We stayed at RIU Palace from 09/05 - 09/12 and here is our review:
Flight/arrival: We flew with Skyservice out of Toronto. The flight was good
and we arrived a half hour early. They were short room for some passengers on the buses, but they fixed the problem quickly. It took just over thirty minutes to get to the hotel and the ride was scenic. Check-in was fast. I had requested a room in the 3000's before we left and we were assigned room 2008. Disappointing. We didn't feel like going through the hassle of arguing for a new room (they were 95% booked), so we accpeted that room.
We wanted to note that on the way to our room we were assualted with a
horrid sewer smell. It is VERY noticeable as you pass the rooms in the
XX40's to XX60's (approximately) and it would pretty much affect all floors. I don't know if you'd be able to smell in in your room, but you can
certainly smell it as you pass that area and it is NASTY!
Our general impression of the hotel was that it is aestheically very
beautiful. They did a great job with the common areas - they are all well
kept, clean and beautifully decorated. At first glance it really looks/feels
like a five-star, but once you actually start experiencing the resort you
realize they fall short of actually meeting five-star standards.
Room: As mentioned we were in room 2008. We had a partial ocean view but it was blocked by some palms. Not the view we were hoping for, but we decided it wasn't worth making a stink over. I should note that we had problems opening and closing our door ...you really had to give it a hard push to open or close it and it was actually coming apart at the seams. The couch in our room had quite a few noticeable stains on it and the carpet had multiple cigarette burns. We were missing a remote and some of the standard hotel toiletries. One day we requested water and still hadn't received it hours later. It took a second request, but we finally got it. The first day we noticed we had a burnt out bulb and requested a new one. We never did get the replacement. Not the end of the world on any of those issues, but it lowered the value of the hotel in our minds.
Maid service seemed to be different for everyone - some people got really
good service and some people got the very basics. We didn't notice any bugs, etc.
On another negative note, there was a residence (we were told not related to the resort) next door to our room and these people own many roosters. Need I say that once they started crowing, they did not stop for hours. Sometimes it started well before sun rise, too ... like 3 - 4 AM. We found it was a bit better with the patio doors closed, but what a pain when you want to hear the ocean waves as you fall asleep, etc. Obviously this is not the hotel's fault, but if you do not sleep like a log you may want to avoid that area!
Restuarants - The reservation system that is in place does need improvement. We did not have to wait long in line, but we couldn't even get a reservation for the gourmet restuarant because it was booked solid for the entire week we were staying there.
We didn't bother with the Japanese (we were told it was pretty good, though) nor the Mexican. We did try the steak house and were completely
disappointed. The service was terrible. I know they were trying, but they
were totally disorganized. They were not serving tables as they arrived
...there seemed to be no method to their madness. One couple who arrived before us and long before many other couples, nearly left and complained to the "manager" that it was taking SO long for their food. When we received our order, it wasn't even correct but we didn't dare say anything for fear of having to wait even longer! The food we did get was alright, however (steak tender, etc.), so it wasn't a total waste. Our friends booked there too and arrived early and said they had a good experience. Perhaps the earlier you arrive, the better the service will be.
The buffet restaurant left something to be desired after the third day.
There is very little variety .. it is repetitive each night. I know there
was a "theme" night each night but if anything WAS changed to accomodate the "theme" we couldn't really tell. I think the quality of the food is better than many other places (DR, Cuba) but it is barely warm and I think this ruins it. They did have some great smoothies, the fresh pasta bar was *excellent* and the mimosas at breakfast were a really nice touch! Service in the buffet restaurants ranged from okay to pretty good. It didn't seem to matter too much about tipping, either. We were pretty disappointed with the cleanliness, too. I really thought other people might be exaggerating about this, but they weren't. There were always dirty plates mixed in with clean ones and one morning I was given a spoon that obivously hadn't seen a dishwasher as it was still dirty with someone else's coffee stains! We never made a big deal about these things ...but, again, just more issues that lowered the value of the hotel.
Pools/grounds - Beautiful! We preferred the "relaxing" pool as it seemed to
be cleaner and less yahoos hanging around. We tried the busy pool one day and were treated to a bunch of drunk, ill-mannered tourists who thought it was amusing to pour beer on themselves in the pool, etc. - charming! Also, we couldn't understand why people thought it was okay to leave their glasses, empty bottles, etc. all over the resort - piled in ashtrays, in the bushes, etc. - get some class people! I think someone on here once said something about a five-star resort attracting 2-star clientele and now I know why! Thankfully, during our stay they were the minority.
