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“Beautiful but noisy!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
Ranked #33 of 71 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 20, 2005

I was pretty concerned about the Riu prior to the trip after reading all the sketchy comments but we decided to give it a go. My friend and I are in the hospitality industry, so are fairly understanding when it comes to issues with the hotel. We arrived Jan 9th, and the front desk did seem very disorganized. While we were trying to check in I noticed quite a few other guests coming up to the front desk with a wide variety of problems. We got to our room which was nice & clean, but not as luxurious as I was expecting. The biggest problem was the noise. We were beside the elevator and as the hallways are all tile, we could hear everything all night long. Also, the doors to the guest rooms close with a huge bang that you can hear down the entire corridor. I spent the first night thinking someone was shooting a gun or something everytime someone's door closed!!
After the first night, we asked to be moved to a quieter room which we did. It was better, but the doors were still really loud.

The only other complaint is regarding making dinner reservations. It seems really stupid to me that you have to get up and go downstairs between 8:30 am and 10 am to a certain place in order to make a dinner reservation for one of the restaurants. Who can get up and look decent before 10 am on vacation? It was a hassle and we didn't do it, so the result was eating at the mass buffet every night. The food was fine but not spectacular. Oh well.

Overall the hotel is beautiful, the staff were nice, the food was good. I probably wouldn't be in a hurry to go back because of the noise and the lame rules regarding dinner reservations.

We found that the guests consisted mainly of couples, so it was a bit difficult for a couple of single gals to meet fun party people, but we managed!!!

4  Thank carlagirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,279 - 6,285 of 6,862 reviews

Reviewed January 18, 2005

My husband and I just returned from a week's stay at the Riu Palace, Cabos San Lucas. We had read negative reviews about this hotel prior to our trip, and were a little concerned. Were we delighted when we found that most of the negativity was unfounded. The Riu is a magnificent resort with wonderful service. The food was totally acceptable; some restaurants better than others, but really we had no complaints. The service was excellent; the staff is extremely well-trained and attentive. The problems that were reported on this site previously have oviously been cleared up. Sure, hearing the doors slam when people leave their rooms is true, but that is so minor. We have been to many wonderful places over the years and know first-class service, and we would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone.

25  Thank Bonzee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2005

My husband, myself and our 2 year old daughter just returned from the Riu Palace, Jan 8 - 15. I am detailed oriented so this will be long but I hope helpful as I always appreciate the information people provide on this site.

To give my review some context here are some points.

1. We have stayed at the following resorts and hotels in the past few years - Riu Palace in Playa Del Carmen, The Royal Hideaway in Playa Del Carmen, Grand Velas Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Casa Magna Marriott Resort in Costa Rica as well as The Bellagio in Las Vegas, The Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, The Hard Rock Resort in Bali, W Hotel in NYC

2. Tour books give hotels star ratings that are based on comparing simliar properties in those countries and destinations i.e. a 5 star Riu Palace does not mean it is like the Four Seasons Hotel in Bali

3. You get what you pay for when it comes to travel - Riu Palace was offering a deeply discounted rate for this time frame because it is new and will have some new opening bumps - that being said it should be providing the basics and be working hard to provide good service

Because the rates were a great deal we opted to upgrade and booked a suite. We had room 1030 and it was awesome. We had a beach front location with a large balcony on the 2nd floor. It had a large sitting area, king size bed in the spacious sleeping area, a large sunken 2 person bath (we didn't use but I am sure it is nice if you do) and an enormous bathroom with a great shower, and a huge walk in closet.
The room was located right beside the exit to the pools which was great to have your room so handy. The rooms are spread out so you will be close to something and far from something else but no big deal. We had a small hike to restaurants and the lobby but nothing to be concerned about. Our room was located near the "quiet pool".

There are 2 indentical heated pools. One where it is quiet and the other where they set up volleyball, water polo, do water aerobics and play music. The only pain was the towel hut was located at the noisey pool so you had to hike to get your towel if you were at the quiet pool. The pools have great built in sun loungers. The kids pools are a joke and are freezing cold. No one including us used them and the main pools with the stairs and the ledges with the loungers worked fine for young kids with parents.

