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Hotel Riu Santa Fe
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Reviewed June 22, 2013

Went to Riu Santa Fe first week of June with my 21 y/o, 18 y/o and their 18 y/o friend. They had a blast! The party atmosphere was what I wanted for them and they got it.

Check in: We were first in line and were given building 3. I asked for blg 7 and after being told you "have to request that online" I explained that there was no place to do that (are you listening Orbitz?) and could he accommodate us? After some talking with the manager we were given 7009/7010. If you get these rooms, run. We opened the door and these rooms obviously had not been used in some time. The air was off, the fridges were off and it just had that "closed up" smell. Thankfully blg 7 has their own concierge so my daughter and I went up and spoke to a very kind person who changed us to 7383/7384. Yes! We didn't pay for the view and didn't expect one. The room was cool, the fridge on and the room doors opened to each other in their own hallway (3 feet wide, hard to explain) so we could keep the doors open to converse as we were coordinating efforts to go to the pool, town, etc. Perfect!

Rooms: I found the rooms to be very clean and well stocked. Bianca, our housekeeper was on it! Our room was clean while we were at breakfast!!! We always left her $2-3 each day. We had read about theft and figured if we leave some cash out, maybe our stuff would be ok. Never had a problem and the boys left their iphones out to charge when we were at the pool. Maybe because the room was cleaned so quickly and there was no reason for anyone to be back in it? Not sure when they stocked the fridge, but it must have been around the same time. We did notice that the doors were on a hinge that kept them from slamming. This was a HUGE problem as the door for 7384 did not shut all the way. Meaning we had to pull it shut to make sure it was. We left a note (in Spanish, thank goodness for the high school requirements!) asking the housekeeper to make sure the door shut and we had no problems. Maybe the theft is other guests testing the door shutting integrity and stumbling upon the open door problem I described? They knew their door didn't shut so they went looking for other doors? Just a guess.

Food: It's a buffet. We never went hungry and some selections were not as tasty as others. But we were well fed.

Drinks: I have never been a drink snob but avoid the Mojitos. Gross. When we stayed in Cozumel, the Mojitos were awesome and we were hoping for the same. Yeah, not even close. I thought if this is how we start, how is this going to end? Let's just say that I didn't drink much. The mudslides were good and the strawberry daiquiri that WASN'T from the premade machine was excellent. They also have a drink called a Red Eye (forgot the Mexican name) that is basically a spicy bloody mary but has beer instead of vodka. Give it a try. Otherwise, it's hit or miss. They have top shelf liquor, but the mixers suck or something because it was kind of a downer.

Show: Every night is a different entertainment show. Catch Michael Jackson and Mr. Riu Santa Fe. You can even try out to be Mr.Riu Santa Fe. The other shows were, eh.

Pools: They are cold. Yes, they should be heated. But if you are in the smaller pools with the swim up bars, well, lets say the pool is warmer than the main one due to the fact that NO ONE leaves these pools all day. Don't dip your head under the water and try not the drink any. At least urine is sterile. Lots of young kids partying and drinking. Drinks get spilled in the pool. I waded thru some straws, limes and mint. I'm not sure if this one dude barfed or just spit out some green junk from this tube he was holding but come on! You aren't the only one in the pool and that is just gross. The beach pool is a party all day pool which is fine. The pool in the center of the resort is the 'quiet' pool. They replaced all of the chairs at this pool when we were there and they are WAY more comfy. The water is still cold but it is more water than urine which is a nice change. Plus they had a ton of palapas, so you could always find shade.

Fellow travelers: I was ashamed to be American. I am all for the party and having a good time, but be respectful. Dumping drinks in the pools, leaving dirty TP on the floor of the bathrooms (do you do that at home?) squeezing all the bread to find the loaf YOU want and then just cutting out the middle (did I really just see that? I'm sure you just washed your hands) taking only the part of the food you want and leaving the rest or worse, putting stuff on a plate and the just ditching in at the buffet. Yelling in the halls at 3 am going back to their room, knocking on all the doors and running down the hallway screaming. The best was the group of 6 stuffed around a 4-top, totally wasted and ultimately knocking over all of the glassware on purpose so they all break. Thankfully the manager said the tables were for eating and if they were done, they needed to leave the restaurant. Clapping all around. What buffoons!

