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“Riu Santa Fe vs. Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas”

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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
Ranked #32 of 70 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Riu Santa Fe vs. Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas”
Reviewed April 13, 2009

We bought all inclusive Riu Santa Fe for 2 weeks but stayed there only for 4 days and then upgraded to Riu Palace. A few points of Santa Fe vs. Palace:

1. Santa Fe has 902 rooms; Palace – 642. However, Santa Fe has approx. three times shorter shoreline than the Palace. Overall the property of the Palace appears to be much bigger with much lower density, which allows much more space between loungers on the beach, in the pool and in any restaurant.

2. Santa Fe is cheaper and thus caters to a more economic crowd (mostly young people who like to “burn” their vacations in parties, etc.). Palace’s guests are quieter more refined and more focused on relaxing. Because Santa Fe caters to “go go” type of crowd, the motorized water sports are right on the beach on Santa Fe which overtakes the whole Santa Fe beach not allowing space for swimming. I was twice almost overrun by jet ski. When I went to complain to the management, they said that the hotel does not recommend swim in the ocean. It is true, they do not recommend to swim, but due to the waives! They totally ignore the fact that motorized sports endanger lives of those people who choose to swim. Also, because of the motorized sports (and the parting overly drinking youngsters by the pool), noise level is very high at Santa Fe. Please note that I do like jet skis myself but I believe such should have designated areas, not where people swim. You will not find any of such nonsense in Palace.

3. When I wanted to use a Jacuzzi in the spa of Santa Fe after a treatment in the spa, I found two spa Jacuzzis occupied solid by drinking, smoking and swearing teenagers (in the spa!), so of course, I could not use it. You will not find such nonsense in Palace.

4. The food is almost the same, however, the Palace provided a few dishes/products that Santa Fe does not have (such a smokes salmon, etc., the more expensive options). If you are in Palace, you can eat in both, Palace and Santa Fe. However, if you are in Santa Fe, you can eat only in Santa Fe.

Because of the above, I would not go to Santa Fe anymore, but I would go back to Palace.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
61 Thank CATFLY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2009

My wife and I recently stayed at the RIU Palcae Cabo San Lucas. While we were at the pool someone pushed out room door open because the lock did not always catch. While in our room they had plenty of time to search for the key to the safe. I found out it is common practice to hide the key inside the room so as not to lose it in the pool or ocean. A certain employee of the RIU must of known this fact and the fact that the doors to the room might slam shut but not always lock. They cleaned us out of every bit of cash we brought with us. We promptly reported this to the manager and they came to our room about 90 minutes later. They treated this as no big deal. It might not be to them it it happens often but it was a hugh deal for us. You would of thought they would of bent over backwards to make sure our needs were met. Needs that they could help us with while we were cashless. Even such a simple act of asking us if we needed transportation into town to get to an ATM or an event they never asked. We wanted answers and all they did was to go out of their way to avoid us. Their assistant director , Brenda was just such a cold hearted person. I am just glad that whoever came into our room that day did not surprise me or my wife. Who knows how that would of ended. I told management that I would put this on Trip Advisor. They just laughed. Please contact me and I will tell you how to contact them so they know that TRIP ADVISOR is a force to be taken seriously. Thank You for letting me rant.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
35 Thank bustedincabo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2009

I am fairly new to TA, but found it extremely helpful for our trip planning and so I thought I'd contribute with a review of our trip to Cabo. This was our first time and I spent countless hours trying to decide between the RIU Santa Fe and RIU Palace. We decided on the SF, but after reading so many comments and researching further we switched to the Palace and I am SO GLAD that we did!!

I will break-down my review by category and include comments about both resorts at the end (since we spent time at both).

The resort is IMMACULATE and they are always cleaining. The location is stunning! The service was also outstanding. They are attentive, friendly and fun. The maitre'd at the main restaruant, Ceasar, is awesome. He was always waiting on you and had a great sense of humor. We always tried to eat ouside and the staff always remembered us. They made it a very personal experience the week we were there.

