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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
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2,732 - 2,737 of 7,108 reviews
Reviewed May 14, 2014

My wife and I arranged a trip with another couple to celebrate a 50th birthday. My wife and I prefer Sol Pacificos condos, north of Cabo near Todos Santos, which has a swimmable beach, but our friends really wanted all-inclusive. I searched the reviews, and picked Riu Palace based on the high marks. Baja is a perfect getaway for us living in the Bay Area, because it's the closest warm water destination (3 hour flight). We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, and after a 30 minute SUV ride from the airport, we checked into our room. Our rooms were next to each other, which was nice, and located on the East wing, room 4101 & 4102. Our view was looking out to the pool. The rooms were large, clean, and fully stocked. King bed (not Cal King), sofa, coffee table, flat panel TV, a fully stocked fridge with soda, water, and beer. There was also a dispenser with Jose Cuervo, Vodka, and Rum. The halls of the resort are all tile and marble, so the sounds echo. We went to bed around 10pm each night, and were awaken by rude, loud, younger guests on two of the four nights. Earplugs allowed me to sleep through it, but my wife was annoyed. The staff are all great…waiters, maids, bartenders, activity people, and front desk, were all very helpful and pleasant. The food buffet had an incredible selection. The quality was pretty good. Everyone has their own take on all-inclusive resort food, but as someone who spent 7 years working at a fine dining establishment, I have to say the food overall is pretty good. We tried the Italian, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants and they were also pretty good. If you're picky, which I'm not, you'll be hard-pressed not to find something to enjoy. It's overwhelming with all the food choices…it's crazy! Our favorite was the Italian/Mexican/Buffet restaurant on the east side overlooking the ocean and Land's End. Be prepared to gain a few pounds. The pools were large and perfect temp. The pool chairs were plentiful, so we didn't have to wake up at 6am to reserve a spot. The drinks were hit or miss, but the sports bar had the best drinks (located on the same floor as registration). Good top shelf liquor. We had 5 shots of Tequila at the Mexican restaurant and even my wife didn't feel a buzz. Watered down? The gym has a great view of the ocean for those who want to work off some of the calories you'll be eating. If you like eating, and hanging by a pool, this is a great resort. Comfy rooms, clean grounds, large pools, great food and beverage selection. If you like to spend time in the ocean, Cabo is not your destination (that's why I prefer Los Cerritos). The beach break at Riu Palace makes getting into the ocean not advisable. I think I saw maybe 2 people swim in the ocean during our 4 days (it's cold in April, and the undertow is dangerous). We went into town once, to show our friends, and unless you've never been to Mexico or are young looking for "action," it's not very interesting. I've been coming to Los Cabos since the 1980's, and it's like many other destinations in Mexico, it's too Americanized. Long gone are the days of bringing down a few used Levi 501 jeans and a couple of Playboy magazines and trading for lobster dinners and fishing trips! However, Riu Palace is a great resort for relaxing, enjoying the warm sun, and eating! That's not to say you can't venture out to enjoy other activities like fishing, parasailing, or shopping. We saw 3 beautiful wedding ceremonies during our visit, and I think lent to an usually high number of 20-30 year old guests. I never realized just how popular tattoos have become! The temps were in the 85-90 degree range (early May), and the heat is dry. Go, relax, and bring your appetite!

Room Tip: The resort is symmetrical. West and East wings. They are almost identical, but the West side seemed more quiet. We were on the East wing, rooms 4101 & 4102, 4th floor. The noise level is high because of the echo-effect from all the stone, tile, and marble.
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Bradmtb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2014

I personally really liked this resort. I'll break down the best, and the not so great. It really depends what you're looking for.
Location: Close taxi/bus ride to San Lucas. Beautiful view of the beach and Los Arches.
Resort layout: Large enough that even at full capacity, it didn't feel too crowded. Easy access to buffets any time of day. Swim-up bars were fun. There is a quiet pool with no activities--most people read over there.
Food: Buffet food was the best, especially at the indoor one. Huge variety of food. Sit-down restaurants were just okay, and take forever. Room service is a little slow and the food lukewarm. The italian restaurant open during the day is a well-kept secret though--wonderful.
Activities: Bingo, pool aerobics, games, etc were fun. The staff personable and remembers your name, even after meeting you once. They are a little loud in the mic, though, so don't plan on napping through the day.
Shows: Hit and miss. The dancing shows are better than say, Grease, which is only lipsyncing.
Beach: Beautiful but mostly unswimmable, unless you take the water taxi out to the arches. I am a brave swimmer but the slope of the beach and the rough surf held me off. There is supposedly a significant undertow as well. That was disappointing, but I knew it was that way.
Rooms: Decent, but basic. They could really use a decorating lift. The tubs are a high step to get over, so request a handicapped room if you need to.
Cleanliness: someone is always cleaning this place. I often saw girls scrubbing the floors, dusting the doors, basically cleaning something all the time. It is pristine.
If you are looking for an above average resort, plenty of food, a great view, fun people, this is your place. If you need more personal attention and exceptional amenities, you won't be happy.

