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“Best Vacation EVER.”

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Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
Ranked #29 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed May 13, 2013

I want to begin by saying that I am no stranger to all inclusive resorts, having stayed at numerous Iberostars and Rius in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. I have also previously stayed at the Riu Palace Mexico, prior to it being remodeled in Fall 2012. I wanted to write a review back then, since even then it was the best vacation I have ever taken, but never did. This time, I promised myself that I would. Three words can really sum up my experience at Riu Palace Mexico - BEST VACATION EVER.

This was a couples trip, just my boyfriend and I (I am 23, he 28). This resort was perfect. From the incredible instantaneous service, to the gorgeous split level room, to the beautiful brand new pool, to the breathtaking lobby with royal purple everywhere, to the crystal clear blue ocean and white sands....just everything. If you open up this resort's website, the pictures do not lie. In fact, they don't even do it justice. Everything is as gorgeous and pristine as they advertise.

I want to say thank you to Hiram - he knew our drink orders (Don Julio chilled, por favor and a Cerveza and Margarita) before we even sat down, and had them ready without us even having to order, to Mateo at the pool bar, to Enrique and Cindy for the daily beach activities (volleyball and water aerobics), and just overall to all the friendly staff.

Some of the things that really stood out - THE ROOM. Absolutely gorgeous and brand new. The shower was standalone, with one of those ceiling mount rainfall showerheads ( I told my boyfriend I'll never enjoy another shower again!), there was a whirlpool bathtub that separated the shower/sink/bathroom (its own separate little room) area from the rest of the room. The bed was massive and SO comfortable, no issues sleeping at all. There was nice-sized flat screen (never used by us.. what's the point?), and the 2 steps that led to the other part of the room with a table with 2 chairs, a nice couch with a coffee table, and the balcony. And free WIFI in the room to keep in touch with your relatives.

The SERVICE - I want to reiterate how incredibly amazing the service there is. We always tip, so I am sure that had something to do with the promptness of us being served, but I truly believe that a little bit goes a long way. The people there are extremely hard workers, and work around the clock. We appreciate their dedication in making sure we have an incredible and relaxing vacation, so a couple bucks a night isn't going to break my bank.

The AMENITIES - There are 4 (or 5?) other Rius on the Playacar strip, and you are able to go to all of them (they only ask that you eat dinner at your own resort). We didn't really see much reason to go outside of our resort for the day since it was PERFECT there as it is, but the evening was a different thing. We are hockey fans, and our favorite Chicago Blackhawks were playing their first postseason series. Say hello to the Sports bar across the street at Riu Tequila. They had the channel showing the game and we were able to enjoy our favorite team all the way from Mexico, in an all-inclusive setting. The alcohol across the street is definitely much worse - No Don Julio :) - so we made sure to pre-game at Palace Mexico. There is also a Disco there, which we definitely had a late night at one of the nights that we met another couple and spent the evening with them. It's obviously not a downtown club (far from it), but they play decent music and hey, why not. For those who are interested in going to to CocoBongo or Senor Frogs, there were at least 2 or 3 times that our hotel staff would organize nightly outings there, they would hook it up with a bracelet and transportation deals. We are from Chicago and our purpose of this trip was relaxation, and we have plenty of bars and clubs to go out to while we are back home anyways. So we did not participate in going out to the clubs, but met others who did and said it was a lot of fun.

Overall, I can really not say enough good things about our experience at this resort. WILL DEFINITELY BE SEEING YOU AGAIN, RIU PALACE MEXICO!

Room Tip: We got the basic Junior suite, and it was perfect. The rooms that face inside the resort have glass...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Lyuba B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 12, 2013

The hotel is very nice. Food was delicious. Even though the reservation stated gratuity included, we made sure to always have dollars on hand when possible to tip.. Staff works hard and all very friendly. Beach is gorgeous.

Also, Our camera was stolen here between April 30th - May 1st 2013. If anyone happens to have any information in regards to it, please let me know (Black Nikon). While the camera was brand new, I would be more than happy just to have our photos/memory card back even without the camera. This trip was **extremely** special to us. We got engaged here and our first trip out of the country. My heart hurts & makes me extremely sad not having our pictures/videos from the first days of our trip. Please, I beg of whoever has it, to do the right thing, and at least return our photos to us. I would be forever grateful. Thank you. I can be reached at: LiLy33334@yahoo.com

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Lily337
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

This hotel is the best that we have stayed in. Thomson group and Riu hotels must be congratulated on putting this package together.The staff here always greeted us with a `hola` and they smiled and smiled and smiled and went about whatever they were doing like a well trained team which they obviously were.The room was very clean and comfy,and always decorated by our maid `elizabeth`....fresh flowers and little towelling animals each day.The food in all the restaurants was high quality,well presented,fresh and warm.We had a tour of the kitchens with the head chef...very modern and clean..and not a microwave in site.The bar staff and waiters were excellent,quick and cheerful, and smiling again.[ english hotels could learn from these lads and lass`s] Entertainment was good,some nights better than others, but always of a high standard.We went on a few trips, the mayan temples at chichen ista and the dolphin swim well worth it. The hotel itself was very glitzy, always clean ,cool and modern.The pool area and beach area with the palm trees and cool breeze excellent.We will come back to this hotel..A big thanks to the Riu Palace mexico and all the staff...