The food....I have mixed comments on that. There is a lot of it and plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, etc. We could always find something to eat. However, it is what others have stated...BLAND. There really isn't any other way to describe it. It just lacks the seasoning that we are used to. Breakfast was always good, lunch definitely was repetitive and we did try some of the specialty restaraunts. There is no italian restaraunt at the Palace...Mexican, Steak, Japanese and Fusion. The Fusion restaraunt was weird in that the decor did not match the dishes or theme of the restaraunt. It was like they turned a victorian restaraunt into a contempory fusion restaraunt but didn't change the decor. Not a huge deal, just weird. The entrees at the fusion restaraunt that we had were amazing (steak and sea bass). The dessert (chocolate) was also very good. The rest of the courses were just a little too fancy for our liking (lots of "foams" and fancy stuff). The Mexican restaraunt was just OK, but worth going just for the location. It is right on the beach and fun for a change from the buffet restaraunt.

Drinks...are abundant. You are never left wanting. Quite frankly we never used the liquor dispensor. There were mimosas at breakfast that were awesome and there are so many bars that we never needed the stuff in the room (other than a few beers from the fridge). The wine is not all that great, but it is drinkable (barely). There is almost any type of alcohol you could ask for and the drinks are far from weak!

Pools ...are AMAZING! There is an activity pool and a quiet pool. The difference is basically the activities are planned at one and not the other. We always hung out at the quiet pool because the other really was rather loud (bingo, music, water aerobics, water volleyball, etc.). There are two swim-up bars and two kiddy pools. We never had a problem with finding a chair, although we got down there early. If you didn't put something out early (by 7:30 or 8:00) I think you would have a hard time finding a spot.

Beach vendors...are always present. They would appraoch you if you were on the beach or sitting on the edge of the infinity pools, but if you said you weren't interested they would leave you alone. We did purchase things from them and they were not high pressure at all. Honestly, we felt bad for them a little. It is very hot and they work very long days in the blazing hot sun for very little money. Not an easy life!

The Rooms...clean, comfortable and noisy! We were on the 4th floor (top) in an ocean-front room facing the activity pool. We heard that all day and then in the early morning and dinner time had noise from the buffet restaraunt. That part wasn't too bad, although we like to have our slider open and enjoy the sound of the ocean. That wasn't possible because of the noise from the outside. Not a huge deal...just something to consider. The other noise was from the hallways at night. It is loud. It may have been our location as we were right around the corner from the elevators and stairs. I would suggest bringing earplugs (seriously). I always sleep with them and had no problems. My husband and daughters don't usually sleep with them and were woken up several times each night by people returning to their rooms. The beds were definitely firm, but I did not find the sheets to be old. The towels seemed new, however the sofa was definitely dated. We were supposed to have connecting rooms. We didn't, however it wasn't a big issue. The way the rooms are configured there is a small hallway off of the main hallway and there are two rooms in each small hallway with the doors directly across from each other. It was perfect for us since it made it feel like we were kind of "off by ourselves". However, if you had someone loud across from you it could get difficult at night to sleep! Besides voices carrying with all of the tile, the doors definitely do "slam" shut.

The ocean...is DANGEROUS! It is mesmerizing to watch. I have no clue how people "swim" in it. Lots of people body surf, but to swim?!? The waves are beyond anything I have ever seen and can take you by surprise. We are used to big water - we live in a town on Lake Michigan. This is bigger than anything I've ever experienced and it is to be respected.

The sports bar was a favorite spot for us. It is just off the lobby and the view is awesome. There is also a bar on the floor just beneath this that is off of the entertainment stage area.

Overall experience...was good and we would return. It is not the Four Seasons in quality, but it is a very elegant resort. The staff are attentive, the resort is clean and well maintained. The food is not quite what I was expecting and the room is definitely noisy at night. However, it is a good value.