Room Tip: Many of the rooms are ocean view. Just request one. Any of them are good. Request the "quiet side" if you don't like a lot of activity.
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled on business
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2  Thank Chantalize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2014 via mobile

Pros:

Pool
View
Lunch Buffet
Comfortable beds and pillows

Cons:

Dinner in general was below average.
Only dos XX beer available.
Wifi not working.
Poor room service.
Too noisy
Too many drunk people
Spring break atmosphere

It was fun staying there because we were a large group but for a couples retreat, I would not recommend it.

Stayed: May 2014, traveled with friends
1  Thank DENTALANDMENTAL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2014

The Palace resort is wonderful and great food and service. But..do NieOT BUY AT THE JEWELRY STORE in the resort!! I bought 2 rings-told they were silver, coated with rodium(common practice) and that the stone in one of the rings was a tanzinite. After showing them to a jeweler at the Luxury Mall, I was told that the "tanzinite " was colored quartz. The ring buckled!! before I could return it the next day....pretty much assuring that it wasn't even silver, although the "925"(?) mark was on both rings. They did return my $400, but I wonder how many people buy something on the way out, and don't discover the false rip offs until they get home, and it's too late. Hope this saves someone some heart ache..Personally, I think the Palace should get rid of them, as it tarnishes their reputation also..

Room Tip: Our room was on the far north side-facing a sanddune and garden,2nd floor, It was quiet and clean.
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank HELPIE2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2014

I recently had my wedding at the RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas and it was very nice. I will review each step of our stay so that you may get a better idea if you are thinking of having your wedding here.

We had a group of about 30 people all together at the wedding. 6 out of the 30 people could not stay at the Palace or the Santa Fe because it was "sold out" (tried to book about 3-4 weeks before wedding). They had to stay down the street at the Villa Del Palmar (not all inclusive). I later met a couple who booked their trip 2 weeks ago as a very discounted rate so I am a little upset that my husbands family had to stay off the resort when there were obviously rooms available.

Check-in/Transportation: Since we worked with a travel agency we had transportation from the airport through Telemar. They were on time and very accommodating with our entire group. The cab ride took about 35 minutes to get to the resort from the airport. Check in was no problem, we were greeting with drinks and a map of the resort. Our room wasn't ready yet so we had some lunch at the great buffet and then some drinks at the lobby bar. We checked back early to see if the room was ready yet and they put a rush on cleaning it so that we could settle in. Cute towel decorations greeted us on the bed.

Rooms: We were upgraded to an oceanview room on the 2nd floor because of our wedding package. I have to say, I wasn't too impressed with the rooms or hallways...they seemed a little outdated to me in comparison to some other hotels I stayed in. Just my preference. The oceanview room wasn't a true oceanview, more like a pool view and corner ocean view, still nice though. The room was cleaned and restocked every day and they made sure to ask if we wanted more towels every night. The cleaning crew work their butts off and do such a great job!

Food: Food was pretty good, lots of selection even for vegetarians (my whole family are vegetarians). The specialty restaurants were not my favorite because I am a picky eater. My favorite was the Italian lunch restaurant, San Jose (Mexican restaurant at night). Japanese restaurant entrees were good but all the restaurants have a very limited selection, you can choose from like 3 things. My husband enjoyed the steak restaurant. Neither of us liked the Krystal restaurant, too weird and hard to get into for a reservation. Pool side fajitas were bomb. We walked over to spend the day at the Santa Fe one day and the food was no where near as good. The pool side servers were very attentive and constantly asking if we wanted anything.

