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“Great family vacation”
Review of Hotel Riu Playacar

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Hotel Riu Playacar
Ranked #52 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great family vacation”
Reviewed July 17, 2013 via mobile

I stood at the riuplayacar from 7/11-7/16 great time. All the other reviews of the walk to get to the beach would be lazy people complaining. I stood in the first building next to reception the walk wasn't a problem. I didn't reserve at the alacartes but i totally enjoyed the buffet. I traveled with my husband & 2 children 16 & 10 in ages whom also enjoyed their stay. The beds were oh so comfy I love me a good firm bed so that was no problem for me. My favorite bartender was Enrique at the pool bar he was the best.

  • Stayed July 2013
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Helpful?
2 Thank kte2219
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Fremont, California
Level 5 Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2013

Riu Playacar - Well, we just got back from a great vacation from Riu Playacar. I just want to thank the people who gave honest reviews on this resort. I'm here to confirm the good and the NOT so good of this nice, inexpensive resort.
1. No room service for Food.
2. No waiters or waitresses on the pool or beach.
3. Great buffets - different themes for each day.
4. 3 Specialty restaurants but we rather to be at the buffets.
5. The 3 bars were never too crowded to get drinks - even my children could get their drinks themselves (6 and 9 year old).
6. Service people here are trying to please customers and not being bothered by customers.
7. The best beach in all the beaches we've been to : Barcelo, Grand Melia, Crown Paradise. Fine warm sugar sand beach with waves even going out away from the sand. The kids love being there all day.
8. Mosquitos exist at night even though they've been sprayed every few days.
9. The in room bar is always filled with water, soft drink and beer. There is NO lotion, conditioner, hair dryer, mouth wash, tooth brushes, tooth paste, or bath tubs. Bring your own (except the bath tubs).
Our criteria for once a year vacation are: great beach, tasty food, nice pools, nice room (although we don't stay in the room often), friendly and efficient service - this Riu Playacar got them all.
I've been in Riu hotel chain at Guadalajara for business, and it was very nice. I emailed and asked the front desk to book for us the Japanese restaurant and a room close to the pool and the ocean for the kids as a courtesy, Riu Playacar booked it for us, but we came late due to trouble with United Airline and Bookit overbooking (this is a different story).
We came late at 8PM - everything was ready and the room was 6111 next to the pool & restaurant just as requested. But it's a little noisy at night if we sleep early because of the shows every night - didn't bother us, we didn't sleep early at all.
The front desk people were so pleasant, always smilling and helpful.
We checked in, went to the buffet (closes at 10:30PM) and the food was great - we missed the Japanese buffet reservation at 6:45PM.
So, the hotel is old, but our room was clean, air conditioned and the kids loved these animal towels on the beds. Yes, the bed is hard even with padding. My bony daughter slept on me (literally) in the first few nights, until we figured out to put 4 pillows as a pad for her.
Everyday at the buffet - there are always pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, pasta for people who are hard to eat like my son. The salad bar and the hot food sections are plentiful with tasty food every day. We love the buffets.
