We stayed at the Riu Palace Peninsula last week from February 18-February 24. We had a fabulous time. The weather was hot, sunny, and a bit breezy at times but overall it was a great week! After reading reviews fanatically before leaving, I noticed some things while we were there that weren't mentioned in the reviews so I want to point those out, plus a few other comments!
Tips about the buffet:
We typically don't eat at many buffets here at home so of course we were skeptical of the buffet before even arriving. There are some awesome choices, however! The fruit is super fresh and delicious, and the salads/veggies are great. Tons of choices. The chips/salsa/guac and other hot sauces are delicious. You could always get a fresh corn tortilla and fill it with chicken or steak and your choice of other toppings. These were our favorite items.
The trouble we ran into was our schedule for eating. We would get up in the morning usually around 9, go for a run (more about that later), come back to the room, get ready for the pool and then go eat. By this time, the Las Olas buffet (open from 7-10 or 10:30) would be closed and the selection at the other buffet (Isla Mujeres) would be pretty limited and picked over without being replenished. The omelet station was great, though. We actually didn’t even realize that Las Olas was open for breakfast until a few days into our trip – what a difference! There is a huge breakfast selection with anything you can imagine, tons of yummy selections.
Also, when you are ready for lunch, Isla Mujeres doesn’t open until 12:30. We recommend that you try and go right around this time for the freshest selections. This buffet is not air-conditioned and there is a gorgeous breeze and view when you eat here – but the lack of AC makes the foods not as fresh.
Mexican – okay, same buffet items as the regular daytime buffet, entrée items were decent but nothing super special. I had the shrimp dish and it was outstanding, but my husband’s pulled pork was just okay.
Italian – no reservation needed, tons of selections in the buffet and great entrée choices. We ate there twice and were happy both times. The chicken dish was our fave.
Steakhouse – I ordered mid rare and so did Scott, and mine was more medium well. His was better. The lobster was on the dry side, but still good. The seafood platter they bring before the meal was outstanding – ceviche, shrimp, mussels, smoked salmon, crab.
Krystal – hands down, the best. I ordered my steak rare and it was perfectly mid rare! Scott had lamb, also yummy. This was the only restaurant that also had full bar service right in the restaurant, the others just have beer and wine as far as I could tell. This was our favorite meal.
Asian – so-so. Everything was fine, both nothing I would run back to eat. Sushi platter to start with, soups or noodles for second course, and then the main. I had stir fried steak and vegetables with different sauces and it was good. Scott had chicken teriyaki, it was alright. They really try hard.
All along the main road, there is a walking path – this was great for a morning run! Very safe and if you go about 2 miles or so, you are at the Riu Palace Las Americas. We stopped to look around (very pretty, totally different than our place), grabbed a water and ran back.
Like others have said, the bus is a great way to get around! We went to La Isla mall and other places and it is so easy to get anywhere for $1 per person, each way.
Freddy at the lobby bar – makes the best drinks and is the nicest guy! We tipped him well. He works so hard along with everyone else at the resort! So accommodating. Be sure to bring lots of singles for tipping, they deserve it!
Past the villas there is another bar on the beach that is hidden away. We never would have known it was there but were exploring our first night. We heard rumors it was for villa guests only, but that is not the case. It is more peaceful and you can sit at a table on the beach! Saturday night they have the beach party at this location and it was a great time.
Definitely take the ferry over to Isla Mujeres – adorable island and you can walk all around. Many suggest a golf cart but for $45 we didn’t think it was worth it. Tons of little shops and great little cantinas on the beach. We stopped at a place and had 2 beers each, guacamole, and a quesadilla for just $16USD!
I almost forgot – we never ate at Las Olas for dinner but one night had a later reservation but wanted to have drinks and munchies in our room. We went into Las Olas, made up a few plates of cheese, chips, etc. and they had no problem with us just taking it back to the room. This was great! We weren’t sure if we could just do this, but asked and they even offered to have it brought up to us if we didn’t want to carry it. Very nice!
Overall, we had a great week. I am not sure if we would go back to Cancun again, only because we have been to Playa del Carmen twice and like the more laid-back vibe there better. Still, we were able to have a relaxing and awesome week at the Riu!
Feel free to message me with any questions!
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