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.
- 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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