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Reviewed May 27, 2012

After reading some of the comments from people who went to this hotel soon after its inauguration, I thought a reminder would be proper ahead of my own comment – people going to brand new hotels, soon after their inauguration, should learn to be tolerant and understanding, just as my wife and I did over the years and repeated on this occasion.

We just returned from a week at the Peninsula (May 6-13) and found everything as expected 2 days after its inauguration. We were also at the inauguration of 4 other Riu Palaces -- Las Americas, Riviera Maya, Punta Cana and Los Cabos, and all of them had similar problems at the beginning, from organizational and technical issues to personnel and service problems. Its something to be expected, since both staff and equipment have to go through a learning process that must be tolerated and understood by guests. At times, we thought those other hotels may have been opened too soon, requiring further testing of the operational aspects, including equipment and personnel. But in the end, we have come to the conclusion that it is normal, so that adventurous guests must learn to tolerate the suffering, without criticism. Otherwise, they should have waited before going to them. On one occasion, service was so poor that the Manager reimbursed us part of what we had paid, without our asking. In the case of the Peninsula, however, no such need presented itself. A lot of improvement is needed, but after talking with the executive staff, including the Manger and one of his deputies, the person in charge of restaurants and bar for all hotels in Mexico, and the person in charge of the opening of this hotel, we are convinced they are well aware of the faults and complaints, and are earnestly doing their best to correct the problems.

As frequent guests of Riu Palace hotels (Diamond level in Riu Class) , our first impression of the Peninsula was negative, in comparison to the classic and more elegant older Palaces mentioned above. However, after a few days, we both rectified and now consider the Peninsula a different hotel, not necessarily better, not necessarily worse, just different, which should therefore not be called Palace to avoid confusion with the others. More like Prince or Prime, since they are not elegant and classic, just fancy and modern.

The Peninsula is the second hotel in the new trend of more modern looking, contemporary design and décor Palaces, which began with the Riu Palace Bavaro in Punta Cana when it opened at the beginning of this year, to be continued with a third to open in Guanacaste, Costa Rica at the end of this year and the remodeling of the Riu Palace Mexico in Playa del Carmen and the Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana, also later this year. In the end, only 4 Riu Palaces will remain classic and elegant, all the others will cater to the crowds that like going to hotels in Las Vegas, Hollywood and Disney World.

Among the positives we found here were the new and refurbished nightly shows, the refreshed menus in both the main and specialty restaurants, the lively modernistic decorations of the specialty restaurants, and the very large and sumptuously decorated lobby. Among the negatives we found the low quality of the beef offered in the main and specialty restaurants, in all sorts of cuts and presentations, and the relatively small rooms with cheap looking furniture and decoration, soft mattress and even softer pillows, small fixed television that can only be enjoyed while lying in bed, bathtub in the middle of the room, small toilet closet and scarce amenities in the bathrooms.

Also among the positives are the Italian specialty restaurant open from noon to late evening, the expanded Mexican menus in the main and specialty restaurants, the VIP beach with its own bar, the lobby bar with its two story high panoramic windows overseeing the beach and ocean, and the pool area. But also among the negatives are the poorly landscaped gardens that looks cheap as compared with the garden of Las Americas, with quite insufficient palm trees to provide the natural shade that characterizes luxury hotels. Also negative is the fact that the main beach area is separated from the ocean by very nice looking boulder rocks that are dangerous to cross over to reach the ocean, and perhaps.

We were provided a room on the second floor of the first Villa, which is supposed to be qualitatively better than a regular room in the main building, and thus more expensive. We found ours no different from the ordinary rooms, except for the sauna on the balcony, which we did not use. In fact, we did not see anyone using their balcony saunas during our stay. We were also thankful it never rained during our stay, since the walk way to any activity, bar or restaurant, all in the main building, is open to the sky

One last observation. The theater is perhaps the single most surprising factor we found in this hotel. In the first place, it is incapable of seating all the guests if the hotel is full. More impartant, however, it does not have air conditioning because it is only partially covered, so when it rains people will have to choose between getting wet or leaving the place in a hurry. I’m not sure what went through the minds of those responsible, since it does rain in Cancun, sometimes for prolonged periods, quite often strong downpours. Guests confronting this misfortune will not be comfortable and are sure to express their unhappiness about the cost/benefit of their vacation.