Bugs: I just have to say it...I saw with my own eyes a cockroach in the bowls by the oatmeal and another guest told me she was in the 7000 rooms (where we were at first, basement of bld 7) and they had roaches in their room. They got moved and she said it was fine, no bugs, but you should know. I realize that roaches are everywhere and we didn't have them in the room, but you might see them and you might see them at the Baja California. Just sayin.

Spa: Beach massage was great and they have a hot tub in the spa that is free to use, you just have to make a reservation. Found that out by accident.

Would I go back? Maybe. If the kids wanted too. They definitely would go back. Would I stay here? With young adults, yes. Me and the hubby? No. But worth the $$ we spent.

Book a taxi shuttle to and from the airport online. Totally worth it.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank firediverdenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2013

We are fairly well resort traveled in Mexico having taken the family 8 or 9 times now staying at all-inclusives in Cozumel, Cancun, Puerto Villarta and Cabo (including Dreams 3 times).

Just getting to Riu Santa Fe is better now with the San Jose del Cabo airport opening up their new passenger terminal. That doesn't reflect either way on this hotel review.. but adds plus points to all Cabo destinations.

Location, location.. Hotel is very near the Marina with spectacular beach and pool view of the el Arco rock formations and lovers beach (although you can't actually see the arch from the property). There is lots of sea traffic in/out/around of the marina so subtract tranquility points but add energy points.

Check-in / check-out was as quick and painless as anywhere we have traveled. We had 2 rooms and both were spotless and maintained perfectly during our stay. Mini-bar is stocked daily and 4 bottles of liquor are available via dispenser.. so plenty of firepower in the room. Calls to the front or local concierge for any supplies were handled very timely. Water is not potable but 6 liters of bottled water in the mini-bar takes care of room needs.

Pools are crystal clear and well chlorinated.. there are 2 main pools- a high energy (read loud) pool near the beach by building 7 and a quieter pool (read mature adults and kids) in the courtyard. Pools have swim up bars and tables in the pools.. the pools in building 7 have the most amazing ocean view.

Food is Mexican cafeteria in the buffets with a few reservation options. Reviews seem to discuss food endlessly.. it's Mexico folks.. it's not gonna taste like taco bell. But, by similar resort comparisons my verdict is it's good food and easily beat the Dreams buffet. I'm too impatient to get reservations and sit down to be served.. so can't help on those.
You will love the ocean view of the Steakhouse buffet in building 7. No room service is kind of a drag as I like my late night chicken clubs.. but, the bright side is there is never old food trays laying around the hallways.

It's a big hotel at over 900 rooms so prepare to walk. The layout resembles a village with a small courtyard near the front desk with a couple bars, eating, stage, etc.. adjacent to that is another much larger courtyard with pool in the middle, then walking paths around that.. then rooms around that (we looped that path many times to walk off a great meal). Then there is building 7 off by itself a little. I like the layout a lot and give it a couple bonus points.

This is a party place so have some fun watching the loud, drunk, beautiful young adults having their fun.

Overall this is my kinda place and I will go back !

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank cbw100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2013

Vacation started out good and then my safe was broken into and they stole all the money I had brought with me. I was very upset and asked for them to find out who had access to my room and they did nothing. The director of the hotel demanded I calm down or she would throw me in prision. Being a female there was nothing I could do. I do not recommend this hotel to anyone. I also heard from others while I was staying there of other robberies from people they knew. They never changed up the food. You ate the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were also woken up every night by young kids that were partying till the early hrs in the morning. Screaming, things being thrown. Was very disappointed for the money I paid.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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10  Thank Kerry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