The beach is decent, sand is a little granular at places but as you get closer to the water it is much softer. You can't swim in the water because of the currents but we went for long walks on the beach and collected small sea shells with my daughter. And because the RIU is sort of by itself it gets some vendors on the beach but not as many as the resorts closer to town and the vendors all respected the hotel's border on the beach and did not cross it, so if you absolutely did not want to be bothered but wanted to be on the beach stay closer to the hotel, otherwise a polite No Gracias works fine.

We went over to Lover's Beach one morning at about 9:30am - we had the whole beach to ourselves for about an hour then the masses showed up and we left but we had a great hour romping around by ourselves.

Buffet restaurant was decent and as an earlier poster mentioned it is a Mexican/European style buffet not American. So the foods are a little differently prepared and have different items than what you would see at home, however it is decent food. We found that before 9am the buffet breakfast wasn't too crowded and you did not have to wait for fresh omelets etc. after 9am it become more crowded. Dinner was quieter in the buffet restaurant if you went right when it opened or 8:30 or later.

The alacarte restaurant reservation process is really stupid. You have to line up every day to get a reservation for that day. It opened at 9am, some people would start lining up at 8am. We ate at the Steak house and the Japanese restaurant and enjoyed both meals. We chose not to line up but if we happened by the location (it was enroute to our room from the buffet restaurant after breakfast) and the line was short and moving well we jumped in and were willing to take whatever reservations they had - if you want a specific restaurant at a specific time then you may have to line up but to me that was wasting my time. We ended up with later reservations so we just ate a snack at 4pm at the outdoor restaurant near the pools to help tide us over until dinner.

The lunch at the Italian Restaurant (it was a Mexican restaurant at night) was quite good, the outdoor buffet lunch was fine if you wanted burger, hot dog or nachos - they also though on our last 3 days did an absolutely unbelievable fresh Paella with tons of seafood at the out door buffet.

There was a real mix of people, couples, lots of families with kids, older couples etc.

We didn't bother with the shows as that is not our thing but heard they were cute - don't expect anything spectacular.

We really enjoyed going for drinks after dinner in the lobby bar which is a beautiful open air bar with lovely views and great breezes.

The TVs in the rooms get lots of channels (you have to type the numbers in and not scroll up) but most of the channels are Spanish but hey who is there to watch TV.

Service was decent, still have a few growing pains but everyone is really trying and is really nice (as long as you are) so go with the flow and don't get up tight if a drink takes a little long to arrive, just order two next time.

Check in and out went smooth.

Maid service was good, our room was always cleaned very well (we also left the maid $2USD every day).

The hotel is lovely and the grounds are immaculate.

We saw only a couple bees while there (re:earlier reviews about a bee problem), no more than you would see on a sunny day at a park at home and like others have posted don't sit near garbage cans and don't leave half finished foods and drinks nearby where you are sitting and you won't attract bees or flies.

The disappointments we had were:
- unlike some other hotels where it was cheap, laundry service here is really, really pricey as I unfortunately found out the hard way
- I had a pedicure and although the lady who did the treatement was very nice and the pedicure was decent the room was awful and a traffic route for everyone to get a storage closet and they did not have proper pedicure chairs
- shampoo and conditioner in the rooms is awful so bring your own if you don't usually
- reservation process for ala carte restaurants is really dumb
- they said they had a playground in the promo material and they don't
- kids pool sucked but the grown up one worked fine for kids
- the safe locks are a pain in the butt, big and clunky (but use the safes don't leave valuables out to tempt)
- people who couldn't figure out to gently close their room door to stop it from slamming (we have had this at many Mexican resorts)
- guests who smoked on the beach and put out and left their butts in the sand for me to walk in and my daughter to dig through!!!!!
- cappucinos were too weak!

That is it. Overall we had a great holiday at the Riu Palace.