To compare the SF with the Palace...they were both well maintained and clean. I am sure the rooms were similar (other than the ones at the SF being away from the water). The SF is a great place to walk or run in the mornings or evenings. Lots of people from the Palace (including us) would use that as a "track" of sorts and it was perfect for that. The resort did have a lot of walking, although the Palace had a lot of stairs (elevators were always available). The biggest difference to us and well worth the cost difference was the fact that all of the public areas of the Palace are centered around the ocean and almost all of the ones at the SF are far from the ocean. The only restaraunt on the ocean at the SF was the steak place (lunch buffet) and it sat behind the pool deck. The ocean front pool at the SF was lovely, although it was a LOT more congested than at the Palace pool. The chairs were right on top of each other. The activity pool at the SF sat by the lobby, away from the ocean. Like the ocean-front pool at the SF it was congested and the umbrellas at this pool were grass roof style and could not be moved. The other big difference was that all of the bars (other than pool bars) were in the same location at the SF...entertainment stage, lobby bar, sports bar, etc. If you wanted a peaceful drink in the evening forget it. It was loud and crazy. The atmosphere there was definitely that of a "spring break". The other thing that stood out to us was the quality of the finishes. The Palace had wrought iron furniture at the pool bars and the SF had plastic furniture (which was VERY close together). The furniture at the main restaraunt at the SF was plastic and the furniture at the main restaraunt at the Palace was wrought iron. The furniture at the sports bar and entertainment area of the Palace was wrought iron and wicker and glass and the it was plastic at the SF. It was basically the difference between being very close together and plastic at the SF and having much more space and better quality of finishes at the Palace.

This is really long and I could probably write a lot more. However....I've probably bored everyone long enough! If you have any questions feel free to PM me or comment and I will respond. Cabo is a beautiful place and we had a great time.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
25 Thank Venti03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 10, 2009

We knew the food at an all inclusive wouldn't be good, but we were not prepared for how bad the food at this place is. We only ate 2 of our dinners there and went out the other nights.

Everyone that works at this place was wonderful, very friendly and played along with my husband trying to speak Spanish! Never snobby like you can sometimes find in Europe!

The pool area is great, the rooms are comfortable; but unfortunately, the bad food will always stand out to us and we will not be going back. Too bad because it really is a nice place!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank becky522
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ellicott City, MD
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2009

My wife and I stayed at the RIU April 2-6, 2009. We booked our trip directyly through RIU's website. After landing in Cabo (1 hour later than expected) we exited the airport directly to where all of the travel companies were waiting for their pick-ups. We had purchased private transportation to the hotel with our package and we were told to look for the individual holding a RIU sign. We saw no one holding such a sign. After waiting for a while, I called RIU's 800 number and told the rep of our circumstances. He told me that since the plane was an hour late, the chances were the guy that was supposed to pick us up probably left. The rep said to hire a taxi (which was $80US one way) and to seek reimbursement when we got to the hotel; he also said he couldn't guarantee we'd be reimbursed. Tired, we didn't argue; but things weren't off to a good start.

Upon arrival at the hotel, as soon as we entered the lobby, we were met with an offer of a welcome cocktail and check-in was very smooth. When I told the person at the front desk about our transportation problem, he advised me I had to talk to the transportation company rep who was set up at a table in the lobby. Here comes the run around I thought. Much to my surprise, "Sam" the rep I spoke to was very helpful. He told me that he'd contact his manager about the situation and get back to me at some point during our stay. He, in fact, did follow up and gave me instructions as to how to get reimbursed.

Upon check-in we were told our room wouldn't be available until 3:00. Even though we went back and asked before 3:00, we were not able to get a room key until exactly 3:00.
When we got to the room, issue no. 2 arose. We had booked an ocean front jr. suite. The room we were given was first floor, in a corner, and if you went on the patio and leaned way out over the railing and looked right, you could see the ocean. Obviously, I wasn't pleased!!! So, back to the front desk we went. And again, the RIU didn't disappoint. THe front desk clerk profusely apologized for the mistake and we were immediately given an ocean front room on the third floor.

And that's it for the complaints! After that, our stay was superb. The grounds were immaculate, the pools beautiful, the drinks were aplenty and we had a great time during our stay. With regards to the food, after reading reviews on this site, we didn't even attempt to get reservations in any of the specialty restautrants. We ate dinner each night at the buffet restaurant and each night the food was different and excellect! We didn't eat the same thing any one of the four nights we were there. At lunch, we grabbed a bite in the restaurant near the pools and that was excellent as well.

While we were there, swimming in the ocean was not safe (10-15 foot surf). We did, however, take a water taxi over to Lover's Beach ($10US each, round trip) and I'd highly recommend it.

