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“One word: WOW”

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Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Ranked #39 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“One word: WOW”
Reviewed April 22, 2009

Riu Palace was our best vacation ever! The moment we walked into the marble lobby with crystal chandeliers and plush couches, all of our stress melted away. The moment we walked in our room and saw the “mini bar,” which consists of a bottle of Tequila, a bottle of rum, a bottle of vodka, and a bottle of brandy, we knew we were going to have a lot of fun. This place is amazing! My husband and I stayed for 5 nights in March and we are looking forward to going back and bringing our friends!

HOTEL: Lobby is very elegant, and similar to five-star hotels we’ve stayed in, with a gorgeous bar and lots of cocktail tables for indoor imbibing.
GROUNDS: Lots of trees and gardens. Very well kept, constantly being cleaned, we didn’t see one single insect during the week we were there!
BEACH: no need to get up early to reserve a chair – there are plenty! You can lie on the beach, on a sandy area shaded by palms, or around one of the two pools! We preferred the beach, which was beautiful and clean. There are volleyball nets if you want to play. Kayaks, boogey boards, and windsurfers are free, but you need to pay for lessons. The sand bags do interrupt the view a bit, but also prevent the waves from being out of control.
POOLS: our favorite part was the swim up bar. The pool is a good place to hang out and socialize, there are in pool tables and stools, and two pool-temperature jacuzzis. There is also a shallow pool on an upper level, which is less crowded.
SPA: we had a massage, which was very good and cheap at $68 for 60 min! There are hot jacuzzis that are available for everyone, whether or not they buy a spa service.
BARS: The best all-inclusive bars we’ve seen! Choice of martinis, Cognac, mojitos and caipirhinas, and fresh fruit drinks. Top shelf liquor. Never needed to ask for extra alcohol, the bartenders are very generous and friendly.
ROOMS: large with nice bathrooms. It was difficult to make it completely comfortable as it is humid, and the AC just makes it cold and humid. The safe seemed secure and we used it without any problems. Lots of drawer space if you want to unpack. A flat-screen television is in each room.
ROOM SERVICE: 24-hour room service is free with a limited menu. We ordered once when we first came in and it was a great intro to the hotel, but there was never another time we needed to order, and since there are limited choices we preferred to go the buffets.
FOOD: The food was very good, but not excellent. The key to the restaurants is to make the reservations as soon as you get there for the next two nights. Also, if you show up to the restaurants at the time of the seating (6:00 and 8:30) and ask nicely, they may seat you without a reservation if there is space. Our favorites were Krystal (upscale fusion) and Yashima (Japanese) for dinner, and Don Manolo for breakfast and lunch. The quality of the food at Krsytal is better than any other place in the hotel. I would recommend eating there more than once and skipping the Brazilian restaurant, which was very mediocre. The lunch at Don Manolo has a lot more variety than Chili’s and is less crowded. Mexican was okay, but had similar food to the buffet at Don Manolo. Chili’s for dinner has surf and turf but it wasn’t anything to write home about. You could skip it. The Spots Bar has food 24/7 and is a good place to get bottled water if you run out. They also have foozball and Internet access ($8/ hr).
ENTERTAINMENT: this was the one area that we were not as impressed with, but the evening entertainers did put on a show. We saw two shows, but didn’t stay until the end of either of them. There is a band that plays in the evening outside on the gazebo, and they were very good and very professional. We enjoyed drinking and listening to them after dinner.
TIPS: We did feel the need to tip for good service on the resort. At most of the restaurants, the service was simply impeccable, so we tipped 100 pesos or so, and it was very much appreciated, but not expected. We had a few favorite bartenders (Santos and Rene, especially) and we made sure to tip them for their hard work.
SUNDRIES: Bring your own suntan lotion! Spray suntan lotion at the resort went for $20/bottle! If you walk down the Playacar street a little, you’ll come to a few stores sandwiched between a couple of resorts. One store (the furthest from the main road and closest to the Rui Palace) sold those bottles for about $12, a much better deal and worth the five-minute walk.
TALUM: We did a half-day Talum trip through out travel tour people on Travelocity (Olympus Travel). It was approximately $60/person, and included van transportation, bottled water, and admission to and a tour of the ruins. Talum is the closest of the Mayan ruins, and it’s a good excursion if you want to see some history while you’re in Mexico.
FIFTH AVENUE: We walked to Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen twice from the hotel (and then took a $5 cab ride home both evenings). While we did not eat or drink there (why bother, when we had a gold bracelet that allowed us to eat and drink to our heart’s content at the Palace?), we did shop and purchase a few items of clothing in a few stores. The area is really touristy and caters to the cruise crowd.

