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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
Ranked #33 of 71 Hotels in Cabo San Lucas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 18, 2005

Just got back from a few days at the Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas. All in all, it was nearly perfect for what we needed -- some sun and relaxation in a beautiful setting and not a whole lot of rushing about or worrying about what things would cost.

The hotel is beautiful. The La Ventana bar off the lobby is about the prettiest place I know to watch the sun set over drinks, with the large 50-ft archway framing the bay beautifully.

The staff work very hard to help the guests and keep the place clean, and the guests don't exactly make that easy.

If you want the very best in food and wine, this probably isn't your place, as it relies heavily on buffet service and there's only so good that can get. Standard buffet strategy applies -- if you get there at the beginning of mealtime, it's considerably better than picking over the remains at the end.

My biggest quibble with the service has to be at mealtimes. The staff just did not seem to understand that they needed to square away drinks (coffee in the morning or wine later) right when people first sit down with their plates. Several times I was halfway or all the way through my meal looking around for coffee or jumping up to get it myself, which they then seemed dismayed by.

And I second the qualms with the reservation system -- our restaurants never seemed terribly full, yet they restricted how many people could get into each. We ate at the Steak House (ok) and the Mexican place (a little better than ok) and neither was very full. Perhaps the others were.

We also arranged a half-day kayak/snorkle excursion with Baja Wild through the vendor at the hotel. (The Three Bay tour). This was excellent! Our guides were great (Edgar is really funny the whole time) and they made the entire excursion really pleasant. We were surprised at how many beautiful fish there were mere yards from the beach. Next time, I'd try the full day excursion.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank JJMcCoySeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,906 - 5,912 of 6,854 reviews

Reviewed December 17, 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Riu from December 7th-12. We were there celebrating our 5-year wedding anniversary and were hoping for relaxation and fun. The Riu did not disappoint! I know that I checked this website daily for the month before we left, so hang in there, this is going to be a detailed post for those that want a lot of information. We booked round-trip transfers through TerraMar and they were well-worth it--no hassle, and we immediatly were transported to the resort. We were impressed with the facilities from the moment we checked in. The entire resort is beautiful and high-quality. We were given a room on the 1st level, but thanks to other reviews, I quickly slipped the attendant a $20 and asked for a room on the top floor, away from the disco, with a great view (Room 4164). It was perfect.

The pools were very clean but a little cold. We preferred the activity pool (stretching class at 10:00am with Cristina is great!) but there were plenty of loungers at both pools. We were a little worried that we would be surrounded by children, but kids were few and far between and we rarely saw any at all.

The bartenders were great, and I learned first-hand that the drinks are NOT watered down, although they taste like candy! We mostly stuck to Coronas, Pina Coladas and Margaritas, and they were great. The wine was good too, if you like Spanish wine, which is more spicy. The nightly shows are fun--I mean, they're not Broadway but they are definitely entertaining.

The food was great and we had no problems finding things to eat. The reservation process was a little stressful, and though we were there for 5 nights, the Sir Lawrence was already booked by our first day, so we never got to eat there. As other guests have reported, the restaraunts were never full, so I don't know why we couldn't get in. The steakhouse wasn't worth it, but the Mexican was good (have the Mexican coffee for dessert) and the Japanese was outstanding. The buffets were great for dinner as well, and the selection changed every night, so going to the restaraunts definitely isn't necessary. They also have appetizer bars spread throughout the resort at about 5:00 with taquitos, chedder peppers and quesidillas, which my husband and I really liked. The Mexican restaraunt serves Italian at lunch, and it is good.

We did a couple of excursions while we were there, booked with Marcelus from FunJet (his booth is to the right of the check-in desk--he is great and fair). We rode horses on the beach at sunset (they left right from our beach), which was really romantic. We also rode ATVs in a secluded area of a state park that was really cool (just plan on getting a little dusty!). And we took a "booze cruise" snorkeling trip with the Pez Gato catamaran company. The snorkeling was just as clear as Jamaica and Hawaii, and we saw at least 10 whales that were right up to our boat. Each trip cost $45 USD per person, and each was worth it.

Many of the travellers on this site complain about the cab fare into town, but a public bus stops right outside the resort (about a 3 minute walk to the gate) and will take you right into town for 60 cents a person each way. The buses run every 15 minutes and we used them a lot. I would suggest taking a water taxi to lover's beach ($10 round trip per person) and have them drop you off for a few minutes. Then they will take you up close to El Arco. We saw about a hundred seals laying in the sun right off the rocks of El Arco.

We found the best place for souvenirs to be the HUGE market at the end of the marina. Something for everyone, and they are very willing to be "flexible" with their prices.

