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Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
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Reviewed July 14, 2010

Tripadvisor review RIU Palace

We just finished a 7 day stay at the Rio Palace in Cabo San Lucas.  Overall we had a really good time and wanted to leave a detailed review as we always find trip advisor helpful.

First to define what kind of travelers we are.  We are a couple in our mid 30's with no children.  This is our 2nd trip to an all inclusive in Mexico.  Our last trip was to the Eldorado in the mayan riviera.  We are not big drinkers or overly picky eaters.  We like to have fun and relax and appreciate good service.

Now to the trip:
The Cabo airport is very small but very easy to navigate.  Ignore anybody who talks to you inside the terminal.  They are all timeshare people and will say pretty much anything to get your attention.  The tour reps are all right outside the doors with visible signs.  The drive to the Riu Palace and the Riu Sante Fe is 45 minutes.

Once we arrived at the Riu Palace, we were greeted with a tropical drink and a very friendly welcome.  Check in was very fast and we were in our room within 10 minutes.  The resort is really big and while it takes a bit of walking around to orient your self it's all very self explanatory.

The rooms:
The rooms are pretty nice, basically like any decent hotel room.  We had a king size bed on the 4th floor with a view of the quiet pool and a bit of the ocean and beach.  The room is well stocked with 6 bottles of water, 2 large bottles of water, 8 bottles of Dos Equis, and 6 bottles of soda (various).  There was also the famous Riu liquor dispenser on the wall with smirnoff vodka, Jose cuervo tequila, bacardi rum and canadian mist whiskey.  The tv had lots of channels with 2 or 3 in English depending on wether or not a movie was on.  The bathroom was fine, it was clean and had everything you need.  The water is not drinkable from the tap but they put another large bottle of water in there to rinse your toothbrush etc.  The beds are quite firm and I definitely missed my bed after the 1st night.  Each room has a balcony with 2 chairs, nothing fancy but overall the rooms are just fine.   

Pools:
There are 2 large infinity pools, one quiet pool that is more family oriented and the activities pool with volleyball and lots of daily activities and excellent people watching.  There is a swim up bar beside each of the infinity pools and again one is a bit quieter and one is a bit busier.  The bartenders are very friendly and are happy to recommend a unique cocktail.  They do stock brand name liquor but you have to ask for it.  The draft on tap is dos equis and you can get tecate light in a bottle.  Both of the swim up bars have infinity pools which is a pretty good place to meet people as the view of the ocean is spectacular.

The Beach:
The beaches in cabo are really great, the sand of a bit gritty but still very easy to walk on with bare feet.  The ocean is not swimmable in front of the Riu as the undertow is very strong but the watching the waves is awesome, being from land locked Alberta it's pretty cool to see.  There are lots of vendors on the beach and they are not overly pushy, once you say no thanks once they leave you alone.  You can walk into Cabo San Lucas from the Riu but it would take about 45-60 minutes.  We would highly recommend taking a walk down the beach as there are a bunch of great spots to eat or have a cerveza.  The most well knows places are likely The Office and Billigans.

The food:
Unfortunately this is the one area we were really disappointed in.  We chose to spend $300 more per person to stay at the palace vs the sante fe because the food was so well reviewed and we wanted the option of 24 hours room service.  We ate at both resorts and the food is essentially the same.  The palace has more options but they aren't better options.  A lot of the hot food has a similar fried taste that you get tired of pretty soon.  The salads are also very saucy and don't have an overly fresh appearance.  The breads are definitely day old...every day.  The deserts are the same every day as well.  Every night the buffet has a theme dish and for the most part it's just a stew or seafood mishmash of some sort.  One night it was sushi and that was a welcome change!  Breakfast and lunch are the same story, there is lots of choices but everything is cooked in such a similar way that it all kind of tastes the same.  We only tried the mexican restaurant once and it was quite good so we would recommend trying the a la carte options.  You need to get down to the reservation desk very early to get a spot for that night which is why we missed out on the other restaurants :).  Room service is just gross, we ordered a turkey sandwich and a veggie sandwich and they were inedible, it was obvious they were made way before we ordered them, they were soggy and plain.  We tried one bite and threw them out.