Overall, you can’t miss by booking a stay at this resort. A friendly staff caters to your every need, and the resort grounds are amazing.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
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6 Thank gm2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2009

In response to the question in a chain email I recieved recently, "If you could chose anywhere in the world to go on holiday, where would you go?"
I responded,
"somewhere hot and sunny, on an unspoilt, natural, fine white sandy beach, with crystal clear tourquoise sea. In a beautiful, clean, 5* quality accomodation, with great service, food, drink, and activities/ entertainment, in a country which has beautiful natural landscapes and wildlife, ancient history, art, culture and places of interest to see. Close to pretty, local villages/ towns, with beuatiful friendly locals. Any suggestions?"

No one came back with any- but now I have found the place which has it all!

HOTEL
Beautiful- opulent, but elegant. Reception all marble and granite.Spotlessly clean and spacious.
GROUNDS
Beautiful weel kept, gardens, and pool areas, lots of sunbeds!- beautiful white sandy beach and clear tourquoise sea. By the way, the sand whales are great- most of them are covered in moss and plantation and sea life now, so they just look like rocks, and it's fun to watch the baby birds come feed off them. And apart from saving the beach they act as a great guide as to how far to go into the sea, as you have to be very careful as the currents are strong, but stay in the safer waters - jumping in the waves is exhilarating.
ROOMS
Very nice, spacious- we had 2, adjoining superior junior suites, which were worth the extra as the courtyard view was much nicer- but the larger suites are gorgeous. Rooms are well serviced. Mini bar, restocked daily, good room service available. Tip, if your kids are over 5- get 2 rooms, as although spacious for 2, any more and is a bit cramped.
FOOD and Drink
Just too good! 5 speaiality restaurants, in order of preference- Gourmet, Mexican, Japeneze, Steak and Brazilian. I probably will give the last 2 a miss next time, but they weren't bad. The buffet was excellent- I had lobster thermadore and beef wwelllington in one sitting! Breakfast and lunch buffet excellent as well. Great choice and quality.
There is a lovely bar in the lobby, which has a pianist early evening and is great for pre and after dinner cocktails/ drinks. The Spots Bar serves snack food and drinks 24 hours, and has pool tables, table football, air hockey etc. The theatre, where the evening entertainment shows, (in the plaza, at the top of the courtyard), has a bar and of course the great beach. pool bar. Great drinks, cocktails, champagne, all premium brands. And of course from time to time Santos sets his cocktail bar up on the beach, (Friday afternoon, there's a beach party)- best Margeritas! Drinks are seve to you on the upper beach and round the pool if you wish. Nobody expects a tip,but it is appreciated.
SPA /GYM
Didn't use, but looked good as did the beach massafges people were having. There are tennis courts and table tennis on the beach too
ENYERTAINMENT
Thuogh we didn't really join in there was always a few activities organised from water areobics in the pool, to socca on the beach, dance, or Spanish lessons etc It was all good fun, but if you didn't want to join in, the pool is so big you don't have to, or just go to the beach. But the activities didn't go on for hours, it was just half an hour here and there and wasn't intrusive if you didn't want it. In the evenong there was a mini kids disco, a band in the plaza bandstand, playing latino and pop, and the nightly entertainment was normally a great show, from a Mariache band to a Mayan evening, to a Michael Jackson Tribute. They were great shows and all the entertainment team work really hard to ensure you are having a good time. It all ends around 11pm, but there is the nightclub in Riu Tequilla, or just wander into Player Del Carmen, which is buzzing at that time, if you want to go on later.
TRIPS
We did The Jungle Place- which is an amazing experience, (am writing a seperate review for that), nearby. We swam with the dolphins, swam in a cenote, visited Chichen Itza and Playa Del Carmen. All worth doing and we would do them again. But there are so many trips to chose from.

Do get up at 6am to watch the sun rise over the sea- magical!

If you have young kids and want to do tours, private tour guides and drivers just for you and your family are worth the extra- that's what we did.

Me, my husband and 2 of my boys, (3 and 13), came for 2 weeks over Easter and all agreed it was an amazing holiday and we will definately be coming back.
Found this link which gives a pretty good idea of the hotel, except the beach is much quiter than it looks on this mini video.


