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.
- 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