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean, so choice must relate to elevation. Some rooms are 17 floors from the lobby. Villas have only 3 floors and are separate from the main building. If you choose a Villa room, pray it does not rain.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Yampalin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2012

We just returned from Cancun last night (May 26, 2012). We stayed at the newly opened Riu Palace Peninsula and enjoyed it very much. We will return. Our junior suite overlooked the hotel's pools, beach and the ocan. The room was very clean and had a jacuzzi bath, large walk-in shower, king sized bed and balcony overlooking the pools, ocean and hotel grounds. The room was very quiet, however anyone talking in the hallways could be heard easily due to the tiled floors and acoustics. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a good nights sleep each night. We kept the air conditioning on most of the time as we found the tiled floors would become slippery if we left the balcony door open (due to the humidity). The suite came with a stocked bar - rum, tiquela, vodka, and brandy. The mini fridge had beer, soda and lots of water. We were kept well stocked with bottled water. The room info package told us not to drink the water from the taps in the room, so we used the bottled water to brush our teeth. Ladies, there are plenty of hangers in the closet! The balcony had comfortable chairs and a towel bar on the wall for hanging wet bathing suits. The maids were very courteous and friendly - did a good job keeping our suite comfortable. I thought I read somewhere that there was nightly turn down service, however, we only received this service once during the week we were visiting. And only one chocolate on the pillow that one time, which I thought was odd as it was very obvious that there were 2 of us there. (a minor point)
We used room service twice. The first time was to order some nachos - when they arrived the runny cold cheese turned us off, so the next time we ordered we asked for there to be no cheese. This turned out to be more enjoyable. We had an interesting time trying to order a bottle of wine be delivered to our room. As we rarely drink hard liquor, the liquor cabinet with various items did not appeal to us, so we thought we'd like some wine.The room service department told us to call the bar and the bar told us to call room service. After much discussion with various hotel staff we were finally told that it is the hotel policy to have only hard liquor in the rooms. It was suggested that we go to one of the bars if we wanted wine. So we cooperated and did a trip to the bar anytime we wanted to have a glass of wine on our balcony. Since the hotels advertises a fully stocked mini fridge, we thought it would be nice to have a bottle of white wine in the mini fridge along with the other items (most mini bars at hotels I've visited have wine in them). However, the Riu Palace Penisula has a different liquor licence. To each his own, as they say. We just thought it was odd.
We had dinner at several of the themed restaurants. In order to eat in the specialty restaurants you make your reservations the day before. The hotel consierge was very helpful. We were able to make 2 reservations in advance for the following 2 days. Krystal was our favorite and we ate there twice. Lovely service by very friendly staff. The food was excellent. We enjoyed the beef with yams, and a yummy (and very creamy) leek soup. The glass of champagne when we arrived at the door was a nice touch. I enjoyed the steak and lobster at the steak restaurant although my partner found his rib eye a bit grizzly. The fresh fish and salad at the beginning of the meal was very good. We enjoyed eating outside on the balcony overlooking the ocean. Again the waiting staff were very friendly and attentive.
The only time we did note enjoy dinner was in the Italian restaurent (which did not require a reservation). The antipasto bar was plentiful and tasty. However my partner ordered the chicken and it arrived cold. I ordered the linguine with shrimp. I ate the shrimp but could not eat the linquine as it was tasteless. I've never tasted pasta like this before - totally and completely tasteless. And in an unpleasant way. I left it on the plate. Again, the waiting staff was very attendive and friendly. We mentioned this experience to the assistant manager who happened to pass by our table a couple of nights later. She asked how we were enjoying our stay and we told her it was very enjoyable except for the food in the Italian resturant. She made a note of it and will speak with the chef.
The buffet restaurant had everything you would want at a buffet. From salads, to soup, fresh fish, hot and cold items. Too numerous to mention. We found ourselves eating there for breakfast and 2 dinners as it suited our time better than making reservations. The restaurant reservations were eithr 630 or 830 or 845. We found 630 to be too early as we are not hungry at that time usually. We would have either a late breakfast or lunch and dinner after 730. There is so much food that we at only twice a day. There is a nice cappuchino bar in the lovely that serves take out as well as indoor service. They have small sandwiches and pastry for the inbetween times or late night snack.
Overall we enjoyed the food. The best thing about the Riu Palace Peninsula, in my opinion, is the staff - both attitude and service. Very professional and polite, with an attitude of genuine concern for our comfort and needs. Aside from the beautiful grounds, beach and amenities, there is also an interesting archeological site on the property. We had a view of the Mayan site from our balcony. It's quite a site from above - I will try to post a few pictures for you to see.

We will return. Men - remember to bring long pants and a shirt with a sleeve if you want to eat in the restaurants, including the buffet. One fellow did not do this and was refused entry into the buffet and became quite childish and as a result we felt quite uncomfortable having dinner on our last night there. The hotel has it's policies and follow them - no exceptions. I

We will return.