Room Tip: top floor main building they are quieter but still near to everything
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank tommoCleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Just got back from this fabulous hotel, having stayed at the (currently closed for refurbishment) Riu Yucatan next door twice previously. I have to say, even though I loved the Yucatan (and actually shed a tear at seeing the demolition going on) the Palce is a big step up on so many levels. I will try to keep this as brief as I can:
THE BEACH: As stunning as the stretch next door - white sand, turquoise warm water, what more can you say?
THE ROOMS: Immaculate, spotlessly clean and the bright decor didn't bother us at all. Nice Super King bed (with decent pillows), Jacuzzi bath and step-in shower both big enough for two. I'd seen people complain about the toilet cubicle being too small-well, I'm a very big girl, and my husband is bigger again and there was no issue at all for us. The air-con worked well and we used the ceiling fan if we ever needed a cooler boost. No issue at all with damp or musty smells as others had mentioned. We had a top (second floor) room, 2116, which was down the left hand side NOT facing over the courtyard. We didn't get much sun or a view but this wasn't an issue, there are nicer places to sit. There is also a turn-down service, an added extra. Oh, and we used the coffee machine daily, getting fresh milk from Lounge 24 the night before for it.
FOOD: The buffet restaurant had a great range of food but at a higher level than at the Yucatan. Champagne for breakfast, and dinner included loads of seafood including crab ceviche, lobster, squid, Tapas and Sushi. We loved the chocolate fountains - my husband was making chocolate strawberry kebabs by the end! It was nice to see Management there every evening keeping an eye on things and welcoming you with a "Buenos Deias/Noches", as did all the other staff. The poolside lunch restaurant was very nice, Sushi there every day as well as Chinese, Mexican, Pizzas, Pasta etc and a huge range of salads and desserts. Much fewer birds there than we'd seen at the Yucatan, so more hygienic. The service was generally very good at all restaurants, and we only tipped one waitress, Ana, on our last night, as she had been much more attentive and friendly than any of the others. Lunchtimes they also set up a beach barbecue (a huge amount of work) where they had nachos, ribs, chicken/pork, salads and fressh fruit. This was nice if you didn't fancy the sit-down restaurant, and they also had live bands there with dancing once a week too.
We didn't try any of the A la Cartes as the menus looked a bit 'fussy' for our tastes plus we don't like being tied-down to a set time on holiday. We found plenty of variety at the buffet restaurant. The 24 hour 'Lounge 24' is a great idea - they have TV and PCs there and you can help yourself to wine/beer/soft drinks, Sandwiches/nachos/Mexican snacks and their gorgeous pastries/desserts. The coffee lounge was also a nice addition, we enjoyed a latte and a pastry there some days.
BARS: The swim-up bar was again my favourite spot. The guys there work like Trojans all day long, some of the hardest workers in the hotel. They also come round the pool and bring you drinks, so you don't even need to leave your lounger!
RECEPTION: My only negative - Personally I didn't find the staff there all that friendly/helpful. On one occasion we'd found they'd not replenished our coffee sachet for the machine in our room. As we liked to have a coffee on our balcony on waking early, we popped to Reception after dinner and asked if they could get us a sachet. We were told no, that the 'Mini-Bar guy' finished at 9pm so nothing could be done. On returning to our room we found a maid still working, and asked her if she had a sachet and she brought us two within five minutes with a smile! This is really only a minor niggle, and only because all the other staff seemed so helpful and hardworking. I have never seen so many staff everywhere, from 6am until late at night, they are constantly working their butts off to make our holiday perfect, it made me quite humble.
TOP TRIP TIP: If you fancy seeing some dolphins but don't want to pay the $150-200 each to swim with them, how about a compromise? We took a Taxi from outside the Hotel down to Puerto Aventuras, which was $25 each way (confirm before you go). You can then walk around the harbour there watching the Dolphin shows and see the Manatees and Sea Lions yourself, free of charge, or see the boats in the Marina, maybe even charter one. There are a few gift shops there and a good range of bars and restaurants where you can sit and watch the action. We ate in a place called The Pub, where I had the best and biggest plate of nachos I've ever had! It's a nice morning or afternoon out for only $50, less than most of the excursions. We also took the Ferry across to Cozumel for a couple of hours. On our last trip there we did the guided jeep tour, but this time we just sat in a little bar and enjoyed watching the world go by with a few Coronas and Nachos. We did the Speedboat Excursion which we booked with Jenna, our Thomson Rep. You get a mini-bus from the Hotel to the Marina at Cancun, and take the speedboats out in Convoy to a reef where they're tied up so you can snorkel if you like, then return for a burger/pizza and drink at the Marina. I think we paid about $150 for us both as they had a couples deal on. I don't consider myself to be an adrenaline junkie but I LOVED THIS TRIP! I laughed constantly on the speedboats, it was brilliant and I wanted to go back out!