35  Thank poolsfh44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2005

After reading some the previous reviews we were nervous about going, but when we arrived we found the hotel to be lovely. Checkin fast and easy in the lobby bar, with tropical drink, and beautiful view of ocean. ROOM, MINI BAR -We arrived in our room on ground floor, near ocean and pool and were happy with the convenient location. The room had a large bed, (two doubles pushed together) with a nice bathroom witht ub and shower, marble everything, sitting area with couch, tv, remote, etc, everything worked fine. Mini bar stocked with Corona beer, lots of bottled water, soft drinks, etc. Above the mini bar were four bottles of liquor with dispenser, brandy, smirnoff vodka, etc. - We only used it a couple of times due to all the other locations for drinks.

FOOD & BEVERAGE - Breakfast buffet has loads of things to choose from, cereals, fruit, yogurt, blended fresh fruit drinks, eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausages, scrambled egg, pancakes, french toast, fresg fruit, some mexican dishes which are spicy. Lots of different breads and pastries.
Service was pretty good. Oh yeah, there is also champagne and orange juice every day.
Lunch - Nice italian restaurant by pool, just need coverup and shoes. It overlooks the ocean. The other restaurant has hot dogs, fries, hamburgers, chicken, fish, vegetables, salad bar, nice desert selection, including several tubs of ice cream
Dinner - Several restaurants to choose from. We tried the steak hous and it was okay, but decided to skip the lining up, and go for the buffet every night, as the selection changed quite a bit. First night, prime rib (a bit rare), Spareribs, chicken, fish, potatoes, rice, large salad bar, and desert selections. Great desert crepes, fresh fruit.
Alcohol selections. - they have a menu and you can order tropical drinks, or select international brands, Canadian Club, Chivas Regal etc. Just remember the waiter/waitress may need you to speak slowly.
They usually know CC and ginger or CC and Seven or Pepsi Light.

I hope this helps some of you. We enjoyed our trip, and we were eight adults 50- 60 years of age.

18  Thank canadagirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Somerville NJ and Denver Colorado
Reviewed January 16, 2005

If you are a seasoned traveler, you should stay anywhere but Riu Cabo San Lucas. They claim to be a 5 star hotel and are far from it.
My boyfriend took me there Dec 25-30 for xmas. Everything in the bad reviews happened to us and more! I can't imagine why anyone would write a good review to mislead you into going there, unless they are a travel agent or have simply never been anywhere else worthwhile.

The beds are very hard, but we read the reviews about that and made a stop on the way to the airport, bought a foam mattress pad, checked it as luggage and got around that problem. We passed it on to another couple when we left that were very grateful.

The buffet is always a large quantity of medichore (cheap) food. You have one person staffed to make reservations for all of the restaurants daily. You have to go in person (daily, no such thing as in advance or use the phone) You have to go EARLY to get a booking or get stuck with the same buffet slop. After experiencing the buffet food on day 1 we made sure we were going to do better and get reservations. We waited and found the steak house was the only place that was not booked solid by 8am. We got an 8:45pm for that night. The steak house is the lunch buffet, at night they change the table cloths and call it a steak house. You are treated to a choice of soup and salad, where you serve yourself again...BUFFET style. Then you wait, almost an hour for your entree. For a restaurant with a choice of only 5 menu items that had about 30 people to serve we could not understand this at all. Both our steaks tasted ok, but were overcooked, served with 1/3 of an ear of cold corn on the cob, a baked potato (warm on the skin from the heat lamp but cold inside) and a side of boiled onions. Poolside we heard equally bad news about the other restaurants daily, so went off site for dinner the rest of the week. The best move you can make is getting in a cab and going into Cabo for dinner. There were great restaurants there that were reasonably priced with great food, strolling marachi bands and a real taste of Mexico. 3 minute cab ride is $10, yes they should have a shuttle, but don't. The marina area has a bunch of restaurants that have terrific grilled lobsters. Alexanders Thai shrimp appetizer is the best. The restaurants warmly welcome you. Some, a bit aggressively invite you to try them, even offer you free drinks to come in and generally really want your business. The service is wonderful and so is all of the food. We stuck to bottled water and did not get sick at all.

