon each day, and they came back later each afternoon to turn down the beds. The one major drawback which annoyed me to death: They never removed dirty dishes. We finally started putting plates and drink glasses in the hall.

The pools at this resort were wonderful! The pool bar was the smallest and noisiest (to be expected), a 2nd pool had a zero entry ramp (good for kids and handicapped), the 3rd pool had music and activities (entertainment director did a great job, which dance lessons, water aerobics, pool volleyball, bingo, etc!), and the 4th pool, closest to the beach, was quite large, quiet, and great for swimming laps if you like. One of the two beaches was small and had some rocks; the beach on the other side was much easier to enter and better for kids to play in. The resort had tons of beach chairs everywhere, which was great. Service was spotty. It was much faster to get a drink by going to the pool bar. Also, you could not get food at the pools. At the Playacar Palace, service was tremendous and you could eat at the pool or beach, but that hotel is much, much smaller (200 rooms) and only has one pool, so that's the trade-off.

The food was a mixed experience. The buffet was pretty typical for an all-inclusive - ok, nothing great, and they needed more labels so I knew what I was eating. Service was ok. There were 4 or 5 specialty restaurants that required reservations - getting one was difficult. You could only sign up for a 6:30 pm or 8:45 pm seating, and if you did not line up at the concierge desk in the lobby by 8 am, you were out of luck. We could not get an RSVP until the 3rd night of our 4 night trip. We found out from someone on our last day that we could have gone standby, waiting 15 minutes at the 6:30 pr 8:45 pm seatings to see if they had empty tables. The Krystal Restaurant had first rate food, but we only got in on our 4th night, and the service was not good (20 minutes to get another onion roll and ice for our water, no water refills). The Japanese Restaurant had great service and the food was pretty good as well. We were amazed that half the Japanese restaurant was empty at our 8:45 pm seating. The Italian restaurant in the lobby did not require a reservation, although the hotel guide says you need one. We loved the cappucino cafe in the lobby (nice finger sandwiches and pastries, coffees and teas, even milkshakes) and the lobby bar had great drinks. They had live piano music at approx. 8 pm each night (lovely), and the 2 evening shows we attended (9:45 pm at night) were extremely good. One night we saw a Cirque du Soleil type circus show, and the last night we saw a Mayan Dance show at 8:30 pm, followed by Mexican folk dances at 9:45 pm.

We had a very nice trip, but if you want really good service, give the hotel 6 months to work out the kinks and/or go to a Palace Hotel (we were told the Palace chain is known for their service above all else).

Room Tip: I would recommend staying around floors 7 thru 10, so you are high enough not to hear too much noise...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank marvi62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2012

We’ve returned from Riu Place Peninsula on May 15th. We’ve stayed at many Riu Palaces in the past and have always been very pleased with prompt customer service and friendlessness of the staff. However this time the staff was either overworked or lacking management. Upon arrival our luggage was delivered to the wrong room. Even though we were checking in after 4pm the room was not cleaned and check in took very long. We had someone walk into our room, once she saw us she immediately closed the door and left my husband followed her and later we found out she was a manager. Food was good with a large variety; snack bar was excellent with a variety of coffee drinks and deserts. Crystal was hard to book if you plan to dine there do it in advance. Several people from our group got the stomach flu; I spoke to the assistant manager to make her aware of the situation she said I was exaggerating! My point in telling her was for them to be aware. Spa was great, very nice staff. Beach was small but very nice, I liked the right side even though it looks there is not access to the beach from the pictures there is! During the day resort offered many activities, staff didn’t force anyone to participate. Resort had many sitting areas, umbrellas, tables and nice pools. Overall this was a great vacation with many pleasant memories. I think in the future we will return to Riu Palace Peninsula but will give them time to adjust.

Room Tip: Make sure to specify what kind of bed you want.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank jullup_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2012

I stayed at this resort soon after the grand opening from 5/11 to 5/14 and my first experience at an all inclusive resort will probably be my last. I was hoping for the same level of service and food quality found of a cruise ship…but with bigger rooms and a beach. After 4 days, I really started to miss home…which really says a lot and never happens when I’m cruising. Where to begin?