> http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-766544743492858713

.Great family resort for all ages! In a beautiful country with beautiful locals who are rightly extremely proud of their heritage, and really do care and look after their natural enviroment.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Annalisaxxxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2009

We stayed at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya the first week of April 2009. We arrived at the airport around 3pm, but by the time we got to the resort, it was close to 5. We were welcomed with a drink, given our room key, and the belman took our lugage to the room. We stayed on the bottom floor and had a great jr. suite. I didn't smell anything out of the ordinary like others have complained about. The room was clean although we did see some type of small flying insect on the bed. The room was stocked with beer and soda along with some lower end alcohol (vodka, tequila, rum, and brandy). Again, no complaints about the room except that it was pretty far away from the nearest ice machine. I absolutly loved the location of the room as it was closer to the main building than the beach. If you are night people and want to sleep in, I would recommend a room closer to the main building. The pool area can get pretty loud early in the morning. We ate at the buffet the first night and they had an excellent spread with all sorts of different types of food. After dinner, we relaxed in the courtyard listening to a band and mariachi group. Excellent service by the wait staff who quickly offered another drink if they saw you were getting low. The entertainment ended and we went back to our room. My only complaint was that the entertainment during all the nights ended pretty early (10 pm) and there was really nothing to do afterwards at the resort as the pool is closed. We woke up the next morning too late to make it to breakfast. We had lunch instead at the buffet next to the pool. Great food again. We then hung out at the pool and beach. The ocean was a bit warmer than the pool water but the pool water was easy to get used to after a few minutes. It was not cold as others have complained. I had to wait in line for dinner reservations and got there about 30 minutes after they began accepting reservations. That night the only restaurant seating available was at the mexican restaurant for the late seating. I took that one along with a reservation for two days later at the Japanese restaurant. The food at both restaurants was delicious although I heard some not so good reviews about the Brazilian restaurant from some others at the resort. After dinner we walked over to the RIU Tequila and went to the dance club. We are in our early 30's and the place made us feel old! It was full of 18-21 year olds who obviously don't know how to dance any other way than grinding on eachother. It was quite disappointing. We walked back to the hotel (about 1/4 mile) had another drink and called it quites for the night. The next day we went to XCaret and went swimming with the dolphings (highly recommend it). Got back to the resort exhausted from the excursion. Had a couple of drinks inside the main building and called it quites. We spend the next day at the pool. The water was much colder this day but it had been pretty windy the day before so this may have played a part in the temperature. We eventually got in, had several more drinks at the pool bar, hung out with new friends and relaxed. Dinner at the Japanese restaurant and then off to the Michael Jackson show which was great. We really had a good laugh. Woke up the next day, had breakfast (finally made it to breakfast!!!) and found the selection to be small but adequate. We walked to the small shopping area nearby, bought some stuff to take home, and headed back to the hotel before our ride picked us up to take us to the airport. Had one last drink (mojitos and miami vice are delicious) and said farewell to the resort. This was an excellent vacation and a bargain at under $1400. We walked through several of the other RIU resorts nearby and with the exception of the Palace Mexico, they do not even compare. I sill prefered Palace Riviera Maya over Palace Mexico because the beach was nicer at Riviera Maya. We went to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and the wife and I are already talking about going back again.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank arlenenruss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2009

Ok,

I am writing another review after returning from the RIUPRM from our stay 4/3/09 to 4/13/09. I submitted a review 1/2/09 with a lot of pictures and detail so if you want to look back you can see my pictures. I will say the atmosphere at Christmas and New Years was different and the mixture of guests was different for Spring Break. There were not unattended high school or college kids there, they don't allow it. There was more glitz at Christmas and New years and a wider selection of upscale food but I would expect that too. The price in April was 1/3 less and summer is 2/3 less than Christmas and New Years.

We had another wonderful trip and there were 5 of us ranging from 11 to 50. I will say the 11 year old, 19 year old and 21 year old has as much fun as the parents. The weather was spectacular and there was always a breeze to wind which made the 85-87 degree temperature easy to tolerate. The sun was hotter than December so you could surely burn easier so beware. The other interesting observation, at Christmas the Caribbean was warmer than the pool and now the pool is warmer than the Caribbean, both refreshing.

Having been there 3 months ago everyone still remembered us and the service, from management to the cleaning staff, was just as friendly and helpful as before. They bend over backwards for you. There were a few bumps this time which were a minor inconveniences but still a nuisance since we had been there before and had made requests 2 months prior to arrival. The rooms we requested were not available the first night and we were placed in a noisy second floor room near the entertainment which was changed the next day. Octavio, at the front desk was very helpful in orchestrating that move.