Room Tip: The work going on at the Yucatan next door at the moment (probably for 3 months) IS noisy at times...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Thenewmrsbowen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2013

Just came back from an anniversary trip. Hotel was great. Service was excellent. Food was great. Our favorite restaurant was chill is Can,t go wrong. We went on two fishing trips. 10 minutes from hotel is fishing with Ivan.com. Although we did not catch a bunch of fish it was not for lack of trying. They tried everything and I finally landed a three and a half foot king fish. Ivan is very knowledgeable and personable. We had two mates also just for the two of us. Very reasonable prices. Golf can be very expensive but we found a reasonable, challenging par 3 course called El Mangler about 20 minutes from the hotel that was reasonably priced. Entertainment was good with one solo artist that was fantastic. RIU is the best. Our next trip is to RIU Costa Rica.

Room Tip: Oceanfront was great but not necessary
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LloydpAge21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Partner and I thought the hotel and staff was just 'perfect'!! Room was spacious and the 'moans' about the toilet is just picky. My partner is 6ft 2ins and he had no trouble getting in. Can't believe how friendly and well coming the staff were and also the people of Mexico - they truly made our holiday most memorable.

Food and drinks was in abundance and plenty of choices. Pool and beach area was first class, plenty of loungers that are well spaced out, unlike the other complex. Plenty of activities such as Yoga and Salsa lessons on the beach, pool aerobics, kayaking and loads more. Don't hesitate, just book this place - you will not regret it!

Like to thank all the staff for making our holiday so great, but especially to Aaron at reception for getting us a top-floor room (and Tripadvisor's reveiwers for the tip), George, German and Elmer for their first-class customer service.

Have to point out that we had noticed that a lot of people don't tip, which is such a shame as the staff works so hard to keep everyone happy and always with a 'hola' and smile.

We can't wait for our next stay with Riu Palace!

Room Tip: Rooms on top floor.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SpaDiva26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

This was our fifth time in "Riu Palace".Twice we tried "Riu Palace" in Cancun,two times in Playa-del Carmen. All this years it was OK! But this our trip on the end of April 2013 was just amazing!Starting with our first experience with FRONTIER AIRLINES.Very friendly team on the plane.Thank you so much!!! We also never seen so many friendly,smiling faces like it was in RIU PALACE MEXICO!!!Wonderfull experience of perfect management!!!Check in was quick and very courteous.All stuff super friendly!!!The food was wonderful with so many selections and options.Room was very clean!We liked the renovation!!!Beach is perfect.So many places to hide from the sun if you prefer.5 restaraunts (including Japanese!!!) was perfect too.Special thanks to Marta and Carlos from Apple vacation.They helped us to choose a good activities (ATV jungle park tour,and snorkeling in majestic park by the sea)The only thing that disappointed us was that our transportation guide Gabrielle never showed up...Special thanks to senior NACHO,who was our guide in snorkeling trip.He has perfect sense of humor!!!!We enjoed his company!!!! Wonderfull shows and awesome musicians every night!!!!!Definetly coming back next year!!!!!Thank you RIU PALACE MEXICO!!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank balamyt68
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 Mexico

Address: Avenida Xaman-Ha, Manzana 3, Lote 4 | Condominio Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#16 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#21 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#32 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $263 - $610 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Mexico 4*
Number of rooms: 434
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on the Yucatan peninsula, 3 km / 1.9 Miles from Playa del Carmen * Within the Playacar resort, along with the Riu Palace Riviera Maya, Riu Yucatan, Riu Playacar and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels * 2-storey building * Surrounded by 20,000 m2 / 24,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Located on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 200 m / 650 feet from Mexican Street * 55 km / 34 miles from Cancun Int. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Mexico Hotel
Riu Palace Mexico Playa Del Carmen
Riu Palace Playa Del Carmen
Riu Palace Mayan Riviera
Riu Playa Del Carmen
Mexico Palace Riu
Riu Mexico
Rui Palace Mexico
Hotel Riu Palace Mexico Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen

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