The Service:
Absolutely the best part of the palace is the Staff, they are so friendly and helpful we we very impressed.  One night we went for dinner and we asked the server when the sushi night was, she said she would check and walked away, we assumed she didn't really understand our question and we went to went to hit the buffet.  When we got back to to our table there was a plate of sushi from the Japanese restaurant, we were so impressed that she would go above and beyond like.  That level of service was everywhere on the resort, every time you passed anyone they would smile and say ola.  We also never felt obligated to tip but did tip a lot because of the great service we received.  This also translated to the cleaning staff on the resort.  The palace is absolutely spotless, where ever you look there is always someone cleaning something.  The activities staff puts on a stage show every night which for the most part is typical PG family stuff, there was a Grease night and a Mama Mia night... Kinda boring if you aren't really into high school type theatre.  The activities staff themselves are great, especially Robby, he's a Riu celebrity.  The Sunday night show is the most entertaining as they pull couples from the audience and basically embarrass them for everyones entertainment.       

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LizardsinLove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2010

My hubby and I returned yesterday from a long weekend at the most beautiful resort we've ever stayed at. The service and cleanliness of the Riu were remarkable - the staff couldn't be more accommodating. The restaurants were incredible - we ate at the Asian restaurant and the gourmet fusion restaurant 2 nights, and the buffet the third night. We couldn't believe the assortment of foods on the buffet for not only dinner, but breakfast and lunch as well. The public areas were beautiful and immaculate - someone was actually cleaning the railings and posts with a small brush, and wouldn't go on until it was perfect. The entertainment was fun, drinks were constantly being served to us, and all our needs and requests were taken care of by the friendly and caring staff. The pool areas were gorgeous too. We were treated like royalty! We would go back in a heartbeat. Besides going back to the Riu Palace in Cabo, we'll definitely go to a Riu property elsewhere. In fact, tonight we're looking at going to Guanacaste with a couple of very good friends before the end of the year.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank marshamallow13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2010

After reading to negative reviews I was curious and a bit concerned. I had stayed at two Riu properties in the Caribbean and both were wonderful.
We arrived at the hotel and were checked in within a short time. The room was right behind the reception and above the night club. It was impossible to sleep, so the next morning I asked to be moved. We received a room without a problem, far away from the noise with a beautiful view.
The hotel itself is beautiful. There are two infiniti pools, one for the quieter crowd and the other one where all the activities are happening. The pool bars were great and the bartenders did a remarkable job keeping everyone happy! The drinks are weak at the pool for a reason! Nobody wants to see a bunch of drunk people staggering around the pool or throwing up! If the drinks are to weak just ask and the bar tenders will make them stronger, but I personally was just fine!
The food at the buffet is ok, not exceptional, but you will find a good variety every day. We had no problems with the restaurants, there was always room at the second seating at 8:45 even without reservations. I recommend though to reserve on the first day of your stay to make sure you get a earlier seating.
The service at the hotel was incredible. Everyone was always asking if we were ok. My mom was treated like a queen which she really enjoyed, who wouldn't!
I can definitely recommend the Riu Palace for a nice relaxing vacation. The Santa Fe next door was a bit more lively for the younger crowd.
Thanks for a wonderful time!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank dsve349
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2010