The Riu staff may have good intentions but this resort has not trained or organized themselves to provide good service. We heard the bulk of the staff quits regularly and were told they were overworked and underpaid, so I don't see improvement on their horizon. Check in took 25 minutes, with only one family in front of us. Everyone at the desk was there to complain about various (very valid) issues with their rooms. We paid extra for a deluxe ocean view jacuzzi suite. We were put two floors above the disco in spite of many requests by phone and in writing prior to our arrival not to be put there as we read this web site for reviews too! When we realized our room location and went back to the desk to have it changed, we were told there was nothing else available. We didn't give up easily and were given a room key to go look at the only other available room on the other side of the hotel. It faced an ATV track, so all you could hear were dirt bikes and atv's continuously revving. The electricity in the alternate room did not work at all in the bathroom, and it was a standard room, so we ended up keeping the first room.
Our suite would have been beautiful if it was finished. Our bathroom had double sinks, one of which was hooked into hot water. The sinks were half installed. We had one light fixture over the sink that was installed, there were holes in the ceiling where the fan and light over the tub/shower were supposed to be. Our balcony faced the sea of Cortez and had a spectacular view! We had a spiral staircase up to the another balcony with a dome roof where the jacuzzi was located...unfinished. There were holes in the wall where the lights would be with wires hanging out. There was trash and cement dirt from the jacuzzi installation everywhere on what would have been a phenomenal patio with just a little work. By our second day they had they got the tub functioning so we could use it, the first night there was no hot water. It would have been incredibly romantic to sit up there and watch the sunset, but with the dinner buffet and main traffic area noise it was like sitting in a hot tub on display in Sears. With the public stage one level below us and the evening show on every night ( which was either bad pre-recorded music and/or Karaoke with a drummer and guitar playing along ) it destroyed any chance at ambiance. After the show the disco would start pumping until 2-3am. What hotel put's their most expensive, deluxe suite in the worst possible location?.
The hotel manager Carlos promised some money back as he knew it was terrible and could not help us, but we have received no contact at all.

The bar drinks are bad most of the time. The rooms have 4 bottles of alcohol locked upside down in a plexiglass box (alcohol dispenser). We didn't use any as we were drinking good margaritas in town every night. Our tequila bottle however was almost empty by day 5, so the staff enjoys it. There were orange peels in our trash cans in our room, and we were not eating oranges. I tipped the maids in person in US cash for cleaning the jacuzzi area, and they took full advantage from that point on. It was never cleaned again all week. There were dirty dishes sitting in the hall outside our room for 3 days. We watched the food rot (there are very few trash cans around and we didn't want to bring the rotten food into our room). We kept thinking they would surely clean it next time, to no avail. There is a light switch that turns off the power in the entire room that they turn off after they make your bed...then everything in your mini fridge is warm. It was very cool at night and there is no heat, only air conditioning. We called maintenance to come and fix the heat, bring a clock, iron, ironing board etc. as our deluxe room had very little in it. They brought all of it eventually, and laughed when we showed them where you could dial up the thermostat but could not get the room any warmer, telling us it was AC only. Avg. temp in Cabo in late Dec is high 50's and 60's at night, the hotel is all marble etc. and made to stay cool so bring something warm to wear. I was very cold all week at night and had to go buy sweatshirts to wear in the room.

There's nothing you can do about the bees and there are a lot of them! I suspect they are harmless if you leave them alone, but a lot of people were being stung. If you want to be anywhere in a deck chair along the front half of the resort facing the ocean there will be a lot of bees. I kept a spare pina colada on a table 5-10 feet from me for them to drown in at all times. That worked pretty well. There are 2 pool bars with plenty of drink bottles, and lots of empty drink cups and dishes lying around in bus pans to attract them.

Everything is partially done. The fountains are not filled and don't spill over where should into pools. The "infinity pool" design is beautiful, but the pools are not filled so they don't flow over either and the whole effect is lost. The gym is very small and the machines are all in use. They have massages on the beach, only 2 tables, under one cabana in the busiest spot in front of the resort. There is plenty of unoccupied beach area to have this, but they just don't think about providing good service.