As for the rooms, they are always very nice and clean and I always tipped the cleaning staff daily. It didn't seem to matter as for as your care but they must say Hola to everyone that walks by a 1000 times a day. As I mentioned, our first room on the south side near the entertainment stage was loud, but the show that night was extremely loud. It is over by 11 PM. Our next room, which was 2 doors down from the room I had requested, on the north side 3rd floor was a Superior Junior Suite with a view of the Caribbean over the palm trees and courtyard. The problem there was the air-conditioning was not functioning properly so they came immediately and worked over 1 hour. It never cooled like it should have but it was comfortable just more humid than before. And the final minor problem was that 1 night we were visited by a cucharacha, roach, on the floor which being from Texas originally was no issue but my 11 year old freaked. So it is in an area which is hot and humid. Yes there is a smell which when we came home is distinctive as before. We didn't really notice it there after the first day.

The restaurants from Don Manolo's buffet, Japanese, Chili's Steak House, Mexican, Brazilian and Finally Krystal's the gourmet restaurant were very good for an all inclusive. Krystals had Chilean Sea Bass which was excellent. Chili's Steakhouse is outside and , as noted before it was very good, and yes you may get a mosquito bite. Krystal's and the Japanese restaurant were my favorite. The sushi was very good and I eat sushi all the time. The salmon was excellent as was the beef tenderloin. Also, as for the Manolo's buffet at night, there is a wide variety of food which changes each night with certain specialty nights. The food is good to very good and the service is excellent. Alberto, Rosario, Jesus and the rest of the staff were superb. They made you fill like you were their most important diner. The breakfast buffet also had a wide assortment of food from custom omelets, pancakes, waffles, fresh fruit and freshly made fruit smoothies of all types. You should note that Krystal's and The Japanese restaurants require pants for the men.

At lunch time Chili's, open air by the pool, has a buffet for the the entire afternoon. I think it is repetitive in a lot of things like burgers, pizza and hot dogs but there are hot items which change through the week. I would say the food is good to very good for an all inclusive. The best hidden secret is tha Manolo's, the main buffet, opens from 1 PM to 3 PM and has different food. It is always open, quiet and air-conditioned if you want to get away from the pool. Most people are not aware.

The grounds are beautiful and immaculately groomed. You might see an iguana as we did and a small brown mammal that they have a name for but looks like a chocolate colored kangaroo rabbit. There are plenty of Geckos.I can't believe how hard these people work.

The beach area is beautiful and of the 5 RIU's in the complex it is the best. In fact it is the best of all the resort beaches. Sand whales are there and were made to protect the beach from erosion. They are a necessity but respect them. We saw kids jumping off of them and they are slippery and can have barnacles so it is easy to get cut. Also, you must respect the Caribbean and I wouldn't venture out past the sand whales. The current can get strong and changes outside of them. We had a blast crashing some big waves and with a mask saw schools of smaller fish. It is not a reef though.

The pool is huge and there are 2. The upper, infinity pool is quieter and the lower pool has water volleyball. Of course you have the swim up bar and swim up lounge tables to drink at if you are so inclined. The bar staff and pool waiters are excellent. and really have fun. Our only problem was some drunk must have dropped a glass cigar tube into the pool 1 night and a 10 year old girl and someone in our party cut there foot but management was all over that with divers to get the glass out and no further problems. Why would glass be allowed anywhere near a pool is my question.

The activities staff are a lot of fun. Jimmy, Pepe, David, Joshua, Ruddy, Leo and Edna work hard to make it fun. Edna is fantastic with the younger kids and they all like kids. I think at Spring Break there was more drinking by the the guests and less participation but there was always something to do from pellet gun shooting contests, volleyball, beach soccer, horseshoes, ping pong tournaments and regular volleyball.

The shows at night were good but there were several that were new from Christmas and excellent. They had a Michael Jackson impersonator from Pueblo, Mexico, who you would guarantee is Michael Jackson. His face, body, dancing and even his voice when he talked. He lip synched most of the songs but sang 3 and you could not tell the difference. It was one of the best shows I have ever seen. They also had a show with the trapeze which was very good. One night there was an ad lib show because of rain and that was the funniest of them all. All I can say is be careful if they ask for volunteers on stage at night. I went once. Also, ask yourself if you really want to win Sexy Bingo at the pool. I learned my lesson at Christmas.