Carpaccio was better than many Italian restaurants in the state - and good thing is not many people know about this wonderful appertiser. There was plenty and they keep bringing it out as soon as the plate is empty.
Lobster bisque - seafood - tortilla soups were great. Guacamole and salsa were made fresh daily - the sweet dessert bar is always filled with great stuff, never a dull moment.
We do like to eat and we did eat very well here in Riu Playacar.
My wife complained that the Japanese restaurant was cheating her by only service buffet foods. Not full service a la cart as other restaurtants. Oh well, as long as the food is good what do you care, but she did.
There are 3 bars and we did drink a lot, even the kids, they love Shirley Temple, and all the daquiris.
They do have fresh coconuts which my wife and the kids love - only one day while we're there.
The beach - you can walk hundreds of feet away and the water is still only up to your hips. The kids love the waves - the water was warm and we do stay in the ocean most of the day. The water is clear and the beach is clean. Amazing. We always brought our water shoes, but this time we didn't have to use any because the sand was so fine and NO ROCKS.
Lawnchairs are every where and always have empty ones for us to use.
There were some topless people - so nice that "I" actually had to have a second or third looks - not like other times and resorts. Many beautiful single ladies and men there this time.
We took pictures on the sunset, which was amazing.
It was Thursday, they had BBQ on the beach with music for dancing - the food was also wonderful and the people do dance very well.
They have scuba diving lesson - or demo, sports events and also Riuland for children, but our kids didn't want to go.
The pools water were hot - the kids also liked the pool after playing in the ocean. The pools are not huge, but we could swim a few laps. Lawn chairs again were available. Just there's no waiters or waitresses that we can order drinks or food. I think that's why the pool is pretty clean.
The shops are right in front of the hotel if we want to buy some sourvenirs or neccessary stuff. I heard there's also a night club for people to go dancing near by, but I haven't seen it (my 2 children are always with us).
Elena Lopez was the director of the hotel - very nice and pleasant young lady. She's always running around checking things to make sure everything goes well, and to me, everything did. She recommended us to visit the Riu Palace and Riu Rivera Maya Palace, we did, they're nice but my wife seemed to like this one better because it's more down to earth and less pretentous and superficial.
There must be complaints for all trips - right?
The hard beds (to me it's fine when I put blankets under the padding mattress) - Mosquitos (we brought spray and repellent bands) - only 3 specialty restaurants? but the buffet foods tasted better than restaurants then? Ah, some people want to feel important, romantic, then they need to be served.
Final thoughts, snobish people wouldn't like this place - try Riu Palace or Riu Riviera Palace - or any resorts with "Palace" in the end like our last year Barcelo Palace Deluxe.
The real deal is this, at the time of booking this trip - the cost of going here is about $2000 less than other "Palace' we wanted to go which is about 1/3 of another trip. We used some of the saving money to tip our service people here at the Riu Playacar. The bottom line is great beach, great foods, great place and great people, that's all we want from a nice vacation.
This is a 3 stars hotel due to missing some extravagant services - but I give it a 5 stars for being great for a 3 stars hotel (does it make sense?). BTW, in two years, this Playacar will be renovated and the price will be higher which I think it's a waste.