There is a continual stream of horses back and forth in front of Riu's property on their beach area. I'm not positive but it seemed like an hourly rotation. Subsequently the beach has a grassy dung lumpy texture. The stable sends a guy past with a clean up bag a couple of times a day, but most of it gets stepped into the sand as the horses are in large groups following in a line. One group we counted was 23. The horses are diverted up off the beach once past the Riu so there nice beach area, but not in front of the Riu, walk up in front of other hotel properties. You CAN'T go in the ocean. The rip tide is always bad. Always. There are no lifegaurds as you should not swim there, ever.

Don't book activities at Riu's beach either. We rented jet ski's at Riu's activity center and confirmed that they would come up in front of the hotel prior to paying in advance. When we showed up at our reserved time we were told to walk a mile down the beach toward Cabo as that's where the jet skis are located and that there insurance does not let them come there to the front. There were however lots of jet ski's on the beach right in front of the property...independants. You are better to just cut your own deal with anyone random. They sent a water taxi for us when we told them to give us our money back. We walked back...it was at least a mile.

The hotel is beautiful to look at. Big high ceilings, open archways and marble everywhere. Consequently noise really travels. You will hear doors slamming all day and all night. There are very few elevators and the main facilities are all accessed by the big beautiful marble staircases up the middle of the property. The stairs are always being cleaned as people are walking sand up from the beach. Wet marble staircases everywhere and plenty of people falling. We met a nice woman who fractured her shin on her first vacation day. They were a lot of people in splint like bandages and on crutches that had also fallen on the stairs.

The entertainment staff was really trying with their little dance lessons poolside and games of horse shoes, but it just wasn't a positive atmosphere with all the problems people were having. Hundreds of people all around and nobody joining in. If the drinks were not watered down so much perhaps people would have a few drinks and get over it and just have fun. My boyfriend would always tip the bartenders and tell them "mucho alcohol". It looked like they poured a lot in but it could not contain much. We are light weights!
We did Meringue lessons with a few people and it was a good laugh.

A lot of my friends have been to Cabo and loved it. I can see why, but it's not due to Riu. Go anywhere else, food is great and drinks are cheap there is no need to go all inclusive in Cabo.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Edmond, OK
Reviewed January 15, 2005

My boyfriend and I spent Jan.5-11th at the RIU. The hotel is beautiful and it has a great location only 2 miles from Cabo San Lucas. The place is huge, with a wonderful beach, and there is so much to do. We got a great deal and we were pleasantly surprised after reading all the negative reviews. We have traveled all through Mexico and knew what to expect. Being a new resort, it had its problems, but the staff wanted to bend over backwards to make sure we were happy. The drinks and bartenders were great. My boyfriend loved all the food especially the breakfast buffet. I really enjoyed the gourmet reastaurant but it is hard to get reservations. We are late sleepers and run into the dinner reservation problem at most AI resorts. I believe when they have been up and running a few months, it will be up to the RIU standards.
Our last trip to Cabo we stayed at the Melia Cabo Real. I liked the RIU palace better due to more activity and closer to town.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2005

My wife and I booked our honeymoon at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas for January 3-10, 2005, aware that it is a brand-new facility and subject to some growing pains. We were not prepared, however, for our reception on January 3. Our reservation (junior suite, oceanview) and payment had been made a month beforehand through American Airlines Vacations. When we arrived at the front desk, there was no record of our reservation. Fortunately a room was available. Back in December, we had requested their special honeymoon package and a non-smoking room with king-sized bed. Neither of these requests was known to the front desk, despite our fax sent directly to the Riu Cabo San Lucas the week prior (per their instructions on December 9) and a note placed in our electronic file by an agent at American Airlines Vacations. So we explained that it was our honeymoon and asked for a quiet room away from the noise of the disco that runs from 11 to 2 each evening. The first room we were offered was deemed too close to the disco and had no ocean view, except for a glimpse when one stepped onto the balcony and leaned far over the railing. The front desk clerk, Begonia, very kindly offered us another room. It was smaller in size than the first, but the view was outstanding. From the balcony we overlooked one of the lovely pools (heated, but temperature fluctuated daily) and the famous Arch. We were very pleased with the view from Room 3140. TIP: Don't carry or deliver your luggage to your room until you've taken a look and are satisfied. If you cherish daytime quiet and solitude in your room and on your balcony, avoid the rooms surrounding the "activity pool" on the north end of the property (namely rooms X087-X145). Hourly group activities and loud outdoor music keep that side very noisy throughout the day. Regarding noise, guests could be more considerate of others by refraining from slamming their room doors at all hours of the day and night; the long hallways are mostly tile and wood and reverberate loudly.