Room Tip: we asked for a junior suite overlooking the ocean - the suites have a jacuzzi tub as well as walkin shower. We were on the 10th floor on the left side as you stand looking at the hotel from the pools.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank LindaandBill22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2012

I had the opportunity to stay here for two weeks. Starting the day after it opened.

At the moment you enter the lobby, you get the feel for this magnificent hotel. A mix of cruiseship extravagance and zen.

The color theme of the Riu Peninsula, is aubergine, fuschia and marble.

The cool lobby decor and restaurants are a stark contrast to other Rius as for example the Cancun and Las Americas. I must note that the lobby has very strong air conditioning.

All five pools are very original in their linear shapes.

Villas have access to there personal infinity pool as for the commoners have access to a huge infinity pool with a majestic view of the ocean.

The beach, bordered by the Tabago bar, has a few palm trees but not enough to create shade, so you may need to get a parasol if desired. By the beach bar you will find 4 beach beds for your relaxing comfort, or the best place to change baby diapers, as I saw a few times. Cute.

Aquatic activities per se are limited. The bay makes this beach calm and the ocean floor is perfect for walking barefoot. The beach sand is filled with shells and small rocks.

To the right of the hotel, a long but rocky shores with steps, that have been built-in, offers a nice sand bottom to walk in.

There are plenty of parasols and shade pool side. The pool bar is very nice and the design is keeping with the general theme of the hotel.

Kids and parents will appreciate one of the pool that slopes down slowly into the water.

Poolside activities include: bingo, football tossing, volleyball, aerobics, dance lessons and various games.

Restaurants and buffets; there are three a la carte restaurants that require a reservation. This may be accomplished by waiting in line at 8:00 am at the concierge desk to the left of the reception counter.

Krystal, the fanciest restaurant, strives to impress you with exquisite presentation of food, but unfortunately I didn't appreciate most of the food served. Carpaccio with charcoal oil.., shrimps (prawns) that taste like iodine...

Tamales, Mexican theme, was nice. It starts with a buffet entree and full service for the main course and dessert. The food was tasty and fresh. Yours to discover.

Kabuki, Japanese theme, was very nice with an entree of sushi, soupe, and nice main course selection. It was my personal favorite of them all.

Venice, the Italian theme, does not require a reservation. Buffet entree and full service main course. I didn't like my shrimp fettuccini, because again, the shrimps had an iodine taste and the pasta was tasteless.

Kudos for presentation at the buffet. Entrees, hors d'oeuvres and the main courses were freshly cooked in front of you, and most likely one may find something to there liking. This goes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My room was ocean view on the 6th floor. Huge balcony, where one may smoke if this is you guilty pleasure, offers a wide view of the pools and ocean and a Mayan ruin on site. I must note that the elevator are whisper quiet which is a stark contrast to the echoing corridors, for you may hear all your drunk neighbours arriving in the wee hours of the night after a spell at Coco bongo. Ya! Coco bongo woohoo!

Back to the room. A nice king bed, 35 inch flat screen tv, water jet bathtub and huge shower with separate shelves for toiletries and towels, double sinks and a toilet in a closet. A sofa (pullout bed) and table. Oh almost forgot, four drink dispenser, Smirnoff vodka, Bacardi white rum, brandy, tequila. A mini fridge stocked with Pepsi, Pepsi light, 7 up, Dos Esquis beer, tonic water and plenty of bottled water.
The shower is very slippery when wet and water changes rapidly without notice. Be careful, now!

Lobby is huge which includes a coffee shop and bar and the Venice restaurant

Internet is free for 90 minutes non divisible at the lobby.

The Renova spa smells of citronella and is a beautiful oasis. There is a jacuzzi and dry sauna. Massages are great and there is a salon and a small gym.

Personnel are very nice and helpful.

Tip, bring along a plug converter although American 2 prungs will work here.

Xtabentun is a wonderful honey & anis digestif. A must try at the sports bar or lobby bar.

It would be wise to bring insect repellent for the evenings.

Room Tip: insect repellant slippery shower floor.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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17  Thank Bigspender789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2012

We are travel agents who were lucky enough to have been awarded a visit to the RIU Palace Peninsula as part of our hard work with Funjet Vacations. This being just a few short days following the grand opening of the resort. Although you expect a certain amount of "bugs" must be worked out the first few weeks of a new resort, we (all 250 of us) converged on them all at once. The hotel set up seperate staging areas for us so that we didn't overtake the lobby like a hoard of bulls. lol Great job!