I also wanted to add about safety since so much is being written about Mexico today. The Riu is in Playacar which is essentially gated. There are beautiful homes on the same road as all of the resorts are on. You cannot just drive in there without a special sticker on your car. The drivers from the airport have to leave their id's their when they come in and pick them up when they leave. We walked around day and night and it never felt unsafe.


Hopefully, I have helped you and please feel free to e-mail me. I think you would enjoy the resort since it isn't huge and you don't have to walk all over creation to get somewhere. Playa Del Carmen is a 20 minute walk north and it was worth visiting. We hit Senor Frogs one day and had fun. Xel Ha for snorkeling, Coba if you want to climb a Mayan ruin, the only place to do that, and scuba diving, offered right at the pool for those who would like to try it or do a resort course and go out for a reef dive. My daughter loves the RIU Palace RM and we will be back in June and for 2 weeks at Christmas again. I think it is a great place for families or adults but if you are looking for night life and partying you will have to go outside into town. You can get whatever you want there. Coco Bongo's disco if you want to be up to until 6 AM.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Docobee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dayton, oh
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2009

Just returned after one week at Riu Palace Riveria Maya and didn't want to come home! We even called our travel agent to see if there was any way we could stay an extra week. From the moment we arrived and were greeted by Hector, the doorman, we were enthralled! Not a single, solitary thing went wrong during the entire week. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and I've never seen a cleaner resort. The entire staff, from housekeeping to the waiters to the bartenders, everybody was extremely pleasant and helpful. You were made to feel as if you were the only guest. Our room was spacious and spotless. The towel animals left on our bed were a nice touch. The buffett food was the best, although we tried 2 of the speciality restaurants - the Mexican and the steak house. Get a margarita from Claudia in the Sports Bar - the best ever! I truly can't believe that people can find something to complain about, but I'd like to address a few. Musty smell - you're at a tropical resort. Small room - how much time do you spend in your room when you're on vacation and just how much space do you need? Bad food - I'll never understand this one - I thought the food was excellent and gorgeously presented. Dirty beach - could be the result of the rude slobs who leave their drink glasses and dishes down there for someone else to pick up. Sand whales - they serve a purpose. Unfriendly staff - I never, not once, encountered ANY staff who did not smile and say hello when you passed them in the hall or ANY staff who did not go over-board to make you feel as if you were the only person they were waiting on. We asked for a mattress pad because our bed was too hard and they replaced the entire thing with a brand-new pillowtop mattress! In the restaurants, your dirty plate is removed almost instantaneously and your drinks are constantly refilled. We never had to wait for or ask for a thing! I loved this place and would go back in a heart-beat! In fact, we're going back to Mexico in October and wouldn't think of trying out another resort - this one has it all. My one and only complaint (and it has nothing to do with the hotel but the guests) is that it's hard to get a lounger by the pool when you've got people who get up hours before they intend to use a lounger and put a towel on it to reserve it, then go back to their rooms to get dressed and go to breakfast, confident in the fact that their lounger will be there for them when they finally get around to going to the pool - pretty rude. Although there are signs that say you aren't allowed to reserve loungers, it's done every morning. Wish the hotel would enforce this rule. 5th Avenue is a $5 cab ride away. One tip - arrive with plenty of ones for tipping - it gets you extra special service. DO NOT expect to get them after you arrive. And if you need extra money, the only ATM that we could find that dispensed American dollars is inside Senor Frog's off 5th Avenue by the ferry landing.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bellaperkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Massachusetts
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2009

OK where do I begin, I read all the reviews before I left and now I'm going to return the favor. We had a great vacation, we stayed for a week arriving on April 6th, 2009. There was not one thing during our trip that made me even a little nervous about being in Mexico considering all the stuff that has been on the news so don't worry about that. We went to 5th Ave twice, once during the day and once at night we also walked to the little shopping area up the street a bit twice and never had any problems. The hotel was clean all of the time, the room was nice and clean no issues at all. The only thing I didn't like was having to get up before the crack of dawn to get descent chairs by the pool that were in the sun. There were plenty of chairs on the beach so you will always be able to get a chair somewhere. The drinks were always available and they made them however you requested, Jose Cuervo, Jim Bean, Absolute, Bacardi, Cointreau. The beach was very nice, water was like bath water but a little ruff most days. The food at the buffets were good, we went to three of the specialty restaurants and the only one I enjoyed was the Japanese, I left the Mexican restaurant and went to the buffet and the steak restaurant was just ok, my steak was too salty so I ate bread it was too late to make the buffet before it closed @ 10pm. The food that is available 24/7 in the Sports bar was not good, cold hamburgers you warmed up in the microwave and soggy sandwhiches. I also visited the spa and had two massages which I enjoyed but thought were a little expensive but it was my birthday. I'm already planning to visit another Riu in Jamaica. We also walked around the other Riu hotels in Playacar but the Palace Riviera Maya was the best. I will be happy to answer any questions.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sparcl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kentucky
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2009