Since my father had been in the hotel business, I inspected our room with an insider's eye: Beneath the sofa cushion I found a Pepto-Bismol tablet and lots of long dark hairs belonging to previous guests--evidence that the upholstery had not been vacuumed. The tile and marble surfaces were nicely cleaned, except for the tile beneath the bed which was quite dusty and appeared to have been neglected for some time. The bedding is high quality and firm--perfect for me, a tad too firm for my wife, but quite hard for some reviewers! My wife was impressed by the telescoping drying rack on the balcony. As a previous reviewer has noted, everything is new. The question remains: Will the Riu be able to maintain the facilities and equipment after the newness wears off? Already I saw significant cracks in the pavement around the pools and in the stuccoed exterior surfaces of the hotel.

We experienced several inconveniences, some minor, one quite serious: 1) The day before check-out, we returned from a lengthy drive and found that our room keys had been deactivated by the hotel. So having been on the road for several hours and needing the facilities quite badly, I was required to make the eight-minute round-trip walk to the front desk to have the keys reactivated while my wife sat on the hallway floor with our stuff. 2) Several days into our stay, we had to locate housekeeping staff down the hallway to replenish our one roll of toilet paper. 3) After four days we had to stop by the front desk to request that our supply of bottled water be replenished. Hotel literature promises that drinks will be replenished every other day, but we found that we had to ask for it. TIP: The tap water is not potable; drink and brush with your bottled water. 4) Because of noise from the evening entertainment, we slept with the balcony door closed tight. Overnight each night the air conditioning stopped cooling (probably a cost-saving measure due to the availability of cool nighttime air), requiring us to get up and open the balcony door for fresh, less humid air. 5) The second day we were at the Riu, my office at work was broken into and vandalized, prompting my parents to attempt to reach me at the Riu, at the request of the police, my employer, and the insurance company who needed further information. My mother was unable to reach anyone at the Riu who spoke English well enough to take the message properly. Supposedly, the front desk rang our room once; we must have been out. Astonishingly the phones do not have message lights or voice mail. No written message was ever delivered to our room, and no one from the front desk mentioned it to us during one of our stops there during the week. If this had been a big emergency, such as the death of a family member, I fear that the result would have been the same. TIP: If you really, really must be reached while you're at the Riu, don't depend on the hotel staff to come through for you.

On the subject of phones: One employee confided that there are no public pay telephones at the Riu. All calls (whether local or international) must go through the hotel operator and are charged to guest accounts at a high rate. TIP: Dial 9 to reach the hotel operator. This wasn't listed anywhere at the Riu.

At check-in we overheard two upset guests whose rooms had been robbed that afternoon. Tripadvisor.com reviewers had noted this problem before our arrival, so we were not surprised to hear about it. TIP: Get your safe key and lock during check-in and use the safe faithfully anytime you're out of your room. The next day I overheard a guest speaking to one of the four top managers about the break-ins; he suggested that the hotel wasn't properly utilizing the electronic lock system, thus allowing improper employee and construction worker access to rooms at inappropriate times. After that, I heard of no more break-ins. TIP: Place the red "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door when you're away from your room; just be sure this doesn't interfere with housekeeping.