You may be used to the RIU's more stately appearance at the majority of their resorts but this is one of the new contemporary designs. I happen to really like the Vegas/Miami vibe! Purple chairs (and I mean purple!) and a good combo of textures and lighting everywhere. My co-worker loved this as well. This style will appeal to some of our clients so now we can offer both settings at a RIU.

We were housed on the 12th floor and had a fantastic view of the skyline, the pool area and the ocean. It appears that all rooms have ocean views while the corridors face the lagoon. We could have held one of our events in the stairwell it is so large. Our room was super clean and we felt sure we were the first to have stayed in there! (Can I have one of the soft purple blankets please?) lol. Our fridge was stocked daily with water, beer, and sodas. My only suggestion here is to perhaps add fruit juices for mixers. Nice big, soft towels for the shower. My co-worker did struggle a bit with warm water settings in the shower. I did not so I wonder if I used too much? Housekeeping has an enormous job that they do very well. Suggest here that housekeeping should be done with every room prior to 5:00p . We had to have our safe reset and maintenance was there pronto. Done. I'm not sure what services we received in our room that were a direct result of our being in the travel agent group or what is standard for every guest. I'll be sure to check on this. In any event, some very nice surprises! Thank you!

The pool bar area was fun and the pools sparkling clean and refreshing. The lounge closest to the beach was my favorite. Bonardo (sp?) is a superior bartender on the property; good music and nice ambience day or night. The sandy beach area is smaller but the ocean floor is very sandy and pleasant for swimming. I swam a lot and thought the water was lovely. The rock ledge on the (east?) side was fun to find urchin and other interesting creatures. You can walk the whole length of the ledge in the water if you like and there are carved steps here and there up to the resort. This was great to me but may be an issue for our beach crazy clients when the resort is full.

Once the landscaping has filled in a bit, this place will be fantastic. I saw an enormous array of flowers, shrubs, and even some bamboo. The giant field of Bird of Paradise at the entrance will be just killer in bloom. Thus, the reviewer who thought of "concrete paradise" may just need a little patience.

All of the agents in our group ate at different restaurants and we all had the main buffet so there are always differing tastes and reviews for food but over all, my advice to clients is that if you can't find something you like to eat here, you probably should have stayed home! I did not hear one hotel guest complain about getting reservations as I've read here so I cannot say that this was an issue.

I enjoyed the darling young people who put on an energetic show. I particularly think the bands and singers were of very high caliber. Ah, I remember being that young once!

We left the resort for various activities so I must do a shout out to Lomas Travel. They are just the best. I felt very much that we were not far from the hotel zone, the party zone or the shopping zone. Perhaps a short cab or bus ride.

I'm giving high marks today for this resort. They can only improve from here. The staff are sweet and friendly and I commend them all for trying to understand the multitude of languages being thrown at them daily. I'll have to return to see how things progress! Only the next visit will be longer I hope! Thanks Cancun....

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled on business
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18  Thank Lynn058
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

Stayed for 7 days and it was 7 days too long. The hotel lobby may be big but looks like a nightmare of a greek diner, purple and grey and ALL of the lighing in this hotel is fluorescent. The buffett where most of your meals are is lime green and grey with this lighting and feels like a mess hall. The food leaves MUCH to be desired, more salad and chopped fruit and un labeled sauces then anything.I have just returned from the Doctor after a week of extreme diarrhea caused by ecoli bacteria which i know can happen anywhere in Mexico but I never ate or drank outside of the resort so be very careful. The staff is pleasant but slow, getting drinks at the pool will take half an hour,there is only bottled water service in your room,otherwise a thimble sized glass, the pools are nice but there is not enough landscaping so it feels like your in a cement paradise. The beach is what it is , rocky small and not "Cancun" water...stay in the actual hotel zone if you want the beach to be a part of your trip. The jackhammers are very loud especially from the balcony of the room, however youll be upgraded...which doesnt help with the food ,beach or service,so go figure. Getting a dinner reservation is waiting online every morning at 8....if your smart 7:30 ...this doesnt mean youll bet a reservation anyway,because they will first tell you you can book one night at a time , then when that nights 2 seatings are full , all of a sudden you can reserve for the next night, until there hotel is at full capacity and both nights are booked for which they all of a sudden will offer you the third and fourth night at one restaurant w no choice. Dont bother waking up early since your not missing anything....I was very disappointed but have myself to blame for not booking a hotel w more reviews, with this being my first experience in Mexico I realize that this location is very poor, for beach and walking to do anything...my loss, dont let it be yours.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Yvie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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