Our rooms were cleaned every day (we always left $2) and the liquor was always restocked. We enjoyed the swans and ducks that the staff left us made out of towels, and the crazy flowers they made with the Kleenexes. Our one damper of the trip was that my husband's sunglasses (that he had just purchased!) were stolen off his nightstand while we were at lunch. We knew it was the liquor restocker and not the maid, and relayed this information to the front desk, but they really didn't care. It wasn't THAT big of deal (they were imitation sunglasses, which is why they weren't locked up in the first place), but it makes you feel quite violated when your things are taken out of your room. But, this happens in any foriegn country, whether it's Mexico, Italy or Germany. And in no other country besides the US do the hotels feel responsible to reimburse you, so you can't expect it.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. We have stayed in other all-inclusives twice the price and, with a few minor exceptions, this was just as nice. We will definitely stay at other Riu resorts in the future and would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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24  Thank Luv2Travel0577
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Vancouver, Canada
112
Reviewed December 15, 2005

My husband and I have just returned from spending two weeks at the Riu. Although it is a huge resort, we did not find it too crowded. There were always plenty of chairs at the pools. We had a beautiful front facing junior suite facing the ocean. The rooms are gorgeous. The food was very good. There were the buffets at breakfast and lunch with huge selections of food, fresh and made to order. The dinners at restaurants were very tasty. Our favourite was the Japanese. We went to the Sir Lawrence three times - fabulous. We tried all the restaurants.
I never stood on line for more than a half hour to get a reservations which you can make for two restaurants at a time. It was never a hassle. The staff were always friendly and went out of their way to help at all times.
It was a great holiday and I do not have a problem recommending this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Oklahoma
17
Reviewed December 15, 2005

We just returned from our 1 week stay at the Riu Palace resort- all-inclusive. We had a great time. The transfer from the airport to the resort was somewhat a hassle, make sure you add it to your package. It is expensive for a taxi ride. The resort was beautiful and very well taken care of. The bed was alittle on the hard side. The only real complaint I had was that our room was right over the disco and it got very loud at times and was hard to get to sleep. People talked about a foul odor but we only smelled it a couple times not bad. Put in the stoppers in the sink & tub. Our room was always cleaned and mini fridge stocked, we left $3.00 to $5.00 dollars a day. We even got a swan made of towels left on the bed one day. The less busy pool (not the activity pool) is where we spent most time and it was clean, the bartenders were attentive and took good care of us.

The food was good, we did have to eat late a couple nights but it worked out fine. The Mexican was good and the Japineese was ok(if you like sushi). The Steak House had very poor service and we never got waited on so we left and eat at the buffet. If you keep in mind that your in Mexico and keep a positive attitude you won't have a problem. If you like to eat early eat at the buffet or stand in line early to get a what you want.

We traveled with our friends that got married on the beach, they had several family members come for the wedding. It was on the beach and turned out great. It was a bit over cast that day but it was a beautiful ceremony. The couple was happy also. It was the only day that a cruise ship wasn't setting in the marina.

We went to town a couple times shopping, taxi rides can get expensive... $10.00 to and from unless you can share the ride with friends, some give discounts and some don't so ask your driver for a group discount. Cabo Wabo is the best place if you like Rock & Roll Music. We had a blast.

All in all we had a great time and would like to return in the future. Keep a positive attitude and you will enjoy it much more, the people work hard to take care of your needs. It was real busy because of all the redirects from Cancun but it never felt over crowded, it is a very large resort. Have fun your on a vacation!!!! Take plenty of ones & fives for tips.

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2005

We just returned from a 7 night stay, 12/6/05 to 12/13/05, at the Riu in Los Cabos. While the Riu is a beautiful hotel, it is huge and feels more like a compound rather than a personable, quaint and friendly atmosphere that we have experienced in other Mexico locations.
Having Frontier Airlines as the service for Apple Vacations is a wonderful addition. There was plenty of legroom on the plane, no over-booking and the flight attendants were fun and friendly. What a vast improvement over Allegiant Airlines!!!!
The great majority of the staff was wonderful, especially in the restaurants and the bars. The biggest complaint, and a rather serious one, was with housekeeping. Housekeeping was terrible and committed theft from not only our room, but others as well. We had locked up everything of value in the room safe, but we returned to our room after spending the day beachside, to find that someone had opened a brand new bag of chips that we had purchased at the gift shop. They helped themselves and opened the bag and ate half of the bag and left the rest. They didn't even bother to clean up the crumbs from the floor in front of the mini-bar. They also removed some Tylenol, Advil Migraine and some Benedril pills from a bottle on the vanity. They forgot towels, sometimes giving us too many body towels and no hand or wash cloths. The sinks and the vanity were not cleaned the entire week. Sometimes they emptied the trash, sometimes they didn't and when they did empty it, no trash bag was replaced. It was rather a sloppy, slipshod way of cleaning. We made a report of the theft to the hotel management and their attitude was one of ambivalence. There was no apology and not even an offer for reimbursement. The management acknowledged the problem and said that they would check the logs and look into the matter.
We personally talked to at least 20 other people that had the same kind of thing happen to them. Reports of thefts of cameras, money, clothing and other items were reported. We also reported the theft to the Apple Vacations Representative at the Hotel.
One of the other things that kind of put a damper on the stay was that with the way that the doors for all the rooms are positioned to a common, interior hall, the amount of noise can be rather distracting. This was especially true when intoxicated partiers were returning to the rooms. Breaking glasses, yelling and screaming and pounding on room doors, profanity, etc. which awoke us from a sound sleep.
The food was incredible and we highly recommend the buffet at the El Medano. We found the entire wait and service staff to be friendly, kind and attentive.
The grounds are constantly being groomed and cleaned and the staff work incredibly hard at maintaining the pools and providing entertainment.
Everything in Cabo is much more expensive than the other locations in Mexico, that we have vacationed at. The cabs, which are all vans, are expensive with the cost from going from the Riu to downtown, which is only about 5 minutes away, costing $10.00 one way.
While the hotel was beautiful and the location was great, we really feel that it wasn't worth the price that we paid.
We can give a very high recommendation for a dive operation that we were lucky enough to hook up with. Professional Diving Services, which is located outside the Costa Real Hotel at the Marina, is a small operation with some of the friendliest and most experienced dive masters that we have had the pleasure to dive with. If you want personal, friendly service, look them up and ask for Almo, Fidel, Luis or Marco. Wonderful people and excellent dives!
If you want to experience a laid back, enjoyable and fun sunset cruise, don't hesitate to take the Princesa cruise. The cruise sets out at about 4 PM and returns at about 6:30 PM. Great scenery on a very smooth Tri-Maran with lots of drinks, laughter and spectacular views.
While the timeshare people are numerous and everywhere, if you simply say "No" like you mean it, they will leave you alone.
Be careful when shopping the Duty Free shops in mall and the surrounding areas. The prices on perfume, jewelry and sunglasses are really not that much lower than back in the United States. If you want really good prices on vanilla and such, go off the beaten path and check out the small pharmacies on the side streets. Prices are sometimes 50 - 75% cheaper than shops on the main street or the mall.
Given the totality of the circumstances and our experience, we would rate the vacation as being above average but it is not really high on our list for a return visit anytime soon.