Rehearsal Dinner: We had our rehearsal dinner at the San Jose Mexican restaurant. We were supposed to have a semi private dinner on the terrace over looking the beach which was including in our wedding package but we showed up for our reservation at 8:30pm and was told that we would be sitting in the restaurant with the other guests because someone else had the terrace. I was upset because there was nothing special about our dinner, we were just in the restaurant at a long table like everyone else and I paid good money to have that semi private dinner. The food options were suckling pig, mushroom ravioli, chick and steak fajitas, and prawns as well as the buffet. It was just okay. The BIGGEST complaint I have is that they would not allow my husband's family (sisters and mother) on to the resort for the rehearsal dinner even with guest passes because they said they were at full capacity!! They tried 3 separate times throughout the day to pay for guest passes and spend the day with us and the security at the gate would not allow them in and would not even call the front desk to check and see if they were in the wedding party. They were extremely rude and difficult. Finally at 8:45pm after 4 attempts they got in but were told they could not come back to the resort the next day until after 12:30pm even though they paid a full day pass and it was the wedding day!

Spa: Ok....this is not a spa. I decided to have my hair and makeup done at the resort because I didn't want to travel to a salon on my wedding day and the resort requires a $300 outside vendor fee if you bring someone in (bogus). My hair and makeup turned out good but not great...I know I could of looked better and that is not feeling you want on your wedding day. The hairdresser/makeup artist (same person) did not speak any English so it was very difficult to communicate what I wanted even with lots of pictures. I showed up for my appointment expecting a full salon with a lot of hair and makeup gadgets that a normal person wouldn't have to make me look fabulous and what I got was 1 chair, 1 lady, 1 curling iron, and 1 can of hairspray. That's it. It turned out alright after several times of correcting what I wanted. I would not recommend getting you hair and makeup done at the RIU Palace salon.

Ceremony: Ceremony was at the San Jose gazebo. The ceremony was beautiful, music and everything went off without a hitch. The wedding coordinator (Jazz) did a good job. Reverend Marco did a great job, personal and funny at the same time. It lasted about 25-30 minutes. Everything was set up just like I instructed the wedding coordinator. NOTE: We went to see the ceremony space the day before the wedding and were SHOCKED when we saw a huge trashy massage tent and white van in plain view of the gazebo that would obviously be seen in all the pictures. It is not part of the resort and is technically on the next property so there is nothing that can be done about it but it would have been nice to know a head of time to prepare or bring something to hide the hideous eyesore. I am not exaggerating...it's bad.

Reception: We paid the extra money to have a private reception at the Baja Norte. This is by far the best decision we made. It was beautiful. There were 3 other weddings that night at the steakhouse terrace, beach, and mexican terrace...so many people commented how they were so thankful we paid the extra money because the other areas were just simply not as nice. I have to note something else that was very upsetting, we missed about an hour of our reception because the coordinators never told our guests when they could come down to the reception space from our cocktail hour in the lobby. The guests were supposed to be seated at 6:30pm and when we came to the reception to be announced as a new couple, there was not a soul in sight. It wasn't until about 7:20pm that I found my sister-in-law who told everyone to come down. Very upsetting. The wedding coordinator claimed she told everyone to come down but they were just having too good of a time sitting in the lobby at cocktail hour. Yeah right. Maybe I would believe that if there were some people down at the reception site, but not a single person including my mom was there. I really wish I had that hour back. The food at the reception was ok/good. As I said, my whole family are vegetarians so the wedding coordinator gave us 2 veggie options and 1 beef options which was nice (usually it's just 1 and 1). We had the stuffed eggplant, vegetable lasagna, and beef fillet. Asparagus soup was the best part. The resort DJ was good, I gave him a playlist to stick to and he did for the most part so no real complaints there. I did not use the resort photogprapher because I did not like their work I saw online. I paid the $300 outside vendor fee and got Gilda Badillo Photography. Phenomenal. Worth every penny. The cake cutting was another bust. First of all, they had nothing for us to cut the cake with when it came time. Our photographer had to find a mini pearing knife to cut the cake. We had no plates or forks either, we had to use our hands :( It was a disaster. We didn't get to eat a piece of the cake either. The head waiter said they would send 2 pieces up to our room but they never did so we never even got to eat out own wedding cake BUT everyone said it was very very tasty. The service was on point, drinks constantly flowing, shots being made, they made sure everyone was taken care of. The reception ended promptly at 11pm. We continued the party at the Pacho night club which was actually a ton of fun.

Overall it was a great wedding and a great trip with 30 of our closest friends and family!

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank cabobride555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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