Room Tip: building 6 & 3 are closer to the pools, beach and restaurants.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
13 Thank dognmonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2013

For me this Hotel is pretty much the best bang for buck if you want a beach side hotel out of all of the RIU's. Food is always good (steak house is the best so book it when you arrive) massive selections of fresh fruits and different choices to cater for all.

Rooms are very clean, stocked up daily with drinks, staff are the most friendly people I have ever come across, grounds are well kept with some local wildlife visiting often.

I have stayed at several of these RIU's over the years and this one is perfect for me, however if your more of a party goer who likes to sit in a sports bar and take advantage of an on site disco then the Riu Tequila is probably better for you, the only downside to that is it is not on the beach front.

What most people fail to mention is that you can go and visit the other RIU hotels and use the facilities, get drinks on the all inclusive etc, this does not include the RIU palace.

I am really trying to find a negative here but I just can't, but what I will say is do not lose your towel or they may charge you for another, they give you a towel card once you arrive along with a free safe key.

I recommend doing some of the fresh water parks such as Xel-Há, Acaret. The Capitan Hook Spanish galleon dinner show that's on in Cancun is also brilliant.

This hotel was so good I proposed to my wife here, so we will be going back very soon!!!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2013

The holiday was booked through Thomsons 'on line' and we were at the Playacar from 15 June to 6 July. Checked our cases in the night before which means you only have to pick up your boarding cards the next morning. This was our 2nd trip to Mexico (must do a review of the other hotel) and we once again opted for the 'premium' cabin. The flight was comfortable with plenty of choice of food and drinks. We arrived in Mexico a little earlier than expected but it really didn't make much difference timewise with things like luggage being last off then getting the red light instead of green which means your cases, hand luggage and handbag being searched, so we were the last ones on the coach!!! There were a total of 4 drops with our hotel being the 3rd. Just over an hour I believe and we were in the reception. We were booked in by a lovely lady called Vero and as I had e mailed shortly before our visit requesting a certain location I was given the choice of 2 rooms to look at. One room was in Block 5 and the other Block 6 and they were both on the top floor (40 steps - yes I did count them) and were located by the pools/theatre/beach. In the end I decided to go for Block 6 which had a bath/shower instead of just a shower. The bell boy who had been following us with the luggage swiftly carried both cases up to our room thoroughly deserving the tip I gave him. The rooms were not much different apart from the fact that the bathroom had a solid wood door instead of a curtain. There was a massive king size bed, ample wardrobe and storage space including a mini fridge, optics and safe. Flat screen TV with many channels, 2 armchairs and table, balcony, two chairs and table. It was not as lavishly furnished or as large as the one in our previous hotel but it was very comfortable and also spotlessly clean. I have read many reports on TA about matress toppers being required but we found the bed very comfortable and slept well throughout the 3 weeks we were there. After we had unpacked and freshened up we went for something to eat and explore our surroundings. It was of course dark by this time so we were not able to see the full extent of the resort. Having eaten, had a few drinks etc we finally went to bed about 11.30pm. We weren't going to the welcome meeting the following morning - why do they have them at 9am - but we were both up and about at around 6.30am. This was when we saw how lovely everything looked in the bright sunshine, a walk to the beach which looked and was amazing an early breakfast (surprised how many early risers there are) and then because it was still early we attended the welcome meeting. Not a lot to say about this so I'll keep my comments to myself.

I chose this hotel purely and simply because it was the smallest of the RIU's in this area, was beachside, close to Playa and being smaller I assumed would be friendlier. Must admit that we didn't use the a la cartes at all, we often (after a large breakfast) didn't eat until evening although food was available throughout the day with a vast choice on offer. After dinner we always ended up in the lobby bar where the drink flowed throughout the night. Between 11pm and midnight there was a table set out which had coffee and then shortly after some lovely soft rolls with salads and meat. The drinks were mainly 'top shelf' with no extra charge and must admit that we had quite a few B52's, slammers, scooby doos etc etc. The speed with which they make the cocktails is incredible, one of my favourites was the Banana Mama and you can have these with or without alcohol, guess which one I had ? This time we didn't visit 5th Avenue but must admit to going to Walmart (plus the Mexican version close by) on several occasions. Any gifts I bought to bring home were purchased here and were very much cheaper than the gift shops.

This is a delightful hotel with superb staff who always greet you and make you feel very welcome. We visited the theatre a couple of times and the shows they put on were (compared to some) very polished and professional. The animation team were a crowd of hardworking individuals and there was plenty to entertain you throughout the day and night. The rooms were always cleaned very well and different towel animals were left each day. We visited the Tequila (majority of people staying there used the Playacar beach and facilities every day). but although it had more facilities etc seemed a bit too large and I was glad I had chosen the Playacar. Incidentally on one of our walks along the beach we passed the Yucatan which they say is reopening this month, time will tell I suppose but it didn't look anywhere near finished. Oh yes, nearly forgot towards the end of our holiday we popped over the road to Starbucks for just over £3 we got 2 large coffees and wifi access which was a lot swifter than the free 90 minutes in the hotel.

Finally I would just like to thank all the staff in particular Vero, Elena, bar staff in the lobby, waiters in the main restaurant, housekeeping for ensuring our holiday was most enjoyable not forgetting of course the friends we made while we were there.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Nutranurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2013