This was our first Pacific experience and so glad we chose Riu Santa Fe and Cabo San Lucas. We travelled as a couple from Toronto and now we are in love with the Pacific and Cabo San Lucas and will try to go back as many times as possible.
First things first, this hotel is AMAZING! It is actually 2 hotels together, the Riu Palace for more adult clientelle i would say and Riu Santa Fe which is where we stayed. We got placed in building 7 which is perfect location if you ask me since its steps from the beach and the pools, and it is also connected to the restaurant, so drinks and food is steps away!! As any other Riu resort the room is fully stocked with water, beer and alcohol, minimum 4 bottles of water a day and restocked daily. The room is great size the washroom is huge and most importantly very very clean, no smell, no bugs, no previous guests leftovers. The landscaping on the hotel grounds is maintained every day, the public areas and washroom are being cleaned almost every hour, the staff works very hard and in our entire stay we never had any negative experience. No complaints when it comes to the food and the drinks as well, there is a huge selection and even if you are a picky eater you will not be dissapointed. I can't believe some of the negative reviews about the food, but then i remember how many of the guests fought over burgers and hot dogs so if this is the kind of food you are after i can understand how you can be dissapointed. There is fresh seafood every day, 4-5 types of fish prepared differently,shrimps and calamary, any type of meat you can think about roast or grill, freshly prepared Mexican food nachos and chimichangas, lots of fruits and salads, coffee machine, ice cream machine, i can go on and on and on...I am not going to say that everything tasted excellent all the time,but if you dont like one thing there is always something else that you would love instead, we never left hungry and never any stomach problems. The drinks are your typical tropical cocktails, and definetly not watered down?!how else would you explain the everyday drunk crowd in the pools? I recommend the conga and the miami vice cocktail, did not like the pinacolada or the mojito.
For the beach loving crowd, this is very different from the sandy white beaches in the Carribean, the sand is coarse and the ocean is rough but omg it is nature at its best. Swimming is very challenging the current is strong and the waves can be enormous, on a good calmer day you still need to master your way to get in and out of the water, and please don't ever underestimate the power of the ocean or you can be easily tossed out like a rag doll. Definetly recommend taking the water taxi and visiting the Arch and Lover's beach it is one of the most beautiful experienes in a lifetime. The price is about 10 USD per person, you get to take photos with the Arch in the background and visit the sea lion colony, there is a safe designated swimming area on one side and the rough Pacific ocean waves on the other with beautiful yellow sand, simply breathtaking!
Beach is almost empty on daily basis since the guests here prefer the pool which is fine by me, always enough umbrellas and beds, and nothing but gorgeous views ahead of you. There are lot ov vendors on the beach offering all types of services and products, i will be honest it can get really annoying because you hear the same thing every 5 minutes, if you decide to partake in this always negotiate the price, we bought 2 traditional Mexican blankets for 37$ USD starting price on each was $60.
If you can, take the taxi and go to the city, Cabo San Lucas is small but very charming place, you can visit the marina and have margaritas and Coronas in one of the many restaurants, prices are affordable and safety was never a concern. The taxi is always the same price and only one provider that drives to and from, but if you can manage to go as a group you can save some $$.
This resort is in a prime location, you get an unobstructed view of the rocks, the climate is hot but very dry no humidity and uncontrolled sweating like in the Carribean, there is always a breeze in the afternoon and night time temperatures can go bellow 20 degrees Celsius, so pack up some long sleeves for sure. The staff is very polite, they try to help as much as they can, most guests will not leave a tip but i am a strong believer that if the service was excellent needs to be rewarded, special thank you to Martha at the pool bar and Antonio in the main lobby restaurant.
There was nightly entertainment for all age groups and musicle productions,interactive games with the crowd etc. all i can say is that they really tried to make this a great vcation for their guests.
My only remark is that most of the bar areas are self served, so you go get your own drink every time you need to refresh, and also the noise polution is on a very high level here. I know that the hotel can't really control or predict what type of guests they will have, but a very large percentage is a loud, inconsiderate, obnoxious and wasted crowd, they keep on partying on everyone elses time. I would not choose to come here durring spring break even if it is free, it is a shame that such beautiful place is overpowered by a party crowd with no respect for the other guests that might have come there for a different reason for example relax? I left the resort wondering why would you invest in a vacation by the ocean if the pool is the only place you would hang out, the human soup is what we called the pool area.
I would definetly return to Riu, although maybe next time will choose to stay in the Riu Palace to avoid the all year round springbreakers.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cinnamongirl33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

The moment I stepped into the hotel I noticed the unsanitary conditions, as well as the poor customer service provided during the stay. They treated me and my family with no respect or courtesy. I advise no one to stay here unless you want to be ridiculed and belittled.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank judykk1004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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