18  Thank BlueKnight977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
LAS VEGAS, NV
16
Reviewed December 14, 2005

The food was the worst I have had since my army days. I think the army food was probably better. When I was checking out I told the front desk I had one complaint, he said it first"the food".

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

My husband and I (mid-20's) stayed at the Riu from 12/3-12/11. It being our honeymoon, we went all out and booked an ocean front jacuzzi suite through apple and our travel agent. It was quite a bit more money, but the picutures of the room looked amazing so we decided to go for it. When we arrived, we were handed the keys to a junior suite which the hotel clerk threw in was a 'gorgeous room'. I immediately refused and demanded our suite, but he said they were already taken...people that book directly through the hotel have priority over those who book through travel agencies. I then requested the apple rep, but he was conveniently 'gone' for the rest of the day. So I played hardball and said that until I either got the suite which we had payed for,or a cash refund of the difference between the two rooms, I was not going to leave that lobby. After about 45 minutes, the same hotel clerk (Luis) came over saying he 'kicked somebody out' of their suite and one was now available. We went to the room, but sure enough, it was nothing more than a junior suite with a jacuzzi upstairs...still, not what we paid for. But Luis insisted that pictures are not always accurate and this was a true suite. So we stayed. But I had a feeling we were taken advantage of and found the Apple rep the next morning. By the way, they all work together these people. He said the same thing. But after enough screaming and swearing and causing a huge scene, somebody decided to listen to me. All of sudden, they led us to a 'true' ocean-front, jacuzzi suite. They are so much nicer that the standard rooms! Absolutely breathtaking! But just a warning...don't back down to these people. They are all very quick to lie to you. The funny thing is, I had heard things liked this had happened so I actually called the hotel directly the day before we arrived to confirm my suite reservation and get a room number, but I was disconected each time. So just be careful...

Rooms: Like I said, ours was gorgeous. In fact, they all are done up really nice and are all very clean. The smell people speak of is the water...there's no 'better' room or way to get around it.

Bars: Very nice. A couple problems, though. I don't like drinking draft beer all that much and that's the only thing you'll get anywhere besides the few bottles that are in your room each day. All the bars say they don't have bottles, but some bartenders would 'come up with some' if we tipped enough. I understand no glass by the pools, but it just seemed tacky not to have bottles in the other bars. Also, they were basically all the same. There's the two pool bars, an then the other three are all in the same area, no difference between the 3 of them. One is considered a sports bar, but it's nothing more that 3 tiny TV's near the ceiling that cannot be changed off of one channel of ESPN. Overall, the bartenders were very nice and worked very hard.

Food: This was our first all inclusive trip, so we didn't know what to expect. Overall, the food was pretty good. The variety wasn't really there, but they put so much out at each meal, there's surely something everyone would like. We only at at a specialty restaurant once (Steak) and although the food was good, the service was no different from the 'cafeteria' upstairs. We actually went out to eat most nights. Ruth's Chris downtown is always good, and the best restaurant we found by far was Pepe Taco (I think!) kind of across the street from McDonalds!

Overall, the Riu is a very nice place, but I think next time we'll skip the all inclusive and stay somewhere in Cabo more near downtown. 8 Days was a long time to stay there and although I am a sun worshipper and have no problem laying in the sun all day, my husband is not and got pretty bored. But besides these few problems, I would recommend the Riu.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
18  Thank tymknk
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
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: $273 - $548 (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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