From check in to check out, this hotel was perfect!
As soon as we arrived, Reception greated us with drinks, they explained everythin to us & the bell boy followed us promptly with our cases where we were allocated at block 6 (pink1). Closest to pool / beach & evening entertainment! Noise didn't bother me as I stayed most nights to watch shows. However, if u want early nights then please state u don't want to stay in block 6!
Room slightly dated, however that gave a Mexican feel to the holiday, cleaned everyday, with a special towell animal left on the bed - I have the photos to prove it! Plenty of wardrobe & drawer space for clothes. Requested a few extra hangers & got 30 more within minutes!! Excellent service!
Pool had 2 sides to it. 1 side more relaxed than other, depends how much you want to participate in games etc as to what side you choose to bathe on. Entertainment crew not too pushy for you to join in games but they are really good fun & prizes to be won :)
Beach is beautiful & sea crystal clear. Fish swim at ur feet. Please be aware of flag colour when using beach, strong under currents in sea!
Restaurants all good with lots of variety, even things for the "picky" eater! However, lunch time menu very repetitive!
3 theamed restaurants that need to be pre booked in morning. Asian - standard buffet. Steak house - delicious T-bone!! & Mexican - delicious fajitas!!
Bar staff work tirelessly day in day out & always smile!!!! These guys made you feel special, remembered your name & ur favourite tipple!
Being part of the group we could use Riu Tequilla & Riu Yuchatan (this was closed due to refurb - which Thomson's never told us about till we arrived!) Tequilla is BIG!! Enjoyed the gym facilities there & occasionally went to evening entertainment but much prefer the smallness of Riu Playacar :)

Overall a superb holiday! I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone!!

Have a Tequilla (or 2) for me when u get there :)

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2013

I have recently returned from staying at the Riu Playacar Playa del Carmen in Mexico and we had a wonderful holiday made even more special by the attentive staff who were never too busy to help and advise especially in the reception area. The bedrooms did need refurbishing but were roomy and with plenty of wardrobe space and drawers for putting your clothes in. The beach was to die for and we saw four weddings while we were there which was lovely. The quality of the food was excellent and so to was the variety. Attention to detail was spot on. The entertainment at night was varied and interesting so everybody was accounted for. I would thoroughly recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Rooms higher up and nearer reception would be quieter away from the entertainment area.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank disasterDerby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2013

I read the reviews on the Playacar and thought we would give it a shot. Sure the resort was older, sure the rooms were older but who cares? We don't spend much time in the room so that was no big deal. The staff was amazing! I have never seen a more dedicated staff. At every meal they would take your plate from the table as soon as you were done. They would arrive with another drink before the one you had was empty. The lobby bar staff was top notch. My friend left is $100 sunglasses at the bar. Many bartenders would have kept them. But they were turned in to the front desk. His wife was ill one night and one of the lobby bartenders offered to get her bread from her stomach well after the restaurants closed. These guys were hard workers who always had a smile and a joke. The pool bar staff was also very good. The nightly entertainment was fun to watch and the entertainment staff had fun games every day at the pool and beach. I'm proud to say my friend and I participated in the kayak races in the pool. We each were paired against someone from Argentina and we won! USA, USA, USA... It was all in fun with several countries being represented and everyone showing their national pride. Now the food was awesome! The Sushi restaurant was our 2nd favorite next to the buffets, which were wonderful! The resort is located in a gated community and a short walk from 5th Ave which was full of shops. Word is this resort will be torn down soon and a new RIU will be put up in its place. Please, please, please bring back the same staff. They are truly the ones who made our week long vacation awesome! Thank you Playacar staff!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: The buildings are 3 stories so if you don't like stairs ask for a ground floor.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank geomm74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Playacar

Property: Hotel Riu Playacar
Address: Avenida Xamen-Ha | Manzana 6, Lote 6, Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#28 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#37 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#40 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#50 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#57 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Playacar 4*
Number of rooms: 396
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* In the Playacar resort area, along with the Riu Palace Mexico, Riu Palace Riviera Maya, Riu Yucatan and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels * Main building and 8 annexed buildings * Located on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Surrounded by 21,000 m2/25,000 sq. Yards of tropical gardens * Mexican Street, next to Riu Yucatan * 100 m/325 ft. From various shops * 55 km/34 miles from Cancun Int'l. Airport ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Playacar Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Riu Playacar Playa Del Carmen
Riu Playacar Reviews
Playacar Hotels
Riu Playacar Mexico
Rui Playacar
Hotel Riu Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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