All in all, we had an excellent time at the RIU and I'd highly recommend it.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank alngeoffro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2009

My husband and I went for our first trip away from our kids in EIGHT years! From the moment we walked out of the airport and were greeted by Erika, every single person working with GoGo vacations and affiliated with the RIU was wonderful. We were taken immediately to our hotel where our room was ready and waiting for us at 3:30 pm. We were offered drinks, had our bags taken to our room and down by the pool within 20 minutes of our arrival.
I had gotten on tripadvisor prior to our vacation and was quite worried about cleanliness, room temperature, security and reservation issues. All of my worries were for naught. Every single person who talked to us about our room mentioned that the doorway to the balcony needed to be closed in order for the air conditioning to work properly--plus there were signs EVERYWHERE. SO, if someone couldn't figure this out--I wonder ???? Second, we made reservations for later in our trip for the Japanese restaurant and the Steakhouse when we arrived at 3:30pm. No waiting, nothing. However, I was not happy with the Steakhouse: the food was fine, but really not any big deal. The Japanese restaurant was beautiful and the food was excellent as well as our server Miseal (I think that is spelled correctly). He is the hardest working man at the place and one of the most kindhearted and sweetest people.
The room was extremely clean. We stayed in a Jr. suite on the second floor and while the floor echoes--hello, the whole hotel is ceramic, of course there is going to be noise from carts in the hallway. If you are a light sleeper, bring ear plugs. The room was so clean that when we stayed at a Four Points Sheraton the night before the trip and a Crown Plaza after the trip--NEITHER could compare to the cleanliness and service of the RIU staff.
There were no security issues for us, but we locked up all valuables in the safe most of the time. One night I left my Ipod charging and my cell phone charging while we went down for a drink. When we got back to the room two hours later, our bed had been turned down and all valuables left in their places.
Really, it is crowded by the pool, so if you are worried about a spot, get down and put towels out by 9 am. Really, people were so pleasant that we moved our chairs all over by all the new people we met.
The buffet is outstanding--and this is from someone who usually gets an ill-feeling thinking about a buffet. The early breakfast is great and lunch and dinner was just fine. In fact, we both gained a few pounds over the five day trip.
Going to town was easy too. $10 one way and they take you wherever. We asked a bellman for suggestions for dinner, and he sent us to a Brazilian Steakhouse. That was a wonderful evening: strong drinks and excellent food capped off by a visit to Sammy's bar. Really truly perfect.
I have never been to a RIU, but because of this trip, I am looking into visiting the one in Puerto Vallerta or the one near Playa del Carmen next year. THANK YOU RIU for making our 10th anniversary so wonderful. I doubt it will be another eight years before we take a trip without the kids! :)

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank tmk2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2009

I have to tell you that when I heard "free trip to Mexico, all inclusive" I was a lot sceptical. When we arrived, I knew that I was in for a treat. When we pulled up, the first thing that happened was the bell man offered us a margetia. The the front desk upgraded our room to a deluxe ocean view- just becuase. The rooms were really nice and the mini bar was fully stocked with top shelf alcohol and mixers.

Most of our time was spent out at the pool near the pool bar. Gotta love swimming up to the bar for a drink. There was so much pool area that I didn't see it all.

The food was really good in the buffet area's we had breakfast, lunch and dinner there. Room service food was all right. The steak house food was really good too.

The nightly shows were fun...The service was immpecible at this resort. I would highly recommend going to this resort :)

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank c14martin
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 Cabo San Lucas

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
Address: Av. Camino Viejo a San Jose, km 4.5 | Del Cabo KM 4.5 El Medano Ejidal, Cabo San Lucas 23453, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Los Cabos > Cabo San Lucas
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:
#14 Business Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#19 Top resorts Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#21 Romantic Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#22 Family Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#24 Spa Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#26 Luxury Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Cabo San Lucas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas 4*
Number of rooms: 692
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the southern Baja California peninsula, 4.5 km/2.8 miles from Cabo San Lucas. 5-storey building. On the beachfront. Complimentary sun loungers on the beach. 32,000 m2 garden. 3.5 km/2.2 miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas. 40 km/25 miles from the airport. 500 m/1650 ft from a bus stop. Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Diners, Discover ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel Cabo San Lucas
Riu Palace Los Cabos
Riu Cabo San Lucas
Riu Los Cabos
Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Los Cabos

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