Arrival: I rented a car from CUN and drove along the Hotel Zone road until I saw the Peninsula shining in the distance. A huge relief since there was only 1 review of substance before I flew to Cancun. I had read reports that said the Peninsula couldn't possibly be open for business so early so seeing the hotel in the distance was a huge relief. It's definitely an impressive structure and very beautiful when all lit up at night. You can’t miss it.

Parking: I was waved up the circular driveway by a guard at the entrance but saw no bellmen or valet service so I kept driving until I found the underground parking. The lack of staffing will be the prevailing theme of my review. It seems like valet might be in the future plans because many of the spaces were for tandem parking. I found a parking spot but could not find any elevator that leads to the lobby so my fiancee and I had to pull our luggage up the driveway. After 4 days, it’s safe to say that no elevator exists for direct access to the lobby. No big deal for me since I'm young but older guests might have difficulty walking up the parking ramp. I actually like being able to access my car without having to wait (or pay) for a valet but I wish there was signage to direct me.

Check in: Upon entering the hotel, the lobby is grand and beautiful. Generous use of glass, colorful tile, and granite. The front desk is to the immediate left, an Italian restaurant to the right, bar and coffee/dessert station all the way in the back. I was given a drink while I waited in line to check in which is a great way to start my stay. However, the pleasure of that drink was offset by the fact that I had to wait in line for 15 mins before checking in. Two or three guest service agents are not enough for a hotel of this size. Got my room keys and proceeded to the elevators.

Elevator: There are elevators on both sides of the lobby. Upon entering the elevator, I noticed dried glue marks on the wall, presumably to mount a mirror. Not sure what happened to the mirror this elevator was like this for my entire visit. I gotta say...the elevators are FAST and I love how you can unselect floors but pressing the floor button again. BUT...there are issues with the elevators which I need to point out. On one occasion, the doors would not open until I pressed the door open button once I got to my desired floor. On the last day, there was an alarm that was going off in the elevator for hours. My mom was in an elevator and the lights went out. When it stopped at the 6th floor, she and the other guests decided to walk all the way down to the lobby using the stairs instead of risking getting stuck in the elevator.

Room: My room was 619. I'm pretty sure I was the first person to stay in the room. The crease marks on the pillowcase suggest that it had just come out of the packaging. The room was nice but I can't say it was 5 star quality since I could tell that the materials used in the construction were not of good quality…think IKEA quality. It might look good now but I wonder how it will stand the test of time. The minibar was well stocked, water pressure great, sheets had a nice feel, and the view from the balcony was pretty spectacular. However, I have a big complaint regarding the bed/pillows and the TV. Pillows offer very little support and my back was hurting after the second night. Definitely not a Heavenly bed like those at the Westin. TV had a great channel selection but it was very small and I had to turn off some lights in the room to reduce the glare enough to make it watchable from the bed.

Smell: I have to mention since this is literally my first impression once I opened my car door until I left the hotel. There is a smell that is constant throughout the entire hotel. It's in the garage, lobby, rooms, everywhere. It's the smell of drywall and building material. Being such a new hotel, I can understand the smell and hopefully it goes away with time but some guests might find it off-putting.

Food and Drinks: Probably my biggest source of disappointment. Staying at an all-inclusive resort and not being a big drinker, I had hoped that I could eat until I dropped a la cruise-ship style. Where to start?

Restaurants: When booking this hotel, I saw 5 specialty restaurants and had hoped to try many of them. Unfortunately, you have to book 24 hours in advance, with an option of only 2 time slots (6:30PM or 8:30PM). In addition, the guest services desk starts taking reservations at 8AM. So basically this means that when I arrived on Friday night...all the restaurants were booked up for Saturday and I had to make sure that I got to the desk at 8AM Saturday morning to make a reservation for Sunday. I don't see how guests that stay for 3 nights can even hope to try one of these restaurants...which is probably a blessing in disguise because my experience at the steakhouse can best be described as "regretful". Dinner consisted of Caesar salad, mixed cold seafood tray (mussels, snow crab legs, shrimp, and octopus cerviche) and your choice of meat. Most of my table ordered the surf and turf or the ribeye. Both options turned out to look and taste exactly the same. Our medium rare turned out pretty well done and the grilled lobster had a fishy smell indicative of frozen lobster. I hate to waste food but I did not finish my entree. I instead opted to go to the buffet afterwards and grab some food there. Particularly upsetting is the fact that the restaurant was half full which tells me that the whole reservation system and choice of only 2 seating times is designed to prevent guests from eating at the restaurants where they presumably use more expensive ingredients.

