My new husband and I have decided that this hotel overtakes Disneyland as the happiest place on earth! And we have agreed that if we ever win the lottery we're just buying a room here for the rest of our days! Seriously amazing from start to finish!
We stayed for 10 days at the end of July 2013. We were on honeymoon but we were also travelling with our 3 year old son. We wanted a hotel which was luxurious and romantic which allowed kids but didn't have a crazy family atmosphere. This hotel was perfect, lots of facilities for children and the staff were lovely to him, but not too noisy or overrun with children. We travelled on Thomson's long haul service from the UK which we were very pleased with.
On arrival at the hotel we were greeted with the beautiful 'Welcome Drink' and given information about the facilities, restaurants etc. Bell boys took our cases to our room for us. Our room was on the second floor, at the pool end, on the left hand side (as you're looking at the hotel from the front). We found this the perfect location. We didn't pay for the courtyard view but we weren't in the room enough for it to make a difference. We thought the room was amazing. It was very spacious, immaculately clean, great facilities, and we had one of the huge beds instead of two doubles pushed together. We used the sofa bed for our son for the first couple of nights and a camp bed after that (he had a little accident in the sofa bed and they gave us a camp bed when they came in to change it). He was very happy in both of those. We didn't have any bathroom privacy issues as our son is still young and so he sometimes showers with us etc anyway. For older families or friends you'd probably need one of the rooms with the curtain around the bath, as the shower door is quite easy to see through and there isn't really a private area for getting dressed. But of course there's always the balcony for people to sit while others get ready. Mini bar in the room was great, especially with a thirsty little one. The air con is great. We kept ours up full the entire time as that what was most comfortable for us. We didn't have any problems with dampness apart from one day when it was off across the whole hotel for maintenance while we were at the pool and when we came back in the floor was soaking and very slippy. But someone came and mopped it all up for us. So I guess the aircon is the key to controlling the humidity.
Oh my, the food! It really is out of this world! The choice is unbelievable, even the fussiest eater will have lots of choice - trust me, I was there with two of them! Everything is cooked to perfection, I can't count the amount of times we bit into something and said "Oh my god!" They must have international chefs as the pasta is the best I have ever tasted (and I come from an Italian family!), the Chinese food was better than any Chinese restaurant I have ever eaten in, etc etc. We kept going back to all our favourites as well as trying new things, and we didn't feel fed up with the food once. We ate in 4 of the 5 speciality restaurants - Italian, Fusion, Mexican and Steakhouse. We loved the first 3, Steakhouse wasn't amazing but still good. If you go to the Fusion restaurant (Krystal) get the beef with the sweet potato and vegetables - seriously the best thing I have ever eaten! Beef unbelievably tender and the veg tasted amazing. Can't stop thinking about this meal! We went to Lounge 24 and the coffee bar for snacks a few times aswell, again everything was great. So handy to have Lounge 24 if you're peckish or heading out on an excursion.
Drinks were great - my husband fell in love with Passion Dreams, with a few Margaritias here and there! Banana Mama at the pool bar is amazing. The cocktails are very icy but trust me you'll be glad for it. We found them better blended in the lobby bar, and bit more chunky at the pool bar but I'm pretty sure that's purposeful as even the waiters that worked in the lobby bar also made them chunkier at the pool bar. They're not too weak but not too strong - you can drink them all day without worrying about getting too drunk! The white wine was beautiful and it certainly got us tipsy! The milkshakes and iced coffees from the coffee bar were a big hit too.
The service is another thing about this hotel which is out of this world. Everyone greets you with a smile and a hola - from cleaners and gardeners to waiters and hosts. Nothing is too much trouble for any of the staff at this hotel. Our favourite waiter at breakfast even started putting coffee pots on 'our' table at breakfast so nobody else would take it before we got there! The staff work unbelievably long hours in the searing heat and still manage to be so friendly. We tipped, not massively, but we tipped. We spent in the region of £200 on tips over 10 days, for three meals a day plus lots and lots of drinks! The staff were all so lovely and welcoming to our son too, lots remembered his name and chatted away to him for ages. And gave him lemonade in a shot glass when he asked for tequila! Special mentions to the waiters and hosts who made our stay extra special - Gullian, Francisco, Joaquin, Marnie and Daniel. We had no problems with housekeeping staff starting too early, as mentioned in some other reviews, maybe it was our position in the hotel. The housekeeper was usually in while we were at breakfast or just after, around 9.30am. They take plenty of time cleaning your room and do a really thorough job.
The entertainment team are really excellent. My favourite part of the day was 10am at the pool when they play 'Good Morning' over the sound system and come around greeting everyone, and then sing and dance to the I Want to Go to Riu song! Sounds cheesy but it isn't its just a lovely upbeat start to the day! We took part in a few of the activities and really enjoyed them. The staff aren't pushy to make you join in, they just let you know when everything is starting, but they don't disturb people that are sleeping or reading. The atmosphere by the pool is amazing all day long. The shows are great - we went every night and we were gutted when the programme came out for the week we were leaving as we wanted to see all the new ones too! Casino night is really fantastic as is the beach party. Casino night is every Saturday and beach party is every Tuesday. I did the free scuba diving lesson too which was excellent. The entertainment staff work really long hours - they start at 10am and work until about 11.30pm, and also take turns at taking guests out to the various clubs in Playa del Carmen. In some cases they were working 10am- 5am for 3 or 4 days in a row. And they only get one day off a week. But again you would never know it as they are so cheery and friendly all the time.
Pool & Beach
Both absolutely stunning! The set up of the pools is great - 1 larger pool, 1 sports pool, 1 smaller pool, the swim up bar pool, and 4 shallow infinity pools. We thought it was really good as it meant there was lots of lounger space and it didn't feel overcrowded. We wanted 3 loungers together - 2 in the sun, 1 in the shade, and we always got it no matter what time we went down it. Plenty of parasols and tables. The beach is so stunning. Very clean, beautiful turquoise water and white sand. Plenty of palm trees provide the shade but there are plenty of sunny spots too. Again no lounger trouble at all. Beach barbeque and drinks waiters at the beach and pool are great too. There's security on the beach which made us feel extra safe, although we didn't see any incidents at all. Lifeguards too and the flag warning system.
Decor and upkeep
We really liked the decor. It adds to the luxurious feel without being brash or over the top. We visited Riu Palace Riviera Maya for a look around. It still has the traditional Mexican style like this hotel had before the refurbishment. However it didn't feel anywhere near as luxurious, and it smelled really bad! We much preferred the modern style of Riu Palace Mexico, it is much more high-end. The place is immaculate. There are gardeners in the grounds every day, making sure everything is perfect. One day we saw them on gigantic ladders removing any palms on the palm trees that had the slightest hint of brown! All the common areas are perfect too. They fumigate at least twice a day - some people might not notice as they do it during breakfast and lunch (and maybe dinner too) but if you go into the halls or stairwells at the right time you'll see a fly/wasp/mosquito graveyard! We all hate insects so we were really grateful for this. They must do the same with the pool and outdoor areas too as we saw one wasp the entire time we were there and that was it (and believe me, we usually notice every tiny little fly!). It really is five star plus.
All in all, I just can't describe how amazing this hotel is. We haven't stopped talking about it since we got back. My husband is a serial nitpicker and nobody can believe that he's found somewhere where he doesn't have anything to moan about! No holiday will ever compare to Riu Palace Mexico!
- 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