I have to say that I just returned less than 12 hours ago and feel compelled to write a review based purely on the fact that I have to thank all former contributors for their reviews. I was COMPLETELY prepared and knew what to expect. For those reviews that I see complaints about this hotel, I must say, read the reviews. You should not have been surprised. This hotel is CLEAN! You cannot find trash or litter anywhere. Rooms and entire hotel. Front desk can be a bit snotty but you do get what you need....with the exception of a room service menu that we could never seem to get. It became a joke after a while just to get one. The staff (waiters, cleaning, bartenders) are all VERY professional and fun if you engage with them in a respectful manner. We enjoyed everyone. You must request AND pay for a King size bed in order to not get two beds pulled together and yes they are not a comfortable bed but the accomodations in the room make up for it. We did not get our correct room the first night and they sent us a note after check in to let us know they were changing our room. We then had room 3062. Great room. King bed, ocean view, overlooking the quiet pool and spa and close to the lobby. There is a slight "moldy" smell in all rooms. This is the water and is apparently normal in most hotels. Keep the toilet closed and bring a can of spray. It went away for us after an hour of checking in. Beverage options are plentiful. I found the Passion drink on the second to last day. I recommend it. No corona but a life time supply of Dos Equis. If you love wine, then plan on getting it somewhere else or pick a different beverage. Wine is bad! LOL! (Diablo Mexicali) The food. Keep in mind I am a huge foodie and brought a suitcase full of food and wine magazines and books as well as a list of restaurants. The food is good not excellent, never bad. I didn't dread getting hungry as some people stated. It is quality food, lots of variety and international options. Keep this in mind. It is an all inclusive in which the prices are "affordable". It is a buffet. It is a higher quality than a Olive Garden or a TGIFridays but it isn't going to be the quality you find at trendy restaurants in the city. I would however challenge you to not be able to find something at breakfast (all styles from american, european, spanish) and dinner has different themes. Lunch was touch and go as far as what I wanted and the only not quality. The last few days I overdosed on some very good fried calamari. For kids or the less fussy there was always pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers and an extensive salad bar for every meal. Lots of seafood. I found the restaurants to be a little over rated and limiting as far as time and options. I didn't want to be restricted and preferred to dine at my leisure. Use the money you will likely save by going here and venture into the city for a couple of fine dining experiences. (Check out reviews for Edith's) If you are looking for nightlife at your hotel, then I would not recommend this hotel. The disco at this location and next door at the Santa Fe are weak. Mostly people sitting at bars drinking. The shows in the evening are just OK. A little cheesy but can be fun if you just want to relax. Something to do between dinner and whatever you decide to do in the evening. If you do want to party, take the $12 cab ride into the city and check out Cabo Wabo (Sammy Hagar showed up on Friday!!!), Cabo Wabo has a GREAT BAND! we went twice. If you want dancing go to the Pink Kitty or Mandelas (like a South Beach Dance Club), and Squid Roe. If you do want a little more lively crowd than the Palace, do check out the Santa Fe that you do have access to. Younger crowd and the bartenders voluntarily pour shots for the entire bar. Back to the Palace, the pool is beautiful (quiet and activity pool) and you are never without a beverage. If you are afraid of bees then beware. Lots of bees. Stay away from the pool bars and watch your beverages. Bees love the fruit. I recommend walking down to Medano Beach and hanging out on a lounge chair at Tabascos. Happy Hour Two for One All Day Everyday! Excellent food (fish and shrimp tacos and burgers) and service, nice people. Warning: You will be approached on the beach every minute by vendors. Ignore but rude isn't necessary. If you buy something, hide it because it draws in the others. : ) We booked a trip to Lovers Beach through our hotel at $15 per person. Taxi took us down to Medano and a boat gave us a tour of the Arch and then taxied us between Lovers and Pelican. Lovers for swimming and Pelican for snorkeling. Highly recommend this. Didn't hear fabulous things about the sunset so we didn't go not saying you shouldn't. TIPS: while it is included we did give extra to our cleaning person Martha and our waiter all of whom work from 7 am to 10 pm 6 day a week! They all do and still greet you with a smile and do a damn good job. If you leave a tip in the room make sure to distinguish if it is for your beverage restock person (above the fridge) or cleaning person (on the nightstand). I didn't go to the spa, but prices are very reasonable. I can't think of anything else, but I have pretty high expectations and I believe you cannot go wrong and I would return.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank crunkll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2010

Just returned and loved this place! Read a ton about Cabo on the forums before booking. We prefer an all inclusive and based on location to town, picked this one. I read some of the harsh reviews, and I have to say after having just stayed there, these folks must be very picky or never satisfied. There was really nothing to complain about. The view was fantastic from our balcony...no the room did not face the ocean, but pull your chair slightly over a bit, prop your feet on the railing and take in the breeze and view with no problems - gorgeous view of lands end (see attached pic).

The food was GREAT. Have done AI's before and this was the best so far. I got reservations at Krystal twice! The food was as good as any top notch restaurant in Dallas. We recommend the Lamb and the Salmon and for dessert the chocolate lava cupcake with vanilla ice cream :) Krystal is day-of res only, all others are up to two nights out. I highly reco the later seating if you can get it...eating early makes it near impossible to stay up past 9 and see the show or go into town for fun :) Even the buffets were good, and the guacamole especially rocked!

We hung by the "adult" pool most of the time (see pic), did take a walk up the beach to El Medano and The Office for a bite. Crazy scene up there! We decided we'd go back to our spotless and tranquil pool with free drinks :) We ordered room service for breakfast 3 mornings in a row, then still hit the breakfast buffet very late in the morning for a snack. That's why we love the AI's.

The safe was small - not big enough for a laptop or an ipad but we saw several people who brought both. Had no maintenance issues, the room and grounds were immaculate. Staff very friendly. We are tippers, always have been wherever we go. Maids deserve at least 1 dollar per person every day. servers and bartenders got a couple each day. Dinner waiters always got a bit extra especially when they were super nice and made the experience even better. Cab ride to town was $12, very reasonable, no tip required due to taxi unions there, or so we were advised.

All in all, loved it here, would go back in a heartbeat. Am happy to answer any q's if you have em. This was our first visit to Cabo and we were very pleased with the resort, its location to town and the ease with which we got back and forth. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!!!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank confetti70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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