We had absolutely no problem with service in the pool bars. We always
received prompt, friendly service. If you were waiting for service from the
waiters who were serving people in their loungers, you did have to wait a
long time. To us it wasn't a big deal - we'd just walk over to the bar and
get a drink.
The pools are huge, not terribly overcrowded and for the most part pretty
clean (save the pool/bar on the busy side). We didn't find them to be as
warm as some people said ...they were always cool enough to be a refreshing change from the hot sun.
The town of Cabo San Lucas was fun!
We stopped in at Margaritavilla for some margs - wow! Expensive ($9US a pop) but HUGE, tasty and well worth it!
Ole Ole - We had already eaten, but joined some friends who ate here for
drinks and a "snack". First round was on the house (nice!) and the food was really good. Our friends had lobster/steak combo and fahitas and we had the tortilla soup and shrimp cocktail. A little costly, but very tasty and worth it after days of repetitive buffet food!
El Squid Roe - We stopped by for a short while one night and it was
packed. They really do alot to get the audience involved and having a good time. It is geared more toward the younger, more rowdy crowd. We witnessed the bar staff run a 30-person conga line passed several 'tequila stations'. At each station they poured a shot of tequila down each persons throat using a shot nozzle that had been licked and sucked by all the others in the conga line. Not our thing but you probably care less if blitzed! Drinks are exepensive.
Office on the Beach - We had e-mailed them prior to leaving to request
reservations for the Thursday night Fiesta. We never heard back. We decided the day after we arrived (Tuesday) to head down there for drinks and lunch. The chips and salsa were excellent and the drinks (2 for 1) did not disappoint!! The lunch was only okay, however, and when we checked on our fiesta reso, we were told they didn't have it in the low season! Nice! I feel if they are going to offer online reservations, at least have the
decencey to reply to people.
Amarone - Can't say enough good things about this place. Awesome! We went there for a gourmet dinner and were not disappointed. We all had appetizers of pasta (lobster ravioli and crab ravioli - yum!) and our pasta entrees were great, too! Don't underestimate the place due to the modesty of the restaurant staff and their descriptions of the meals. We had no room for dessert! A warning - a decent bottle of wine is extremely expensive here! The service was excellent and the atmosphere (we ate out in the courtyard with a jazz band playing) was great!!
Johnny Rockets - We ate here one day for lunch. It was okay ...nothing to
write home about.
The only excursion we did was ATV'ing with Amigos which was a blast! The
ride was fun and the beach was so beautiful! Highly recommend this! Bring cargo pants (or jeans) and running shoes.
We also rented wave runners which was fun. We rented them for an hour but felt that a half hour would have been plenty. Our friends did parasailing and said it was great ...just a little expensive for the short amount of time you are actually in the air.
The beach - beautiful! The scenery is great. Nice view of the arches! I knew that swimming was treacherous from past reviews so wasn't expecting much. Most days the flags indicated you could swim though even at that I don't think I would risk it. It is no joke about that undertow! One thing we were not prepared for is how rough the sand is on the beach. It is not soft by any means! This wouldn't be an issue but for the fact that we like to walk the beach ...so, for anyone with tender feet - bring watershoes!
There were many more excursions and activites we would have liked to try and there just wasn't enough time!
As for the comments like "some people just like to complain" - I think that is unfair. Yes, some people cannot be pleased at all ..but we are not "whiners". We feel that overall we got a good deal for what we paid, but I would never pay for this resort at high season because for US it was not a five-star experience. I imagine others had a better expereince than we did ...but I believe it's important for people to get a variety of opinions so they can make an informed decision. Just because other people may not have had the same wonderful experience as you, doesn't mean they are perpetual complainers.
I would likely to return to Cabo ...but there are other places I have on my "list" to visit first! It was a beautiful place with lots to see and do. So, I say go to Cabo but if you want a true five-star experience then avoid RIU Palace. If you can go with lowered expectations, then you will probably be suitably impressed with RIU.
- 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, Amex, Visa, Diners. ... 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