Food: We found the food at the specialty restaurants to be inferior to the offerings at the buffet. In fact, the couple beside us at the steakhouse walked out when their order arrived with one steak raw and the other overcooked. We later saw them dining in the buffet. The dinner reservation system is appalling and primitive, favoring those who have nothing better to do on their vacation than to line up outside a door at 8:45 AM to make a reservation. I propose a dinner lottery or trading scheme whereby all guests have at least a few guaranteed "passes" to specialty restaurants during their stay. In any case, the buffet food is plentiful and delicious and changes nightly. The most experienced chefs appear to work in the buffet restaurant. At numerous stations located throughout the cavernous dining room, the chefs are willing to prepare anything at their disposal for guests. Just ask and they'll explain what they're cooking and what they can do for you. Several times, I witnessed friendly chefs serving items directly from their cooktops onto guests' waiting plates. The selection of vegetables for salads was impressive and varied nightly, with bonuses such as sushi added on the weekend. The cheeses and desserts were plentiful. At the buffet, one could enjoy seven very different dinners during the course of a week's stay. TIP: Before serving yourself, look around the entire buffet for nightly additions, and until the Riu begins labelling the buffet items, don't be afraid to ask what something is! Even though we sought out the same waiter every evening and tipped generously throughout, the table service was quite inconsistent. We often waited ten or more minutes after requesting refills of water and coffee. The less experienced staff really struggle to clean tables and put fresh tablecloths down in a timely manner for the next guests. The breakfast buffet is outstanding and should satisfy just about every taste from Europe and North America. On the morning we ordered a continental breakfast delivered to our room, it arrived within the timeframe requested.

For those nonsmokers who enjoy al fresco dining, there is a problem with billowing cigarette smoke during mealtimes. Inside the buffet, there are designated smoking areas, but in the beautiful outdoor terrace areas, where tables are merely two feet from adjacent tables, the smokers really impacted my enjoyment of the food. Why should I have to retreat inside away from the beautiful weather, flower gardens, and Sea of Cortez scenery just to take a bite of food without cigarette smoke interfering with the flavor? There were many more smokers at the Riu than I've seen anywhere in a long time. SUGGESTION to the Riu: Have designated non-smoking seating in outside dining areas in order to accommodate all guests fairly!

Water Taxi TIP: Marisol and her father, Vicente, run the water taxi, "La Chivi." They will take you on a water taxi tour of the Arch and the Fish Preserve, drop you off at Lover's Beach, and return for pickup at the designated time for US$15 if you negotiate ahead of time. Some water taxi operators charge as much as $10 for a one-way ride to the marina, so negotiate for a lower fare before you board.

Getting into Town TIP: If you're walking to town and find the soft beach slow and cumbersome, try walking on the sand road. At the front gate of the Riu, turn left immediately onto the sand road. Proceed 1.2 KM to the paved road. Continue and you'll be at the mall/marina/flea market area in short order. This is much safer and more direct than walking along the highway and more scenic, as you pass by several horse corrals and a campground.

Snorkeling TIP: Take your own mask and fins and save a bundle! Starting at Lover's Beach, swim toward the marina along the rocks. Less than halfway back is an area known as the Fish Colony that offers spectacular views of marine life. Just look for the dive boats; they're positioned in the ideal spots. There are tiny coves and beaches along the way if you need a rest. A wet suit is not necessary if you're comfortable with the water temperature. Additionally, heading north on the highway from the Riu to San Jose, at kilometers 12 and 14 are two public beaches with secure parking and excellent snorkelling. From the highway, you will see the fenced-in parking areas with security. Tip the guard on your way out. Santa Maria Bay and Chileno Beach have huge quantities and varieties of fish. Just swim along the rocky areas and prepare to be amazed!

Whale-Watching TIP: Why waste your time in a lumbering ship when you could zip on out to the whales at 45 kph in a nimble Zodiac and view them just meters away, or even passing directly beneath your boat? For US$40 take a 2-hour whale-watching excursion with Cabo Expeditions. Anabel at the Riu can make the booking for you.

The Riu Palace at Cabo San Lucas is a five-star facility offering three-star service. I would go back but for the price would expect them to take all the feedback to heart and improve service and employee training.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
22  Thank EighthContinent
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

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
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
#21 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: $275 - $547 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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