Wow, there are no words to describe Riu Palace Riviera Maya. It was the perfect resort. The food was amazing, the staff was wonderful and the grounds were breathtaking. I knew I had picked the right place from the moment we walked into the lobby. Upon check in we were given a drink immediately and all bell boy took our bags up to our room and waited for us to fill out the paperwork. We checked in around 5 PM so we were fairly hungry. We found fresh sandwiches in the Sports Bar the BEST Margaritas in Mexico. We booked our transportation through Olympus who immediately arranged our tours and shuttle back to the airport on the first day.

It was Saturday night and one of their special menus at the buffet. I filled up on sushi and white wine. We were so impressed with the service. They tended to our every need like we were the only people in the restaurant. It felt like every time I took a sip of my wine they were there to refill the glass. While gratuities are included in the cost of the trip they hotel staff always appreciate a well earned tip. I never get carried away but it is a good rule of thumb to take about $50 in singles for tips throughout the week. You'll be amazed at what a couple of dollars here and there will do for the service level.

Our room was fantastic! Last year we splurged on a room during our Alaskan cruise. This year I decided not to waste my money. The view wasn't perfect but I can't complain. We simply booked a suite. It was exceptionally clean and comfortable. Our balcony overlooked an adjoining property and a side court yard. The properties around the Riu Palace are very nice and I never felt like I needed more. A good tip we received the first day was to leave the housekeeper a small tip every morning. We did so and were highly impressed at the level of service we received. Even those who weren't tipping received an amazing level of service.

We took two tours on our seven day trip. I would recommend both of them. The first one was the snorkeling adventure and the second was the Coba Mayan Encounter. This is our fourth time in Mexico and I'm still amazed by the color of the reef and the history of the ruins.

One complaint a few guest had was about the loungers at the pool. This is an early riser resort. Most of the chairs were reserved by 7 AM and the best spots go much faster. We're early risers so we didn't mind this process. Often we'd drop our towels off before we headed to the gym in the morning around 6 AM.

The dinner reservations were also a bit of a hassle. You must make reservations for all the specialty restaurants between 12-3 every day in the lobby. You can only make two reservations at a time. We learned a trip from another couple. I went and booked our first two nights at 12 and my husband went back and book our second two dinners at 1. The specialty restaurants were terrific. I loved Chillis and the Japanese Cuisine. Krystals was also very tasty and would recommend the fillet . I'm not much of a meat eater so we didn't try the Brazilian. I also didn't care for the Mexican cuisine but it wasn't bad by a long stretch.

The night entertainment isn't the best but the ambiance of the place doesn't really lend it self to cheesy Vegas style shows. There were vendors there to offer merchandise and the lobby bar was great. Because the Riu Palace is so small you honestly felt like you knew so many people. The bartender at the lobby bar was my favorite. I threaten to kidnap him so I'd have somebody to make me a Sangria every night after dinner. Most times I didn't even have to order and drink because he already knew what I wanted.

There is a short walk up to Playa Del Carmen I highly recommend. Fifth Ave is the place to do all your shopping. If you like the barter this is the place to go. If you don't like the barter then taken a left instead of a right and there are a few little stores where you won't be haggled at all.

This is a wonderful place to vacation. I can't think of any complaints and anybody who can obviously can't be pleased.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank pristinely
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 Riviera Maya

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Address: Av Xaman-Ha Mza 9 y 10 Lote 1 Int.Fracc. | Fase II Solidaridad, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#21 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya 4*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* The hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya is located directly on the white, sandy beach of the Playacar residential estate, along with the Riu Palace Mexico, Playacar, Riu Yucatan and the ClubHotel Riu Tequila hotels. The 400 spacious and elegant junior suites are set in the 3-storey main building, with its delightful architectural style and surrounded by extensive tropical gardens. * Next Village / Location Playa del Carmen 2.0 km approx. * Next City Cancún 60.0 km approx. * Airport Cancún International Airport (CUN) 55.0 km approx. * Main Building 3 floors 400 rooms * Accepted Credit Cards: MasterCard, Visa ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Riu Riviera Maya
Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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