Buffet: Hit or miss but really your only eating option at this all-inclusive resort. I usually found something I liked but they really need signage to identify the food. I wasted a plate of food because I thought I was getting grilled beef instead of grilled lamb which I don't eat. I basically started off each meal by grabbing a tiny bit of everything and trying it out before going for what I truly wanted to eat the second round. I found that the best section for me was usually the Mexican food and I regret choosing the Steakhouse restaurant instead of the Mexican restaurant for this reason.

Other food options: The room service menu is so pitiful that I didn’t even attempt to order. The sports bar is your supposedly 24 hour food option but really it just consists of a refrigerator stocked with sandwiches, a microwave to heat up the cheeseburgers in the fridge, and a nacho station.

Drinks: I found that getting drinks at the pool, the bar, or while watching the show to be terribly slow. The only time it was super fast was when I used the swim up bar and ordered directly from the bartender. On the plus side, they don’t skimp on the alcohol and the brands they use are good quality and don’t come in plastic bottles.

Shows: There’s one show a night at around 9:45PM. Despite some AV problems, they were pretty good. I would definitely recommend arriving early to get a seat as it was packed both nights I watched the show. Also, you’re better off going directly to the bar to order drinks instead of waiting for servers to come around. Not enough servers for the amount of people watching the show.

Pool and Beach: The grounds of the hotel are beautiful. Plenty of pools for both kids and adults. I never had an issue finding chairs and exchanging towel cards for clean towels was a breeze. The beach was clean with some unavoidable seaweed. Another reviewer mentioned the bathroom issue and I agree that it could pose a problem. There is only one bathroom to service the entire ground floor of the resort. This includes the lobby, all the dining options, all the bars, and the pool/beach area. The grounds aren’t that big but I can’t imagine what would happen if that bathroom went out of service.

Wifi: For those that plan to work while they play, this resort is not for you. There’s complimentary wifi in the lobby for only 90 minutes per day, non-divisible...meaning if you log off after 10 mins of use, you have to wait until tomorrow to use the wifi again. I ended up purchasing an unlimited 3 day option for $30 and really wished that it would have just built this into the price of the hotel stay because $10 extra per day is not worth the hassle of signing up for an account, entering credit card info, etc. ..for me at least. I ended up helping another guest in the lobby since she was having problems connecting. The unlimited option is also much faster than the complementary service. Wifi worked in my room but I never got the chance to try it in the pool area.

All in all I was hoping for the same level of service found on cruise ships but it was not to be. They lack the proper amount of staffing /signage and their restaurant policy is atrocious. Perhaps they will sort out these issues in the future but as of now, I can’t say I would be a repeat customer.

Feel free to message me with questions.

Room Tip: At a brand new hotel, you can't go wrong with the rooms. Our 3 rooms 619, 809, and 810 were ide...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank genechien
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula

Address: Blvd Kukulkan, Km 5.5 Lote 6-C | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cancun
Amenities:
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:
Ranked #24 of 177 Hotels in Cancun
Price Range: $291 - $527 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula 4*
Number of rooms: 562
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 24-hour All Inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula (Adults Only area - Exclusive services for ADULTS ONLY DELUXE VILLAS guests) is open all year round and is situated right on the sandy beach of Caribbean Sea, next to the Hotel Riu Caribe. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Cancun Airport CUN (21 km) and Cancun (5 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 562 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa, or get in shape at the gym. 5 outdoor pools, 1 baby pool, RiuLand Kind's Club. Day and evening entertainment. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stationsa at our main restaurant, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Krystal restaurants and Steakhouse, as well as 6 bars. ... more   less 
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